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From Sun-soaked wooded hills,
padding through the wind-ruffled fields,
"Paint your hearts upon your shields..."
Voice your intentions proudly,
with fierce devotion,
with Clarity and Brave eyes for...
Creator and the Universe are always there,
Everything begins with Love and Respect...
Truth and true Nobility is not for the faint of heart...
Remember, oh my cousins!
Anger, Denial, and Hubris are sly foes...
Self-Respect is not Vainglory.
Teach your children...
Justice, Strength, and Leadership
Crown a life well-lived...
How do you live your promise if Life is a Vow?"
Who sings now?
"Self-respect cannot be hunted. It cannot be purchased. It is never for sale. It cannot be fabricated out of public relations. It comes to us when we are alone, in quiet moments, in quiet places, when we suddenly realize that, knowing the good, we have done it; knowing the beautiful, we have served it; knowing the truth we have spoken it. " ~Whitney Griswold
"Fear an ignorant man more than a lion." ~Turkish proverb
"Fainthearted animals move about in herds. The lion walks alone in the desert. Let the poet always walk thus." ~Alfred Victor Vigny
Lions, unlike other felines, are social creatures who live in prides. Prides consist of a matriarchal group of breeding females, cubs, a dominant lion and a couple of lesser males, usually brothers to the dominant. Lions have been emblems of strength, courage, royalty/nobility, ferocity, confidence, independence, honor, and strength, especially feminine strength, probably for as long as we have held these concepts. Once, Lions were found from Greece through the Middle East to northern India and all parts of Africa, but today only a very small population remains in India and sub-Saharan Africa. We, who consider ourselves to have tamed the World, seldom think of this powerful and majestic beast with the fear we once did, but more unfortunately we do not respect them as they deserved either!
Lions do not have a singular leader, nor is there any real hierarchy within a pride. The weakest and least respected is as likely to demand it's portion of a kill as the strongest... of course the stronger are more likely to succeed. The King of Cats, with his close but loosely-knit social group asks us to examine our place within our own society. Are we truly living our lives to the best of our abilities? Are we involved in the lives of our family members? Are we supporting our local community through our actions?
Most importantly, are we staying on top of the important issues, policing our government, and doing our part as concerned and active citizens? Being fully involved in a properly balanced way with all facets of our lives is an important Lion lesson. The lionesses do the majority of the hunting in a pride (80-90%), but the lion will often use his intimidating roar to drive game towards them. I feel that the lessons of Community and Leadership held by this Teacher are both powerfully and urgently needed right now by individuals, as well as by our shared community.
"While the spirit of neighborliness was important on the frontier because neighbors were so few, it is even more important now because our neighbors are so many." ~Lady Bird Johnson
"A leader leads by example not by Force." ~Sun Tzu
"Leadership is action, not position." ~Donald H. McGannon
Genus Panthera includes Lion, Tiger, Jaguar, and Leopard. Genus Concolor or Mountain Lion (known by a wide variety of names like panther,cougar, and puma) is closely related, but just isn't in the same size or weight class as the larger cats of other continents. Male lions average around 415 lbs and stand around 4' high at the shoulder! Females weigh in around 270lbs and stand somewhere around 3 1/2' feet tall. A seemingly elusive quality, Leadership isn't about size, or charisma, or ever power. To be a true Leader, one must begin by ruling the Self. Pride, anger, impulsiveness, aggression, jealousy, greed, and impatience are all dangerous pitfalls, but especially so for those called by such a potent Teacher. Lion can teach you to reach your full potential, properly employ your strength, and reach your personal best.
Once the Self is tamed, then personal resources can be employed for the betterment of self, family and community; reason, persuasion, and most importantly, living a life of personal integrity, gratitude, and honor. True leaders lead by example; they lead because others look upon their lives and want to follow them. In the wild, the hunting lionesses must be extremely patient, must cultivate silence and stillness within themselves in order to pay proper attention to the many details that may tip the hunt in their favor. Without these qualities, the prey would be consistently alerted, and the pride would eventually starve to death!
