ISIS, Obama & The Problem with Hawks vs. Doves

Spiritual Company Newsletter

By Steffan Vanel • Astrologer • Tarot  Reader

September 12, 2014

This is a tricky article to write. Sometimes I indulge in a secret wish to have never have written: The Astrological Karma of the USA, and thus setting myself up as someone trying to make sense of the madness of world events and the people in it. I confess of a bit of nostalgia for the old days when I could just observe from the sidelines.

I do, however, accept that it was no accident that I had been previously scheduled to give a lecture for the evening of September 12, 2001, the event which then launched a new phase of my life.

I feel I am now, after writing this book, psychically ‘married’ to the soul and psyche of the U.S., with knowledge of her lessons and the ever-changing ‘exams’ on her curriculum.

That being said, I never use Astrology to tell people what to do. To me it is unethical to even try. No matter what, your advice is going to be influenced by your personal opinion. To aid clients with difficult decisions I will consult my Tarot Cards. I honestly feel that is asking Spirit directly for an answer.

Astrology does show, however, why you are in the boat you are in and what you need to learn. It is the ‘What to do about it?’ which may or may not be clear from that information.

The first edition of my book came out in the spring of 2002. It was written during the previous winter during the invasion of Afghanistan, but prior to the public debate about any military involvement in Iraq. I did, however, make the following prediction in my book:

In my opinion, the most volatile period facing the U.S. in the next several years will be from the end of 2003 until the end of 2006. During this period the planet Pluto, that ‘great bringer of change’ will be in opposition to our natal Mars placement in the Seventh House, which features our tendency to ‘rush into battle when opposed.’ During the same time period, Pluto will be squaring our natal Neptune, our potential for illusion, confusion, delusion, victimhood and martyrdom. Looking at these impending Plutonian tensions I can’t help but feel that 2003-2006 is when the really intense tests and trials will hit.

Pluto’s approach will reveal how well we learned our lessons from the latter part of the 1960’s. That was the lat time that Pluto was bearing down on the same sectors of our psyche…. Whatever we did not learn in Pluto’s last appearance in the 60’s during Vietnam, we will have to face between late 2003 and late 2006.

2003 – 2006 were the peak years of the War in Iraq and, clearly, the situation with the self-proclaimed Islamic State is a present-day legacy of that engagement.

As stated in the paragraph above, the part of the U.S. Astrological curriculum I was observing in order to make my prediction was our Mars/Neptune Square. Our Mars in the 7th House, giving us a tendency to experience conflict and aggression in relationships with others, and a difficultly aspected Neptune, making that aggressive Mars particularly prone to Neptunian confusion, illusion, delusion and purposeful or self-deception.

In the 1960/s Pluto was conjuncting the Neptune, relatable to such Neptunian keyword phenomenon as music, drugs, mysticism and altered states of consciousness as well as a rise in social compassion, i.e. the Civil Rights movement.

Pluto was also, however, squaring Mars, easily relatable to the so-called ‘quagmire’ of Vietnam and our militaristic approach to relationships.

It took from the 1960’s until the 2000’s for Pluto to, once again, enter into hard aspect to that Mars/Neptune Square. This time with an opposition to Mars and a Square to Neptune. This is what I was using to make my prediction. The question remaining was always “What to do about it?’

When I do an in-depth Astrological Reading for a first-time client I always ask about previous relationships. One of the most useful things I learned from Astrologer/Author/Jungian Analyst Liz Greene is that, ‘Until we heal or integrate the tensions at both ends of a difficult aspect the tendency is to project one end or another on somebody else.’

I always say that that will help to explain relationships that later you look back on and say ‘Why did I ever get with somebody like that!”, projecting things we deny in ourselves upon others.

In looking at the Astrology chart of a nation one can also see some of that projecting onto other nations, and this Mars /Neptune Square is definitely going to make us prone to projecting one end or another of the victim/victimizer program upon others.

