The Role of the Least Aspected Planet in Astrocartography.
Planetary Symbolism in Astrocartography and Transcendental Astrology,
by Rob Couteau.
Uranus = 022
Moon = 032
Saturn = 110
Sun = 122
Neptune = 200
Venus = 220
Mercury = 310
Mars = 310
Jupiter = 410
Pluto = 410
Photo of Richard Nixon
We simply cannot afford to leave China forever outside the family of nations ...
–Richard Nixon, writing in Foreign Affairs, 1967.
He made politics very personal.
–Hugh Sidey, Time magazine journalist, in a Larry King Live (CNN) interview about Nixon.
His principal concern was himself.
–Anthony Summers, The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon.1
I brought myself down. I have impeached myself.
Nixon’s astrocartography is a unique example of how the symbols contained within the Transcendental Midpoint-Field are also reflected in mundane historic events. In his astrocartography, Primary Uranus, Secondary Moon, and Tertiary Saturn form an N-shaped Transcendental Midpoint-Field directly over eastern China, extending from the South China Sea to the northernmost tip of the nation. His Tertiary Saturn (forming the diagonal line in this field) passes directly over Beijing and curves along the northeast coast. Within this field, the thirty-seventh American president enacted his most “long-lasting and significant accomplishment” (Tertiary Saturn). His historic voyage to Beijing in February 1972 paved the way to a “normalization of relations” (Secondary Moon) between the Communist mainland and the United States: an act of such “innovation” (Primary Uranus) that it was considered politically “unthinkable” (Uranus) until that time.
Nixon was born at Yorba Linda, California, at a considerable distance from any planetary lines. In 1934 he completed Whittier College and, after graduating from Duke University Law School in North Carolina, he practiced law, then joined the Navy in August 1942. During his first mission, he served as a naval passenger officer in the New Hebrides (16S00; 167E00) in the South Pacific. While en route to his assignment, he passed through the first of his Primary Uranus / Secondary Moon / Tertiary Saturn Transcendental Midpoint-Fields, this one positioned diagonally over the Pacific, extending from the Hawaiian Islands to French Polynesia (15S00; 140W00).
After the war, Nixon decided to enter the political arena. In 1946, he ran a successful–but, even by contemporary standards, an extremely dirty–campaign against Congressional incumbent Jerry Voorhis. His election to Congress and his subsequent move to Capitol Hill placed him near the vertical, midnight position of Primary Uranus, which runs along the eastern seaboard of the United States. Shortly after his election, he was appointed to the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and, according to Nixon biographer Anthony Summers, he was fed inside information by the CIA (through Allen Dulles) that implicated Alger Hiss as a Soviet spy. Nixon’s involvement with HUAC and the Hiss case (which came to trial in 1949) brought him to national prominence. After continuing to build his power base within the Republican Party, he was elected as Senator in 1950, and he was selected as vice president and served under Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1953 to 1960.
During a visit to Moscow in 1959, Nixon received considerable media attention when he engaged Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in a debate in defense of capitalism. In May 1972, he became the first U.S. president to visit Moscow, and, after a week of summit talks, he signed the strategic-arms “pact” (Saturn). Nixon’s Tertiary Saturn is situated just east of Moscow (55N45; 37E35) in its vertical, midnight position.
An often forgotten legacy of Nixon’s presidential years (1969-1974) is the disastrous effect his administration had on politics in Latin America. He authorized Henry Kissinger, then a member of the National Security Council, to use the CIA to undermine the democratically elected government of President Salvador Allende in Chile.2 A CIA-supported military “junta” (Primary Uranus, which rules “unexpected” and “dynamic reversals,” such as the coup d’état) resulted in the ousting of Allende and the installation of a right-wing dictatorship. As we can see on Nixon’s astrocartography, the Presidential Palace in Chile is just west of Primary Uranus, which forms a Transcendental Midpoint-Field (with Secondary Moon and Tertiary Saturn) over the heart of Latin America. Nixon’s political views on this region may have been affected by an experience he had in Venezuela in May 1958, when he was temporarily trapped in the midst of violent anti-American demonstrations. Instead of resulting in physical harm or political damage to him, the incident considerably boosted his “often fluctuating” (Primary Uranus) political ratings in the United States.
