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By Malvin Artley
1 Aug 2004

Birthdays are always special days in a person's life. Every year at the solar return (birthday), we are given a fresh perspective on our lives and a vision of things to come, if we know how and where to look. I just spent the weekend with several friends of mine over on the Yorke Peninsula celebrating the birthday of one in our group. The weather was gorgeous, especially considering it was supposed to rain all weekend. In true Leo fashion, the Sun shone for us the entire time and we were able to get out and enjoy the beauty of nature surrounding us. Looking out over the cliffs and across the gulf the wind blew its greetings from the west. The salt air was a welcome change from the streets full of cars and the noise of the city. There is nothing like the silence of nature to stir the Soul, and the communion with my friends was a blessed relief and change from the routine and busy-ness of recent weeks. As usual, the sea offered up its many delights to us, from simple walks on the beach, to the gentle lapping of the water on the shore, the birds flying about in their piscatorial pursuits and the occasional sightings of pods of dolphins. Then again, salt-and-pepper calamari from freshly caught squid never goes astray in a situation like ours, either-another of La Mer's delights. In all, our Leo friend's birthday was a great success and she felt suitably and rightly honored, as any Leo should have. And, we all felt privileged to have shared in such a great weekend with eachother in such a beautiful setting.

The first of August marks the next full moon, the festival of Leo for 2004. This full moon occurs at 4:06 Am AEST. I have called this festival "The Festival of Government" in the past, since Leo is so much equated with leadership and with governance. It also marks a phase of the zodiac most noted for its emphasis on self-awareness, which can range anywhere from the most intense selfishness and narcissism on the one hand to the heights of self-sacrifice in the name of a cause on the other hand. There is some speculation that Jesus was a Leo, for instance. If so, his life would stand as a testament to the latter case, no pun intended. Leo is loosely equated with the Chinese sign of the Horse, and it is said that there are more dictators born in Horse Years than in any other year. Whether dictator or public servant, royalty or commoner, the Leo type always seems to be at the center of their world and many times their world does revolve around them, whether they mean for it to be that way or not. Above all, Leo is a sign that confers synthesis and purpose, and it is this sense of purpose--coupled with a keen self-knowledge-that always puts the Leo at the forefront, no matter what walk of life in which they may find themselves. A Leo always knows where things are headed, at least in their own life, and they can make it pretty hard not to follow their lead, whether through sheer brilliance of insight or through pure brute force of will.

There are many fascinating aspects to this sign, many of which never get a mention in astrological literature, and we will cover some of them in this letter before we get into the planetary dynamics of this year's Leo festival. To begin with, Leo rules a hierarchy of Lives called the "Divine Flames" or "Divine Lives". This class of Lives has its abode on the plane (density) Adi, which is the most rarified plane of our physical solar system. The type of energy it confers or wields is known as Parashakti (Supreme Energy) and it is this energy that holds the key to all that we see in manifestation in our universe. It sets the tone for all existence in our local universe and it is the plane at which we finally merge with that mysterious state of being beyond all human comprehension called "God-consciousness", or "Divine Consciousness". Many readers will not be familiar with these terms, as they are from the Sanskrit and are thus of ancient origin, but the more esoterically inclined will know what is meant here. This plane "Adi" is also called the "Plane of the Fire Mist", because it is formless. It is the plane from which is set the initial vibration in matter that causes all forms to take shape, for all forms are but vibrations in the fabric of space, as science is getting closer and closer to proving. I know this will mean but little to some readers, but the key words here are what are of main interest, since they form the subjective framework for the mundane expression of this most important sign: "God-consciousness", Supreme Energy, Divine Lives, fire mist, "sets the tone", etc. Perhaps we begin to see the subjective reason as to how this sign really gets its orthodox attributes.

