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Leo, China and the Festival of Sirius

Malvin Artley
August 2008

Hi Everyone!
With the Olympics on at the moment and with all eyes on China, it is only appropriate that I take some time in this letter and have a look at what I see coming in the next year or so for that most populated land and her people. The reason for doing so takes on even more emphasis since the Olympics this time coincides with the Leo solar festival, with the Leo emphasis being laid upon individual effort, victory over the odds and being king or queen over one's chosen sphere of influence. As we know, Leo is the sign of the Regent or champion, as well as being the sign that most exemplifies the beginning of the path of self-discipline and discipleship-the path that ultimately leads to one's victory over the thrall of the seemingly endless cycle of lives and liberation into the Kingdom of Souls (the spiritual realms). As we watch the games we see the flower of humanity's youth in many respects-young people, for the most part, in the prime of physical condition, having gone through years (often) of gruelling training, pushing themselves to the limits of their physical and often mental and emotional endurance. The fact that they are even at the games at all marks them as the elite in their chosen sport-champions whether they win or lose at the games, heroes in the lands they represent. We see 'Leo' every time we watch some Olympic event, because these people have achieved through sheer dint of their own self-effort and discipline. In a way, what they have done with their sport is what we should each do with our chosen lot in life. It may seem silly, but we should realize that every action we undertake is a potential discipline and thus can be a step on the path toward full enlightenment. That is the promise and highest aspect of Leo. So, it's time for a little story-an appetizer before the main course.

Sport was never my big thing when I was growing up. Surprised, are you? I mean, I enjoyed all the usual sorts of games that kids in a neighborhood usually get into, softball, kick-ball and the like. I was happiest, though, when we got on the bikes and just went exploring and mucking about. Kids could do that and parents could let them without fear in those days. Of course, we all had to be back home by 4:00 on weekdays so we could watch Superman and Mickey Mouse-you know, the really important things in life (I'm dating myself here). Not many younger kids I know have a real sort of passion for something that just totally consumes them, and we were all pretty much like that in the neighborhood. Just normal kids. Life was good. We were all very privileged and fortunate-not rich, but very fortunate. There were four kids in my family (none of us are kids any longer-just in spirit), but our family was a little bit different from the other families on the block. We had a Leo dad who was a university professor, and he had plans for his kids. Being a product of the Depression, he was bound and determined that we were going to have every opportunity in life since he had to struggle. So, being a violinist himself, he started us all on violin pretty much as soon as we were able to hold the instrument on our own. My dad had his own string quartet for a few years there (I have the pictures to prove it), not that we were anything to brag about, but he gave us the opportunity and exposure to it. Like any good Leo, he set the example, showed us what to do and then left us to it in later years. He planted seeds. Some of those seeds sprouted. One of my brothers followed in his footsteps. I still play every now and then. My sister still plays when her kids allow and my dad started her kids on the instrument. My other brother plays the radio, but he turned out to be a very good mechanic.

A curious thing happens when one's hormones kick in at puberty, though. The higher Self 'moves upon the waters' in a way, and passions of all sorts begin to manifest, some good, some the bane of parents. My brother who went on to teach music developed a passion for drums when he reached puberty, and I for guitar. You guessed it-my brother and I spent long hours disturbing the neighbors. There was little peace in the house after my brother got his first drum set, nor after I built my first guitar amplifier. Yep, my dad had his own band then, instead of a string quartet. The problem was that my brother and I had a real passion for the music then and we were driven by it. The new-found love consumed us. I never remember my parents complaining, though. I suppose having us there at home doing something constructive was a sort of comfort and pride to them (My mother is a musician, too.) All our spare time was spent practicing in those few years. We were pretty good after a while. My brother went on to become a very fine percussionist in his university years. I played in bands for a while, but other things eventually called me away from the music-astrology for starters. The point is this, though: Through those teenage and early adult years, my brother and I were pretty much self-taught. We saw what we wanted. We took on the discipline to do it. We persevered with it and we achieved, and did very well. Self-discipline and self-effort paid off. Hey, it's a Leo letter. I have to blow my own horn a bit here (to make the point, you know?). What you see in Beijing with the athletes are yet further examples of the same thing-people who have a passion for what they do and who take on the discipline to achieve their goals-even to surpass those goals. Leo is about 'personal best'-the 'Light of the Soul' eventually manifesting in personal life.

