Thursday, January 3, 2002
Winter sun streams through the living room window in Mara Freeman''s Pacific Grove cottage. Its cold rays ricochet off the iridescent wings of a desiccated dragonfly perched on Freeman''s coffee table. Two days earlier, Freeman''s husband, David Watkins, found the perfectly preserved insect in a nearby bush and brought it home. As Freeman, a practicing druid, sits on the couch and discusses her visions of the coming year, the dragonfly is a fitting witness.
In Celtic mystic tradition, dragonflies are representative of the soul. If Freeman''s thoughts about what we should all expect in the next 12 months prove accurate, we''re all going to spend a fair amount of time during 2002 getting in touch with our innermost hopes and dreams.
"There''s going to be a lot of soul-searching," Freeman says, "going beyond business as usual."
Curiously (or maybe not ), it''s a message that''s repeated, with some variations, by Pacific Grove astrologer Joyce Day-Meuse, Carmel Valley psychic Pat McAnaney and Monterey spiritual advisor Mrs. Laurie.
For millennia, people have turned to mystics, spiritual leaders and other seers to find out what the future holds. Whether this quest for knowledge is something that''s hard-wired into the human psyche or a product of cultural conditioning is open to debate. But it''s a tradition that''s been carried into the 21st century by publications as diverse as the Los Angeles Times, The National Enquirer, and The Old Farmer''s Almanac.
With so many psychics and seers in the local community-and coming off such an unsettled year-we decided to approach a few of these soothsayers to divine what we might expect from the coming year.
The good news is that, whether they used the stars or their psychic abilities, all four prognosticators indicated they felt that 2002 would be a better year than 2001 for the entire country. There was general agreement that it would be an introspective year. People will be spending more time being with and thinking about their families, as well as the family of humankind. This will be a time of change as we re-examine our core values in the wake of 9/11.
If that sounds as much like common sense as it does prophecy, it could be that the difference between the two is often only a matter of degree and semantics.
In other cases, the soothsayers named some pretty specific events that, if they come true, will be hard to write off as common sense.
Mara Freeman explains that she usually does readings for individuals-not for something as broad as the country. But she takes the challenge and peers into the nation''s near future. She describes the experience as being like "going up on a big hill and seeing the forest instead of the trees that a person is struggling around."
In addition to her role as a druid, Freeman is also a state-licensed psychotherapist, and last year published Kindling the Celtic Spirit: Ancient Traditions to Illumine Your Life Throughout the Seasons. To get some idea what the coming year might bring, Freeman says she did some astrology and a "soul reading" of America. This brought her a vision.
"I was seeing the landscape and I saw these great cracks growing from the outside, and from the inside," Freeman says. "It was filled with a beautiful, flowing river of light, tears becoming a lovely, flowing river of light. Sweet, healing tears of grace."
The vision is only half the process. Like a critic trying to find meaning in an abstract or surreal painting, an oracle must find a meaning and context for what s/he sees. In this case, Freeman interprets the vision as being a good thing.
"We''ve been armored against our feelings," she says. "These are cracks in our defensive armor so we can allow more of our truth to come inside."
Buttressing her interpretation of the future, Freeman also points to some astrological events, primarily the movement of Saturn into the astrological sign of Cancer. Not only does this indicate that we are likely to spend more time with our loved ones, it will also "bring an awareness of the human family as a whole. We can empathize with what it''s like to live in those ''other'' countries. It links us up with the human family."
Freeman finds an archetypal similarity between what happened on September 11 and a card in the Tarot deck depicting a tower being struck by lightning, with flames shooting out the windows and people jumping from the building.
"When I first heard of the WTC, I was reminded of The Tower card," says Freeman. "The card usually emerges in a personal crisis where the ego has built up its defenses. The lightning bolt from above is a wake-up call, a spiritual event, not retribution from an angry god."
Freeman sees the WTC tragedy as an omen that Americans are being called to re-examine their core values.
"People are changing their realities," she says, "which is causing long-lasting changes in their lives."
Later that same day, speaking on the phone from his Carmel Valley home, Pat McAnaney, who has been doing psychic consultations in this area for 25 years and who hosted a call-in radio show on KAZU for a decade, echoed Freeman''s prediction. He says the wake-up call the nation got on 9/11 will continue to change our perception of the world.
