The simplest way of defining the decade that is the Seventies, which is both self-evident and contains truth, is that it is the decade between the Sixties and the Eighties. That is to say, this was the transition between the revolutionary furor of the Sixties and the successful counter revolution of the Eighties. The beginning of the Eighties and the Age of Reagan were discussed before, and the onset of it was the outer planet midpoint of Uranus equals Neptune/Pluto which took place in 1978-1980. The Seventies is what came before that, and led to that climax. And there is also in the early Seventies a foretaste of what is to come in the next four years after 2016, because the dominant aspect of the early Seventies (of course, there were other things happening in the sky as well) is going to be repeated soon, with the exception that the Seventies saw the closing of this aspect before a conjunction (to be discussed later in a post on the Nineties) and we are about to see the opening of the same aspect. Perhaps this upcoming period will be like the one discussed here, but in a different direction, to be cryptic. The other important, indeed world-shaking, aspect was the conjunction of the outer planet Pluto with 0 Libra, called a Libra Ingress, and also a conjunction with the Midheaven of the United States. We have discussed the importance of Pluto Ingresses to Cardinal Signs before and this one was no different, and it helped make the character of the early Seventies. The late Seventies was taken up by the approaching midpoint configuration mentioned above, so we will focus on the early Seventies
The Rock Concert at the Altamont Speedway on December 6, 1969 was widely called the death of the Sixties right after it happened, famous for the killing by the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang within all the people watching a free rock concert headlined by some of the biggest names of the time, such as the Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead. The latter group musically responded to this killing with a song called “New Speedway Boogie”. But of course this was shortly after the Manson Family killings that were a little further South but also in California, on August 8 and 9 of the same year; these killings were also considered a death of that decade. 1969 was a busy year, which also saw the Moon landing and the Woodstock Music Festival.
First let us look at the overview chart. Here is a graphical ephemeris that shows both the Libra Ingress and the semisquare between Uranus and Neptune. We can see that Pluto entering the sign of Libra (black horizontal line near the top of the graph) occurs in Fall of 1971 (black arrow) and Summer of 1972. The Uranus Neptune semisquare first come close in late 1971 (red arrow), is exact in 1972 and 1973, and the last final close approach is in the middle of 1974 (green arrow). Let us look at some of the notable events during that period, and then try to connect them to the aspects.
A monumental event of the time, that is still affecting the United States and the World, though few realized the importance of the event at the time, was the end of the Bretton Woods Convention that had been established near the end of World War II in July 1944. An international monetary system was set up in this conference for 44 Allied nations at a resort in New Hampshire. Most notable outcomes of the conference were the establishment of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is famous for loaning money to counties in need and then requiring austerity measure from their economy. At this conference a Gold Standard was again established for world currency. American currency was set to the Gold Standard, and this continued until Nixon’s speech on the evening of August 15, 1971. With this event, the exchange rate between US currency and the currency of other countries would change over time, allowing smart investors to make money by buying currency when it was low and selling when it was high. If this was done fast enough and often enough a large profit would be accrued. This set the stage for “derivatives” and other monetary instruments that were only based on or derived from read goods. The Great Recession of 2007-2009, which happened as Pluto entered the next cardinal sign after Libra, Capricorn, was one notable result of this decision, which was made partly as a result of the Vietnam War, which required a lot of American money and equipment over the previous decade and had produced a weakened economy in the United States.
In the same speech, Nixon announced wage and price controls, in an attempt to control the America economy.
end of Bretton-Woods
In the chart for this important speech, we see a tight — about one degree — conjunction between Jupiter and Neptune. Jupiter promises expansion — and indeed this happened — but Neptune suggests that there will be much delusion behind the economic growth, that things will not always be as they seem. And indeed Neptunian illusions played a big role in the economic expansion that followed from that fateful announcement. But of course it would take a long time for the truth behind the developments starting with that speech to become apparent, and perhaps that hasn’t yet become fully visible over forty years later. One keyword Ebertin gives for these two planets is speculation.
Lewis Powell, a lawyer who was later appointed to the Supreme Court by President Nixon, replacing Hugo Black, wrote a famous memorandum on August 23, 1971, which gave a start to rolling back the revolution ushered in by the Sixties. In this memo Powell warned business owners that the free enterprise system was under attack (by forces unleashed in the Sixties) and that a counterattack was needed to preserve the sanctity of the free enterprise system. The letter was initially sent to the Chamber of Commerce of the United States. This organization is famous for its support of most anything that could be called “pro-business” even if it harm the rights of ordinary citizens. One early result of the Powell Memo was the formation of the American Legislative Exchange Council – ALEC – in September of 1973. That organization, which has been in the news much recently, had the purpose of coordinating legislative actions with business desires. It has now been in operation for more that forty years, and has seen increasing success in introducing more business legislation into government. Another result was the formation of the Heritage Foundation of February 16, 1973, which was to create the basis of the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) which designed to kill any attempt to have a Single Payer health insurance plan in the United States. The chart for the Powell Memo is much the same as for the Nixon speech, just about a week earlier, and with the same Jupiter-Neptune conjunction, which can be seen as a forecast of the whole neoliberal experiment that we are still living with, though discontents are beginning to be seen,
Ever since the end of World War II, wages had been rising for those who earned an hourly income. But in this period that growth stopped, as shown in the graph below. The hourly wage for 2014 — latest we have figures for — in adjusted dollars, is almost two dollars an hour less than the average reached in the early Seventies. Again, a great example of how the Neoliberalism that developed after this point in time has affected society. Obviously, Powell’s Memo has been followed and the outcome has been highly successful for those for whom the message was intended.
