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Leo and Leo Rising: Dancing With Dharma

IT’S ALWAYS interesting how your life seems to turn like a pivot on the service that you offer to the world. Or is it owe to the world? This is always a fine line. But for you, service happens. Now, it may be with renewed intensity and passion, as well as the deepest questioning in your life.


We might speculate that the sign ruled by the Sun and whose totem is King of the Jungle would be less directly involved in the hands-on, day-to-day operations of the family, the world, the company, the community. Yes, we would expect you to hunt for your cubs and raise them up right. But where did all this world-server karma come from? Where, the need to be central in your community, to rise to any challenge, and to take responsibility for the world?

I’m going to propose it comes from the prominence of Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces in your chart. These signs, which cover the true topics and subjects that are too large to actually understand, comprise most of what is called your zone of projection: your relationship area. Sagittarius is also part of this zone, and it gets most of its airtime this year for being the former location of a 12-year Pluto transit. Where Pluto has been is almost as important as where it’s going, and I’ll cover both of these things.

Second, I’m going to propose that it’s because your ruling planet, The Sun, is not really a planet but rather the center of our solar system. The Sun provides most of the energy that we use in our world (and a tiny fraction of what is emitted, in all directions, all the time). You could call this dharma, acting as if to hold the world together.

Your natal Sun and all three of these crucial signs for you are under important transits this year. At the moment and through the year, there is enormous emphasis on Aquarius, your primary relationship house. Indeed there is a collection of planets here, and an eclipse on the way in late January, that the world has not seen the likes of since February 1962. This is pouring energy in, and demanding attention outward. You may feel overwhelmed, excited and not sure whether this is your dream come true or some kind of a visitation from another dimension. Everything seems to be happening at once: for the moment, try to get used to it.

As I have been suggesting with others where Aquarius is showing up, it would help a lot if you shifted your attenuation to a higher frequency: look at the big picture and work your way in. Remember how many people are around you, and make sure that you depend on them just as much as they depend on you. Remember, there are more of them.

This is the year when the culmination of a long, long story in your relationships starts to become obvious. In some ways it is a peak year but I prefer to think of it as a threshold. Your relationship life has definitely been interesting; if it has gone well — that is, if you are having the stable relationship that you want — this has been a function more of your skill and devotion rather than of fair and favorable weather. It has been your unwavering devotion to truth. If you ask me, long transits of Chiron and Neptune through one’s relationship house, as you are having, are not usually beneficial for stability, on their face. But if we learn to navigate their elements, and if we refuse to allow ourselves to be deluded, they can be truly beneficial.

Though I don’t usually add a section on “if this astrology sucks for you,” Leo is the one sign where this is necessary. If you are struggling, take it as a wake-up call. If your relationship is on the rocks, caught in addiction patterns, or in a state of constant crisis, consider how you would respond if you were actually awake; if you were doing what my therapist Joe put so simply into four words: use what you know.

One of the problems with Neptune is that its effects are often invisible. You can get involved in a situation and not know for years that you were going through something, and then suddenly you’re in a situation that you don’t understand. When you trace the roots, they go back years before you were aware.

One of the usually-perceived problems with Chiron is that it can make us aware of what we’ve been concealing from ourselves for years; then suddenly we become aware of something and we realize it was there all along. This is why so many people think that Chiron is a destructive force. In truth, Chiron is the master of the crisis point; and when that point comes, we get ourselves together as if our lives really do depend on it.

The two, Neptune and Chiron, are about to form a conjunction in your most sensitive house, your relationship house. I see this as less about a crisis and more as one of the most awesome moments in your life to grow up and participate in the world as an actual adult, not the pseudo adults that our culture spits out like so many MP3 players. It’s a chance to find out who you are, in truth, among your peers. It’s a moment to encounter, meet and form relationships with those peers.

As usual, you get to set the example. This is a lot of what you’re here for: that’s the heart of the dharma. If you set the example of holding the world together, not only will your part of the world probably stay together a lot better than it otherwise might have; your example will radiate out like kinetic energy and teach everyone around you to hold their bit of the world together. If you pay attention, others will have to. If you refuse to compromise the truth, or your truth, it will become safer for others to do so and then we can have a real conversation with real compromise possible.

And if this makes some sense, now you see why your sign is the one associated with gold, with the king, with the Sun and while I’m making a list, with you.

Going Beyond Obligation

Here is some information about the world, in the form of a question. Who offers something that they don’t owe, and who asks for something that they don’t think is owed to them? While self-interest plays a role in the motivations of the world, deep inside the engine of what prompts us to get anything done, indeed, to get through the day, is a sense of obligation, and the way your solar chart is set up from birth, this is powerful in your energy pattern.

But Pluto arriving in your 6th solar house of service, with its Capricorn overlay, is here to dismantle this. One of the examples you’re here to set is exchanging obligation for excellence. This is, to my thinking, the simplest and clearest way to sum up Pluto in Capricorn for you. Pluto is here to liberate energy. It is here to set you free from routines that drown you in boredom; from unconscious patterns that only subtract creative energy from your life.

