Birth of the National Security State

The end of World War II saw a great many changes in the way the world is today,  so many that people born after this watershed moment cannot remember or imagine a world different than what they have always lived in. This world is radically different from what was before. There were many changes throughout the world. Most were in the developed countries which would affect the developing countries as time went on.  One of the biggest changes, which would affect the whole world  rather quickly, was the development of the National Security State within the United States  and the subsequent development of the Cold War between the United States  and its allies and the Soviet Union and its allies. This Cold War would be played out around the world and not just, or even mostly, in those two countries.

The world changed after the Second World War in so many ways.  Many so-called third world countries that were colonies  of major powers, such as India as a colony of Great Britain, were allowed to choose their own government.  This allowed a great many countries, mostly in Asia and Africa, to become independent and to try and choose their own government.  There was even a movement of the non-aligned countries that tried  to place themselves outside the orbit of either the United States or the Soviet Union.

The industries that developed during the Second World War — especially in the United States since it had not been invaded or directly attacked — subsequently released many consumer products  based on the developments to  support the war.  People had been starved  for new consumer products during the war, so that after the war the bought the new offerings willingly.  Not only were consumers the recipients of these new products, but also industries, such as agriculture, were willing purchasers of these new offerings.

While a couple of plastics, such as Bakelite, existed before World War II, the real explosion of plastics and other artificial materials – the pictures of women trying on nylon stockings right after the War are famous –  came right after the War, encouraged by all the development that happened to support the war effort.  Plastics of all forms  have begun to dominate our society, including the  computer you are viewing this on, and all of the plastic garbage has now begun to accumulate in five zones in our oceans  as well as mount up in our “sanitary” landfills.  We do not realize that there was a  time before plastics were an omnipresent feature of all our landscapes. As the Dustin Hoffman character was told in the 1967 movie The Graduate, plastics are indeed the future.

While fertilizers for crops existed for a long time, the real use of inorganic chemically-created fertilizers took off after World War II, for much the same reason that plastics became increasingly popular.  Chemical industries, some of whom had been active with the Nazis in Germany,  gained a lot of power and strength during the war.  But of course during the War most of the demand on these  industries was to support the war effort, on either side; after the War, all the energy that had driven the chemical industries was available of peacetime use.

What has been said about plastics and fertilizers can apply to many other created compounds.  The period after World War II became the world of “Better Living Through Chemistry” as the modified motto of the DuPont Corporation had it. And that is what the post-war world was all about.  Many, many things were created in the laboratory and sold to the public,  plastics of all types, pesticides and insecticides of all types, and weed killers.  All homes now have many toxic chemical compounds that are used for things from cleaning the toilet to ridding the house of ants.  One can take a tour of any modern house to get an idea of the full extent of artificial chemical compounds everywhere.

Before the Second Word War, most food was organic.  The concept of “conventional” or “non-organic” food did not exist, even though there were a few artificial chemicals used in agriculture.  In the Twenties, there were no ”Organic” sections  of supermarkets;  in fact, there were relatively few supermarkets in existence before World War II.  But soon after the war, chemicals were used to create a faster growth of vegetables  or to kill weeds.  Foods grown without the use of chemicals became more and more rare.

Along with this process was the creation of industrial agriculture. This was  was a case of driving the small, family farmer into the city and the rise of large scale farming  and industrial feedlots for cattle.  As a consequence there was no more grazing in the field, small cramped warrens for chickens, and large scale disposal of the wastes of a massive number of pigs confined to a small space.  The introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMO) was just another step along the path that was set out in the years following World War II.

Television was another phenomena that existed before the War, but came into prominence after the War.  During the late Forties and early Fifties  few people owned television sets, but groups of people would gather in front of shop widows displaying large televisions to catch the latest shows or breaking news events. The effect of television, and not just television advertising, on the development of “culture” is far reaching, and has not stopped yet.  One can notice that the whole of political campaigns changed considerably after enough people had television sets that they could watch national political conventions.  The first television president debate, now a fixture, was inaugurated in 1960 for Kennedy and Nixon after there were enough television viewers.  And the difference that television made is illustrated by the fact that radio listeners thought Nixon had  won the debate, while television views, who could see the haggard face of Nixon (recovering from an illness) thought that Kennedy had won.

