A Rebalancing of the Scales of Power

Tonight at 6:55 pm, here in Pacific Coast Time, the point of balance, of days of light equaling nights of darkness, will be reached as the Sun enters into the sign of Libra, the sign of the Scales at the Autumn Equinox.

On Monday we will have the annual Sun in Libra opposition to the Moon in Aries Full Moon. This will take place in the 3rd degrees of those signs.

The Sabian Symbol for the 3rd degree of Libra is:


I do feel we are facing a new dawn, a ‘watershed moment’, especially here in the U.S. but globally as well. It feels like a shift involving a re-balancing of the scales of power.

Here is a quote from the Bulgarian Spiritual Master Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov from his book, ‘Cosmic Balance-The Secret of Polarity’ regarding the sign Libra:

“Libra is the seventh sign on the zodiacal belt. Why, you may wonder, are there scales in the heavens and what do these scales teach us? Libra is the only sign of the zodiac that does not represent a living being – human or animal. And it is not just any inanimate object, it is an instrument of precision that serves to weigh things. It is as though it were there with its two pans to maintain a state of equilibrium between the powers of darkness and light, of life and death. Libra is preceded by Virgo, the maiden carrying a sheaf of wheat, and followed by Scorpio, the animal whose sting can cause death. This opposition is again underscored by the fact that Venus is the ruling planet in Libra while Saturn is exalted. Saturn and Venus – what a partnership! Venus, a young woman seen as the incarnation of grace, of harmonious relationships, of pleasure, and Saturn, the austere old man who is most at home in solitude and who reaps lives with his scythe.

Libra, the Scales of the zodiac, is a reflection of cosmic balance, of the equilibrium between the two opposite and complementary principles, thanks to which the universe came into being and continues to exist.”

To me there is an obvious air of a rebalancing of the Scales taking place now. The one obvious global event facing rebalancing is in the relationship between the lay membership of the Catholic Church and the traditional authoritative structure of the Church in the wake of yet further revelations of sexual scandal.

The most obvious symbolic event taking place here in the U.S., is the archetypal tension and debate taking place this weekend in relation to the confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh for an appointment to serve on the Supreme Court. Clearly we have here the entrenched male patriarchy of a completely male Republican Judiciary Committee, itself aligned with perhaps the most insensitive, anti-feminine President in our history on one side, and the alleged victim of attempted rape, her female lawyers, and other female defenders on the other side.

Of course, for those of us old enough to remember, this is like a replay of the Anita Hill hearing in regards to the confirmation of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court.

Times are different now, however. Not only were there no women on either the Democratic or Republican side of the Senate Judiciary Committee then, whereas now the Democrats at least have three, but there is also the obviously still reverberating shake ups of the #metoo and #timesup movements, which I have heard described as “The opening of an old heavy stone door which can never close again.”

Astrologically the U.S. is now experiencing transiting Saturn (sometimes called ‘The Lord of Karma’), moving through our First House of Self-Image, opposing our natal Venus, the planet with the female symbol, which is in the watery, emotional sign of Cancer, the sign of the Mother, and that Venus is in our Seventh House of Relationships. Saturn is in the sign of Capricorn, the sign of the Father.

This Saturn/Venus opposition is taking place this year in the 3rd degrees of Capricorn and Cancer, hence they are exactly square to the Sun at 3 degrees of Libra and the Moon at 3 degrees of Aries in this Monday’s Full Moon, effectually a ‘Grand Cross’ of tension.

Now, regarding Astrological tensions, I like to quote noted Astrologer Liz Greene, who said: “The planets hit and it is always to learn a lesson. We can do that gracefully, or we can do that kicking and screaming.” To which I like to add the saying: “Pain is necessary, suffering is optional.”

It does seem likely that on Monday some kind of decision may be announced, which could set a certain path and determination for how things are going to go for Brett Kavanaugh.

The Tarot Card that corresponds to the higher aspect of the sign Libra is traditionally called Justice. This is an Initiation where you must face the Goddess of Justice, who is insisting that you place every thought, every feeling, every action on the Scales, for each one to be weighed, balanced, judged and assessed as to where is it really coming from. Is it coming from your love and faith in your self and life and the Divine? Or is it coming from your fear and lack of faith in your self, and life and the Divine?

This Initiation serves as a deep reckoning but brings you to a much deeper self-awareness.

The most prominent presence of the Goddess of Justice in our U.S. governmental structure is, in fact the statues of her at the U.S. Supreme Court.