You are in one of those moments of reaching in deeply and turning over the earth beneath your feet. What you are going to find is that it’s fertile ground, capable of supporting far more than you ever thought possible.

Pluto in Capricorn is activating all of the earthy signs, including Taurus and Virgo. Taurus as your 10th solar house says one thing, really: the career you have has to focus on something that you value deeply. It’s also a reminder about the extent to which your self-worth is inextricably tied to the work that you do, and the reputation you have as someone regarded as competent, talented and who walks their talk.

One thing you are likely to be recognizing is that this is not easy. It’s not easy because you live in a world where we are not taught to live our values; we are taught to make a buck. The job of most companies is not to make an environmentally-friendly Big Mac. It’s to collect the 99 cents. This has always bristled your fur and it always will.

If you are having any significant difficulties at all on the work front, that is, if your career is threatened by “the economy” or if you are in a situation that is just not working for you, you can very efficiently start with this one issue. Are you doing something that, when you look at the whole thing, the whole mission of the whole company, is important to you? Are you doing something that supports your maturity and that of the community? Are you involved in something that values freedom?

If the answers to these questions skew toward no, then hoist your sails and head for someplace where you feel a true affinity. If the answers tend toward yes, there are many opportunities awaiting you and these relate directly to leadership. This is not the normal kind of “being the boss” leadership but rather that of being the most integrated part of the system, which guides the other parts into a state of balance and integration. I suggest you start with yourself and the people immediately closest to you.

We live in a world of people most of whom walk around with their half-baked dreams and half-formed visions of what should be. Your ability to combine practicality and a vision is what is going to burn off any such remaining baby fat in your life, and encourage (by example and to some degree necessity) the people around you to do the same.

The 6th is the house of systems. I suggest you look into any holistic or whole-system theory and apply it to what you are doing. In a recent article, I associated Pluto in Capricorn with Dionysus trying to liberate us from the traps that we live with: the most significant one is work. A Planet Waves reader named Maria Katzenbach responded with a long, excellent essay, in which she said, “Nowhere in any of the astrological writing about Pluto in Capricorn have I seen anyone talking about this transit as a radical restructuring of all the structures and systems of society to bring an end to hundreds of years of the enculturation of misery and to liberate collective joy. Yet we see collective joy very much trying to assert itself in the Happiness Movement, the birth of the economics of happiness and well-being (the eudaimonic economic revolution), and the death of the false joys of materialism and Christmas as the ritual of consumption. Another Dionysian perspective, then, is that collective joy is forcing Puritanical social structures to die, and that the deep structural revisions of power during the Pluto in Capricorn transit will involve dismantling all the systems in society that engender misery, the top two immiserating systems being our economy and education. This will be a struggle, an agon, in which we are all protagonists, which literally means to ‘carry the conflict forward’.”

I had to look up the word eudaimonic. Here is one reference that I found. Many philosophers, religious leaders and visionaries of the East and West have “denigrated happiness per se as a principal criterion of well-being.” Ryan and Deci (2001) point out that Aristotle even considered “hedonic happiness to be a vulgar ideal, making humans slavish followers of desires. He posited, instead, that true happiness is found in the expression of virtue — that is, in doing what is worth doing” (emphasis mine).

Well now. A work revolution about doing what is worth doing. Taking action on this front requires courage and determination. This is due to the overwhelming pressure that social groups put on individuals; the difficulty asserting individuality within them; and mainly because the most difficult patterns are the ones we carry around inside us. But clearly you have the power to make the changes that you need to make. You have that power from Pluto, but also because you will decide that what you are doing is worth doing, or you won’t do it and you will do something else.

Eclipses Across the Leo-Aquarius Axis

You are particularly sensitive to eclipses, and in our recent generation, they have been rare events in Leo. I covered this in an edition of Astrology News from last summer; it’s linked so that you can review it if you want to. Here is a related article as well.

Eclipses move in an 18-year cycle. Since they occur across an axis of the zodiac (that is, two opposite signs), they return to each axis every nine years. They have recently been working to the Leo-Aquarius axis, which means that there has been an extra spotlight on your sign and your opposite sign, Aquarius. The suggestion here is that your sense of self, and your sense of your relationships — and your actual experience of both — are crossing a threshold.

There are two solar eclipses in 2009. The first, on Jan. 26, occurs in early Aquarius, and represents a relationship changing forms, and also someone who is in a relationship going through a deep transformation — in relation to this, you are going through a transformation in the relationship. This, I realize, is set against a background of change, progress, refocus and/or critical changes. The eclipse suggests that there is an immediate focus. You may find yourself in response or in reaction to your environment. I suggest you stay in response mode as much as possible, because this will give you the opportunity to go into proactive mode.