Leo is unique among the rest of the zodiacal signs. Ask any Leo and they will tell you so. What makes it unique is the sheer amount of solar vitality that it can focus through an individual or nation. Leos are known for their ability to focus intently on things, and to bring light to bear on difficulties. It is one of the signs that 'overcomes'. The Sun is the ruler of Leo at all levels, and one of the characteristics of the sign is that it gives the 'will-to-illumine'-in other words, the drive to seek out knowledge, to experiment, and thus the need in the Leo type to justify the knowledge gained through experience. It is a sign that confers a most intense self-consciousness, and it does so in both the positive and negative sense of the term. It brings out a great sensitivity as a result, for the Leo type is always keenly aware of how they impact on the environment around them, and how that environment and its inhabitants reflect back to them. It is said that all Leos "sorely need an imposed self-discipline. This leads to the perfection of which he/she is notably capable." In Leo, we see ourselves as divine. It could be said that adolescence is a very Leonine time of life. It is when self-consciousness comes squarely to the fore, and often very painfully so for the adolescent. Self-image is very important then, as well as one's place within the peer group. The hormones have taken over the development of the physical vehicle and the 'Heart of the Sun', which expresses through Leo, makes its presence known. Ego begins to really flower in one's life at that time. Passions flare. Life begins to take a real sense of direction through the force/agency of desire in adolescence. Of course, I speak in generalities here.

What orthodox astrology never emphasizes or perhaps realizes is that Leo is one of the most occultly potent of the signs in terms of our Earth humanity. It is ruled by the cosmic system (Sirius, via Regulus-the 'Heart of the Lion') to which most life on this planet passes once it attains liberation (passes on to the realm of Spirit. This is beyond the ken of the 'average' spiritual master, if there is such a thing.) Sirius is Earth's 'spiritual home'-our destination before we step out of our little section of this galaxy altogether and on to bigger and better things. I will not get technical about it. Suffice it to say that once most of us are finished with our evolution and work in this solar system, we will progress on to Sirius, in a manner of speaking. The point to this information is to indicate the high state of attainment that Leo can represent in terms of human evolution. It leads one to the highest reaches of which human experience is possible. It also indicates a path or method toward attainment of those sublime realms. To exemplify the highest Leo traits, one must be able to exhibit a personal freedom from outside control while at the same time practicing the most intense self-control and discipline. The Leo type must be able to stand alone and succeed in the face of all circumstance if they are to truly manifest the highest qualities of the sign. Leo, in human terms, gives us both the destination and the path there, whatever that destination might be. In Leo, we are the student and the Master, the objective and the path to it, the Knower and the known. With that, and with all the shining examples of Leo self-mastery before us on the tellie, let's have a bit of a look at China, especially in light of recent international events. I am going to leave politics out of this for the most part, except to indicate what is coming. What is happening there aside from the Olympics and what I see coming for China pains me with regard to all sides on the issues. But there is hope on all sides as well, as we will see


Many Chinese may not remember the significance of 8 Aug in their recent past history (nor want to), but on that date in 1966 the seeds of the Cultural Revolution were sown in the passage by the CCP of the "Decision Concerning the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution" (also known as "the 16 Points"). That legislation set the framework for the implementation of the Cultural Revolution, which elevated the already existent student movement into a national campaign for esponging the 'Four Olds': Old Customs, Old Culture, Old Habits, and Old Ideas. The truth is that the Cultural Revolution was actually a power struggle within the communist party, spearheaded by Mao Zedong. We do not need to go into what actually happened then. History is clear enough on the matter. It was a disaster for China and brought the country to the brink of civil war, quite aside from the persecution of all religions and destruction of much of its rich historical treasures. The point to be made here is that history repeats itself in cycles and if we do not learn from our past, then we usually repeat it in some fashion, especially where Saturn is concerned (astrologically considered). So, what is being repeated now and in recent years for China or being brought forward for a final resolution?

