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The Lion Portal Opens

by Melanie Reinhart

A personal response to the London bombings, July 7th, 2005

On July 7th, 2005 bomb blasts ripped through London, capital city of Great Britain, killing around 50 people and injuring about 700, many seriously. At the time of writing, the underground tunnels in which the explosions occurred have yet to be fully cleared, and there may still be bodies trapped in the wreckage. For the collective imagination of London and the South-East of England, home to hundreds of thousands of people who work in the Capital, their Worst Nightmare came true.

The dis-aster was especially poignant in its timing, occurring as it did in the week when London heard of its successful bid to host the 2012 Olympics. In Edinburgh the G8 summit was underway, and the ‘Live 8’ musical fund-raising event had just been staged. Four carved lions guard the points between the cardinal directions in Trafalgar Square, and the anniversary of the battle of Trafalgar had been recently celebrated. In this essay I offer some reflections on the symbolism of this juxtaposition.

I find myself writing as ‘a Londoner’, in solidarity with the people. I feel loyalty and gratitude to this extraordinary city, my home for 22 years, and where I still work. The fact that as an outsider, I can feel this sense of ‘home’ about London is not unusual. It is ‘exile city’, where people from every nation on earth congregate, working and living together and generating a unique spirit of ‘London-ness’, which I would describe as ‘unity in diversity’.

Heralds in the Solstice Chart

Although it is easy to dismiss the wisdom of hindsight, retrospective views can be useful by underlining the symbolism unfolding. In the mystical traditions of many cultures, it is said that life is like a dream from which we are to awaken. This is not to discount the agonising reality of what we experience, but to recognise at the same time that reality is multi-layered and complex, and that our interpretive mind best hold lightly to thoughts bound to be limited, partial, and even sometimes misleading. Astrological symbolism, from a living tradition, seeks to accompany, clarify and contextualise rather than to ‘explain’, leaving the symbol to speak for itself. Just as a dream may continue to reveal fresh meaning and significance, so it is with the astrological symbolism, embedded deep as it is in the collective psyche of humanity.

So in this spirit let us explore the astrological patterns that surround these tragic events.

Firstly, a look at the chart for the Summer Solstice will reveal an interesting pattern: a Cardinal T-square with the Nodal Axis, Mars, Jupiter and the Sun. As all aspects are applying, they matured over the next couple of weeks, when no doubt final plans were being put in place to coordinate the detonations. The date list below makes this clear. Note also the following details about the chart itself:

• Moon sextile (partile) Neptune, in Yod with Mercury in 12th house.
• Jupiter quincunx Uranus (exact on the day after the blasts)
• T-Sq in formation: Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Nodal Axis. (See dates below)
• Centaurs conjunct Mars and Jupiter (Asbolus 6.24 Aries / Chariclo 8.34 Libra). This serves to further highlight the Mars-Jupiter opposition.


Solstice 21 Jun 2005 07.45    
Full Moon 22 Jun 2005 05:13 00°Cp51' 00°Cn51'
Mar Opp Jup 26 Jun 2005   09°Ar35' 09°Li35'
Triple conjunction: Venus, Mercury, and Saturn in Cancer on 26th June, Sunday.
Sun Sqr Jup 1 Jul 2005   09°Cn58' 09°Li58'
New Moon 6 Jul 2005 13:02 14°Cn31' 14°Cn31'
Ven Qnx Ura 7 Jul 2005 00:02 10°Le34' 10°Pi34'
Jup Qnx Ura 8 Jul 2005 19:20 10°Li33' 10°Pi33'
Mar Cnj Node 9 Jul 2005   18°Ar18' 18°Ar18'
Sun Sqr Node
10 Jul 2005
  18°Cn14' 18°Ar14'
Sun Sqr Mar 12 Jul 2005   20°Cn39'
Full Moon 21 Jul 2005 11:59 28°Cp47' 28°Cn47'
New Moon 5 Aug 2005 04:04 12°Le48' 12°Le48'
Jup Opp Node 18 Aug 2005   16°Li09' 16°Ar09'

Of course this Solstice chart is the same all over the world, the pattern simply shifting around the houses according to the location for which the chart is cast. However, anyone familiar with the UK 1801 chart would not have failed to notice that Mercury, apex of the Yod on the Solstice chart is exactly conjunct the 10th house Moon of this chart, within 21’ of arc. This Mercury lies quietly in the 12th house of ‘hidden influences’, and is the general ruler of matters related to transport and communication.

