The origin and meaning of the Leo Symbol
The Leo symbol is a lion. As a symbol, the lion might appear to be the most obvious symbol of the sign of Leo: for thousands of years, in the human psyche, lions have been a symbol first and foremost of strength, followed closely by courage and pride. The zodiac sign of Leo is associated with strength, courage, will, the heart, pride, and ego! Esoterically, ego symbolizes the stage of the Soul’s development where the individual becomes aware of itself: so the path from self-awareness to self-realization is the Soul journey of Leo. The process of ego formation, identification, recognition and finally dissolution, is an integral part of this journey. But what for? What lies beyond the dissolution of ego? The Leo symbol offers us a glimpse…
Lion of Ages – Lion, Horse, Sphinx
In the Great Astrological Ages (each one lasting about about 2,160 years), the Ages of Leo saw great creativity arising throughout humanity. Ancient people believed the first Time of Creation may have happened during a Leo Age.
Many scholars speculate that the Great Sphinx of Egypt was originally a Lion, with a Lion’s head that eroded over time and was later refashioned into a pharaoh’s head. The building of the sphinx is thought by some to coincide with the last age of Leo that took place between 10,500 BC to 8000 BC.
Great Sphinx is gazing directly DUE EAST, whereas the constellation of Leo rose at that time some 28 degrees north of due east. The correct epoch for the Great Sphinx to gaze at his own image would be 10,500 BC … what makes the Sphinx-Leo correlation of 10,500 BC unlikely to be a coincidence is that it ‘works’ in conjunction with the ‘beginning’ of the Prececessional cycle of Orion’s belt as seen in the southern sky, which can be matched on the ground with the Giza Pyramids. This ‘beginning’ I have identified to the golden age that the ancients called Zep Tepi meaning the First Time (of creation).Robert Bauval
In modern astrology the sign of Leo is ruled by The Sun. The link between Leo and the Sun can also be traced back to ancient Egypt. The ancient Egyptians believed that Leo (the Cosmic Lion) was an aspect of the Sun God, Ra. Richard H. Wilkinson, professor of Egyptology at the University of Arizona, and an expert on Egyptian deities, writes:
An important mythological aspect of the solar god in the heaven is found in his identity as a cosmic lion as seen in Chapter 62 of the Book of the Dead, for example, which states that ‘I am he who crosses the sky, I am the lion of Re…’ The stellar constellation now known as Leo was also recognized by the Egyptians as being in the form of a recumbent lion… the constellation was directly associated to the sun god.Richard H. Wilkinson, professor of Egyptology, University of Arizona
The Sphinx was likely to be a symbol of Leo, the Cosmic Lion, an aspect of the Sun God Ra, and was built to mark a very sacred place and time: that of the first time of creation.
Lions have symbolized strength and power for humanity throughout the ages, and another common symbol of power, is the horse. Some scholars have suggested that in far ancient times the sign that we call Leo may have been represented by a horse while Cancer was represented by the lion. This is interesting since both signs are associated with different stages of creation.
” they consider that it is likely that leopard or lion symbolism represents Cancer and see it therefore as one example of modern variation, in that “the feline symbol appears to have moved from Cancer to Leo” (they consider that Leo is likely to be represented by horse symbolism).”Philip Jamieson
Leo Symbol – Esoteric Meaning
Esoteric texts teach that, in the journey of Creation, three root energies emerged from Source (or God) to create all of manifest existence. These are love, wisdom, and will (or power). Of these three, Leo is most associated with will, and it is part of the spiritual path of Leo to learn right use of will, so that the power of will is used in service of the Divine and not the ego.
Leo symbolizes the journey of Self, through right use and application of will. This journey takes us through three stages:
- self-consciousness – the initial realization that we exist as a separate individual;
- self-awareness – where we realize our own nature and power. In this stage we realize the impact of our thoughts, words, and actions on other sentient beings and the world around us.
- self-realization – we become a fully awakened human being.
