Liz Greene, the quintessential interpreter of Jungian psychology (Jung was a Leo) as it applies to astrology, and vice versa, continues to inspire me with her writings. In her book Astrology for Lovers(a true classic) she states that Leo is striving to develop confidence, radiance, creativity, and self-assurance. These are Leo’s goals. So keep that in mind as you relate to the Leos who cross your path. Some Leos find it early in life, some late in life; some not at all, for truly the hero or heroine quest is full of dangers, challenges, and there are no guarantees in this mythical quest. Yet it is the mythical, bigger than life, romantic story that most Leos strive to live. Ms. Greene states that underneath the Leo lies a secret child who mythologizes life. Leos wish to make a myth of themselves even!
Reflecting on many of the Leos I have known personally and served professionally in this lifetime, I can relate to this ‘mythical’ theme. So many have stories to tell that are truly bigger than life, at least in their minds and hearts they are. My husband’s mother was a Leo. While visiting her in a small lake town in Minnesota when she was in her late ‘70s she confided her early youthful dreams as we took a long walk together. She had wanted to join the Ice Follies because she was an excellent ice skater, and she had wanted to run away with a gypsy man. Imagine! What would her life have been like had she had the courage to really go for it? But she didn’t. She followed a strict traditional course which kept her heavily under the yoke of religion, she married a good, hard-working man, and stayed the course for over 50 years, and……and she became quite rigid and autocratic in her ways, much to the distress of her other daughter-in-law who lived close by and had to endure her authoritarian heavy-handedness. Did her courage fail her? Probably. Did she fulfill some of the heroine’s quest, nonetheless? Yes, she did. One of her sons nearly died of polio at a tender age. He was hospitalized for two years and in those days the parents weren’t allowed anywhere near the child for fear of infection. She had to stand in the snow outside and look at him through the window. Later on he, with considerable Leo energy of his own, left the small world of his birthplace and took flight for adventures and quests which required his own brand of courage, never to return. No prodigal son was he! One wonders how much of her unlived dreams he carried forth to fulfill in the stream of family dynamics?
Another Leo woman I know did live out her mythic quest in bigger than life, nearly sweeping sagas. I even encouraged her to write a book about her remarkable life, but she is an artist and probably depicts in images what it would take thousands of words to do. She was born into privilege and wealth but followed her yearnings and passions towards becoming more conscious by traveling the globe, living in ashrams, facing death and various perils. Like a female Siddhartha she followed her heart and freed her soul rather than play it safe.
I think of two Leo men who epitomize both the creativity of their sign, but also the quest for self. One actually has a business called ‘The Magic Carpet’. He, too, could write a book about his remarkable family and life of adventures, as well as the pursuit towards higher consciousness that still keeps him centered. The other man works with the highest refinement of essential oils and is now a world authority on them. He, too, has traversed the globe in search of the exotic and unusual. It strikes me that both men are somewhat the ‘king of their domain’ within the fields they have chosen to pursue. Both have also individualized their spiritual path rather than follow mainstream influences surrounding them.
While all fire signs embody some sort of ‘quest’, Leo is truly on the quest for SELF, the Divine Child within. This is such a personal journey which I don’t feel can be type-cast in this modern world. Certain themes amongst Leos will emerge, however, as you examine their lives. Creativity is one. To create is to feel alive. It is the process that best takes them to their own center. Self-centeredness then becomes another theme. Here is where much of the criticism of Leo enters in. Perhaps we should say ‘self consciousness’. Even that implies something we tend to judge. Yet Leos truly do like to watch themselves as if they were the audience and performer all in one. If you take this to a more acceptable, spiritual level, it would imply the process of meditation where the watcher and the watched are one and the same. If you take it even further, the Divine within the self is made visible through Leos journey to center.
Along the way are pitfalls and mistakes, which is where the shadow side of Leo emerges. This shadow element probably comes from the trap of ego and all of its enticements. Leo people are by nature generous, magnanimous, and heart-centered. At least that’s the ideal! With some, however, you feel as if you live in their shadow, unrecognized for what you contribute. You feel unacknowledged by them unless they have some ulterior motive for praising you, and that certainly doesn’t feel good either! If you feel you’re just an extension of them, eventually you want to get away, or you suffer in silence. It’s true that Leos need to be special and to be acknowledged that they are. If your specialness, however, threatens their sovereignty in some way, that is where the shadow emerges, because that’s all ego stuff. So it becomes a sort of paradoxical challenge for Leos to develop courage, self-confidence, and a strong ego, and yet have the largesse of heart to embrace and encourage the same journey for others. The shadow would be the despot as depicted in myth after myth and story after story on this planet. ‘Off with their heads’ sort of scenarios are common here.
