Spiritual Company Newsletter: Vietnam 2.0
by Steffan Vanel December 2006
Dear Friends & Clients,
Yesterday was the day of the presentation to Congress of the conclusions and suggestions of the Iraq study commission. That and President Bush's recent trip to Vietnam have inspired this
I have had many new sign-ups for this newsletter and for their benefit I will re-present some commentary from my book and past newsletters.
In the winter of 2001/2002 I was compiling the first edition of my book which was called "˜The United States of America: A Celestial View," and was published in May of 2002. This book has since been republished with updates and six new chapters as: "˜The Astrological Karma of the USA."
That winter I wrote:
"In my opinion, the most volatile period facing the U.S. in the next several years will be from the end of 2003 until the end of 2006. During this period the planet Pluto, that 'great bringer of change' will be in opposition to our natal Mars placement in the Seventh House, which features our tendency to 'rush into battle when opposed.' During the same time period, Pluto will be squaring our natal Neptune, our potential for illusion, confusion, delusion, victimhood and martyrdom. Looking at these impending Plutonian tensions I can't help but feel
that 2003-2006 is when the really intense tests and trials will hit.
Pluto's approach will reveal how well we learned our lessons from the latter part of the 1960's. That was the last time that Pluto was bearing down on the same sectors of our psyche. In that late Vietnam War period, however, Pluto was 'squaring' Mars, but only 'conjuncting' Neptune, which is a profound but less tense aspect. In 2003-2006, Pluto will be in tension with both Mars and Neptune. Having both of these placements in tense aspect may well cause the insanity and hatred we are subject to in our relationship to the world to rise to a fever pitch. Whatever we did not learn in Pluto's last appearance in the 60's during Vietnam, we will have to face between late 2003 and late 2006.
The positive potential of Pluto's arrival is that it may very well force the death and rebirth of the negative manifestations of Mars and Neptune in our national character. Perhaps we can recognize the limitations of relating to the world through Martian, i.e. military, approaches. Through this Plutonian death/rebirth we will definitely be more connected to the world we live in."
At the time that I wrote those words the U.S. military was still mopping up Afghanistan and there was not yet any talk (publicly) of invading Iraq. When discourse of a possible invasion of Iraq began, I stated that, if we went to war in Iraq it would likely be just like Vietnam. We would go in with Mars, a military solution to everything, and it would become Neptune, a 'quagmire' of confusion, illusion, delusion, victimhood and martyrdom. Sometimes you hate to be right. Clearly the War in Iraq has been the manifestation of these intense Astrological aspects affecting the karmic curriculum of the U.S.
Last summer I wrote a newsletter in which I stated that I had been visiting Vietnam the previous winter and it was almost surrealistic to be in Vietnam, witnessing the lingering effects of the American War there, while hearing the daily reports of carnage in Iraq.
George Bush recently visited Vietnam himself, embellishing the sad and tragic irony between our involvement in Vietnam and our present quagmire. Keith Olbermann of MSNBC gave a very astute critique and rebuttal to the public statements of George W. while he was in Vietnam. I would like to share them with you here:
Lessons From the Vietnam War_ By Keith Olbermann_ MSNBC Countdown
Monday 20 November 2006
Keith Olbermann responds to Bush's comparison between Vietnam and Iraq.
It is a shame and it is embarrassing to us all when President Bush travels 8,000 miles only to wind up avoiding reality again.
And it is pathetic to listen to a man talk unrealistically about Vietnam, who permitted the "Swift-Boating" of not one but two American heroes of that war, in consecutive presidential campaigns.
But most importantly - important beyond measure - his avoidance of reality is going to wind up killing more Americans.
And that is indefensible and fatal.
Asked if there were lessons about Iraq to be found in our experience in Vietnam, Mr. Bush said that there were, and he immediately proved he had no clue what they were.
"One lesson is," he said, "that we tend to want there to be instant success in the world, and the task in Iraq is going to take a while."
"We'll succeed," the president concluded, "unless we quit."
If that's the lesson about Iraq that Mr. Bush sees in Vietnam, then he needs a tutor.
Or we need somebody else making the decisions about Iraq.
Mr. Bush, there are a dozen central, essential lessons to be derived from our nightmare in Vietnam, but "we'll succeed unless we quit," is not one of them.
The primary one - which should be as obvious to you as the latest opinion poll showing that only 31 percent of this country agrees with your tragic Iraq policy - is that if you try to pursue a war for which the nation has lost its stomach, you and it are finished. Ask Lyndon Johnson.
The second most important lesson of Vietnam, Mr. Bush: If you don't have a stable local government to work with, you can keep sending in Americans until hell freezes over and it will not matter. Ask Vietnamese Presidents Diem or Thieu.
The third vital lesson of Vietnam, Mr. Bush: Don't pretend it's something it's not. For decades we were warned that if we didn't stop "communist aggression" in Vietnam, communist agitators would infiltrate and devour the small nations of the world, and make their insidious way, stealthily, to our doorstep.
