Updated: Jul 21, 2019
Leo is the 5th sign of the Zodiac and Fixed Fire. Fixed signs are concerned with maintaining, extending, and continuing the energy of their element. Leo wants to be a source of constant fire so that everyone is always gathered around. It feels the need to create, perform, and burn in order to maintain attention and inspiration. Because of this, Leo has a reputation for being dynamic and creative.
Leo falls right in the middle of summer when temperatures reach their peak. The heat of Leo season is fitting for the Fixed Fire sign, we are experiencing that extended fire energy directly from the Sun and also from the sign it is transiting. As we collectively feel into this heat we have the potential to feel energized or completely burn out. How we work with Leo energy, what motivates us to create, and how much effort we are expending to be seen in a certain way all play a part in the nature of our relationship with Leo.
Aligned, soul-centered, uplifted Leo looks like visibility of our true self. While Identity politics is a multi-faceted system that deserves both praise and critique, it has given marginalized people a chance to see themselves and their identities recognized and fought for. What if our identity was unique, visible, and respected? What if people didn't look at our skin color, gender expression, sexuality, belief system, body, or anything else to define us but instead gave us permission to define ourselves. This is clearly an ideal and one that bypasses a lot of oppression but it is a Leonian ideal nonetheless. Leo wants to be seen as an individual that is self-defined, not boxed in by someone else's opinion. For all of the flaws of social media and influencer culture, it has given individuals a chance to create their persona as something visible (and consumable). Leo, at its best, invites us each to show our true inner lion, to let our fire burn brightly for all to see. Our "influence" on others in a Leo-led mindset, would be to inspire them to be their true selves as well. It is the very act of living our truth and creating our identity as we want it to be seen that gives permission to others to do the same.
When we look at Leo in our charts we find the places where we create, express, and desire to be seen. Planets in Leo desire attention and must be consciously worked with in order to create beneficial expressions of self. Take a moment and look at your chart: Where is Leo's influence present? Perhaps it is your Sun sign, or your Moon. Maybe you have another planet or two, or at least it rules one of your houses. (If you don't know your birth chart, you can find it quickly here or here. I also offer birth chart readings if you want more detail!). If Leo is nowhere in your chart, not even ruling a house, then it is an intercepted sign and you will have to access it through deeper digging and learning to work with the sign that comes before it, Cancer.
In my chart, Leo rules my 3rd house but contains no planets. The emptiness of Leo bothered me when I first began exploring my chart. I've always considered myself a creative person and having this sign of creativity expression empty felt like a denial of that creativity from my chart. Since then I've realized two things that have helped me come to terms with it. One, an empty sign doesn't mean a lack of its energy, only that it is unconscious and doesn't require active work or thought to be found. I am creative through Leo without having to work through the lessons of a planet there. Two, Leo rules my 3rd house where communication, learning, and interaction with the world around me is found. Creativity is the way that I understand and interact with my "neighborhood" and was learned from direct influences (my mom has been a musician for decades and was the first person who taught me how to play an instrument). While my personal connection with Leo is not incredibly powerful, I really love the energy that it brings into my personality in a subtle and unconscious way.
Strength is the Major Arcana card assigned to Leo in tradition. It was this connection that caused the Order of the Golden Dawn (their website is a TRIP please check it out to see how 19th century white esotericism has evolved in the 21st century) to switch the order of the Major Arcana and place Strength as 8 and Justice as 11. Their desire to correlate Tarot and Astrology caused a need for Strength (Leo) to fall in between 7 The Chariot - Cancer and 9 The Hermit - Virgo. Justice makes much more sense as Libra (the scales). Putting all of this Tarot history and theory aside, Strength is a clear link to Leo for more than just the Lion on the card. It is the archetype of learning to love our full selves, of being compassionate and opening our heart to allow creativity to emerge. In Strength we are invited to allow our true selves be seen by embracing all that we are.
