The Sign of the Cat

She comes out of the Sun in a silk dress running
Like a watercolor in the rain

— Al Stewart

Dear Friend and Reader:

The Sun is now in Leo, though this is no ordinary run of the Sun through this sign. Jupiter has just arrived here, Mercury arrives any moment and Venus (now in mid-Cancer) will soon be there. Note that we have not had many slower-moving planets in Leo in recent years; the most recent prior one was Saturn (2005-2007). So the presence of any major planet in Leo is a change of pace.

Infrared photo of the Great Sphinx by Sarite Sanders.

There is one new discovery in Leo, which I’ve been working with (particularly in The Mars Effect and other large projects) but have not mentioned, called Sila-Nunam, discovered in 1997. This is an object orbiting our Sun, out a bit past Pluto, in Leo from late 2001 through mid-2025. It’s orbital period is a shade over 291 years (making it a classical Kuiper object).

Its name is from the Inuit tradition and means “spirit-earth.” Its current position is 17 Leo, very close to next week’s Moon-Sun opposition across Aquarius and Leo. More on that soon, as the Full Moon is rapidly approaching, and we’ll be hearing from Sila-Nunam more ways than one.

Now we have one of the transpersonal planets showing up in Leo for a year, joined by the Sun and Mercury, which will bring Leo and all that it represents into focus.

Leo is illustrated by a lion, which is of course a cat. There is the King of Beast aspect of the cat, and then there is the more familiar version. Cats have an unusual relationship to humans. Of the two species that serve primarily as our companion animals at this time, cats are the newcomers, and as such are less integrated into the total human experience and are much closer to their instincts than are dogs. That is why they seem so independent and aloof, and don’t take well to being bossed around.

In terms of the service they provide, dogs excel at helping us hunt and guard the camp; cats do their best work at night, protecting us from diseases caused by vermin, carried by night-crawlers. Vermin are a specific problem of civilization; hunter-gatherers don’t have grain or dairy storehouses that attract mice and rats. Dogs helped us concentrate enough energy (in the form of meat) to create agriculture. With agriculture came food storage, and with food storage came vermin. Without cats, humans, already susceptible to numerous plagues, would have had more serious problems on their hands.

We find a cat represented on what may be the oldest monument on Earth, the Great Sphinx of Giza. Wikipedia repeats the household knowledge that, “It is commonly believed to have been built by ancient Egyptians of the Old Kingdom during the reign of the Pharaoh Khafra (c. 2558–2532 BC),” but John Anthony West and photographic documentarian Sarite Sanders have pointed out that the sphinx has repairs of water damage that date to the Old Kingdom, so the sphinx may long predate Egypt itself.

The Great Sphinx, photographed on slide film by Charlie Lemay.

Where Leo the Lion meets Virgo the Virgin seems to resonate nicely with the concept of a creature that is half-cat and half-human, right around the Leo-Virgo cusp.

Cats also provide a distinct kind of spiritual protection. It is interesting that the word sphinx means the terrifying one.

I have seen cats on the astral and they are much larger and more imposing than you would think. There is a reason witches primarily use cats as familiars — they play the role perfectly, seeming to understand intuitively just what they’re needed for.

Once you are harmonized with your cat, you have both a psychic bodyguard and also a living barometer for when things are weird. If your cat is acting normal, the chances are there is nothing harmful in the vicinity. If your cat gets tweaky or does not like someone, pay attention fast. For an interesting episode involving cats and ghosts, I would refer you to this article. See the section on “A Vast World of Ghosts.”

It’s a very good idea for anyone interested in astrology to harmonize with the concept of Leo, with how Leo works in their charts, and to get to know people who are born with the strong presence of this sign.

The Astrology of Leo

For my description of the astrology of Leo, I will rely on my own observations and two sources — Alice Bailey’s Esoteric Astrology and Aleister Crowley, whom few people know was an astrological author. But he was indeed one of the greats. One of my favorite astrology books, which I don’t think I’ve ever quoted, is The General Principles of Astrology.

Many of the entries are ghost writings for Evangeline Adams (1868-1932), who is considered the mother of American astrology. As her secret co-author, Crowley (1875-1947) is therefore the illegitimate father of American astrology. I have read that he wrote much of this material in a cabin owned by Adams in upstate New York, not far from where I am sitting.

Aleister Crowley, one of the people who had a clue about astrology, though few know that.

Both Bailey and Crowley make an interesting point in their discussions of Leo. The sign is so central to astrology and such a pillar of the entire zodiac that in classical astrology, the sign Leo is ruled by the Sun and has no planet of exaltation. Most of the other signs have a ruler and a kind of secondary ruler; for example, Cancer is ruled by the Moon and Jupiter is exalted there. In classical astrology, the Sun gets Leo all to itself.