The other planetary position of note is Uranus in the 8th house, with Jupiter applying to a quincunx which became exact the day after the blasts. In the UK 1922 chart, Uranus is at 9.49 Pisces, meaning 2005 sees the Uranus Return of the time when partition occurred in Northern Ireland. In an individual’s life, occurring as it does at around the age of 84, the Uranus Return is a ‘wake-up call’ and seems to either bring new life, clarity and acuteness of consciousness, or signal a contraction and pulling away from life which will in turn herald death. It is potentially a time of spiritual awakening. Might we dare to hope for healing of the wound of ‘The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland? The alternative looks like 21st Century London becoming another Belfast, with a different kind of ‘enemy within’.

The terrorist war plaguing the city of Belfast and other areas in Northern Ireland has been like a bleeding sore for a very long time, and perhaps the bomb blasts in London will serve to bring renewed focus on this issue. The wound of ‘The Troubles’ has been hurting for so long that it has perhaps receded from the awareness of many people, anaesthetised by repetition and familiarity. This terrible war has been fought not by ‘foreigners’ or ‘Islamist extremists’ but by people against their own neighbours, divided along sectarian lines. Recent years have seen a cycle of hopes dashed as encouraging moves are undermined or blocked. It is perhaps not surprising that various people in power have sought to displace their focus on to more high profile and glamorous causes elsewhere, while the blood flows past their front doorstep, so to speak. The fact that the UK is a nation perpetually at war with itself seems to have escaped the nation’s self-definition.

The Sabian Symbol

On June 26th there was a triple conjunction of Venus, Mercury and Saturn, which was also visible in the sky as a sight of great beauty. It occurred in the 27th degree of Cancer, and can also be seen as a herald of events then forthcoming. In astrology, symbols can be attributed to each degree of the zodiac, and one such set gives the keyword CATHARSIS, with following images and interpretation:


A confrontation with a social upheaval demanding the reconsideration of static values.

“ …. The sociocultural elite can always see its position and security challenged by forces beyond its control, even if it may be successful in protecting itself from destruction. The individual may not be able to depend on the standards and values … acquired through education … and a relatively sheltered and rich life. He has to rise to the occasion, and perhaps to undergo an inner metamorphosis as a result of the crisis he has been able to accept as a personal challenge….. the challenge to meet a crisis situation brought about by uncontrollable karmic forces…….”

(“An Astrological Mandala” by Dane Rudhyar, Vintage Books, New York, 1974, p. 128.

The Bomb Blast chart

At the time of writing, it is believed that all three blasts in the Underground were synchronised to occur at 8.53am BST, although it was previously thought that the blasts occurred over about 30 minutes, followed later by a bomb in a double decker bus. The strikes thus occurred in the midst of the crowded morning rush hour, having maximum impact on the population of workers in the city.

Olympic exuberance, G8 and ‘celebrity’

We find the Nodal axis of this chart lying exactly along the opposition of Chiron in Aries and Saturn in Libra which features in the UK 1922 chart. (We are currently in the midst of a sequence of oppositions of Chiron and Saturn, the next one due on July 21st 2005.) Mars and Jupiter conjunct the Nodal Axis. Mars, God of War, dignified in Aries, is placed in the 8th of the Underworld, giving a macabre and literal rendition of the symbolism - violent explosions under the ground, and also in a red double decker bus, red being the colour of Mars.

