Leo: Alchemical Gold & All That Glitters…

Ever had the feeling that you have a much greater destiny in life, a royal or heroic path? Ever feel like the people you encounter in your life should really be laying a red carpet before you as you arrive? This probably sounds a bit over the top, and one might well be embarrassed to admit ever entertaining such fantasies. Before we dismiss the idea, though, let us indulge the Leo phase of the annual cycle we now find ourselves in, and consider how our personal narratives are stitched together. After all, our life stories are never just a collection of random personal events and circumstances; they are woven through with mythic, archetypal themes that entwine themselves around our everyday experiences, even when we are largely unconscious of them.

We all have the ability to identify ourselves as a King Arthur, a Cleopatra, a Luke Skywalker, or a Lara Croft, and it can inspire us to rise to the challenges we face in life, go beyond our fears and limitations. To have our hearts suddenly ignited with an uncommon enthusiasm, to be in the presence of an inexplicable synchronicity or otherworldy power, to glimpse the possibility of who we are, how we may once have been and what we may become.

This month, as the Sun passes through the sign of the Lion, the Zodiac seems to grant us permission to let the divine light within us shine out in the world. We can take our cues from nature – sunflowers turning their proud faces toward the Sun, or the golden fields of wheat and corn swaying elegantly in a royal summer breeze. The work of the alchemist is mimetic; it seeks to imitate nature’s transformational cycles and evoke their symbolic power. So during this season of fruition and growth, we should celebrate the glory of who we are and allow the natural warmth and confidence within us to radiate out.

Children have no problem playing kings and queens, goddesses and heroes. It just pours forth effortlessly from their creativity and their joy. As adults we’ve become serious and significant, careful to distinguish reality from fantasy, but the line can never be clearly drawn. So let’s welcome this great fire sign of Leo and honour those Leonine characters that bring colour to our lives and invite us to trust the spontaneous impulse to make things up in the moment, play-act, and lose ourselves in fabulous stories.

To experience ourselves within a mythic setting through dreams or visionary journeys, even just being here within the enchanted Isle of Avalon and its great Zodiac temple, is to be in touch with the heavenly half of our being. We should be careful not to overly literalise or personalise this imaginal experience, though. Trying to steal fire from the gods to inflate our individual identities invariably leaves us chained to the impenetrable rock of self-importance! Better to honour that great solar power from which we draw each inspirational breath – allow its fiery force to shine through us and radiate out of us, whilst tending the candle flame of our own personal destinies with dedicated humility.

There is a wonderful character in alchemy, the Green Lion, often depicted swallowing the Sun and causing blood to flow from it. Green is the colour of transformation, and of the earth, and the lion can be seen as the alchemical flask to which the “sun-that-bleeds” surrenders itself. After a series of initiatory stages, the green lion reappears as a king marked with seven stars regurgitating an eternal sun of pure gold, a celestial lion of the verdant earth impregnated by the immortal heavens. Part of our journey into the Leo archetype, then, is to distinguish which Lion / Sun we are dealing with – the golden light of our heroic lion-heart or the glittering ego with its polished surfaces and grand gestures!

On The Alchemical Journey workshop this month, we practised being seen by each other and exposing the truth of our hearts. It is one of the most simple, yet profoundly challenging processes that we do on the course. As each person stood before the group, we gently coached each other to distinguish for ourselves that aspect of our nature that is continually trying to impress others, from that which is naturally, effortlessly impressive. What we realised through this exercise is that when we allow our innate presence to shine joyfully through us, our ordinarily inflated egos gradually begin to fall into line and give up trying to run the show!

Our next Alchemical Journey workshop is Virgo: The Alchemy of Everyday Life on Sat 22nd & Sun 23rd August. It will be held upstairs at The Avalon Conservative Club on Glastonbury High St. This is the month where we really get down to the business of harvesting our gold. The price is £125 for the weekend (some concessions available). See our half page advert for more information. I’m still here living in Glastonbury, so feel free to get in touch. My number is 07869 133759. Have a great month!

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