Tarot Card Reading: Man's Inhumanity To Man

By Gina Rabbin

"Man's inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn!"
Robert Burns

..."The CIA is holding an unknown number of prisoners in secret detention centers abroad. In violation of the Geneva Conventions, it has refused to register those detainees with the International Red Cross or to allow visits by its inspectors. Its prisoners have 'disappeared,' like the victims of some dictatorships." -- Washington Post editorial, October 26, 2005

No, this isn't a trailer for the newest John Grisham novel or James Bond movie. This is real. The United States government, our government, has made the decision to ignore decades of wartime human rights practices by justifying and authorizing the abuse, torture and homicide of prisoners in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, the Vice President has proposed that Congress legally authorize human rights abuses by Americans, treatment that for years the State Department has criticized other governments for condoning.

"We do not torture," said President Bush recently during a visit to Panama. "Any activity we conduct is within the law," he insisted to reporters. And yet, the Washington Post writes that for the past year the Vice President has waged "... an intense, largely unpublicized campaign to stop Congress, the Pentagon and the State Department from imposing more restrictions on the handling of terrorist suspects...".

In response, Senator John McCain, himself a Vietnam prisoner of war for more than 5 years, sponsored an amendment prohibiting the use of "...cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment of persons under custody or control of the United States Government...", and attached it to the annual defense spending bill. Although President Bush said he would veto the bill if it contained that language, the amendment passed by a vote of 90 to 9 and remains attached to the senate bill.

Should we proudly applaud this vote? After all, it means that 9 out of 99 senators supported the use of torture. Our president, vice-president, defense secretary, and nine U.S. senators all think it's okay to create secret facilities around the world where human beings are hidden and tortured and murdered. As columnist Molly Ivins writes, "But this seems to me so preposterous, so monstrous. My mind is a little bent and my heart is a little broken this morning."

Me too, Molly, me too. I don't quite know what to make of all this. Secret prisons? Torture? Cruelty? Suspects disappearing in the dead of night? But this only happens in the movies. Or in the old Soviet Union. But here, in America?

To counteract the McCain Anti-torture Amendment, NPR reports that "The Bush administration wants the CIA exempted from new rules approved by the U.S. Senate that would ban 'cruel and degrading' treatment of war prisoners". This country's Central Intelligence Agency would be given the green light to treat prisoners inhumanely. It would, in other words, actually be legal for the CIA to torture prisoners.

This thought overwhelms me. Often, when confronted with issues that are so difficult for me to fathom, I turn to the tarot for answers. Yet my mind is so bent and my heart so broken I'm not even sure what questions to ask, what answers to seek. So instead, I ask simply to be shown what I need to see.

The first card pulled is Strength, which speaks to us of our inner shadows. We all have those aspects of ourselves that we deem unworthy, those parts we don't want to see or acknowledge, our fears and doubts. We try so hard to hide them, we spend so much time and energy pretending they don't really exist, that we ultimately end up being controlled by them. It is only when we acknowledge our shadows that we can start to use that energy within us for a higher purpose, and they lose their power over us. I can see that I need to acknowledge both my sorrow as well as my anger at the way in which our government is using its power, so that neither emotion controls me.

The Devil Tarot card tells us what can happen when we allow our baser instincts and desires to control us. We act from a need to control, to gain power, to have absolute authority over others. The need to fulfill one's selfish desires can unleash devastation and destruction against anything or anyone that stands in the way. All the inner shadows that have not been acknowledged now control us, and their expression creates chaos and havoc. In the end, they also tend to destroy us. Is this where we're headed, I wonder? Is our government leading us down a road that will only end up destroying the very foundations this country is built on?

It is time for us to see the truth, the Justice card tells us. The real truth, the truth that lies deep beneath the surface. Beneath the words and the justifications and the rationales, beneath the promises and the debates, beneath the aura of fear that continues to be spread among us. It is only when we take that sword of truth and cut deep below the surface to see what we don't want to see, that we can begin to bring balance and harmony and peace back into our lives, back into the world. What is the truth we don't want to see?

It is about choices. The Seven of Cups reminds us that we have many choices, and how we choose to respond to any situation will determine how the future unfolds. Not every choice available to us is a good one, however. If we act in haste, without thought, we can end up on a path that is not in our best interests. If we act from the energy of The Devil, from a need to control and have power, the future can unfold in devastating ways, affecting not ourselves but everyone in our path. I can see this happening every day in the world around me.

It is time to learn another way to respond. It is time we begin to act not from our shadows but from the energy of The Hierophant, that part of us that is wise, that is connected to our higher, spiritual self. When we merge our higher consciousness with action in the world, we create an environment of harmony and peace, even in the midst of crisis and turmoil. Combined with the energy of the King of Pentacles, we can create and build something positive in the world. The King of Pentacles is a wise leader, competent and caring and hardworking. This energy instills confidence in us, because we can see the manifestation that comes from the King's common sense and intelligence. The King of Pentacles inspires us to also act wisely and compassionately in all situations, so the results that unfold before us create harmony and peace rather than chaos and destruction.

While I am still having difficulty with the concept that my government is a government that wants to condone and make legal the use of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of prisoners, and that they have set up secret detention centers around the world in which this barbaric behavior is carried out, I can see that it is my responsibility to demand the cessation of these actions. It is up to me to make sure that I help put into power people who will choose to act with wisdom, with compassion, with intelligence, so that we can all create a world of peace. What's your responsibility?

I welcome reader questions! If there is an issue you would like to see addressed in a future column, please email me at (Please note that real names of clients are never used in this column.)

Gina RabbinGina Rabbin is a life-long intuitive and catalyst for clarity. She helps people clarify and resolve their personal and professional issues in order to create more fulfilling and meaningful lives. Currently residing in San Francisco, CA, Gina is available for tarot card readings in person or by telephone. For more information, please visit http://www.ginarabbin.com.