I spent countless hours practicing percussion and becoming a classically-trained musician and teacher candidate in college, but I spent just as much time - if not more in some instances - delving deeply into the healing arts, developing my intuition, and doing deep inner clearing work so I could continue to grow spiritually (not religiously, but spiritually). Many of my peers were nice enough about my interest in all things esoteric, but I can't truthfully say that many of them seemed to understand (and of course, some would downright dismiss the validity of these things I held so dear because of their own religious or scientific beliefs). There were plenty of days I felt insecure and awkward when the topic came up in conversations - the most friction happening in conversations with people who adhered to more conventional religious beliefs - and you can bet that during my time as a teacher in the conservative midwest, I rarely dared to touch on my real interests in peer interactions. I was sure I'd have been ostracized, and was likely already seen as one of the "weird ones" by way of my unavoidable quirky nature (a nod to Uranus in my natal 1st house!).
After a traumatic head injury during my Saturn return - when Saturn returns to the same place in the sky it occupied at the time of birth and signals a time of coming into one's own true identity and calling in life when navigated well - a series of events led me to the conclusion that I did indeed need to fully declare my identity as a Lightworker as the core of who I am and the life that I live. Though I've always been shy about being "out" with my spiritual views, I came to a place where honoring my own sense of integrity and identity was more important than conforming to societal norms. I summoned up the courage to embrace self-love by creating a life in alignment with my true calling for more joy and integrity, regardless of what friends, acquaintances, or community members would think.
These issues are very similar to the energies that February's Full Moon in Leo will bring to the surface for many of us. Leo is a sign that centers on self-love, self-expression, and an inexhaustible joy for living when channeled positively. The Lion is big-hearted, playful, proud, and courageous, isn't afraid to roar when it needs to! That being said, one of the engrained needs of this sign is healthy recognition of one's uniqueness and worth from the outside world: think the praise of family, friends, teachers, or whomever. Deep-down, we all have a place in our hearts that longs for love and acceptance, and on a certain level, we need this. However, when we rely on others too much for validation, or try too hard to fit in when we're not channeling our own authentic selves, we aren't really shining our light; we're not bringing forward our truest gifts and talents; and we will draw in those who only fit our interests and lives to a certain point. Beyond that, it's all fluff, and we're not living in our integrity because we've let our insecurities overshadow our true needs and desires.
Enter the Leo/Aquarius opposition. The Lion may seek attention and approval at all costs, while the Water Bearer has one mission: to be its own unique self regardless of the costs. With the Aquarian sun opposing the Moon and Jupiter Rx in Leo, we'll do well to consider just where we might find ourselves hung up on seeking the approval of others at the cost of our own creative self-expression. Self-love and joy are our allies now. Where can we release the need for approval that might border on a codependent need for others' praise to feel good about ourselves? Can we find the courage in our hearts to connect deeply with our own sense of self-love and approval and be who we really are? Cultivating self-love can be difficult work, but as we learn what self-love feels like (not vanity, but true, healthy self-love), we are in a profoundly powerful position to enact radical change in our lives! It can begin as simply as a daily affirmation practice by placing one or both hands over the heart, looking in a mirror, and declaring self-approval over any given period of time: "I love myself fully and completely. I release the fear of rejection, and choose to express myself fully and completely. And so it is."*
The sun's lively sextile to Uranus, the ruling planet of Aquarius, will help in bringing a strong valuing of individual rights and forms of expression now, and Mercury's current retrograde passage through this sign can get us reflecting on just how we can shift our perceptions to allow ourselves to truly be ourselves (many subtle and potentially radical changes in thoughts and world perceptions can happen now if we open the door to new possibilities!). Mercury's sextile to Saturn in Sagittarius will also help to ground our sense of personal authority with these enlivened viewpoints, especially when the planet of The Mind turns direct on February 11.
When we love ourselves fully and completely and choose to share our very special gifts with the world from that confident place within our hearts, we contribute to the creation of the ideal society that Aquarius longs to achieve. When we bring forward the courage to be ourselves, we can shine our love-lights together for a brighter, more joyful world! This integration of Leonine and Aquarian traits is essential for a happy, whole, and complete society where all individuals are cherished for being a unique part of the whole. How will you let your love-light shine brightly today? Be courageous, and let your strength come from the heart!
*You can explore the power of affirmations more thoroughly in Louise Hay's groundbreaking book "You Can Heal Your Life", or visit www.hayhouseradio.com for resources to heal and embrace self-love more completely.
Photo credit: Rita Loyd, 2014