What seems to be a stronger, clearer manifestation of this tension, however, is a polarization of these energies within the population of the nation itself. The most obvious manifestation of this in my lifetime was during the 1960’s engagement in Vietnam resulting in a sharp division between the groups known as ‘hawks’ and ‘doves.’ Mars being the hawks, and Neptune the doves.

During that time period, and now, I am definitely mostly a dove, although there was about a year in High School where I was sympathetic to the need for violent revolution.

When I look at this aspect in the U.S. chart with the same objective regard I would give to an individual I would say to them “You need to heal and integrate this Mars/Neptune tension,” and I would say the same thing now to the United States of America. Clearly we cannot do just Mars with no Neptune, i.e. just send in the Marines with no sensitivity or compassion for the reality of the people you are dealing with.

But, by the same token, you cannot do just Neptune without an awareness that there are times when it is necessary to use some Mars. When this is integrated, Mars/Force and Neptunian/Compassion, is when this lesson is learned.

About a month ago I watched a PBS ‘Frontline’ program about our engagement with Iraq, portraying it chronologically from the beginning up to the present situation with ISIS. It was quite evident that the arrogant, aggressive, continuous blunders and mistakes of the Bush years were indicative of the above mentioned too much Mars/Force and not enough Neptune/Compassion.

And, it was a very much-weakened Mars by negative Neptune qualities, i.e. delusions and deceptions, and the attendant difficulty at discerning what was simply delusion and what was intentional deception.

As the Frontline portrayal moved into the Obama years, however, and the strong mandate to extricate ourselves from what Obama aptly called a ‘dumb war’ I couldn’t help feeling that Obama had become too Neptune.

The Iraq War was a very dumb move. If I were to play with ‘What if’s?’ I would play with the conjecture of: What if instead of putting the estimated cost of $2 trillion into the War in Iraq, we had instead put that money into schools, hospitals, roads and the general economy and livelihoods of Afghanistan, prior to the rebound of the Taliban?

One might imagine the U.S. appearing as a friend of Islam rather than its enemy.

That being said, the reality is that we had a responsibility to the Iraqi people for what we had born upon them by invading their country.

In the Frontline documentary there were clear signs and warnings of the unsuitability of Prime Minister Maliki for the effective governance of Iraq during the Bush years, warnings which Bush ignored because he had a warm personal relationship with Maliki, speaking almost daily with him on the phone. To me this is reminiscent of Bush looking into the eyes of Putin and seeing into his soul.

Obama, however, virtually never spoke with Maliki and there have not been any high-level officials in Iraq from the Obama administration operating there since the troop withdrawal. I would say that Obama has had such a drive to dissociate from negative Mars and a ‘dumb war’ that he has slipped into a negative Neptune, an overly fearful and illusional dissociated disengagement.

Getting it just right, however, is really tricky and I am glad it is not my job. Some experts have said that even though America has recently appeared weak: “So what. The appearance of weakness in fact forces other players in the region to step up to the plate and not just let the U.S. be the global policeman all the time.

I recently heard on the news that the United Arab Emirates launched an air attack against militants occupying the airport in Libya. When I heard that I thought to myself: ‘That’s a first.’

I think that Obama has lacked sufficient Mars in Iraq and Syria and in his speech I sensed the effort to move towards some balance. Still, when America starts bombing from the air innocent civilians are always part of the ‘collateral damage.’

I personally shudder to think, however, what a second term John McCain or a first term Mitt Romney Presidency would have us involved in at this time.

When I look at Obama’s chart I can see what he is personally dealing with and understand why he is in the boat he is in, namely his own Neptune problem.

Obama is a Leo, thus someone who in some pervious lifetime came to the rescue of a group of people through an act of courage and leadership, without which those people would have perished.

His Sun in Leo, however, is square to his Neptune. I made the following comments about this when he was a Presidential Candidate:

The Neptune-Sun/Leo tension in Barack Obama’s chart is both a blessing and a curse for him. On the one hand, it is why Obama is a much more humble Leo than, for example, Bill Clinton. It does, however, involve difficult Neptune lessons along the lines of illusion, confusion, delusion, victimhood and martyrdom.

