Ruler: The Sun

Exalted: NA

Detriment: Saturn

Fall: NA

Polarity: Masculine/ Positive

Modality: Fixed

Element: Fire

Body Parts: The heart (both physically and romantically), the main arteries and veins, the circulatory system, the spinal column.

Nature: Hot, dry, excessive

Leo represents concentration and the glowing centre of the fire.

Motivation: To shine, to charm, to win hearts, to impress, to express…to be what you pretend to be…

A friend of mine has recently decided to take up painting. It’s something that she’s always wanted to do – it’s just that she was (to use her words) seriously crap at it when she was young. How does she know she was crap? Her teacher told her so. Now, though, she says she doesn’t care so much- she just wants to have fun. Besides, she says, who’s going to see it – it’s just for her.

Another friend has enrolled in belly dancing classes. She’s never taken a dance class in her life – she always considered herself to be too fat, or too clumsy, or too ungainly. ‘My sister was the dancer,’ she said. ‘I was the smart one.’ She remembers a time where her sister would perform, lapping up the applause, but she was too frightened and feared ridicule. Now, though, she says she doesn’t care so much – she just wants to have fun. Besides, she says, it’s not as if she’s going to perform or anything.

Think about the number of people who pick up a paint-brush or a pen much later in life and declare that they’ve always wanted to live a creative life, but until now have been too afraid. I’m sure you know some. Look below the surfaces of many of these stories and you’ll find a moment many years ago when someone has picked up their work and declared it to be rubbish.

No matter the successes of the intervening years, the memory of that one event was sufficient to push their desire to express themselves in a creative way into the background- to be rekindled at a moment in time when they perceive that it no longer matters.

I have many more similar examples – perhaps it’s because I’ve reached that age myself and I’m noticing it. Perhaps some of us wait to rekindle our lost passion or live our creative truth until we reach the age where we (women in particular) become almost invisible. Perhaps it’s ok if no one knows you’ve done it, but if you’re seen to fail? That’s big.

If you remember back to some of the really early toolbox lessons, you’d recall that the sign of Leo is associated with the 5th house and that the 5th house is, in turn, associated with identity security. What do I mean by that? I’m talking about the fear associated with self-expression, the fear of rejection in love, the fear of the rejection of our creativity, the fear associated with bringing another part of ourselves into the world.

Daring to be you and daring to put your self out there, takes courage. Not the sort of bravery that can help you jump out of planes that are working perfectly well with a parachute strapped to your back, but the courage to expose your deepest vulnerability. Is there anything scarier than loving someone and not having that love returned? Showing your art and having no one view it? Publishing your words and having no one read them? Performing and having no one watch? Having your generosity thrown back at you?

Fear of being seen to fail is something that Leo struggles with- possibly more so than any other sign. Despite Leo’s well-publicized penchant for entrances and life at centre-stage, behind the make-up and the costume is often a fear of being found out. In this regard, Leo is very often misunderstood. What many see as vanity and self-importance in Leo, may simply be a desire to be seen, to be heard, to be noticed, to matter.

Being the sign of the Sun, Leo is innately vital and full of creative fire. His isn’t the spark of an idea that has Aries off and running after the next new thing; or the questing flame that has Sagittarius intent on seeking out new experiences. The Leo fire is generous and strong. It burns long and warms all in its path.

Consider the Sun, Leo’s ruler. The Sun radiates the energy and heat that keeps us all alive. We can’t survive without it. Nor can you miss it, the Sun: up there in the sky, rising and setting in a blaze of glory. The ultimate creative force, the Suns’ magnetism is such that all the other planets are pulled within his orbit.

So too Leo: you can’t miss him. Even when he isn’t making an entrance, he is noticed for his absence. And when he is in the room? Everyone else is pulled seemingly by gravitational force into his orbit. Charisma, drama, generosity, creativity- Leo has it in spades. Despite this, Leo spends much of his life learning how to express that vitality and creativity in a way that is authentic to him; yet also being afraid that one day the applause will stop and he’ll be unmasked as being a fraud…or worse, that the spotlight will shine at the precise moment he forgets his lines.

We all have Leo somewhere in our chart. It’s in this part of life that we struggle with these contradictory fears:

  • not being seen, heard or noticed vs
  • being seen to fail

It’s in this part of life that we most fear exposing our vulnerabilities and risking rejection, yet it’s also this part of life where we can dare to shine.