OkAY, we get it, you’re a *LEO*. To be a Leo is to either have a power ballad for a personality or to create a standup comedy routine out of your attempts to hide from the spotlight. With Leo, there’s often either an overt desire to be seen and appreciated or a sort of self-effacing humor that inadvertently draws more attention to itself. The central dilemma of a Leo placement is whether it’s comfortable demanding attention, or whether it’s embarrassed to have to even ask. It’s an either/or way of dealing with the question of visibility, and there’s generally not a ton of in-between.
Most of what you’ve heard about Leo in a derivative sense — the drama! The glamour! The swagger! The volume! — comes from its solar qualities, but Leo is also the sign of fixed fire. As the only domicile of the sun, which is a source of consistent heat, is fixed fire itself a solar quality, then?
When fire is reliable, we can count on the sun to rise, for the campfire to keep going through the night, for the kitchen to give us something to gather around, for the show to dazzle from start to finish. There’s just something about fixed fire that tends to attract an audience — probably that tiny matter of how we depend on it for survival — and Leo has a persuasive way of demonstrating its appreciation for the life it sustains. The light that Leo emits is often vital and compelling, so it’s not at all unusual to find a pride of lions (or planets, if you catch my vibe) assembled around their ringleader.
Leo is often associated with creativity, performance, and theatre, because on an elemental level, it deals with expression. Expression is basically what happens when you project yourself outwardly into the world, offering up a form of poetry that describes the shape of who you are. This is merely the followup to Cancer, which is more outside-in than inside-out — a dynamic that you can quite literally see played out between the moon and the sun.
Expression comes in many flavors, but the sun’s preferred mode is to express brightly — even blindingly — which is probably why Leos are stereotyped for being flashy. This is not, in practice, every Leo placement’s preferred aesthetic. But on some level, Leo is about having your moment in the sun and basking in recognition for the mega-watt heaps of light that you produce. It’s not anyone else’s light — it’s just what’s authentically yours. The sun simply exists, and we celebrate it.
The thing you need to understand about the sun is that it’s not just the center of our solar system (hello), the most visible heavenly body in our sky, or the basis for our entire calendar. Sun worship was basically the main religion in every ancient civilization, and the astrological sun symbolized the King or head of state, which is usually who ancient astrologers were consulting with in the first place. If it seems like an overplayed trope that Leos expect to be treated like royalty, you need to remember that humans have been reinforcing this notion of “Sun is God” for thousands of years! When you’re the sun, you’re either like, “Fuck yeah, I’m the shit,” or you’re mortified that that’s the role you’ve been cast in. You can love the attention or you can find it uncomfortable to have to even grapple with the question of attention, but either way, it’s not like the sun can simply escape anyone’s notice. Even cloudy days are brighter than nightfall.
That attention can be embarrassing is probably a big part of why Leo is a sign of detriment for Saturn. It’s awkward for Saturn, the O.G. edgelord of death and keeper of the elephant graveyard, to walk through the kingdom of light, a.k.a. Simba’s stomping ground. Saturn in Leo is like a goth trying to act like a jock, and this distortion of Saturn’s rules is what makes Leo a place where we might crave validation for simply existing (whereas normally, Saturn would be like “Hey! You’re not special, and no one ‘deserves’ anything”). Saturn is the lord of the misfits, and part of being a misfit is that you have to actively not give a shit.
Something about Leo awakens the part of us that deeply gives a shit, that deeply wants to be affirmed, and this is at once vital and earnest and true and potentially annoying. It’s extremely vulnerable to let other people see the parts of you that are potentially annoying. It’s much safer to be disaffected, to play it cool. The ultimate Leo challenge is to accept yourself as a conspicuous, even extravagant, blinking sign that says “adore me” as a way of bringing your whole self and the truth of your ego’s needs to the table.