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Leo — Evocative Images and Esoteric Teachings

Francis DonaldThe images and texts published in these posts were created by Francis Donald.  His wonderfully evocative images and inspiring writings help us to more fully understand the nature of astrological signs, and the esoteric concepts underlying their meaning and power.

We are grateful to Francis for this most significant contribution.

Francis Donald can be contacted at oeahoo@yahoo.com



The Leo Full Moon will be on August 7 at 18:10 UTC.


Leo Discussion

by Francis Donald


Within a great field of Neptunian sixth ray electric blue energy, the Christ prepares a group for initiation. We see Him from the perspective of the initiate directly before us, but this is a limitation of the pictorial medium, for since this scene takes place within a state of group consciousness, each member of the group sees the Christ directly facing him. This is a function of group sensitivity– the keyword for the Leo subject, and of the second initiation. “When Neptune [6th ray] is active in the advanced Leo subject, then emotion-desire have been transmuted into love-aspiration and are oriented to the soul; the entire emotional or sensitive nature is responsive to energies coming from “the heart of the Sun,” and the disciple is ready for the second initiation.” Esoteric Astrology, p. 297-8.

Initiation by Francis Donald

Initiation by Francis Donald



For a deeper understanding of both this concept and of this month’s piece, read the section on ‘Group Initiation’ below.

There is also a related theme depicted in the scene before us. In describing Leo’s progressive sensitivity, Master Djwhal Khul (DK) tells us: “…there are to be found numerous stages, [in] which occurs an expansion of consciousness that leads that unit, step by step, from self-recognition to the recognition of superior selves, to the fitting of himself to be likewise recognized as a superior self, and eventually to the occult recognition of his own superior Self. He comes to recognize his Higher Self or Ego as his true Self, and from that stage passes on into group consciousness. Here he realizes first his egoic group and then other egoic groups.” Letters on Occult Meditation, p. 142

* * * * *

The use of metaphor in spiritual art: This artwork does not pretend to accurately depict the Christ, nor does it accurately illustrate His method of preparing a group for initiation. You might ask: ‘Then why do a piece like this at all?’ I believe that through the use of a series of carefully chosen, interrelated metaphors, a resonant and thus sympathetic vibration with a higher reality can be generated. Here, for example, the geometry is descriptive, but more importantly, it is inherently evocative. (It is also for this reason that I’ve used transparent figures to represent purity and transpersonal identity.)

Group Initiation: “It might be of interest to point out here that during this part of the ceremony the group is bathed in colour, corresponding to the type of energy and its originating planetary scheme [here, the energy of Neptune] and it is the work of the Initiator to put the initiate in touch with this energy. This pours down upon the group from the moment that segregation has been effected, and is brought about by the Initiator using certain words…” Initiation, Human and Solar, p. 148

“What is the attitude of the group during initiation if the individual members are undergoing different initiations? …During the period of initiation, [the group] attitude is one of focused, concentrated and deep meditation in which the inner attitude is given solely to the concept of Hierarchy… He is entirely centered in consciousness upon the larger Whole wherein the Ashram to which he belongs is a part; he is attentive to the Christ, the Head of the Hierarchy, because He is the Initiator of the first two initiations… The inflow of dynamic energy… becomes a group inheritance and serves to galvanize, integrate and fuse the group into renewed activity and a deeper subjective union.” Discipleship in the New Age, Volume II, p. 383-4

Geometry: This month’s piece features the point within the circle, the triangle, and the six-pointed star. Let’s start with the macrocosmic and move ‘down’ into the microcosmic:

⨀: 1) The ‘Point within the circle’ of this entire piece, which might be better described as ‘the point within the point within the circle’ is here represented by the luminous crown, sigil of the KING, who overshadows all.

2) The Christ’s ajna center forms a point in the center of the aura surrounding His head, here representing the Heart of the Sun…

3)… while the figure of the Christ forms the point at the center of the Hierarchical circle (the outer circle in this illustration) as well as the point at the center of group to be initiated.

△: 1) We can register the highest triangle here depicted only by the emanations whose light enters the scene from above. Energetically this refers to the trident of Neptune (Who, magnified by the Heart of the Sun, stimulates the heart chakra, and presides over the 2nd initiation). As a locus of consciousness this triple light places us in the higher mental subplanes, directly ‘beneath’ the light emanating from the Spiritual Triad.

2) The two beings standing behind and on either side of the Christ form a triangle with Him. They will condition the impending initiatory downpouring. They are overshadowed by those Buddhas of Activity of the 1st and 3rd rays (the 2nd ray Buddha of Activity stands directly behind the Christ and is one with Him.).

3) If we visually extend this triangle back into the ranks of the Hierarchy, we create a tektraktys, formed by seven Hierarchical members, and the Triad whose upper point is the Christ.   4) The mirror opposite of this triangle (and thus forming an energetic six-pointed star with it) is formed by the two disciple/initiates on either side of the initiate in the foreground. Notice that their fingers touch, thus forming the base of a triangle with the Christ at its apex.