In Bailey’s alternate system of planetary rulerships, she has three levels — traditional, esoteric and hierarchical. Leo is the only sign where the Sun is the ruler of all three. What this tells you about Leo is that its spine is nicely stacked and is one of the central organizing principles of the astrological system. That makes sense. All the other planets orbit the Sun, which is the source of nearly all energy that powers our biosphere.

Bailey associates Leo with the development of self-awareness and the evolution of consciousness. While all of astrology can be said to follow these principles, she describes Leo as the core engine of individuation. She calls this “the theme of the unfoldment of consciousness,” and elaborates by adding that Leo is about “the response of the conscious entity to the vibratory impacts to which it is subjected.”

In a class I took with her in 1996, Barbara Hand Clow said something similar — her theory is that astrology works because the Sun picks up the positions of the planets that surround it, and broadcasts their vibration into our experience. Since it’s associated with the Sun, Leo would have a similar role, as a kind of central processing core of astrological experience. (As I have already suggested, please find out where Leo is in your chart and what planets you have there.)

Ok, here is a bit more of Bailey commenting on Leo. She is not Susan Miller. Bailey’s job in Esoteric Astrology is to reveal the invisible ways that astrological influences work, and then to bring them out into the open. She writes on pages 292-293:

Mass consciousness in Cancer gives place to the individual consciousness of Leo. Out of the mass or the herd emerges the self-sufficient unit which becomes increasingly aware of its oneness, its aloneness and its isolated attitude as ‘one on the center’ of its small cosmos. This attitude continues to develop and to become empathic and dynamic (I use these words with intent), leading to the pronounced egocentric consciousness of the selfish, intelligent man and to the ambitious display of selfish power of the man who desires place and position. But eventually the time comes when the nature of the Fixed Cross begins to dawn upon the consciousness of the man and the influence of Aquarius (the polar opposite of Leo) begins to balance that of Leo. Then there comes the gradual shift of the focus of attention away from ‘the one who stands alone’ to the environing group, and an equally important shift away from selfish interests to group requirements.

Read this three times if you have to; print it and highlight it and make notes on it. This paragraph contains the core idea of Leo but also one of the central ideas of the whole book — that opposition polarities work together as one energy system. Here she is describing how people begin to individuate, then think of themselves as standing alone, then they begin to integrate themselves into group consciousness. This process is happening for many, many people, not just Leos, but you can imagine that Leo is like one of the core biocomputers facilitating the process.

Jerry Garcia, one of the most original Leos ever, photographed at Three Rivers Stadium by Robbi Cohn.

Let’s check in with Crowley’s ideas about Leo, and also Jupiter there. Crowley begins his chapter by saying, “The Sun in Leo is its greatest strength, for Leo is his own house, and his influence is not even complicated by the exaltation of any other planet therein. We find the most enormous vitality and strength of constitution.”

I would agree — so long as the person knows how to use their strength for themselves and not against themselves. That much vitality must be cared for, cultivated carefully, nourished carefully and maintained. The more power something has, the more energy it moves, the more attention it must be given.

“People with the Sun in Leo are not only strong for themselves, but shed forth this strength on others. It is emotionally the most magnetic of all the signs for the Sun; perhaps in consequence of this the disposition is usually masterful, and may possibly in some cases become almost tyrannical. There is immense generosity and nobility of feeling, and this again may sometimes degenerate into extravagance. The native is a tremendous worker, but anything in the nature of menial tasks revolts his soul. While not ashamed to do anything of this kind when necessity calls or as an example to others, he will not do it as a matter of routine when there is anyone else to do it for him.”*

Again, true enough, though this partly depends on whether the Leo is at the ‘standing alone’ stage or in the ‘group integration’ stage, wherein he or she will be more likely to draw support and be willing to let go of responsibilities that others can perform just as well, and keep the ones that only they can do.

Crowley continues, “If he finds himself in a situation where people will not do for him what he thinks they ought to do, he generally prefers to let the work go undone. The nature is excessively proud and incapable of meanness. Such persons must be trusted or they can do nothing. As long as they feel they are in positions of authority and responsibility, they will kill themselves, if necessary, in order to justify the confidence reposed in them. If forced into any other situation, they will despise their work and so neglect it.”

Another original Leo, so recognizable you don’t even need a name in the caption.

There is definitely something going on with Leo and work ethic. Many people have a perception of Leo as being the ‘bad boss’ — too bossy and too lazy. My perception of Leo mostly comes from what I know about the homeopathic remedy Aurum Metallicum — pure gold. These are the people who will indeed take on so much responsibility that they never get to go home from work. It is therefore very important that they learn how to teach and how to delegate responsibility. It’s good that this facilitates the evolutionary imperative of Leo, which is developing group consciousness.

