July 23/24 - August 23/24
Fixed Fire: Creative Power
Objectively: The hottest time of year as summer's momentum peaks. The light of discovery becomes a heat of passion. Sun slowly, steadily slides south. Personality releases its accumulated endowment to the world.
Subjectively: The golden glow of afternoon's warmth. As day winds down ego feels its own brightness in contrast to approaching night. Self makes a distinctive identity statement.
Leo: Creativity. Charisma. Joy. Love.
In Leo day's waning quickens. The process of personal development has passed its apex.
Now it must prove its worth. Cancer consolidated individual consciousness. Leo demonstrates its competence. The approval of others becomes an essential confirmation of value. Identity is no longer psychologically autonomous. It has entered its social phase. It plays to an audience and is partially defined by the judgment of its peers.
Leo discloses a peak experience of self-expression. It does not describe the adventure of becoming, but an attainment of being. It makes a definitive statement of who and what one is, right here and now. All prior signs (Aries through Cancer) grow its primal potentials. The next, Virgo, refines their application. All subsequent signs (Libra through Pisces) accent its collective participation. Leo portrays a moment of truth: where 'I' stands alone in a public revelation of character.
Leo is show time. Here one steps into the spotlight to display personal excellence. That performance defines social status. Given these stakes Leo acts on a grand scale, with magnificent style or extravagant pretense.
Leo glows with the heat of reentry into the collective atmosphere from a zenith of subjective exploration. The incandescence of ego descending from an inner state of grace to impact upon the outer reality of community membership. Leo dramatizes an individual's coming out into society. This initial debut will later face the test of integrity (Virgo), relating to others with some level of reciprocity (Libra) and meeting its own end (Scorpio). But now, in its original freshness and potency, it simply stands out and shines forth.
The defining question for Leo always remains: what purpose does this shining serve? Private indulgence? Self-enhancement? Eminence, supremacy and rule? Or as a living exemplar through which God, Tao, the Force comes into the world?
Cancer absorbs, Leo emits. Cancer nurtures a heritage of memories, abilities, traits. Leo spends that inheritance in public service. Or for its own glorification. Internal quality has reached its full measure of evolution, high or low. It now contributes to the world. Or basks in a rich sense of satisfaction.
Individual prowess crests at its maximum strength. Will it give? Or take? Leo can inseminate the world with a spiritual essence. Or devour everything in its path with insatiable demands for attention and gratification. It can exhibit the ferocity of a king of beasts. Royal writ of an ego. Creative wit of an artist.
Will it celebrate its own wonderfulness? Luxuriate in predatory aggrandizement? Seek mastery through domination and humiliation? Guide and govern its tribe? Or serve as the willing vehicle of a divine and terrible radiance?
Leo's hour of triumph reveals one's true nature. In defeat, only courage and honor remain. Victory gives freedom to do anything: be magnanimous or malevolent, noble or nihilistic.
Leo manifests the power of personality. Not clarity of ideas, strength of will, depth of empathy or any other attribute. Leo is not defined by its works or wisdom. Instead it demonstrates the mystery of charisma: gravitas, air of command, ability to inspire through its mere presence. Leo portrays a magnetic attraction, a compelling influence. From that emerges the confidence underlying all achievement.
Leo = authority: an inherent ability to command respect. An ascendant faith in itself. Aligned with a larger truth that faith can move the world. But authority easily degenerates into autocracy. Leo can blind objective judgment with the brilliance of an inner Sun. It forgets that everybody else is also an I. Others register only as satellites, playthings, fetish objects. An isolated me then acts out in increasingly garish displays of infantile omnipotence.
Leo is ruled by Sun. Sun gives life to Earth. It also blots out all other stars during its daytime passage. Sun's Latin name is Sol - a solitary Presence, the sole truth of one God in a coherent creation.
The solar system revolves round a single source. Sun symbolizes the central organizing principle behind our many states of consciousness. And night, with its galaxy of suns circling a black hole into another dimension, reminds us of a greater reality behind our living moment in eternity.
Like all stars Sun is a white hole, an energy surge erupting out of a spiritual plane. A visible emanation from the intangible origin of material existence. A discrete fractal of infinity. A sparkle of the Light. Leo's energy field channels its solar wavelength into an aura of self-awareness. Consolidates that point of light into the animating motive of a life.
