Experiencing Yourself in a Wider Context

Leo Part One

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Leo Part Two

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Leo Part Three

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Reality Check for Leo and Leo Rising | 2012 Annual Horoscope by Eric Francis

As a Leo, one of the underlying themes of your life is control. This might come in the form of your desire for discipline and self-control, or needing to strongly influence a certain situation (such as in a leadership capacity). It may come in the form of the overdeveloped sense of responsibility that you so often possess. In your relationships, the balance that you have to reach often involves some dynamic of freedom and individuality versus stability and commitment. Well, it’s not really a ‘versus’ kind of thing — it’s really about integration.

Infinite Compassion. Painting by P.C. Turczyn

Infinite Compassion. Painting by P.C. Turczyn

Note that the Sun is the ruling body of Leo, which is unusual because the Sun is what holds together the whole solar system, and which provides nearly all of its energy. Coming in sequence after a bunch of signs ruled by little things like Mars or Venus or Mercury or the Moon, suddenly your sign emerges as the center of the show; the ringmaster of the proverbial cirque de soleil.

Yours is a fixed sign, and that suggests you value and want to create stability. This is one of your most dependable psychological and spiritual characteristics. Yet as the demented sense of humor of the gods would have it (or who knows, maybe it’s their practical side at work), and going back many years, you’ve been confronted by an environment of nearly constant change. This has come in the form of movement in your relationships, your family, your community and in truth the world we all live in. Any hope of having a simple, private life, away from too much attention from others has just about evaporated. Still, there is that part of you deep inside of yourself that is ‘just you’ and with whom you have never lost contact.

While much of the astrology that was creating that situation has finally (and thankfully) toned down, the theme of your relationship to the community and to the people around you remains present in many other forms, and in the few seasons ahead you’re likely to discover that this all — all of it — was actually heading somewhere, leading to something tangible. Said another way, you’ve been preparing for something for which there is about to be a payoff, though it may not seem quite like that; you’re aware there is so much work left to do. In an odd way that perhaps only a Leo could understand, the reward of conducting yourself responsibly is more responsibility.

But there is something beyond that. I recognize you’re doing deep work on yourself, on both the spiritual and more grounded, pragmatic levels. The results you get will seem to be unrelated to that work, even ‘coming out of nowhere’ — but that is not true. You really are driving your own evolutionary engine, and all the parts connect.

The Uranus-Pluto Square: Some Gritty Brilliance

Let’s start our discussion of your 2012 astrology with the Uranus-Pluto square, one of the key events that makes 2012 what it is, and that defines a longer era that spans between approximately 2011 and 2017. While we’ve already lived through a year of that, the first exact square of Uranus and Pluto is in late June. It will be extremely precise in your solar return (birthday) chart, and understanding this aspect will take you a long way. It has two distinct and radically different attributes — and a third that points to the real message, your real mission.

The first part of the aspect is Pluto in Capricorn, a transit that phased in between 2008 and 2009. Capricorn is in your solar 6th house if you are Leo Sun, 6th house by whole-sign houses if you are Leo rising. The 6th is the house of wellbeing and it’s often associated with work, service and health. With Capricorn here, the emphasis is indeed on work, and it’s my favorite illustration of the non-ambition kind of ambition that you have — you’re more focused on a job well done than you are on glory. True, Leo has that reputation of wanting to be a star, but as far as I can tell it is only a kind of gloss. You’re more about really doing the work than you are about aspiring to something. And if you do aspire, you want solidity, not celebrity.

Pluto in Capricorn is a reality check that began several years ago; with this kind of transit you knew you had to get grounded and take care of pressing business. That may have involved taking care of your health and it certainly involved more challenging situations at work. This has been a little like living in a house while you’re renovating it, or perhaps more accurately, renovating the kitchen at the same time you’re making dinner. Normal day-to-day processes are happening, as is some deep restructuring work. It’s not easy. At a certain point you may have figured out that this work would not really ever be finished, but rather that you were embarking on a process that would become a basic feature of your life.

This has involved many practical improvements, ranging from the need to take care of your health to having a more pressing role at work. You may have to be at the forefront of the kinds of changes in which, in the past, you would have only been a participant. Economic conditions have forced many changes in peoples’ workplaces, and you may be in the position of having to engineer the new level of efficiency, or to move mountains with your efforts.

I think that in these times everyone should be glad to have something productive to do. Somehow you know this is about soul growth. It’s about real personal development, but not the kind that happens to you — it’s the kind that you make happen. If by the way you are unemployed, I suggest you employ yourself — give yourself a task or a mission so that you can grow and have a sense of participation. That is very likely to lead to greater things.

Let’s add Uranus to the equation. Uranus arrived in Aries between 2010 and 2011; the actual ingress (to stay) was March 11, 2011, and it came in with a bang. Aries is situated in your 9th house, which is the place where we seek spiritual realization. It’s the level of spiritual growth that’s less about work and more about discovering who you are and learning faith. Uranus in this house is more like a bold adventure, where the discoveries just kind of happen.

