Love is the fulfilling of the law.
Let your light so shine before men …….
Leo is the second fire sign, the second fixed sign and the first social sign. In Leo we move from the narrow viewpoint of “I, me, mine” to the realm of ”I and Thou.” Leo represents a quantum leap in psychological evolution.
Each of the fire signs represents the beginning of a new level of awareness and functioning. The fire signs follow the water signs. Water signs, being the archetypes of feeling and emotion, contain the experiences of pain and suffering. After enough intense pain, we finally wake up, go through an initiation, and are born again in the spirit (fire). So there is a sense of joy, release and expansion with all the fire signs.
Very few people in the world as a whole, and only a handful of those in first world nations, ever break away from the Cancerian influence of the family, the parental and clan background with its hurts and disappointments, to become born again as freethinking, autonomous adults. Until that happens, one cannot get to the Leo experience. Many never make it in a lifetime. We may fall in love with a lover, a Leo experience, but then we marry and turn the spouse into a parent or a child (a Cancer relationship) in an effort to recreate the idealized baby-breast, co-dependent connection that most people call love.
Even the civilized world lives largely in the first four signs. We have opportunities to learn to live on the social and universal levels, but only a few have the courage to take advantage of them. If one wants Cancerian Lunar love and someone offers Leonian Solar love, that love cannot be accepted. The Cancer lover says, “Poor baby! Let me kiss and make it all better. Let me take care of you; we need each other.” The Leo lover says, “I love you when you are standing on your own two feet, when you know what you want. I know myself and my intentions, and I do not want the role of propping you up.”
With Leo comes the first awareness that there are other people in the world. Although Leo is self-centered or centered within himself, he magnetically draws toward himself those he would love. He is quite unlike Cancer who seeks outside himself for someone to love him. Leo is filled with love drawn from his own heart center. He really does not need anybody, but he enjoys having a “court” of admirers and “loyal subjects.”
Cancer says, “I love you because I need you.” Leo says, “I love you because it is my nature to love, and I need to give love.” Leo loves himself as the most wonderful person in the world, and he expects you to love yourself exactly the same way. Because he loves himself, people tend to love him, too. His naivete shows when he finds that some people envy and resent him because they have little or no capacity to love themselves. The empty, hungry, love-starved people are a mystery to Leo.
Leo does not do very well in relationships with people who need to find external love. The water signs are a grim reminder of the emotional swamps and quagmires from which he has only just extricated himself. The earth signs are somewhat limited and too literal for his expansive regal highness. He is much happier playing with his other fire sign cousins and soaring through skies of intellect with his air sign friends and lovers.
Leo is the sign of creative self-expression as well as the first sign symbolizing the socialization process. Both creativity and socialization arise out of the urge to play and to have fun. The urge to express and to perform outwardly with and for others springs from Leo’s bubbling delight and joyful spirit. A true Leo is never bored; he cannot be. His creative nature finds entertainment in every experience, in every moment. He can create entertainment for others out of his experiences.
Social acceptance, validation and applause are what Leo seeks and expects to get in his relationships. The sense of self-worth, of self-esteem, is based on performance. Leo’s performance is fundamentally for himself. He does it because it is fun, and he assumes it will be applauded, certainly not criticized. If a Leo is fortunate enough to have work that gives him pleasure, he can appear to others to be more of a workaholic than a Capricorn or Virgo. The motive is, however, entirely different. It is love, not duty or the desire to achieve perfection.
Along with play, creativity, and a strong positive sense of self-worth, comes the Leonian desire to replicate himself. “I am so wonderful, I am going to clone more me’s.” On the physical level this involves not only giving birth to children, but has even more to do with raising them through love. The children need not be biological. Leo’s make great teachers, for they are warm as well as entertaining, and their classes are fun. Often the children of Leo are “children of the mind.” They are the products of his love and his art: books, plays, paintings, film, and so on.
The idea of romantic love correlates with the Leo archetype. Leo loves himself so much that he cannot be flattered enough. He says, “It’s all true!” He idolizes himself and he idolizes his lover. Through loving, he endows the beloved with marvelous qualities. His love then becomes the inspiration for the beloved to attain even more wonderfulness. The beloved’s faith and belief in Leo inspire him to perform at his best. With an appreciative audience, Leo will achieve the heights of creativity. As a leader, Leo can elicit undreamed of qualities and talents from his followers. One of Napoleon’s generals wrote in his memoirs that he was able to do things he would never have thought possible because Napoleon’s trust and confidence in him drew the best from him by inspiring him to accomplish the impossible. Leo’s love is romantic and filial. The word philia comes from the Greek. It refers to the idealized kind of love shared with close friends, friends of the heart, and lovers.
The process of individuation is the Leo phase of psychological development. The deepest desire to return to the creative source prompts an inner quest for self-knowledge, higher consciousness and self-realization. The myth of Parcifal in search of the Holy Grail is an archetypal Leo story. Because Leo symbolizes the first phase of the process, there is a peculiar blend of the mortal, human, and elemental nature spirit: the divine and the aboriginal. Leo understands the value of integrating the primitive and the primordial with the intellectual and the cultural. He wrestles with the collective unconscious, the raw material of consciousness, in order to redeem it through creative expression. Spirit needs to accommodate or incorporate matter in some way. George Bernard Shaw used the term “Supermen” to describe those individuals who were prepared to dissociate themselves from the herd of humanity and from the hypnotic pull of mass consciousness.