If the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh takes place, which still seems the most likely scenario, the backlash and political empowerment of women in particular, which is already taking place, will receive a dramatic, potent push towards actualizing the ‘DAWN OF A NEW DAY,’ which will eventually change the political landscape of this country for some time to come.

Having Brett Kavanaugh’s face on the Supreme Court will serve as a continuing inspiration to that movement.

And if the female power succeeds in tumbling Brett Kavanaugh from power, that will also serve to embolden and inspire this movement.

Right now Brett Kavanaugh is having one of the most intense Astrological periods of his life. Transiting Neptune is in opposition to his natal Pluto.

Pluto is where you have agreed to go through complete ‘death/rebirth’ transformation, of which you have no choice, to avoid it is to invite disaster. And Neptune is the planet of complete surrender and vulnerability.

We don’t know in what houses these planets are karmically engaging him, as we don’t have an accurate birth time for him, but here is what Astrologer Robert Hand has to say about the general effect of Neptune opposing your Pluto in his book: ‘Planets in Transit’:

“You will (also) encounter forces that try to reveal aspects of your life that you have long kept hidden from yourself. Initially you will probably resist these revelations, believing that they cannot teach you anything very constructive. A transit like this often reveals aspects of ourselves that we have been taught to consider evil or at least negative. …There will be much psychological compulsiveness at this time, but the less you resist facing yourself, the less difficulty you will have.”

I would say, no matter how this plays out, Brett Kavanaugh will be facing the Goddess of Justice for some time to come.

I have stated previously that Donald Trump himself is the symbolic epitome of the immature, unevolved masculine identity and, I believe, he has been ‘set-up’ to represent the archetypal death of this identity, whose time has clearly passed.

As the wise spiritual leader the Dalai Lama (born in the motherly sign of Cancer) stated: “The world will be saved by the Western Woman.”

As a last side-note, another poignant, symbolic, archetypal drama depicting the death of the old patriarchal mind set will be the first actual imprisonment (also Saturnian) of an accused male abuser of power over women, in the wave of female accusations of such men, as we will witness the sentencing of Bill Cosby this week.

For Bill Cosby, he probably knows this is his last weekend of freedom and he has no escape from the judgment of the Goddess of Justice at this point.

And, may all of us men, who may still harbor even small seeds of selfish, immature masculine prerogative take heed, and grow up.

Steffan Vanel

* Astrology Plus by Hilarion, the book which I am always quoting from and has been out of print for some time, is now available as an EBook on Amazon.

* Nations can be found here

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

Uranus entering Taurus

As I mentioned in my May forecast, Uranus entered Taurus on the 15th for the first time in 84 years, and will remain there, with brief interludes into neighboring signs, until 2026. So clearly we are looking at a longer collective, global influence here.

Now, I always pay attention to any symbolic events which may take place at the time of an outer planet moving into a new sign as an indication of the new energy field we are moving into.

Uranus itself is the planet of sudden change out of the blue which you don’t expect. It can create ruptures and accidents, but its true purpose is to serve as a liberator from old patterns which have outlived their purpose. It was discovered in 1781, at the end of the American Revolution and on the eve of the French Revolution.

Taurus is an earth sign and there are two things I noticed relating to surprise earth changes around this time of the entry of Uranus into Taurus. One was the sudden eruption of the volcano in Hawaii.

The other took place within hours of Uranus entering Taurus last Tuesday. That was the passage of the unusually large Asteroid 2010WC9 making an unusually close flyby of the Earth. According to EarthSky.org: this was “one of the closest approaches ever observed of an asteroid of this size.”

Now Taurus is also related to money and finances and most Astrologer’s predictions are oriented towards those areas of influence, and indeed, if we look back at previous time periods in history when Uranus was in Taurus, we can see these periods did involve a lot of sudden changes in financial realities.

The most recent time periods were 1934 – 1942 – the deepening of the Great Depression, Roosevelt’s implementation of the New Deal, but also the rise of fascism and the outbreak of World War II.

1850 – 1859 – During this period there was ‘The Panic of 1857’ considered to be the world’s first worldwide economic crisis, but also an outbreak of revolutions and the spread of communist ideology in many nations in Europe.

In America, in 1884, we had the establishment of the Republican Party, whose purpose at that time was to serve as a vehicle for anti-slavery sentiments, leading to the eventual election of President Lincoln and the Civil War.

