Parh parh Alam te faazil hoya Te kaday apnay aap nu parhya ee na
(You read to become all knowledgeable. But you never read yourself.)
You read so many books, to know it all, yet fail to ever read your heart at all.
Bhaj bhaj warna ay mandir maseeti Te kaday mann apnay wich warya ee na
(You run to enter temples and mosques, But you never enter your own heart.)
You rush to holy shrines to play a part. Would you dare enter the shrine of your heart?
Larna ay roz shaitaan de naal Te kadi nafs apnay naal larya ee na
(Everyday you fight Satan. But you never fight your own Ego.)
You are quick to attack the evil one, yet pride is a battle you have not won.
Bulleh Shah asmaani ud-deya pharonda ay Te jera ghar betha unoon pharya ee na
(Bulleh Shah you try grabbing that which is in the sky. But you never get hold of What sits inside you.)
You grab for a star you can control, yet fail to grasp the light in your soul. कम देखें
― Bulleh Shah, Sufi Lyrics
I shall start this blog, as I mean to go on.
With the ancient world of music and dance woven through this modern-day tapestry of an online page.
The result, I hope, is that you, dear one, come with me on an eclectic journey through heavenly stars and worldly wise songs so you know deep in your soul what it feels like to undertake the current power of Leo and become Iron, like a Lion in Zion.
I was born during the Lionsgate of ‘77 (although the dates are the same every year: 28th July-11th August).
The Lionsgate is when the star of Sirius aligns with our Sun and beams amplified Sun/Leo energy to Earth (heart, healing, creativity, intuition, clairvoyance etc).
Here in Somerset, The World of Music and Dance (WOMAD) opens its gates at this time each year. It’s flag? A Lion in Zion.
Being just around the corner from Bath and married to a World music fanatic, I find myself there once, annually, just like the Sun, basking up the rays as soon as the Lion opens its gates.
This summer has been a bit weird, though, hasn’t it? Every English summer can be a bit ropey, but this one takes the whole packet of very rich tea biscuits.
Life in the UK can feel like a continual waiting for the days to get sunnier, but when the summer still has you hibernating, well, it’s just like a poem I saw on a London bus once:
An’ a so de rain a-fall
An’a so de snow a-rain
An’ a so de fog a-fall
An’ a so de sun a-fail
An’ a so de seasons mix
An’ a so de bag-o’-tricks
But a so me understan’
De misery o’ de Englishman
It can take a lot of Iron, like a Lion in Zion, and this WOMAD (just like the summer of 2023) has me on a deep journey (not just knee-deep in mud).
So, you thought this blog was about the Leo New Moon? Not WOMAD, or ‘WO-MUD’ – Yeah, me too.
Stay with me. We must figure out what the Sun is doing before it meets the Moon for rebirth on the 16th.
In the summer, Hibernation feels like a weird thing to do – even for an English person. And here, in the UK, it’s kind of annoying. What are the chances of the Sun heralding our skies on a dark November day?
So, I calculate this inward journey as a ‘puta madre’ long one.
The seasons this year are unusual, even by P.G Tip standards. Everything is changing at levels that demand an application of the whole self.
Like being a Lion in or even in WOMAD…
On the surface were all the beats. From Blues to Bangra. They all helped me cope with the muddy landslides and portaloos, (where you were no longer sure what was mud), but what impressed on my soul was the everpresent Sufi thread — making this year WOMAD the icing on the mud-cake.
From the powerful worldly message and Sufi come capoeira swirls of Soul47 to the sunshiney healing vibe of MohamedErrabba, and the hybrid heaven of classical music and Indian devotional singing of The Orchestral Qawwali Project.
They all spoke to my soul about the more profound journey I was embarking on this year.
If I were to draw my soul, I’d draw a whirling dervish. When I dance, I spin endlessly; when I dream, I never fly, but I whirl until I levitate.
It’s why I loved living in Granada. Mecca-like markets, Shisha tea houses, Moroccan essences, eight-pointed stars, and serene Hammams — each an oasis to lose oneself.