OK, one more topic for the day — Jupiter in Leo, of which this will only be a brief comment. Many astrologers take a negative view of this placement — describing it as know-it-all or arrogant. Crowley is a bit more open-minded: “Leo brings out to the full the frank, expansive, exuberant nature of Jupiter, but the materializing influence of the Sun, as Lord of Leo, is felt markedly and therefore the religious qualities of Jupiter are not very strong.”

In other words, the Leo vibration aligns Jupiter with actually getting something done. Crowley notes Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Anthroposophy, as one of the more religious natives with this placement, though Steiner was a real builder. And he adds that “the Leonine materiality of Jupiter’s religious nature is shown very clearly in Brigham Young, who was more of a theocratic state-builder than a truly spiritual descendant of Joseph Smith.”

He also offers Aldous Huxley, author of The Doors of Perception and Brave New World, as an example. “We look here not for the science of man, but for his religious feeling and his general outlook on life; we are able to consider man by his fireside and not in his laboratory.”

On Crowley’s recommendation, I will leave you with a few quotes from Huxley, which offer a perspective on Jupiter in Leo. By the way, this is a placement that is prominent in the chart of Planet Waves, Inc. — the corporation has Jupiter in Leo in the 11th house of its natal chart.

“The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which mean never losing your enthusiasm.”

Madonna Ciccone, not just another pretty face — a tireless worker.

“The most shocking fact about war is that its victims and its instruments are individual human beings, and that these individual beings are condemned by the monstrous conventions of politics to murder or be murdered in quarrels not their own.”

“That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.”

“A child-like man is not a man whose development has been arrested; on the contrary, he is a man who has given himself a chance of continuing to develop long after most adults have muffled themselves in the cocoon of middle-aged habit and convention.”

“It is a bit embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problem all one’s life and find at the end that one has no more to offer by way of advice than ‘try to be a little kinder’.”