Taking another anecdote from my own life I’m recalling my late mother’s second husband. Mort was a true Leo in style and manner. He was jovial, held an important position in the world, and romantically courted and squired my mother all around the world. They truly did have a delightful romantic time as long as he was fit and they could enjoy life together. There was one sticking point however. My Aries mother was an intellectual, a college professor, a psychologist. Mort was a rough and tumble street savvy man; smart, but no higher-educated type. Thus he scorned my mother’s books which she kept in the basement of his home once they were married. He put her down often for her ‘mental interests’. I saw her cry once after one of his harangues about ‘her books’. He insisted that she sit by his side and watch TV every night. I never saw her defy him or even challenge him with her Moon in Libra which wanted to maintain ‘the peace at any price’. Here is a good illustration of Leos shadow. He didn’t understand fully the workings of her mind and what she was interested in; therefore he placed it beneath him to keep the illusion of his sovereignty intact. Because she loved him and was loyal to him, in the end he thanked her profusely over and over again for being in his life after suffering a stroke and later being felled by lung cancer. She was his angel in the end and he truly did want to go to heaven with her, but not the ‘heaven of her mind’ which he could never understand, therefore never fully acknowledge.
Leo as Parent
As the archetypal masculine principle embodied by the Sun itself, Leos can and do make good parents. Not all, mind you! There are always exceptions. The paternalistic quality of Leo men who are fathers can really shine forth and they get to be the best of what this sign is all about; loving and generous-hearted with their clan.
This brings me to another theme that I see over and over in Leos mythical lives. There is often an extremely wounded child or even the loss of a child in their journey which they must bear. Perhaps this is why so many Leos that I know are therapists. They are particularly skilled in aiding the wounded child to heal. I know several who are sand play therapists, art therapists, and dream therapists working with both children and adults who need to retrieve and transform ‘the Divine Child’ within. Leo women often love the role of grandmother because then they can truly just play again. I know one Leo who embodies this superbly. She is a therapist and actually wrote about a mythical inner journey, illustrated it with an amazing wall mural, and dedicated it to her granddaughter on top of that.
Rather than praise, I often hear the word respect as defining what Leo women most desire. They seek authenticity of self and respect holds a big place for them. Look at Sandra Bullock, as an example. She didn’t get the respect she felt she rightfully deserved when she married. Along with respect comes loyalty. Leo women will return that loyalty, but they certainly do demand it by nature. After all, they are seeking to be Queenly.
They also need a platform for their creative impulses. A smart partner will always support that urge and help them to find their place in the Sun. If they have that, they won’t need to be so autocratic in their personal life. By nature they are generous and big hearted, but they will never sacrifice themselves in the same way a Pisces woman would. They still need to play ‘the leading lady’ in some way and thus tend to shun dominating type males. Their pride can be ferocious, like a great cat cornered. They’d rather live alone than give up the sovereignty which keeps them centered. This goes for Venus, Moon, and Ascendant in Leo types. Like their male counterpart, they have style and flair and often rise to the top of their chosen field. My research yields the likes of J.K. Rowling, Emily Bronte, Beatrix Potter, Isabel Allende (of course!), and Danielle Steele in the writing fields. All of these women became incredibly famous, and some incredibly wealthy. It is also worth noting that even Danielle Steele, for all of her seemingly charmed life, didn’t escape the tragedy of her beloved son’s illness and suicide.
In the fields of media and entertainment we have absolute female tycoons to study: Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Martha Stewart, the tragic Whitney Houston, and Mae West. Each has epitomized something ‘bigger than life’ in their mythical lives.
These men really do have a talent for the big gesture, the grand display of affection. Even the more introverted types still harbor the need to be ‘king’ on some level. If Cancer, Capricorn, or Virgo is prominent also in their charts, they may be a bit more subdued, and less flamboyant, yet they are still ‘lions at heart’. Never forget that!
They want to display their generosity of spirit, but usually expect some devotion and display of homage in return. Equal partnerships in the modern sense are probably not their innate style. They make better givers than takers, thus they are great lovers and make any affair special. Being center stage is well illustrated in such men as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mick Jagger, Robert DeNiro, Jerry Garcia, Andy Warhol, Dustin Hoffman, and Fidel Castro. One thing that strikes me is how many famous examples I found of Leo men who were actor, director, and even producer such as Robert Redford, Roman Polanski, Edward Norton, and Gene Roddenberry. Prolific and powerful.
Martin Sheen would also fall into a similar category with his equally strong prolific need to champion injustice in the world. He has been arrested well over 60 times. Imagine! And what was he protesting? The treatment of the homeless for one thin, and such things as wars and nuclear weapons. The Good King archetype is alive and well in both of these men.
Leo as Lover
Probably no other author has gone into such depth with sexual themes as Jeff Green in both of his books relating to Pluto. In Pluto, The Soul’s Evolution Through Relationshipshe describes both Venus and Mars in Leo as basically oriented towards narcissism; not in the pathological sense, but more in the need to glory in their own flesh. I like this quote, “They view the body and sexuality as a kind of artwork in which they feel the inner freedom to create as they desire.” I would say Leos have ardor. I would say, also, they need a lot of strokes on whatever level you prefer!
Let’s now move on and look at the various combinations Leo makes with the other signs and see if we can’t ‘flesh out’ more apt comments about their inimitable style. For style they possess in spades!
