This article was previously published in 2016.
Welcome to the month of Leo. What a powerful month this can be for all of us! Whereas most of the astrological signs are ruled by the stars, the month of Leo, or Av is governed by the sun itself, the source from which the Earth receives their Light. This tends to make it the most intense month of the year, and because of that it’s a particularly good time to invest in our spirituality. Just as we would not go out into the sun without sunscreen, we will want to create for ourselves a sort of spiritual protection so that we are not burnt by the intensity of the Light that exists at this time. The 9th of Av has been known as the most difficult day of the Kabbalistic calendar. It was on this day that the First and the Second Temples were destroyed and closer to our time, the Final Solution signed in Germany in 1942. Terrible events occurred on this day, and yet it is also written this is the day upon which the Messiah will be born. How can such a negative day give rise to something so positive? This polarity of energies is an important aspect of the month of Av. For as we know, wherever there is the strongest amount of negative influence, there is also the most powerful pull for positivity and Light.
In truth, there is no amount of negativity that does not offer growth or cleansing. Like exercise, without a certain amount of effort and lifting, the body does not get stronger. Spiritually, the same concept applies. It is from the challenges – heaven sent by the Creator to make us stronger – that we can soar to new heights.
The beauty of this month is that where there is chaos, there is also the potential for the human heart to rise up and illuminate the world with its power. To that effect, I would like to share a personal story with you, one that I think will shed a little Light on the energy that permeates the cosmos in this month.
I happen to know a lot about the sign of Leo because I was married to one for over 45 years. Have you seen the musical, “The King and I?” The King is a perfect depiction of a Leo: By nature, they are magnanimous, open, and a lot of fun. Like the sun which rules it, the Leo is strong and generous with its energy. It needs to be admired and respected. It needs to be something of an exception, as the Sun’s influence on this month is an exception.
Like the king or queen of the jungle, Leos can have a loud roar, but even so they are capable of change and in that change they reveal great Light. Take Rav Berg for example: When I first met the Rav we were like salt and pepper. The Rav was a very stark man; he had his purpose and his ways. He came from a very rigid family and he was set in his ideas. This is fairly typical of Leos, as they are a fixed sign. Then he met me. I came from a whole different world and had no idea about the religious world or mindset that the Rav had come from. In my world we participated in healing circles and group meditations. I was well read and I enjoyed learning from many different spiritual disciplines. When I first met the man that we now call the Rav, he did not like those ideas at all. But then one day, after we were married, I came home with new books on astrology and reincarnation. The Rav tried to throw them out of the house, just as he tried to throw out other modern things, like the TV set. I said to him, "Listen, if kabbalah is truth, then these concepts must be in your books too because total truth means that everything is incorporated."
That conversation opened a door and shortly thereafter the Rav began exploring more deeply into writings that included Astrology and Reincarnation. For example, the Gate of Reincarnations and then the Gate of Meditations by the esteemed 16th century Kabbalist Rav Isaac Luria who was a part of the lineage of the Rav's teacher, Rav Brandwein. Our conversations helped the Rav to open up and seek new ways of looking at this ancient wisdom. To understand where the Rav came from and the change he was able to make to even consider my idea -- to teach Kabbalah to men and women and then to extend it to the world, as we do today -- was an internal revolution. It was an incredible transformation.
This is the possibility of the sign and the month of Leo. We can use the formidable strength of this month – the spiritual power of the Sun – to be locked into inflexible ways of thinking “It’s my way or the highway!,” or we can use its power to thrust open locked doors, open all the gates and allow the Light to come flooding through, and dramatically transform our nature to one that is more sensitive to others.
Our story, the Rav and mine, is proof positive that in the month of Leo we can all dramatically change our internal make up. Even our most rigid and demanding traits. By opening our hearts where once they were closed, and learning to bend where once we were inflexible, we can make a change in this month that will reveal enormous Light to the benefit of ourselves, those around us, and ultimately, the world.