The plane Adi has a correspondence and resonance with the highest level of every plane in our solar system. Hence, each plane is ruled by Leo, in a manner of speaking. The highest level of each material density (plane) sets the tone or key measure for that density and thus governs it. We looked at the abstract level of the mental plane in the last letter and the Uranian impact of that sub-plane upon all mental substance. The same analogy applies to every other plane. In the higher rulership of Leo (esoteric and hierarchical), the Sun stands as a veil for Neptune and Uranus. Therefore, the true esoteric ruler of Leo is Neptune, whereas the true hierarchical ruler of Leo is Uranus. The esotericist will know that Uranus rules the entirety of the physical plane (including the cosmic physical) and is the planet of occultism, unfolding the intellect and the spiritual will. Neptune is the planet that unfolds the mystical life and thus the sensitivity of one's inner nature. With Leo, Uranus rules over these highest subplanes of each plane, particularly Adi, the mental and the physical, whereas Neptune governs more the evolution of sensitivity within the Leo subject, a point to be taken up directly, and consequently represents the "Heart of the Sun"-the astral nature and the Soul. We should note here that there are very many different ways of mapping out the correspondences between planets, signs, levels, centers, etc., and that each has its own validity within a certain framework. We simply need to be clear about what levels we are examining and which framework we are seeking to institute. All truth is relative.

Leo is ruled by the Sun, as has been stated. There are some fascinating considerations with the Sun and with stars in general that bear mention with regard to Leo. All stars are gigantic nuclear reactors, and all the natural light that we see around us comes from those great nuclear furnaces, either directly or indirectly. At the core of every star is a sea of fire. Science will say that sea of fire is caused by the nuclear fusion of hydrogen at the core of the star. In the larger stars, though, the pressure and temperature would be so immense that it would be doubtful that hydrogen would exist in its normal configurations. What would actually exist would be a soup of subatomic matter and what the esotericist would call "atomic matter"-matter that cannot be further reduced to smaller constituent parts. Science calls such particles neutrinos, according to current understanding. If one is familiar with occult chemistry and sub-atomic metaphysics, if I may be allowed to coin a term, then what we have in the core of stars is the stuff from which all matter is constructed, for in occult chemistry the neutrino is the basic building block of all that exists in physical form. This is the matter that constitutes the "fire mist". This fire mist has another very important function besides being the basic building block of the universe, though, because it is this type of matter that conveys the vitality upon which all life depends. To the Hindus it is prana. To the Chinese and other Orientals it is chi. To us it is simply vitality. No matter what we call it, without it all life ceases to exist, for the essence of this vitality, chi or prana is Life itself. Leo and neutrinos-now, there's an interesting correspondence upon which to ponder!

Leo thus rules over the very fires of space, at least from our little perspective. From the greatest galaxies to the tiniest neutrino, Leo encompasses and synthesizes both. Perhaps a more apt description of Leo natives would be "Sons/Daughters of the Fire Mist". So, we can add to the preceding key words the terms "vitality", or "life-force". Leo is said to have the greatest vitality of any sign of the Zodiac. It is most noticeable in the gaze, for the Leo gaze has a penetrating attentiveness and concentrative force. This comes through conscious use of this life-force from the solar fires. Leo is known for its shining countenance (aside from its prominent mane) and it is rare to see a Leo type (with either the Sun or the Ascendant in Leo) who does not light up a room and command attention. Whether the Leo type is conscious of this affect or not-and they almost always are-they always get noticed and they always draw people to them through their solar magnetism and the sheer life-force they exude. In the lower type of Leo this will be an overt grab for attention as they seek to form their unique sense of self through testing themselves against others, whereas in the higher type, people will be magnetically drawn to their self-assurance, their high spirits and pronounced sense of purpose. As well, it will be rare to find a Leo who feels no sense of purpose, either. Of course, "purpose" can be very self-serving or it can be high and noble. Leo encompasses both types and frequently both types will be seen in the same person.