With Neptune afflicting the Sun these themes of confusion and victimhood are going to be part of one’s relationship as a child with one’s father. (Here I won’t repeat the discussion of the commonly known unfortunate relationship with his father)

This confusion and vulnerability would make it more difficult for Obama to indulge in the normal Leonine pride, arrogance and self-absorption.

In this past year Saturn has been conjuncting Obama’s natal Neptune, and squaring his Sun in Leo forcing him to deal with this part of his curriculum.

Here are some further comments about his Sun/Neptune Square I made in that previous newsletter:

In personal readings with clients I tell them that when you have healed and integrated the tension between two planets in difficult aspect with each other you gain a strength and wisdom, which you can then use to help other people with similar problems.

In this case, Obama can bring the positive Neptunian qualities of compassion into integration with Leo qualities of leadership.


With all that I stated above, I wish to sate now that I do believe that killing members of your own species is a very twisted way of being and I look forward to when all standing armies are eliminated.

In the meantime, we have the emergence of ISIS in the area of the Fertile Crescent, considered one of the ‘Cradles of Civilization.’

For us symbolism-observing esotericists the word ISIS bears a completely different connotation that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. It is the Egyptian Goddess Isis, described in this way on the website:

Isis, the Egyptian goddess of rebirth remains one of the most familiar images of empowered and utter femininity. The goddess Isis was the first daughter of Geb, god of the Earth, and Nut, the goddess of the Overarching Sky. Isis was born on the first day between the first years of creation, and was adored by her human followers.

Unlike the other Egyptian goddesses, the goddess Isis spent time among her people, teaching women how to grind corn and make bread, spin flax and weave cloth, and how to tame men enough to live with them (an art form on which many of us would welcome a refresher course!)

Isis taught her people the skills of reading and agriculture and was worshipped as the goddess of medicine and wisdom. More than any other of the ancient Egyptian goddesses, Isis embodied the characteristics of all the lesser goddesses that preceded her. Isis became the model on which future generations of female deities in other cultures were to be based.

As the personification of the “complete female”, Isis was called “The One Who Is All”, Isis Panthea (“Isis the All Goddess”), and the “Lady of Ten Thousand Names”.

The goddess Isis, a moon goddess, gave birth to Horus, the god of the sun. Together, Isis and Horus created and sustained all life and were the saviors of their people.

We symbolism-observing esotericists would also have to say that it is no accident that the name of such an archetypal force is manifesting now in Global Consciousness, because we believe there are no accidents.

If anything, however, this current ISIS seems to be the complete antithesis to the Goddess. Indeed it seems to be the embodiment of the most twisted form of Patriarchal fanaticism.

In fact the Astrological Chart I found for ISIS is pretty scary. If it was someone I was considering having any kind of relationship with I would have a shock looking at this chart.

They were born with the Sun in Aries. Aries is ruled by Mars, the God of War. According to Hilarion* an Aries individual is someone who, in some previous lifetime, risked their own life to come to the rescue of anther individual. As a reward for that courageous self-less act they are given an additional energy, physically, emotionally or mentally. Their challenge is to be able to express this energy in such a way that it does not harm others or themselves through violent expression or behaviour.

This ISIS has the Sun in Aries conjunct Mars in Aries, conjunct Venus in Aries, and Uranus in Aries, conjunct Moon in Aries, conjunct Midheaven in Aries, with all of those planets in the 10th House of ‘role’ in the world, and three of them are square to Pluto, the underworld Lord of Death and Rebirth, located in the natal 6th House of work, service, activity in the world. This is the makings of an incredibly violent, unpredictable, fearless ‘death machine.’

This is a far cry from my normal image of the Goddess Isis, an image I associate with the High Priestess card of the Tarot, corresponding to the Moon, she is the Goddess of the Moon, the Full Moon, the perfect reception/reflection of the Spiritual Light with great Feminine sensitivity and purity.

But there are also darker connotations of Isis, resonant with the Hindu Goddess Kali, often depicted in this way:

Kali’s most common four-armed iconographic image shows each hand carrying variously a sword, a trishul (trident), a severed head and a bowl or skull-cup (kapala) catching the blood of the severed head.

