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Astro-Tarot Series

Arcanum 19: The Sign Leo and the Sun

First printed in American Astrology Magazine August 1938

Elbert Benjamine

Love and the Sun

The original material has been edited for accuracy
and to improve ease of reading.

Outstanding characteristics of the sign Leo are the dominating power conferred by its astrological orb, the Sun, which gives to it ability for rulership; and its natural affinity for the fifth house of a birthchart, which maps the mental factors within the individual’s mind relating to pleasure and love affairs. Consequently, when the masters of the past came to design a pictographic explanation of the teachings associated with the sign, it was quite in order they should make the Sun a conspicuous part of the picture, and that those in love should also find prominent place in the portrayal.

Arcanum 19: The SunThat the significance of the teaching should be unmistakable, the ensemble pictures a young man and a young woman holding hands and adoringly gazing into each other’s eyes, and in the Sun above them was traced conspicuously the well-known emblem of union.

Leo is not the sign of sex. It is the sign of love.

The rays of the Sun above are grouped in threes, tied together by an emblem on one end of which is the globe of earth, in the middle of which is the symbol of union so located as to represent the astral plane, and at the other end the head of the solar serpent to signify the spiritual — thus symbolizing perfect union expressed on all three planes — not only the simplicity of garb, but the lotus each figure carries implies the purest of affections. And the flowers springing up about them symbolize the joy and happiness of the domestic circle which more than compensates those thus united in simplicity of life, moderation of desires and purity of thought, for any material hardships they must undergo.

The number 20, as will be explained in the next article of this series, relates to an awakening and resurrection. Thus, the 20 flowers encircling the lovers signify the potency of domestic harmony to Awaken and Resurrect the spiritual flora of the soul; and that pleasure is the determining factor which guides the activities of all organic life even as the Sun controls the planets which circle about it. That is, just as astrologers recognize Leo as the ruling zodiacal sign, so does the science of psychology recognize pleasure, a principle to which the fifth house of a birthchart is closely allied, as the ruling motive of human life. It is also the ruling motive of those activities energized by the progressed aspects of the planets which attract each event of importance that enters an individual’s life.

The Circle of Love

But if we are to understand how this principle of pleasure operates when progressed aspects form we must recognize that events are the offspring not of one parent, but always of two. Arcanum 19 of the tarot clearly indicates this in picturing the sign Leo, natural ruler of the house of offspring. Not one lover is pictured, but both a man and a woman; and they join hands to signify that what comes to pass is the result of forces interacting between them. Yet there are many people who still believe that events are the offspring of but a single parent, either of the physical world alone or of the invisible world alone, without the aid of the other.

Thus, on the one hand we have the materialist, who sees in the physical world alone all the forces which mold events. He denies even the existence of an invisible world in which mind can and does function. To him the unconscious mind is merely an excretion of the physical body, and the forces of the planets which play upon the finer form of man like streams of water under pressure from so many different hoses, are quite non-existent. The events of life are considered by him to have but one parent, the material world, and when the physical form disintegrates the unconscious mind or soul disintegrates and perishes also. On the other hand we have the astrological fortune teller. His knowledge of the inner world usually is limited by the inflexible rules on which he believes astrology to be based. He is convinced, and has ample evidence to support his convictions, that the stars constantly influence the life and destiny of every human being. And because experience on the part of everyone who takes the pains to learn the generally accepted rules of astrology leads to a conviction that man is thus influenced, he jumps to the totally unwarranted conclusion that the invisible influence of the stars is the sole and only parent of each event which occurs in an individual’s life. Thus the fortune teller astrologer maintains that everything indicated in the birthchart and by progressed aspects inevitably must come to pass. To him the planets in their courses predetermine each event and human action.

But if the teachings the ancients explained in the Major Arcanum depicting the fifth sign of the zodiac, Leo, are correct, events — like children — are not the offspring of one parent alone but of two. They come to pass not exclusively through the influence of the inner world, but through the interaction between this Father World and Mother Earth.

The Energy of Touch

When people clasp each other by the hand, as the lovers in this picture do, there is an interchange of energies. Thus also is there a constant interchange of energies between the astral world, where the unconscious mind of man resides, and the world of physical happenings. The world of physical happenings adds the energies of the individual’s various experiences to the thought-cells and thought-structures of his unconscious mind. Thus his physical environment and what transpires in it as affecting him, add energies to his unconscious mind which condition the specific direction of the desires of the thought-cells of his unconscious mind. He starts in physical human life as a babe in whose unconscious mind are stored the experiences of evolution through lower forms. These experiences have organized the thought-cells and structures within the mentality such as are mapped in kind, intensity and the general direction of their desires by the positions of the planets in the birthchart.

The prominence of each planet in the birthchart indicates the volume of energy possessed by the corresponding family of thought-cells within the unconscious mind. Thus the prominence of Mars maps the vigor of the Aggressive thought-cells, the prominence of Saturn maps the vigor of the Safety thought-cells, the prominence of the Sun maps the vigor of the Power thought-cells and so on with the others of the ten families of thought-cells whose expression comprises the sum total of man’s behavior.