I  will  mention one further change in this period before we move on to the mammoth event that dominated the world for the next 45 years.  Along with the industrialisation of agriculture practices, ocean fishing received a big boost.  Larger and larger ships were launched, harvesting more and more fish, to feed a  growing populace.  This fishing was so huge that,  over time, it decimated the stock of fish in the ocean, which people somehow seemed to believe was limitless.  This occurred at  the same time that runoff from the factory farms sent pesticide residue into the oceans, creating dead zone devoid of oxygen and fish, and remnants of all the plastic being used on land were also ending up in the oceans

One big event that happened  in this period, whose significance can not be overstated, was the dropping of two atomic bombs on the country of Japan.   This was something that had never happened,   or really even been contemplated (except for a  few science fiction writers such as H. G. Wells or Cleve Cartmill ) before, and  it changed the way the world  looked at the future.  Almost overnight, it became possible to believe that the entire world could be destroyed in a short period.  As some scientists and writers realized at the time, the world  had changed for good.  We can not begin to imagine the effect of this since most of us have lived with the threat of nuclear war all our lives.  I think that when we look back at this period from the future, we will see that a mass insanity gripped the world because of the knowledge that we could  literally destroy humanity.

nss

Midpoint when Atomic Bomb Dropped

The  significant astrological event happening at the end of World War was the midpoint between the three outer planets: Pluto at the midpoint of Uranus and Neptune. This was only the second time this century that such a configuration had  happened, and note that in the midpoint shown, Pluto is at the apex of the midpoint.  This is not common; most often Uranus is at the apex as was the case for the first midpoint of the century as discussed  on August 22.  This is significant since Pluto rules nuclear bombs, which were of course unknown before this midpoint happened.  Pluto is also prominent in the aspect representing the shadow side of the USA, Pluto semisquare Ascendant, as has been discussed before.

As I have said, these midpoints, at most three a century, indicate a sea change in society so that the future is entirely different from the past.  And that was certainly the case with this one.  For example, almost everyone believes that high defense spending of the US has always gone on, but it is a rather recent development; essentially the high defense spending  needed for World War II never decreased by that much after the war, though our lifestyle certainly did.

nss1

Midpoint at Beginning of Cold War

In   1945, right after the Yalta Conference, Franklin Roosevelt went to Saudi Arabia for a meeting with the King of that country.  As a result of that the world  has gotten oil from that country and  the rest of the world has looked the other way.  Saudi Arabia has backed very reactionary elements, such as Osama Bin Laden, and nothing has  really been said  to them,  while other countries which do not provide the large quantities of oil are subject to much pressure from the United States.  As a result of this meeting the world has had much access to oil but a whole host of problems — see the current Middle East crises for an example — are the result.

During the war, companies were not allowed to increase the wages of their employees, so instead they gave them health care plans.  That decision, made to skirt the law, has had enormous repercussions into the present time.  Company-provided health care has been seen as normal, giving rise to health insurance companies that exist to this degree nowhere else.

But perhaps the most significant  event of this period, and the one that gave its name as title to this article, was the formation of the National Security State (NSS).  Few  people realize  what a change in our military expenditures has happened  since this critical turning point.  Before the Second World War  the United States spent relatively little money on “defense”.  In fact, before the NSS there was no Department of Defense but rather more more accurately named Department of War.  Gore Vidal calls  this inception of the National Security State a coup d’etat;  I’m not sure if this is a metaphor but it certainly an apt description to what has happened in this period.  This led to increased spending for “defense” after the war and the Pentagon, which was built during the War, become a very public symbol of the United States’ fascination with the military, something I’m sure would have alarmed the Founders,  who always warned about foreign entanglements and a standing army.

There are at least two ways of measuring the amount of money spent on defense: percentage of GDP or adjusted dollars.  The graphs below show both.  Since the GDP has increased faster than the defense budget, the actual dollars figure is a more accurate way of showing money spent.

