My Cards Were Right – I Was Wrong: What does it all mean?

Dear Friends, Clients and Subscribers,

I am actually in China now, and quite busy. I have had some requests, however, to share some thoughts about the recent election results, so I have carved out some time to do so.

I must say, watching the election from here in Dali, a small idyllic city way away in Western China, has made what just happened back in the U.S. seem even more surrealistic.

Obviously, the ‘rigid holding pattern’ my cards had predicted for Hillary Clinton’s feelings the day after the election, and the ‘love’ they predicted for Donald Trump’s feelings, were not amenable to the spin my personal political bias was trying to put on them. I was also uncomfortable being virtually the only Astrologer predicting a Trump win, especially with all of the polls indicating a Clinton victory.

What does it all mean?

Donald Trump & Hillary Clinton

There is so much one can say. We definitely have uncertain times ahead of us. But it seems clear to me the Trump victory is a ‘sign of the times,’ i.e. reflective of the Saturn/Neptune squares of this past year. One can see how people who feel themselves victims (Neptune) feel resentment towards the establishment (Saturn) and are inspired to dissolve (Neptune) that Saturnian status quo structure and put in place their own authoritative strong man (Saturn).

One can see parallels of this around the world: in the British ‘Brexit’ from the authority of the E.U., the rise of various right-wing groups in Europe and specific ‘strong men’ in Eastern Europe and the Philippines.

The dynamic I see involved here is resonant with a travel blog I wrote some years ago from Nepal. Some of you may have read it. The insights that I had shared came from conversations I had had with my Himalayan trekking guide, Yadev. Yadev was a really nice guy and we became good friends during the 10 days of our trek together. At one point I asked him how he felt about the future of Nepal. With a despondent reaction he said “Oh it will go down. There is so much corruption in the government.’ This is, certainly a common refrain in third world nations. But then he surprised me by saying ‘But the people, they expect you to be corrupt. They want you to be corrupt. Even me, if I was a politician, I would be corrupt.’ Now the last part really kind of shocked me because I knew Yadev to be a guy I could trust to be honest, considerate and above board.

The insight that came to me was this: In most tribal societies, untouched by the sentiments of civic duty and social contracts among equal citizens, when they were looking for a tribal leader to help protect them from the other tribes, they were not looking for a civic-minded diplomatic type with a slogan like ‘Stronger Together. ‘ No, they wanted the meanest, bad-ass, self-involved ‘’Alpha’ male. And they were quite willing to overlook some of their personal unpleasantnesses in doing so. It is this archaic ‘tribal spirit’ searching for an alpha male, which was willing to overlook all of the perhaps immoral or unethical components of Donald Trump.

Now as to the sources of this sense of victimhood in the U.S. I’ve listened to a very interesting interview with an Atlantic Magazine journalist, James Fallows, who just spent three years flying his own small plane to small cities around the U.S. In his ‘on the ground’ assessments he really counters many of the reasons being cited for Trump’s popularity. For example, the myth that we are losing manufacturing jobs to Mexico, China and Japan. He said that might have been the case in the early 1990’s. Now, however, most of our (and their) manufacturing jobs are being lost to automation. He saw, however, that most communities have already adapted and moved on with new forms of young start-ups and entrepreneurs. He cited an article to the effect that all Republican congressmen believe the economy is getting worse, except in their own district.

He also made reference to Erie, Pennsylvania, which had a huge Trump rally. Erie is known as one of several ‘gateway’ cities serving as a receptive base for landing and integrating refugee immigrants. With this year’s rhetoric you would think there would likely be a large amount of fear, distrust and resentment towards the Syrian families brought to live there. In interviews with the families and the population at large he actually found none of that.

Seventy percent of the exit polls in this election had people stating that they favored a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

So what explains the discontent? Besides the Neptunian illusion, confusion, and victimhood affecting our Saturnian grasp of reality, I have one last Astrological explanation, and a last sociological, political explanation.

The sociological, political explanation was coined by an author in the phrase ‘The Majoritarian Backlash.’

This author put forth the observation that the previous and present (but dwindling) majority rule of this nation, basically the white race, and in particular, white men, have seen, and can see, the on-going erosion of their privileged position as the dominant force in the political and social culture of the USA, and there is a collective resentment about that decline.

Clearly this is a follow-up to the theme I presented in my last article about the reason for the collective resentment of Hillary Clinton. I would say that it shouldn’t have taken a political genius to see that, after forcing these white males to stretch and try to accommodate a Black President, about the worst thing you could do was to try to shove a female President on them, especially a female as flawed as Hillary Clinton. Hence, the Majoritarian Backlash.

I believe it is this discontent percolating in the collective psyche of this group that made them ready to get fired up about trade, immigration and terrorism when these weren’t really ‘hot button’ issues previously. It’s not too difficult to see the slogan ‘Make America Great Again’ as code for ‘Make America White (and Male dominated) Again.’