The People's Republic of China, as a governmental entity, is about to undergo its second Saturn return, which takes place roughly every 29 years. The exact date of the upcoming Saturn return for China is 14 Sep 2008. The previous one took place on 10 Aug 1979-three years after the official end of the Cultural Revolution with the arrest of the Gang of Four on 10 Oct 1976. The country was in the midst of reconstruction and healing in 1979. It had also just endured the largest earthquake of the 20th century by death toll (the Tangshan Earthquake) on 28 July 1976, following a Jupiter activation of the 14 May 1976 eclipse on China's 4th House cusp two weeks prior (Mars was exactly on the PRC Saturn by transit at the time of the quake, a fact which will lead to an examination of that Saturn point in a moment). China did indeed seem cursed in 1976 and the country was all-too-aware of the state of its face in the world arena at the time. It is undergoing a similar sort of self-examination in that regard now due to world attention being focused on it because of the clamp-downs in Tibet and East Turkistan. It has also just endured another massive earthquake (the May 12th 2008 quake).

We should probably take note here that the chart for China (1 Oct 1949, 3:01 PM, Beijing) is a horoscope for the political entity that is the Chinese government, and not necessarily the horoscope for the populace of the land itself. The latter chart would be an ancient one because the culture of China has been in place for thousands of years. Nonetheless, the 1949 chart does reflect the destiny of the nation since it is the government of any nation that primarily oversees the direction of the peoples of the respective land. Saturn returns for any person or entity are of major importance because they mark times of culmination and turning within the psyche, individual or collective, and mark a point at which the tone for the life over the next 29 years is set, more or less. At China's previous Saturn return sweeping changes were set in place by the CCP. We saw the institution of the economic reforms that have turned China around and brought it to potential superpower status in a few short years. Deng Xiaoping was on the rise politically, set to replace Hua Guofeng by 1980, and it was under Deng's leadership through the '80s that poverty levels in China dropped from a massive 53% in 1978 to less than 8% now. That is not bad, considering the fact China is the world's most populated country and has a host of internal ills working against its growth. We need to have a closer look at the natal position of China's Saturn, though, because Saturn in China's chart gives big clues as to the country's direction, just as it would in an individual's chart.

In January of 1964 Pluto made its first transit across the natal position of Saturn in the chart of the PRC. This was followed soon thereafter by a transit of Uranus across the same point in October of that year. Now, as an astrologer, I would really feel for any individual who had those two transits across their natal Saturn in such a short space of time and for so long (almost two years). It is a period marked by deep suspicions, frustrations, the urge to lash out with something new, feelings of confinement and huge subconscious projections at the world around one. It marks a time of very difficult transitions (Pluto) and change (Uranus). The two can be quite disorienting transits. In 1964 a schism had developed in the CCP over the disastrous effects of the 'Great Leap Forward' policies of Mao which had been in effect from 1958-1960. It is estimated that the famine those policies produced wiped out as many as 43 million people. As a result, Deng Xiaoping and Liu Shaoqi were trying to reconstruct the country in 1964 and marginalize Mao, but Mao had other ideas. About that time Moa had the state begin publishing of his 'Little Red Book', which was the most widely printed book of all time aside from the Bible and remained so until the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976 (which was the year of Mao's death). In 1964 as well, China exploded its first thermonuclear device and in the two years up until the legislation by the CCP of the Cultural Revolution (basically, the whole of the time of the Uranus/Pluto transits over China's Saturn) there was a great struggle for power within the CCP-one reformist (Xioaping/Shaoqi) and the other reactionary (Maoist). The basic structures (Saturn) of the CCP were being challenged. With the outbreak of the Cultural Revolution Mao's power was assured and Deng Xiaoping was marginalized, being sent to work as a common laborer in a tractor factory.