Zeus was the King of Olympus in ancient Greece, the mountain abode of the gods from which the Games have taken their name. The Olympic Games are meant to be a platform for the demonstration of heroic excellence, which to some degree they still are, but the frequency of drug scandals and other ignominious goings-on have marred their reputation. Olympic success is now more equated with ‘celebrity’ than nobility of spirit, personal dedication and other sterling qualities, having been hijacked by commercial concerns. The meaning of astrological Jupiter connects with Zeus, and here symbolises the joy, national pride and exaltation at London’s successful bid for the 2012 Olympics, juxtaposed with the violence of 8th house Mars. Jupiter is placed in the 2nd house of resources, and serves to remind of the high level of expenditure which will be borne by the taxpayers, the ordinary people, of the country. A waste of resources, some might say, with profligate Jupiter at work in the 2nd house.

The same week saw the G8 summit in Edinburgh, and the ‘Live 8’ benefit concerts, both of which were geared to ‘make poverty history’. While the Jupiterian spirit of these events is laudable, the astrology serves as a stark reminder that we the people (Chiron in Aquarius) are as vulnerable now as ever before to being enchanted by the grandiose and glamorous machinations of ‘celebrity’ in the arenas of politics and entertainment (Venus and Mercury in Leo). The cost of the Olympics could escalate out of control if London sees more terrorist attacks, or indeed pays for the recommended increase in preventive security measures. And the display of raw power inherent in both events belies the fact the problems they are geared to solve will not be addressed by ‘top-down’ activity alone – more Leo pathology, here signifying the Divine Right of the wealthy and powerful to dictate policy and convince people of the efficacy of their well-meaning intentions. That the people (Chiron in Aquarius) feel wounded and outraged by their leader steam-rollering over their wishes does not need re-stating, but then, perhaps it does.

Saturn into Leo

This juxtaposition of Chiron and Saturn also provides a powerful and sobering signature of the forthcoming entry of Saturn into the sign of Leo. Saturn is more about delivery than promise, and supports actuality rather than possibility. The Ingress chart (16.7.2005; 1.26pm BST), set for London, flags up this juxtaposition in a very poignant way. Chiron in Aquarius at the ‘root’ of the chart symbolises the wounded ordinary people, and perhaps also the healing possibilities inherent in a sense of national determination and idealism. The aftermath of the blasts was characterised, as always with such events, by stories of the heroism of ordinary people. In my view, there is no such thing as an ‘ordinary person’. We are each and every one a Divine Mystery living a life of such astonishing richness and depth, whether or not we honour this consciously.

The Leo/Aquarius symbolism provides a canvas on which were indelibly painted many poignant images of the heartfulness and courage of ‘ordinary people’. I offer below a few examples collected from various media sources, with astrological signatures relating to the ‘Bomb blast’ chart.

• A foreman working on a building site near one of the disasters rounds up his men and takes them to the nearest Blood Bank to give blood. (Mars in Aries, ruling the 4th house of buildings, and signifying men!)

• A 92-year old woman who had been an ambulance driver during World War II immediately volunteers her services (Saturn in Cancer, surely!)

• The overground blast occurred in front of the BMA Headquarters (British Medical Association), which becomes an impromptu treatment station. (Chiron in Aquarius = the wounded place of work, and also the working place of doctors.)

• Hotels nearby receive hundreds of wounded and shocked people, offering food, blankets and support. (Pluto, sometimes ‘Lord of Wealth’ rules the IC of dwellings.)

The UK 1801 chart

This chart has Saturn in Leo, retrograde at 23.22 and is thus coming up for its Saturn return. I find this very interesting, as this chart marks the Union of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, a unity that was broken up in 1922 with partition, and which is currently challenged in many ways by the Scottish Parliament and also by the Welsh National Assembly, both seeking increasing levels of independence from the central government at Whitehall, London.

However, the ‘lion-spiritedness’ of the people is a quality that all nations in the ‘United Kingdom’ relate to strongly, as witnessed by their heraldry and national symbols. Perhaps this spirit is returning to the people wounded by the betrayal experienced as their leaders took them into a war to which they were bitterly and vocally opposed, ignoring everything except the urge to demonstrate solidarity with ‘Big Brother’ himself, like the runt of a playground sidling up to the local bully.