As mentioned above, each disciple in the circle is experiencing the Christ as being directly before him, thus there are twelve interlaced triangles, all with their apex in the Christ. In fact every geometrical figure in this piece has the Christ at its apex or at its center.

: Because He has achieved a greater measure of consciousness than any other human being, the Christ also stands at the apex of the six-pointed star of humanity. Here, the down-pointed triangle stands for His service rendered, and has as its three points His two hand chakras, and the root chakra in the foreground disciple. The pyramid like upward-pointing triangle beginning ‘off canvas’ below the group represents human consciousness in all its levels culminating in the consciousness of the Christ, who embodies its pyramidion. (This can also be seen as a path leading to Him.)

Leo: “is the sign of individual unfoldment and of the self as self-assertive. This highly individualized sign consummates in Aquarius wherein the individual finds full expression through the medium of the group, passing from service to himself and expression of himself as a personality to service of the group and a growing expression of the Hierarchy to which he steadily draws closer.” Destiny of Nations, p. 145

In summation of the section on Leo in His masterwork ‘Esoteric Astrology,’ DK tells us: “In the perfected Leo, the loving self-conscious soul (2nd ray) carries its power of expression straight through from its own plane to the plane of exterior manifestation, but preserves at the same time its interior control (Uranus) and from that point of achievement, proceeds to make its ideal objective (Neptune) a fact in consciousness, through sensitivity to the higher vibration and directed intelligent service of the Plan.” Esoteric Astrology, p. 309

* * * * *

Girded by a belt emblazoned with the signs of the zodiac (indicative of his completion of a cycle of preparatory lives), a white-robed disciple stands before the Great Sphinx, which has for ages represented the relationship between higher and lower mind. Sekhmet, in her role as initiator, presides. Notice that her lion’s head and woman’s body reverse the Sphinx’s iconography, which has a woman’s head and a lion’s body (two differently emphasized representations of the relationship between Leo and Virgo.) In ‘The Burning Ground’ we see that Sekhmet (who in ancient Egypt, was known as ‘Mistress of the sacred eye who purges the Chamber of Transformation’) has sent forth the ‘Eye of Ra’. (The Sacred Magic of Ancient Egypt by Rosemary Clark, p.226)

From the innermost petals of the lotus staff She carries, Ptah, her ‘consort’ appears: It is said that Sekhmet, “…polarizes the creative fire of Ptah by burning away the dross resident in physical matter with the purifying light of the Sun. By this action, Sekhmet consecrates matter to spirit…” (The Sacred Tradition in Ancient Egypt, p.85)


The Burning Ground by Francis Donald

The Burning Ground by Francis Donald


The disciple briefly glimpses the burning ground through which he must pass. He sees the Way leading through the heart of the lotus beyond the purifying flames, eventually to Sothis, or Sirius, which cosmically rules Leo, here represented by the uræus atop the Sphinx.

* * * * *

The Burning Ground: The burning ground depicted in this month’s image, is enclosed by a symbol derived from the 5-pointed star illustrated in the image entitled ‘Epsilon’. This symbol is shaped like an “e”, the 5th letter of the alphabet. As we know, the number five (Leo is the 5th sign) is associated with humankind. Note that the passage formed by the two lower ‘legs’ of this symbol lead into its upper triad. The symbol has four sides, which could be seen as representing the lower quaternary. These four sides plus its five points or corners equal nine, the number of initiation. The first ‘opening’, in the lower right corner of the symbol (guarded by Horus in ‘The Burning Ground’) can be seen as representing the Libran reversal– ‘the way that leads between the two great lines of force’. It follows then that the second opening represents the 2nd birth or 1st initiation. From this point the line of the symbol moves counterclockwise, finally culminating (at the 3rd initiation, under the rod of the One Initiator) at the apex. Thus this symbol indicates both the causal body, and the burning ground that finally consumes it– or as DK tells us: “Man is the Path itself, and also the pilgrim upon the Path; thus does he burn, but is also the burning-ground.” Treatise on Cosmic Fire, p. 514.


Epsilon (Leo 2012)Epsilon, by Francis Donald

Here are two additional relevant quotes on the concept of the burning ground:

“…it will be found that before the Door of Initiation lies the burning ground which all disciples and initiates must tread. The Leo subject [sun or ascendant] treads this burning ground with will and self-effacement.” Esoteric Astrology, p. 294

“Four of these initiations are related to the “door of initiation” as occultly understood and with the interpretation of which we are familiar; these four are related also to the electrical “fire by friction” of which that door is constructed, and which spreads to and creates the burning ground across which the initiate must four times move in order to “enter through that door.” Rays and Initiation, p. 356


Thank you for sharing this work with me!

Highest Regards,



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Leo – Evocative Images and Esoteric Teachings