Leo is a very sensitive sign, despite the fact that Leos are often seen as insensitive and self-absorbed. But, just as the Sun stands as the center of its own little universe, so the Leo subject comes to know full well the impact that he or she has on their surroundings through what their radiance brings back to them. Often feeling impacts acutely, though, they will let little, if anything, stand in the way of the fulfillment of their purpose. This sensitivity leads the Leo type to experiment with many different phases of their self-expression as they seek to reconcile what they recognize internally with what actually confronts them in the outer world. Leo has been very much connected with the materialistic side of science for that very reason, and empirical science owes a great deal of its methodology to the influence of Leo. It is regarded as one of the most materialistic of the signs, for the purpose of the average Leo is very tied up in the fulfillment of some desire, usually materially based. But, through interacting with the environment and the people in it toward the achievement of their objectives, Leos come to understand the intricacies of work within matter and among personas very quickly. They are thus able to synthesize a great deal of knowledge rapidly as a result, and the self-awareness that sort of interaction brings them is lost upon most other types. They come to this knowledge so quickly because they know who they are, and they are thus able to gauge situations and people quite acutely as a result. Beware the Leo gaze if ever you wish to keep a secret!

Leo has also been associated with rulership over the heart and the heart center (chakra). The heart is where the life-thread is anchored and is the organ that distributes vitality throughout the body. It is the engine that drives the body and keeps it moving. But, it is also the seat of our sensitivity, and every impression gets gauged against the measure of the heart. This is another reason for the Leo sensitivity. In terms of healing, this association of Leo and its rulership of the heart is why heart trouble will be found to be so prevalent among leaders of groups. So strong is the sense of purpose in the Leo native and so acute their sensitivity that it cannot be helped that the hearts of Leo types would be so greatly stressed in group settings. And, we can look for this type of trouble to increase as people become more and more group-polarized and as we move ever-closer to the Aquarian Age, since Leo is the sign opposite Aquarius in the Zodiac. There is much more that could be said here, but we can perhaps better see why and how Leo has come to have all the associations and rulerships it has. With that, let us move on to a consideration of this full moon.

As far as the planetary dynamics of this full moon figure go, we have a bit of a different situation with this one than has been the norm in past full moons. There is only one planet in a major aspect to the Sun or Moon, and that is Neptune. Neptune conjoins the Moon. It is an aspect that can bring inspiration of a high order, but it is also an insidious aspect of introversion. It confers very strong intuitions, although it can confuse the mental processes through sensationalism-and that is, perhaps, the most negative connotation of this particular full moon. The symbol for the degree of the Moon is of interest in this regard, and it reads thus:

"A flag is seen turning into an eagle". 9 Aquarius

The implications for the upcoming U.S. elections are all-too-clear, but this figure applies to the world at large. What is implied here is a shifting of focus, wherein symbols can become living realities. The flag and the eagle are both almost sacrosanct American symbols (and we should realize that these Sabian Symbols are said to be uniquely American, although they seem to work throughout the world), and hopefully we may begin to see a shift back to the life contained in those symbols rather than the "letter" of the symbols themselves and all the intense patriotic and nationalistic emotionalism that goes along with them. This could easily apply to any country, not just the U.S. The eagle is a symbol of power and freedom-a rising and soaring above the symbols of past power and the releasing of the essence contained therein and of the Soul of the country. The sanctity of the flag and national boundaries must eventually give way to the living ethic of the Soul of any country, and the eagle represents that soaring Soul force. But, the Soul is most often invoked through struggle and over-emotionalism with all the attendant miasmas of past hurts and hatreds forming a cloud over the true issues at hand until struggle eventually brings clarity and right relations (hopefully). Patriotism and nationalism must give way to an inclusive world view. At an individual level this aspect warns against becoming muddled by dwelling on the past and it urges us to rise to the service of others when the need is there and thus display our own Soul-force.

The degree of Neptune indicates how insight can most easily come during this period and reads thus:

"Two love-birds sitting on a fence and singing happily." 15 Aquarius

Birds always relate to some sort of telepathic interplay in symbols, and this symbol reminds us to joyfully sing out the note of the Soul when we encounter separative situations (as represented by the fence) or our own self-constructed boundaries to the higher life. The birds could at any time take off and be completely unbound by the fence, not that they were anyway. The fact that they are sitting on the fence may mean that the Soul is seeking to convey some message about our separative tendencies, especially since Neptune has been on this degree for a while now. The fact is that both the lunar and the Neptunian degrees are bird symbols. Hence, we should be particularly open to new insights at this time and give ourselves ample opportunity to commune with the Soul in silence and see what messages it seeks to bring us during this festival and beyond.