I have glossed over a lot here in terms of Chinese history, but I have hopefully made the point that Saturn marks a very sensitive point in the Chinese consciousness. Transits by Pluto and Uranus to that point almost led to the ruin of the country due to the paranoia produced in the leadership, while the subsequent transit of Saturn over its own place in 1979 saw changes (restructuring, which Saturn returns often indicate) instituted that brought a complete turnaround for China and brought it squarely into the modern industrialized world. Other significant transits to China's Saturn include the 2007 Uranus opposition, which saw the slave scandal in the brickyards, the institution of the 'Reincarnation Application' (I'll leave you to look up that one for yourselves), growing unrest in Tibet, the execution of the State Food and Drug Administration over bribes and drug company scandals and the launch of an un-manned lunar orbiter in October 07. The approach of the square to Saturn by Pluto in 2000, preceded by the Neptune transit over the Chinese ascendant and the Saturn square to the horizon saw the persecution and subsequent brutal torture and 're-education' of members of the Falun Gong sect. (Falun Gong was introduced in China in 1992 when Pluto crossed China's Midheaven and Jupiter transited China's Saturn-appropriate, wouldn't you say?) As an interesting side-note, the Tiananmen protests and the crackdown in Lhasa took place under Pluto's square to China's Mars/Pluto conjunction. All of this leads us to China today-so, what do we see?

The eclipse we will later discuss takes place in a tight square to China's meridian (4th/10th house axis). Neptune activates that (along with Mars and Chiron), thus squaring the meridian in March of next year. In fact, Neptune activates that eclipse twice in 2009, with one activation being the direct station of Neptune. The first transit of Neptune square to China's meridian was the retrograde station, which took place in mid-April of this year. It was at that time that China was embroiled in the riots in Tibet, along with troubles involving other minority groups in China (the riots began in March this year). With this eclipse squaring their meridian, it is anybody's guess as to what that will bring, but we have already seen that Neptune squaring the Chinese meridian brings disillusionment with China's image abroad, questions of homeland security for them and loss of face on the world stage. The fact that the eclipse occurs in the middle of the Olympics is of more than a little interest, too, and I have heard many people wondering if something was going to happen with the games. There have already been two terrorist attacks in the country since the start of the games and there would be factions within minority groups in that land who would love to take advantage of the games and draw world attention to their plight. January through March of next year will bring difficulties for China as Neptune does its work, with another difficult period to follow in the period from September 2009 through the end of that year for the same reason.

Personally, I feel that there is going to be more seismic activity in China over the next year. The 12 May 2008 earthquake took place when Neptune was on the degree of the upcoming eclipse, and within three minutes arc of its retrograde station. One of my colleagues here calls the meridian in a chart the 'gravity axis', and the Neptune square to that axis in China's chart certainly seems to bring its share of instability to the country. That axis is also very sensitive in terms of the CCP. When Pluto squared it in 1952 China was heavily involved in the Korean Conflict and the purging of the bourgeoisie in China-the 'Five-Anti Campaign'. Neptune's passage over the MC marked the start of the Cultural Revolution. We have already looked at Falun Gong and Pluto's transit there. The Uranus square to the meridian in 1960 marked the public and bitter split between China and the Soviets. True to its form of bringing 'the urge to better conditions', the Uranus transit over China's MC saw the institution of the Special Economic Zones reforms in the country-one of its great success stories-along with the trial of the Gang of Four. The next Uranus square to their meridian coincided the Hainan Island incident when there was a collision between a US reconnaissance plane and a Chinese fighter jet. There is a lot of symbolism in that one. Had the incident taken place decades earlier, the outcome would probably have been much worse, but relations with China and the US were on a much better footing at that point in history. In all, China seems to do well with its Saturn returns and seems to restructure itself well, but stressful activations of its Saturn and Meridian by the outer planets do not bode well.

