Zodiac - Leo

Astronomy Mythology Astrology

The Astronomy of Leo Leo star chart

Leo is one of 12 constellations that lie on the ecliptic, known jointly as the Zodiac. It is located between Cancer and Virgo on the ecliptic, and is also bounded to the north and south by Coma Berenices, Crater, Hydra, Leo Minor, Sextans and Ursa Major.

It has a Right Ascension (RA) of 11 hours, and a Declination (Dec) of +15 degrees. (RA is the sky's equivalent of Longtitude, and Dec is equivalent to Latitude).

It is most visible in the Spring, particularly during March which is when it is at it's highest in the sky, and is one of the more easily identifiable constellations

It can be found from the Big Dipper (aka the Plough) - from the 2 stars on the handle side, follow the line down until the backwards 'question mark' that makes the head and mane of the lion is visible.

The dot at the bottom of the question mark is the star Regulus (alpha Leonis). This star is appropriately named, as regulus is Latin for little king, and this is the brightest star in the constellation named after the king of the animals. This name was given to the star by the astronomer Copernicus - before that it was known as Cor Leonis (the heart of the lion). It is a bluish white star some 85 light years from us, magnitude 1.

The tail of the lion is marked by the star Denebola (beta Leonis), which is nearly as bright as Regulus (magnitude 2)

There are several galaxies within the constellation, but they are only clearly visible using a telescope.

The "Sickle" (or backwards question mark) is also known as a star pattern in it's own right (in astronomy this is known as an Asterism).

Every November (around the 17th) there is a metor shower called the Leonids, caused when the Earth passes through the orbit of the Tempel-Tuttle comet, where the metors appear to be coming from the direction of Leo. Although the shower is usually average (around 8 to 10 meteors visible per hour), there have been some that were more spectacular. 902CE was called 'the year of the stars' due to the spectacular shower that year, and in 1883 the astronomer Agnes Clerke described them - "On the night of November 12-13, 1833, a tempest of falling stars broke over the Earth.... The sky was scored in every direction with shining tracks and illuminated with majestic fireballs. At Boston, the frequency of meteors was estimated to be about half that of flakes of snow in an average snowstorm. Their numbers... were quite beyond counting....".

Leo is one of the most ancient of the constellations, possibly being as ancient as Taurus. It appears in the star maps of Eudoxos of Knides, Aratos of Soli, and of Ptolemy.




The Mythology of Leo Old star chart

According to many sources (such as Eratosthenes), Leo may be connected to the myths of Heracles (also known as Hercules in Roman mythology); it being the lion that he strangled to complete the first of his famous 12 tasks as set by king Eurythseus of Tiryns.

This lion lived in a cave outside Nemea (a town to the south west of Corinth), from which he emerged to feed on the local inhabitants. The lions parentage is not known, but it is obviously not a normal mortal lion, as it was considered to be invulnerable. Even when magical arrows provided by Apollo were shot by Heracles (a very formidable combination), they simply bounced off the animals skin. Some legends claim that the lion was fathered by the 2 headed dog Orthrus, while others claim it was created by Typhon (who was also responsible for the Sphynx). Heracles eventually caught the beast within it's cave, and wrestled with it until he managed to lock his powerful arm around the lion's throat, and choked the lion to death. Using the lion's own claws, he managed to skin the beast, and wore the pelt as a cloak, this story forming one of mythology's iconic images which was used to decorate many Greek vases.

After being despatched this way, Zeus elevated the lion to the heavens.

This may also have been the lion that later became linked to the Mesopotamian kings in the 3rd century BCE.

Another possibility is that it represents the lions from the den into which Daniel was thrown (from the bible story). It could also represent the lion that befriended Androcles, after he had removed a thorn from it's paw.