The evolution of the individual consciousness is the dominant theme with Leo. The will to be and to become is its enduring drive and life-purpose. Leo, as the hero archetype, must develop will power, self-awareness and a single-minded focus on creative, individual expression. The creative may be one’s art, one’s children, one’s work or simply one’s own uniquely dramatic life. Leo has much in common with its complementary opposite, Aquarius. Their behavior may appear outwardly similar but their motivations are quite different.
Leonian individuality and eccentricity comes from an urge to be different, distinct, separate, special and apart from the common herd. Aquarius has long since come to terms with his uniqueness; he is not out to prove himself to himself. He just lets the universe pour out, as it will through the individualized channel and filter that is his nature. Leo strives “to be” and “to contact Being.” Aquarius lets “Being” enter the world through him. Both know, “That man’s insanity is heaven’s sense; and wandering from all mortal reason, man comes at last to that celestial thought, which, to reason, is absurd and frantic.” (from Moby Dick by Herman Melville).
The biblical hero Samson (literally “sun-man”), of the Samson and Delilah story, was a Nazarite or a man who is consecrated to God by a vow to keep spiritual practices, to remain pure and chaste, to avoid alcohol, not to cut his hair, etc. He was known for his formidable strength and will power. His shadow side, and his downfall, was the pleasure seeking, lustful and prideful side of his nature, or the creative purpose gone awry. Delilah is the dark side of Leo and the archetypal opposite, Saturn-ruled Aquarius. She cuts his hair; he loses his strength. The hair symbolizes the rays of the Sun: the Sun is in its detriment in Aquarius, a cold time of year when solar rays seem powerless to give warmth and their light is dim and cut short.
There is a psycho-spiritual principle that implies that the brighter and stronger the light, the deeper the shadow it casts. Leo’s dark side is connected not only with the air sign opposite it, but more immediately with the water sign before it, with a tendency to dramatize pain, suffering and tears. No one else ever suffered like Leo. When not integrated with the qualities of its opposite Aquarius, Leo can become depressed, feeling his life lacks purpose. He becomes the victim of narcissism, hedonism and laziness. Eternal pleasure and amusement make up Leo’s hell, for they are obstacles to greater consciousness, creativity and deeper love. No matter how dark and dissipated his life becomes, Leo usually pulls himself out of the pit because he is grounded in the primal source of energy, in the godhead, which tends ultimately to burn out all negativity.
Some outstanding creative people are natives of this sign. In addition to those already mentioned above are Aldus Huxley, Sri Aurobindo and Carl Jung. Leo anit-hero dictators are Fidel Castro and Benito Mussolini.
On page 1341 of The Urantia Book Jesus’ birth data is given as August 21, 7 BC at noon in Bethlehem. The astrology software instructs to subtract one year for BC births, for there is no year zero – the Y0K problem – so the year is -6. The resulting chart is extremely unusual to say the least. Six of the seven planets used 2000 years ago are in the signs they rule! In those days the three outer planets were not recognized. But we see all the outer planets are connected with personal planets in this chart. The person would tend to feel he carries or embodies the archetypes of the collective unconscious. Certainly these might be projected upon him by the collective masses. The Sun in Leo in the Mid-Heaven and it is a singleton, as the only fire sign planet. This is the hero archetype! Remember, in Greek mythology, heroes were said to be born to mortal women and sired by gods. A Sun singleton is associated with a sense of specialness, great charisma, identity crisis issues and the father complex. A Sun singleton in Leo, on the M.C. and conjunct the kingly star Regulus might cause a person to say, “I and the Father are one!” and truly believe himself to be the son of a god. Uranus opposes the Sun, indicating some very unusual ideas about father and a tendency to rebel against tradition and authority. Venus is a singleton, only planet in an air sign, in its own sign, Libra. This gives gracefulness, refined tastes and a social consciousness with a desire for fairness and equality. It would add to the charisma. Mercury is in its sign Virgo, practical mentality. It is conjunct Pluto (a legal mind) and opposed by Uranus (a brilliant, genius mind). Mercury, along with the Sun and Pluto, is in the Mid-Heaven of public recognition and reputation. This person would be heard by the masses and on a political level as well as a religious one. Mercury aspects all the outer planets plus Moon and Mars – great power in his utterances! No wonder both civil (Roman) and religious (Jewish Priests) authorities wanted to shut him up for good! Mars, in its own sign Scorpio, rules the ascendant, the fifth and sixth houses. It conjoins Neptune and the North Node in the twelfth house of self-undoing (or final liberation in Hindu astrology). This shows sacrifice and post-humus fame and devotion. Scorpio is a sign related to healing as well as sabotage. He might want to sabotage Roman authority in order to emancipate his people (Grand Trine: Moon, Mars-Neptune, and Uranus). The Moon in its own sign, Cancer, indicates a love for the people and a desire to nurture them, as well as a bond with women in general. (It is believed that the early financial supporters of Christianity were largely wealthy women.) Jupiter in its own sign Pisces and in its house of exaltation (4th) indicates a family heritage of religious, spiritual devotion. Jupiter conjunct Saturn points toward a long family history of spiritual aspiration. This chart is that of a person who has “all his lights on!”
Leo sees his glass as always half-full, unlike Virgo who sees it half-empty. Leo’s only fear is fear itself, which love alone can dispel. From his stance of supreme self-assurance, he always doubts his doubts. He puts his faith in the power of love and the glory of light.
About the author:
Eleanor Buckwalter has studied, practiced and taught astrology in Los Altos, CA for more than twenty-five years, including three years with the late Richard Idemon, a psychological astrologer. Her primary astrological focus of interest is parent-child relationships and family dynamics.