1767 – 1775 – The Industrial Revolution gets into full swing, the original Boston ‘Tea Party’ and the outbreak of the American Revolution, and, as a prelude to the anti-slavery sentiments arising in the 1850 – 1859 period; Rhode Island becomes the first state to prohibit the importation of slaves. And slavery is outlawed in Britain in this period.

I often feel, however, that most Astrologers don’t fully understand Taurus. Here is what Hilarion* says about someone born with the Sun in Taurus:

The Taurus individual has, at the soul level, a deep understanding of the meaning of love. This is attested to by the rulership of Venus over this sign. The grasp of the right approach to love and its true meaning is again a kind of gift which the soul has given itself — in this case, as a result of an incarnation in which a self-sacrificing love was cherished for another, usually without being fully returned. This act of selfless devotion allows the soul to tap deeply into a wellspring of pure love at a very high spiritual plane, which constantly feeds into the soul a great capacity for love and affection. Again, along with the gift comes a responsibility. In the case of Taurus, the task is to learn to express the love side unconditionally, simply allowing the affection to flow into and through the personality without damming it up, and without attaching conditions to the giving of affection. If there is any damming up or restriction of the affectional impulses, a problem arises due to the desire of this abundance of love to find a suitable object. Denied an external abject, i.e. another person or persons, the love will usually lavish itself upon the individual’s own physical body with its senses the primary focus. It is from this process that the oft-quoted tendency for self-indulgence in the Taurus stems. Another difficulty can also arise if the nature of suppressive habits in the Taurus individual is such as to prevent the thwarted affectiona1 urges from expressing through self-indulgence. In such instances, it is possible for the love to center not on another individual but on possessions or money. This can occur when in the early childhood there was little physical affection shown by the parents. Thus, in the case of Taurus, the task at the personality level is to express love, without allowing the affectional urges to manifest as self-indulgence or an over-stressing of money or possessions.

So clearly the main emphasis here is that this Venus-ruled sign has a deep understanding of the meaning of love at a very high spiritual plane. The fixation on sensuality, money and possessions is simply that love, when it can’t go out, is trying to come back in.

In my research I’ve noticed a fair number of dictators are all Taurus. Saddam Hussein was a Taurus. Hitler was a Taurus. Lenin was a Taurus. Emperor Hirohito in Japan during World War II was a Taurus. And we know they must have had some quality of love to be able to inspire their followers like that, but they have this problem with desiring possessions, like other people’s countries.

As noted earlier, when Uranus was last in Taurus we saw the rise of Fascism around the world.

The emphasis that I recognize in these previous historical periods, however, are not only financial changes but often financial changes forcing economic instituted realities which are not serving in a compassionate way the needs of those oppressed or unfairly treated, to be overthrown, whether that be slavery, the British taxation of the American Colonies, or the lack of government involvement towards those suffering from the Depression prior to Roosevelt.

Behind the economic changes is a need for greater love and compassion for one’s fellow man as manifest within economic realities.

This, my friends, is what I believe we have to look forward to in the years ahead. During the previous years of Uranus in Aries, 2011 – 2018, people felt the dynamic fiery will of Aries combined with the revolutionary spirit of Uranus to overturn things and fight for what they want, whether that was the Arab Spring, British ‘Brexit,’ or Donald Trump.

Now, the Uranus in Taurus energies is where some actual concrete financial structural changes are likely to really take hold. And, it seems that when this revolutionary spirit to transform economic realities manifests, and is stimulating fear and hate rather than love and compassion, it has, and can now, lead to a new rise of fascistic tendencies taking concrete hold of material economic realities.

The recent Uranus in Aries revolutionary spirit, however, also brought about the surprise, never expected, success of Bernie Sanders. I do feel that there is the potential for this Uranus in Taurus period to open the way and inspire a completely new ‘New Deal’ and a transformation of the huge divide between the 1% and the 99%.

Indeed, on May 5th 1818, during the month of Taurus, we have the birth of Karl Marx the founder of communist/socialist ideology. So we can assume that behind his economic theories, which may have been a bit materially focused, was a quality of love at a high spiritual level.

In 2020, in addition to Uranus being in the earth sign Taurus, we are also going to have a triple conjunction of Pluto, Jupiter, and Saturn in Capricorn, another earth sign and also related to financial structures.

Obviously, here in America this coincides with the next Presidential election, where I believe the dangers, and the potential, will be tremendous. I pray that we choose wisely.

