Leo is fixed fire - an interesting paradox. Perhaps the best way to describe fixed fire is in terms of its ruler: the Sun, the constant and predictable source of light and life at the centre of the solar system, around which all the planets revolve. Leo is associated with the metal gold and with incorruptible, eternal fire. This is exactly how planets in Leo function best - when they are radiating their unique life force for the benefit of all. Leo has a great warmth, an ability to shine and an immense generosity. There is something very sunny about Leo. There is also a natural dignity and nobility, an extravagance, a love of luxury and of doing things in style. Leo rules the back and the heart, and the back is to do with being vertical, isn't it? You can often recognise a Leo from the dignified way they carry themselves, as if they had a crown on their heads. Sometimes there is something very catlike and delicate about the way they walk.
Leos are proud. We talk about a pride of lions, don't we? They prefer to be leaned on than to lean on or depend on others. They are very good at giving magnanimous advice but not so good at taking it. Leo is an extremely good delegator and likes to be surrounded by courtiers who will carry out the Leo's requests. This is a perfectly natural expectation for Leo, who instinctively expects to be waited on, served and cleaned up after. And this quality, which is present to some extent in all the fire signs, can annoy other people intensely: 'Who does he think he is?'
Audience: But they don't like to be pushed around, do they?
Clare: That's right, because we are talking about a fixed sign here. Leos will resist being forced to do anything they don't want to do; they will resist change. Remember that fire signs are subjective and imaginative, and Leos exist in the centre of their own myth, as the special one, the unique one, as the 'divine child' of the zodiac. The most important world to Leo is the drama in which they play the leading role. In this sense, Leos are not ordinary mortals. In their imagination they are always on stage in the limelight in front of hundreds of admiring, adoring people. Recognition and praise is their birthright.
The more insecure Leos who do not really believe in themselves will be unable to shine or radiate from their own hearts, and may become desperate for the approval of others and demand recognition and praise as a substitute for a lack of genuine self-worth. The worst thing that can happen to a Leo is humiliation, which is an absolutely devastating experience. If Leo is repeatedly humiliated during childhood, then they can shut their hearts to avoid feeling any more pain. They are vulnerable to being crushed, to having their innate sense of specialness destroyed.
Audience: Sorry, Clare, where did you say this crushing comes from?
Clare: Perhaps it is the natural result of each element evoking its opposite element. Fire evokes an earth reaction, which tends to kill the fantasy by being practical and realistic, by throwing up hurdles and resistances and taking the wind out of fire's sails. The world will tend to withhold recognition until Leo has proved itself. This is perfectly reasonable. For example, it is unlikely that a boy will actually grow up to play rugby or football for England unless he puts in the training. Or that he will be appointed to the post of university professor without having done the necessary degrees. In the end, we all have to work for our achievements if they are to hold any value to us. Ultimately, it is the practical harnessing of the element of earth which supports and hones and shapes the true potential of the fire signs.
Planets in Leo
The lifetime's journey of Sun in Leo is to grow towards the mature realisation and expression of personal authenticity, integrity and authority which is not dependent on the opinions of others. The integration of the planet Saturn, in its detriment in Leo, is an important clue that, over time and through real concrete achievements, the spontaneous childlike quality of Leo will mature until the Leo Sun becomes the strong and radiant centre of its own existence. The integration of the opposite sign of Aquarius indicates that, ultimately, Leos have an important part to play for the benefit of the larger community. The Disney film, The Lion King, is an excellent example of the difficult and challenging journey towards the mature expression of the Leo Sun, and I would certainly recommend that you see this film. If a Leo Sun ceases to believe in themselves, or tries to take the easy way, then everything starts to go wrong.
The lion in alchemy is the primitive, untransmuted form of the alchemical gold. The processes of the opus transform it into the reborn filius philosophorum, the goal of the work. This image from Lambsprinck's De lapide philosophica (1625) portrays the lion and lioness as the male and female sides of the primal substance.
Our case study, David, has Mars in Leo. How do you think this will manifest? Remember that Mars describes the 'what' and Leo will tell us 'how'.
Audience: Well, Mars is about action, potency and outward-directed energy. Perhaps David will devote a great deal of energy into getting recognition and admiration?
Clare: Absolutely. There is something very bold and dramatic about this placement. He may even be the driving force behind setting up an amateur dramatics group, in which he will of course cast himself in the leading role. Sally, on the other hand, has Saturn in Leo. If Saturn describes what we crave but feel we have been denied, it also describes the lessons we need to learn in order to gain a sense of genuine self-confidence and mastery over our lives. It is possible that Sally has never been made to feel special or received the kind of attention or praise that she craves. Her self-confidence may be low and she will have a fear of being humiliated, which will make her cautious about putting herself forward. Ultimately she can learn to take responsibility for herself and gain self-confidence through her concrete achievements. The mantra, 'If I am not for myself, who is?' can encourage Saturn in Leo to believe that they have as much right as anyone else to a place in the Sun.
Audience: I have Uranus in Leo.
Clare: Uranus was in Leo for the seven years from 1955 to 1962. How many of you have this? Quite a few. This is an interesting placement because Uranus is egalitarian, and Leo is about being special and unique, so there is an inherent conflict here.
Using a shorthand approach, we can say that Uranus describes what a particular group of people don't believe in, what they rebel against, will want to challenge and break down in order to establish a new, more ideal order. In Leo, we could say that the urge of Uranus is republican. They want to break up old elitisms - the monarchy is a good example of this - and challenge any system based on undeserved privilege, such as the House of Lords. At the same time, this generation will have unusual and radical and shocking ways of expressing themselves, and the punk generation is a good example of this group, Mohicans, safety pins and all.
On an individual level, it is possible that the ideology of this group could undermine their belief in themselves. For example, in the workplace Uranus in Leo may hold themselves back if it is against their principles to be promoted over others. On the other hand, being in a position of responsibility could give them the power to establish new, more egalitarian, team-based working practices. So there is always a kind of double bind where the outer planets are concerned, and it is important for the individual to make personal choices rather than simply becoming an unconscious mouthpiece of the collective ideology into which they were born.
Copyright ©2005 by Clare Martin.
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