O Stars Above: Leo Solar Eclipse

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Archetypal Story Lights a Path

The Leo story far surpasses spotlights, rhinestones and a desire for applause. In fact, when the rich knowledge embedded in astrology is projected into the outer world, its powerful inner messages are lost and caricatures are substituted.

Take the shooting at a Trader Joe's in Silver Lake CA on July 21. A beautifully written story by Robin Abcarian in the Los Angeles Times (http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-abcarian-hostage-20180803-story.html) goes to the heart of Leo's true message in telling about an artist named MaryLinda Moss, a hostage in the store who stepped forward to calm 28-year old gunman, Gene Atkins. Abcarian takes a headline and hones in on the human story that encompasses archetypal energy raising the question of when and how archetypes express through us.

The story in short: A grandchild wasn't getting his way with his grandmother who raised him so he shot her. A car chase with his girlfriend, also shot and now a hostage, ended up at Trader Joe's with a shoot-out between gunman and police. The gunman was wounded. A woman was killed. Customers in the store became hostages. People were injured and lives were at stake.

Looking at this story symbolically there is great richness around the Cancer, Leo and Aquariu archetypes, energies that are embedded in us as humans.

From an astrological view, this event happened in the between-time of two eclipses: A solar eclipse in Cancer on July 11 to be followed by a Leo/Aquarian lunar eclipse on July 27. This was a potent between-time because the power of the eclipses were changing from the current Leo/Aquarian series to the Cancer/Capricorn energy coming on-line. The sun itself was between-times in the last degree of Cancer, the sign of our heart's awakening to tenderness, before it moved the next day to Leo, the sign of the courage it takes to live from that heart.

The above mentioned story ran on August 3, quite a few days after the event because MaryLinda Moss took time to assimilate her experience and feelings before she related her story. She demonstrated great self-care and tenderness on her own behalf reminding us that we can only be as kind to others as we are to ourselves. Her kindness is what this story ultimately turns on.

Aligned with her heart (Cancer/Moon), she reflected on her actions (Leo/Sun). She tells a tale of living through a shoot-out and then, approaching the gunman - who still held his gun – and putting her hand on his heart.

Stop here a moment and imagine the heart and courage it took to undertake such an action.

She said that putting your hand on your heart or another's calms us. She worked to slow the terrifying situation down and it worked. When the gunman began to wrestle with his hopeless situation, she reassured him and affirmed his humanity. “There's always hope. I know you don't want to hurt anyone.” And she bandaged his wound.

Here is the literal enactment of the fable of the wounded lion who had a thorn in his paw and a slave, a saint or a shepherd, depending on different versions, dared to help the lion. Later in the fable the lion extends a kindness. Out of Moss' action, Atkins began to settle down and ultimately decided to give himself up. He even came up with a safe process for turning himself in.

MaryLinda Moss, may or may not be a Leo, but we all have Leo in our chart and therefore live out Leo possibilities, archetype or stereotype, somewhere in our lives. Since January 2017, cosmic eclipses in Leo and Aquarius have delivered a universal lesson plan. Eclipses highlight the need for change and bring energy to fresh approaches and release what no longer works. The solar eclipse on (August 11, 2018 at 2:46 am PDT) the last one in Leo for many years could be considered a final examine individually and collectively.

Leo is the part of the Leo/Aquarius polarity that collectively we are trying to learn at a higher level. It encourages us to live from our heart and develop willpower and courage so we can take heart-felt action. Aquarius, the opposite sign, teaches us to integrate our shiny, or bratty, self into the team. These eclipses call for a re-balancing and this story coming at the end of this eclipse series shines with new possibilities for us engaging as individuals (Leo) at the group (Aquarius) level.

A man, Mike D'Angelo, joined Moss' efforts and together they worked to not only build trust with Atkins, but to protect him as he turned himself in. This man and woman team could be seen as the King-Father and Queen-Mother working with a Wounded Child. And who among us is NOT symbolically a Wounded Child or King or Queen?

Outside, the police, representing an Aquarian team acting on behalf of society had to stand down and take direction from the individuals working creatively inside Trader Joe's. Mars in Aquarius retrograde demanded a reconsideration of direct martial attack. In fact, in charging in with old actions, the store manager had been killed by a police bullet!

Inner work, symbolically seen as inside the store, comes before right action in the outer world. This story affirms that spiritual wisdom: inner before outer. Or as our parents said, look before you leap. Inside the store Moss and D'Angelo gave up neither their objectivity, nor their humanity. In fact, a commitment to both lit up a new path. Much of this came at the insistence of Moss standing face-to-face with Atkins and finding continued courage to stay present and calm throughout the siege.

Her connection with Atkins and her clarity as the workable path appeared allowed her to direct the police. She insisted that snipers on roofs creating agitation for Atkins disappear from sight. She needed a confrontational negotiator replaced with a calmer voice. Atkins' safe plan for turning himself in was jeopardized by the police's approach to getting handcuffs in the store until Moss's loud voice told the police the way it had to be. Finally, D'Angelo and Moss emerged on either side of a hand-cuffed Atkins who was taken without further harm to anyone.

Moss and D'Angelo never thought about Cancer, Leo or Aquarius or archetypes in the harrowing events of this day. But, we have days with smaller events where these human energies come through us. Are we the ogre, the troll, the hero, the princess, the king or queen? When we watch news, these stories are acted out and we don't see them as symbolic and educational of the inner work that when not done, is dramatized and traumatizing. Our society acts like the inner and out are not connected and therein lies our great tragedy over and over.

Here is another lesson of Leo. The cavalry won't save you. The heroine and hero did not succumb to fear or the outer authority but stayed present and connected to their courage, hearts, each other and Atkins in each moment and adjusted as the moments changed. Their presence of mind, and their skills, communication and care kept a terrible situation from turning into a worse one.

Read the LA Times story to the end and it is revealed that Moss was treated for PTSD in her past. There is an argument that her addressing past trauma strengthened her and gave her skills in this one. Inner work is the Hero's Journey to his heart and one we all must undertake to be fully expressive humans (Leo) ready to work as a group (Aquarian).

Would the hostages or police have felt better if Atkins had been killed as he attempted to surrender? Probably not. Many were traumatized in this event. The grandmother, the girlfriend, the gunman, the hostages, the policemen, especially the one who killed the manager, the manager's family and all who watched the media reports. Trauma added to trauma does not bring healing.

Surely, our common humanity demands better than the outcomes we've become numb to. Embedded in this frightening event lies a seed of hope for us as individuals and society. Until we go to our hearts, one-by-one, and learn to act from there we can't trust societal teams and institutions to act on behalf of our welfare. Policies and procedures are killing us - not slowing down, listening to the pain and radiance in human hearts and connecting. As a society we can focus on ways to increase those behaviors. As individuals, we can find our hearts and activate our highest archetypal images of courage to live a life of integrity that includes heart-felt action in every area of life, private or public.

May this solar eclipse light a star in our hearts that we tend and expand until it is a great nova inspiring others.


Note: After one hundred and one columns, I am contemplating change. The energies of triple eclipses and six retrogrades impact everyone – even astrologers! I hope these cosmic energies are leading you to surprising releases and changes as we make way for new paths. As I take new steps in The Column, I appreciate your continued patronage and your feedback.

When we wake on Saturday, the last of three eclipses has occurred, perhaps in our dreams. Later this month Mercury and then Mars turn direct and we may see the path that now looks like a quagmire become clearer and firmer. Astrology talks about energy, remember. May we use it wisely!