Two of these hands (usually the left) are holding a sword and a severed head. The Sword signifies Divine Knowledge and the Human Head signifies human Ego which must be slain by Divine Knowledge in order to attain Moksha. The other two hands (usually the right) are in the abhaya (fearlessness) and varada (blessing) mudras, which means her initiated devotees (or anyone worshipping her with a true heart) will be saved as she will guide them here and in the hereafter.[39]

Again to quote from

Isis became the most powerful of the gods and goddesses in the ancient world. Ra, the God of the Sun, originally had the greatest power. But Ra was uncaring, and the people of the world suffered greatly during his reign.

The goddess Isis tricked him by mixing some of his saliva with mud to create a poisonous snake that bit him, causing him great suffering which she then offered to cure. He eventually agreed.

Isis informed Ra that, for the cure to work, she would have to speak his secret name (which was the source of his power over life and death). Reluctantly, he whispered it to her.

When Isis uttered his secret name while performing her magic, Ra was healed. But the goddess Isis then possessed his powers of life and death, and quickly became the most powerful of the Egyptian gods and goddesses, using her great powers to the benefit of the people.

Isis was called the Mother of Life, but she was also known as the Crone of Death. Her immense powers earned her the titles of “The Giver of Life” and “Goddess of Magic”. Her best known story illustrates why she is simultaneously known as a creation goddess and a goddess of destruction.

The story referred to above is her search for the dismembered body of her brother/husband Osiris and her ability to re-unite him and bring him back to life. Following the various versions of the story they state on the website:

Regardless of the differences, each version speaks of the power over life and death that the goddess Isis symbolizes. . . the deep mysteries of the feminine ability to create and to bring life from that which is lifeless.

This current manifestation of ISIS has presented us with the image of severed heads, but images showing that the need for a true Kali/Isis severing of the head of the Ego by Divine Knowledge is needed more than ever for us to really attain Moksha or Liberation.

Ascended Master Hilarion has said that the Middle East is where the final war of this period of tribulation will be fought, a war to truly end all war.

How severe, and how quickly we learn the lessons necessary is subject to our free will.

Who knows what the ultimate destiny and intention of this emergence of ISIS into our world really is. Perhaps this is all part of the karmic death/rebirth necessary for the ultimate fate and destiny of mankind.

Interestingly, the Middle East is in the Astrological longitudinal zone attributed by the eminent Astrologer Dane Rhudyar to the sign Virgo, a sign related to purity and service, but also a propensity for an overly critical attenuation to rules and details.

I have observed this fanatical attention to detail and so-called ‘purity’ in all the Abrahamic religions which emerged in this area, namely Christian, Jewish and Muslim. One extreme manifestation emerging in the radical Islamic belief that an ‘honor killing’, can be executed against one’s own daughter who lost her ‘purity’ by being raped.

Neptune is now in the early degrees of Pisces, the sign opposite to Virgo, hence the suffering, and playing out, and, hopefully, ultimate dissolving of the victim/victimizer program in this region and for the world.

Additionally, when one looks at a map of the word you can see that, if you follow a line longitudinally north from the border of Syria and Iraq, you come directly into the border of Ukraine and Russia.

It seems that these are the two key places where the ‘die is set,’ to play out the delusionary beliefs of the passing Pisces/Virgo Age in to the coming New Age.

Whether we can play out and transcend those beliefs gracefully or have to do it ‘kicking and screaming’ is up to us.

President Obama is a human with his own mistakes and failings, but he really needs our love and support right now, as do those Muslim men who have felt diminished, victimized and unintegrated with the dominant Christian/Secular Western World culture.

To those men I recommend that they read the book: The Terrorist’s Son.

I pray that we may all rise out of the victim/victimizer program in the only way we can, through unconditional love for ourselves and for others, through complete forgiveness, for ourselves and for others, and spiritual faith, trust and surrender, to where there are no victims or victimizers, but just all of us frightened little boys and girls doing the best we can.

May We All Blessed Be,

Steffan Vanel