Consider Sun. It may feel some great thrill on its own level as it flares forth, burning through 600,000,000 tons of hydrogen every second (!). Yet Sun serves a higher purpose than its own solipsistic splendor (though that has merit in its own right). It also vitalizes rings of orbiting worlds. These enhance the total system with qualities, such as organic life, that Sun does not have, and could not achieve, on its own. And it plays a role in our larger galaxy, wherein it shines among a hundred billion. Sun's shining is a wonderful event on its own. Yet it also acts as part of a whole, a single function of an all encompassing equation.
Leo condenses Sun's spiritual fire into a core sense of self, prior to thought, desire or ambition. As it concentrates a general purpose into personal psychology it can forget its celestial estate. And that it is but one note of a stellar symphony. Then it falls into a masturbatory narcissism, aware only of its own importance. A radioactive elitism seeks the attention of others whose reality it cannot acknowledge. If it learns to see past ego's spellbinding isolation then it can ecstatically resonate with a galactic or social environment.
Sun manifests a cosmic will folding the fabric of space into a self-igniting star. It centers and illuminates an entourage of planets. In the same way Leo unifies our several subpersonalities into a fundamental statement of being. I am. My talents, idiosyncrasies, history are what I have and do. Leo radiates a heartfelt imperative that draws all the elements of psyche into a grand passion, for love or glory, to create or to control.
Giant Sun glows as tiny atomic nuclei of hydrogen merge to generate its energy. Hydrogen, with a single electronic proton, forms the smallest, lightest atom: an ethereal state of matter most akin to incorporeal spirit. Sun's gravitational attraction contracts these fundamental charges into a denser double unit, a helium atom. And emits the excess quantum energy that maintained their previously separate identities as a photon: a wave of light expanding out to brighten the universe.
Sun's magnetism spins countless numbers of such nuclear flashes into a steady brilliance. A parallel life force coordinates billions of coronary muscle twitches into a synchronized heartbeat.
Leo's domain is the heart: an inner Sun. There it activates a psychological chain reaction that drives a singular destiny. Leo dramatizes a realization of its once in forever being. And consummates it in the fusion of love.
Atomic nuclei merge to release energy. And precipitate heavier states of matter that make a solar family of worlds possible.1 Animal bodies unite in sexual ecstasy. And give birth to a new generation of children. Human hearts share in the rapture of love. And thus transcend their separation in an experience of the divine.
Just as Sun maintains a structured heliosphere, a magnetic bubble in the galactic stream, so Leo endows individuals with an expressive space, a sphere of influence in society. It tests with a power that is given, not earned; an appeal that is born, not made. This generates spontaneous audacity. Or contrived arrogance. A flair for leadership. Or a sense of entitlement. Majesty. Or megalomania.
Sun symbolizes the overall meaning of a life. Leo personifies that abstract stimulus; gives solar spirit a human face. Shapes its raw vitality into a specific vibration: regal or ridiculous, proud or pompous, generous or grandiose.
Leo centers Aries' initiating impulse into a stable I. It focuses primal force of will into an organized force field with a distinct character. Leo shows what you've got. In the best sense this means living up to your highest potential. At worst a loud egotism.
Leo amplifies this ripened individuality into a social revelation, of whatever value. Thus Leo experiences identity as its role in life's theater rather than as a private quality. In doing so it can display grandeur of feeling. Or posture in self-promotion, phoniness on an epic scale.
The fifth house, Leo's subjective correlate, and any planets in it, portrays one's unique presentation of a universal theme. This can be biological (children), cultural (artistic), social (political) or inspirational. The house cusp that the sign of Leo occupies indicates an area of creativity. Where one emits a ray of sunshine.
Leo openly reveals an emotional essence. It translates the fire of Sun and summer into a burning ardor of the heart. It ignites sensitive feelings into passionate love. A love more real in its short hour than the two eternities of past and future.
Love begins as the simple exhilaration of existence. It propagates an animal exuberance. Self expands to include others in a generosity of feeling. Just as Sun expends its substance to warm and light the worlds around it, and even the dark void, so Leo emanates a natural joy evoking joy in others.
