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Down the Rabbit Hole
Paul Kiritsis, PsyD Clinical Psychology, DPhil., MA (History)


The Zodiac: Leo the Lion

Paul Kiritsis - Thursday, April 05, 2012

Date of Rulership: 24th July-23rd August; Polarity: Positive, male; Quality: Fixed; Ruling planet: Sun; Element: Fire; Body part: Heart and back; Colour: Gold; Gemstone: Ruby; Metal: Gold.


We have thus far discerned that the dissimilar archetypes stretching from Aries to Cancer contribute vital components to the anatomy of one’s Self. These lay the foundations for a an ego successfully purged of carnal qualities like evil and envy and now confident enough in its spiritual and psychic grounding to begin a lifelong ascent along the socio-political tiers of culture. Unlike the cardinal sign of Aries, in which the mediating element of fire was unrestrained and potentially self-destructive, the steadier and constant fixed flames associated with Leo facilitate temperatures that enable the inner being to commune freely with its external environment and to attain recognition without ever suffering comprehensive changes to its inner hardware.

As an astrological sign, Leo is unique in that it is the only one ruled by the vivifying stellar body of entire solar system, the sun. When we think of the sun we think of heat, light, and flame, the protagonists of the evolution of life on earth, but we also think of intangible characteristics qualitatively connected to it–brilliance, radiance, endurance, self-assurance, self-adulation, nobility, youthful vivacity, and cheerfulness. Individuals who incarnate under the stellar arrangement of this sign are often unified by these as well as an uninhibited sense of freedom, the feeling that the world is their personal fiefdom and that all other beings in it are merely co-conspirators in an inevitable cosmic situation where Leo the Lion reigns supreme. The psyche of Leo resembles that of its totemic animal in many respects. Lions are communal creatures that live in groups called prides and adhere strictly to a hierarchical system where the leader and “king” is almost always the strongest male. Similarly, all Leos encompass an innate inclination towards socialization, community, and relating to others in the context of an imposed pecking order. Unlike buffaloes, gazelles, and the more placid and peace-loving herbivores of the vast savannah, lions are authoritative carnivores that are acutely aware of their own herculean strength and acumen when it comes to hunting. This is why lions are ambitious aggressors, actively chasing down and tackling prey substantially larger than they. The Leo functions in more or less the same manner; it will often tackle complex problems and issues that are seemingly beyond human comprehension and gamble on dreams and aspirations that exceed all its wildest expectations. If it meets with success, the Lion’s already established sense of inner pride and dignity are strengthened tenfold; alternatively, an unfavourable result usually dampens its self-confidence and may spur a personal crisis involving retrograde steps like introversion and burnout.

For time immemorial, we have perceived courage, impetuosity, and strong-will to be indigenous to their mode of being; these qualities also define the archetype of Leo. In the polar realm of cat and mouse, the lion’s strong sense of anticipation determines the rate of its success. The soul of Leo works on much the same premises; it has already formulated a detailed plan on how it will ascend the pecking order long before the optimistic fires of ambition have begun to warm and feed its own heart. As the top dog of the animal kingdom, Lions are rarely, if ever harassed by other creatures, and bide much their time outwardly expressing the many benefits of their privileged rank. One might catch sight of a pride of lions either wallowing in the dirt, tussling about with other members playfully, or undertaking hedonistic deeds like sun basking, daydreaming and oversleeping. Leos mimic their totemic counterparts and usually reflect these in their own behavioural patterns and habits. Despite their grace of movement and overall nobility, lions do exhibit some unflattering traits; they often quarrel with one another for the most scrumptious part of a kill, food scraps and breeding rights. Male lions who have just taken over a pride will put to practice their narcissistic sense of self-adoration by actively hunting out and killing cubs fathered by other males. Many afflicted Leos will often express the exact same sentiment via more socially conventional and acceptable means by unconsciously grovelling in pools of arrogance or using their privileged rank to belittle or demote others. In such instances, the larger-than-life persona that Leo usually emanates inverts and becomes a stereotypical self-loving and egotistical one in which its own little world is far more profound and significant than the majesty that is the greater cosmos and the Godhead itself. When mountains of first-rate arrogance and fanaticism like these prop up, the other archetypes of the zodiac battle fiercely to raze them to the ground and knock some humility back into the Lion.

