Leo Sun

For ages, the lion has been a symbol of strength or power: in the tarot card Strength, or as the Nemean lion, the lioness in the tale of Pyramus and Thisbe, the lions which accompany Cybele, the goddess Sekhmet, the green lion which eats the sun in alchemy, in symbolism with Gilgamesh, upon the gate in Mycenae, as part of the sphinx, or a figure in Yvain, le Chevalier au Lion, and so on...

"Let form exist whence I rule."
After one comes to understand their place in the world, it comes time to test ones sense of security and identity. Under Cancer, all sorts of information about ones self and sense of belonging are drawn in. The natural counterpoint to this is an outward expression and affirmation of awareness and consciousness. This takes many forms; through performance, creativity, games, sports and contests all designed to prove ones worthiness and develop self esteem.

Leo represents the principle of creativity, and how we exert a sense of purpose and meaning relative to our life's intention. Leo is intentionally proud. We must become full of self; realize the power and possibilities of the self, before we can disseminate it into the world. However egocentric, this is a necessary stage in consciousness. It is creative self-actualization. The sun represents the integrative principle of how we go about integrating things, or self-actualizing our purpose.

The sun's sign, house, and the aspects that it makes correlate to how we integrate and give purpose to our life. The natural connection between Leo and the sun is obvious: the sun crosses through Leo, the most grand of all signs, when the weather is at its hottest. In medieval astrology this was considered the sign of royalty. And no matter if there are five planets in whatever; nothing in any chart is going to dim the sun. Never discount the sun in a person’s chart and while you’re at it, don’t let people discount yours either. To deny the sun’s energy = massive dysfunction.

Instinctively, the Lion roars. Anyone whose birthchart contains Leo components has the soul of a performer. Offer the slightest encouragement and you are regaled with a torrent of good natured self-expression. It may be jokes. It may be a tune on the piano. It may be a true story, somewhat embellished and told with conspiratorial fervor. Whatever form it takes, every Leo circuit contains an act or two. Clap your hands and the curtain will rise.

Fire signs are here to experience, create, and pursue the divine spark in life. This is why Leos cultivate a flexible mind with respect for others. This respect will show in their characteristic Leonine warmth, generosity, and indulgence in their desire to "understand." They are ruled by the sun; bright, warm, and vital for life, ruling the day as only a king can. It is often quoted that their beautiful hair resembles the mane of a lion.

This path they tread is full of creative challenges, but our Leonine neighbors face them with their sharp wit and radiant energy, having many experiences to draw from. They have very big hearts, are sentimental, romantic, exceptionally creative, pleasant to cuddle up to, enthusiastic, and have a great zest for the task at hand. Plus, they're just as likely to be doing metaphorical backflips to celebrate a friend's accomplishments as they are to tout their own. They know their worth and aren't afraid to assert it. I have never known a Leo to give a compliment that they didn't mean, and I've never known a Leo to accept a compliment that wasn't real.

Being exactly who they are is as natural as breathing. They can't conceive any other way to be. It has never occurred to them to tone things down in order to fit into other people’s boxes. Instead, they demand that the world expands to contain them. Through Leo's example, each of us learns how to shine in our own right. This sign teaches us that it is okay to be loud, bold, and blindingly bright. It's okay to be anything at all, as long as it is real and it is kind. That is the ultimate gift they give to the world – the courage to be real.

There is another thing which is important to Leo, and that is love. Leo is the house of pleasure. Nothing else can compare to the sheer force of their true affection. To them, love isn't love unless you do it with your whole heart. And for this, Leos need plenty of love and attention. They feel especially hurt and offended when ignored, or if someone else has taken credit for something they have done. Because they love to have an audience, even a fairly shy Leo might secretly look to see if anyone is watching when they're busy.

People may react to the Leonine need to be true, real, and open by attempting to counter Leo's self-image. They ignore him, try to deflate him- and it all whips the Lion into a frenzy of performance. He is roaring, "Please love me!" And they are hearing, "I am the greatest."

The Lion needs love, but the more he tries to secure it by impressing people, the more he is likely to put them off. At extreme stages, he may even begin to display those traits of which popular astrology books have always accused him: arrogance, haughtiness, the “little Napoleon” syndrome. Leo's shadow is pride in that it may prevent him from simply asking for love. He must learn to share the vulnerability he knows so well, to ask for support. Failing that, he is like the comedian playing to the room of granite faces. He is pitiful.

Cancer and Leo, subsequent signs, occupy prominent positions in churches in modern-day France, present at the summits of archivolts or at the top of door jambs. This occurence has mostly been regarded as a reference to the summer solstice, taking place in the sign of Cancer, here seen as an appropriate symbol for Christ, often depicted on tympana. According to Macrobius’s Commentary on the Dream of Scipio, during their incarnation, souls were believed to pass from Cancer into Leo on their journey to Earth. Considering the popularity of this text throughout the Middle Ages, this notion influenced these images to receive conspicuous positions within sculptural programs of French portals. Starting from the 11th century, the zodiac signs could be seen on façades of churches throughout the Latin West. With only few exceptions, the signs adorn the western fronts of the buildings, or the one where the main entrance was located. During the 12th century, they were most often positioned around the church doors– either surmounting them, flanking or being included among the archivolt reliefs. So where Cancer is the formation of the ego, Leo represents the progression of the self; one's personal humanity ever-growing and reaching for the future.

Virgo is the following sign here. We can tend to learn through crisis (Virgo). The Sun represents how one gives purpose to, and integrates, these crises into their nature.

Scorpio squares Leo. In antique literature, lions and scorpions were shown to be adversaries: "The lion is by the Scorpion put to flight wheresoever he seeith it, for he feareth it as the enemy of his life, and therefore writeth S. Ambrose, Exiguo Scorpionis aculeo exagitatur leo, the lion is much moved at the small sting of a Scorpion."

Aquarius is opposite to Leo. To fully integrate the power of the sun, Leo must embrace the Aquarius polarity. Leo is the center of its own universe, where Aquarius has awareness of what the overall social system needs from it. The intent is to develop an objective focus, learning to link their special destiny to something socially relevant or useful. Many will find fulfilling their purpose is blocked as part of forcing the need of embracing the 11th polarity. The social structure itself will be the blocking force. This can lead to frustration and anger as society appears to not acknowledge the person as special. Even if they fulfill part of their purpose, they may not get the recognition they require for it. Being forced to the sidelines forces the lesson of learning objectivity. It also detaches them from the pyramid structure of their inner reality. Through this, they will learn that others are just as special as they are. This polarity cumulates in the realization that Leo is a channel of universal creativity, and not simply the source of that which they create.