United States: The Third Rāhu Mahādaśā
The Mahādaśā cycle is said to repeat every 120 years. In a recent video, Dr. Robert Svoboda mentions that the United States is currently in it’s third Rāhu Mahādaśā. If this is accurate, that suggests that the last Rāhu Daśā for the United States began around 1895/6 and ended around 1913/4. Subtract 120 years from those dates and we’re looking at the first Rāhu period beginning in around 1776 and ending around 1794. 1776? Yes, I think this topic deserves some inspection.
When was the United States Born?
Here are the facts as we know them.
Most people assume that the signing of the Declaration of Independence (believed to have taken place on July 4, 1776, marks the day that the colonies declared themselves as an independent union, free from the rule of England.
Actually, independence was formally declared two days later, on July 2, 1776. The final text of the Declaration of Independence was approved on July 4, 1776, on which date the majority of the delegates signed the document. Not all delegates had the privilege to gather in Philadelphia at the same time, so the remainder of the delegates signed the declaration over the course of the following month, with the last of the delegates signing on August 2, 1776.
Most Vedic astrologers assume that the United States was “born” on July 4, 1776 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In fact, even James Kelleher, who has researched this topic, suggests that this date is accurate and specifies the time of “birth,” likely through rectification, as 18:30. At that time, on that date, Candra was in the early degrees of Rāhu-ruled Śatabhiṣak, placing the country in the beginning months of a Rāhu Mahādaśā at the time of its independent formation.
Given that the United States formally declared (yet did not self-endorse) its independence two days before July 4, 1776, however, when Candra was in Sūrya-ruled Uttara Ashadha, should we also consider this a viable alternative? Perhaps the United States could have three semi-legitimate charts overlapping: one in which the country starts in it’s Sūrya Mahādaśā (Candra in Uttara Ashadha), another Rāhu (Candra in Śatabhiṣak), and a third in the Guru Mahādaśā (Candra in Pūrva Bhādrapadā on August 2, 1776 when the last of the delegates signed the document).
At what point, though, did the country, collectively, acknowledge and agree to the formal declaration? Think of this three-step process as the birth of most mammals. Perhaps the initial eruptions which resulted in the revolution were the contractions and the beginning of the American Revolution is when England went into full-blown labor. On July 2, 1776, when independence was imminent, the country “crowned,” and on July 4, 1776, the country received its prana with the first signature on the Declaration of Independence. As with any birth, a country doesn’t just instantaneously erupt. This birthing process ended on August 2, 1776, with the last endorsements made by the remaining delegates of Continental Congress.
As Rāhu was in the nakshatra of Śatabhiṣak at the time of its birth, the United States began it’s life during a Rāhu Mahādaśā. It actually began in September of 1775, so if we add 120 years to that we get September of 1895 as the beginning of its second Rāhu Mahādaśā and an additional 120 years sets the beginning of the third Rāhu Mahādaśā at September of 2015. If the first antardaśā of the Rāhu lasts about 985/6 days, we’ll probably be in the opening period of the Rāhu Mahādaśā (Rāhu-Rāhu) through about May of 2018.
Candra in Śatabhiṣak
I’m really fascinated by the accuracy of Candra’s placement in the lunar mansion of Śatabhiṣak at the time of the formation of the United States. Śatabhiṣakis motivated by dharma and one of it’s symbols, the thousand-petalled flower, “represents the attainment of the purpose for which the manifestation came into existence.”1 Śatabhiṣak represents the crown cakra, the blossoming and activation of the Kundalini. The asterism is comprised of a hundred stars, which also reflects the idea of attainment. Stars have always been key to the imagery of the United States, and over time it has successfully collected half that number, each represented by its attainment/alliance of states, which it displays prominently on the nation’s flag.
Bepin Behari pointed out some interesting things about Śatabhiṣak that reflect the United States, it’s history, and potential future:
“Generally, the asterism produces harmony in relationships [with other countries] and leads the [country] towards [its] ultimate goal. … Once the asterism is aroused to action, it can move ruthlessly. … Once inspiration is received, and physical lethargy is overcome, it impels the [country] to follow [its] inner direction through all adversity.” – Bepin Behari. Myths & Symbols of Vedic Astrology. p. 243.
