It is the transformation of our sense of self that lies at the heart of the spiritual path, and at the heart of humanity's transition into a new era. In response to the question, 'Who am I?' the Leo energies ultimately lead the spiritually inspired person to a deep realisation that I am not this individual I always thought I was - I am an inner presence, eternal, divine, omniscient: 'I am That and That am I'.
Most of us spend most of our time thinking and feeling within all the constraints of the world of time and space - the notion that I am the divine Self is, at the very best, little more than an idea, a goal, and a possibility. The horizon of our thinking our dreaming and our emotions tends, for so much of the time, to be very limited - more often than not set by the circumstances of our lives. It is only in rare moments when we can stand in identification with the soul that we are sufficiently free from the constraints of form to recognise that in essence we are truly divine.
In the ancient Sanskrit texts of the Vedas the soul is portrayed as Hamsa, a pure, white swan. The image is of a swan in flight - a picture of radiant, pure beauty. It is an image to remind us that the soul, on its own plane, in its own being, can fly free from all the constraints of the psyche of the world, upwards towards the inner sun where the eternal 'I am That' is found.
Can we just pause for a moment and hold this image of the swan in flight, beyond time, beyond space, into the abode of the eternal Self?
Affirmation of a Disciple
I am a point of light within a greater Light.
I am a strand of loving energy within the stream of Love divine.
I am a point of sacrificial Fire, focussed within the fiery Will of God.
And thus I stand
I am a way by which men may achieve.
I am a source of strength, enabling them to stand.
I am a beam of light, shining upon their way. And thus I stand.
And standing thus, revolve
And tread this way the ways of men,
And know the ways of God.
And thus I stand.
Leo is a good time to be thinking about freedom: the fundamental principle, the universal law governing the process of transition from I, the person, into I, the divine Presence.
Why consider freedom at the time of the Leo full moon? Two thoughts. First the process of moving from a consciousness which is acutely sensitive to our individuality - immersed as it often is in the world of me, my and mine - towards the consciousness of the Self as divine, right outside of time and space, can only be a process that is freely chosen. We choose to rule our lives in response to the higher vision of the soul - no one else can make that choice for us. The disciplines of the spiritual path can only be imposed by ourselves. As the Buddha said in his last message to his disciples: we have to be a light unto ourselves and to find out the truth for ourselves. To do this we need to consciously cultivate a freedom from dogma, from other people's ideas and opinions, from what is politically correct. In other words we have to find out for ourselves who we are and what we think. This requires a climate of thought, of relationships, of religion and belief in which we are truly free.
But this is just the outer rim of the freedom quest that is implicit in the Leo path. For the moment we begin to seriously look at ourselves we see that the real heart of the spiritual path is about the freedom that comes from cutting the ties that bind. To be free in ourselves, as the swan is free, and to exercise all the powers of those magnificent wings in flying towards the all-loving Self, we have to be free from the control of desire and passion, of mood and habit, of instinct, and ultimately, of karma. I am only truly able to identify with That Divine essence if and as I can be free of attachment to this lesser, personal self.
The second reason why it is appropriate to consider freedom when the energies of Leo are permeating the inner worlds of mind and heart has to do with cosmic influences - and in particular with the influence of a radiant sun from outside our solar system: Sirius. Sirius rules Leo. In future times, Alice Bailey suggests there is the possibility that the period of the Leo full moon will see religious ceremonies where humanity makes contact with Sirian forces via the inner ashrams of enlightened beings, the Masters of the Wisdom. Imagine that: gatherings all over the world where millions of people take part in religious ceremonies linking with the Christ, with Krishna, the Maitreya Bodhisattva, the Imam Mahdi and all the assembled saints and angels of the inner realms; making contact with Sirian forces.
The sun, Sirius, is said to be closely related to our planetary life. We are told that the Life, which expresses itself through Sirius,- represents a vast field of Divinity. It stands as a Lord to our planetary Logos. A stream of energy flows from this great Star directly into our planetary Hierarchy of Illumined Masters on the inner side of life. It brings with it a flow of cosmic love - and, the divine principle of freedom. Sirius, cosmic ruler of Leo, gifts to the planet earth, and to our solar system, the principle of freedom.
