Today is 8/8 – Lion’s Gate – a threshold into the courage of our authenticity, a gateway into a collective vision, a door that opens between life and death, a call to release and to receive, an invitation to empower your heart.
What story is your breath telling you at the moment?
August is now moving deeply into itself, Summer is flying through its peak, and while the season is settling into the sun’s hottest moment, the light begins to shift, whispering something about endings and new beginnings through its glow.
Today is considered a powerful portal in some traditions. Some astrologers think 8/8 (and around it) is a magical moment of alignment between our sun and the star Sirius. Others say this is total bullshit. The conversation revolves around truth – is this day a glorious gate through which we can walk into our capacity to actualize ourselves, or not?
There’s something about the way that humans attach meaning to certain dates that can be enchanting and empowering. It can also become dogmatic. We can receive days that are considered sacred in different traditions as opportunities to learn about ourselves and something greater than ourselves. And we can (and certainly have) close ourselves off to possibilities by believing in stories, treating them as facts, and clinging to ideas, trying to turn them into certainties.
I think we’re missing the magic of myth when we try to reduce it to true or untrue. The power of stories is not the truth that they don’t hold, but in the interpretation, in the meaning making process, in the ability to understand reality through something imaginative.
Let’s think about it for a moment; all the holidays, all the deities, all the zodiac signs, all philosophies, all the religions, all the systems humans have organized their lives by – it’s all myth. Does it make it less true? Not necessarily. Metaphor is a meaning making tool, and it can be helpful. It’s when we reduce the conversation into faith, that we begin to shut down, to limit our vision, to fight each other over who is right, to become locked in our perspectives, and to miss out on cultivating fluidity and openness.
Today is just another day, just another Tuesday in August 2023. It happens to be 8/8. And if we want to consider what it could be, we can move through it as a Lion’s Gate, and that could be really fun, and maybe empowering, and possibly enchanting, and perhaps really meaningful.
The constellation of Leo is dancing with the sun right now, and so the presence of the lion is here, if we want to roar a little, and connect to the wildness of our mane. There’s a big heart that sits at the center of this archetype, inviting us into the spirit of generosity, into an open and giving energy, and into the courage to be who we are, which holds in it a fearless capacity to change.
The star Sirius, which some traditions view as the sun of our sun, is the brightest star in the sky. It is part of the dog constellation, therefore is called the Dog Star. Some traditions think of it as a wolf. It is visible rising with the sun each year during this season, the time of the flooding of the Nile in Ancient Egypt, which brought with it the renewal of life.
Sirius is the sacred star of goddess Isis, considered by ancient Egyptians to be the embodiment of Osiris, who rises to flood the Nile, and bring fertility to the land.
We go deep into the story of Isis and Osiris in the Lughnasadh Somatic Ceremony, which is still available for streaming, and is a powerful journey into this phase of the season. There’s also a whole session dedicated to Sirius, and could be a great way to ritualize this day, and walk through the Lion’s Gate.
The name Sirius comes from a Greek word that means “Scorching” referring to the brightness of the star, as well as to the blazing heat of midsummer in the northern hemisphere (especially in the Egyptian desert, and all over the middle east) right when Sirius rises with the sun. Some ancient civilizations assumed Sirius was somehow the being that brought drought and heat to the land because of the timing of its rising. And simultaneously, this is also the star associated with rising water and with fecundity.
Astronomically we know that Sirius is, in fact, two stars – Sirius A and Sirius B, reminding us that oneness is fractured, bifurcated, and, in fact, is many.
There is something ambiguous about the stories, the symbols, and the beliefs built around this star, something liminal, something that reminds us of thresholds that hold complexity, and invites us to remember that more than one thing is true. Sirius is the scorching heat that brings renewal. Osiris is the god of dismemberment and the power of the underworld, that also shows up as flowing waters that bring rebirth, resurrection, and renewal.
Some native american tribes described Sirius as the dog star that guards the path of souls.
In Greek mythology we have Cerberus, a three headed dog with a serpent’s tail. who guards the underworld’s threshold, making sure the dead stay dead.
In Hindu mythology we have Sharvara, who is one of Yama’s dogs. Yama is the god of death.
Dogs in Hindu culture are considered unholy, dirty beings. They roam the cremation grounds, stealing bones.
In the vedas, Rudra, a character who later becomes Siva, was not only accompanied by dogs, but was a dog. Rudra is the howling one, the bloody one, the wild, fierce, untamed presence of the primordial.
Hekate, who is the witch goddess of the crossroads in Greek mythology, was always accompanied by dogs. Black dogs, in particular, were her cherished ones. She is a being that can move between worlds, and can travel back from the underworld, connecting past and future, guarding mothers and babies, and guiding souls through the threshold of birth and death.
As we walk through the Lion’s Gate, with these seasonal themes, with this archetypal gateway, we welcome life and death as forever intertwined. If there is something life is loyal to, it’s death. And death is a dedicated devotee of life.
Dogs are wild and domesticated beings, symbols of loyalty and service, protective and friendly, ferocious and loving.
When we look at Sirius as a wolf, as some traditions do, we can look at the way that wolves are familial creatures, with a strong urge to individualize, part of a whole, with personal, individual vision and dreams.
(The book that comes with the Animal Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson has beautiful explorations of both dog and wolf)
Sirius is the star of CREATIVITY, the wild jackal, the lone wolf, the trickster coyote that disrupts the status quo. In ancient Egypt, the jackal represented the power to find one’s way in the darkness. Anubis in ancient Egypt had a jackal head, and was the spiritual seeker, with the ability to cross and traverse multiple planes of consciousness.
As we wander through the threshold of this mythic moment, we can invite the ways that paradox enriches our understanding, ignites insights, and brings forth our capacity to see more than one thing as true.
In the book The Magic Of The Stars. Roderick Kidston writes about Sirius as a star of magic – “the ability to harness hidden forces and create something new, working with subtle energies and making them manifest in the material realm.”
I think of magic as the ability to work with uncertainty, to weave contradiction into complementarity, to create something meaningful with what is available, and to play with all the ways that life gives us layers of reality in multiple ways at once, including our ability to imagine.
Here are some prompts you can journal with, or spark conversation with today, and in the next few days, as we move through the Lion’s Gate:
- What are some of the things that you want to create with the rest of this season, and with the rest of this year?
- What hidden forces do you need to call upon, in order to receive and to harness, in order to bring into existence and weave into being what you desire, envision, and are inspired by?
- In what ways can the dichotomies and paradoxes of your life, of the season, of where we are collectively, support what you are working on, what you are creating in your own life, and in your relationship with the world?
Lion’s Gate invites us;
To align the individual self with the presence of something larger.
To imagine that the energy around us is the dog; our best friend, our guardian, protector.
To allow ourselves to be guided by an inner voice, to trust ourselves, and to know that we are supported.
To cross a threshold into a supportive conversation with ourselves.
To align our courage with our commitment and our community.
To grow confidence through action.
To find the forces that feel most supportive and breathe with them.
To be a supportive force for those around us who need us.
Check out this FREE video exploring some of these Lions’ Gate themes.
And turn to the Lughnasadh Somatic Ceremony to bring this day and this moment in the season into your body and into your life through movement, mudra, mantra, meditation, breathwork, and in depth mythopoetic exploration, woven together into ritual.
Sending you all my love on this day and always,