Leo embodies an innate cheer that does not have to earn the right to laugh. It exhibits our warm-blooded delight in life; exemplifies the natural elation of being:
'Consider the lilies, how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.'2
Of course the pursuit of happiness can decay into aimless amusement, then jaded pleasure seeking: '...does not every street abound in gloomy-faced debauchees?'3
At the height of maturity Leo knows that it has spent its youth. It is no longer growing but giving. Like Sun Leo disseminates a charge. Just as our star's gravitational field made and maintains a planetary system much bigger and more complex than it is, so Leo creates a social space that is orders of magnitude larger than an ego.
With a large family of planets, and a powerful presence among its stellar peers,4 Sun engages with its cosmic environment. Similarly its Leo energy projection interacts with our Earthly sky across a wide spectrum. Its day is not a monolith: dawn, noon and sunset are primal experiences. So too is midnight, Sun's absence. The Leo personality mirrors this diversity. It has a Renaissance sensibility: big, bold and colorful with a broad canvass of tastes, skills and interests. Leo generally scintillates as a bon vivant with a convivial nature.
In the security of summer's warmth, and savoring an innate popularity, Leo relaxes from the strain of past growth and demands of future duty (Virgo) or relationship (Libra). It just shines in the present. Of all signs Leo is the freest to play. Happy play: in many ways the highest and most natural human state.
Leo can mistake its good fortune as evidence of greatness. It then sees itself as the main actor in the whole play because it stars in its own part. It falls under the tyranny of ego: the Hell of a solitary spark, bedazzled by its own blinding blaze, drifting alone through space, ending as a burnt out cinder in the emptiness.
Leo vividly senses the contrast between its own luminosity and the growing dark. It feels the poignancy of its brief effulgence in infinity. Yet that brevity is an illusion because it embodies a microcosm not only of the visible world but also of a more sublime soul/Sol from a higher dimension. Leo makes a personal statement of the divine. Only by genuinely accepting that calling can a lonely individual transcend the mortality of its separation from God.
One can contract from the intensity of this summons. Love can shrink into pride, usurping ownership of its cosmic heritage as an inflated confidence in its own agency (hubris) or excellence (arrogance).5 Inevitably that bubble bursts, for:
'Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.'6
Leo inherits an inexplicable grace. Does it expect privilege as proof of its own exceptionalism? Or does it accept the responsibility inherent in its abundance?
'Of those to whom much is given much is required.'7
Leo must meet a challenge: having so much can it spend all for a larger cause? This requires moral courage. Leo's courage is not the combative impulse of Aries nor the grim determination of Capricorn, not the sacrificial compassion of Pisces nor the icy will of Scorpio. It means a commitment to noble standards in a petty world. To exemplify the same generosity that endowed it in the first place. To pour forth everything without hope of reward or lust of result. To shine like Sun, a pinpoint of fire in the infinity of space; to make a magnificent gesture transcending the cold vacuum and empty eons in an instant of ecstasy.
Leo promotes the unique creativity of each soul as made in the image of God. And the danger of conflating its opinions with that. The individual soul mirrors God through its free choice of an identity statement. Leo emphasizes awareness of that fact. Thus it gives one a godlike ability to create. And to love the world that is a greater God's creation. Ego can confuse itself as the source, rather than an expression, of this power. Then healthy self respect as a child of the universe regresses into morbid conceit as its center.
Personality is a novel configuration of eternal love in mortal flesh. A grounding of divine Bliss in human nature. Leo poses the question of its aptness. Will it glow as a gigglefun frivolity? An imperious ego trip? Hot passion? Charismatic leadership? Or as a radiant gift of sheer joy?
1. See 'Sun: Sun in Time.'
2. Luke 12:27
3.'Satires,' Juvenal, Roman writer, ca. 60-130. Today's debauchees are consumers rather than sexual libertines. They are found in the shopping mall, not at an orgy.
4. Sun is often described as an ordinary star. Actually it shines bigger and brighter than 97% of all stars (!). Most are dim red or brown dwarfs, small and slow burning, but longer lived than Sun.
5. See 'Ozymandias,' Percy Bysshe Shelley, English Romantic poet, 1792-1822
6. Proverbs 16:18
7. Luke 12:48