Steffan Vanel

*Astrology Plus by Hilarion, the book which I am always quoting from and has been out of print for some time, is now available as an EBook on Amazon.

Parkland High School

The Rebirth of the Soul of America or the New Sparta?

I stated earlier this year that I was going to examine and write some things about what I see happening, Astrologically and otherwise, for the United States at this time. I tend to wait, however, until some dramatic current event drives me to want to look closely at the Astrologcial ‘weather’ and to share those insights with you.

Well, the recent Parkland High School shooting and the responses to it, especially the student inspired #neveragain movement, has been one of those times.

I knew that all this year the planet Neptune was squaring the self-image of the United States, that is its Rising Sign or Ascendant in Sagittarius. I’ve spoken and written about this self-image of ourselves at critical points in the past, most especially noting that Pluto, the planet of complete transformation of which you have no choice, was less than one degree from that Ascendant on September 11, 2001, for the first time since our birth in 1776.

The sign Sagittarius on the Ascendant gives a love of adventure and travel, and a youthful enthusiasm, but also, according to Hilarion*:

This sign rising will tend to make the individual see himself as upright, honest and morally strong, whether true or not.

I am reminded of something the noted Astrologer Steven Forrest once said describing Sagittarius, something to the effect of: “Not always right but never in doubt.”

Saturn was conjuncting our Sagittarian Ascendant during the election year of 2016, hardening people into their own Sagittarian ideological camps. Neptune was also already in tension with that Ascendant at the same time in 2016, which may be attributed to the confusion and the sense of ‘victimhood’ often cited for the motivations of a large number of Trump supporters. There was a lot of Neptunian victim/test of faith on the left as well of course.

Saturn is still working on our self-image as he takes two years to go through our 1st House of self-image. It is really Neptune, however, moving through our 3rd House of thinking and communication, which has been making peaks of tension with our, at times, self-righteous and self-deluded Sagittarian self-image this year. The effects of this are obvious in a President who according to the Washington Post: ‘President Trump has made 1,628 false or misleading claims over 298 days.’

And obviously we, on the other side, are experiencing the confused victimhood of having to be vulnerable to such a force at the head of our government and in the branches of government controlled by his party.

With the President’s popularity dipping in the polls, however, we can see that even many of his previous supporters are having a Neptunian ‘test of faith’ and a wavering in their self-assured faith in the rightness and righteousness of their Sagittarian beliefs.

Now, on a more hopeful note, Neptune has also been trining harmoniously with our Sun in Cancer. With this there is a glimmer of faith that these new communications (3rd House) coming from the Neptunian ‘victims’ of Parkland students can actually restore a connection and a faith in who we really are and are meant to be as a nation, represented by our Sun in the caring, nurturing protective sign Cancer.

This is part of a very long-term process. During the whole second half of this year Saturn will be opposing all of the U.S. planets in Cancer, and triggering our Sun/Saturn Square in the process. The Sun/Saturn Square relates to the incredible polar tension in this nation, a polarizing tension which at one time brought us to a Civil War. To put it mildly, the Mid-term elections are likely to get pretty nasty.

Now the Parkland High School Shooting took place the day before the Solar Eclipse. The Eclipse was in Aquarius, conjunct to the Moon in Aquarius in the Astrological Birthchart of the United States. The ‘Great American Eclipse’ of last summer was opposite to that Moon in Aquarius, making this a ‘bookend’ event, of a focus upon our need to really come together as one human Aquarian family. Something we have done in the past but are sorely lacking now. The Parkland shooting and the reactions to it reveal this difficulty and confront us with the need to allow something to die and be reborn, the symbolic request of an Eclipse.

The chart for the Parkland Shooting event has Neptune in the Sagittarian 9th House of moral courage and belief system.

On the day of the shooting it was squaring Mars in Sagittarius, becoming exact three days later. That same Mars was exactly conjunct to the U.S. Sagittarian Ascendant two days after the shooting.

This, I believe, is the birth of a new movement, coming out of a sense of victimhood, inspiring a call to action fueled by Sagittarian honesty and moral courageous outrage.

For those of you who remember, or are aware of, the deaths of four students during the Anti-Vietnam War protests at Kent State University in Ohio in 1970, I would say that, for this younger generation, the Parkland High School is their Kent State Moment.

Kent State was when large numbers of young people who may have previously been on the fence about how actively engaged to be about what was going on in the political reality of the nation knew they had to get off of the fence.

