Leo: the little me and the Higher Self
By Ricardo Georgini
Hercules' work related to the sign of Leo is the death of the Lion of Nemea. Fifth sign of the Zodiac, Leo stimulates in human beings self-awareness and self-regency. This work represents the discovery of a deeper self and the exercise of conducting oneself in life from this center.
A terrible monster, a huge lion and skin impenetrable by any weapon, ravaged the Nemea region. Its inhabitants were frightened and could not live and develop normally. Hercules was tasked with eliminating the beast. When he found the lion, he shot arrows, which bounced off his skin and fell to the ground. The lion approached the hero, roaring in a frightening way, but Hercules shouted with equal force, so that the beast fled.
Hercules chased the lion to his den, which was a cave with two openings. The hero entered through one and crossed the dark cavern until he came out through the opening on the other side, without finding the beast. The lion had gone out through the second opening and re-entered the first. Then Hercules gathered some branches and blocked one entrance, entered through the other and also the block. Thus, in the darkness of the cave, he faced alone and disarmed the monster. He grabbed the lion by the neck, squeezing it until he died drowned. Then he used the claw of his own lion to cut and remove the skin, with which he went to dress.
The lion is called the king of the jungle and represents the inner regent of each human being: our self. The self is like the sun; It is the source of light and consciousness and the center of our psychological life. One of the main evolutionary tasks of every human being is to develop self-awareness, and that is what we are all doing, whether we perceive it or not, through everything we seek and accomplish in the world. When there is self-awareness, the self can act as the internal ruler, harmonizing thoughts, feelings, desires, words and actions, and producing a life of success.
Those who aspire to tread the spiritual path must be well on their way to the development of self-awareness. There is no genuine spirituality without self-awareness. However, the long and arduous work of developing self-awareness and strengthening the self is done through self-centering and self-interest, and often leads to an exacerbated selfishness, excessive ambition, Exaggerated pride and excessive vanity. It is that condition that the monstrous lion of myth represents.
Behind the self we know, there is what we might call a deeper self: the Higher Self, our spiritual essence. The small self is characterized by a sense of isolation and separation, but the Higher Self knows that it is one with everyone and everything. In the myth, Hercules represents that Higher Self, seeking to eliminate the excesses of the small self.
The lion was invulnerable to any weapon, which means that no mental artifice, theory, or technical belief could solve the exacerbation of the self. The two entries in the cave represent thoughts and feelings, and as long as we are involved with them, the little me will continue to cheat and play with us.
The solution found by Hercules was to suffocate the lion, preventing him from breathing the air that gave him life. The air that vivifies the small self is our interest in ourselves. Thus, suffocating the lion means stop giving so much importance and paying so much attention to the small self, with its defects and qualities. The exacerbation of the self is caused by self-interest and cannot be corrected by the concern for self-improvement. The solution is self-forgetfulness.
Ricardo A. Georgini