In looking at all the preceding, then, what do we have, potentially? China is doing very well at the games and its national pride will be helped considerably. However, there are still festering problems with minority groups in the country and China's history with human rights is, shall we say, less than stellar. There is a huge disparity between the rich and the poor in China, and great portions of the populace are feeling quite disadvantaged. Some of the things I read about human rights abuses in China while researching this letter-even in present times-has been horrifying. If there is one thing that will give China a black eye on the world stage and serve to destabilize it internally, it will be the issue of human rights, especially with regard to Tibet and to a lesser extent with Falun Gong and other minorities in the country. I firmly think a fair amount of instability will be felt throughout the country from now through 2009, both politically and geologically.

The financial situation in the US and Europe is going to hit China hard. Economics will be the biggest destabilizing factor for China, along with minority groups. Any disruption to oil supplies could be devastating for the Chinese economy. There have been massive factory closures in China, and those have nothing to do with the Olympics. It has already been forecast that China's economic heyday may already be a thing of the past. I feel that China is going to come in for a bumpy landing after the end of the games as economic realities begin to hit home for the average Chinese citizen. Rising fuel costs and the cost of labor in China are the two biggest contributing factors aside from the economic slowdown in Europe and the US-China's two main export markets. China's dependency on high-volume, low-margin manufacturing makes it particularly vulnerable to economic downturns in the rest of the world.

So, here's what I think: The Saturn return following so closely on the close of the Olympics will serve to give a renewed sense of direction for the ruling party in China. For example, in an amazing departure from past policies, HH The Dalai Lama has stated that he has no further objections to communist rule in Tibet. In a recent interview For the full story (see: he stated: "The main thing is to preserve our culture, to preserve the character of Tibet………..That is what is most important, not politics." Basically, he has held out an olive branch to the Chinese leadership. It would seem to be in the best interests of the CCP to respond and dialog with HH if they wish to avoid further unrest. Further turmoil is the last thing Tibet or China needs at the moment. Bolstered by the games, the CCP could gain a lot of political capital and momentum for change and consolidation with the world at large. There is a myth, though, that has circulated in economic circles that China's economy was or could be decoupled somehow from the rest of the world-the US in particular-and that it could somehow wield undue influence over the US because it holds a great deal of US debt. In fact, the US and China have become economic 'bedfellows' over the past years and neither one can afford for the other to become unstable or to falter economically. It has been a strange turnaround and twist of fate from past relations between the two nations.

The largest concerns I see for China, astrologically considered, come from the squares to its MC mentioned previously and several solar arc activations to the PRC chart. There is a danger to China, and it comes from within. We find a powerful activation of the PRC Neptune by the solar arc (SA) Mars and transiting Jupiter in mid-October. As well, Pluto is on the PRC South Node by SA, activated by Jupiter at the end of October. The danger to China is that, through pride and arrogance borne out of a great success (games and thriving growth), opportunities will be lost. Mars in combination with Neptune can give delusions of grandeur, and when Jupiter is there too, any fantasy or delusion has the capacity to become greatly magnified. I fear that the little person in China will get lost in mix somehow, and it will come back to haunt the Chinese government later-as in next year. If I was looking at the chart of an individual with this setup, I would say to enjoy the overflowing cup at the moment, but not to lose sight of the smaller details of life. Celebration can lead to burst hopes all-too-quickly if others are jealous of one's success or ignored in reverie. There may well be some skeletons from the past that come back to remind one of things left undone (SA Pluto on the PRC South Node). There may also have to be a less than favored alliance or connection from the past that either must be undertaken out of necessity or which comes up for a final sort of resolution. In all, though, China has a lot going for it if it can let go of its controlling and restrictive side. By all means, the Chinese should bask in accomplishment, but watch their back at the same time. It is a time to share wealth and happiness, not to get lost in the limelight. The world around China is not a stable place, which leads into the next point.