The final way of looking at our defense expenditures is as a percentage of the budget.  In other words, how much of the money that the federal government collects in taxes is spent on military-related items.  But there are  several ways of answering this question that are deceptive, to say the least.    The first is to include income that the government has no control over spending, most obviously Social Security, as part of the budget. Social Security taxes — FICA — are something that most people have seen as a separate tax on their income checks.  This money goes to a trust fund and must be spent for Social Security payments, it is not discretionary.  But often the SS  expenses are included as part of where the government money goes.  This is as deceptive as, for example, if someone gives you $5000 for safekeeping while they are out of the country, only to expect it back when they return.  It would be deceptive to consider the $5000 as part of your money when you consider how much of your money is spent for rent, since it is not really your money but you have it only for a short time.  In the  same way, it is deceptive to consider money collected as Social Security taxes as part of the money the government can spend as it wishes.

Another problem is neglecting the military related expenses that are not in the defense budget.  The could be separate money for wars that are not part of  the initial budget, money for the many covert services, money in the space and nuclear programs that are military related, but the two biggest items that are often not considered are veterans healthcare and pensions  for ex-military personnel, which can go on for many, many years  after the initial war they served in is over, and interest on the debt, much of which  was borrowed to pay for a given war.

When you make the adjustments, the percentage of the budget spent for military purposes  — past, present, and future wars — is much higher than commonly assumed.  The amount these days is 62%, which tells us that the main purpose of our government to to conduct military operations.  This is something most people would rather avoid knowing.

Most of the graphs are from the Washington Post.

defense_adjdol

This first graph indicates the national defense budget in 2013 dollars.  Since there has been much   inflation since 1945, it is    necessary to adjust the dollar amount to get an accurate comparison with past expenses.  We can see that the defense budget   ballooned in the late Forties and early Fifties because of the new Cold War and the Korean War.  There is a bump in the late Sixties and early Seventies because of the Vietnam War.   Then there is the huge bump in the Eighties because of the Reagan defense buildup; during this period the defense budget got to be greater than the Cold War beginnings of the early Fifties.  Finally we can see that about 2010 the defense budget rose to another peak, and this is   without counting the expenses of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which were separate.  When these are added in — red peak — the defense expense are 50% higher than in  the beginning of the Cold War, even though the Cold War supposedly ended in  1991.  Note that these figures do not include items mentioned above such as veteran’s benefits.

defense_adjdol2The next graph shows the expenditures again, from 1948  to 2012.  You can see the fall-off after Korean, Vietnam, and Cold Wars ended.  It also shows the fall off after  the current wars are ended.  As I write this we have sworn a “bombing campaign” on what is called ISIL or ISIS or IS in Syria and Iraq, so the expenditures will probably go up again.

defense_gdp

The third graph shows  expenses as a percentage of GDP.  Note that the bottom blue section is labelled “Entitlement” and remember what I said above that these are not part of the discretionary expenses, since most entitlements are from a separate part of the money collected from taxes; they are from FICA and not income taxes.  The part we are interested  in is the red second band.  The defense expenses went way up during World War I, just before 1920 and them returned to almost the same level, about 1 to 1.5%.  They went up again  during World War II in the Forties, but in this case after the War  the defense expenditures did not go back to what they were before the war, but only fell to 8%, at least four times greater than what it was before the war.  These defense expenditures decreased as a percentage of GDP over time, but only because the GDP increased at a faster rate.  The true increase is shown in the first two graphs.

To sum up, spending by the United States for defense increase greatly after World War II, and  has  remained at elevated levels ever since.  One can argue that this increased defense spending was necessitated by the threat of he Soviet Union, even though we were allies with them and they suffered the lion’s share of causalities during that war, but the defense spending did not fall after the Soviet Union did, and in fact the spending now has increased to  almost double what it was at the end of the Twentieth Century.  The question remains whether the defense spending increased after the war because of the threat poised by our erstwhile allies or if the threat of a greatly reduced spending for the military caused the danger of the Soviet Union to be seen.  The Great Depression before World War II never really ended until the increased spending for weapons needed for the War; perhaps after the War some were afraid that the depression would return unless the defense spending remained at high levels.  This is called Military Keynesianism.