While Independence is a fine and desirable quality, and silence and solitude are both necessary to a balanced life, isolating one's self from family, friends and the varying levels of society is not healthy for either the individual or the community. Individuality is a valuable thing, but so is Community and both need to be supported and encouraged at all levels. In Dr. Martha Stout's book, "The Sociopath Next Door", she talks about how our U.S. society's push to glorify the needs of an individual over the needs of a group or community actually encourages sociopathic behavior. Other societies that promote the needs of the many, duty to family and country, over the needs of the individual statistically illustrate that this approach actually discourages the typical behavior of those born without the ability to feel remorse! This wound within our society's collective thinking is very evident right now.
"Sometimes even to live is an act of courage." ~Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Letters to Lucilius
"Nothing so conclusively proves a man's ability to lead others as what he does from day to day to lead himself." ~Thomas J. Watson
Wilma Mankiller once said, ""In Iroquois society, leaders are encouraged to remember seven generations in the past and consider seven generations in the future when making decisions that affect the people." This, in my opinion, is a mark of a true Leader; one who considers everything through the wisdom of the past as well as the needs of the future in every decision, not just the people, situations or needs of the present. Somewhere, we the people stopped caring about or involving our selves in our government. Politicians are corrupt. They curry favor from corporations, other countries, and each other. This is generally accepted to be truth all across our country.
The politicians' sole objective is to sell themselves to the people, and we tend to be drawn to whomever is most charismatic and says things we want to hear, not necessarily who is most qualified or honorable. We are bored with the constant bickering of our nation's leaders. We are tired of petty behaviors, the lies, the spin-doctors, the corruption and the oh so glamorous televised approach. Pharmaceutical industries make millions off of vital medicines which cost them a pittance to produce, and people who cannot pay suffer and die. And yet again, War has been made reasonable to the masses while the rich consume the material gains. This is not leadership and I am tired of the 2 dimensional cardboard outlines of leaders that are constantly thrust into our notice by the media. I'm sure I'm not alone.
"Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence." ~ Albert Einstein
"People want leadership, Mr. President, and in the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand."
"... I cannot tell that to this old sinner, and I cannot comfort him either; he has made himself unable to hear my voice. If I spoke to him, he would hear only growlings and roarings. Oh Adam's sons, how cleverly you defend yourselves against all that might do you good!" ~ Aslan from C.S. Lewis's The Magician's Nephew
"Be noble! and the nobleness that lies in other men, sleeping, but never dead, will rise in majesty to meet thine own." ~ James Russell Lowell
Nobility is described as: "possessing outstanding qualities; grand or impressive appearance; possessing, characterized by, or arising from superiority of mind or character or of ideals or morals." The noble Lion has been an emblem of nobility for ages, and Lion totem asks that you forge all your strengths into a noble life, an exemplary life. Lion, as the apex of felines, has a deep connection to all manner of mysteries and wisdom, as well as an intuitive connection to Creator. Lion is a powerful totem that will make demands of those called equal to the strengths and gifts given. Jean M. Auel's historical fictional "The Earth's Children" series actually gives a very fine example of the trials and tremendous gifts offered by this Teacher. Lion gives as generously as we strive for the excellence she expects from us.
Lion numbers in the wild have been severely depleted over the years, despite being top predators. Cubs are preyed upon by a variety of other predators, and the young are always killed or driven off when a new lion takes over a pride. Man and the side-effects of our irresponsible societies have taken the largest toll though. Lion people are no strangers to hardships, violent or otherwise, especially in their formative years. Lion people can walk a knife-edge between many things; self-respect and arrogance, power and abuse, strength and violence, confidence and hubris, leadership and control freak, compassion and intolerance. Lion people tend to be demanding, of themselves and others. They strive for excellence and expect no less from those around them. It is even possible for a Lion person to be frightened by their own deep feelings, passions, and inner demands.
