07 Feb Freeborn Soul ~ Full Moon in Leo – February 8th, 2020
I would I were a careless child,
Still dwelling in my highland cave,
Or roaming through the dusky wild,
Or bounding o’er the dark blue wave…
Like a flash of warmth amidst the cold and arid atmosphere of Aquarius, on Saturday, February 8th there will be a Full Moon in the sign of Leo. Full Moons occur when the Sun and Moon are opposed, gazing upon one another across a vast distance. The Moon is full of the Sun’s light, representing a deep moment of reflection upon the axis of Leo and Aquarius.
Leo is ruled by the Sun, the center of self and the heart of all creation. So now in the depths of midwinter, a tiny ember of inspiration will begin to glow.
The cumbrous pomp of Saxon pride
Accords not with the freeborn soul,
Which loves the mountain’s craggy side,
And seeks the rocks where billows roll.
Aquarius is the wasteland, where the Sun is exiled. The atmosphere is thin and the light is pale, fading into the dark edges of the unknown.
Aquarius seeks to know infinity, to go beyond the limits of time and space. Thus, the mood remains open to new possibilities and potential. But the leading edges of thought are forever darkened by a grim feeling of isolation. The farther you wander into the wilderness of your imagination, the more alone you feel.
Few are my years, and yet I feel
The world was ne’er designed for me:
Ah! why do dark’ning shades conceal
The hour when man must cease to be?
The spirit of Aquarius is an exile and an outsider, forever looking upon the world from a distance. In the quest to know the self, Aquarius identifies with humanity as a whole, envisioning a web of interdependence and mutual aid.
But like all outsiders who gaze longingly from afar, the shadow of Aquarius hungers to be at the center of attention, to experience an illuminated sense of acceptance and belonging. At this Full Moon in Leo, expect some of your unfulfilled hunger for love, praise and affection to emerge.
Once I beheld a splendid dream,
A visionary scene of bliss:
Truth! — wherefore did thy hated beam
Awake me to a world like this?
To better understand how Aquarius’ alienation can birth a smoldering desire for attention, consider the life and work of the great Romantic poet, Lord Byron.
Even those who have never read his poetry know the name, Byron. In fact, Lord Byron is considered by most historians to be the first modern celebrity: someone who became famous and infamous; loved and hated.
It may be a sign of late-late decadence, but in the 21st Century celebrity is the most definitive and omnipresent language, offering the only sense of social cohesion and common values.
Though stardom itself is very Leonine, the vast reach of celebrity culture is super Aquarian because it arises from the tension between knowability and distance.
Celebrities seem familiar. But they are in fact totally ethereal and physically remote. This distance exemplifies the Aquarian experience of the outsider looking in.
Fame and notoriety have always existed. Great monarchs and heroes are nothing new. But the culture of celebrity seems to have arisen alongside industrialization and mass media, beginning in the early 19th Century.
At the dawn of the 19th Century, the literacy rate had exploded and a much larger public conversation was buzzing with a new concept of self that promoted cults of personality through an upsurge in mass produced portraits, biographies and gossip columns.
Lord Byron was born with his Sun in Aquarius. As such, his life was marked by the pain of alienation and a need for acceptance. He was an only child, raised in obscurity without a father. His foot was deformed, which attracted cruelty from his peers and solidified his status as an outcast. When he was ten years old, he inherited the title of Lord Byron, but never had enough money to fully embody the role of aristocrat.
Such is the journey of an Aquarius.
Blessed and cursed with great vision, those with the Sun in Aquarius struggle to define their sense of self. But they do have an uncanny ability to tune into the thoughts and feelings of the collective. Thus they can appeal to a mass audience, speaking to the evolutionary undercurrents of their time. The scholar Sir Walter Scott writes that Byron was:
“the first poet who, either in his own person, or covered by no very thick disguise…directly appeared before the public, an actual living man expressing his own sentiments, thoughts, hopes, and fears.”
The story goes that Byron woke up one morning in 1812 and found that he was famous. He was 24 years old and had just published Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, a philosophical travelogue filled with yearning, hints of sex and heroics.
His Aquarian nature enabled him to stir the hearts of the public. Thus, his celebrity was an intoxicating mixture of loneliness and mystery. His persona juxtaposed the glamor of his youth and poetic brilliance with his suffering and solitude. Byron was beautiful and damned, wandering the world in search of the love that could redeem him.
I loved — but those I loved are gone;
Had friends — my early friends are fled:
How cheerless feels the heart alone
When all its former hopes are dead!
Byron’s celebrity may have initially offered him the acceptance in the world he had always craved. But the nature of celebrity includes the contradiction of love and hate, familiarity and distance. Only four years after he had published Childe Harold, he was exiled from England, forced to flee from mounting debts and rumors of incest and homosexuality. Though his personal fortunes suffered, his celebrity was only strengthened by the scandal.
At the age of 36, Lord Byron died as a hero in Greece, fighting for the country’s independence from Turkey. His body was brought back to England for a public funeral procession where the poet John Clare observed:
“The common people felt his merits and his power and the common people of a country are the best feelings of a prophesy of futurity.”
An exile and outsider observes so much of the world. And this is why Lord Byron was able to articulate what it meant to be human in the Romantic era. His genius was emblematic of the divine spark in the human spirit. And his scandals revealed a frailty that everyone could relate to.
At this Full Moon in Leo, take some time to reflect upon your own struggles with selfhood. Whether you embrace or reject it, you were born into a celebrity culture, into a flood of images that reflect ideas of what you are and what you are not, while tantalizing you with fantasies of what you might become. Your exploration of self is forever immersed in the collective imagination, wandering into vicarious identification with an ethereal non-corporeal realm of luminous ideals and immortalized memories. In the Information Age, the effect is inspiring, stirring and totally maddening.
For the remainder of Aquarius season, appreciate how the perspective of the outsider offers the opportunity to observe the whole spectrum and spectacle. Even when it is difficult to understand, the Aquarian vision sees that your life has purpose, no matter where you seem to have landed in the social order.
Amidst the swirl of images, it may appear that worldly success, glamour, and praise represent the pinnacle of purpose and self-hood. But the wisdom of Aquarius teaches that a true sense of self can only be born from a fearless commitment to your life’s path as it unfolds beneath your feet.
As an Aquarius, Lord Byron exemplified this commitment.
And in this endeavor, the spirit of Aquarius accepts that discomfort, rejection and alienation can not be avoided. On the contrary, it is often in times of exile where you discover a sense of self beyond anything that the world could ever offer.
The cumbrous pomp of Saxon pride
Accords not with the freeborn soul…
verses are an excerpt from Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage by Lord Byron
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