St. Botolph – patron of travellers

The blasts occurred near St. Botolph’s church in Aldgate, and their statement of belief serves as a beacon of light in the darkness of recent events, especially considering that the violence may have been perpetrated by fundamentalists who although officially denounced by Moslem leaders, purport to be acting in the name of Islam. (See http://www.stbotolphs.org.uk/statement.php). St. Botolph was the English patron saint of travellers, and the 3 churches in London dedicated to him are located near old city gates, perhaps to enable travellers to pause and offer prayers of supplication or gratitude when entering or leaving the city. St. Botolph’s in Aldgate became the headquarters of rescue operations, and provided support for police and rescue crews as well as members of the public who were injured. Their doors were open 24 hours a day. On the ‘Bomb blast’ chart, St. Botolph’s is also represented by Pluto in the 4th house – the place of worship transformed into care station, logistical HQ and synthesizing rescue efforts in a suitably Sagittarian way, with faith and hope. I would like to think that St. Botolph is himself available to those travellers seeking reassurance, guidance and protection in the coming times.

The Star-Lion Regulus Rises …….

The Fixed Star Regulus, one of the Royal Stars of the Persians, is currently located at 29.54 of the sign of Leo, and rose just after 9.00am on July 7th. All four Royal Stars refer to potentially ‘fatal flaws’ of character which if avoided promise honour and success. According to Bernadette Brady, this star was associated with the Persian king Feridam, who lost his kingdom when he engaged in revenge. Thus the temptation to vengeance is the testing-ground of Regulus, and this piece of star-wisdom is poignantly appropriate for the current situation, in which concerns are already being expressed for the safety of numerous Islamic communities, schools and mosques. The fear has certainly been raised. The possibility that the London bombs are themselves a vengeance attack cannot be ruled out, given the well-publicised statements from extremist groups of various kinds, the irony being that a huge percentage of Londoners were against Blair joining Bush in the Iraq war, itself a vengeance war, in response for the 9/11 attacks which themselves were called ‘vengeance attacks’. And so it goes on ……

The Lion King

Let us now shift level and look to the inner meaning of the Lion symbolism, prominent in the event itself, and onwards over the next weeks, including the Ingress of Saturn into Leo. The Lion is called the King of Beasts, the Guardian of Kingship both in political terms, and also in the qualities he represents: nobility of spirit, individuality, creativity, generosity and integrity of heart, courage, dignity, leadership, worthiness, regality, radiance and joy. The sign of Leo is ruled by the Sun, the centre of our Solar System, and likewise brings a kingly flavour to planets passing though this sign. The Sun is the only planet which casts a shadow on Earth, as the Moon’s light is reflected from the Sun. These shadow qualities are highly destructive: narcissism, egocentricity, arrogance, ruthless pursuit of supremacy and success, intolerance of competition, elitism and paternalism. The Sun represents the ruler, the father, the centre, and the focus of light in a situation.

Christ the King

On Christmas Day in the year 2000, there was born in Bethlehem, South Africa, a rare female white lion, named Marah. The association of Sun and Lion with Christ is well-known in the Bible, and this lion birth took place a few months after a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Taurus, with the conjunction wide, but still within orb. This conjunction is the most widely used ‘signature’ for the birth of Christ, as there was in the year 07BC a triple conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Pisces, said to be the herald of this event. At the time, the Age of Pisces was beginning, and the followers of Christ were known to each other through the symbol of the fish. Marah was also born just after a solar eclipse, an astounding piece of symbolism given that her birth came in the wake of the near-extinction (eclipse) of the white lions, the sun-beings. And Marah is the Lion Queen was born in Bethlehem ……….

The White Lions

The story of these extraordinary animals and their significance for humanity is the subject of an equally extraordinary book ‘Mystery of the White Lions: Children of the Sun God’, by Linda Tucker. (It is available on www.amazon.co.uk.) She undertakes a tour de force of scientific research and intuitive connections supported by African folklore, shedding light on the symbolic significance of the lion for humanity. She points out that from the perspective of the Southern Hemisphere, where the vernal equinox is of course opposite that of the Northern Hemisphere, we are entering the Age of Leo, opposite to the sign of Aquarius. These astrological ‘Great Ages’ have multi-levelled significance for the unfolding of cultural and religious forms during the period of their duration, which averages just over 2,000 years. So the Age of Aquarius is indeed underpinned by the energies of the sign of Leo, which in turn have been made manifest in the appearance of the white lions.

