Charles & Diana
The Inside Story
An Astrological-Karmic View


I met Steffan Vanel eight years ago when I attended a writing workshop he was teaching called “Mining the Archetypes. In the class Steffan taught a method in which a writer can use a Tarot reading to develop a story. As a writer and writing teacher myself, I was fascinated by the way Steffan used an ancient, mystical art to engage the creative imagination. I had never been schooled in the ancient sciences and this workshop opened my eyes to an expanded awareness of spiritual phenomena. I followed up the writing course with an personal Astrological reading and was, quite frankly, blown away by the level of interpretation Steffan gave me of my life.

In short, Steffan is a gifted Astrologer. He has been at his profession for over 30 years, combining a wealth of experience with keen insight and intuition. I had heard that a reading with Steffan was the equivalent of six months of therapy and my experience validated this claim. Steffan’s reading offered me insight into the essential purpose and meaning of my existence on Earth.

But even more important, Steffan is a good teacher. He has the capacity to translate his extensive knowledge of highly esoteric systems and apply them to ordinary life. He brings larger-than-life cosmic ideas down to Earth. He can communicate his understanding of the archetypes through which the soul speaks into language that makes sense to the uninitiated.

When I read Charles and Diana: The Inside Story, I began to understand the essential heart of the world’s beloved princess. I began to understand the meaning of the struggles she faced, the joy she took in her children, the heartbreak she felt over her failed marriage, her pain over a suffering world. I began to understand how she overcame her personal sorrow and transmuted her pain into fuel for good works. Through redeeming herself from her own suffering, she was able to give the world a great gift. I began to understand why she is revered for her generosity and charitable contribution to the world.

We live in a time of the reemergence of ancient spiritual sciences. The great truths of our existence long buried in the ruins of ancient, lost civilizations are surfacing once again. Astrology is one such system. There are few ancient cultures on Earth whose wise ones did not trace the movements of the Heavens and discern elegant, majestic, patterned evidence of a higher intelligence and larger purpose for our lives. All the ancient high cultures studied the planets and the stars and discovered within their cycles and movements a language, a code, a complex system of patterns and relationships that once understood, communicate the answers to life’s most profound questions. Why are we here? What is our purpose? How can we serve the advancement of civilization? How can our lives be blessed?

As I read Steffan’s book, I not only began to understand Diana, but I began to understand Astrology as well. I began to see that Astrology is not a method of predicting the future, but of understanding the magnitude and importance of our life’s purpose. Steffan’s analysis of Diana’s life offers a quite transcendent view. It elevates her life into a higher perspective and thereby elevates us all.

The technique of Astrology involves elaborate and intricate calculations and is anything but simple for the uninitiated to understand. But Steffan makes it accessible and understandable. Indeed, after reading Steffan’s book, many, many things finally make sense. He demonstrates the profound usefulness of Astrology in understanding the lessons our souls are here to learn.

But Steffan’s brand of Astrology is more than merely transcendent. It is also a study of the karmic affliction of the soul. He examines in depth the karmic lessons Diana’s soul agreed to work on during her lifetime. From Steffan’s analysis, Diana emerges as an imminently human figure who struggles in the alchemical mix of existence along with the rest of us. It is through the frailty of her character, the conflict she suffers within her own ego identity that we are most able to relate to her.

Much of Diana’s karma surrounds her experience of relationship, so it is with Charles that she worked on her most troublesome issues. Charles’ chart, as well, is treated by Steffan and their Astrological karma is, of course, conflictual as well as complementary. According to Steffan, Diana and Charles were perfect for each other in light of what they came to Earth to learn in this lifetime.

Thus, it is with deep respect for the immortal souls of both Charles and Diana, with compassion for the roles they played with each other and the roles they played on the world stage for us that Steffan tells us their royal story in a brand new way. Steffan gives us a celestial view and it is from this vantage point that we see their lives acted out as archetypes on a world stage, their roles assumed on behalf of our collective evolution. Throughout history, we have looked to royalty to lead us in our advancement, and through Steffan’s interpretation of her life, we find that Diana, true to her royal heritage, continues to lead us into a new era.

As I write this I am returning from the first annual Global Women’s Leadership Conference in the United Arab Emirates. Sponsored by Zayed University, the women’s college in Dubai, the groundbreaking conference was attended by seven hundred fifty women from forty different countries. Women from all over the world, from every color and creed congregated to reflect on the nature of leadership, women’s leadership in particular. At the conference’s initiation a short film was shown in tribute to important female leaders. Images of Indira Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Hilary Clinton, Mother Theresa, Margaret Thatcher and a host of other renowned women flashed upon the screen. Near the end of the film an image of Princess Diana appeared, a photo of her visiting a children’s hospital. Spontaneous applause erupted throughout the room–the only time during the film this happened. I was at first surprised that an audience of young women, most of whom were under the age of 25, even knew who Diana was. After all, she has been dead for nearly 8 years. But just as surprising is that the audience was not British, but wholly international. Why, after so many years, does Diana’s legacy continue to evoke such a passionate response?

Now that the three-day conference is over, the strength of Diana’s appeal has become more apparent to me. In an international audience of women, the struggles of all women at this point in history began to emerge. The roles of women are changing and expanding at a rapid rate. Our responsibilities for home and work are growing. We are raising families while trying to lead the larger world into a new vision. We love our children but ultimately want to make a larger contribution with our lives.

Eventually, a style of leadership that is particularly female began to emerge from the shared work of the conference. That style is based on a vision of deep care and compassion, a love of the Earth and her people, a style of leadership that strives to express itself in the sustainable nurturance of the whole human family. As much as anyone else in recent history Diana, with her open spirit, her great personal warmth and charitable gift to humanity, exemplifies this very feminine style of leadership. It is because of her archetypal role that she continues to be the Princess of the people.

Martha Quill