Another big event of the period, which was to influence the post-war world and   still has repercussion today, is the Bretton Woods Conference of July 1944.  Delegates from many countries met in New Hampshire to plan out the world economy after the War was over.  The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank were both formed during that meeting.  It also resulted in an agreement among the countries of the world to maintain a certain type of order in the world’s financial system.  That agreement was broken when Richard Nixon, in August of 1971, took us out of the Bretton Woods system.  While the system was working, it was a financial golden age for American workers.  The rate of unionism was at a high level,  and many of these same workers joined the middle class.  College education was relatively inexpensive  and many people poured into colleges, resulting in an educated workforce and the many student protests that marked the decade of the Sixties.  Government intervention to assure the financial well being of the nation’s populace  became more used.

spending_2013

This final graph shows the true cost of defense after the end of the Cold War.  Very few people make this knowledge available because America wants you to believe that it is not a war-based economy, but if you remove “entitlements” (as mentioned above) you see the real figure, that 62.5% of the budget — Military and Veteran’s Benefits — goes to past, present, and future wars.  This data is  from the American Friends Service Committee.  It is clear that our country is dominated by defense spending, much, much more that any time in our history before this period when the National Security State took   power in the United States, something that President Eisenhower warned of: the Military-Industrial Complex.

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The Death of John Lennon

I thought of this entry’s topic while listening to “I Just Shot John Lennon” from the Cranberries To the Faithful Departed, an album from the last century. In fact, that album was released longer ago than John’s death was before the album’s release.

Shortly before an astrological conference at Mills College in Oakland (mentioned in the post of April 4), there was a gathering of astrologers that I was invited to.  At the gathering Rob Hand was excitedly describing his new book about the planets, with new descriptions of them.  Unfortunately, as far as I know, that book was never published.  Rob and I got into a discussion about the death of John Lennon, and I told him my theory.  I thought that John Lennon took the bullet for Ronald Reagan.  The assassination attempt on Reagan was about three and a half months later  from when Lennon was shot down outside his apartment.

It was well know in astrological circles that every president elected under a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction, which happened in  1840, 1860, 1880, 1900, 1920, 1940, and  1960,  had died while in office.  This was also called the Curse of Tecumseh.  But the President elected in 1980  was suppose to die according to this “curse”, and in fact that President almost did die.

I thought that John Lennon — or his oversoul — knew that if Reagan  served as President, any attempt to ameliorate the growing global crises  would not happen.  Instead, America, and the world, would embark on a binge of consumption, an increase of the already dangerous party, and as a result when change was  finally implemented it would be far more radical than the mere replacement of light bulbs or the use of electric cars.  So he realized  that a Reagan presidency was  needed to insure a radical change in the direction of this country and the world.

Since the election of Ronald Reagan the world has partied like there was  no tomorrow, and in fact all the moderate solutions being proposed now might have actually worked if implemented in 1980.  But now the situation has gotten radically worse, as even a brief following of current events can tell, and only a radical change can make any difference.

Let’s first look at the time of the assassination for the United States chart.  Obviously (I hope) the effect of the assassination on John Lennon was greater than the effect on the United States,  but the United States still was affected.  Some people can still tell you where they were when they heard that John was  dead.  Since this was a killing with a gun, one should expect that the planet Mars will feature prominently.  According to Wikipedia, the killing occurred on December 8, 1980 at 10:50 PM.

lennon_usa

Death of John Lennon for USA

Looking  at the chart of the United States at the time of John Lennon’s killing, we find that Mars is opposite the Sun of the US with an orb of about a quarter of a degree.  This is not too surprising, this was  obviously the best known shooting taking place at the time.  Transiting Neptune is square natal Neptune and thus opposite natal Mars, accentuating the natal Mars Neptune square and  the dubious use of guns in our society.  Transiting Uranus was square the Moon — the people are upset.  There was certainly an outpouring of grief among people who knew who John Lennon was; for many he represented the Beatles and the Sixties.  For many the death of John Lennon meant that the Sixties were gone, even though the concert at Altamont in 1969 also was suppose to indicate that.  And of course any hope for a Beatles reunion was  down the drain.  And the shooting was totally unexpected — Uranus is surprises, unexpected event — since he seemed in perfect health and was continuing to record.  In fact, he had just returned from the studio.  Also, there was a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction, which only happens every twenty years; it can be said to indicate the start of  a  new twenty-year period, just as the one in 1960 did.  And this shooting was one indication (the election of Ronald Reagan a month earlier was another) that the next twenty years was going to be quite different that the previous twenty years.  But also, as we can see from the first assassination chart for John Lennon, he was born under a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction, the one before the one that indicated the start of the Sixties.

lennon_assassination

Lennon Assassination

Looking at the assassination chart, we see that the Moon  is almost to the Midheaven and loosely conjunct Mars, which is trine that Jupiter-Saturn conjunction that we have just talked about.  Mars was the highest planet in the sky at the time he was killed  by a gunshot.  Transiting Uranus was opposite his natal Uranus.  This transit always happens at about this point in a person’s  life, and indicates a  mid-life crisis, though not often this serious a mid-life crisis.

