How Samson Lost His Strength...
“Any Accomplishment Truly Worth While Requires the Exercise of Courage.”
To picture the section of the sky where the Sun holds forth in all his strength and courage, from July 23 to August 23 each year, the ancients chose the king of beasts, the dauntless lion. In the natural birth chart, this section relates to offspring, pleasures, gambling, and affairs of the heart.
Leo is the sign of child-like pleasure, exuberance and courage. Unless conditioned to be fearful, children naturally dive into whatever looks like fun. In so doing, they sometimes discover that fun may have a scary, even dangerous and destructive, side. For example, watching someone ride a bicycle down a steep hill appears exhilarating and fun. Once seated on that bicycle, barreling down the fast hill, the danger of speed quickly becomes apparent…especially when control is lost and the bicycle, along with its rider, go summersaulting down the road. Scraped and bruised, for some the thrill of conquering the hill causes the rider to get back on the bike and try it again. Hopefully wiser with lessons learned, the child repeatedly draws deep into their reserve of desire energy. Down the hill, over and over. Eventually the hill is mastered and mission accomplished.
As adults, this childlike love of play and adventure matures. Caution sets in and courage holds a new meaning. By following one’s heart with courage and assimilating failure without defeat, the spirit ultimately builds a sense of self awareness. Out of a path of pleasure, mastery and fulfillment of purpose, the spiritually inclined begin to recognize the pattern of their life’s work.
C. C. Zain chose the biblical story of Samson to recognize the traits of character associated with Leo—its inherent power, accompanying vulnerability and fixity of purpose.
Like most of us Samson is well-intentioned. His youthful sense of self is not well developed enough to have a clear focus for his energy. What he wants most is to play and discover who he is.
His story begins when an Angel of the Lord appears to an older, childless couple. They are informed they will give birth to a son. They are also told that if they observe the Nazarite code of abstaining from alcohol and cutting his hair, their son will grow in strength and eventually deliver the Israelites from the Philistines. Like all of us, Samson has a mission for which he is uniquely born. We know deep inside we are born for some purpose but for most it is a vague awareness. Realizing one’s mission requires maintaining a connection to Spirit. This requires focus.
Untested and naive, young Samson leaves the hills of his people to explore the cities of the Philistines. His intentions are honorable and just. He meets and falls in love with a young woman. Desiring her as a wife he returns home to ask his parents’ permission. Because this woman is of a different faith, they want nothing to do with her.
Love is a powerful urge. Ignoring their objections, he chooses to marry the woman he loves and sets back upon the road to ask her father for her hand in marriage. Along the path he is attacked by a lion. He grabs the lion and easy rips it apart. Empowered by love, and true to his purpose, his strength of will is strong enough to face the aggressive lion but he is profoundly affected by this experience and keeps it a secret. Finally making it to his love’s home, he asks and receives permission to marry.
Later, traveling back for the wedding, he discovers that bees have nested and made honey in the carcass of the lion he killed. He eats a handful of the honey and gives some to his parents. He is encouraged by its sweetness and renewed with the strength of love and purpose. No type of nourishment is quite as high in its symbolical significance as honey. Representing spiritual food it is ruled by Venus and made from the nectar of flowers. Samson’s heart is pure.
In practical astrology, the sign Leo is related to love affairs, gambling and entertainment. It follows from a symbolic point of view that the culmination of Samson’s first love affair and marriage should be celebrated with a feast to which other young men were invited and gambling ensues.
A riddle is proposed by Samson and a wager is made against its correct solution.
“Out of the eater came forth meat, and
out of the strong came forth sweetness.”
The first part of the riddle acknowledges that only those who have can give, and that those who have, must acquire it from some already existing source. For example, the vegetables from the garden are eaters; for they consume water and minerals from the soil and carbon from the air.
The second part of Samson’s riddle states a great spiritual truth: Outstanding abilities or strengths are able to help in the progress of the world. More importantly, spirituality, symbolized by the honey, depends upon strength and strength is developed from practice and focus.
The Key phrase of Leo is, I Will, and people born when the Sun is in this sign commonly exhibit more than the average amount of that fixity of purpose, also known as will power. Power of will is dependent upon ability to keep the desires focused on their objective; to follow some line of conduct toward its realization. The stronger the desires, the greater the will power. The key, is to keep the desire focused instead of running wild.
At this point in Samson’s story he stumbles. He loses focus and allows the destructive power of anger to intrude.
The young men against whom Samson proposed his riddle are angry they can’t find its solution. They go to his young bride with threats against her family. Fearing for their safety, she persuades Samson to give her the solution to the riddle. She betrays his secret.
Angry, Samson, ties torches to the tails of three hundred foxes who then run frantically through the fields of the Philistines destroying their crops. A series of Old Testament calamities occur culminating in Samson regaining his focus and defeating three thousand Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey.
Sometimes Life appears messy with a mixture of successes and defeats. So far Samson’s story is a little messy. While he seems to be inadvertently accomplishing his mission to deliver the Israelites from the Philistine he is also suffering embarrassing failures. His mission isn’t complete and before we know it he’s off again in search of love.
In Samson’s later, and even more disastrous love affair, the source of his strength, the cause of its loss, and how at last it is regained is set forth still more clearly. This clarity is present only when hair, which like honey is ruled by Venus, the planet of love, is recognized as a common object in universal symbolism.
When Delilah implores Samson to tell her the secret of his strength he tries by means of subterfuge to throw her off the track. He tells her that if he is bound with seven green switches he will be unable to break them. She binds him thus, calling as if shouting to his enemies. He breaks the switches with the greatest ease.
She continues to nag him. He says, “If I am bound with new ropes I will be unable to free myself.” She trusses him with such strands, and calls to his enemies who lay in readiness to capture him. He breaks the ropes like threads.
Next he tells her that if she weaves the seven locks on his head it will render him helpless. She does this, fastening his hair to a loom. Upon awaking, he walks away, carrying the pin of the weaving beam with no difficulty.
Finally, after a long period of resisting her entreaties he relents and tells her all he knows. His strength is in his hair. She shaves his head and his strength departs. She calls his enemies. They put out his eyes, place him in fetters, and make him do the grinding in the prison house.
Symbolically, the seven locks of hair she shaves from his head are like the honey taken from the lion’s carcass. Both hair and honey are ruled by Venus, the planet of love. Unlike the power of love that strengthened him with the lion, the situation with Delilah depicts his lack of focus or connection to his heart or Spirit and results in the loss of his power.
The seven locks shaved from his head are symbols of great desire furnishing the energy for tremendous undertakings. Lack of courage and focus allows him to be deflected from his purpose.
Still, there is hope.
Even after Samson’s series of missteps, all is not lost. He gains wisdom through his experience. He wins maturity through courage. He recognizes that his purpose is to liberate his people. His hair grows long again, symbolizing desire converted into will. His captors mistakenly believe him to be in a weakened condition and take him into a building where his enemies, the Philistines, are collected for the purpose of making fun of him. He summons the strength of his resolve and purpose, bringing down the pillars to which he is chained, resulting in the destruction of all within. Thus, not always recognizing he is on his path, but reaffirming the strength of spirit within, he fulfills his purpose: to liberate the Israelites from the Philistines.
The text thus follows: Any Accomplishment Truly Worth While Requires the Exercise of Courage.
Paraphrased from Spiritual Astrology by C. C. Zain