This is parallel to the fears in Britain’s own ‘Majoritarian Backlash’ fueling Brexit. And, just as there has been a certain amount of ‘Brexit Remorse’ following the results of their election, I wonder if there isn’t some ‘Trump Remorse’ today, after having pulled the lever in protest, thinking that Hillary would win anyway.

A certain parallel has also been made between what just happened in the U.S. and what happened in post-1916 Weimar Republic Germany. That was a time when cosmopolitan Germans in the metropolitan centers were creating some of the most liberal forms of social democracy. They, however, experienced a backlash in the form of the Nazis, whose early support came largely from provincial, rural areas. Although it has also been pointed out that we must remember that populism is not fascism, at least in the early stages.

Now, I know that Hillary actually won the popular vote and clearly there are flaws in our system. But I don’t begrudge the existence of the Electoral College. If we had only a popular vote the candidates and their campaigning and advertising efforts would be focused entirely on the population centers of New York, California, Illinois and Texas. The rest of the nation would be basically irrelevant.

Now, I will end with an Astrological explanation derived from the U.S. chart. This is in reference to our Mars in the Seventh House, the house of relationships, giving rise to an experience of likely conflict and aggression in relationships and a tendency to ‘rush into battle’ when opposed, being square to our natal Neptune, making that Mars subject to illusion, confusion, delusion, victimhood and martyrdom.

USA Chart
USA Chart

I have written about this extensively in my book, and in subsequent articles over the years. For example, when Pluto was conjuncting the Neptune and squaring Mars we were in the delusionary military engagement of Vietnam. When I saw Pluto moving towards a square to Neptune and an opposition to Mars starting in 2003, I predicted the likely emergence of a similarly Vietnam-like manifestation. That of course was the War in Iraq.

When Pluto was activating this during the 1960’s it became characterized by the phrase ‘Hawks (Mars) and Doves (Neptune). Now, I was certainly a dove at the time and remain largely so today. But, as I said in my book, if I were counseling an individual with this same difficult aspect in their chart, I would say: ‘You need to heal and integrate this tension.’ This perspective has led me to feel that, karmically, the U.S. has to do the same. We obviously can’t just do Mars; send in the military, with no Neptune, i.e. no compassion or sensitivity to the reality of the people we are dealing with. But, by the same token, I am of the belief that we can’t just do Neptune without acknowledging there are occasionally times for an appropriate expression of Mars. The trick is to have it truly integrated and not either/or.

George W. Bush was obviously way too Mars. Obama has really tried to bring in Neptune and dissolve and melt away from those Martial wars started by George W., but, by my own assessment, as much as I appreciate and stand behind many of the efforts of Barack Obama, I do think he was too Neptune. I believe he should have stayed much more engaged with what we had created in Iraq, at least diplomatically, if not militarily having left some stabilizing troops there. Instead of disengaging virtually entirely and giving Prime Minister Maliki full sway at suppressing Sunni Muslims thus creating a more fertile ground for ISIS.

And, perhaps Obama could have done more to support moderate Syrians when there were still some around that could be distinguished from the Islamists.

Hillary actually seems to be, to my taste, a little too much on the Hawkish side of things, but she would have been a continuing effort to work on balance and integration of this. However, an animus-possessed woman in a pantsuit was just not Mars enough for Trump supporters hungry for a real martial alpha male warrior.

I think we saw the same phenomenon in the loss of Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan. My Kabbalah teacher, who always spoke of the balancing integration of the Tree of Life, said that because of this eternal back and forth movement of the pendulum, societies will always have a certain amount of ebb and flow between the conservative and liberal view points.

As to my liberal, progressive comrades, it is obvious that when we have a Republican President we do get much more seriously engaged. When we have a Democratic President we tend to just whine and criticize, or spin self-indulgent cocoons of conspiracy theories such that it doesn’t matter whom you vote for.

This is another factor as to why Hillary lost. Neither Hillary nor Trump received as many votes as Mitt Romney did when he lost the election in 2012. Lots of Democrats didn’t vote.

In an interview before the election with one of our great progressive champions, Noam Chomsky, he said any vote not made for Hillary is a vote for Trump. That this is just arithmetic. You can say you are going to vote your conscience but you can’t cancel the factual reality of arithmetic. And the danger of a Trump Presidency is such that you don’t really have a conscience if you don’t vote for Hillary but are just indulging in your own personal feelings.

As I have said in the past, the Sagittarian Ascendant of the U.S., giving rise to a tendency towards ‘seeing oneself as upright, honest and morally strong, whether true or not,’ is not limited to the Right Wing. We are all, in the U.S., prone to that kind of self-righteous ‘know-it-all ness.’

That Sagittarian self-image was getting hit pretty hard this past year. Next year it appears to be worse. And, as I said in my last article, the inauguration chart is also pretty challenging. More about those things later.

In the meantime, may we pray that there can be as much openings as possible in the consciousness and conscience of Donald Trump, and enough truly inspired strength and vision in those who oppose him, to mitigate as much as possible the potential harm that could happen to our society and the individuals within it, and to our fragile planet.

Steffan Vanel