This shift is taking all of us from water to fire, from our emotions to our spirits. Ruled by the brilliant Sun, the center or heart of our solar system, Leo reminds us how important it feels to have sunshine, cheerfulness, and warmth in our lives. Also, the Sun, a longtime symbol for divinity, reminds us of the spiritual Sun that lies within each person's heart, making this month a good time to explore spirituality, seek your heart's desire, and consider how you uplift others when you radiate kindness and emotional warmth.
Leo, watercolor on paper by Anne Nordhaus-Bike
When the Sun travels through Leo each year, it brings a dramatic, fiery energy that inspires us to open our hearts and to express love as freely as the Sun shines its light upon all creation. We move away from Cancer's watery emphasis on memories, motherhood, and emotional security to the Lion's passionate world of creativity, courage, and confidence.
Leo's exuberance and flair for drama push us to seek the limelight in some way in order to share our gifts with others. If we avoid getting caught up in needing applause or basing our happiness on others' opinions and instead keep our focus on generosity and extending what we have to help others, we have an opportunity to connect with new people and enjoy expressing ourselves in new ways.
Leo is ruled by the Sun, an ancient symbol of divinity and one of astrology's symbols of authority and the father. This symbolism suggests our status as children of the divine and reinforces our regal, noble origin as children of light on the spiritual plane. As a star, the Sun emits heat and light, both aspects of fiery Leo that give rise to Leo's charisma and star quality--and its link with light, whether the material world's sunshine or the invisible world's inner light of truth and understanding.
Deer Skull, watercolor, gouache, and pen and ink on paper by Anne Nordhaus-Bike
The Sun's location at the center of our planetary system gives us Leo's association with the heart, the life-giving pump that sustains our physical existence as well as the focus for our emotions and the center of our spiritual existence. We do best when we "put our heart into" a task or cause, and if we are "stouthearted" we exhibit the steadfastness and loyalty of Leo. If we are authentic (another trait important for Leo), we can express ourselves in a sincere, heartfelt fashion, and if we are brave we exhibit courage--a word derived from a root word meaning "heart."
Leo's symbol, the Lion, gives us the essence of royalty, leadership, and charisma; those born under the sign of the Lion exude warmth that attracts others, and they often show talent for leadership. This sign's metal, gold, indicates Leo's dedication to a high standard of excellence. When out of balance, Leo may seek what is flashy or showy and may become haughty or egotistical; at its best, though, the Lion seeks the best in everything, including potential that lies within friends and loved ones. It also shares its riches generously and joyously with others so that all may enjoy true luxury: of a life free enough from want to pursue both spirituality and our heart's desire.
After last month's challenging square between Uranus and Pluto, we have a somewhat quieter period allowing us to draw inward to seek inspiration. Doing so will give us the higher thoughts we need to direct our energies in constructive, life-affirming ways:
. As Leo time begins this year, the Sun joins Mercury, already in the sign of the Lion and in retrograde. Whenever Mercury is retrograde, we have an opportunity to re-think areas represented by the sign it occupies. With Mercury in Leo during the Sun's journey through its own sign, we have a stronger than usual opportunity to consider Leo's themes of spirituality, the heart's desire, creative self-expression, and childlike joy. Now through August 8 (when Mercury ends its retrograde) is the time to identify what brings you joy and how you shine your inner light to help others. If your life lacks happiness, or you have been living with any kind of lie, this is an excellent time to think about how to change your situation for the better.
. On July 29, these Leo themes take center stage when the Sun catches up to Mercury in Leo. Notice any special insights you receive at this time, especially new thoughts about creativity and what you truly want in life.
. All this month, the outer planets Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto remain retrograde. This fact heightens the need for meditation and prayer in order to seek answers from within regarding spiritual awakening to our unique purpose and identity (Uranus in Aries), spiritual inspiration regarding our essential oneness with all creation (Neptune in Pisces), and powerful urges for transformation in all structures and routines (Pluto in Capricorn).
. Venus and Jupiter are in curious, communicative Gemini, while Mars and Saturn occupy peace-loving, balance-seeking Libra, giving us a powerful emphasis on air signs that harmonize well with Leo and allow us to tap higher thought as we take action. As we attend to Leo themes surrounding authentic self-expression and emotional warmth, our efforts can take inspiration from thoughts about relationships that stimulate our minds (Venus in Gemini), how beliefs affect thinking and communication (Jupiter in Gemini), how our inner drive can help us create balance and peace in partnerships (Mars in Libra), and how maturity can assist us in creating a just society (Saturn in Libra).
. On August 1, we can enjoy a beautiful full Moon in Aquarius that will give us insights (and potential illumination) about the value of detachment in the face of strong emotions. Pay attention to your feelings around this time and do your best to balance your heart and the personal (represented by passionate Leo, where the Sun is shining at this time, directly opposite the Moon) with your head and the impersonal (represented by airy Aquarius, where the usually emotional Moon will be more detached when she reaches full phase).
-- On August 7, Venus leaves airy Gemini for watery Cancer, giving us a more emotional take on relationships, values, love, and the arts. This shift also enables us to move out of our heads to talk less about love and relationships and simply feel and experience them directly. We also can benefit from considering what we need to feel secure in relationships and reassessing the value we place on emotional beauty and intelligence.
. On August 17, the Moon will be new in Leo. The Sun and Moon together in this heartfelt sign invite us to start a new cycle of personal creativity, playfulness, and generosity. What seeds will you plant then? How do you want to shine your inner light?
What do I really want?
During this Leo time, we feel intuitive impulses to focus on our inner, heartfelt lives. Each astrological sign is associated with a phrase, and for Leo that phrase is "I will." This energy may be expressed negatively by imposing our will on others, misusing power and authority, or getting stuck in patterns or relationships we have outgrown. At its best, though, Leo gives us courage to follow our hearts and inspiration to use our will creatively in the arts, selflessly through noble acts of kindness and generosity, and spiritually through dramatic yet unconditional love: