Ukraine, Russia, Putin: On the Cross (repost)

originally posted March 6, 2014

I have spent a few days preparing to write this article. I have been studying the history of Ukraine, the Astrological charts for Ukraine, Russia and Vladimir Putin, and their current Astrological “exams” or transits.

There is enough material here for a book. I expect this will be a lengthy article. (You might want to print it out). I am going to endeavor to hit the “high points” and keep it somewhat concise, while sharing a lot of the valuable insights I think give a unique perspective into what is going on beneath the surface of things.

This article is in resonance with, somewhat of a prelude to, what I have decided will be the next book that I will write. (After having consulted with my Tarot Cards). That book will be entitled: “To Europa with Love” based upon my accumulated insights and understandings I gained from my several years of work and travel there.

Looking at the history of Ukraine, I see one of the most, if not the most, convoluted histories I have ever studied. There were times when elements of the Ukrainian population united with Russia to fight Poland, or the Austro-Hungarians or the Germans. There were times where they united with Poland, or the Austro-Hungarians or the Germans to fight the Russians.

There were periods where those changing loyalties came in rapid successions, as well as periods of civil war where these divided loyalties were at war with each other within Ukraine.

It is generally believed, however, that the first Eastern Slavic state emerged in the 9th century in the region of Ukraine, Kievan Rus, which was very powerful in the Middle Ages, but disintegrated in the 12th century.

What followed was a long history of conflicts and divisions between various Eastern (basically Russian or Soviet) and Western powers.

To summarize, Ukraine seems to be the most symbolic entity to represent a basic conflict between East (albeit: Russian, Orthodox Christian, and Communist entities) and Western, Catholic/Protestant and Capitalist entities.

Now the modern state of Ukraine was born in 1991, as was the modern state of the Russian Federation, and so they are both products of the Uranus/Neptune conjunction, which is the Astrological signature of the sudden (Uranus) dissolving (Neptune) of the former Soviet Union.

Ukraine, however, has this Uranus/Neptune conjunction in her 12th House of the deeper unconscious and past memories, which I believe indicates that the country, as a whole, carries in their unconscious the memory of this very chaotic (Uranus) vulnerability (Neptune) in their memories, especially in dealing with Russia and the West, and the conflict between the two. This is especially so as there were times when the Ukranians were definitely screwed by Russia and by the Western Powers.

Now as for Russia. Myself, I am always trying to look into the deeper, psychological/archetypal, mythological realities behind socio-political phenomenon. To my mind historians and political sociologists tend to blame large social movements on the economic situations at the time or simply the aggressions of a certain group. To try to blame Nazism upon the poor economy in Germany at that time, or simply the aggressivity of the Nazis, can in no way explain why such a mass of people would go that insane.

So here is my theory as to why Communism would be so palatable to Russians as a belief system. Historically Russians have always been made to feel inferior to the powers of the West. Compared to the grand courts of Vienna, Paris and London, Russia was primitive even barbaric.

I believe that from this there is an historic resentment of the West within the Russian soul. This is evident to this day in the tensions I observed between people in St. Petersburg and Moscow.

St. Petersburg was Czar Peter’s effort to create a Western European model showcase, which made other elements of Russia feel inferior. When I was in Russia in 1992 they told me in St. Petersburg that Moscow wasn’t really Russian, that it was “Tatarskaya”, i.e. infiltrated with Tatars or Muslims.

IN Moscow, when I mentioned hearing this statement, they countered by telling me “Well the palace in St. Petersburg isn’t even made of stone. It’s made of wood and covered over to look like stone!” Inferring that the palace isn’t a true Western European showcase but a fake Russian effort.

The point I am leading to with this discussion is that whenever I look at a social/cultural group which is imbued with an inferiority complex in relation to the mainstream, they will, almost inevitably, revert to a superiority complex, i.e. flip sides of the same coin.

The reason, to my mind, that Communism and dialectical materialism was so palatable to the Russian psyche, aside from the need to overthrow the political/economic repression they were suffering under, is because it gave the Russian identity a political/philosophical/economic system that was not only equal to Western Europe, but socially/morally superior to the decadent aristocratic/capitalist exploitative nations of the West.

Most Russians have agreed with this assessment when I have shared it with them. One Russian did counter by telling me that within ancient Slavic village culture there was always a communal sense of equality, with no one superior to another, which may indeed have been an additional factor.

The current Astrological chart for Russia gives it the Sun in Capricorn. In my research, however, I noted years ago that the nation of Russia, despite its various incarnations, is an Aquarian nation. This would go along with my sense that Communism is an early, albeit primitive, response to the Aquarian Age, an age where the focus will be on true equality, sharing and brother/sisterhood.

The problem with Communism is that it defines that equality at strictly the material/economic level. The Ascended Master Hilarion* has stated that the reason Communism would never work is because men will never recognize that they are truly brothers until they acknowledge they have a common Father.

To my mind the only times where Communism seems to work for a while is when thy have a good “father figure.” But human fathers always let you down, sooner or later.

In the Astrological chart for Russia, besides being a Capricorn, they have a self-image, an Ascendant/Rising sign of Leo. Some of you may remember Hilarion’s pronouncement about Leo Rising from my commentaries about George W. Bush. Here is the quote from Hilarion’s Astrology Plus**:

When the sign Leo rises, there will be a tendency for the self-picture to be colored by the notions of elegance, specialness and superiority. A proudness will often be felt internally, even though it usually does not manifest. The reason for giving this Ascendant to an individual is to prompt him to think better of himself than he is in the habit of doing when in incarnation. The rulership by the Sun thus lends to the individual certain bolstering influences in terms of how he sees himself, which are intended to teach him not to underestimate his own worth and not to feel inferior to others. In view of this explanation, it will be understood that those with Leo rising will often find that they are torn between thinking little and thinking a lot of themselves. Through the experience of this inner battle, it is hoped that they will ultimately learn that each person is complete and worthy in his own right, and that none are either superior or inferior.

One would imagine that this proud Leo self-image has been pretty helpful in allowing Russia to cope with the humbling experience of the collapse of their former Empire.

Interestingly, both Russia and Ukraine were born in their current incarnations with the Moon in the 1st House of Self-Image of which Hilarion says:

First House As already pointed out, the first house relates to the self-picture which the native has. Almost inevitably, a first-house Moon designates a weak or inadequate self-image. The symbolic derivation of this characteristic relies on the fact that the Moon is much “weaker” than the Sun in the sense that she shines only by reflecting the Sun’s light. Hence the self-image is a mere “reflected image” symbolically speaking. Since reflected images (as in mirrors, for example) have nothing of substance to them, the self-picture of one who has the Moon in the first is likewise lacking in substance.

The effect of the Moon in the first sector is literally to weaken the self-image, and this placement is often given to an individual who, in previous lives, had a strong and integrated sense of the self but who allowed the power of that strong personality to dominate and limit others. This is then the Karmic implication of Moon in the first – namely the requirement to suffer the feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness that always accompany a poor self-image, as a recompense for having put others through similar pangs in a previous incarnation.

From a lesson point of view, it is expected that the person who has the Moon in the first sector will learn to find his self-worth not in external accomplishment or the amassing of material things, but rather from the inner knowledge that he is worthy and loved in the sight of God. The antidote for the weakened self-picture which this lunar placement brings is thus to turn to the true and only source of worthiness, which is an acknowledgement of one’s status as a beloved child of the Eternal Father. For in God’s eyes, all creatures are noble and worthy. (See also the Introduction to this section)

This past life of having had a strong sense of self but using it to dominate or limit others could well relate to their previous incarnation as the Soviet Union, Ukraine being the only other state within the Soviet Bloc that had nuclear weapons.

Ukraine, however, has Mercury conjunct Jupiter in Leo, which is also going to make available some Leonine pride and arrogance to dissociate from, or compensate for, that weakened self-image, especially as these planets oppose their 1st House Moon.

The Jupiter/Mercury in Leo conjunction, however, is in the 7th House of Relationships and Partnerships, which, in difficult aspects, such as these oppositions to the Moon, are going to create a propensity for naive immaturity in one’s approach to relationships (Mercury) as well as exaggeration of the importance or approach towards some aspect of relationships (Jupiter).

Obviously, the underlying point I am evolving here is that the current situation in the Ukraine is kind of a “popped boil” of long, historical, complicated, psychological dynamics involving Russian relationships with the West and Ukraine’s relationship with both Russia and the West.

That may be the underlying backdrop behind the pro-Western and pro-Russian tensions in the current conflict in Ukraine. I think this Astrological indication of an arrogant naive exaggeration of relationships, in compensation for a weakened self-image, is going to make them look to be saved by some outside partnership, or exaggerate the importance of having a relationship with Russia or with the European Union, when clearly, in respect of their position, history and population, they should be working on some compromise solution which wouldn’t shut the door on either side.

Saturn moved into Ukraine’s 10th House of “Role in the World” and squared that Moon of weakened self-image on January 28th, and will again on April 5th and October 19th, and Saturn will square the Jupiter/Mercury end of this tension in November. So this heavy Saturnian pressure on their “role” is bringing all of this up right now.

On a deeper level, the Pluto/Uranus square going on in the sky right now, and the upcoming Pluto/Uranus/Jupiter/Mars Grand Cross of 2014, will be impinging upon that Uranus in their deeper unconscious memory of sudden change, revolution, and freedom from old patterns, which they carry in their collective unconscious psyche.

Later in the year it will involve the Neptune part of this Uranus/Neptune conjunction in their unconscious, hence the vulnerable, dissolving, necessarily surrendered part of this unconscious equation.

Since Russia and Ukraine were born the same year they have their outer planets in the same degrees and so are experiencing the same transits, although in different houses.

Russia’s Uranus is in the end of the 5th House of Parent/Child relationships and Love Affairs, and Neptune is in the beginning of the 6th House of Work, Service, and the “Way You Spend Your Day.”

In addition to having Uranus in the 5th House, however, Russia also has Mercury, Mars, and the Sun in the 5th House of Parent/Child Relationships.

Now, looking at Russia as being a Capricorn, and this 5th House Parent/Child karma, I can note how Capricorns often have a hard time being the child. They would rather be the parent.

Capricorns can also be seen to be more comfortable in their roles as parents than as partners, or may be inclined towards a “parenting role” in their partnerships.

I would say this is relatable to a sense of the former Satellite Nations of the Soviet Union as being its former children, upon which Russia has now focused an inordinate amount of attention and energy into maintaining and controlling those children/nations. However, their mode is still as that Capricorn, controlling, parent style, rather than an equal partnership style.

Pluto and Uranus have already been “triggering” the Mercury, the Mars, and the Sun in this house, hence the on-going tensions with Chechnya, Georgia, Ukraine, and dealing with any perceived intrusions into previous Soviet territory by the EU or NATO in gaining their own control of her “children.”

Now, the Grand Cross of 2014 is hitting and will hit the Uranus, planet of sudden change and freedom from old patterns, in their 5th House of Parent/Child Relationship later and in 2015 when we have the last but most intense Pluto/Uranus Square. At that time it will also be impinging upon Russia’s Neptune in their 6th House of The Way They Spend Their Day.

This could entail some deep suffering or vulnerability, economically or militarily in their daily experience of life. Or it could be a death/rebirth with positive Neptunian surrender, healing and compassion. It may require a bit of the former to bring them to the latter, however.

Vladimir Putin

We always want to look at the Astrological chart of the head of state to have a sense of how that individual might affect the actions and karmic results of an individual nation.

In the case of Vladimir Putin this is even more significant as he is obviously endowed with powers beyond those of virtually any elected leader in the democratic world. So let’s take a look at his Astrological make-up.

I am shy to state this, but Vladimir Putin and I are a lot alike. We are both Libras with Scorpio Rising. We are born only a year apart, so we both have Saturn in Libra, and we both have Saturn conjunct to our Suns.

Saturn in Libra is going to be karmic lessons around partnership and marriage. I was divorced around the time of my first Saturn return. Putin was divorced around the time of his second Saturn return.

Now I am happy to say that the similarities between us end there. I am certainly not an “action man” like him and I have no proficiency in Judo.

I do, however, note that slick Libran character. They say that Libra is the “Iron fist in the velvet glove.” You can also never beat a Libra in an argument. We are so good at rationalizing.

Putin has been noted for saying one thing and then later contradicting himself. Therefore, no matter what happens, he can always go back and say “See I said this.”

They say that Libra is always right, even when they are wrong.

The lower aspect of Libra in the Tarot is the Queen of Swords, who is very intelligent and has qualities of rational, logical abilities at a very high degree and level. But, she is nonetheless based upon fear and insecurity, and therefore she relies too much on those rational, logical qualities not trusting a higher guidance or deeper intuitive feeling. In this regard the Queen of Swords can not only fool other people with her logical, rational abilities, she can even fool herself. That is why Libra is always right even when they are wrong. They say we make good lawyers.

This is why Putin can actually believe his dubious rationalizations, even when Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, ends her recent conversation with him by stating “He has lost touch with reality.”

Now Putin and I both have that deeper, more emotional, intensely perceptive Scorpio self-image, which gives us a more visceral gut feeling added to our Libran charm.

But they say that Scorpio Rising is the Devil or the Saint. Astrologer/author Liz Greene once said: “People with Scorpio Rising turn all of their relationships into the last act of Othello.”

This is going to give to Putin a Scorpionic propensity for secret control and manipulation. A useful quality for an oppressive leader.

But here is the scariest part of Vladimir Putin, and a big difference between him and I. Whereas I pretend I am a Virgo (Virgo Midheaven) i.e. analytical, precise, and a bit critical, Putin pretends he is a Leo. So, yes, we have this recurring Leo theme again. Here is what Hilarion says about having Leo on the Midheaven:

Leo With Leo at the Midheaven, the image projected to the world has elements of magnanimity, pridefulness, generosity and occasionally arrogance. This picture may not conform to the inner picture and it may not be very close to the real complex of qualities in the individual, but it is given primarily to allow him to overcome feelings of inferiority which are inevitably carried over from a previous existence. In this case, even if the individual has a shaky inner self-image, the prompting to put a brave face forward, which Leo at the M.C. gives, may eventually cause the inferior inner picture to change. This is due to the great power of action in the world, not only in its effect on the physical level but on the emotional and mental levels as well.

So Putin appears confident, proud and arrogant, but this has been given to him to help him to overcome feelings of inferiority, basically very similar to the Leo Rising of the Russian Federation. In fact Putin’s Midheaven is 21 degrees of Leo. The Ascendant of Russia is 20 degrees. We could call this a “match made in heaven.”

When I was in Russia in 1992 I was rather shocked to hear that 50% of the population thought Stalin was a good thing. I said to my friend, how could that be? She said, “Well those people would say that that was when we had enough to eat and everybody was afraid of us.”

I have already noted earlier in my life how when a population feels uncertain and insecure as to who they are and where they are going, they either open to some totally new and different possibility, or they revert back to the last time that they remember feeling secure.

My first observation of this was in the transition of the Jimmy Carter to the Ronald Reagan presidency in the US. The energy crisis, the Iran Hostage crisis, and the failure in Vietnam had made the U.S. insecure and uncertain as to who we were. To my mind Reagan was a reverting back to a more simplistic World War II mentality where America is always strong and always right, as in a Hollywood movie.

Putin is Russia’s Stalin. Russians are willing to condone political repression and corruption for economic stability and, more importantly, someone who is going to bolster that proud, arrogant, albeit “faking it” self-image, willing to “Stick it to the West,” and buffer them from dealing with a core level of insecurity that keeps Russia from more fully approaching a “rapprochement” with the West.

Now, being a Libra, I will happily play the “Devil’s Advocate” with myself and point out that during the bumbling Yeltsin years the economic and political powers of the West didn’t always deal with Russia, in its vulnerable state, in the most conscious, compassionate way. There are always lessons and dysfunctionalities being worked on in any relationship, personal or national.

I did cringe in 1992 watching numbers of American Evangelicals flocking to the streets of Moscow to “save” the Russians in their time of uncertainty and confusion. No wonder the Russians passed a law establishing a small number of “officially” recognized religions.

Putin has not only a Leo Midheaven but he also has Pluto conjunct to that Midheaven. This gives Putin the projected image to the world of someone who has not only Leonine pride and self-confidence, but that combined with an all-powerful controlling manipulating Plutonian presence, especially with the Pluto being in the 10th House of Work, Career, Role in the World. Pluto rules Scorpio so this adds greatly to that Scorpionic energy.

Hilarion says, however, that with Pluto in the 10th, you will be drawn to a profession where deep-seated problems in the unconscious will be brought to the surface.

Well, if there is a place where Putin’s insecurities behind that Leo Midheaven might be brought to the surface it might be in the role of facing down the entire Free World.

Saturn has been moving through Putin’s 1st House of Self-image putting Saturnian heaviness weight and pressure there. On January 11th it squared his Leo Midheaven, hence the protests in Ukraine against his “deal” with Ukraine. On February 4th Saturn squared his Pluto, probably forcing “contingency plans” as events in Ukraine intensified.

Saturn is retrograde now and will square Pluto again on March 29th, the Midheaven on April 24th, and then, going again direct, Saturn will square the Midheaven one last time on October 7th and Pluto October 21st.

This isn’t the heaviest Astrological weather bearing down on Vladimir Putin this year, however. We haven’t even looked yet at where this year’s Grand Cross will be affecting him.

In relation to both the Grand Cross transits to his chart and what might be additional unconscious programs brought to the surface through his Plutonian “role” in the world, we end up looking in the same place, Putin’s 12th House of the Deeper Unconscious and Memory of His Most Recent Past Life.

In that 12th House, Putin has his Sun, his Saturn, his Neptune, and his Mercury. He is carrying a lot of baggage in his unconscious.

The Sun there shows he was a man in his last life, and he has the need to get into closer contact with his unconscious.

Saturn there shows that his last lifetime was not a happy one. There was ill health, or poverty, or some heavy restrictiveness.

Mercury there shows he probably died at a relatively early age.

Neptune there, in positive aspect, which he does have, a positive aspect to his Pluto, would show a quality of self-sacrifice, compassion, mystical vulnerability in that life.

In difficult aspect, which it is as well, square to Uranus, it would create Neptunian confusion, suffering or martyrdom

The same Uranus is also square his Mercury, Saturn and the Sun. The Neptune, and all three other planets, in tension with Uranus, created sudden changes out of the blue, accidents, ruptures, or radical revolutionary movements in that lifetime.

One of the more useful things I learned from Liz Greene, however, is her view that the 12th House also represents the inherited family unconscious.

The Uranus end of all of these tensions is in Cancer, which is going to create an “unusualness” or ruptures and accidents in the family or childhood. Putin was born in 1952, but he had two older brothers born in the 1930’s. One died within a few months of childbirth, and the other died from diphtheria during the Siege of Leningrad in World War II. This had to be there in the family unconscious, but would also resonate with the memory of Putin’s most recent past life which he was already carrying in his unconscious.

Transiting Uranus has just moved out of Putin’s 5th House of Parent/Child relationship and Love Affairs, where it was for several years, and into his 6th House of the Way he Spends his Day, likely creating uncertainty and sudden changes there.

On April 28th, right after the April 22nd exact day of the Grand Cross, Uranus will oppose Putin’s Libra Sun in the 12th House.

Transiting Pluto is in Putin’s 2nd House of Money and Finances and Love and Affection and will be squaring his Sun.

And during the Grand Cross Jupiter will square his Sun and Mars will conjunct it.

So all of this unconscious tension, which his secret, hidden Scorpio moodiness and Leo arrogance are good at hiding/denying, is likely to erupt into his conscious awareness.

The Pluto/Uranus tensions will go on for some years, however, onto his Uranus, his Saturn, his Neptune and his Mercury.

This is the start of probably the most intense Astrological period of his life. This is only the beginning.

Now, whether that results in some economic and/or military conflicts as a result of his own actions, or results in his having to be really honest with himself, seeing the errors of his ways, and having to back down and do some deep reassessment of himself, remains to be seen. Perhaps there will be some combination of the two.

I do know that, deep down, Libras really don’t like conflict. We really idealize peace and harmony. I hope that Putin can realize that he only “thinks” he is a Scorpio, and he only “pretends” he is a Leo, but deep down he is a peace loving romantic Libra, although one with clever “lawyer” skills. Hopefully he can stop fooling himself and others.

Steffan Vanel

Red, Blue & White July 4th Readings

Red, Blue & White Birthday Readings For the U.S.A. July 4th, 2018

Dear Friends, Clients and Subscribers,

As I said in my last Starwise Forecast for this month, I planned to restart my annual Birthday Reading for the United States of America on July 4th. I do my own Tree of Life update Reading for myself on my birthday and I generally think that is a great time to take stock of how you are doing. It is why I offer those 10% discount birthday Readings to you all.

Some of you may be happy to know that there will be no Astrology raps in this email. And, to be honest, even though Astrology has generally a better, more accepted reputation than the Tarot, in many ways I much prefer the work I do with the Tarot.

This year I found it rather difficult to really hone in on the soul and psyche of the USA, when clearly we are so divided and polarized. I then hit on the idea of doing three Readings. One for the Conservative Red contingency of the US. One for the Blue Liberal/Progressive contingency of the US. And then one for the country as a whole, or if you like, for you truly independent ‘middle of the road’ citizens.

The Readings that I performed are my Pentacross Tarot Readings, my short 30 minute Tarot Reading that I do for people. It is a Reading of my own creation. I call it a Pentacross because ‘Penta’ means five, like the five-sided Pentagon, and this Reading has five cards in it.

The card in the middle represents where you are now. The one above it represents what your challenge or blockage is. The one below the middle card represents what can help you. The one to the left represents the past. And the one to the right represents where you seem to be heading in the possible future, based on conditions in the present but, as I say to my clients, can always be changed because we have free will.

Before I continue let me slip in one note of self-promotion here. This short, rather inexpensive, Reading is what some of my clients have been using every month or two or three as a form of ongoing therapy with me.

I am considering promoting this more and have been thinking of offering ‘package deals’ for 10 Readings paid for up front, for $450, saving on the $55 individual Reading price.

If you are interested in those kinds of ongoing therapeutic insights you can contact me about that.

And, by the way, in those short Readings for clients, in addition to the basic 5 cards, we also cut cards for specific questions and/or decisions that have arisen in your life.

Now on to the July 4th Readings:

I personally found these Readings to be really interesting and I hope that some of you may find some useful insights here as well.

First I did the ‘Red’ Reading:

Where the Red contingency is at now: The 8 of Disks-Prudence (center).

Disks represent the element of Earth, concrete, grounded reality. The 8 of disks is balanced, stable, grounded but careful, cautious, not making any sudden moves one way or another. I would say this is one reason they can’t really get anywhere with current legislation.

The Challenge or Blockage: Princess of Cups (top)

The way in which my system works, if you have a positive card in this position then it is representing your challenge, what life is asking of you. If it is a negative card then it represents what is blocking you.

This is not a good card according to my interpretation. Now for you fellow Tarot Card Readers let me say that, according to my understanding and studies, when someone does a Tarot Card Reading the cards will be arranged according to the understanding of the Reader.

Cups are water, feelings, emotions. But the Princess is one of 16 ‘Court Cards.’ I have a distinct way of interpreting these cards but it is an evolution of the thoughts and writings of the man who designed my deck.

To me, they are like distinct personalities. And, like every personality, they have their good and bad sides.

The Princess of Cups is very flowing, and gracious and sensitive and romantic, but based on fear or insecurity, such that she tends to live a bit in her own ‘dream world’, tending to blur the rough edges of life, not really connected to reality as it is.

This would appear to be the flavor of denial that is blocking the Red elements of the nation in being able function properly. Personally, in my understanding, to be in the position of having to be apologists for Donald Trump you are going to have to do a lot of ‘blurring of the rough edges.’

What can Help the Red contingency: Ace of Disks (bottom)

This represents a willingness, a capacity, a desire to ‘make a new beginning’ in relation to concrete reality. ‘Making it Real’ as the saying goes. This is the obvious antidote for the Princess of Cups, and to any client having these cards, I would say that this capacity to make a new beginning in relation to reality wouldn’t be here if you didn’t have the ability to do it.

The Past: 9 of Swords-Cruelty (left)

This card shows nine rusty jagged swords dripping blood from their points. I always tell my clients, however, that it isn’t as bad as it sounds. Swords are the element of Air, mental thinking. The nine of swords is a mental tension arising because of efforts to understand with mind and thinking, and rational, analyzing intellect, that which cannot be understood with mind and thinking and rational analyzing intellect. And yet one tries and tries and tries and tries…..until you get migraines.

Personally, I think the Republican Party starting doing that as soon as Donald Trump emerged as a serious contender in the 2016 Primaries. Trying to figure out what that meant for the Party and for the nation at large. Now they are just hunkering down and trying to be ‘Prudent.’

Possible Future: The Hierophant (right)

This is a big card for you red folks. This is one of the so-called “Major Arcana Cards, ‘ the ones with names like the Fool, the Emperor, The Hanged Man, etc.

When you study the Tarot at the deeper level you learn that these 22 cards are found as 22 Pathways of Initiation on the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, corresponding to the 22 Hebrew letters and the 12 Signs and 10 planets, including the Sun and Moon.

I am considering teaching my Tarot Workshop as online classes this winter, where I will teach all 22 of these cards, Pathways of Initiation. It is quite a profound journey with a lot of insight and information whether you want to be a Tarot Reader or not In the journey we go from the Universe to the Fool.

If you would be interested in such classes let me know as that may influence my decision as to whether I should offer such a course or not.

Now back to this Major Arcana Card. Those of you who have already endured the experience of one of my 2 hour ‘Tree of Life’ Readings have probably heard me say that wherever one of these Major Arcana cards shows up it indicates where an opening has been made in your soul, in your psyche that has allowed one of these archetypes to come in, to create transformation or initiation, from one level of consciousness to another.

These are all necessary experiences in life although, admittedly, some are more pleasant than others.

The word Hierophant means ‘revealer of things sacred.’ And he has the ability to see into the true nature of the soul, beyond the actions/reactions of the personality, gaining thereby, a transpersonal consciousness and an unconditional love.

So it looks like the Red contingency is going to be doing some deep ‘soul searching.’ Now, I always tell my clients when they get this card, that this isn’t necessarily a mellow experience.

I am not sure if you can see clearly in the images above, but when you look at the face of the Hierophant on this card at first he seems kind and beneficent and smiling, but then he can seem mysterious, like he is smiling at a secret joke. He can even seem sinister.

The truth is, the Hierophant loves you, but he knows what he has to put you through to get you where you need to go. In the ancient Mystery Schools of the Mediterranean world, when you submitted yourself to the Hierophant for initiation, you knew you would be transformed by the experience. You did not know whether you would survive in a physical body or not.

I would venture to say that it is only the transpersonal consciousness of the Hierophant, knowing the true needs of your soul, and not just the desires and anxieties of your personality that would enable him to put candidates through such an experience.

That, however, looks like the kind of deep soul searching the Red contingency of the Nation is going to be going through in the times ahead.

I would say they can double down and use the Princess of Cups to blur the rough edges of those pressures and live in their own dream world. Or they can get it together and make a new beginning in relation to reality as it is.

And now for the Reading for the Blue Contingency of the United States of America:

Where they are now: The Aeon (center)

This is another of the Major Arcana Cards. The author of my deck has transformed both the name and the image of the card from its traditional name and image. Traditionally this card is called: Judgment. And it shows angels blowing their trumpets and people getting out of their graves, i.e. the ‘Resurrection.’

The card corresponds to the planet Pluto, and to the Hebrew letter Shin, which is associated with the element of fire. To me this card is a Plutonian Fire Baptism, burning away your previous identity of who you thought you were, so you can be who you really are.

In particular it burns away the thought that you are ‘the thinker,’ i.e. the voice inside your head talking. In this initiation you come to realize that that is not who you are. That is nothing but a computer. Your true being, your true consciousness, is beyond rational thought.

In light of the card representing where the Blue contingency has been in the past we will see that this is a really good and necessary process.

But first to position 2:

The Challenge or Blockage: The Magus (top)

Yet another Major Arcana initiation card. The Magus or The Magician is the initiation that works in two ways. In one way it is where you must seek to know what is your true identity, purpose and will, and through that you discover the true identity, purpose and will of Life or God.

The other way it works is where you must seek to know what is the true identity, purpose and will of Life or God, and through that you discover your own true identity, purpose and will, because at that level they are one and the same, and that is when you can do the real ‘Magic’ you are here to do.

To put it simply the Blue contingency is being asked to really discover who they really are. The urgency of doing this will become apparent as we look at the next three cards.

What can help: 7 of Disks-Failure (bottom)

When I was living in Europe in the 80’s I had to buy a new Tarot Deck and I ended up with a German version of my deck with German names on the cards. Now I have come to really appreciate my German deck. The reason for that is that, with my deck, sometimes the name of the card doesn’t really convey what the card means. Having a German deck most people can’t read the name ahead of time and have to wait until I am ready to give them my interpretation.

With the 7 of Disks I say to my clients that this card is not a totally bad card, but it won’t sound so good. It is called Failure. Doesn’t sound so good does it? But it is a particular situation. It corresponds to Saturn in Taurus. Taurus is the month of May, when the leaves are green, the flowers are blooming, the birds are singing, and everyone is in love.

Saturn is the planet of limitation, restriction, karma, and lessons, and here Saturn has come into the month of May and has turned all the leaves black and dead and dying. But, the only reason there is a sense of Failure is because of the awareness of the potential for the month of May, which is not being fully lived or realized. But there wouldn’t be the feeling of Failure if there wasn’t the awareness of that potential.

So, how does this help the Blue contingency? This is my take on it. First of all, it is a warning. If we don’t meet the challenge of the Magus and get to our true purpose and that of Life or God we are going to end up with this unfulfilled potential.

Because we, myself included in the Blue contingency, can feel the potential of some real power to make changes in this time of potential ‘rebound’ from the horrors of the Trump Presidency. And acknowledging the incredible failure of unfulfilled potential that we would feel if we don’t cash in on that potential can help to inspire us to get our act together.

This is something incredibly important for us to recognize in light of where we seem to be heading. But first, let’s look at where we have been in the past:

The Past: Queen of Swords (left)

This is another of those ‘Court Cards,’ the personalities based on fear. The Queen of Swords corresponds to the lower aspect of the Astrological sign Libra, which in my Readings, I am always quick to acknowledge happens to be my Sign.

Now Libra is always right. It’s true. Even when they are wrong. I always say: “You can ask my ex-wife.”

The Queen of Swords is very intelligent and perceptive and has great qualities of logic and rational analyzing intellect. But she is based on fear, such that she relies too much on her rational analyzing intellect, not trusting a higher guidance or deeper intuitive feeling. In such case she can not only fool other people with her rationalizing intellect, she can even fool herself. That is why Libra is always right even when they are wrong. They say we make good lawyers.

So that is where the Left has been for some time I would say. Intelligent and perceptive but still coming from fear and not really allowing higher spiritual wisdom to infuse our soul and being in our service to our fellow men (and women). Even though we sound really smart.

Now that rational analyzing intellect is being ‘burned away’ by a Plutonian Fire Baptism. I would say that this is happening because the stakes, at this time, are so high.