There is something in this idea that should make us sit up and take notice concerning the significance of freedom. Sirius represents, for us, an extraordinarily high level of divinity. As Alice Bailey writes, it seems that our tiny planet with its planetary Logos (one of the "imperfect Gods" of The Secret Doctrine) would be too small to enter in the slightest way into the consciousness of that Supreme Illumined Entity Who is greater even than our Solar Logos. Greater than the divinity of the Sun - the Heart of the Sun and the Central Spiritual Sun. Yet, we are told, Such … is the case. There is a relationship of very ancient date between our Lord of the World, Sanat Kumara, and the Lord of Sirius, and this exists in spite of the fact that our planet is not a sacred planet. (Rays V., pp 413-4)
The point is that this contact with a supremely Illumined Presence Who is so much greater than the Lord of the World, or the Central Spiritual Sun brings to us the principle of freedom. Is this the same freedom that is argued about endlessly in civil rights disputes, in parliamentary chambers the world over, in the cases highlighted by groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch? In a sense it is. The spirit of freedom that flows through the legal, social and political environment, and the archetypal debate about freedom that is such a feature of our world is a reflection, a very dim reflection in one sense, of this divinely inspired principle.
But right now I want to focus on the principle in its essence - and to look at its significance in spiritual terms. When we think of spiritual freedom it is easy to think in terms of being free from the influence and interference of others in the way we think and govern our lives. But this is to be thinking in personal terms. The esoteric approach asks us to think as if we are the soul - that inner swan, floating upon the perfume released from the lotus of the head centre, with its thousand petals. This image of the swan is still, poised - the great wings are folded down, nestled closely in against the soft down of the body feathers. The wings are not outstretched, in flight, for the soul is in meditation deep - it is immersed in the processes of incarnation.
Deep within our inner soul nature, deep within the being of the swan, is the call to pull away from form, to be free from form. From the soul's perspective immersion in incarnation, immersion in the realms of time and space, is like an imprisonment. The soul, by its very nature, is all loving, all-lighted, all wise and guided by higher purpose. This essentially free, loving lighted centre of consciousness willingly submits to the process of incarnation in order to redeem substance.
For many the soul is not an abstract, an idea, it is a living presence - known and sensed in meditation, perhaps in dreams, in our imaginative life. Yet for most of us our identification, our daily sense of who we are, is with the personality - sensitive to the desires, the thoughts and the so-called 'realities' of our lives. This is the imprisonment the soul experiences - our identification with the 'here and now', by which we mean the worlds of time and space. Illusion tells us that this is the 'real' world, or even, sometimes, the 'only' world.
It is the principle of freedom which enables us to see these so-called 'realities' as ephemeral, of no lasting substance, and as inhibiting our ability to see with the eyes of the swan and hear with the ears of the swan. The vision of freedom is, then, the vision of joy.
Freedom is, ultimately, identification with the divine Self - while still in incarnation. And that opens a whole new phase of desire and of purpose. The freedom quest then takes human form as the crafting of a mind and heart that is detached, dispassionate and impersonal. Freedom from form becomes attachment to Soul - dis-identification with our personal identity and identification with the divine essence within. So it is this Sirian energy of freedom that lies behind the Indian tradition of seeking nirvana, bliss, emptiness: freedom from the ties that bind.
We have to be free FROM all the constraints of our incarnated minds and our incarnated emotional bodies in order to be free TO truly serve in the light of the vision of the soul. So it is the freedom quest that leads us to say with full purpose those magical words from the mantram of unification: Let the soul control the outer form and life and all events, and bring to light the love which underlies the happenings of the time.