According to McAnaney, it''s likely that we will become increasingly aware that American is neither invulnerable nor invincible, and that we are much more closely connected to what happens in the rest of the world than we''ve previously been willing to admit.
"The main thing, as a culture, we''re going to know what it''s like to be an Israeli citizen," says McAnaney. "We''re in an ongoing situation. Provincial America isn''t going to be allowed to be narrow anymore."
McAnaney says he gets his information in two ways: by analyzing behavioral trends (for both individuals and society) and through visions. Unlike Freeman, McAnaney has made annual predictions for many years. He says sometimes he''s more successful than others. And sometimes, he says, he''ll get the right vision but misinterpret it.
For example, McAnaney remembers the year he had a vision that combined a lot of snow and ice with a massive oil spill. Based on the vision, he predicted a huge oil spill in Antarctica. That was in 1989, when the Exxon Valdez spilled its guts off the coast of Alaska. Just as the vision had shown, there was lots of ice and lots of oil-but McAnaney had interpreted the location at the opposite side of the globe.
Likewise, McAnaney recalls the time he got a strong feeling that Ronald Reagan would be unable to fulfill his duties as president and that George Bush was going to assume the presidency. Based on that feeling, he predicted that on July 15, 1985, Reagan was going to be injured or assassinated.
"That was the day Reagan went in for colon surgery," McAnaney laughs. Again the vision contained some truth, but the interpretation missed the mark.
"It''s more of an art than a science," McAnaney admits.
McAnaney is willing to make a few specific predictions for 2002. He claims to have a past accuracy rate of about 15 percent, and says that, unlike some other fortune tellers, his predictions are very specific and concern things that don''t rely much on common sense or logic.
It probably doesn''t take a psychic to predict that the situation in the Middle East will remain volatile. But McAnaney is a little more specific in predicting what may happen in the near future.
"I do believe there will probably be another attack on Israel, probably from Iraq. I think we may still see more attacks on Israel and a more serious response," he says. He claims that last year he predicted the aggressive actions taken by Israel in 2001. But, taking a cue from Nostradamus, he couched the prediction in nebulous terms with Biblical references.
"Sometimes when I make negative predictions, I will put them in a puzzle," McAnaney says. "Last year I said, ''This time they will not simply hang up their lyres and lay down and weep.''"
McAnaney has another riddle for 2002:
"The baseball player
Will finally meet
The descendant of Sir Isaac Newton."
While McAnaney declines to give any hints about what the puzzle might mean, he''s forthcoming about a few of his longshot predictions.
One of these has already proved McAnaney''s claim to near-accuracy. On Dec. 6, McAnaney told me he was pretty sure that in 2002 scientists would find-and film-a giant squid, a creature that has never before been seen alive. On Wednesday, December 19, that prediction came nearly-true. (Scientists did find and film the biggest squid in the world, but it was still 2001.)
McAnaney also said he believes that evidence of a previously unknown civilization will be discovered in Spain. And he has a fashion prediction, too: "Everyone will wear black or gray. Even people who are not pretentious urban intellectuals."
Assemblyman Fred Keeley''s political fortunes don''t look to improve in 2002, according to the psychic. "Keeley stays screwed," McAnaney says, referring to the gerrymandering that will probably cost Keeley a seat in the state Senate. "It''s not going to be subject to judicial review."
Joyce Day Meuse, who looks to the stars to see the future, says Keeley isn''t the only politician who has a rocky year ahead of him. The year 2002 will mean trouble for President George W. Bush, she says.
First, Day Meuse points to something called "Tecumseh''s Revenge," which she describes as a string of Jupiter/Saturn conjunctions that has left a trail of dead presidents in its wake. According to the story, Tecumseh, a Shawnee chief, uttered a curse on Indian fighter General William Henry Harrison, saying that if the general ever became president, Harrison would die. Not only that, goes the story, but Tecumseh also said that every president chosen in multiples of 20 years thereafter would die.