But, the main measure and keynote of any chart is the Sun, and with the Sun opposing Neptune we are enjoined to beware of being over-sensitive to what comes our way. There is a beautiful reference in the symbol of the solar degree that indicates how we might move beyond over-sensitivity and confused thinking. It reads thus:

"Glass blowers shape beautiful vases with their controlled breathing." 9 Leo

All occultists know that the key to stilling the mind and rendering the bodies as fit receptacles for the Soul comes through an intimate understanding of controlled breathing. But, for here, we can say that when things get confusing and all-too-much it would help matters greatly to take time and breathe slowly and deeply, to let the higher Self supply us with needed calm and insight and to show us the beauty that the situation is veiling for us. For those readers who do know something of the connection between the mind and the breath you would know full well then that The Soul seizes the breath in deep meditation, thus stilling the mind and that it then breathes its new rhythm into us bringing beauty into the vessels that are our bodies and manifesting its artistry through us and our works for all the world to see. There is no need to struggle or to waste our breath in fruitless argument or conversation in the fulfillment of our purpose and direction in life. The higher Self moves us and all around us when we move to the rhythm of its breathing, and through that breath we become manifestors of and for the divine.

Following upon the last letter wherein we looked at quintiles, there are two quintiles in this figure, and these go right along with the discussion in the previous paragraph. The first quintile is between Saturn and the North Node, indicating the possibility for unique and creative ways of integrating new circumstances that come to us out of karmic necessity. All people must go through periodic clearing of their spiritual debts and obligations. When Saturn quintiles the Node we find that karmic situations reveal the symbolism contained in their expression through relinquishing our attachments to outcomes and by engaging in the creative outflow of the Soul's grace, rather than by buying into habitual patterns of reaction and thinking and feeling safe in our long-held judgments of situations and people. Ambition needs to give way to the honoring of the significance of people as they come into our lives and of the special gifts they have on offer, as we must share our own gifts in kind with them in order to reap the full benefit of this aspect.

The other quintile is between Mercury and Venus, and this indicates one of the highest possibilities contained within this chart from the standpoint of planetary energetics. As we know, Venus represents the connection we have with the higher Self and the Soul in incarnation as well. It is the realm of symbolism in our lives. Mercury governs the liquid Light of the kundalini fire as it coruscates along the "rainbow bridge" of the antahkarana and the spinal channels. If Venus is the conductor and channel, then Mercury is the spiritual current that flows through it. All obstructions along this channel or conductor which is the Soul's Light stand to be removed by Pluto if we are so ready to be cleared, as indicated by the opposition between Pluto and Venus. Many new and unique communications with our higher Self are on offer due to the opposition between Uranus and Mercury. Uranus and Pluto are the two planets that govern the path of occultism, and when they stand as the agents of release for the gifts held locked in the quintile, then there is a fabulous chance for us to realize something in our lives that has not hitherto been possible and to thus grow greatly in self-knowledge. The timing is right, depending upon how this impacts one's own chart, and if there is any creativity or artistry indicated in the natal chart, then this planetary configuration will aid it greatly. Be prepared for rare and strongly individual insights and self-expressions over the period of this full moon. Most of all, allow yourselves the time and stillness for them to come through. Especially when Venus is involved in a quintile, the possibilities for work of an advanced nature along any line are possible.

The other opposition has been going on for a while now and it involves Saturn and Chiron. This aspect highlights the need to clear away old feelings of wounding and it will also bring about those situations-often seemingly fated-that will allow us to see these things and to move through them. These sorts of situations are likely to feel very poignant at the time of their occurrence and there will often be a very strong feeling of déjà vu with them. Often, too, there is a vague feeling of anxiety or of impending doom with this aspect, and it shows us where we tend to hang on to old hurts well past their use-by date.