The war machine of 1968 had this "domino theory."
Your war machine of 2006 has this nonsense about Iraq as "the central front in the war on terror."
The fourth pivotal lesson of Vietnam, Mr. Bush: If the same idiots who told Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon to stay there for the sake of "peace With honor" are now telling you to stay in Iraq, they're probably just as wrong now, as they were then ... Dr. Kissinger.
And the fifth crucial lesson of Vietnam, Mr. Bush - which somebody should've told you about long before you plunged this country into Iraq - is that if you lie your country into a war, your war, your presidency will be consigned to the scrap heap of history.
Consider your fellow Texan, sir.
After Kennedy's assassination, Lyndon Johnson held the country together after a national tragedy, not unlike you did. He had lofty goals and tried to reshape society for the better. And he is remembered for Vietnam, and for the lies he and his government told to get us there and keep us there, and for the Americans who needlessly died there.
As you will be remembered for Iraq, and for the lies you and your government told to get us there and keep us there, and for the Americans who have needlessly died there and who will needlessly die there tomorrow.
This president has his fictitious Iraqi WMD, and his lies - disguised as subtle hints - linking Saddam Hussein to 9/11, and his reason-of-the-week for keeping us there when all the evidence for at least three years has told us we need to get as many of our kids out as quickly as possible.
That president had his fictitious attacks on Navy ships in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964, and the next thing any of us knew, the Senate had voted 88-2 to approve the blank check with which Lyndon Johnson paid for our trip into hell.
And yet President Bush just saw the grim reminders of that trip into hell: the 58,000 Americans and millions of Vietnamese killed; the 10,000 civilians who've been blown up by landmines since we pulled out; the genocide in the neighboring country of Cambodia, which we triggered.
Yet these parallels - and these lessons - eluded President Bush entirely.
And, in particular, the one over-arching lesson about Iraq that should've been written everywhere he looked in Vietnam went unseen.
"We'll succeed unless we quit"?
Mr. Bush, we did quit in Vietnam!
A decade later than we should have, 58,000 dead later than we should have, but we finally came to our senses.
The stable, burgeoning, vivid country you just saw there, is there because we finally had the good sense to declare victory and get out!
The domino theory was nonsense, sir.
Our departure from Vietnam emboldened no one.
Communism did not spread like a contagion around the world.
And most importantly - as President Reagan's assistant secretary of state, Lawrence Korb, said on this newscast Friday - we were only in a position to win the Cold War because we quit in Vietnam.
We went home. And instead it was the Russians who learned nothing from Vietnam, and who repeated every one of our mistakes when they went into Afghanistan. And alienated their own people, and killed their own children, and bankrupted their own economy and allowed us to win the Cold War.
We awakened so late, but we did awaken.
Finally, in Vietnam, we learned the lesson. We stopped endlessly squandering lives and treasure and the focus of a nation on an impossible and irrelevant dream, but you are still doing exactly that, tonight, in Iraq.
And these lessons from Vietnam, Mr. Bush, these priceless, transparent lessons, writ large as if across the very sky, are still a mystery to you.
"We'll succeed unless we quit."
We will succeed against terrorism, for our country's needs, toward binding up the nation's wounds when you quit, quit the monumental lie that is our presence in Iraq.
And in the interim, Mr. Bush, an American kid will be killed there, probably tonight or tomorrow.
And here, sir, endeth the lesson.
The intense Pluto T-square of tension with our aggressive Mars and delusional Neptune, bringing about this 2.0 version of Vietnam, has peaked for the last time, (this time around), in this year of 2006. Earlier I had hoped that the misery and delusion that that T-square was capable of creating would abate after 2006. Now it seems the situation is more akin to the feeling that these transits have enabled us to make our bed, and now we must sleep in it.
It is true that Pluto transits are so intense that the lessons it brings to bear endure for a very long time. That is why the lessons of Vietnam remains enshrined as a black stone gash in the earth of our national capital, and the psyches of us all. It makes me wonder what kind of Plutonian dark underworld memorial they may later create for the War in Iraq.
In commentaries from intelligent experts on the situation in Iraq, which I can only find largely in alternative media sources, it seems that there is very little hope that the agony we have unleashed in Iraq has any real possibility of abating in the foreseeable future. We were clueless of what we were dealing with in Vietnam and we are clueless of what we are dealing with in Iraq.
To those of you who have read my book and earlier newsletters, what I have just shared is, clearly, a more or less rehash of earlier material I have previously presented. There are, however, two things I wish to share now.
