This is the fifth article in a 12-month series exploring each of the astrological signs. In Western astrology, the heavens are divided into 12 equal sections, beginning with Aries at the vernal equinox and continuing through the rest of the zodiac. Dates given below are approximate; exact dates for the beginning and ending of the signs vary from year to year. Please consult a qualified astrologer to verify your sun sign, and to get a more complete picture of your astrological chart. Although the description below may apply especially to those who were born when the sun was in Leo, it is also true in varying degrees for everyone, as we each have Leo represented in our natal chart.
If you were born between July 22 and August 22, you probably know that your astrological sign is Leo (see note above regarding dates). When you say, "I am a Leo," what you are actually saying is that the sun is in Leo in your astrological chart, meaning that the sun appeared to be in the constellation of Leo the Lion at the time of your birth. Leo is the King or Queen of the Jungle, equally able to roar ferociously and to play like a young kitten. Whatever Leo does is usually done in a grand way, for Leo is all about self-expression and making an impact on the world. With your sun in Leo, your primary life lessons involve how you choose to express your abundant enthusiasm and creative energy.
As the fifth sign in the developmental cycle, Leo corresponds with the egos growing self-awareness and need to be acknowledged. The astrological stepping stones already have taken us through the initiation of life energy (Aries), the creation of a foundation (Taurus), learning about our surroundings (Gemini), and the development of emotional strength (Cancer). Now, with Leo, we seek a means to express our blossoming sense of self.
The archetypes for Leo include not only the King/Queen, but also the Actor, the Court Jester, and the Playful Child. Each one of these characters has in common the need for self-expression and personal impact, as well as the underlying desire for appreciation, attention, and approval. As a Leo, you are learning how to express your joy for life and to share that enthusiasm un-self-consciously with others. You are most fulfilled when you are actively engaged in whatever you are doing, feeling an adrenaline high from taking a new risk, being in the spotlight on stage, putting your artwork on display, or telling your latest story to a group of friends.
You are a fire sign, indicating a strong enthusiasm, initiative, and the drive to be first in some way. You are also a fixed sign, giving you an ability to stick with whatever project you start, but also giving you a stubborn streak that doesnt like to give in or give up. All of these traits help you in achieving your higher purpose of personal self-expression, but they can also be your downfall.
The danger for Leo is getting too caught up in the need for approval and desire for applause, rather than seeking the more gratifying reward that comes from the sheer joy of creating, relating, or belonging. Leo, once you start paying more attention to the audience than to your creative contribution, your energy is dispersed and the magic is lost.
It is the magic that you are seeking, Leo: that sense of total involvement, total enthusiasm, and total aliveness. This is where your fulfillment lies. Your role is to help us all remember that incredible sense of joy that we felt as children, when we were completely immersed in the world of our imagination, where we were kings and queens, movie stars and astronauts, where the sky was the limit and all we had to do was believe. When you can believe in yourself to that degree, Leo, there is no need for the approval of others.
It requires true self-belief and a great deal of self-assurance to successfully navigate your journey, Leo. As the King or Queen, you can sometimes forget your true power and settle for power plays. As the Actor or Court Jester, you can sometimes start paying more attention to the audience than to your craft. As the Playful Child, you can sometimes turn childlike self-expression into childish dramatics. All of these excursions may satisfy the ego momentarily, but they do not ultimately fulfill your deeper needs. Instead, they leave you hungry for more power, more applause, and more drama.
The answer comes in developing true ego strength, which is what you are here for, Leo. When you are able to maintain that strong sense of who you are at your core, with no apologies or game playing, you develop the true grace and nobility we associate with your animal symbol.
The character of the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz is a wonderful example of both your potential and your downfall. At the beginning of the story, the Cowardly Lion felt that he had to prove himself, to live up to someone elses image of what a lion should be. As a result, he was unhappy and alone. When he finally let go of the outer image and created his own self-definition, his true warmth and generosity came forth, and he created lasting friendships in which he felt true belonging.
It is appropriate that Leo rules the heart in the physical body, the organ that symbolizes the expression of love in our culture. When you unashamedly share your love of life and people, you have the "heart of a lion" and the courage to achieve whatever you set your mind to. It is important that you keep your physical heart healthy as well, paying attention to diet and exercise to keep the muscle and supporting spinal area strong.
While you relate easily in virtually all social situations, you are probably most comfortable with other fire signs (Aries and Sagittarius) and the air signs (Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius). Their innate energy seems to spark your enthusiasm, and you energize them as well. Water and earth signs may seem at times too practical, conservative, or serious, but you can also benefit from their different perspectives on life.
Your basic lesson involves having the self-confidence to follow your hearts desires, Leo, but your opposite sign, Aquarius, offers additional information that will increase your understanding of your life journey. Aquarius is the nonconformist of the zodiac, and so has little need for others acceptance or opinions. It is this detachment from approval that can assist you, Leo, in focusing your intention and fulfillment on your creative process rather than on the end result.
Ironically, when you focus on the pure enjoyment of whatever you are doing when your heart, mind, and soul are consumed by the creative process then you are completely unaware of whether or not others are applauding. That is when you bring out the joyful child in all of us, which helps us love our lives and appreciate you even more.
Pam Younghans is an astrological counselor and interpreter with offices in Bellevue, Washington. In addition to private sessions, personal instruction, and group classes, Pam offers a free weekly astrological update by e-mail. For more information, call (425) 445-3775, e-mail <AOA444@aol.com>, or see Pams Web site at <http://www.pamsastrology.freeservers.com/>.