According to research in the realm of palaeontology, humans once shared dwellings and food with lions, who were the hunters. The Zulu shaman Credo Mutwa informed Linda that at the time when the lions became the hunted, there was a spiritual pact formed between the soul of the lion and that of the humans, and so the soul of the lion came literally to represent the forces of evolving individuation within humanity. And so our destinies are intimately linked with the fate of these magnificent creatures.

All that glitters …..

Gold is also associated with the Sun and the sign of Leo, and it is along the meridian of longitude 31.14 East that the highest concentration of gold deposits is found over the entire planet, giving substance to the metaphysical notion of the ‘subterranean Sun’. Under this meridian is also located the sacred heartland of South Africa, where the white lions were first seen in the area known as Timbavati, which means ‘ the place where the star-beings came to earth’. Slightly further North on the same meridian is found Great Zimbabwe, the ruined city from which the country takes its name, and is even today the seat of a powerful cult of lion shamanism. In the culture of the Shona, the predominant tribe in Zimbabwe, the spirit of a great leader will take up residence in the body of a lion. The equation of lion and king is expressed in a very literal way. Much further North, this meridian goes through the Giza plateau, on which is located the Sphinx, the mysterious stone lion-beast whose implacable gaze has fired the imaginations of countless generations of people.

Within 2 degrees of this line, further north in Turkey, is located the city of Konya, home of the whirling dervishes within the Sufi tradition, and focalised around the teachings of Jellal u’ddin Rumi. Rumi was an orthodox cleric within Islam until he met a wandering dervish called Shams e Tabriz. He gave up orthodoxy and worldly position to commit to the life of a mystic, writing the largest collection of poetry in the world’s literary heritage, much of it inspired by his relationship with Shams, who had become his teacher. ‘Shams’ means ‘the Sun’ and the movements of the dervishes depict the planets whirling around the sheik, or Teacher, who is the Sun. The heart is understood to be the home of the Inner Teacher, of whom the outer is a reflection.

Coeur de Lion

Regulus, the Lion in the Stars, as ‘Coeur de lion’ or ‘Heart of the Lion, was called by the Persians ‘The Watcher of the North’, which is reflected in the prominence of the lion in European heraldic imagery. ‘North’ in the energy body of the human being points to the Third Eye or Brow Chakra, ruled by the signs of Leo and Cancer therefore the Sun and Moon. It represents the capacity for seeing inner meaning, for intelligent intuitive reflection (as distinct from intellect). Internalising the qualities of ‘Lion-ness’ is an important aspect of our spiritual work. We are to seek gold within rather than worldly power and glory without, and we are to be custodians of Creation, as the Lord of Beasts protects his Kingdom. We are each and every one of us Lion Kings, in this sense, presiding over the kingdom of our own souls, in the knowledge that we are but a small part of something far greater than we can ever imagine, as well as being One with it. The Light of the Beyond focalises through us, and if we have prepared well our kingdom, it flourishes.

On the journey, we become aware of our own lion shadow – that within us which is arrogant, unyielding, elitist, has to be the top-dog, ruthlessly pursues fame and fortune no matter what the cost. The immaturity of the narcissist within must be faced, along with the tyrannical ‘king baby’, the exploitiveness, greed and grandiosity of misplaced power drives. And all of it needs to be held in compassion. For we humans suffer deeply in our illusion of separation from the Divine, and this is particularly poignant in the sign of Leo, where we deal with this pain by assuming the role of ‘king’. Or we spend our time envying or trying to destroy those on to whom we have projected the inner light we seek. The Leo pathology is one of ‘mistaken identity’ where the ego usurps the energy of the deep self, refuses to look to its own shadow, and thus cuts us off at the roots.