Ruthless action is something that we need to manage carefully.
So what did the previous two Rāhu Mahādaśās look like? The first began on July 4, 1776 (the beginning of the period would have started nine months prior, on about September 24, 1775) and ended in the fall of 1893. The second began in about the fall of 1895 and ended in the fall of 1913.
I have a theory that Mahādaśā periods follow the “theme” of the Nakṣatra, beginning with the Nakṣatra in which Candra is located at birth. The cycle, then, follows the preceding Nakṣatram, in order. For example, the first Rāhu Mahādaśā for the United States would have been characteristic of Śatabhiṣak (blossoming of inner potential, courage to defeat enemies, and victory), the second characteristic of Ārdrā (fierce activity, enthusiasm, and an urge for expansion), and the third characteristic of Svātī (independence, compassion, and virtue).
Let’s break it down by Rāhu’s primary traits.
Harnessing Energy & Leveraging Inherent Resources
Arousal of life force/Kundalini is characterized by Śatabhiṣak, which accurately describes the United States at it’s inception. In fact, the influence of the serpent during our inception is no coincidence. Serpent-like Rāhu was in snaky Āśleṣā at the time of it’s birth, indicating great wisdom, striking at threats, embracing life, and (especially) transformation, the shedding of one’s skin for a new identity or form.
Thirty years before the birth of the United States and it’s Rāhu Mahādaśā, in 1754, Benjamin Franklin published the famous “Join, or Die” cartoon in his Pennsylvania Gazette. This serpent imagery persisted with the the Gadsden flag (“Don’t Tread on Me”) in 1775. Later, in 1778, the symbol of the rattlesnake was first officially adopted by the Continental Congress when it approved the design for the official Seal of the War Office, which features a rattlesnake holding a banner which reads, “This We’ll Defend.” Even now, with the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Native Americans’ prophecy of the “black snake” is a well-defined symbol of our third Mahādaśā and signifies one of the ways in which our thirst for harnessing our inherent natural resources (in this case, for the energy the country desires so it can brashly keep pushing forward) is insatiable.
The historic oil boom of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries had its greatest returns during the second Rāhu Mahādaśā, between 1895-1913. And, just like Franklin’s “Join, or Die” cartoon which appeared thirty years before the beginning of the country’s birth and first Rāhu Mahādaśā, the oil boom also had roots thirty years before the second Rāhu Mahādaśā in the 1860s.
Action & Using Energy
The young country was able to leverage the fledgling, but strong, power and energy of the people to release itself from the bondage of England. Using the aforementioned symbol of the snake, the people and colonies came together to resist and defeat the superior forces of England. Śatabhiṣak supported the blossoming of the inner potential of the United States, gave us the courage to defeat our enemies (foreign and domestic), and victory over England.
The Spanish-American War took place in 1898, two and a half years after the United States entered its second Rāhu. Before this conflict, the United States had little or no active military influence outside its own borders. This changed with the second Rāhu Mahādaśā. Technically, the first World War (“The Great War”) began in 1914, immediately following the end of the United States’s second Rāhu. Although the conflict was not born of the country, it gave the United States an opportunity to act on external events, just as people do. Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt epitomized the second Rāhu Mahādaśā of the United States and, with Ārdrā-like qualities, both McKinley/Roosevelt and the period was extremely representative of the country’s newly found fierceness, enthusiasm, and its eye on expansion.
Presidents McKinley (1897-1901) and Roosevelt (1901-1909) were expansionists. Together, their terms constituted twelve of the eighteen years McKinley, who succeeded Cleveland, led the United States early in the country’s second Rāhu Mahādaśā, was assassinated early into his second term. [Wasn’t it McKinley beating Cleveland that marked the switch in powers that I wrote about with the election happening with the Sun in Svātī?]
Expansionism & Imperialism
1898 was a busy year for U.S. expansion, appropriately so as this marked the year that the United States entered it’s Rāhu-Guru period under what I believe was a Mahādaśā characterized by Ārdrā. In fact, the first full-fledged imperialistic debate in U.S. history took place once the United States entered it’s Guru bhukti during it’s second Rāhu Mahādaśā.