The signs of the zodiac in which these planets are found in the birthchart denote that the Aggressive thought-cells, Utopian thought-cells, etc. mapped by the planets have a basic trend toward expressing in the manner characteristic of the sign in which they are thus mapped.

The department of life involved in the experiences which built these thought-cells before human birth and the department of life they will affect during human life, is mapped in the chart of birth by the house which the planet rules.

Environment is the MatrixIt is the extra-physical power exercised by the various types of thought- cells and thought-structures of which the unconscious mind, or soul, is composed that attracts to the individual the conditions and events of his life. We must not conclude, however, that the activity of the thought-cells of the unconscious mind is the sole determining factor in the events and conditions which an individual experiences. They are the father of those experiences and the physical environment is the matrix which restricts or expands their ability to bring forth special events; that is, physical environment is the mother which gives them form, and no offspring as an event can be born which the mother is incapable of providing.

It is one of the most fundamental principles of life that organisms move toward that which gives them pleasure and retreat from that which gives them pain. And desire was developed by the soul as the energy through which it moved toward or away from a condition in its environment. Those conditions it felt to be pleasurable it had a tendency to move toward that it might gain their benefit. And the energy of this tendency, whether simple or complex, was an attractive desire.

Those conditions the soul felt to be painful it had a tendency to move away from that it might escape destruction. And the energy of this tendency, whether simple or more complex, was a repellent desire.

All the actions of life, including even the manner in which the thought- elements combine in the thought-cells of the astral body and the way the thought-cells unite in groups to form stellar structures, are conditioned by pleasure or pain. Thought-cell groups within the unconscious mind that have been conditioned by pleasure are mapped by planets in the birthchart which receive harmonious aspects. But thought-cell groups within the unconscious mind that have been conditioned by pain are mapped in the birthchart by planets which receive discordant aspects. Thus, the aspects either in a birthchart or by progression indicate whether the thought-cells are conditioned by pleasure to cause them to desire and exert such extra-physical power as they can acquire to attract events such as the individual wants; or are conditioned by pain to cause them to desire and exert such extra-physical power as they can acquire to repel the events the individual wants, which signifies they work to attract events of the opposite nature.

The thought-cells within the unconscious mind of a child at birth, as indicated by the planets in the birthchart, provide a map showing the relative volume of energy of each family of thought-cells. And whenever such a group of thought-cells receives sufficient energy, as it does through a progressed aspect to the planet mapping it, that it has extra-physical power to demonstrate an event, the event that then comes into the individual’s life invariably shows the planetary characteristics. That is, if the progressed aspect is to Mars, it is accompanied by strife; if the progressed aspect is to Jupiter, it is accompanied by abundance, etc.

Furthermore, the event or events then attracted while the progressed aspect is within one degree of perfect relates to the department of life signified by the house which one of the two aspecting planets rules. We have proved these things in statistical studies made during the past nine years covering 1,800 separate and distinct events that have actually happened in people’s lives whose times of birth are known.

Furthermore, by considering the basic harmony or discord of the thought- cells as mapped by the aspects in the birthchart in connection with the harmony or discord of the planetary energy added to these thought-cells by a given progressed aspect, a good indication may be had as to whether the event attracted by the extra-physical power of the thought-cells at the time is harmonious or discordant to the individual. That is, to the extent it is possible to gauge the pleasure or pain of the thought-cells given unusual activity by a progressed aspect, is it also possible to gauge whether working from the inner plane they are trying to demonstrate that which the individual desires or something they desire and the individual does not.

Now the astrological fortune teller holds that the birthchart and subsequent positions of the planets not only predetermine the general characteristics of each event which happens — as shown by the aspecting planets, the department of life affected (as indicated by the house rulership of the planets) and the harmony or discord of the event — but also its specific nature. Arcanum 19, however, teaches that the specific event which is thus demonstrated by the thought-cells receiving the energy of a progressed aspect, often largely is determined by the resistance offered by the physical environment to various specific events of the general character indicated.

The Church of Light has collected and studied the charts of aboriginal people of the African equatorial region and of those born in Alaska. And while it is true that in the northern regions certain signs tend to occupy more houses, and others to be compressed within certain houses, otherwise the charts of New Yorkers, African Bushmen and Alaskan Indians present the same appearance. In fact, from the birthchart alone none of our students has ever pretended that he could tell if the chart was that of an African Bushman, a Polynesian from the South Seas, a native of the Bronx, an Indian or a Setter Dog.

I have seen dog charts; the planetary positions in which were so nearly identical with those of educated people whose charts I have seen, that the difference was too imperceptible to influence an astrological reading of the chart.

People in Alaska, in New York City and in Equatorial Africa have similar birthcharts. And during their lives they have progressed aspects which are practically identical.