Primary Uranus is positioned over another area of geopolitical significance: it runs in a vertical, Midheaven line just east of the Vietnamese coastline. When he narrowly defeated Hubert Humphrey in the 1968 presidential campaign, Nixon’s success came largely as a result of his promise to end the highly divisive war in Vietnam with his much-touted (but never disclosed) “secret plan.” Although he eventually de-escalated the ground troop commitment to South Vietnam, he mercilessly escalated the aerial bombardment of North Vietnam and Cambodia. By the time the bombing of Cambodia ended on August 15, 1973, more tons of explosives had been dropped on Southeast Asia than had been used in both World Wars. Despite Nixon’s so-called secret plan and his claim to have achieved “peace with honor,” by the time he resigned in 1974, almost 21,000 Americans were killed in Vietnam during his presidency: over 36% of the total of 58,000 U.S. casualties in the entire war.3
The Middle East hosts the last of Nixon’s N-shaped Transcendental Midpoint-Fields. Another significant action undertaken during the Nixon years involved Kissinger’s attempts, as secretary of state, to negotiate a Middle East peace settlement between the Arabs and Israelis (beginning around 1973). Israel and Egypt are located precisely under the rising line of Nixon’s Primary Uranus. During his visit to several Middle Eastern countries in June 1974, and just two months before resigning under the threat of on-going impeachment proceedings (an ultimate “reversal of fortune” [Uranus] for a president),4 Nixon staged a Last Hurrah for himself, as officials arranged for cheering crowds to greet him in Egypt. He then traveled to Moscow (the vicinity of his Tertiary Saturn line), where he met with Premier Brezhnev to work on “formal agreements” to “limit” (Tertiary Saturn) nuclear armaments.
In China, Latin America, Vietnam, and the Middle East, Nixon’s Primary Uranus / Secondary Moon / Tertiary Saturn Transcendental Midpoint-Fields all describe the same process: “attempts to create a reversal of conditions / motivated by or achieved through a personal or emotional involvement in the process / and resulting in formal or contractual agreements.” Indeed, as Time magazine correspondent Hugh Sidey once phrased it, Nixon “made politics very personal.”
One of Nixon’s most aspected or Leading Planets, Pluto, symbolized some of the more nefarious aspects of Nixon’s nature that were clearly “out of control” (typical of the most aspected or Leading Planets) and of an “obsessive-compulsive quality” (the nature of the most aspected or Leading Planet, especially when it is not properly integrated) and which led to his fall from grace and his exile from American political institutions. The most “corrupt and Machiavellian” (Leading Pluto) of U.S. presidents of the time, he was guilty of a long list of felonious acts, such as “unauthorized wire-taps”; “the use underworld figures to violently attack political protesters”; “illegal surveillance” of journalists and of other American citizens, including “criminal trespass and break-ins”; and direct personal involvement in “secret negotiations” with the North Vietnamese to stall the peace process in the final months of the Johnson administration: a treasonous act of “deep political manipulation.” These are just of few of the crimes that were planned, directed, and carried out either by Nixon personally or under the Nixon White House and with the use of the Plumbers: a Plutonian term if ever there was one, coined to describe Nixon’s “secret police” force (Leading Pluto) that worked out of a “basement” (Pluto) office in the White House to “plot illegal activities” (Pluto).
Nixon’s most well known Plutonian act was his use of “hidden microphones” (Leading Pluto) to “secretly record” (Pluto) his staff and guests. The tapes reveal that he accepted “bribes” and “coerced major corporations into making payoffs” that amounted to millions of dollars (in contemporary monetary value). His “will to power” also involved the use of “professional spies and other unsavory, underworld characters to commit a variety of crimes” (Pluto), including a criminal break-in at the Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. Ultimately, this led to his downfall (besides describing the nature of one’s hubris, the Leading Planet also describes the nature of the fall, or nemesis, that accompanies it).
