Oct 4, 2023 | by Silvianne Delmars |
On September 11, 2023, Venus and the Moon met in the morning sky at 13 Leo 19, marking the 1st Gate in the Descent Journey of the sacred feminine in her 19-month archetypal exploration of the sign of Leo – (associated with the Crown Chakra).
The Great Goddess has begun her journey to the Underworld, to face death and eventual rebirth. At each stage of this morning star descent, as we follow along with her, we have the opportunity to unveil the distortions in the way we have held our power – to let go of the old, tired stories so that new, more life-giving ones may be born.
I will be sharing the magic of the Sabian and Chandra symbols for each phase of the journey. Unless otherwise noted, the Sabian Symbols are from An Astrological Mandala: The Cycle of Transformation and its 360 Symbolic Phases by Dane Rudhyar. The Chandra symbol information is sourced in Ellias Lonsdale’s Star Sparks: 360º Windows into the Heart of the Zodiac.
For more information about the degree symbols for Venus’ Heliacal Rise, which provided the keynote for the entire Venus synodic cycle, see Naraya Naserian’s inspiring article The Heliacal Rise of Venus – What This Earth Asks and Demands.
Note: Unless a planet or point is at the exact degree (no minutes), it is rounded up to the next degree to determine the corresponding symbol. So, in this case, 13 Leo 19 becomes Leo 14.
“Leo 14 – A human soul seeking opportunities for outward manifestation.
Keynote: The yearning for self-actualization.
Behind the many rhythms and drives of individual existence, beyond the child, the adult and the old man, stands the soul seeking always to manifest itself through the personality. This is the transpersonal urge of the spirit, expressing itself in many ways during the whole life span. But most avenues are blocked, and the soul waits until it can wait no longer. Then comes the dramatic release, which may mean a joyous carnival or madness.
This… [symbol] brings a transcendental clue to the technique of living: Let the soul speak out! Allow the power of the true tone of your being to manifest itself smoothly, easily, unobstructed or expect a variety of consequences. LET the soul manifest!”
I love the synchronicity of this metaphysical Sabian Symbol appearing here at the Gate of Expanded Consciousness! We are at a crossroads of human involution/evolution, where the reclaiming of our sovereignty, the creative essence that Leo embodies, has never been more crucial (see Naraya’s article linked above for more info). But Rudhyar warns us not to allow the more fear-infused impulses of our ego personality to hold us back from fostering contact with the higher, deeper self that is always seeking expression through the vehicle of personality, the only outlet available to it in this paradoxical dance of incarnation.
The journey of descent leading to rebirth is not about striving, adding new knowledge, becoming something greater than what we already are. But rather, it invites the infinitely simpler, and more difficult, commitment to stripping away all that is non-essential, so that the wild, raw, sovereign being of our soul self can be revealed in the flesh. Not who we think we ought to become, but who we already are at our core.
A similar theme richly unfolds in the Chandra Symbol for this same degree.
“Leo 14 – Fields of jasmine flowers.
Abundance. Fertility. Fresh horizons. Once we center on beauty, concentrating upon the bounty that sparks each cell of our existence here, we begin to bring forth that which we conceive and surround ourselves with as a new world borning. It is so much a matter of cherishing, honoring, beholding, and witnessing that which are most vital elements. It is entirely up to us to cultivate the virtues, to expand our gifts, to plant the seeds, to tend the flames of all bright hopes and dreams.
We are entrusted with the Earth and all of those who live here. We are granted the immense responsibility to bring everybody alive and make all things prosper. And there is a great shadow to this task.
A distortion slips in. It grows secretly. Gradually it takes over. Inside the distortion I am doing all this. I am given all this, and it is my story, my destiny, my task. Everything then depends upon me. I am the one to make all things bright and beautiful. I am the one who can poison things by my intoxication with the subtle reflection I let myself fall for.
Then we need a cleansing. A purging. We need to forget our own magnificent part and remember the whole in its own terms. Then when we come back to ourselves, we are a truth vessel, but we are not the truth, we are not the light. Only a selfless path can serve the truth and the light and be effective.
These distortions are insidious. These partial truths are so easy to entertain. Pride seems almost innocuous at first. Yet when the stakes are this high, we do color everything by how we see it, how we feel it, how we know it. The real task is to get ourselves out of the way so that all can flourish here.”
Lonsdale, while highlighting beauty, also invokes the Leo shadow distortion of hubris. And emphasizes that the way through lies in getting ourselves out of the way so that the abundant beauty of existence can shine forth. Here at this 1st Gate, we are being offered the potent ceremony of “cherishing, honoring, beholding, and witnessing that which are most vital elements…. to cultivate the virtues, to expand our gifts, to plant the seeds, to tend the flames of all bright hopes and dreams.” A key to the birthing of true sovereignty.
The Wisdom of James Burgess
In addition to the foundational work of Rudhyar and Lonsdale in the study of degree symbols, I have also been drawn to the wisdom of James Burgess. His website weaves a beautiful net of information, delving deeply into the soul-unfolding potential of the symbols, for those called to go down that rabbit hole. The link above will take you to the section on Leo. He weaves a story paragraph for each consecutive set of 5 symbols, by linking the soul essence phrases he has created for each symbol. Here is the paragraph for Leo 11 through 15:
“Feeling simple enthusiasm for ordinary aspects of life (11) we are encouraged to moderate our self-proclamation in order to enjoy blending in with others (12). With soulful reflection and an in-depth assimilation of our experiences (13), we find ourselves sometimes speaking with the soul’s voice (14) as we participate in the dramatization of collective spiritual values (15).”
The highlighted phrases for Leo 13 and Leo 14 are the symbols for Venus’ position when she stationed direct on September 3, and for this 1st Gate of Expanded Consciousness. (The actual Sabian Symbol for Leo 13 is “An old sea captain rocking himself on the porch of his cottage.”) Burgess suggests that we can look backwards over the symbols as a way to illuminate our soul’s journey. If we contemplate a symbol, and then ask the usual “Why?” the answer will be found in the following symbol. However, the more germane question is often “How?” – and for this we look to the preceding symbol. Therefore, if we want to know how we can learn to “speak with the soul’s voice” at this 8th gate, the answer lies in the example set for us by the sea captain reviewing the experiences of his life of adventure and hardship – unveiling the wisdom of our true, eternal selves requires “engaging in soulful reflection and an in-depth assimilation of our experiences.”
Here at this important beginning of the descent journey, we are invited to invoke and cherish our sovereign selves – so we may truly “speak with our soul’s voice.” Earth is yearning for us to unfold the gifts we bear, fostered by this necessary process of deep and honest self-contemplation.