A Journey to the Heart of Self: Leo Birthdays

Dear Leo:

IT IS UNUSUAL enough to have an eclipse of the Sun in your birth sign, and this occurred on Aug. 1. Eclipses tend to shake up our lives, particularly if they occur close to a personal point (such as the Sun, Moon or ascendant). No doubt you’re feeling some solidified matter starting to break loose and, with any luck, experiencing a new dimension of your potential.

Fiesta, age eight months, stands guard over Shakespeare & Co. Books, Paris. Digital photo by Eric Francis.

I know it’s not necessarily an easy time for you. While it’s impossible to generalize, many Leos are finding themselves under some unusual pressure, including the difficulties such as self-doubt, exploiting your own resources to get basic things done and perhaps a touch of depression. Whether you experience the current astrology as an uphill struggle or an opportunity for adventure depends on your inner constitution and the makeup of your chart. This being said, I can offer an interpretation of the current aspects that I trust will be relevant food for thought.

When considering the recent eclipse, we need to remember that it is a particular type of aspect that last occurred in 1971. In astrology, rare counts for potent and for enhanced meaning. This takes us back to a time when most of our readers were between the ages of 5 and 25, and prior to the births of our younger readers. This makes it both an historical event that has reference points in the distant past; and by extension, something verging on unique for your lifetime.

Eclipses are moments of forgetting and remembering. They involve integrating elements of the past with elements of the future, a theme of the lunar nodes (which are directly involved because these points are currently transiting your sign and your opposite sign).

Our current eclipse cycle is about letting go of a fixed idea of who you are. The thing to work with is not that particular idea, but also your experience of fixity itself. It’s not enough to trade in one idea for another, but rather a static concept for one that is mutable, alterable by you personally, and that grows and changes as you do. Said a different way, you are being encouraged to be more flexible and to remember that ideas are made of the most malleable substance in the world — thought.

Whatever your current emotional state, I trust that you are feeling both your extraordinary potential and also a push toward realizing it. There is a sense that “now is the time.” This can be exciting but it can also be daunting, because in order to change our ideas about what is possible for us, we need to change our ideas about what is possible in the world at all. I think that is where many people get stuck; the world can seem like an overwhelmingly difficult place to get things done. More often than not, it feels like circumstances that hold us back, but an eclipse of the Sun in your birth sign is reminding you not to let this notion stop you.

Start at the beginning and remember that in your own life, everything begins with you. What comes next is the continuation of the story. Now is the time to focus on your life as a being at a point of beginning; a moment where you are at the fulcrum, where small changes may have sweeping effects as you travel through the many seasons that are ahead of you.

You may, at this stage, feel that your relationships are not ready for you to push ahead into this admittedly brave territory — the territory of accepting that you may be a different person tomorrow, and different again the day after. Most relationships stand as commitments not to change. Most new relationships are entered as a thing or a space we want to preserve as in some way stable, which is contrary to the ideas of growth, change and transformation.

Fiesta, with love to Jeanne Treadway. Shakespeare & Co. Books, Paris. Digital photo by Eric Francis.

Yet it is specifically your relationships that are ripe for progress, even as you finally learn to focus on yourself. Indeed, you have spent so much time on them in recent years that I’m certain it’s not a day too late to hear this news.

It has been extraordinarily difficult for you to get onto solid ground with the people around you in recent years. We can account this to three factors, each of them signified by a planet transiting your opposite sign.

The first and longest term is Neptune. I will not go so far as to say that Neptune is never easy, but the truth is that it’s rarely experienced as such. Neptune is the master of ambiguity. With this influence opposing your natal Sun, it is difficult for you to feel like you’re floating on the water, much less like you’re standing on solid ground. Eventually anyone who lives on or near the water gets wet; and sooner or later they learn to swim, surf or sail. This would be you.

Neptune in your opposite house can come with a feeling of losing power; or of looking into a foggy mirror. Your eyes seem fine; it is the mirror that you need to keep wiping clean.

More recently, Chiron entered the picture (in the mid-2000s) and began a process of doing just that. What you saw is that below the surface there is more challenging material than you may have noticed, perhaps because your imagination was working overtime to paint or at least see something beautiful on the fog. But Chiron, if nothing else, has a practical side, and his goal is healing through raising awareness.

Around the same time, Nessus (a planet similar to Chiron, but a few shades darker) took root in your opposite sign, and initiated perhaps the deepest phase of relationship healing of your life thus far. This has potentially taken you through some shadowy territory, particularly where the lives of others are concerned — and also has held up a clear, yet disturbing, mirror to your own situation. Nessus is the point where we process our most intimate inner struggles, particularly involving emotional or sexual injustices done to us by others.

It is all challenging to be confronting this in your relationship house, and there are a diversity of contradictions involved; and to say the very, very least, it has been difficult for you to get clear boundaries established in certain key situations. But as time has passed, you have learned to distinguish at least most of your issues from those of the people around you.

Now comes an eclipse of the Moon in Aquarius. An eclipse is a kind of astrological trump card: it is more significant than any planets that may be present, though the two work together. In special terms, think of an eclipse of the Moon as lifting off a veil as to what is really going on somewhere in your chart. You get a chance to see behind the veil, which in the case of Neptune can be extraordinarily helpful. You tend to be someone who really appreciates the truth, and this is going to take you a few steps closer.

Fiesta sleeps on security monitor, Shakespeare & Co. Books, Paris. Digital photo by Eric Francis.

There remains one very significant transit to consider, which is a strong setup in your 2nd solar house. This relates to your 8th solar house, and a sequence of events happening this autumn. The 2nd and 8th houses relate to how we allocate, use and share our resources, including the vital resource known as self-esteem. The story here is about you getting very clear in your relationships about the nature of the exchanges in which you partake. This falls under the general header of “boundaries,” but it’s also about the way in which you need to define the essence of your encounters with others specifically by what it is that you exchange within them.

One thing is clear, the closer your relationships get to your emotional core, the more reactive they are. At the moment, you are the one who is provoking others to go deeper and to let go of their ambiguous energy, mainly by doing so yourself. Yet as the year develops for you, what happens is that others come into their own and in essence shock you into full consciousness of your power. You are the one who is going to make the moves, at first, but what you’re doing is aligning yourself to awaken, and by that I mean awaken to your own beauty and power at the hands of another person. You may be surprised to discover that you are indeed their equal, but if you look at yourself with a little objectivity as these events develop, I don’t think you’ll feel surprised at all.

The result of all of this rather extraordinary planetary activity is simply you feeling better about yourself. Normally this would not be an issue for Leo; feeling good about yourself is what you have come here to teach the rest of us, right? But times are strange, and a little upside-down. You can, at the least, feel confident that you want to look at the world with your eyes open and your head on straight. That goes a very long way on our planet.

Yours & truly,
Eric Francis

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