At birth they started with thought-cells within their unconscious minds which were similar in the relative volume of energy, which had the same planetary family characteristics, which related to the same departments of life and which were similar in harmony or discord. But in the specific desires developed by these thought-cells they were conditioned each according to the physical environment. The Alaskan Indian of the interior region was conditioned to take long snowshoe trips in winter, to provide himself with warm garments of fur and to follow the various traditional customs of his tribe. In such environment no birthchart positions and no progressed aspect could cause him to take a daily ride on the subway or do any one of innumerable things a New Yorker commonly does. Nor could they cause the native living in Equatorial Africa to travel on snowshoes or do any one of a large variety of things the northern Indian finds commonplace.

From the large number of birthcharts I have given detailed study, I have no reason to suppose that people born in the southern United States have Saturn less afflicted as a rule than people born on the border of Canada. Nor that people born in the well-recognized goiter areas of the world have afflictions in Taurus, or Venus and the Sun afflicted, more frequently than people born in the other areas of the world.

Yet it has been found that tooth decay in American school children increases steadily as the distance from the equator increases. This has been attributed to the decreased amount of ultra violet light reaching inhabitants of the northern latitudes. Tooth decay is indicated in the birthchart by an afflicted Saturn. But where the physical environment is more favorable to sound teeth, providing the vitamin D through the action of abundant sunlight and thus increasing the ability to handle calcium, the influence of discordant Saturn thought-cells on the teeth is less inimical.

A predisposition toward goiter is shown by afflictions in Taurus, or Venus and the Sun afflicted. The time when it develops is when by progression there is also an affliction to the planets in Taurus, to Venus or to the Sun. Yet in those regions of the earth lacking iodine in the soil the prevalence of this difficulty — in some areas of Tibet, for instance, affecting one person out of every three — indicates that there it requires far less affliction from either birthchart or progressed planets to bring on goiter than it does in certain other unusually well iodized regions where this disease is practically unknown.

These observations and hundreds of others that could be cited, while quite discrediting the fatalistic view of the fortune teller who uses astrology, in no sense detracts either from the merits or the use of scientific astrology. They simply point to that which the ancients endeavored to explain in Arcanum 19 of the tarot, that the specific event which under a given birthchart and a given progressed aspect is born, is not identical if the mother — that is, the physical environment — is different.

The thought-cells relating to certain broad types of events and affecting definite departments of life, have a basic activity and a basic harmony or discord, and these are mapped by the birthchart. It has been definitely proven by psychologists that all an infant’s reactions to environmental conditions — except swallowing, closing the eye when the cornea is irritated, sneezing, response to deep pressure, loud noise, restraint and sudden movement as in dropping — are conditioned by the pleasure or pain experienced in connection with subsequent physical situations. And while the thought-cells within its unconscious mind work to demonstrate certain physical situations within the environment, they can only utilize that which the broad environment can furnish for such purposes.

An individual with many planets in his third and ninth houses, for instance, may become so conditioned by early environment that the events which the thought-cells so mapped constantly endeavor to demonstrate relate not to travel, but to writing and publishing.

I have tried this: thrown a birthchart of some person on the screen, and informed the students of all the progressed aspects which were within one degree of the perfect aspect at a time which I had not yet specified in the person’s life. I have shown at the time that the ruler of the fifth house, the ruler of the seventh house and Venus were all strongly and harmoniously aspected by progression. Immediately the students would suggest that the individual must then have married. At this point I revealed that at the time the person was only six years old. The answer was obvious. The fifth house activity related to school, the seventh house to school associates and the Venus aspect stimulated such affections as are common to six-year-olds.

Without so informing the class, I have thus used charts of those already happily married and shown progressed aspects favorable to the fifth and seventh house. When they suggested the event attracted was marriage, I would explain such to be impossible without bigamy. That is, progressed aspects indicating marriage to an unmarried person of the right age may indicate the birth of a child and a favorable business partnership to a person already happily married.

The environmental resistance offered the fifth house and seventh house thought-cells to the marriage of a six-year-old child, or to the marriage of a person already happily married, is so great that these thought-cells cannot demonstrate this particular event. They thus spend the energy derived from the progressed aspect in demonstrating some other event, which partakes of the characteristics of the planets making the aspect and belongs to the same general department of life.

It is even logical to suppose — and there is abundant evidence in support of this conclusion — that the special event which the thought-cells demonstrate at the time they acquire new energy from progressed aspects is determined by the general trend of that which gives them pleasure, but within this more general scope the event occurs to which environment offers the least resistance. But even here the Leo principle of pleasure is the determining factor, for in thus seeking the event which within the broader scope of their desires is most easily brought to pass, these thought-cell activities which are the father of the event, avoid the pain of work which is too difficult, and permit physical environment, which is the mother, to have a deciding influence as to the specific event which is then born.

(This concludes part 20 of 23)

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