As mentioned earlier in this series, your soul’s journey is indicated by your Rising Sign (Ascendant). If you have Leo rising, you can consider yourself to be a Leo soul, and you are part of the group of Leo souls who are here to usher in an era of heart-centered leadership through creative expression of divine will.
Before you can reach this highest potential, you need to overcome the fear-based expressions of Leo so you may live your life through the highest love-based expression of Leo. This means fully understanding the ego personality so you can rise above it. There is a false self and a real self, and it is Leo’s job to figure out which is which. The Leo stage of our soul’s journey is a highly significant developmental milestone in the evolution of human consciousness. Leo is indeed very important, but not in the self-important way that the ego would like to think!
Whether we have personal planets in Leo or not, this article is relevant to us all, because we are all at varying stages of the individuation process symbolized by Leo. Leo can be thought of as the sign for our times, and it is indeed interesting that the current president of the United States, Barack Obama, has Sun in Leo. (Read more about the significance of Leo in the evolution of consciousness in this previous post.)
In Esoteric Astrology, by Alice Bailey, the Tibetan Master explains that we “do battle” in two signs, Leo and Scorpio. In Leo we are fighting for our individuality while, at a later stage, the battle in Scorpio is for our soul. The journey of Leo is one of individuation, and recognizing the importance of the individual is a vital step in the process. It is Leo’s job to stand up and say, “What about ME?” A newborn infant is a bundle of pure awareness. They are aware that they are hungry, they cry, they get fed. They are aware that they are uncomfortable, they cry, someone (hopefully) comes to make them feel comfortable again. There is no idea of “me.” This is an important point to recognize, if we are to fully understand individuation.
You might be able to remember back in your own life to a time when you were so young, there was just experience without labels. If you have been fortunate enough to spend some time with young infants, you’ll notice this exploring stage. When they pick up a flower, a building block, an insect – anything – the process is the same. They touch. Feel. Look. Probably put it to their mouth. If left undisturbed, they will spend a long time getting to know the object. They are immersed in pure experience without mental concepts. A new baby can’t think, “This is a flower.” Labels are given later by those around him who will tell him, “That is a flower.” But it is important to recognize that even before he had the capacity to think “this is a flower,” he was still experiencing, and his experience was individuated. It was his experience, nobody else’s.
It is a normal part of our intellectual development that we will quickly learn language and labels. It is an essential stage, because it is how we relate to the society into which we have been born. We initially connect with others and begin to relate in non-verbal ways with our parents, but very quickly as our social circle grows, we begin developing social skills, one of the most important of which is language.
This process hints at both the fear-based ego-personality expressions of Leo and the highest love-based soul expression. The biggest ego-challenge for Leo is not to get caught in labels. When the society tells a Leo that he is a banker, nurse, actor, fire officer, police officer, dropout, genius, addict, executive, scientist, slob, etc., he is likely to play the role full out. With great integrity, responsibility, and deep sincerity Leo will play the part that society has conferred upon him, whether he be a prince or a pauper. The danger is when he comes to believe this is who he really is. Deep down he knows he really is a “somebody,” but the mistake is in thinking that the “somebody” is his role in society. This is why sometimes Leo can appear stuffy or pompous. There can be a sense of being unnatural, as Leo wholeheartedly throws his life and soul into the role he has been given.
At this point our Leo friend is self-conscious. At some point our infant began to develop the idea of “me.” There is a point in child development where an infant will just look into a mirror and giggle. There is no “self” recognition. Then one day it arises. Suddenly, the infant looks in the mirror and realizes they are looking at their individual self, which they will soon come to call “me.” This is the arising of self-consciousness. From this point, as the child grows, he will be comparing self with other to find his place in the world. To see where he fits into the society in which he was born.
Until recent times, people never went beyond this stage. In communist countries, we can see there is very little emphasis on an individual self, as one is expected to be a “good citizen” and do one’s duty to contribute to the society. This was also the case in the West before 1945. Since then, in the West at least, we have seen the emergence of the individual. People no longer want to be seen as cogs in a machine. We can also see this in the current wave of revolutions in the Middle East as people are standing up and saying, “What about ME?” Individuals are demanding to be acknowledged, and this is a vital stage in the evolution of consciousness, because it is individuals who awaken, not societies. Society itself is merely a label that we have given to a group of individuals.
For Leo, the way home to his authentic self is the pathway to his soul. Leo’s spiritual path is to keep asking, “Who am I?” and not to stop until he has the answer. Through this process, he cultivates deeper awareness of himself as an individual, self-awareness. Authentic self is the one who was there before all the labels, the one who was experiencing as a baby, before the development of conceptual thinking and language. You don’t have to do anything to be a somebody. You always were, even before the label “I,” even before you “thought” you were you. You were. You existed. Existence itself was experiencing life, as you. This is what Christ meant when he said, “Be as children.”
On our spiritual path, there comes a time to drop all labels and recognize reality for what it is. In meditation, we might return to the state of pure experiencing, where we can spend time with a flower simply experiencing its essence without the thought, “This is a flower.” If you have Leo Rising, you are here to awaken, to remember the state of pure being that is beyond all labels and concepts. Once you have returned to this childlike state, you will recognize yourself as awareness itself, and awareness will be aware of itself. This is the ultimate self-realization. You recognize your self as the essence of all existence. Then you will live life through your heart-center and be a pure expression of divine will in the world. You will know your will and God’s will to be one and the same.
Ruth Hadikin – Soul Astrologer
Karen MacKenzie is working on a series of astrology inspired paintings using goddesses from different cultures. For more information about the symbolism in this print and to view other works in her ongoing series, check out her website, Karen MacKenzie Art.