Those who feel drawn to this Teacher can include the zodiac sign Leo in their studies. Lion people, like those born under the sign of Leo, can be generous, courageous, and warm-hearted individuals. They tend to be passionate about whatever they involve themselves in, whether it's work, a relationship, or a hobby. Strong-willed, competitive, independent, extroverted, spontaneous, creative, confident and dominant personalities are common amongst Lions. Out of balance Lions might be extremely arrogant, controlling, aggressive/abusive/violent, selfish, boastful, jealous, condescending, moody, restless, aloof/anti-social, dogmatic or generally intolerant of others.
Even if you are not drawn to this Teacher, making every effort to be aware of yourself and the effect that your words and actions have on those around you is a worthy goal. It is all too easy to lash out at others when you are feeling dissatisfied with yourself, for example. The difference between a balanced and an unbalanced Lion person can be as vast as the differences between a true leader and a despotic dictator. So, be aware and temper your confidence with tolerance, silence, thought, and patience.
"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear." ~Ambrose Redmoon
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I'll try again tomorrow." ~Mary Anne Radmacher
Mufasa: "Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. As king, you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures, from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope."
Young Simba: "But dad, don't we eat the antelope?"
Mufasa: "Yes, Simba, but let me explain. When we die, our bodies become the grass, and the antelope eat the grass. And so we are all connected in the great Circle of Life." from Disney's Lion King
Everyone and everything has its place in the Universe, a purpose, a divine right to pursue life. For all their infamous strength and ferocity, Lions do not typically attack without good reason. They will defend pride, territory and food from others but they are not needlessly violent. In fact, they are more apt to walk away from potential trouble than they are to leap into the fray, and Lion people would do well to remember that gentleness and persuasion is most often the path to true strength. Which is why the Lion is so often depicted on the Strength card in a tarot deck. Lion claws are retractable, and they choose when to use them and when to keep them sheathed. Lions can take down prey three times their size through use of their agility, strength, speed (30mph sprints), cunning and retractable claws which stay sharper longer than non-retractable claws.
It takes a great deal of courage to live life honestly, and even more importantly, to allow others the same right even when you do not agree with their choices. Within reason, everyone has the right to make their own choices in life, to live how they please, and to follow their hearts in every aspect of their lives. It is not easy to stand aside and watch others make what we may consider to be horrible choices, especially loved ones like siblings or children. It takes a great deal of courage and self-confidence to choose to allow others the same rights we demand for ourselves. The Lion is closely associated with solar energy, but it is also most definitely a feminine energy for it is the lionesses, a band of aunts and sisters, who provide for, protect and nurture their pride.
"Men enjoy being thought of as hunters, but are generally too lazy to hunt. Women, on the other hand, love to hunt, but would rather nobody knew it." ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966
"The mildest, drowsiest sister has been known to turn tiger if her sibling is in trouble." ~Clara Ortega
"Oh she wants to conquer the world completely
But first she'll conquer me discreetly
The female of the species is more deadly than the male..." Space, "Female of the Species" lyrics
The Lioness is the ultimate Mother, nurturing and lethally fierce. The lion is sacred to Egyptian goddess Sekhmet who was most often depicted as a lion-headed woman. Sekhmet is the powerful Crone aspect of the Egyptian feminine trinity; wife of Ptah (Creator and Opener of Ways), sister of Ra and sometimes Bast, patron of physicians and healers, vengeful Eye of Ra, Avenger of Wrongs, Scarlet Lady. Hathor, goddess of joy, modest mother of the milky way and Heavenly Cow is the rising crescent goddess aspect. Isis is Mistress of all Magic, Lady of Heaven, Sacred Mother and mystic Moon in her fullest power.
In my opinion, Sekhmet, like the Celtic Morrigan, is so often depicted as the scariest aspect of this motherly trio not because she is the Lady of Slaughter, and Mistress of Dread. Sekmet is the goddess who has passed through the phases of Hathor and Isis to become a divine embodiment of Mother's Justice. She embodies all the powers of creation, life, death and rebirth. This is what makes her the "One Before Whom Evil Trembles" just as surely as the lion feeds upon the sacred cow.