But for now, I’m back in Bath, and the world has come to a field near me to tell me that the external sun might not be gracing our skies this summer, because it’s time to find it within.
The summer of ‘23 is not a summer of superficialdom.
Perhaps it’s a summer of Sufism?
Even though ‘Iron, like a Lion in Zion’ is from the Rastafari culture, the two worlds seem woven:
The lion is of Judah, who appears on the old royal Ethiopian flag as Haile Selassie – the former Ethiopian emperor, whom Rastafarians regard as their Messiah.
He was pretty Iron, was Haile Selassie (also Leo).
He was exiled here in Bath when he had to flee Ethiopia from invading Italian fascist forces of Mussolini – and my first day at my new job was spent at Haile Selassie’s old home – yup!
That was a month before WOMAD. A few days before WOMAD…
Venus turned from the Morning Star to the Evening Star as her eight-year cycle had her starting her retrograde path through Leo.
Venus Retrograde is the Sumerian myth of Inanna.
A story of a Queen stripped of all armour as she goes through seven kingdoms, and at the eighth, she’s sacrificed.
There is a similarity between Hallie Salessi and Innana.
The story of sacrifice also swirls within Sufism, as seen in the opening lyrics.
Personally, the stripping for this little Lion started in September. No, I didn’t take up pole dancing – I took up fire dancing. What else is a fire sign to do?
Even my teacher on the Costa del Sunset was the Leo fire goddess Maka. When she asked what I was ready to release and receive, I said I was ready to release my struggle and receive support.
A few weeks later, back in the UK, I was under the knife for my first stripping of a rotten hip, replaced with a shiny new titanium one.
I received the NHS referral to a private clinic gracefully. However, PTSD from being awake during the op, contracting Covid, and a freight train hot flushes meant recovery was a struggle – like being burnt at the stake every twenty minutes – Oof, that fire ceremony was still with me.
Really, the stripping started back in December 2021. When I decided to release my business and step back into full-time work for the first time in twenty years.
It was a good decision. I landed on my feet with a fabulous team, but little did I know my time there would end – just a month before WOMAD.
Now here I was, stood in a post Brexit field receiving the world into my soul.
I released myself from a national charity because of an opportunity to work with an international one, and I could feel the Lionsgate downloading my mission.
So there was my second stripping.
As I stepped into that soggy Somerset field, I was also closing the final gate behind me for my business. An 18-month-long journey of goodbye had finally come to an end.
There was the third stripping.
One week later, on the 7th of August, I went under the knife again to release my struggle with my other rotten hip and receive a spangly new titanium one.
This time I knew nothing of the operation, had sufficient pain relief, didn’t catch Covid, and had my HRT (well, they stripped me of it for a few hours – and then decided to give it back 😂).
Waking up the next day on the Lionsgate peak (8th/8th) I was ready to go home. Consequently, my progress is happening at supersonic speed compared to October.
On 11th, I celebrated my annual trip around the sun in bed with Prosecco, takeaway and two new hips – Hip, hip, hooray!
Still, I have the inward journey of Innana (Venus retrograde) lingering for the next month or so. (It’s literally strip washes only until she goes direct in early September!😂)
Until then, I’m marooned in a cocoon. It’s lockdown for this lil Leo (at least not with Covid this time), an exile, spiritual journey, and slaying of the ego that mourns for my temporary loss of mobility.
With every stripping, there are humongous building blocks to a new abundant life being laid all around me, and I am so excited to release the struggle and receive it finally.
At the moment, it’s a waiting game, and longer than the New Moon on 16th, which is making some intense squares with Uranus and Mars, and is basically saying, be Iron, like a Lion in Zion, but that doesn’t mean what you think.
Instead of armour, it’s a de-armouring, which takes more courage, more inner iron, and inner sun.
So, that is what this Leo season is.
A Sufi s’tripping’.
And if you feel on this trip too, remember the best things come to those who wait.
2023 is a holding gate, even when the Lion has gone through it.
And even though the gate to my business (just like the Lionsgate) might be shut now, you can still visit it and learn from the journeys.