The Astrology of Leo Leo characteristics

Ruling body is the Sun
Metal: Gold
Fortunate stones: Amber, Chrysolite, Tourmaline, Ruby
Colour of choice for Leo is Red
Lucky numbers: 4 for Leo and 1 for the Sun
Lucky day: Sunday
Trees: Palm, Laurel
Element: Fire

Traditional Leo Qualities: Generous, warmhearted, fun loving, affectionate, loyal, strong, dignified, creative and enthusiastic, broad-minded and expansive, faithful and loving.
Shadow side pompous and patronizing, arrogant, bossy and interfering, dogmatic, pushy, jealous, aggressive and intolerant.

The Sun enters the Zodiacal Sign of Leo around July 21st, but it does not come into full power until about July 27th. People born between July 21st - 27th are also influenced to some extent by Cancer, from the 27th onwards Leo is in full strength until August 20th. Over the following seven days Leo gradually loses its strength on account of becoming overlapped by the incoming sign Virgo. This should be taken into account when character and fortune are being estimated. The symbol of Leo is the fifth astrological sign of the Zodiac, originating from the constellation of Leo it is found in the eastern sky. Leo is considered to be a positive and fiery sign, ruled by the strongly magnetic SUN Leo is one of four fixed signs. In mythology Leo is associated with the Greco-Roman God Apollo.

Leo Characteristics: The Leo type is symbolised with the Lion, and subjects of Leo have leonine in their nature including great courage, energy, loyalty, dignity and a gift for leadership either in support of, or in revolt against, the status quo. They are the most dominant, spontaneously creative and extrovert of all the zodiacal characters in magnificence of conduct, splendor of bearing and magnanimity of personality. Sympathy, affection, loyalty, warmth of heart and their love of humanity is such that they are willing to defend their family and friends to their own detriment. They are courageous, dominant, strong willed, positive, independent, self-confident, ambitious and fearless and exert a great self-control, yet when roused they are terrific fighters and will never desert one whose cause they have championed, unless betrayed or appalled by another's actions. They have little time for guile or deceit, such behavior will alienate their affection. Born leaders, and completely indifferent to fear, they flourish when in positions of authority, their individual magnetism and innate courtesy of mind engendering rare but complete devotion and loyalty from others who believe in them. They are direct and open in speech and expression of opinion, uncomplicated, knowing exactly what they want and exactly how to get it. But they can be frequently tactless as to a subject of Leo, diplomacy savours of guile, something that they detest. They make it quite clear where they (and others) stand, their practical hardheadedness and ability to go straight to the heart of any problem reassures those who depend on them. Subjects of Leo can be stern and austere in manner particularly if the suggestion that their honor or dignity may be impugned. They are fine conversationalists, excelling in repartee, and are the best of storytellers. They always make a point, and always see the point. When the true individuality of Leo holds sway, these people have a noble ideal, with a pure, loyal love and abundant confidence.

Professions and Occupations: As born leaders, subjects of Leo do well at any vocation where they can attain positions of authority and thrive as politicians particularly if having accomplished a powerful position in government. They have the most remarkable power in molding public opinion, and in swaying great audiences, so much that the truly awakened Leonian can be invincible if they will learn the pathway of Silence. They are exceptional organizers and often lay the groundwork for new projects. They excel as the chairman of their company's board, or at least directors or managers and will aspire to become the boss, partly because they are motivated by nature, partly because they dislike manual labor, preferring to take charge of others doing it. They are sometimes very lazy, and, like the cat, are fond of basking in the sun or snoozing in a cozy chair. They are not at all happy in positions of subordination. If artistic, the Leonine appreciation of colour, display and action may produce a talent for the stage, they can become stars of stage or screen. This may extend to literature and painting and as musicians they will as maestros gravitate toward the grand instruments such as the piano, or conduct orchestras. As painters they tend to produce work that is grand in conception and scale. Subjects of Leo also do well as bankers, goldsmiths and jewelers and also make exceptionally good welfare workers.