In astrology there is something called a relocated  chart, drawn up  for where you live.  Many people, especially in the past, lived near where they were born, so such a topic as relocation did not make much sense.  But it can make a difference if you move far from your place of birth in an  east-west direction.  Currently I live at the same longitude as where I was born, but further south.  But for ten years I lived two time zones  east, and I felt like a different person.  In this case, John had relocated five time zones west of where he was born, and  so the relocated angles were much different than the natal angles.

lennon_relcated

Lennon Assassination – Relocated to NYC

When we  relocate the chart to New York City that Jupiter-Saturn conjunction is right on his Ascendant, which might explain  why he found New York to be a comfortable place to live in.  But this also means that the Mars  — gunshots — is  trine to his New York City Ascendant, a personal point.  And being shot is a very personal event. Notice also in this relocated chart Pluto is square the Midheaven, a sign of transformation of his public persona, which of course this  was.  Notice that the positions of the planets are the same as in the  non-relocated chart, only the Ascendant and Midheaven change.  Also notice that the time changes to allow   for the different position.

Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler has great name recognition, one of the best of the Twentieth Century.    He has become the epitome of evil, as well as the man by which evil is judged.  Even young, ignorant, wannabe Neo-Nazis knows the name Adolf Hitler.  Recently Hillary Clinton, among others, has compared Vladimir Putin to Hitler, and in the past Saddam Hussein has been compared to Hitler.  These are extremely hyperbolic utterances; I would expect people to be more precise,  Perhaps they could say Putin is only half a Hitler.  I mean, it is hard to live up to Hitler’s reputation.

The mother of the astrologer Reinhold Ebertin  was thrown into prison  when an interpretation she made was not suitable to the Fuhrer.  Supposedly the British used astrologers to send  bad predictions into Germany, thus throwing them off.  Hitler had  the personal astrologer Karl Krafft  — you can find discussion of this on the Web.  Thus Hitler and the Third Reich were aware of astrology, and there was an active  astrological presence in pre-war Germany.  So it seems only fitting to look at the astrology of Adolf Hitler.

Below is Hitler’s birth chart.  For such a monster as Hitler, one would think that he would have an extraordinary chart.  There should be something that indicates  that he is evil.  Certainly his chart should have something outstanding.  For someone as major and evil as Hitler I would expect at least a prominent Pluto, and it should aspect at least one of the personnel points Sun, Moon, Ascendant or Midheaven.

Hitler

Hitler

When we look at the chart we see a Taurus Sun and Capricorn Moon.  Grounded, down to earth, practical. He has Pluto sesquiquadrate Uranus, which all born at about that time have, and Pluto conjunct Neptune.  We’ve recently talked about that conjunction in the Birth of the Twentieth Century, and thus Hitler can be seen as a Twentieth-Century Man.     Perhaps the Uranus-Pluto aspect indicates that  Hitler is some type of retrograde hippie, and it is known that he tried peyote and was interested in esoteric studies.  He has a Moon-Jupiter conjunction sextile the Ascendant. Of Moon and Jupiter Ebertin says happiness, kindness, a good heart.   I hear he was good with children.  Then there’s Saturn conjunct Midheaven; perhaps he was overly serious, a hard worker, and had trouble advancing it his career.  I understand he wasn’t that successful as a painter.
The most interesting aspect is a  tight conjunction of Venus and Mars, and both are retrograde.  These  are the  two planets least often retrograde.  I’ve read that a young Hitler once stumbled upon his parents (the father was much older than the mother) making love, and that Hitler and Eva had some non-conventional sex habits, but still unless you are a full-blown Freudian, it is hard to make the case that this conjunction results in the Hitler we know.

Another book, (Geoffrey Dean, et al Recent Advances in Natal Astrology)  claims that Hitler’s character is shown by the large number of unaspected planets, though what these  planets are is  unclear unless extremely tight orbs are used.

