Leo Symbolism and its Meaning
In this text, I will not deal with the characteristics of those born under the sign of Leo, but rather with the symbolism of such a sign, that is, the teachings of life represented by the attributes that Astrology associates with the zodiac as mentioned for the Leo sign.
Leo is the fifth sign of the Zodiac and the second of the Fire sign triad. In the words of the great astrologer Liz Greene, “at the psychological level, the element Fire symbolizes the power of the imagination - chaotic, without form, but with an unparalleled power - which offers those prepared to work with it, the power to generate a reality from the inner self.”
Therefore, like Aries and Sagittarius (the other two fire signs), Leo symbolizes the need for self-expression and power over oneself inherent in the element of Fire. However, unlike the first stage of Fire, represented by the symbolism of Aries, Leo indicates that it is not enough to mark our presence in the world and fight firmly to impose ourselves. We must find our true vocations and desires within us and express them in the world. It is necessary to “be able to generate reality from the inner self,” leaving a mark on the world. And for that, we need to learn what the big cat has to teach us: self-love and self-esteem.
Note that, while Aries is ruled by the god Mars (warlord), Leo is a Sun’s son. The archetype of the Sun has been present since ancient civilizations and can be explained as follows:
Deepening the issue, the symbolism of the Sun and Lion means that we must find authority within ourselves, based on the development of self-love and the principles of honor, pride, dignity, and generosity (remember that the Sun sheds its light to all, indistinctly - without reservations and hesitation).
Until we develop these internal capabilities, we end up looking for external applause and respect as an end in ourselves. We live our lives according to what we believe that others (including society) expect of us instead of finding creative ways to pursue our inner fulfillment.
This relentless pursuit has dramatically enriched the antidepressant industry. Everyone must have an internal father (inspired by the divine masculine) capable of giving us self-confidence, strength, and authority to make our own decisions and be who we were born to be. The only genuinely satisfactory approval is that of the father / king / inner Sun; external applause is the consequence of simple action in the world based on the dignity that comes from within.
The great warning that this symbolism of the Lion, the Sun, and the Fire, brings us is that if not guided by the principles of honor, panache, dignity, and generosity, this fiery inner strength burns out and becomes the “sick king.”
Apollo was caught up in the search for unattainable love, closed like Narcissus in his love, which prevented the entrance of the longed-for love of others.
This lesson does not come only from Astrology, and it can be found in the myth of Apollo in Ancient Greece, with which the sign of Leo is associated.
According to such a myth, a giant snake haunted people, whose name was Python. Such a snake hid in the caves of Monte Parnaso, and Apollo, with his courage, went there and killed it with one of his arrows, freeing everyone from that monster. Shortly after, Apollo realized that a boy was playing with the bow and arrow recently used to kill Python.
Outraged, Apollo scolded the boy, saying that it was a hero’s weapon and that the little one should limit himself to playing with his own child’s bow and arrows. It turns out that said boy was Cupid. Not satisfied with Apollo’s arrogance, Cupid, who had two types of arrows, one that fills the heart with love and the other that fills the heart with the repudiation of love, hit Apollo with the first arrow and the nymph Daphne with the second.
Apollo then fell head over heels in love with Daphne, but she rejected his love, wanting to be single forever. And when Apollo managed to catch her in his arms, Daphne cried out to her father, who turned her into a laurel tree. From then on, the laurel leaves were used by Apollo in his crown.
This story teaches that pride and arrogance are our downfall and prevent us from receiving the genuine love and recognition that we seek so much. Such rewards must be deserved. It is not enough to act heroically, and it is necessary to be humble in the sense of not subjugating anyone.
From the point of view of Astrology, the great way out of this dilemma is in the opposite and complementary sign to Leo: Aquarius. Once again, opposite to a fire sign (therefore, linked to impulses, creative force, and generation) Aquarius is an air sign associated with the use of reason.
Aquarius teaches that any authority that we intend to exercise must be done with the observance of collective needs. All creation and self-affirmation represented by Leo must be preceded by a conscious and impersonal look at oneself and the environment around oneself so that the needs of others are also heard. In short, Aquarius teaches that those who intend to reign and be heroes must first do an impersonal self-analysis and oppose their desires to collective needs. Interestingly, Astrology intends to reveal that for the “I” to express itself positively in the world as a unique subject worthy of respect, recognition, and love, the collectivity must be observed because nobody reigns alone.
In the Aries-Libra axis, the dilemma was between the “I” and the “we,” representing more personal relationships. The Leo-Aquarius
If, on the one hand, this “I” cannot succumb to the wishes of others, nor allow itself to be manipulated, that is, it needs to kill the Python symbol of the fears and blocks of the past, on the other hand, it needs to find an intelligent way to develop their individuality, self-expression, and authority, to meet the needs (not whims) of the community. Only with reason and Aquarian technical/cultural knowledge is our Leo side able to express itself successfully. With the combination of Aquarian’s impersonal logic with Leo’s self-esteem and courage, the individual can develop individuality in his expression without being individualistic.
This need to take charge of ourselves and walk to our destination is also represented in the myth of Apollo.
It is known that Apollo also symbolized the human gift of predicting the future. The unique key of this prediction, however, is not to unveil fatalisms. On the contrary, in his temple at Delphi, an inscription on the door said: “know yourself.” Thus, Leo comes to teach us that our personality is our destiny. And, without the impersonality of Aquarius, it is not possible to know us or move towards a more prosperous future. A selfish look at oneself leads us to the destination of Cupid’s arrow that prevents us from receiving the love we seek.
The difference between the authoritarian chief or a dictator and a leader to whom people devote respect and recognition spontaneously is precisely in the use of an impersonal logic, capable of adopting the principles of fraternity, equality, and freedom symbolized by Aquarius. It is associated with self-confidence, self-respect, discipline and a noble, creative and generous spirit of Leo.
Leadership is not merely a set of postures written in a booklet. It results from a severe work of self-knowledge, which requires courage and an impersonal look at oneself so that these attitudes cease to be business marketing and become a genuine reality. After all, no character lasts long.
In short, for those who wish to take the reins of their destiny or even exercise a leadership position or, further still, seek internal mechanisms in their companies to cultivate a leadership culture, it is worth reflecting on this Leo - Aquarius zodiacal axis, as it is in the analysis archetype of that axis that Astrology teaches that from the balance between self-love and impersonality, freedom and authority, equality and distinction, fraternity and firmness, logic and passion, leadership and outstanding achievements are born from there.