Weekly Horoscope for Thursday, July 31, 2014, #1009 | By Eric Francis

Aries (March 20-April 19) — Your charts are a beautiful mix of dark and light, which I suggest you think of as colors and hues. The planetary alignment of Mars in Scorpio and Jupiter in Leo is granting you access to the full spectrum of experience — particularly sexual experience, which always translates into some form of relationship. Yet while this energy is coursing through you, I suggest you think of it in its creative and biological form rather than as needing some kind of social structure, form or commitment. The pleasures and benefits of this astrology are available in the moment, and would best be shorn of attachment to the past or the future. You might think that requires instant enlightenment, which is true, in a way, if you think of enlightenment as being in tune with yourself, what you want and what you have to share. Focus on that and you’ll have this odd sense of knowing who you are.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Someone’s desire for you, or the intensity of a particular relationship, might ordinarily be the kind of thing that shakes your foundations. I suggest you experiment with being able to hold the energy. There is plenty of it, resonating within you emotionally, and while it’s intense it may have you feeling insecure. It’s as if under some circumstances it might be the right thing but the waves of passion may be reaching you at an odd or awkward angle. If you feel the desire to retreat or pull back, maybe take a breath and see where the passion or attraction leads you. You might not be ‘exactly equally attracted’ but does that matter so much? Someone’s interest in you does not mean that you owe them anything, only that you have an opportunity to experience life in a new way, that moment.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Turn it up, by which I mean, turn up your energy, and turn yourself on. Your ideas are sweet and juicy right now, especially if you happen to love words, which you do, though the current astrology is lavish for photos, video and other forms of imagery. Your mind is hot right now and if you tap into your idea core, you won’t be able to stop yourself. At the same time you have energy and drive to get a lot of work done, so choose what you want to do and do it. Pick the thing you’ve wanted to say or express visually and get about doing it. Don’t worry if you end up working all night. You will have plenty of energy for more mundane tasks the next day. And as I suggest to every true artist or writer, keep a notebook or sketchbook with you at all times. Graft it to your cellphone and keep them in your hand together. Write down or sketch everything that comes to you. Don’t worry what your friends might think. They know you don’t work for the NSA — because it would be too boring.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Venus is in your sign now, which has you cast in the role of love magnet. Focus on that and love that about yourself. Keep your energy moving and pay attention to your environment. People are noticing you. You could roll out of bed and throw on any clothes and you would be turning heads. Now, what to do with this seemingly mystical power? Remember anyone you’ve wanted to connect with and pay them a visit — preferably in person, so they get the full experience of you. Be bold and ask them out even if you think they’re out of your league. If you’re already in a relationship, this is the time to soak it in some fresh energy, new experiences, or any immersion in beauty. One way to do that is to love as much as you can from wherever you are. You are in fact free to love, no matter what anyone may say, think or do. Remind yourself of that every time you need to.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Jupiter has been welcomed into your sign by a spectacular New Moon. Mars in Scorpio is lighting a fire underneath you and looks like it’s challenging you to get free of your emotional comfort zones or discomfort zones — whichever the case may be. In any event, be aware of the fear that might hold you back from fully expressing yourself or from taking advantage of the fact that you carry immense protection right now, as well as charm, charisma and a sense of potential. The only thing that could stop you is being afraid or wanting to exert control over what does not need to be controlled. Part of the scenario involves what happened to certain relatives if they started to feel ‘too good’ or as if life was going ‘too well’. This is an old story that you’ve wanted to end for a while, and you can now write its last chapter.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Use your imagination — for everything. It is a powerful resource and it’s especially rich right now. Your tendency at the moment might be to think in ways that are more narrow, more connected to what has gone wrong in the past, or to consider your options with a hyper-vigilant sense of responsibility. I suggest you go in the opposite direction — wide open, considering the possibilities, no matter how risky or dangerous they may seem. Think way outside your normal sense of scale. If you consider a long trip 100 miles, multiply that to 1,000 miles. If you are considering renting an apartment, consider a house and imagine what you might do with the extra space. Apply this to your whole life — what you do, what you want to create, and most of all, who you are. You are much bigger than you think.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Yes, you are naturally social, though this is going past all limits now. You are in a moment of contact, so spend as much time around other people as you can, especially in small groups rather than crowds. Of course, the meeting that turns out to be the most meaningful could come at any moment, so be alert to who is around you and take every opportunity to say hello to someone you don’t know who you happen to meet in a public place. There’s another side to this — this is an excellent time for financial negotiations, particularly where your career is concerned. The thing to remember is that you are a rare resource, you possess knowledge and skills and you get results even in the midst of the unraveling world. You have solid ground to negotiate from. Your asset value to others will have at least one fine moment this week where you get no compensation; the term is pro bono.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Consider the ritual aspect of everything you do — making breakfast, getting ready for work, preparing to go out. Think of these things less as habits than as moments of preparation for an experience. Take every step consciously, with as much mindfulness as you can muster. Notice how you feel while you’re doing this. One attribute of ritual is preparing space — that might be your desk or your living room or a clearing in a forest. It might be your kitchen before baking or your bedroom before a lover comes over. Focus on the use of space, its purpose, how it feels and how it looks. Remove anything that is extraneous. And consider the central organizing principle of the space, the way that a hearth used to define the central idea of a home. Every space has its hearth — know what it is, and tend the fire.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Allow your fear to motivate you. Most spiritual paths teach that fear is false or that it’s meaningless or that it’s bad. I believe that fear is energy. It’s also connected to an early-warning system that has been hijacked by various entities (religion, warmongers, drug salesmen) and which basically drives people insane. Yet addressing fear is an essential element of growth, no matter what branch of growth we’re talking about. Right now, your fear describes something about your potential. It’s as if when you identify something that you’re anxious about, consider whether the opposite is true, and let that be a statement of the possibilities that are open to you, or a comment on what you want to accomplish. You could say that fear is sending you the worst possible information. You could say that it’s sending you truly useful information if you know how to work with it.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Rare aspects this week suggest you have a knack for investments and other topics related to shared finances. You may experience a windfall, or the solution to a longstanding problem may suddenly manifest. It might look too good to be true. Of course, it’s your job to perform due diligence on even the best-looking opportunities or solutions, though you don’t need to approach this with suspicion. Contrary to popular belief, there is a surplus of energy in the universe, including money. If you want money, I suggest you be friendly with it and toward it. Recognize that nearly any profit or success emerges out of a collaboration of some kind, and that resources and talents can combine to create a synergistic condition — the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. If you proceed in an atmosphere of trust, and with people you respect, you’ll do very well.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Your life seems to be a story of claiming something and then giving something up. If you take charge and assert yourself, you may be noticing that there is a sacrifice associated with leadership — it might be added responsibility or a demand for impeccability. Yet while this is happening you are also being offered new opportunities and gifts from people who care about you. Indeed, beyond the world of duty and authority there is a whole other environment opening up, what you might think of as a gift economy. At first it may seem that it’s offering you more than you are offering back, and you may be wondering if there is a catch. Yet your chart suggests that you will never be asked to give more than you can offer, and that what seems like a small gesture to you might be experienced by someone else as truly significant and indeed unavailable elsewhere. Have confidence in that.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — You have just about everything going for you right now. It’s important to recognize these moments, because they’re relatively rare. One thing that might be getting in the way is how much you have to do, though you may have noticed that your responsibilities have taken a lighter vibration. You are able to get more done with less expenditure of energy. Take advantage of that and make sure you collect on the dividends. Speaking of, your work is worth more than you know. Send that message and send it consistently. More than anything, know it in your heart. While you have an abundance of energy, make some important changes that you’ve been putting off. They may involve your physical space, your diet, your work patterns, or taking up some activity that you’ve wanted to do for a long time. As for love, keep your heart open and the universe will take care of the rest.

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