Some might attribute Hitler’s evil ways to PLuto on the cusp of Hitler’s Eight House, probably the most notorious house that rules death and other people’s money.  But of course that depends on the house system (Koch in this case) and is a pretty thin  reed to base his personality on.

Or maybe there are some unknown planets or asteroids that account for  his notorious ways.  I looked at the eight Uranian planets, originated in a German astrology  group called the Hamburg School,  but Saturn-Appollon and Zeus opposite Moon describe Hitler but only show him to be a cheerful and creative  teacher.

Repeating, none of these standard astrological techniques  suggest that Hitler was Hitler.  Perhaps astrology does not work, perhaps  Hitler  was so beyond our Universe that astrology did not apply to him.  I’m sure there are plenty of excuses, or esoteric interpretations.    But looking at this chart does not indicate anything special, and if you have to depend on some esoteric technique to prove that Hitler was Hitler,   you’ve already lost the argument.

Then lets look at the fourth harmonic chart. A pattern of hard aspects (red lines) jumps out at us immediately.  There is a kite formation with the axis of the kite defined by the Uranus-Pluto opposition (which is a  sesquiquadrate in th first harmonic chart).  It appears that the arrow of this formation points to Pluto, obviously as the important planet.  And the Sun is part of the formation.  Also notice that all the lines are darker red, indicating close aspects.  In fact, looking at the list of sorted relative orbs at the bottom of the chart indicates that all the aspects in the formation are of orb under 50% of maximum.  And we know that all these aspects have a tight orb even in the first harmonic.  See the discussion of Harmonics under the Definitions section for more explanation.  It’s a complex formation, hard to interpret, but the chart is dominated by Pluto.

Hitler4

Hitler — Fourth Harmonic

There are also trines between Pluto and Midheaven and Neptune and Sun.  The Pluto-Midheaven trine is the sextile between those two points in the first harmonic, and the Neptune trine aspects is a quinqunx in the first harmonic.  A quinqunx suggests an incompatibility between the two principles involved; in this case Hitler had trouble between his will (the Leni Reifenstahl movie about Hitler is called Triumph of the Will) and reality.  And the Pluto-Midheaven sextile shows that Pluto not only is involved with the Sun, but also with the Midheaven, two personal points.  This is indeed a Pluto dominated chart.

The lesson I gained  from  this is  that even though it may not be obvious, a chart can contain important aspects that are hidden.  The fourth harmonic is the most useful for seeing these “hidden” aspects.  I want to stress that these hard aspects shown in the fourth harmonic chart are all valid, with very small   orbs, and would appear in the regular first harmonic chart if   we bothered   to show  them.  For example, the    hard  aspect between Hitler’s Sun and Pluto is actually an angle of 33 degrees 45 minutes (which  could be called a demi-semi-octile) with an orb just under 5 minutes, which is the equivalent of a   square with orb of 40 minutes.

500 Years – Part II

The first part of this post was published on March 21, 2014.  It may be valuable to read it (again) before reading this.  It was important to have the Axial Age post before this one was published.

The next question is how do we determine when a particular 500 year period ends and the next one begins.    I use the analogy with how we know when one synodic cycle ends and another starts, and the answer is obvious.   The conjunction of the two planets involved in the synodic cycle is what marks the change from one cycle  to the next.   What I am   proposing for the boundary between two cycles, where the cycle involves all ten planets, is when their collective distance is at a minimum.     This idea also has some support in the work of the great French astrologer Andre Barbault.   

Intuitively, the concept of “minimum distance” is easy.  The planets spread out across the sky and come together.  We can see sometimes that they are spread out and sometimes more bunched together. It turns out that this minimum occurs once every 500 years.  While there are several ways of measuring this angular separation, they all give the same results within a few days.  The one I am using now is based on the common statistical method of standard deviation.  For a group a data points (in our case read planets)  the standard deviation measures how far the points vary from the mean of all points.  If the standard deviation is large, the points are spread out at far distances from the mean point, and conversely if the standard deviation is small the points are clustered close to the mean point.  This  sounds like just what we need.

Technical note.  (Warning: Don’t try this at home.)  I have written some Python programs that can calculate a chart for any date.  What I do is calculate a chart for every day for the last 2600 years and then compute   the standard deviation of the planets for  each day.  It is then easy to find the minimum.