Rebellion, danger, and revolts in Cuba led to a near-war with Spain in 1897, two years after the onset of Rāhu-Rāhu in 1895. The U.S. finally intervened in that magic year of Rāhu-Guru expansionism (1898), when Battleship Maine, sent to protect and evacuate Americans, exploded, marking the beginning of the Spanish-American War.
Also, in 1898, the U.S. acquired Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines (the latter costing a mere $20 million).
Control of the sea was the key to world dominance and empire. By 1898, the U.S. had fifth most powerful navy, the third by 1900. The U.S. wanted to build a large navy and build defensive bases and refueling stations strategically placed on world’s oceans (Hawaii and other Pacific islands) to empower the empire. Although the United States considered Hawaii an extension of it’s west coast, it failed to annex Hawaii as it’s territory until 1898, over two years into its second Rāhu Mahādaśā. The annexation of Hawaii was the first full-fledged imperialistic debate in U.S. history.
Even the U.S. and Germany had nearly engaged each other in 1889 over the Samoan Islands. Germany didn’t want to provoke the U.S., so agreed to a settlement. The issue was not resolved until after the United States entered it’s Rāhu Mahādaśā, in 1900, via a treaty with Germany and Britain. It was only then that the U.S. gained American Samoa and Pago Pago. Panama was born from Colombia in 1903. Soon after, Roosevelt “took the canal” of panama in 1911. The canal was eventually completed in 1914, soon after the second Rāhu Mahādaśā ended, ensuring the movement of the U.S. Navy across both oceans in order to protect it’s new Atlantic and Pacific territories.
With the United States having so many new territories around the world, they could easily be lost to other world powers. Roosevelt believed that if U.S. was to survive in competition of modern states, it too would have to become an imperial power. To help get a grip on the world’s powers, Theodore Roosevelt helped extinguish a conflict between Japan and Russia (the Russo-Japanese War) in 1905. Roosevelt didn’t want either power to have complete control over Asia. Japan felt robbed of what it deserved and blamed the U.S. This marked the beginning of the U.S.-Japan arms race which eventually led to World War II.
Although the epitome of ambition, Roosevelt had a poisoned, disturbed mind. He was egoistic, brash, expansionist, and imperialistic. His bold, careless (but successful) actions in Cuba during the Spanish-American War, his presidency from 1901-1909, and his push for world empires epitomize Rāhu. Both McKinley and Roosevelt were very pro-expansion, total personifications of the Rāhuesque state of the country. That said, Donald Trump may very well be our present-day personification of Rāhu. As Roosevelt was 120 years ago, Trump is a reflection of our country’s present Rāhu condition.
Innovation certainly wasn’t shy during the previous two Rāhu Mahādaśās.
In the eighteenth century, before the industrial revolution and the technological advances which surrounded the second Rāhu Mahādaśā of 1895-1913, innovation had a different face: enlightenment and (political) philosophy. The birth of the United States brought Thomas Paine’s ideas in his Common Sense and Rights of Man to life. One could even say that it was these ideas, and the ideas of highly innovative Benjamin Franklin and his contemporaries [the Founding Grandfathers], that allowed the inner potential of the colonies to blossom into a collective identity which reflected those ideals under the leadership of the Founding Fathers. Technological advances also took place, as they usually do during wars and other long-term conflicts, but I don’t believe those had as much impact on the United States as the ideas of the Founding Fathers.
120 years later, during the second Rāhu Mahādaśā, the United States saw the invention of the rubber heel, vacuum cleaner, roller coaster, crayons, vacuum tubes, windshield wipers, the air conditioner, ductile tungsten, the vacuum diode, cornflakes, SONAR, Bakelite, the tractor, instant coffee, the bra, and the zipper. But that wasn’t all. In 1903, the Wright brothers invented the first gas-motored/manned airplane. That same year, the Model T was first sold and the first electrical ignition system was invented in 1911. The first motion picture was demonstrated by Edison in 1910. Of course, innovation, wasn’t limited to just inventions. In 1906, Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed Devils Tower as the first National Monument, leading to the formation of the National Park Service ten years later. The FBI was also founded, in 1908, during the country’s Rāhu-Śūkra bhukti.
