Astrological Tarot Lesson VI: Leo, Strength, the Sun and States of the Planets
What every good magician needs to know.
With the Sun now ablaze in the fixed fire sign of Leo, it has entered the sign of its rulership. Leo is the the Sun’s natural domicile, sensibly as it is the hottest month in the Northern Hemisphere, yet in that fact, also a perfect illustration of the Hermetic axiom “all truths are but half-truths” as in the Southern Hemisphere the opposite is true.
Planetary rulerships traditionally begin at Leo with the Sun- this lore traced back through the ages, as the Sun is the supreme luminary of the classical planets. In the Tarot, the Sun is the one archetypal card whose corresponding astrological component is its own symbol; the subjective or philosophical aspect of the Sun.
The Major Arcana of the Sun in the Tarot is the Archetype of arrival, renewal, and radiance. In it’s shining, all is revealed, nothing is hidden. It is these properties that lead to prosperity, success and plentitude. The objective aspect of the Sun on the Tree of Life is Tiphareth- the Sephira of the sacrificed and resurrected Gods: of Osiris, Jesus, Tammuz, Dionysus. This idea of solar death and rebirth is illustrated in the Egyptian Solar myth where the sun dies each night and enters the underworld, traveling in the bark of the Gods until it is born at the next sunrise.
The Sun’s power is magnetic, keeping all planets in rotation about it, and expressed in the microcosm it is your own magnetism, your Solar Plexus, the seat of the personality. When fully radiant, balanced and open, operating in perfect confidence and humility, one is able to attract exactly what is needed, and reflect away what is not.
RULERSHIP AND OTHER STATES: Each classical planet has sign (or signs) which it rules, and a sign in which it is in detriment. Each also has a sign of exaltation and a sign in which it falls. These are some of the different states the planet may be in.
Rulership and Exaltation are called dignities, while Detriment and Fall are called debilities.
There is a system to the Rulership which we will cover in future lessons, but for now take note in the fact that the sign of rulership is the opposite sign as the sign of detriment, and the sign of exaltation is opposite to the sign of fall. To see the opposite sign, just look at the zodiac wheel. This diagram shows each planet in its domicile: the sign which it rules. The five planets which are not luminaries (not the Sun and Moon) each rule 2 signs and are therefore seen twice on this chart. (Only rulership is pictured here.)
The Sun rules Leo, therefore its detriment is the opposite sign, Aquarius.
The Sun’s exaltation is Aries, therefore its fall is the opposite sign, Libra.
One way to understand the planetary energies in these states is to consider the debilities like reversals in the tarot. When the cards are drawn reversed, the energy of the card isn’t necessarily bad, but it can imply a challenge to work through, or may suggest that particular card’s energy is lying dormant. The same is true when a planet is “ill-dignified”.
RULERSHIP: A planet in the sign which it rules is like the King upon his throne. It is able to use all of its power to the fullest extent.
EXALTATION: A planet in its exaltation is the kingdom of an ally, not necessarily in charge, yet offering its influence.
DETRIMENT: This state is like the tarot reversal which causes the energy to be unbalanced, and therefore another area often needs to be supplemented in order for the operator to achieve balance. It should be viewed as a riddle or a challenge to sort out. Think of it as an opponent, rather than an enemy.
FALL: A planet in the sign of its fall is like the reversal in tarot which causes the energy to be inactive or incapable of expression.
Meditate on the difference between an enemy and an opponent.
The Hermetic way is to use self-knowledge, wisdom and understanding of the laws of nature to achieve beneficial results regardless of the aspects or states of the planets. Astrology is never used as an excuse or a cop-out. It is a tool to show you what areas to pay attention to, to use to your favor when it is strongest, and to find another way or to grow and learn when poorly dignified. Just like any challenge you encounter in life, these are the things that make you stronger. Which leads us to the card in the Tarot which corresponds to the sign of Leo: STRENGTH
The lion has an ancient association with the Sun. A look at its radiant mane offers an obvious clue, as does the lions golden color, its power and ferocity, and its dominance in the animal world, as the Sun is dominant in our sky.
The Strength card, with its depiction of a woman taming a lion, or holding a broken pillar, is the expression of INNER STRENGTH, which comes from a solid core. Place your feet in an open stance, ground your energy with the earth, open your crown to source, feel the axis of the directions centering in your core. (Use the prayer from last month’s lessons to assist you in this) You stand between Mercy and Severity, neither forceful not weak. Energy flows dynamically in the expression of the infinity sign. Just as the Sun demands the respect of the other planets, yet graciously holds them in her guard, so does Strength respect the lion, and in turn the lion does not attack, but is calm in the compassionate strength of the receptive woman.
Consider confidence defined as complete acceptance of the self, hence revealing the true self, in all of its beauty and all of its flaws, fearing no judgement or outside perception, needing no false front. Self-respect.
THE SUN ruling over STRENGTH – as it rules over Leo. Radiance, clarity, confidence and balance ruling over stability and centeredness.