Note that the planets clustering together is much dependent on the position of the three outer planets, since they have a period much greater than all the others.   The fastest moving outer planet – Uranus – takes 84 years to go around the sun, three times longer than the next slower planet, Saturn, at 29 years.  So at first approximation, the minima will occur near the time of the Neptune-Pluto conjunction.   After that we need a Uranus-Pluto and a Uranus-Neptune conjunctions.  So these three conjunction will by themselves determine the 100 year period when this minima occurs.  Then we need Saturn and  Jupiter, which conjoin every 20 years, to get within the group.

As we saw in the entry on the Axial Age, the three out planets were  all conjunct in 575 BCE.  There is one conjunction of Neptune and Pluto every 500 years, four Uranus Pluto conjunctions every 500 years, and three  Uranus-Neptune conjunctions.  As the cycle goes on, the Uranus-Pluto and Uranus -Neptune conjunctions  get further and further later from the Neptune-Pluto conjunction, which would indicate that the planetary minimum occurs further and further after the Neptune-Pluto conjunction as the cycles go on,  until they start over after 4000 years.  In general, the Neptune-Uranus conjunction gets later than than than the Uranus-Pluto conjunction as time goes on also, but not as much as the spread from the Neptune-Pluto conjunction.   In the current period, the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of the Sixties was some 70 years after the Neptune-Pluto of the 1890s, and the Uranus-Neptune conjunction of the 1990s was almost 30 years after the Uranus-Pluto conjunction.

The ancient Chinese thought that there was a 500 cycle ruling the rise and fall of civilizations.   Each of these 500 years is different, although the changes start well before the date – the preceding Neptune-Pluto conjunction indicates that changes are starting. But each period is different than the preceding  one, and it is futile to think that the rules that applied in the preceding 500 year period will apply to the current one.  This lesson applies most forcefully to our current situation, since the number of people in the world  is so much greater than what it was 500 years ago, and civilization  has gotten so much more complicated.  But the lesson can’t be leaned well enough:  Things are bound to change, you can not stop that but only fight a losing battle.  We can not use measures from the past to suggest what the future will be like.  The gifts of the old cycle, which  as I’ve mentioned before are capitalism, industrialism, rationalism,  can no longer  be depended upon.

There is a large cycle called  the Great Year, which is  26,000 years.  This is the time it takes the equinox —  which   creates the Aries point — to move backwards and return to its original position, an action called Precession of the Equinox.  Supposedly, this first point of Aries, marking the intersection of the ecliptic — the path of the Sun through the heavens —  and the celestial equator — is moving into the sign of Aquarius, giving rise to the idea that this is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.  But what I want to point out is the ratio of this 500-year cycle to the Great Year is the same as the ratio of one week to one year.  Thus I propose that the name for this 500-year period that I have been  talking about, and which gives its  title to this blog, is the Great Week.

Here is a brief overview of the minima, with the dates that the minima occurred.  Remember this is not a magic date, but rather the dates indicate  periods  where one cycle changed — with time — to another cycle.  I will gives memorable events that happened a each date, usually involving the Roman Empire, since that has been a dominant feature of the last 2600 years. Changes are slow to happen, so take these dates with much salt. 

Note that while people insist there was no year zero, as far as date computations go, there is a year zero, which corresponds to 1 BCE.  With the following charts, dates are given in chronological time, so that year -576 is 577  BCE.

 

560bce

Minima #1

July 28, 559 BCE. This was the height of the Axial Age, as discussed previously, and is just a short time (as far as history goes) after triple conjunction of Uranus, Neptune, and PLuto.  The Roman Republic starts.

 

61bce

Minima #2

June 7, 60 BCE.  Julius Caesar crosses the Rubicon and the Roman Republic ends, the Roman Empire begins.

 

449

Minima #3

 

August 5, 449 CE.  The Fall of the (Western) Roman Empire, the beginning of the Dark Ages.

 

947ce

Minima #4

 

June 23, 947 CE. The Ottonian Renaissance and the beginning of the Upper Middle Ages.  Song Dynasty and the Chinese Renaissance.

 

1485

Minima #5

November 8, 1485. The Fall of the (Eastern) Roman Empire, the discovery (for Europeans) of the New World, beginning of the Tudor Age in England.

 

1982

Minima #6

 

November 16, 1982.  The world reaches the use of 100% of its resources.