On August 18 1998, President Clinton admitted on national TV that he had in fact had an inappropriate relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Up until that time, the President had denied such a relationship (see the February 1998 Sample Reading). The night before the broadcast, I did an Other Reading to see what would happen during this address and afterward. I asked about the lesson in this matter for Clinton and the American people. (This interpretation was written on August 20, 1998.)
Cards 1 and 2 show the heart of the situation. They capture the essence of what is going on. Here we see a powerful, charismatic leader (King of Wands) who has reached the lowest point of his career (10 of Swords). The King of Wands is someone who is dynamic and forceful. He prefers to take chances when the stakes are high and confront opposition directly rather than back down. Now, he is facing his darkest hour. The 10 of Swords implies that Clinton will take this hit, but he will also deny his contribution at some level. He feels victimized and put upon.
This is not an easy situation for Clinton. He is in emotional pain (3 of Swords). He feels isolated from those he loves and knows he has let them down and broken his word. This card shows how Clinton is aware that he has betrayed others. The three swords remind me of Clinton, his wife and daughter, and also the classic triangle created by an affair.
Up to this point there has been a lot of jockeying for power between Clinton and the independent counsel Kenneth Starr (6 of Pentacles in Position 4). Each one has tried to get the upper hand - to coerce the other into submission. There has also been a lot of playing with information - trying to keep and give away knowledge in strategic ways.
Cards 7 shows how Clinton views his dilemma, how he sees himself. The 4 of Wands indicates that he is trying to get out of an oppressive situation. He wants to escape these unhappy circumstances and go on with his life in relative freedom. The rest of the country sees the situation differently (10 of Wands). The American people want and expect Clinton to take the blame and assume responsibility. They want him to clean up this messy situation and hold himself accountable.
The Page of Swords as Card 3 tells us very clearly the source of the problem. This card often stands for a challenge that holds powerful lessons relating to honesty and integrity. Many action phrases for this card fit: stop deceit, speak directly, expose what is hidden, right a wrong, do what is right, face problems squarely and accept responsibility. I think Clinton's challenge is personal, but it is also a symbolic wake-up call to all of us to reestablish accountability and honesty within our own lives and our nation. That is the deeper message in this reading.
The Star reversed in Position 9 is a key card and also a repeat from the February reading. At that time, the Star was in Position 5 and represented Clinton's desire to project openness and goodwill - to give the appearance of innocence. Here the Star represents inspiration, hope and faith. Since it is reversed, the truth of the matter seems to be that Clinton's hopes have been dashed, and we have all lost our faith.
The 8 of Pentacles reversed (Card 6) and the 2 of Pentacles (Card 10) were not cards I expected. Their meaning seemed obscure to me. [ Note ] I spent a day or two thinking about them and finally arrived at a tentative conclusion. The 8 of Pentacles can stand for a diligent focused effort that is painstaking and methodical. Every "i" must be dotted and "t" crossed. Reversed, this card suggests that we may want to reject this approach in the near future. Few people care at this point to waste a lot of time and energy on unearthing all the details of this story. We know what we need to know and that's enough. [Note]
What we will have to do is create an environment that keeps everything in balance and gets people working together (2 of Pentacles). Countless forces are going to be pulling the nation in different directions, so we need to be flexible and open to new ways of handling this challenge. It would be easy to play out this situation in a rigid way, but alternatives exist. It may be too much to expect the process to be fun - another meaning of the 2 of Pentacles - but we will ride it out better if we keep the original offense in perspective. It would also be nice to get some Cups energy into this situation! Note that not one appears in this reading.
Is Clinton's lapse a world-shaking crime of major proportions? I have to say I don't think so. All the cards here are minor expect for the reversed Star. We have indeed suffered a major loss of faith and inspiration which we will need to work hard to restore. But it is time to turn to more important matters.
September 11, 1998 - As I sit here listening to the news about Starr's report to Congress with all the details of this situation, I realize that perhaps the 8 of Pentacles reversed had another meaning in this case. Clinton chose in his speech of August 18 not to reveal the details of his affair...not to apply himself totally to the task of explaining himself and his actions. Now, of course, these details are coming out, and, for better or worse, this matter is here to stay for a while. This interpretation fits better, but just didn't present itself to me at the time. Finding the meaning in a card is not always easy!