One is the evolution of my own personal feelings as I have witnessed these events unfold. I have moved beyond feelings of 'I told you so!' coupled with anger and resentment towards our president and all the Americans who encouraged and supported this tragic venture, to more of a compassion and a hope for realization and redemption of those Americans who, out of their own ignorance, supported this tragedy or, as wimpy democrats, did little or nothing to stop it, who all must now witness and endure the maelstrom of suffering and destruction we have unleashed and are party to, with no end in sight.
In my mind the only possible solution to the situation in Iraq is for the U.S. to go to the United Nations on our knees, to beg for a complete replacement of all American and 'coalition' forces with a UN, predominantly Muslim, peacekeeping force. And we all know that's not going to happen.
The second point I wish to make at this time is that in 2008 Pluto will move from the sign Sagittarius where it has been since 1995, into the sign Capricorn. There are global ramifications of this, which I wrote about in my book and will likely be commenting upon in future newsletters. The present point I want to make is in regard to the approach of Pluto, after it enters Capricorn, to oppositions to our Venus and our Jupiter.
We have these planets in our 7th House, Libran House of relationships, in addition to our Mars at the beginning of this house and our Sun at the end of it. In an individual's chart, Venus and/or Jupiter in the 7th House are positive indicators for an eventual happy marriage or partnership. In the U.S. chart I have related this to the American capacity to form deep harmonious bonds with partner nations, akin to those with Britain during World War II, but even with former enemy nations like Germany and Japan following the war.
Pluto moving into opposition to these planets, however, will be the next part of our curriculum to come under an intense involvement with this 'great bringer of change.' Pluto has, since the year before 9/11 been moving through our 1st house of self-image, working intensively on our Sagittarian First House tendency to see ourselves as 'honest, upright, and morally strong, whether true or not.' That deep scrutiny of how we view ourselves will soon involve a tense relationship with these normally benevolent planets of Venus and Jupiter. What will this mean? God only knows. I believe that our choices will be to either allow our self-righteous Sagittarian self-image to die and be reborn into a deep loving bond with partner nations, or, if we fail to do that, I fear that a continued Plutonian obsessive, fear-based self-righteousness will destroy even our presently positive relations with other nations and we may become a rogue superpower at odds with yet even larger p! ortions of the world.
Another instance where I have experienced an evolution of sentiment is in relation to our president. Although I am distressed by his policies and behavior, after doing the research for the chapter I wrote about him, I am also aware of the challenges and lessons that his soul has agreed to work on and grow through in this lifetime. Understanding him, however, hasn't reduced my fear of the potential he has to create misery in the world.
The fact that the report of the Iraq commission is seen as a rebuke to the President and his policies, and has been delivered in large part by James Baker, a close colleague of his father, is a major challenge for George W. Bush. George W. has his Sun in tension with Neptune. This is relatable to his feelings of victimhood in relation to his father's larger than life qualities and powers, which also led him to overindulge in Alcohol (related to Neptune), to being overprotective and defensive of his father, to seduction by Evangelical Religiosity (also related to Neptune). This complex was evident when journalist Bob Woodward asked George W. if he had asked his father for advice for the war in Iraq and he replied: 'Actually I go to a Higher Father for strength.' If he couldn't give a straight answer to that straightforward question then I can only imagine what kind of psychological turmoil he is facing now.
Next spring, early summer, Saturn will be in conjunction with his Venus in the house of Self-image, and Neptune will be in opposition to his Venus, coming from his house of partnerships with others. Short of something dire happening to Laura Bush or in his marriage to her, I can only imagine all his relationships with others being such as to leave him an abandoned victim and martyr.
George W. Bush was born on July 6, two days after the birthdate of our nation. He and we are born into the sign of Cancer, a sign of caring and nurturing. We, however, think we are Sagittarius, and George W. thinks he is a Leo. I believe that George W. is symbolic of a nation out of touch with its true soul essence. The humiliation and defeat, with, hopefully, a new rebirth of our current president is the archetypal projection of the needed humiliation and defeat and hopeful rebirth of ourselves as a nation.
The choice we make, especially for president in 2008, will set the stage for the Pluto/Uranus square which the whole world will be experiencing in 2012. This square of Pluto and Uranus, however, will be 't-squaring' the Sun, the very essential soul essence of the United States, in 2012. This last configuration I have written about in the chapter '2012 and the End of the Mayan Calendar' in my book, and I will undoubtedly be rehashing those comments in the years ahead.
For now let us pray and do what we can to visualize and foster love and peace and wisdom as we move into our holiday season and the coming death and rebirth of the light (in Northern Hemisphere) on the coming solstice.
Blessings to you All,
PS. I have recently returned home for my winter retreat and will be doing readings by telephone from here.
I also want to announce that I have a new CD available of a lecture I gave in September called: 'The Astrological Karma of the USA,' for those of you with more time or interest to listen than to read. The cost is $12 plus $4 for packaging and shipping. Checks can be mailed to me, PO Box 476, Curlew, WA. 99118. Or if you want to order quickly for Christmas with a credit card call: (206) 903-9538.