Although he was obsessed with such classic Plutonian or “underworld” activities, Nixon was ill suited to carry them off with any degree of competence, aplomb, or finesse. Indeed, he was dogged by corruption scandals throughout his career. Eisenhower almost dumped him as a running mate in 1952 when a Nixon corruption scandal broke into the headlines, resulting in his infamous “Checkers Speech,” in which he ungracefully declared: “I’m not a crook” (broadcast on September 23, 1952). Not surprisingly–since Leading Planet symbols were involved–in the end, many of his felonious acts were exposed, largely as a result of the Watergate investigation. Nixon’s inability to think clearly as regards such matters is typical of the most aspected or Leading Planet energy (energies that are difficult to express in the proper measure–see my preface). Particularly when it is not creatively linked to the goals symbolized by the least aspected or Transcendental Planet, the Leader describes the proverbial “inability to see the forest for the trees” and reflects a lack of proper psychological perspective.
For example, although presidents such as F.D.R., Eisenhower, J.F.K., and L.B.J. had all used taping systems in the White House, Nixon’s lack of manual dexterity (in particular, with tape-recording devices) led to his decision to install the first voice-activated recording system. This resulted in an unprecedented amount of surveillance: over 400,000 hours of conversation. This was before the manufacture of smaller cassette tapes; the recordings were made on large, bulky reel-to-reels. When the Nixon Whitehouse first realized that the existence of the tapes posed a problem (due to the rapidly escalating Watergate investigation) and his advisors asked him what he wanted to do about them, Nixon suggested that they “hide them” (Pluto)–under his bed. As Anthony Summers points out in The Arrogance of Power, 400,000 hours of reel-to-reel tape could not have fit in Nixon’s entire bedroom. This lack of “reality focus” as regards Plutonian matters is completely in keeping with the nature of the Leading Planet and the symbolism and behavior it typically describes.
Nixon’s incompetent and hubristic Plutonian nature is further illustrated in events that are described either in Jim Hougan’s Secret Agenda or in Lee Colodny’s and Robert Gettlin’s Silent Coup. For example, the tapes were stored in a poorly secured room in the White House basement: anyone could have entered, listened to the tapes, or borrowed or copied them. Apparently, that is precisely what occurred: tapes were privately circulated and Nixon’s rambling and vulgar exhortations served as a form of comedic relief, at least for a select number of partygoers in Washington. The possibility that the tapes were also duplicated by the CIA or by the military may have been the principal reason why Nixon, fearing the legal ramifications of destroying them, chose not to. Nixon would have been culpable of tampering with evidence if he had denied their existence and if, subsequently, copies of the tapes resurfaced.
Nixon’s aide, Alexander Butterfield, was the man in charge of the taping system. He was also the person who first exposed their existence to the Watergate investigators. Some researchers have questioned Butterfield’s true motive in doing so and have viewed his prior record of employment5 with suspicion. Just before his work at the White House, Butterfield was the “senior American military officer in Australia” and, in his own words, “the principal point of contact [in the military] for the CIA in Australia … the [military’s] CIA liaison there.” According to Nixon aide H.R. Haldeman, Nixon’s secretary Rose Mary Woods suspected Butterfield of being “a plant placed inside the White House by some other agency, probably the CIA.” (Haldeman concluded that he “agree[d] that she may have a point.”)6 Indeed, Butterfield may have had more than one role or employer while in the White House, especially if he previously worked for the CIA, since “retired” CIA men often continue to serve the Agency in some capacity, even while employed elsewhere. E. Howard Hunt, a former CIA operative who directed the Watergate break-in, has been the subject of similar speculation, with researchers such as Jim Hougan opining that the true goal of the break-in was to get caught, so that Nixon’s Plumbers would be exposed and the president forced to resign.7 This scenario may have had the military’s blessing, since many top-ranking military leaders came to view Nixon as dangerously out-of-control and as mentally unstable.
According to Silent Coup authors Colodny and Gettlin, Nixon had angered the Joint Chiefs when he attempted to circumvent the powers-that-be in U.S. military institutions, principally by his decision to de-escalate the war in Vietnam without relying on their input for an appropriate timetable and by opening up China without their proper consultation and cooperation. One of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Welander, was even forced to resign when Navy Yeoman Charles Radford confessed to surreptitiously photocopying and stealing National Security Counsel memos and classified correspondence (the stolen White House documents were so numerous that they filled a small library): proof that the military was spying on Nixon and Kissinger.