The kind of strength that is symbolized by the lion of Leo is not physical strength like we would think of it in the ordinary sense of the word. In Sanskrit there is a term punya, which refers to a kind of spiritual strength or power. It is an inner strength that comes when our heart’s purest intentions are aligned with Divine Will, in the service of spiritual awakening. We might think of it as the sacred strength of heart connection.
When the esoteric teachings refer to the ‘right use’ of will they are pointing to the power of consciously expressing Divine Will through the heart, rather than the unconscious use of will to pursue egoic desires. When we have transcended ego, and all our intentions are directed through a pure heart with a sincere desire to be of benefit to all sentient beings, only then will we realize the full power of punya. Making the transition from egoic will to sacred punya, is the spiritual journey of Leo.
The origin of the current glyph (sigil) for Leo is unknown. Some scholars have suggested it may be a corruption of the Greek letter “L” (Lambda). All astrological glyphs are esoteric in origin and nature in that they represent spiritual truths that can only be accessed intuitively
As with many esoteric symbols, the power of the glyph lies in it’s ability to by-pass our literal, conditioned, mind, and speak to us directly through intuition. It is by contemplating the glyphs that spiritual truth can be revealed to us.
In contemplating the glyph for Leo we can see a striking similarity to diagrams that quantum physicists use to illustrate a concept known as ‘particle-wave duality’. Particle-wave duality is a term used to describe how objects at the quantum level can exist as both a particle and a wave. As we look at the glyph for Leo, could it be that we are seeing a representation of a particle and a wave?
If the Leo glyph represents a particle and a wave it is a very appropriate symbol to convey the mysteries of creation that are hinted at within the Leo symbol. Esoterically Leo is associated with creativity, will, and perhaps most importantly, Leo is the sign of the heart. Everything in creation exists in duality: self-other; male-female etc. Whether a quantum object exists as a particle or a wave is influenced by our intention, and ‘right use’ of our intention (will) happens only through the heart.
Ancient masters and yogi’s may not have used the term ‘particle-wave duality’ but they had access to higher mind and the secrets of creation. Perhaps we could also say that the circle represents our personal mandala of self (our personal energy field centered in our heart), while the ‘wave’ represents our conscious intention flowing out into the world. Either way, the Leo Glyph may be intended to convey an intuitive message about the relationship between creation, right use of will (or intention), and the power of the heart.
The Journey of Self-Realization
Esoterically, the sign of Leo symbolizes the journey of human consciousness, through self-realization to being fully awakened as Soul-centered beings of light..
“The German philosopher Friedrich Neitzche spoke of three stages of consciousness: the Camel, the Lion and the Child. The Camel represents tribal consciousness, where we follow the herd, follow the masses, and go along with the collective consciousness. The Camels are sleeping – no great awakening here! This is the pre-egoic state. The Lion represents individualization – the ability and the willingness to stand alone. Separate. Apart from the herd. In terms of our personal spiritual development this is the development of, and identification with, our ego. The Lions (represented by Leo) are waking up. This is our currently emerging egoic state.”Ruth Hadikin, Life Coaching Magazine
The process of Self-realization is one of spiritual awakening into higher and higher states of conscious awareness, until we become a fully awakened human being: fully aware of our nature as light, our power and capacity, and are fully Soul-centered with a deep motivation to be of benefit to all sentient beings.
Leo is a very important sign for our times: it represents the entire journey of humanity, from the first creation, to spiritual awakening and blossoming into beings of light, compassion, and higher consciousness. During the coming Age of Aquarius, Leo’s opposite sign, we will continue to be distracted by advanced technology. Right use of will happens only when we remain connected to our heart. Leo reminds us not to lose sight of our heart as we navigate challenging times. We all need the strength and courage of a Lion’s heart.
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Her defining talent is bringing deep insight, clarity and simplicity to complex subjects - in particular Esoteric Astrology and the teachings of The Tibetan through the work of Alice Bailey.
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