It is an interesting aspect of our times that the dominant note of living spirituality today is all about an embodied spirituality - about establishing a balance between mind-body-spirit. This can be interpreted to mean that there is less of a focus on freedom from the personality than there was in earlier times. But I don't think that is really the case. Modern spirituality has rejected the old idea of the world of form, body and desire as fundamentally evil. And that is wonderful. Of course the world is not evil. Spirituality is now about finding a harmony and a balance between soul and personality, where both are accepted as aspects of the divine. The important point is that this harmony can only be found when we are free from identification with the world of form, body and desire. When free from immersion in the habits and impulses of the personality, we can choose to respond to situations in the light of the soul and the personal can be a field of expression - it can be a field of radiation - a dance. But this sort of harmony is only possible where there is a measure of soul control - it requires an inner freedom.
Remember, we are reflecting on the Principle of freedom during the Leo full moon period when the energies of Sirius are especially potent. This principle, as it applies to the spiritual path, is something that we can expect to be working with for lifetimes - it will always be with us until we are well advanced on the Path - will always be challenging us to be detached from personality and to be free from the world. And a part of that process will be for us to become magicians in the world.
All of us in incarnation live within an ocean of energies - of impacts and contacts coming from above and below and from the thoughts of our friends, contacts and the communities we live in. But as magicians in training our goal is to be able to work within this ocean of energies - in other words to be free from reaction to the energies, and free to be a conscious, directing agent. The magician creates what is desired. A White Magician, a true disciple of the Christ, desires, wants, to create situations and objects that are in accord with: the pattern of things and the design laid down upon the trestle board of the spiritual consciousness by the great divine Architect.
I am quoting here from the book Glamour: A World Problem. The magician identifies himself not with the pattern or with the forces which he employs. He moves in the world of maya, free from all illusion, unhindered by glamour and uncontrolled by the mayavic forces. He is rapidly arriving, as far as his own little world is concerned, at the same "divine indifference" which characterises Sanat Kumara, the Lord of the World; therefore increasingly he becomes aware of the Plan as it exists in the Universal Mind and the Purpose which motivates the Will of God. (Glamour, pp 243-4)
If we want to serve the Plan, if this is truly what we want, we have no option but to tread the path of freedom. And that means choosing disciplines and taking initiatives that will allow us to be free.
Humanity has become aware that we are destroying our home, the planet earth. We have to find new ways of living on the Earth - we have to reform our economies and reshape our lifestyles. This awareness creates an enormous tension in every society - and a tension within our own lives as we come to terms with how we should act as individuals in the light of the environmental crisis. Never before has there been this massive concentration of thought, emotion and outer activity in every society of the world centred around rebuilding the relations between the human kingdom and the natural world - the animals, plants and minerals. It is central to modern politics, local government and international relations. And it is central to so many people's lives.
Essentially the issue is one of freedom - but not as the world sees freedom. For the real spiritual dynamic that lies behind this issue is to do with our 'desire' for things, and our lack of respect for the inherent worth of things. The opportunity is to be relatively free of this desire. Imagine what the impact would be on market forces if our communities were relatively free from the desire for more and more 'things' that unnecessarily consume precious planetary resources. Imagine how the world would be if the populations of economically wealthy countries were sufficiently free from their addiction to materialism to actually be able to choose to renounce some things - to give up the desire for certain products - to value the products they already have - and to make this renunciation for the sake of the earth.
Leo full moon day, August 9, is also International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples. Especially through ritual and through the sense of the sacredness of the Earth the Indigenous bring to world culture a unique contribution to the collective learning taking place in the field of human consciousness. How magical the process of evolution and transformation is. Those people and cultures who have suffered the most in the emergence of our post-modern world, the 'forgotten' people of the earth are now often in the role of shaman and healer to a globalised world - reminding us of the need to be free from our addiction to materialism and to the little, superficial notion of what is real. As I heard last weekend in Toronto at the launch of the World Wisdom Alliance, from Uncle, Angaangaq, a shaman of the Eskimo-Kallalit people - now is the time when we are called to melt the ice that is in the heart of man (www.icewisdom.com) … and in Leo we take steps to do this as a choice for freedom and a choice for Self.