Both elements — the side of growth involving effort, and the aspect involving the quest and discoveries — are necessary in any fully lived-out growth process. You have both going on. At times they seem to be unrelated. You can put in enormous effort and seem to get only the most basic, practical results; or you can do next to nothing on a particular topic or issue, and then suddenly have a breakthrough. In the nature of a square, this process of one side, then the other side, will continue for a while, until you start to integrate both sides of the process.

What is interesting about both of these transits is that they involve houses that have a behind-the-scenes quality. The 6th and the 9th are in a group called the cadent houses — the ones right before the angular houses — and refer to the inner life. They are the scene of long-term transits that will last until nearly the end of the decade in the case of Uranus and well beyond in the case of Pluto. But this is not to say you will be lacking for outer results; the thing to remember is that your inner experience and the outer results you have will not necessarily seem related. But I assure you they are.

You Are Becoming a Master of Human Dynamics

Something interesting happened in American society in 2011 — an activist movement was born, and it was born as a ‘leaderless’ movement. There was this instinct toward consensus process. Now, that word is misunderstood, but we do grasp the spirit: proceeding on the basis of general agreement. That necessarily involves group dynamics.

Your whole relationship life is about group dynamics. Basically, every way you relate to people is in the context of a group of some kind. You can be the most monogamous person in the world and still you will notice the way that your relationships are influenced by group interaction, such as involvement of family, friends, past lovers and so on. There are a lot of people on the planet and you seem to have a knack for getting to know them. One thing that is being challenged (at this time in history and particularly in your life) is the notion that the only ‘real’ form of relationship is the significant other/partner/spouse model. Everything we humans do is at least, in part, relational, and there is something about this idea of ‘existence as relationship’ that is opening up for you, and fast.

For many years you’ve had planets moving through the relationship angle of your chart, which is also a region describing group dynamics. This really has been going on for a while — in one form or another since the early 1990s, to the point where you seem to know no other reality. You’re constantly being confronted by something that you have to figure out isn’t really bigger than you.

Your 7th house has Aquarius there, and in the past 15 years, Uranus, Neptune and Chiron (and Saturn before that) have all passed through that region of your chart. In a word, the external pressures have been relentless, and they have resulted in many opportunities for you to take on board what you’re learning — and to embark on making deep changes. What is interesting is that now these transits have passed, you’re really getting going on the inner work. You could say that you’re internalizing your experience.

There is a third point in the Uranus-Pluto square that tells us something about its action and its meaning — the midpoint. And wouldn’t you know it, but the midpoint is in Aquarius. The Uranus-Pluto square focuses like a laser on your relationship house. But now, you see, you have some extraordinary inner resources cooking to be able to make the most of that. While you’ve been through many advances, challenges and developments in your relationships through these long transits, there is something happening now that is calling the whole process into focus.

One challenge will be learning to deal with the ‘difficult personality’ type of individual: that is, those people who are ethically challenged, who lack empathy, who act out, or who are always hatching a plot. This could manifest in the context of family, a group, organization or your workplace. Engaging this kind of person is not merely a test of your mastery but an opportunity to step into it.

You are the person who understands how group minds function, but that is an extension of understanding individual motives and how they transform into the plasma of a collective — and vice versa. I suggest that, even though you have an innate gift, you study this however and whenever you can.

It’s crucial that you view everything that happens (and that is currently happening) in your relationships as an expression of your own evolutionary process; of your own spiritual development. Note that people who are not able to handle your level of advancement or awareness may choose not to be with you. Others will struggle with having you as their mirror; and others will rise to the occasion beautifully.

I just suggest you not expect your relationships to be ‘normal’ for a while — mainly because you are entering new, advanced territory and that requires handling your situations carefully.

The 7th house is one of the houses that mirrors your primary house/sign. Other astrologers describe it as the zone of projection, where you see your own material dramatized in your relationships. Aquarius is a sign that describes complex energy networks, such as our nervous system or the Internet. Speaking of the Internet, this may be playing an unusual role in your life — and I suggest you consider that an opportunity to develop and explore your increasing mastery of group dynamics. The ‘Net is one gigantic, all-encompassing example of that concept.

As for the neurological system, I learned something today that relates to the aspect configuration in your chart. It involves something called mirror neurons. These are a new discovery of neuroscience — they were first observed in 1992, just 20 short years ago — and the phenomenon seems to describe your chart perfectly. Let’s see if I can relate this in a clear way that you recognize as applicable. I am going to depend heavily on a Wikipedia article for some of the language, though all the ideas I am using are heavily footnoted in that article. (I am, by the way, not one of those people who thinks that Wikipedia is inherently inaccurate; like everything you read, an entry is only as good as the writers and the editors.)

A neuron is a nerve cell; nerve cells transmit impulses by both electrical and chemical action. “A mirror neuron is one that fires both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another,” the Wikipedia authors explain. Thus, the neuron “mirrors” the behavior of the other, as though the observer were itself acting. Such neurons have been directly observed in primates and other species including birds.