Hearing the Parkland student Cameron Kasky calling out Marco Rubio for his acceptance of NRA contributions definitely reminded me of the political fervor of 1970. Rubio’s rebuttal also reminded me of the intractable forces we were facing in 1970 as well. We had Richard Nixon as our President at that time.

The students at the Parkland High School were born around the time of the Columbine High School mass Shooting in Colorado and have grown up with mass shootings with assault weapons and school drills to prepare for such events. I somehow feel a parallel with my generation growing up with the fear of being shipped off to Vietnam.

Of course then, as now, there were regressive right wing forces bitterly opposed to what we were fighting for. We wanted to end the War and others wanted to ‘Nuke Hanoi.’

It is to be noted as well that many of the young students affected by this new student movement emerging from Parkland High School are not yet old enough to vote, as was the case with many students and soldiers sent to fight in Vietnam.

When I heard Donald Trump’s proposal to have concealed weapons carried by teachers I came up with the metaphor of the US moving into being reborn as ‘The New Sparta.” Sparta the city-state in ancient Greece described in this way:

Sparta was unique in ancient Greece for its social system and constitution, which configured their entire society to maximize military proficiency at all costs, and completely focused on military training and excellence.

It seems that the next logical move in the militarization of our schools in the new United States of Sparta following Trump’s proposal being enacted, would be, for those who feel the need to make their own violent statement to the social environment of their respective school communities, to progress to bomb-making capabilities.

I am, however, also aware of one very significant thing going on behind the scenes. It is the fact that the Progressed Sun of the United States, the Progressed Sun indicating the movement of consciousness identity through the chart, has been moving through the sign of Pisces since 2004, and has been moving into harmony with our more emotionally sensitive and caring planets in Cancer.

Now it is also true that our Progressed Sun has also been squaring our Sagittarian self-image, along with Neptune, as Neptune in the sky is also conjuncting our Progressed Sun. Again, this is all easy to recognize in the confusion, fear and lack of faith challenging everyone, on both sides of the political divide at this time.

I just now checked to see when the U.S. Progressed Sun would reach an exact trine of harmony with our Sun in Cancer. Our Sun is at 13 degrees 22 minutes of Cancer. What I saw just now gave me a chill. The exact trine is happening right now. Our Progressed Sun reached 13 degrees 22 minutes on February 23rd. It will be on that exact minute until March 1st.

The noted Astrologer Liz Greene once said that the Progressed planets indicate the movement in consciousness taking place deep within, and the outer ‘transits’ indicate the means by which that movement is taking place.

So I would say take heart my friends. On the deeper level we are returning to a conscious relationship to our caring, devoted Cancerian Soul. The challenging victim/victimizer transits to our Sagittarian self-image is for the death of that false sense of ourselves so we can reconnect to our essence of who we really are and were meant to be.

It also seems clear to me that Trump and his cohorts are an eruption from the American psyche of our Shadow, the darker elements we prefer not to see or recognize. But these shadow elements need to be seen and recognized, understood, stood up to, but ultimately loved, healed and re-integrated.

It is hard in these confusing, vulnerable times, but I am trying and I encourage you as well to, in whatever way you can, try to Keep the Faith!

Of course all we can do in any given moment is to do our best and let the Great Spirit do the rest.

Steffan Vanel

PS: To aid in the endeavor of keeping faith here is what the Ascended Master Hilarion said about America in the book ‘Nations’:

AMERICA has lost her generosity.

Once, when the world was groaning in the aftermath of a great and terrible war, she stood forth with her riches in her hand, offering them freely to those who had been broken by the strife. She did not refuse to give of herself, of her wealth, of her energy and of her love. What Europe has become today is largely a result of the generosity of the American spirit and the ideals of brotherhood which this country has held so high.

But today America has drawn back and has closed the door to other nations. She has sealed herself behind a wall and refuses to offer help to those less fortunate than herself.

This great country must have its rebirth along with all the rest. In many ways she is the greatest nation the earth has ever known. But she is flawed today by a blindness which has crept into her perception of the world. In the terrible years ahead, although she herself will be preserved almost to the end from the full onslaught, she will see with increasing alarm the destruction and the loss which the baser passions of man will bring.

At last, in an agony of the soul, America will again stand forth with her love, to rescue and nurture the peoples of the world whose nations have collapsed and disintegrated in the terrors that man has brought upon himself. By that act she will again and for all time-be purified. In the new age that will dawn for mankind, America will lead the world as a great and burning beacon of truth, of justice, of peace and of purity.