Mars is trine to Pluto and sextile to Venus in this figure. Normally that would indicate the possibilities of deeply transforming male/female relationships, but the degree of Mars is symbolic of an entirely spiritual focus to the neglect of outer appearances. Add to this the fact that Venus and Pluto are in opposition and this is not actually the best time to be entering into intimate relations with a new partner in accordance with most indicators, although it would be quite a thrilling ride while it lasted, especially with the Sun in Leo and added to by a square between Jupiter and Pluto. Jupiter sextiles Saturn in this figure, indicating quite a productive time for material pursuits and for spiritual healing as well, since Jupiter also trines Chiron. In all this, we need to remember that what is happening for us in the Leo full moon period is a synthesizing of our sense of individual purpose for the year to come and its alignment with highest good, whatever that may mean to us. In all, it looks to be a time wherein the divine Architect within all of us can add more color to its palette and paint our lives in much bolder and richer tones than it has been able to in the past Leo periods. Yes, there will be struggles, but the Light and wisdom that can come from those carry the possibility of marking us as the true artisans of our individual and collective destiny.

Finally, I would say to those Leo types who are reading-and indeed to all-that if you doubt your effectiveness in the world and the gift that you are to those around you, then re-examine your life and endeavor to see it through the eyes of the people you touch every day. Each Leo has a stronger effect upon people than they know. My father gave me a good example of this a number of years ago through an illness he endured. It left him bed-ridden and in hospital for months. He is a Leo, by the way. He had to depend on others for his every need, which is a hard thing for a proud Lion to take under any circumstance. I don't think my Dad really knew how loved he is. He had taught in the public schools and in universities for decades and had brought music through education and community orchestras to thousands of people over the years. He had given selflessly of himself and raised us, his brood, in the process. In true Leo fashion he was, and still is, a man inspired and driven by singular purpose with regard to his work and his devotion to education. Though he is well past retirement age, he still teaches violin to young and old alike to this day. I don't think Leos ever really retire if they are so driven.

The point to the story is this: As people began to find out he was sick they began to send flowers and cards, to pay him visits in the hospital, and all to the extent that his hospital room looked more like a card shop and florist than a ward room. The hospital staff were amazed. There were many people on the ward who never received a single visitor, even from their own families. And here was this man who had dozens of visitors every week, sometimes queued in the lobby waiting to see him. And, also in true Leo fashion, he maintained his sense of humor and countenance even in the darkest phases of his illness. The nursing staff all enjoyed him, though he was gravely ill for a time. Sure, he had his moments with it, but the trend was always toward all that is best in the Leo. My Dad is not a famous man. In fact, he always liked to joke that he was infamous, rather than well-known. But, he has touched many a heart over the years and has given more than a few of his students a sense of direction and purpose to their lives that they would not otherwise have ordinarily received. And, in turn, they returned the favor. It was quite a lesson and a gift for him-and for the rest of us as well--and I could see that it touched him to the depths of his being. It changed his life, as he had changed theirs. And, in the end, even as he lay in hospital he was still planning for the future, undeterred from his essential purpose and never letting on that the thought of failure or giving up ever crossed his mind. Yeah, OK. This is a shameless tribute to my Dad, but it could just as well be an example of many Leos and people in whom the Soul stands strong and radiant. I think most of us could find similar examples of other such people in our lives. Such is the energy and effect of Leo and the radiant Soul in the lives of others.

A final point to make from all this is that so long as we feel inspired by a purpose that brings Light into the world and is helpful to those around us, so long as we know ourselves well enough to be able to carry out that purpose and so long as we selflessly apply ourselves diligently to that purpose with love toward our fellows, then the lessons and rewards of Leo will come to us in abundance. It has been said that whatever we give of ourselves selflessly and with pure motive comes back to us at least 10-fold. I have found that to be true over the years. I think my Dad did, too. So can we all if we so apply ourselves. And, as we go forward through the Lucifer phase of Venus and into next year, let our Light so shine among people that there is no doubt about the power of the Soul and of Love in people's lives. Inspiration and directed purpose is contagious and the higher Leo type ever leads only by example, never by coercion. May the Purpose that guides our lives stand forth and the Love that guides our hearts light the way for all whom we touch with our being, for with Leo, the lesson and gift is never about what one can do-it is always about who we are!

May the Heart of the Lion bless you and guide you in this season.
28 July 2004

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