Since I’ve already covered the elements with the first four signs, I’ll just move through the signs in sequence.
Leo with Aries
This is a nice Fire with Fire combination and certainly can be one where candor, playfulness, and a spirit of adventure combine to create a lively relationship. Each fuels the other and as long as Aries isn’t too independent, Leo will be happy. As I mentioned in my Aries article, this was my Aries’ Mother’s second husband, the Leo. Movement will keep this relationship alive. Having fun together is a must! Often creative and intellectual pursuits may combine.
For those of you interested in the astrology: their Sun’s were trine, and Emma’s stellium in Taurus bonded strongly with Carl’s Moon in Taurus, especially her Saturn strongly conjunct. They also had a Mars/Venus conjunction, but it was her Mars! Her Moon in late Leo was opposed by his Saturn, and squared by his Pluto, so her needs to be centerfold were undoubtedly severely challenged. Finally, however, their Mercury’s were in harmony. All in all, a wonderful blend.
Leo with Taurus
Fixed Fire with Fixed Earth can be a challenge. All fixed types are drawn to power, so their is going to be an attraction. Maintaining a harmonious balance would require someone to lean and bend at times. Since both like to ‘self pleasure’ the relationship would need conscious giving on the part of both to really work. I’ve seen it almost happen in real life, but any form of betrayal on the part of either would certainly create a huge chasm ultimately.
Leo with Gemini
Leo with Cancer
Now we’ve come to the band-width in the zodiac where Leo partnership examples abound: Cancer, Leo, Virgo combos. Interesting, huh? One explanation perhaps is that both Cancer and Virgo are next door to Leo and often the native Leo has planets in either of these signs which could potentially combine with partners bearing these signatures as well. Let’s see if our example couples bear this out:
When Leos have a great deal of Cancer in their natal make-up they truly are able to empathize and feel for others. Venus in Cancer is especially nice to see.
Leo with Leo
Is this possible?? Yep, it is. Two cats together IS possible, but probably a bit precarious. Well, Lions mate for life I believe. Here, again, I actually have three examples from very public life:
Leo with Virgo
Fixed Fire with Mutable Earth is certainly one of those relationship combinations conducive to what is called workable. As long as Virgo is helpful to Leo rather than overly critical, and as long as Leo is appreciative of Virgos hard work, this is a great combination for a working partnership of creative and skillful expression. I actually have four good examples where both partners were professionals in their own right.
The rivalry between her and Emma shows up in her Libran cluster opposite Emma’s Sun/Venus in Aries. Toni also had a complicated Moon bearing much grief and intrigue.
One point I’d like to make is just how many Leo men I’ve been using as examples were born with Uranus conjunct the Sun showing not only their brilliance, but their iconoclastic style: Percy Shelley, Carl Jung, Sean Penn, and Barack Obama are examples.
Leo with Libra
This can be a rather pleasant Sun/Venus combination where the element of Air makes for sociability and classical restraint.
Leo with Scorpio
Two strongly fixed signs should be steamy with Fire/Water combined. This combination has been characterized as ‘Display vs. Concealment’. We certainly see this played out in the likes of two royal couples, one quite historical, the other modern.
Leo with Sagittarius
Leo with Capricorn
Here is a great ‘power couple’ combination. As I wrote in a previous article, Fire is drawn to Earth, and vice versa. These two signs are marked by ambition; the key word being dominion. Leo feels the divine right to rule, while Capricorn strives to achieve that role.
Leo with Aquarius
These two are polar opposites, but complementary as they are part of one long spectrum. Yet opposites they are with Leo being warm and effusive while Aquarius may remain cool and detached. To work as a living couple both must see in the other both specialness and uniqueness and be willing to bow in respect as true friends to each other. Both are strong willed and will clash if something else within their combination doesn’t help to harmonize them.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find positive examples of this combination amongst famous couples. Perhaps regular couples exemplify the more enlightened partnership because we really need to get this one to work as the Aquarian Age unfolds. Otherwise, the Leo shadow will hold full sway, but more on that in a different article.
Leo with Pisces
We are now at the end of the line with Fixed Fire and Mutable Water. This is a very difficult combination for Pisces willingly sacrifices to gain its power, while Leo never sacrifices what feels like a connection with their Divine center. This combination shows up admirably in individual charts such as Robert Redford with his Pisces Ascendant and Sun in Leo in the 6th. He combines the star quality without losing his sense of compassion and vision for the whole. I couldn’t not find such a spiritual combination in a famous couple. Perhaps in the ‘real world’ such wonderful couples exist who combine enlightened consciousness with a special ability to support each other in shining forth.
Lucy died at 78 years but in her hand-written biography she said, “I’ve had a sensational 25 years. It’s nice to have entertained five generations.” Well said.
The mythic story of Leo is a forever story that we, the audience, never tire in listening to, watching, and reading about. Long live their glorious spirit!! They are here, after all, to shine.
Genevieve A. Vierling C.A.P.