In addition, during the Watergate affair, a “secret investigation” (Leading Pluto) was conducted by the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command into the president’s “alleged ties to organized crime and also to the smuggling of gold bullion to Vietnam.”7 Nixon’s contact with underworld figures and his ambiguous relationship with the “Mafia” (Leading Pluto) could have resulted in additional charges of “criminal behavior” (Leading Pluto). The secret investigation may have been conducted in order to convince him to resign; the results of the investigation might have influenced President Ford’s decision to pardon Nixon not just for the “crime” (Leading Pluto) of Watergate but for any and all crimes that may have been committed by Nixon during his presidency.9
Despite this tragic history–one that Ford characterized as a “long national nightmare”–Nixon’s Plutonian hubris never seemed to have abated. “When the President does it,” he told interviewer David Frost, “that means that it’s not illegal.”
1. Summers, The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon, p. 459, describing Nixon’s behavior during a geopolitical crisis. According to Summers, the Watergate burglars were after evidence of illegal contributions from Howard Hughes to Nixon.
2. “Exactly what actions Nixon authorized and whether the United States was implicated in Allende’s death are issues that remain unresolved. […] ‘Nixon wanted something done,’ [former CIA director] Helms was to tell the Senate Intelligence Committee, ‘and he didn’t much care how…. This was a pretty all-inclusive order….’” Ibid., p. 335.
3. Ibid., p. xiv.
4. President Clinton–the only other president to date to suffer impeachment proceedings–was also born with Uranus as a Primary Transcendental. See Transcendental Biographies, Part Two, below.
5. Lee Colodny and Robert Gettlin, Silent Coup: The Removal of a President.
6. Colodny and Gettlin cite Jim Hougan, Secret Agenda: Watergate, Deep Throat and the CIA, for this information: “Jim Hougan persuasively argues in his 1984 book Secret Agenda that Hunt’s ties with the CIA had not ended when he officially retired from the Agency in April of 1970. While working for Colson, Hunt also worked for the Mullen public relations firm, owned by Robert Bennett, which was being used as a front by the CIA, and [which] had many other continuing connections to the Agency.” Silent Coup, p. 113. “According to CIA mythology, ‘retirement’ is something of a misnomer. ‘Once a CIA man, always a CIA man,’ goes the mantra. The process by which people who left the Agency continued to remain faithful (and useful) to it was known as ‘sheepdipping’.” Frances Stoner Saunders, The Cultural Cold War. The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters, p. 451, n. 1.
7. Hougan, Secret Agenda.
8. “The tapes were not the only smoking gun in evidence at the time. In early June 1974, White House Chief of Staff Alexander Haig had ordered the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command (CIC) to make a study of the President’s alleged ties to organized crime and also to the smuggling of gold bullion to Vietnam. The results of that investigation, carried out by the CIC’s Russell Bintliff at the direction of Colonel Henry Tufts, were submitted to Haig in late July 1974.
Whether Haig confronted Nixon with the CIC report, or whether Haig informed Nixon’s successor, Gerald Ford, of the report and its contents, is unknown. Bintliff himself is convinced that both events occurred, and that the President’s resignation followed as a consequence of his investigative findings. But Bintliff cannot prove that, and since Haig refuses to discuss the issue, the matter remains in doubt. Still, Ford’s pardon of Nixon, enacted in the absence of any criminal charges, remains a disconcerting anomaly in American history. Indeed, it seems almost a contradiction in terms. For how does one forgive and forget what has not been committed or what remains unknown?” Hougan, Secret Agenda, pp. 312-313.
9. According to Silent Coup authors Colodny and Gettlin, Alexander Haig played an ambiguous (and seemingly duplicitous role) in serving to remove Nixon from office and in secretly passing information from the Nixon White House to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The authors of Secret Agenda played a valuable role in revealing the truth about the Watergate affair: “G. Gordon Liddy testified about the Watergate break-in for the first time … insisting that burglars were seeking photos linking the future wife of Nixon White House counsel John Dean to a call-girl ring, not political intelligence for the 1972 presidential campaign…. Liddy said he put two-and-two together after being shown the DNC floor plan by Len Colodny, an author doing research for a 1991 book, Silent Coup, which linked Dean to a call-girl ring inside the DNC.” Seth Hettena, “Liddy Testifies about Watergate,” Associated Press, Monday, January 29, 2001, 8:37 P.M. EST.
Revised & updated:
5 August 2005
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All text © Copyright 2005 Robert Couteau and cannot be used without the written and expressed consent of the author.
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