The second eclipse is on July 22. While this is not in Leo, it’s half a degree away, on the cusp of your solar 1st house, the last degree of Cancer. However, the North Node of the Moon, which points to approximately where eclipses occur and is intimately tied to them, is in the first degree of Leo. So I count this as two events in one: an honorary Leo eclipse, and also one that is just dipping into your 12th house: the house of secrets.

One implication here is that you make a discovery about yourself that you absolutely were not expecting. Yet at the same time, it has the feeling of a secret that you were keeping from yourself. It has the flavor of “discovering how you really feel about something, which you already knew, but the recognition of which compels you to come to terms with who you are.”

I would suggest to anyone doing therapy or spiritual process that looking into your birth and birth trauma would be fruitful. Your mother plays an extraordinary role in your inner life. True enough, mothers are powerfully influential people in all of our lives, for good or ill, in ways they intended or not, and which we can see or not. But the 12th house (in your case Cancer, the sign of mothers) has an odd power: it represents the ‘secret self’ that we don’t wish to reveal to others, and don’t typically reveal to ourselves; and this is connected with mom in a way that is simply not apparent about 90 percent of the time; even if it seems that it is.

This eclipse is about seeing what you’ve been missing about your own emotional nature. I trust that this will deepen your insight into yourself during a time when this can only help the many processes that you have underway, and help you relate to the many people who are counting on your example of mental balance, emotional composure and most of all, honesty with yourself.

Virgo to Pisces: Your Money Angle

We live in tight economic times, and you will not pick up an astrology book that doesn’t tell you that the transit of Saturn across the 2nd house is about a phase where you have to be scrupulously cautious about your money. You tend to be anyway; yes, there are a few pound-foolish Leos, and a few spendthrifts too, but you tend to take some sincere pride in how much you can do with how little money.

Personally, I consider Saturn a planet of clarification and focus. Every astrologer has their own Saturn theory, and actually I think that there are quite a few good ones. Saturn can be brutal at times, but then you have to watch out for exaggerated observations about how it works; and some of the subtle ones bear the most reality on a situation.

Saturn in your 2nd house is about clarifying what is important to you, and bringing your ideas into line with that. In the old schools of astrology, the 2nd is your personal wealth. In the newer ones, the interpretations skew more toward ideas like one’s values system. Because you have Virgo in this solar house, the suggestion is that your wealth is intellectual: the value of what you know. I believe that you are aware of this. You are a kind of brain trust. Therefore, as other portions of this reading have advised, you are not a beast of burden. You are a person of ideas.

And Saturn is here to help you clarify what you know, and give you the strength to use it. I would say that this applies to what you think you know about money; and you may discover that it applies to certain priorities whose time has come, and others whose time has gone.

Our other money angle, crucial to the concept of an economy, is the 8th house, which relates to the resources of others. Here is the question — is what others are up to a threat to your stability, or a reasonable, necessary dare that will help make everyone have a more secure and creative life?

I can tell you that given what you have going on, you need all the creative influence you can get, even if some of it is a little on the outrageous side. Part of your role in the equation is to provide balance; and their role is to provide innovation and the skill of knocking things just out of balance enough for some original ideas to enter the equation.

There are resources involved; there is more than you think. Those resources may not seem accessible. Actually, they are: but it’s a matter of harnessing them, and that is in many ways a matter of the idea that money flows toward structure. Saturn in the 2nd house says nothing, if not this.

The people with whom you exchange resources are pushing you to update your files. You have done things one way for a long time. You have operated under one set of presumptions. Now circumstances and people, particularly business partners and marriage partners, are challenging you to question every one of them. This may seem inconvenient, but in fact it is a good parallel to your own housekeeping project that is underway.

Focusing your Cat’s Eyes

Something is coming into focus. I said coming into focus — not entirely in focus. You still may not be seeing the details, but you can definitely see the shapes and you’re starting to see in perspective. This is the important thing, as are certain key details that are more a matter of observation than they are actual vision. And there is one last bit: looking closely at color.

Remember that a cat’s eyesight is designed to facilitate hunting. It has two distinct characteristics: they can see in low light, and they can see movement. One shortcoming is that cats are nearsighted, something you simply cannot be as a human kind of kitty. This is precisely what is being corrected: your ability to see wide perspectives, long distances and the special qualities in your relationships. This would be true in both personal and professional relationships, and the many places in your life where the two intersect.

From another angle, the story of your charts is about all of your relationships. It’s about witnessing the way that you negotiate your boundaries, and the way that other people negotiate them with you. In some ways you do this excellently, balancing your own needs against the constant necessity of a group agenda. It is clear that certain key people in your personal life will need to make concessions and pick up some of the slack when it comes to your rapidly-evolving role in the world outside those relationships.

Dharma is the dance of participation. You want to participate with the world, and it with you: and the doors are opening fast. And as they do, to the extent you are willing, conscious and maintain your dedication to service, you will witness a kind of miracle in the world around you.

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