Our Way Ahead
The third Rāhu Mahādaśā began in the fall of 2015. We’re currently almost a year and a half into our third Mahādaśā, in the Rāhu-Rāhu-Budha period, and this mahādaśā will end around the fall of 2033.
Svātī, which in my opinion characterizes the current Rāhu Mahādaśā, resides in the very center of Libra, of balance, harmony, and freedom to flow. And out of that center comes Svātī’s compassion, flexibility, and independence. With freedom, however, also comes some amount of disorder – disorder which is actually necessary to loosen up the tension which has formed since the last jostling. And as with any first few years into a new mahādaśā, things will be (and are being) shaken up. We probably won’t see true results of our karmas until 2019.
Svātī focuses Rāhu’s power on principle. Although this is where Rāhu strives for compassion, virtue, fairness, and balance, it does so from self-centered motivations (i.e., “America First”). The subjective fairness that’s experienced in Svati is also apparent in the presidential administration’s constant complaints about being treated unfairly. Vayu, the god of the winds, rules Svātī and keeps Rāhu in motion, constantly responsive to the feedback it receives from the outside. It makes the United States extremely sensitive to the actions and statements of other countries and, likely, trigger happy as a result of it. Vayu’s winds are constantly giving Rāhu, and the United States, feedback to the currents of the world surrounding it, immersing the U.S. in the condition of it’s surroundings on the world stage. Such constant feedback from the outside encloses Svātī, and the United States, isolating it, closing its borders, and is resulting in a separation between how we feel and how we act, between the people of the United States and the people of the world, how we the country views itself and how rest of the world views the U.S. As a result, the United States via it’s Svātī-like Rāhu Mahādaśā, releases (or unleashes) its power unto the rest of the world according to the signals it receives from it. Svātī is purely tamasic, as will be the U.S. During this Mahādaśā.
There can be a huge difference, though, in how the United States responds to it’s current condition. It can be evolved or unevolved. We can learn from our karmic lessons or we can make it worse for ourselves and others. When under the influence of a Svātī-like period, we have the potential to have a great effect on the rest of the world. That can be positive or negative, but it likely will be significant. Svātī, when evolved, can be extremely passionate (and compassionate), but otherwise acts on the principles of pleasure. Although our current social and political climate seems very turbulent and negative, there is an unprecedented level of Svātī compassion, virtue, and independence that has developed as a result of the polarization we’re witnessing. As Svātī suggests transformation and the potential for things to move and scatter, this can be a very destructive period for the United States unless we learn how to use this high Rahu energy to remove the negativity, not deepen it. This is a good sign for those of us who prefer positive to negative, compassion to cruelty, virtue to vice, freedom to fear. We have to learn how to use Rāhu constructively.
In her Lunar Nodes book, Komilla Sutton says of the Rāhu-Rāhu period, “beware of grand plans which do not have strong base in reality.” This is good advice that, unfortunately, much of the country just cannot wrap their minds around and, so far, defines the Trump presidency.
After the Rāhu-Rāhu bhukti/antardasa follows the Rāhu-Guru period in about April of 2019. Although, with the presence of Guru, it sounds like this would be a relief after a turbulent Rāhu-Rāhu period, the malefic aspects of Guru could easily make a hard time worse. What happens now will only expand and grow in 2019. If we don’t turn our current situation around and get some Śani mojo workin’ we could be in trouble and Rāhu-Guru could over-inflate us. The United States can benefit the world if it maintains a healthy Śani-like slow-paced, restrictive, and democratic position, but without Śani’s blessings we are clearly, and suddenly, doing much more harm to the rest of the world. Rāhu wears two colors: black and blue. We can choose, collectively, whether or not to follow the dark, demonic (black) side or the light, positive (blue) side.
That said, things could very well blow up on the world stage (worse than they are now) starting in the spring of 2019, two years into the Trump presidency, if the current toxicity is not cleared. The importance of Śani, of the people, the justice system, of fairness, restraint, calm, and focus, is critical right now.
Bepin Behari. Myths & Symbols of Vedic Astrology. p. 241. ↩