“Ready or not, here I come,” roars the laughter-loving lion from the den. “The best way to live your life folks is by retaining your childhood vitality and following your heart, and what more could any heart want than raw adventure, pleasure, love, and an occasional stroke of the ego! We’re all born into a world that teaches us about fatalism and free will. I’m a firm believer in the notion of free will. A smart man or woman won’t wait for serendipity to come knocking on the door, but will walk right through it into the greater world and clear a paved road amongst the overwhelming chaotic vibrations and the cosmic noise. I’m a firm advocate of that book by Rhonda Byrne, The Secret. Optimistic and enthusiastic thoughts and actions result in fortuitous conditions that will serve as stepping stones to the mount of the heavens, to the highest strata of society, and even to a winning ticket for next week’s Tatts Lotto draw.  It’s all about self-empowerment, self-respect, and fashioning a genuine personality with which to confront the world guys and girls. I’m definitely an idealist, and a bit of a control-freak too. Know who you are, what you are, and what you want; be sure of yourself, your own footing, and don’t let anyone or anything deter or dissuade you from pursuing your long-term goals and ambitions.

Remember to laugh and crack a few jokes along the way as well. We need to able to laugh at ourselves, at our misfortunes, at our problems and miseries, otherwise we become too entrenched in the lamentable fate of the human condition. Some say that I’m full of myself and that the only thing that concerns me is self-love and personal satisfaction. While it is true that I like to stand out and do at times appropriate others for my own visibility and self-promotion, nobody should ever dare to call me heartless or selfish; I do, contrary to what others believe about me, let others bask in their moment of glory and give my all for those who steal my heart. Reputation is of upmost importance; for me, there is no value in a privileged rank if it is attained through dishonest or questionable means and plagued by infamy. Know for a fact that I’m fiercely competitive and ambitious, and will use all the resources that become available to me, my intuition, and my talents to attain exactly what I want.”

People born under this sign are usually animated, extroverted types that enjoy writing and composing a show, along with being the star of that show. All of us carry an inherent need for validation in a world which is moving at a million miles per minute and eternally threatening to leave us behind, but this need appears to be a lot more prevalent and obvious in the composition of Leo. Leos want to be looked at, admired, worshipped, loved, liked, and accepted by others, and will do everything in their power to ensure this comes to pass. Leos are exactly like their mediating celestial constituent when it comes to making a statement; the higher up along the ladder of success they go, the more translucent they become. Leo types are also highly inventive and imaginative and must seek out appropriate outlets for their creative urges. The occupations that best enable unrestricted expression of its principal traits belong to the sphere of the performing arts–film, theatre, dance, circus acts, and so forth. Hence Leo is best at home on the stage and silver screen, eliciting waves of emotion and veneration from audiences that are attentive and receptive to their projects. Its sense of individuality is unshakable and indestructible; those born beneath the aegis of Leo remain true to views and values integral to its integrity, self-worth, pride and deference, and will never compromise them for the sake of fitting into society.       

There are two symbols associated with Leo the Lion. The first is the animal totem, the lion, which has been used to represent the zodiacal constellation from the earliest of times. In Babylonian tradition, the lion was called “Urgula” and perceived to be feminine. One of its many epithets was “Great Light”, an allusion to its subordination to the ethereal powers of that great light in our heavens, the sun. In ancient Egypt, the constellation was called “Horakthiis”. In the northern hemisphere, the stars of Leo rise heliacally over the horizon during the pinnacle of summer. This is why the frontispiece of innumerable fountains in Egypt and in southern Europe were carved to look like lions. People made an unconscious connection between the wheel of heaven and the deluge of waters connected with great rivers like the Nile which seemed to reach a crescendo when the former turned to reveal the stars of Leo along the horizon. As symbols of strength, leadership, and power, the iconography was soon adopted by emperors, kings, and other people in privileged positions of authority as symbolic inferences of the aforementioned qualities. The Tarot also assimilated this zodiacal sign into its hidden knowledge system under the tutelage of the Strength card, borrowing the image of a woman taming a lion directly from the Denderah Zodiac. Perhaps the most famous depiction of Leo in the Western world was championed by the Venetians, who used the image as part of a winged insignia (the Lion of St. Mark) that graces countless castles, fortresses, and statues commissioned during the High Middle Ages.

The second symbol, an astrological shorthand for the zodiacal sign, encompasses only the curved tail of the totemic animal. This may symbolise the lion’s mane, a physical characteristic that evokes regal qualities like strength, heroism, and governance. On the other hand it may be a stand in for the heart, a body part over which the sign rules. Most of us will be familiar with the notion that the human heart is a synonym for courage, truth, and unconditional love. From this esoteric perspective, the abbreviated glyph might also be interpreted as a pictogram expressing only these specific aspects of the archetype.



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