Leo is ruled by the Sun which naturally is assigned to The Sun in Tarot. This one is pretty straightforward. In Tarot, The Sun shows our clear consciousness, the emergence out of our inner depths back into expression, and letting out true self shine forth. It also calls us to embrace our inner child and find joy, creativity, and happiness as we move through life. These qualities are all very Leo - the sign of play, joyful expression, creativity, and the child self. In the Court, I see Leo expressed through the Queen of Wands (every month I feel the need to say that other people think differently than me with the Court Card assignments but you all probably know that by know so maybe I should stop). The Queen of Wands is a practicer of magick, expresser of deep emotion and passion, lover of life. It is here we find our most creative self, especially creativity that comes from deep within. We learn (or remember) how to be our fullest expression of self when we embody the Queen of Wands
The Minor Arcana of Leo show different stages of creativity. At times it feels like 5 of Wands, all infighting, frustration, and a lack of clarity of direction. Either your group is just hitting their sticks together and going nowhere or all the ideas in your mind or overwhelming and fighting for attention. But this stage of the 5 is essential to the creative process. We must experience the difficulty and struggle, the "fires" of the 5 of Wands in order for the best idea to come out. We see that idea once it has been realized in the 6 of Wands. There is a parade and everyone is celebrating the successful launch or initial outcome of creative expression. There might be recognition for all you have done or at least a good feeling that you created something worthwhile. Inevitably, this leads to the 7 of Wands. We need to stand out ground, to hold off the challenges that arise once we have put ourself out into the world. Whether this is other people trying to tear you down or your own internal doubts and fears that are threatening you, there is always work to be done after this initial celebration. The cyclic nature of creativity (the most Leo of qualities) is shown in these 3 cards quite clearly.
Leo Season is going to feel like a breeze compared to the Cancer Season we just moved through. There are no eclipses, two planets station direct, and we even get a lovely preparation for Virgo Season near the end. The Season begins on the 22nd of July as the Sun shifts out of Cancer and into Leo. It is joined by Venus 5 days later on the 27th. These shifts bring us passion, creativity, and a desire to become the best self we can be (and to be visible as that self). These invitations are followed by the Leo new Moon on July 31st, a chance to plant seeds and intentions for the Season. If you're not sure what you want to grow this lunar cycle, look to design your intentions around being seen, creating genuine expressions of self, and learning to show love with an open heart. The 31st also brings Mercury stationing direct and beginning to move forward again. It will retrace the steps it took while retrograding with increasing speed getting ready to join the party in Leo. It will step over that threshold on August 11th on the most potent day of Leo Season. Alongside Mercury entering its most creative and expressive transit, Jupiter is stationing direct and beginning its final few months in Sagittarius. Clarity and direction in the area of what we believe and how we want to expand in those beliefs should be coming to us. That same day Uranus will be stationing retrograde and inviting us to reconsider how we fit in with our social groups and whether they are transforming the world they way they should. This is the perfect introspection to come alongside the beliefs of Jupiter being ready to be expressed once again. Now that we are certain what we believe is our genuine truth, we can analyze whether our communities are still aligned with that truth. This will become even clearer on the 15th with the Full Moon in Aquarius. The intentions we set at the New Moon are coming to fruition through our community and the ways we are progressing forward or we are seeing how they didn't serve the larger whole and being given a chance to evolve and change them to be more universal. The last week of the season brings to planetary shifts into Virgo, Mars on the 18th and Venus on the 21st. This is a hint, a small taste, of what we will be working through during Virgo season. It is a time to look forward and do some preparation which is one of my favorite qualities of Virgo.
This spread is designed for Leo Season. You can use your favorite Tarot or Oracle deck (or combine a few decks). Take a few deep breaths before laying out the cards and ask your higher self to speak to you through this spread. Really sit with the imagery of the cards when you have laid out the spread and let it speak to you. Then take some time to reflect on what the cards mean to you. Return to this spread throughout the season and especially at the end to see how these lessons have played out.