"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale E. Turner
"It is with our passions as it is with fire and water; they are good servants, but bad masters." ~Roger L'Estrange, Aesop's Fables, 1692
The path laid out by this Teacher is never an easy road, for men or women, but it is very empowering. This Teacher can help us to blossom into the most confident and powerful of our gender, leaders that speak with an Elder's wisdom. It is important to remember that power is not violence. Those locked in abusive relationships most likely have a potent but blocked energy, like Lion totem. No matter your gender or personal traumas, you always have a choice. Lions that become "mankillers" are dealt with decisively, and you get out of life exactly what you put into it. Choosing to abuse others in any manner is not noble behavior. It will bring nothing constructive, good, healthy or satisfying into life.
Another aspect that is difficult for Lion people is their inately sensual nature. Society has taught generations of women that other women are competition, that we should employ our womanly wiles to get what we want out of life, and that a "good match" is something to be ruthlessly hunted down. It is only in rather recent times that women have begun to step away from these notions, and insist on a more equal footing in society.
Some women, consciously or not, still adhere to these ideals and approach life from a very selfish and predatory standpoint. Some women have lost all the feminine vrtues in striving for equality with our men; often times feeling they must be the protectors of their loved ones and disregaurding the need to nuture. Some women give everything away and do not keep back anything to give to themselves, whether it is time, energy, love, or understanding. In order to keep that womanly fire burning within we must remember this need though, for the ability to care for others with a soft and loving heart is what keeps us able to nuture ourselves in a healthy way.
Neither gender is superior or inferior, and a truly balanced Lion of either gender must be especially patient and thoughtful in choosing a mate. Truly strong, intelligent, and confident women often find that others are intimidated by their vigorous natures as surely as a man can be intimidated by a physically beautiful woman. Lion people require strong mates who can provide a fluid balance for the many needs of those called by this Teacher. Sensuous, passionate, fiery and arduous; Lion people often struggle not to be ruled by their passions.
"Well-behaved women rarely make history." ~ Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
"I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naive or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman." ~Anais Nin
"Although I may not be a lioness, I am a lion's cub, and inherit many of his qualities; and as long as the King of France treats me gently he will find me as gentle and tractable as he can desire; but if he be rough, I shall take the trouble to be just as troublesome and offensive to him as I can." ~ Queen Elizabeth I
The brown manes of the male lions symbolize the importance of staying spiritually connected, keeping our thoughts well grounded, and paying particular attention to how our thoughts motivate our actions. The brown coloring and four legs are a reminder to stay grounded, maintaining a connection to the natural world, bringing stability, orderliness and convention into our lives. Tails are an additional connection the spiritual realms and earthly grounding. The tawny gold coloring of Lions symbolizes Divine energy, success, wealth, solar energy, personal empowerment, and enjoying the good things in life.
Lions sleep around 20 hours a day,and like the other feline Teachers, reminds us of the importance of relaxation and caring for self. Lion people must take the time to actually relax and release the negative buildup that comes with life and the many demands of a Lion's path. The Lion's excellent night vision and superior hunting skills help us to look into the darkness of our own lives and hunt down our personal nightmares or faults. Associated with the deities: Aker, Horus, Nefertum, Ra, Sekhmet, Tefnut, Durga, Maahes, Dionysus, Celene,Cybele, Jesus Christ, St. Mark, and the angel Ariel known as the Lion of God. Lions have represented strength, vitality, honor and nobility for generations. How does this Singer appear in your life?
"Courage! What makes a king out of a slave? Courage!" ~ the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz
"Respect yourself and others will respect you. ~Confucius
"Once a king or queen of Narnia, always a king or queen. May your wisdom grace us until the stars rain down from the heavens." Aslan from C.S. Lewis's "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe"
"The day I died was the day I started to live. In my old life, I longed for someone to see what was special in me. You did, and for that, you'll always be in my heart. But what I really needed was for me to see it. And now I do. You're a good man, Tom. But you live in a world that has no place for someone like me. You see, sometimes I'm good. Oh, I'm very good. But sometimes I'm bad. But only as bad as I wanna be. Freedom is power. To live a life untamed and unafraid is the gift that I've been given, and so my journey begins." Patience Phillips from Catwoman