The question is, and always is, how to we go from here?

Well, where we seem to be heading doesn’t look so great:

The Possible Future: Princess of Wands (right)

Another ‘Court Card’ and thus returning to inhabit another stretch of that river in Egypt we call: ‘Denial.’

The Princess of Wands is leaping naked in a surging flame, pulling a tiger by the tail. She is very ambitious, with great aspirational fiery will energy. But, (there is always a ‘but’ with these cards) she is based on fear such that she is very impatient of opposition. She does not like things to get in her way. Even within her own self.

With my clients I usually follow the above with: “She can be a little B, I, T, C, H, Y.

So, my Blue contingency comrades, I think we can already see the potential and some current manifestations of this. I would say this is not only impatience with the incredible opposition and power structure of the Republican Party and their corporate backers, but also between the Progressive and Moderate Wings of the Democratic Party itself.

If you want a good current example of this go listen to the ‘This American Life’ NPR episode called: “It’s My Party and I’ll Try If I Want To.”

The fact is, if we remain at the personality, fear-based level, and continue to see all foes, blue and red, in the guise of ‘we and they’ and don’t rise above the personality/reactive level and get in touch with our true purpose, will, identity, and magic, then we are going to get bitchy and possibly end up with failure.

I would say that this is the challenge and warning for the Blue Contingency even if they sweep both Houses of Congress in the Mid-Term elections.

And now the ‘White Reading’ for the Nation as a whole:

Where we are now: 5 of Disks-Worry (center)

This card shows five, heavy, lead disks that grind and grate against each other, feeling ‘stuck’ with great tension, with the feeling that nothing can be done to change it. If change is to come it has to come from a whole other level and dimension.

Rather obvious. Need I say more?

The Challenge or Blockage: Art (top)

This, again, is a card whose traditional name has been changed. Traditionally this card is called ‘Temperance.’ The ‘Art’ referred to here is actually the spiritual art of Alchemy, which is for transforming the lead of the Lower Self into the gold of the Higher Self.

This card portrays a phase in the process, where you have to join together the fire and water of your self, the hard and the soft, the dominating and the nurturing. The ability to give and the need to receive. To work on wherever you are out of balance there.

This card corresponds to the higher aspect of the Astrological sign Sagittarius. Hilarion* says that someone born with the Sun in Sagittarius is someone who has developed qualities of honesty, integrity and a moral righteousness.

Their challenge in this life is to not let their devotion to honesty hurt other people by saying things without thinking first. As I say it, they are subject to what I call: “Foot in mouth disease.”

I often, however, refer Sagittarian clients to this card, telling them that traditionally it is called Temperance. But the message here is that the fires of truth must always be tempered by the waters of compassion. Because it is true that compassion without truth is ineffective. But truth without compassion burns. It has to be balanced and integrated.

So America, that is our challenge.

What can help: Death (bottom)

Yes, some dying would be really good for us.

This is the initiation that corresponds to the Higher Aspect of the Astrological sign Scorpio. Basically, this is the death of the attachment of your identity to your old emotional patterns of feeling, and desire and identity so that you can connect to the deeper inner heart feelings of your Higher Self. A kind of Death and Rebirth.

And America, this card wouldn’t be here if you didn’t have the ability to do it.

Where we have been in the Past: The Prince of Cups (left)

This ‘Court Card’ is actually the lower, personality aspect of the Astrological sign Scorpio. He has an appearance of calmness, relaxedness and imperturbability, but for whom that is really a mask, hiding what underneath are the most intense emotions and passions and fears and anxieties. He is not as ‘cool, calm and collected,’ as he looks. He is stuffing it. And this is something one can do not only with other people, we can also do that with ourselves, to appear calmer than we actually are.

With this card I would say that that Americans have known for sometime that things are not really going well but we have been stuffing the full emotional impact of that. Now, with the 5 of Disks, we just feel ‘stuck’.

And the next question is: Where are we going from here?:

The Possible Future: 9 of Disks: Gain (right)

This is a good card, and believe me, there are a lot of ‘yucky’ cards in the deck you can get. This is a steady growth and gain, moving ahead step by step, in grounded relation to reality as it is.

So it looks like we are heading towards some steady progress out of the ‘stuckness’ of the 5 of Disks. The initiations of Art and Death will remain our challenge and what can help us as we move along but it does look like we are moving into a bit more of a positive phase.

So, those are the July 4th Birthday Readings I am taking time out to share with you on this holiday.

I hope you enjoyed reading about them as much as I enjoyed doing and writing about them.

I do pray for us all to rise to the positive challenges that we all have set before us at this time.

Steffan Vanel