In January 1998, it was reported that Monica Lewinsky, a former intern in the White House, may have had an affair with President Clinton. It was also alleged that President Clinton urged her to lie about the affair in her deposition for the Paula Jones suit against him. The President has emphatically denied any wrong-doing. On Wednesday morning, February 11, 1998, I decided to explore this situation in an Other Reading based on the following question:
Can you give me insight into the relationship between President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky and the impact the investigation into this relationship will have on the presidency and world opinion?
At the very center of the reading, is the President toppled from his throne ( Emperor Reversed). [See below] In a sense, the President is a father figure for the nation - a leader who sets direction and tone. Now Clinton's authority has come into question, as shown by the reversal. The factor that has led to this change is Monica Lewinsky (the Queen of Pentacles). This Queen crosses the Emperor, literally and symbolically. The description of this card seems to fit Miss Lewinsky quite well.
At a different level, the Emperor Reversed shows that justice is being obstructed here in many different ways. Accepted standards of behavior have been ignored, and the legal system played with by all parties. The Queen of Pentacles is a symbol of the issue of trust that is involved across the board.
Complicating this situation for Clinton is the fact that he has a reputation for changing his beliefs easily. The 7 of Wands Reversed as Card 4 suggests that he is perceived as lacking strong character; the public has little conviction of his honesty because of troubles in his past.
Card 3 shows us that the fundamental approach of Clinton and his team is a practical one: to continually check their status and ponder alternatives (7 of Pentacles). This strategy is based on finding out where Clinton stands with the public and adapting accordingly. On the surface (Card 5), Clinton hopes for harmony and strives to project openness - the Star - but this card seems oddly out of place in this reading. Its purity and idealism is in sharp contrast to the pragmatism of the 7 of Pentacles.
At another level, these two cards suggest a way of operating that is so common in public life we don't even question it now. We assume that everyone plots and schemes below the surface (7 of Pentacles) while presenting an official story that is sweetness and light (Star).
This standoff is clearly shown in Cards 7 and 8. The 2 of Cups Reversed shows Clinton's position or stance: he denies the relationship. "There is no twosome," he claims, but is he believed? Does this card actually represent the mask he shows the world? It would seem that Clinton's denial is met with skepticism. The public sees Clinton as denying a shameful secret, taking the easy way out, and letting someone else take the rap (7 of Swords). In fact, the entire atmosphere of this situation reflects the energy of the 7 of Swords. There appears to be lying and behind-the-scenes maneuvering on everyone's part.
As the truth of the matter (Card 9), the 9 of Cups suggests that a sexual relationship did exist between these two. One meaning of this card is sensual enjoyment, often in the sense of pursuit of pleasure without regard to consequences.
The 6 of Swords Reversed tells us that for the near future, the public will continue to avoid any depressing feelings. People do not want to deal with the aftermath of this situation; they just want the incident to go away. Clinton's support is high at the moment despite the allegations; however as Card 10, Judgement implies that a Day of Reckoning is coming. Everyone is going to have to get off the fence and make some hard choices. Not only Clinton, but many people and institutions will be judged.
Perhaps the President and Miss Lewinsky will be forgiven for any mistakes they may have made. The Judgement card also implies absolution. [Note] Indeed, the best outcome might me to use this situation as an opportunity to assess and judge our legal, political, and journalistic practices, not as an excuse for a witch hunt.
I have been reworking many of the lessons for this course. In early December, I added this example to Lesson 17: "The Emperor Reversed might show a powerful authority figure toppled from his "throne." In October 1997, I wrote the following for Exercise 16.1.6: "It does appear from the 7 of Swords that this politician was involved in something shady in the past. There is some hidden dishonor...." How striking that these cards showed up in this reading! Such odd connections and synchronicities are common in tarot work.
On April 1, 1998, Judge Susan Webber Wright dismissed the Paula Jones case against President Clinton. It now seems that the Judgement card captures this development perfectly. It combines the two elements of a legal judgement being rendered and the resulting "absolution" for the President - at least for now. When I was interpreting this reading in February, I felt curiously drawn to the absolution outcome, but it didn't seem to fit with the other cards and the mood at the time, so I downplayed it in my own mind. This is a good example of how important it is to trust your intuitive impulses..even when they don't seem to make sense at the time. This also shows the value of reviewing old readings as new events occur. Each such review gives you the chance to add to your understanding of how the cards reflect reality to you.
August 1998 - The absolution issue is certainly not settled! You may want to look over my update reading about this situation.