Whether it has anything to do with Tecumseh or not, it does seem like there''s a curse in the air. William Henry Harrison was elected to the presidency in 1840-and died of pneumonia in 1841, less than four months after taking office. The string of dead presidents continued with Abraham Lincoln (elected in 1860), James Garfield (1880), William McKinley (1900), Warren Harding (1920), Franklin Delano Roosevelt (who was re-elected in 1940) and John F. Kennedy (1960). The only president who has avoided the fate is Ronald Reagan-who survived the wounds he received during an assassination attempt.
Day Meuse says Reagan may have survived because it was the first time that the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction happened in an air sign (Libra), while the previous "cursed" presidents had their conjunction happen in an earth sign (Taurus, Virgo or Capricorn). So it might augur poorly for Dubya that the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn that occurred in the year 2000 was also in an earth sign (Taurus).
On the other hand, Day Meuse says the president''s personal astrological chart and the chart for his inauguration day don''t look so promising.
"January 19 and 20 look very bad for Bush," Day Meuse says. "On January 20, the anniversary of his inauguration, the chart does not look good. It shows deception, confusion [centering] around his enemies. And his birth chart shows war."
It''s also something of a cause for concern that, just as Bush begins his second year in office, Mars and the moon are crossing the equator at the same time. Mars is considered the planet of war, and the moon often acts as a trigger for events. Combined, the two could spell trouble of a violent sort.
Compounding the problem is the fact that Saturn and Pluto will again be at almost opposite sides of the astrological chart. That means trouble.
Day Meuse says that Saturn is considered a planet that resists change, while Pluto is a planet that demands change. Think of Saturn as an immovable object and Pluto as an irresistible force, and when the two square off in opposition everything in between is caught in a war. Since August of 2000, there have been a number of times when the two planets have been in opposition, creating a tension that has helped to increase problems around the world, Day Meuse says.
The two planets will be in opposition again on May 25, and the effects of their opposition could last through June. As a result, Day Meuse says, "We''re not out of the woods as far as terrorism and the economy through June."
A Kinder, Gentler Future
Mrs. Laurie has been working as a spiritual advisor for 25 years, ever since she learned the craft in her mother''s San Diego shop. She now plies the family trade from two storefront locations near Cannery Row where her brightly painted signs display astrological and occult symbols, and advertise her services as a palm and tarot reader.
Laurie also has bad news for President Bush-although not as dire as Day Meuse''s. She admits that she didn''t vote for the president, but says she thinks he''s doing a pretty good job, given the circumstances. Although she says she doesn''t see anything particularly bad happening to, or for, him, she''s succinct in assessing his political future: "I don''t think he''s going to be re-elected."
Although President George W. Bush will find scant relief from his woes in any of these divinations, the rest of us can take comfort that by late spring or summer of next year, things will start looking up on all fronts-spiritually as well as materially. By the time the year''s out, in fact, we may find that we are starting to make good on a promise made by the first President Bush. Once we weather the first few months of the year, we might find that we truly are becoming a kinder, gentler nation.
Laurie says she thinks Osama bin Laden will be captured in February, and that the "war on terrorism" will end a lot sooner than many people think. And she has good tidings for the economic front as well. "I know a lot of businesses and a lot of tourists have slacked down," Laurie says, "but by March, it will start kicking up again."
Both Day Meuse and McAnaney agree that the country''s economic outlook will improve in the coming year-eventually-and McAnaney says the stock market will be fairly stable.
There''s also consensus that we Americans will be more compassionate and understanding in the coming year, although Mrs. Laurie seems to feel that there will always be a scar on the national psyche. "We''re going to come out forgiving but not forgetting," she says. "There will always be a grudge."
"In Chinese astrology, we''re currently in the year of the snake," Day Meuse says. "On Feb. 12, we move into the year of the horse. It should be a high-spirited, lively year, adventurous. It should be more fun than 2001." This good news is supported in August by the movement of Jupiter from Cancer into Leo, "which is much more fun-loving. I think people will be more outgoing, willing to travel, spend more money and be less fearful."
And back in the living room where the dragonfly keeps its soulful watch, Mara Freeman quotes from a poem by Robinson Jeffers that could be a mantra for all the soul-searching in the coming year:
"A little too abstract, a little too wise,
It is time for us to kiss the earth again,
It is time for us to let the leaves rain from the skies,
Let the rich life run to the roots again."