Recent events in Georgia and the Persian Gulf are troubling, to say the least. We need to have a closer look at the US in the next letter. I refer you to the two following links to indicate why:

In short, there is a massive US naval strike force headed to the Persian Gulf at the time of this writing. The last times a force this large was seen there was in the lead-up to the two Gulf Wars. From the article in the latter preceding link: "The intent is to create a US/EU naval blockade (which is an Act of War under international law) around Iran (with supporting air and land elements) to prevent the shipment of benzene and certain other refined oil products headed to Iranian ports. Iran has limited domestic oil refining capacity and imports 40% of its benzene. Cutting off benzene and other key products would cripple the Iranian economy." Keep this in mind, however-China imports roughly 60% of its oil from the Gulf region, and any disruption to the flow of oil through the Gulf is not likely to help China's relations with the West at all. China signed a huge deal with Iran for natural gas in 2004. Do we see what is possibly emerging here? The timing of this build-up and the Georgian conflict, coming so close to a US presidential election, will create a field day for conspiracy theorists. To astrologers, it is all just another day at the office. The build-up in the Gulf has been planned for a long time. You've heard the saying-"In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way." (Franklin D. Roosevelt)

The Georgian conflict was exacerbated by the approaching square by Mars to Pluto, Mars being conjunct the 22 Sep 06 point today, as a matter of fact. We will look at the implications of that in the next letter. If there is going to be another war in the Gulf, I see the most likely time being around the end of October when Pluto again squares that degree and moves within orb of the Aries point, semisquared at the same time by Mars-just before the American elections. Then, we have the exact first 'hit' of the Saturn/Uranus opposition by transit on that very day. Anything can happen. Meditate. Pray. Be prepared. There is quite a bit to chew on there, considering what we see unfolding before us.

For dessert, let's have a look at the eclipse for 17 Aug 2008, which takes place at 7:10 AM AEST (16 Aug 08, 9:10 PM UT). Since it marks a solar festival as well, the solar degree is important. Its symbol reads:
"A large camel is seen crossing a vast and forbidding desert." 25 Leo

This is a symbol that denotes complete independence and total self-reliance. All Leo types eventually have to learn or exemplify those traits at some point in their lives. Like the camel, this Leo festival will indicate to all who spiritually strive to stand unmoved in the face of what goes on around them, to expect no help (even though help is ever-present) and to persist in one's pursuits in the face of all difficulties. To do otherwise would be self-defeating at the least. This is not to say that we should refuse help if it is available, but the point to be made here is that we should be prepared to go it alone if need be, whatever might be our circumstance. That is made all the more relevant by the degree of the eclipse (a lunar, North Node, partial eclipse), which reads:
"A butterfly with the right wing more perfectly formed." 25 Aquarius

Dane Rhudyar, in his 'take' on these symbols, equated the meaning of this symbol with the over-development of intellect at the cost of emotions-left-brain over right (since the right side of the body is controlled by the left side of the brain). He calls it 'a transmutation of emotional energies'. I have another thought on this, though. What does the relationship between the Sun and the Moon represent, spiritually considered? We are, after all, considering a spiritual festival here. Aside from the obvious Yin and Yang associations between the Moon and Sun, resp., there is a further association between them which bears a special significance for any Leo festival, especially when we consider the fact that Leo is about recognizing the Divine within the individual-seeing one's self as a God/Goddess. In the Sun and the Moon we have represented for us the symbolic interplay of Method/Compassion (Yang/Sun/Emptiness) and Wisdom (Yin/Moon/Bliss). When the Moon is 'new', Method and Wisdom are united (Sun and Moon are conjunct). At the solar festival (full Moon), Method and Wisdom stand in counterpoint, and the melody of the Soul is thus played for all to hear-each part of the melody standing in its own right and beauty.