Psychology: With great intelligence they have a broad philosophical, sometimes religious perspective. Those among them who are devout may become very obstinate in upholding traditional beliefs, and with complete sincerity hold on to practices and doctrines which liberal thinkers regard as preposterously anachronistic. Their faults can be as vast as their virtues, and an exceptionally negative Leonian can be most unpleasant, demonstrating extreme arrogance, autocratic pride, haughtiness, and hastiness of temper. Any of these can be characteristic of Leo. But their pride may go before a fall, as uncontrolled impetuosity is likely to bring them low. Fortunately, very seldom is it that a subject of Leo is so undisciplined as to give way thoroughly to their vices, and their tendencies to them are usually balanced by an innate wisdom. They are open, sincere, genuine and trusting, never lacking in kindliness and thus are more disillusioned than the average if let down by those they trust. Often ruled by their feelings, (only) they can be susceptible to deception, and if others play upon their sentiments sometimes led astray.

Relationships: Subjects of Leo are extremely affectionate and make the finest marriage partners, they are loyal, considerate and kind and make excellent parents and friends. They tend to mistake sympathy and pity for love and can realise this mistake when its too late to put right, hence in love they are prone to make numerous mistakes and suffer profoundly as a result. Their natural generosity and patience often save their marriages from certain doom. Their sex drive is very powerful and their attraction to the opposite sex means that it can be difficult for them to remain constant; thus they may have many partners since their love of pleasure and beauty is often insatiable. In extreme circumstances they can become self - indulgent and debauched. Their marriages may fail as a consequence, yet while love lasts they remain sincere and generous to their lovers, and will not stray from home so long as this remains in their favour. Their most harmonious and well suited marriages are formed with those born between March 21st - April 21st and November the 21st - December 21st.

Possible Health Concerns. With boundless vitality Leonians have the ability to fully absorb the vivifying energy of the SUN, sunlight and fresh air serve as an excellent restorative tonic. Physiologically, Leo governs the upper back, spine, forearms, wrists and heart. They should be wary to implement some restraint when exercising as there may be a danger of the heart being strained or weakened. Leonians are prone to a number of ailments, the heart, spine, back and eyes are most susceptible to disease or injury. Pain in the back and lungs, spinal complaints, diseases of the heart and blood, sickness in ribs and sides, lumbago and meningitis are among the commonest ailments. Leonians don't give way to illness without putting up a good fight, and when in good health they should in order to avoid becoming morose keep themselves constantly occupied with interesting pursuits.

Potential problems and suggested solutions: Subjects of Leo who find themselves on the receiving end of negatives will find greater peace when they express the positive. All Sun signs have unique traits to their personalities, when these traits are suppressed, or unrealized, problems will arise. By examining the problem we can assess the proper solution according to the sun signs unique characteristics. Leonians who find themselves on the receiving end of negatives will find greater peace when they express the positive. It is better for Leonians to try not to base all expectations on what ought to be gained, rather base them on what can be given to others, or done for those who are in their sphere of influence. A more peaceful and happy home will be a welcome result from this. Rather than trying to gain attention, it will be more satisfying for subjects of Leo to give people the chance to notice the real individual that they are. By examining what it is in an individual that impresses them Leonians may gain a clearer idea of what will impress others. Leonians acknowledge their individual self worth and greatness, this is corrupted when they let the ego get out of hand so they should learn to walk tall by looking up to those that are 'taller' than themselves. It is advisable for Leonians to investigate all investments very carefully before they are made, then talk it over with their spouse as to how much can be spent prior to any purchase.

The Star-stone for Leo is the Red Ruby, known as a stone of nobility. It can improve success in controversies and disputes, encouraging gentleness and discouraging violence. The Ruby is an excellent shielding stone to protect subjects of Leo from bodily harm.

Famous Leo's include Mick Jagger, Napoleon, Kate Bush, the Princess Royal and Bill Clinton.


Except where otherwise noted, all content and photographs on the site © by Northampton Pagans, or it's contributors.
Opinions expressed in these pages may not necessarily be those of Northampton Pagans, the group's Elders, or it's membership in general, but are the opinions of the individual contributors.