Because of a Supreme Court decision involving Timothy Leary, the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 of declared unconstitutional, and as a result the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) was passed on October 27, 1970, followed by the creation of the Drug Enforcement Administration on July 1, 1973. These two provided the basis for the modern drug war in the United States. Responses would show up later.
During this period the United State was roiled by the Watergate revelations that were coming out of a Congressional Investigation Committee, and carried on national television. This dramatic event started with a break-in of Democratic National Committee Offices in the Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC early in the morning of June 17, 1972. This was in an election year that would see the election in 5 months, and at the time few thought this break-in was of much importance. But after the election the Senate investigated this matter over 1973 and 1974, resulting in the resignation of President Nixon with a speech on August 8, 1974.
For the chart for the break-in at the Watergate Hotel, we see Pluto at the Midheaven, as it was during much of this period in the early Seventies, but in this case it suggests the shaking of the government of the USA that will be the result of this break-in, though as I mentioned no one thought that when the break-in was discovered, and it was discovered only because of sloppy work by the Watergate burglars. Saturn has come to the Descendant of the United States, exactly one Saturn cycle before its similar position for the events of September 11, 2001. In this case that position also indicates that something limiting — a Saturn keyword — is coming to the country.
In the chart for the date of Nixon’s resignation, we see that Saturn has come to an exact conjunction with the Sun of the United States. The Sun represents the President, and Saturn is the shadow that was thrown of the office of the President by the resignation. A President had never resigned before, but it was something he felt he had to do to avoid impeachment, which he was warned would be forthcoming after all the revelation brought up by the Watergate Committee. Since the Watergate scandal, the suffix “gate” has been affixed to many nouns to indicate a potential scandal developing.
The early Seventies was the time when people in the world, and especially Americans, realized for the first time that oil was not infinite, that it could be cut off, and that thusly problems would follow. Because of the You Kipper War of 1973, several members of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries had a boycott of sales of oil to the United States, Japan, Canada and some European countries. This caused the price of oil to spike from $3 a barrel to the unheard of $12 a barrel (please contain you laughter). As a result, gasoline became harder to come by, with sales happening on different days depending on ones license plate number, difficulties finding an open gas station, and fights breaking out in the long lines of people waiting to buy gas. In the United States a universal speed limit of 55 MPH on the open road was mandated, since this was the speed where internal combustion engines were most efficient. However, it seemed that American’s no-limit approach to driving was being constrained, putting a damper on America’s faith in the future.
The book The Limits of Growth was published in 1972. This book stated that there are limits (Saturn) to Growth (Jupiter) a message that did not set well with many Americans and seemed to go against the “god-given” right to exploit as much as possible — after all, Jupiter is conjunct the US Sun. Over the next few years there were attacks on that book, and most refused to believe it, though as current articles show, the trends given in the book have held up quite well in the last 49 years.
Another famous event of the early Seventies, that set the stage for the world we know today, has been called Nixon Goes to China. This was a very big deal at the time because Communist China, the most populated country in the world, had been considered a non-state by the United States ever since the Chinese Revolution of 1949. It had been kept out of the United Nations. Nixon, who was a hard line ant-communist, was considered the last person who would ever talk to a Communist nation. After this, the phrase “Nixon Goes To China” has been used to describe a event that was not expected from a person, one that goes against his seeming beliefs, especially for politicians.
There were several happenings in the early Seventies which I will categorize as “Electronic Drugs”. These are technical innovations that become so popular, perhaps even mesmerizing, they could be called “drugs” even though they are neither based on plants nor created in a laboratory.
These have corresponded to Uranus-Neptune hard aspects, from the Uranus-Neptune conjunction of the 1820s that saw the development of photography, to the opposition of those two planets in the first decade of the Twentieth Century which saw the extreme popularity of cinema (which had been developed earlier) and the introduction of film cameras by George Eastman, to the rise of television in the Fifties under the square of those two planets. A semisquare is not as important an aspect as the square, and the drug of choice at this time was not as powerful either, but basically modified the effect of the Television drug. The developments of importance in this period were the Video Tape Recorder — the first were big Betamaxes from Sony — so one could watch a television program after it aired, and Cable Television, originally developed so that people distant from major cities could watch a large number of channels previously available only to citizens of major cities.