With this eclipse, however-and the symbolism of this is most beautiful and poignantly illustrated-the light of Wisdom (the Moon) is partially blocked out (partial eclipse) by the experiences of earthly existence (the Earth blocks the light of the Sun from reaching the Moon). In other words, the task before us in this eclipse is to bring our recognition of the Bliss of living (our intuition, in other words) out from the shadows and fogs of daily life in order to make Compassion a more viable reality in our lives. In the true context of Yin and Yang, all must be in balance. If there is not enough structure/method, wisdom cannot unfold. If there is not enough wisdom brought to bear in the undertaking of one's tasks (method), then life becomes an empty exercise and the structure of one's life would eventually collapse under its own weight. The intuition/emotions must rise to balance the intellect or structure of one's life in the context of this eclipse, then.

This eclipse, like the Aug 1 eclipse, is of the 10 South Saros Cycle. It is concerned with breaking out of very negative situations where there is no hope of resolution and one's options seem few. Worries will suddenly clear and new options should be taken up with little delay. The breaking out of old scenarios is greatly aided by the fact that Mars is in a tight square to Pluto in the figure. The sense of futility and frustration is indicated by the Saturn/Mercury/Venus conjunction, coupled with Neptune conjoined with the Sun/Moon axis. Neptune has a strange way about it, though. It either enhances delusions or it brings the most pristine insight. It depends upon where one is focused as to how it affects one. Being conjunct the Moon in this figure, Neptune can show us 'the way out', or 'show us the door', depending on how we look at it or respond to its energies. However, there is a stellium comprised of the Moon, Neptune, the North Node and Chiron-a very powerful and magnetic configuration in Magi Astrology, and a very good omen, to boot. So, if you have this eclipse point falling on or exactly opposite a key point in your own chart, good on you! Enjoy what comes. The eclipse point is both the problem and the solution rolled into one. In this case, it denotes new associations, great intuitive interplay, shared vision between those concerned and great inner healing. Add to this the fact that the Mercury/Venus/Saturn conjunction is in trine with Jupiter and the Sun is applying to the trine with Pluto, then the stage is set for those who have activations of their charts to reap their just rewards. The only warning here is that, from the symbol of the solar degree, one may have to go it alone for a time while things clear and opportunities ripen. Endings can be fraught. Intuition can be subtle or devastating. Fruit needs time to ripen, if you know what I mean.


Yesterday marked a special day in the Buddhist calendar. It was the anniversary date of the conception of Guatama, the Buddha. Often, that date is listed as an alternative date to the Taurus birthday, which is celebrated in May. It is generally accepted that Guatama's mother gave birth to him in May (Taurus). For those who know about prenatal astrology, the conception date of 16 Aug is correct as a date of conception leading to a Taurus birth-the Buddha was conceived in the sign Leo. He had a 'Leo' mind, though he was born a Taurean. Buddhism is unique as a religion in that its tenets promote self-responsibility, self-effort, ultimate liberation from samsara (rebirth) through dint of those efforts, the cultivation of the mind as an instrument of that liberation and the absolute conviction that the attainment of that liberation is for the sole purpose that we come back and aid others in their own liberation-our own liberation for the sake of the liberation of all sentient beings-in the Mahayana/Vajrayana traditions, at least. That, my friends, is service (and with a compassionate smile :-) It all sounds suspiciously Leonine to me. Attainment of self for the sake of all others, the highest of the Leo traits, leads one to the ultimate in service and self-sacrifice. The glory that is the fully realized, liberated and awakened Being shines as an example, source of empowerment and beacon of hope, method and wisdom to all who thus warm and renew themselves in that Light. May we all be thus realized, if not in this life, then soon. Who knows-maybe Gautama was taught a musical instrument by one of his parents in some distant past life and He took it as a path of attainment then. I say it with respectful humor, but you never know…………….May we all get there together.

Wishing all of you the best out of this most auspicious eclipse,
17 Aug 2008

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