Today, at 4.16pm BST, we enter the sign of Leo, astrologically speaking. This sign is associated with the heart – and gold, the metal associated with the sun (which rules Leo), is used in homeopathic remedies for the heart. It’s also associated with royalty – with kings, in particular. The brightest star in the constellation of Leo (‘Leo’ being Latin for lion), Regulus (Alpha Leonis) was called ‘qalb al-Asad’ by the early Arab astronomers – which translates as ‘heart of the lion’. Allegedly, it was Saladin who called Richard I the ‘lion-hearted king’. The lion has been called the king of the forest, or jungle – long before Disney came along with ‘The Lion King’ – and has come to symbolize natural leadership, as well as royalty.
|The Sun (trimmed):©Mystic Spiral Tarot
Leo’s ruler, the Sun, is the star at the centre of our solar system. The sun gives us life – without the light and heat that it provides, life as we know it wouldn’t exist. Psychologically, the Sun is said to be the core of our being or centre of our personality. It’s the fiery, creative spirit - our essential vitality - that drives us to seek out our individuality. In medieval astrology, the Sun is called ‘the Great Light’. No surprise then that we think of Leo as a sunny, warm-hearted, larger-than-life sign – a sign that loves to be centre-stage, in the spot-light.
Leo is one of the three Fire signs, along with Aries and Sagittarius – all signs concerned with the discovery and fulfilment of future possibilities and passions. In Leo, the focus is more on the self – in terms of mythology, you could say it’s about seeking an answer to the question ‘Who am I?’. The myth of Parzival (Sir Percival in the Grail legends) is a wonderful example of the hero on a quest for self. Hero and protector of the ‘weak’, Leo is associated with generosity, loyalty and steadfastness, but as a ‘yang’ sign is also outgoing and sociable.
Another quality associated with Leo is pride – and what do we call a group of lions?! Leo is the ‘I want’ part of the zodiac, and the lion symbolises this self-interested drive, which we all have – it’s what we use to survive.
As well as being one of the Fire signs, it’s also one of the four Fixed signs. Leo represents the fire that’s burning in the hearth, the fire that Aries may have ignited – Leo tends that fire, keeps the passion alive. As the fire heats the house, keeping its inhabitants warm and dry, Leo encourages and supports others.
‘Alchemical Leo’ ©Alison Coals
Being Fixed, Leo likes to be in control of the environment, though – disruption is NOT encouraged. We can see this in Leo’s tendency for extravagance too – yes, Leo loves beauty and maintains a distinctive, individual style but that disregard for the cost comes from a ‘fixed’ trait (one more often associated with Taurus!) – that of laziness. Leo can’t be bothered to find out if there’s enough in the coffers – and would not be happy about the idea of having to make adjustments to expenditure. Leave that to a mutable sign – practical, earthy Virgo, perhaps... the next sign we encounter in our journey around the wheel of the zodiac!
The fixity of Leo also takes us back to the idea of being in the spot-light, of being centre stage – and the ‘shadow’ side of that. Leo may expect the world to revolve around his ideas; taking other people’s views or dreams into account, or even acknowledging them, may be one of the challenges that Leo has to deal with.
'Alchemical Leo' comes from my AstroArt series. It's a collage: watercolour on paper, and origami paper.
Mystic Spiral Tarot, created by Giuseppe Palumbo & Giovanni Pelosini, published by Lo Scarabeo.