Another appropriate development of the early Seventies, and one whose true import we have yet to fully grasp, was the first microprocessor, the Intel 4004, a four bit computer in a single integrated circuit.
Before this development, there were mini-computers, computers much smaller than large mainframes from IBM and five other large computer companies which were called the BUNCH, which included Burroughs (started by the grandfather of writer William S. Burroughs), Univac, a company which made the first commercials computers, National Cash Registers, who made other business machines, Control Data Corporation (CDC), a spin-off from IBM, and Honeywell, still a big company. The large mini-computer companies of the time were Digital Equipment Corporation — DEC — and Data General both of Boston’s Highway 128. These minicomputers cost a fraction of the price of mainframes, and so became much more popular and could be used in many science labs, but were still not nearly cheap enough for everybody to have.
But all this changed with the rise of the microprocessor, which would allow anybody to make a computer, even in their garage — there was a Homebrew Computer Club in the San Francisco Bay Area. At first four bits really hampered what could be done, since four bits can only represent sixteen possible values, but eight bits came along later in the decade, and now 64 bits are fairly common. But it all started with the 4004. The first ad for this chip appeared in 1971, and those in the trade who saw that ad could begin to picture a future where computers were everywhere. Then it was with the January 1975 issue of the magazine Popular Electronics that the first personal computer was actually shown. This issue went on sale late in November of the previous year. A young Paul Allen showed the issue to friend Bill Gates and eventually a new company was born. This first commercially successful microcomputer — though the term did not exist yet — was the Altair 8800.
Here are two charts concerning the introduction of the 4004. It had been in development for a couple of years at Intel, but the first public announcement of it was in an electronics trade magazine on November 15, 1971. The first chart shows how this event affected the USA. In this chart, we see Pluto pretty closely conjunct the MC of the USA, indicating that this development would have profound and transformative effects on the public face and national standing of the country. Jupiter is on the Ascendant of the United States, promising expansion and wealth for the country, or at least the superficial forms of the country, because the Ascendant, while important, is only the surface of the entity beneath. A third aspect to note is transiting Uranus on the Saturn of the United States: The development of the microchip would further inflame the conflict between the old and traditional ways (Saturn) and the new (Uranus). There had already appeared articles about robots and computers (called cybernetics) replacing our jobs, but that was before microcomputers even existed. In the second chart, an event chart set in Silicon Valley, we see a formation called a Kite, with the spine of the kite made up of the opposition of Neptune and Saturn, and with a grand trine consisting of Pluto, Ascendant, and Saturn. There is also an associated T-square formation with a base as the same opposition and the apex of the T-Square being Mars. There is also a tight Jupiter -Venus conjunction in Sagittarius. This is a very “nice” chart with a moderately tight conjunction of the two most positive planets (reflecting the same conjunction of the two planets conjunct the Sun in the USA chart) and with the always popular and considered easy going grand trine. Note that many of the aspects also occur in the previous chart. Again, this chart promise many good things to come from this development.
First Ad for 4004
One other notable development of the early Seventies were Revolutionary groups — or perhaps as some suggest False Flag operation instigated by intelligence bureaus of governments — that were not especially successful but did cause a lot of fear among the populace and lead to further repression of said populace.
Perhaps the most famous of these group in the United States was the Weather Underground. This group split off from the New Left group big in the Sixties called Students for a Democratic Society — SDS. After the police riot at the Democratic Convention in Chicago in 1968, immortalized in the movie Medium Cool by famed cinematographer Haskell Wexler, and the assassination of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton by the US government, young radicals lost all hope of reforming the country, and went a bit crazy in their urge for tearing down the Beast. This has been recounted in numerous books and movies. Also visible on the West Coast was the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) which was most famous for kidnapping the heiress of old-time media magnate William Randolph Hearst, and she participated with the SLA in some actions in California. Also well know were the Baader-Meinhof group, also known as the Red Army Faction, in Germany, whose activities included bombing, kidnapping, and assassination, the Red Brigades in Italy, who kidnapped a former Prime Minister of that country and eventually killed him, and the Japanese Red Army, which also did bombings and assassinations. Much of these groups based their existence on revolutionary groups in South America who were battling the dictatorships in various country of that continent imposed with the help of the United States. None of these activities resulted in a positive change for their countries or the world, but paved the way for the up-welling of neoliberalism at the end of the decade.
But these rebellions/revolts didn’t just occur in developed countries. As a result of the incessant bombing of the Southeast Asian country of Cambodia a revolutionary group called the Khmer Rouge led by Pol Pot took over in Cambodia, and many intellectuals were killed in that country, an example of mass psychosis at a country level, resulting in one to two million deaths.
The closing semisquare of Uranus and Neptune saw new “electronic drugs”, a realization that intangibles that we depend on daily might not be around forever, the beginning of economic speculation and a lead in to neoliberalism along with movement to a less Uranian time, and many delusional revolutionary groups. This was preceding the major conjunction of those two planes in the early Nineties which would see these trends reach a climax.