The Sun is conjunct Saturn on the MC of the chart for the Ingress of Saturn into Leo, although the exact conjunction occurs a few days later. This emphasizes seeing, looking, true perception and the ‘seeing of the heart’. The sign of Leo is said to rule the heart, and we speak of the ‘solar plexus’, the area at the front of the body, level with the waist. So Lion and Sun are associated with 3 chakras: the solar plexus, heart and brow. This refers to the process of refining the competitive instinct, aggression and egotism associated with the solar plexus through the inclusiveness of the heart and the understanding of the brow. When heart and mind work together, our sense of personal empowerment is linked with the Greater Good, not with the drive to satisfy personal desires at the expense of others. How different might the world be if the ‘Lion Spirit’ were truly to awaken at this level?

The Star-Beings of Africa

According to Credo Mutwa, once upon a time a meteoric Star-Being descended in the area called Timbavati, and all the animals turned white. There are reports of other white animals sightings in this area, but all have become extinct. Indeed, had white lions not been taken into captivity, they too would have become extinct. The Global White Lion Protection Trust is dedicated to the releasing of these magnificent animals back into their natural habitat in Timbavati. To this end, a large piece of land has been secured, and Marah and her cubs are in a halfway house pending transferral there. This event of monumental significance for humanity occurred on the very day of the Transit of Venus across the Sun! (See my article called ‘Venus: Queen of Heaven and Earth’)

Parsifal and the Grail King

The work of the Global White Lion Protection Trust can be seen not only as conservation work in the literal sense of the word, but also as a labour of the deepest philosophical significance. Please visit www.whitelions.co.za where you will find an abundance of interesting material to download on this subject.

Given that the King is equated with the Lion, then if the Lion is sick it serves to remind us of the story of the Grail King, who suffers an incurable wound and whose kingdom is failing, pending the arrival of a successor who can redeem the kingdom and leave the old king to die in peace. After not realising his true identity, the still-nameless boy who is to become Parsifal (the ‘pure fool’) must go on a long quest and overcome many dangers and trials before he is rendered fit for his future kingship.

The crucial question he failed to ask when first meeting the Grail King is ‘What ails thee?’ In other words, Parsifal does not initially have the maturity and compassion to ask the king why he suffers. Likewise, as our soul matures, we learn not to ignore the suffering of ourselves and others in favour of lofty ideals removed from the sphere of humanity and the animals, but rather to look heartfully into the face of suffering and to act accordingly. So the fate of humanity is intimately linked with the fate of the lion. Imagine a world where lions no more roamed the wilderness…..it is unthinkable. And yet, they are being hunted at a rate which could make this their inevitable fate. Also, a large percentage of the lion population is infected with an AIDS-like virus, rendering them truly representative of the Sick King of the Grail stories.

The Lion King

Drawing together the trails of meaning that I followed in writing this article, I see ‘the moment’ of the bomb blasts in London, juxtaposed with the astrological picture unfolding, as a major evocation of the archetype of the Lion, a prelude to the transit of Saturn through Leo.

It is as if a great portal has opened on the inner planes, behind which is visible the Great Lion Spirit King himself. Lion symbolism connects with the evocation of true and heartful individuality, and this has already been apparent in the response of Londoners to the current disaster. These events may be read symbolically as the terrestrial accompaniment to an event of great significance on the inner planes – the revealing of the Inner Sun to which we are referred, and which offers Light amidst the darkness of worldly events. Go to the website of the white lions and contemplate for yourself the face of the Lion King, the Royal Ancestor of the human race…… and let your heart be touched by its spirit.

Pictures to accompany this article:

1. Four charts:

SUMMER SOLSTICE – 21.6.2005 7.45am BST. 51N31. 000W07
BOMB BLASTS - 7.7.2005; 8.53am BST. 51N31. 000W07
UK UNION – 1.1.1801 NS; 0.00am LMT +00:00:28 51N30. 000W07
UK – REORGANISATION – 7.12.1922; 3.28pm GMT 51N30. 000W07

2. Memorial to the fallen heroes of the last war. Photo taken by myself in 1997, Luzerne, Switzerland.

Copyright Melanie Reinhart, 10.7.2005



All website contents copyright © Melanie Reinhart 1989-2014. All rights reserved.

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