“These mirror neurons may be important for understanding the actions of other people, and for learning new skills by imitation. Some researchers also speculate that mirror systems may simulate observed actions, and thus contribute to theory of mind skills, while others relate mirror neurons to language abilities.”

It gets more interesting. Several researchers “have independently argued that the mirror neuron system is involved in empathy. A large number of experiments . . . have shown that certain brain regions . . . are active when people experience an emotion (disgust, happiness, pain, etc.) and when they see another person experiencing an emotion.”

But it gets even better. V.S. Ramachandran has speculated that mirror neurons may provide the neurological basis of human self-awareness. In an essay written for the Edge Foundation in 2009, Ramachandran gave the following explanation of his theory: “I also speculated that these neurons can not only help simulate other people’s behavior but can be turned “inward” — as it were — to create second-order representations or meta-representations of your own earlier brain processes. This could be the neural basis of introspection, and of the reciprocity of self-awareness and other awareness. There is obviously a chicken-or-egg question here as to which evolved first, but . . . The main point is that the two co-evolved, mutually enriching each other to create the mature representation of self that characterizes modern humans.”

Your astrology suggests that a kind of mirror neuron development is evolving rapidly, and that is to say, your nervous system is going through a kind of expansion into the world. This is the essence of the world as your relationship / the world as your empathic mirror / you as empathic mirror of the world.

This puts you in a position to understand and experience things that others simply cannot grasp or are not even aware of. This is going to open up a world of possibilities for you — particularly a special kind of leadership potential. What I am describing as leadership means a highly self-aware state in which you understand your influence on the ‘collective mind’. You understand what people are feeling because your mirroring capacity is so advanced. In turn, you have a gift of charisma and influence on others, so your example counts for a lot more than it might otherwise.

An Energy Circuit

In the space remaining, I will address that theme. This shows up several places in your chart, most of them linking together three signs — Pisces, Taurus and Gemini. I have gone into this in much greater detail in the audio. There is a kind of energy circuit between these three zones that is ramping up your expression of energy, your visibility and your leadership opportunities. It comes to a first peak between mid-May and late June, then the story develops from there.

Let’s start the story in Pisces — your 8th house of shared resources. This is another relationship house and it happens to have a watery theme of empathy; most of what you can share in your relationships is, specifically, empathy. Not everyone appreciates this, by the way — you need to be careful who you open yourself up all the way to. Chiron in this house is a symbol of your extreme sensitivity, and it’s about to be joined by Neptune, adding to that sensitivity. Neptune is the modern ruler of Pisces, and will be at home in this house, giving you a lot to share — but emphasizing the need for discernment.

The traditional ruler of Pisces is Jupiter, and Jupiter is now in Taurus. This is your solar 10th house (10th house by whole-sign houses if you are Leo rising): your house of reputation, your real work, your leadership skills, and the example you set in the world. At the moment the presence of Jupiter is suggesting that this is a particularly intimate aspect of your life right now — not exactly shaking hands on the campaign trail. Jupiter is going to be present in this house for about half the year, suggesting that you will have some exciting opportunities to grow and expand your vision of your role in the world. There is the implication that all of this growth and expansion is based on trust and mutual respect, no matter how ‘public’ it is.

Taurus, in turn, is ruled by Venus. And it is the combination of Venus and the Sun that make this year so special. These two bodies form a precise conjunction, called a Venus transit of the Sun, on June 5. This takes place in Gemini — your 11th house — another region of your chart associated with group dynamics, but in a way much more expressive of Aquarius / 7th than we already mentioned. This event is extremely rare; there were none in the 20th century, there was one in 2004, and the next one will be in 2117 (not 2017, rather in 105 years in 2117).

It is fair to say this event represents your emergence. That’s the only way I can put it. It’s like your cosmic debutante ball. There are many facets to this, such as claiming your space in society; recognizing the extent to which you are respected and even revered by many you hold in high esteem; and there is something here about collecting on the rewards of your work. The 11th is the best house of the lot — the one that speaks of some of the greatest rewards a human can receive, particularly if you’re a person who values your connection to the wider world.

Yet the 11th is also the most visionary house. Some of the old textbooks call it the house of hopes and dreams; I think of it as the house of manifesting your vision, and this event describes the birth of a new experience of existence. This birth is going to be propelled by your highest desire of what you want your life to be. I recognize that we live in utterly cold times when resources and potential seemingly are being swiftly vacuumed out some back door of the universe.

Pay no mind to this. Be bold about what you want and who you are. Be bold about your commitment to life, to your relationships, to your family and whatever you think of as your tribe. Attend to the details of life as necessary, work your way through any minor setbacks, and proceed forward — something real is about to happen.

Your 2012 annual interpretation also includes an extended audio reading. That is available at the top of this page.

Don’t forget to read and listen to your rising sign. Use this link to purchase additional signs of Revelation. Revolution. Reality Check.

Read the past three years of Leo annual interpretations for just $19.95. Includes Next World Stories, Cosmic Confidential and Light Bridge. These were designed to be multiple-year interpretations, preparing for and extending into 2012.