Eris in the 9th solar house. Spiral Door aspect, Quaoar and Ixion in the 5th solar house. Pluto working toward the solar 6th house. Saturn in the 1st solar house heading for the 2nd. Chiron-Nessus conjunct in the 7th solar house. Mars retrograde in the 12th solar house. Venus retrograde in the 1st and 2nd solar houses.
Leo is the relationship house for Aquarius, the career house for Scorpio, and the home and security house for Taurus. This interpretation works for Leo rising as well.

AT THE CORE of the Western zodiac is a lion, who we call Leo. As we go orbiting through the foggy ruins of time depicted in the cosmic scheme, we step outside our front door (Cancer, the home), take three steps, and come across a Sphinx.
Who it is, how old, why it's there -- it's all anybody's guess, yet still it seems to make sense. Perhaps it's the eternal question: "Hi! Whose kitty are you?" Well, sir, I am my own kitty. Note that there is no dog in the Western horoscope, though I may have to invent one. Dogs are cool, you can go running and hunting with them, some catch Frisbees, they lead the blind and after all these years, they still keep you safe at night. Cats provide companionship, the feeling of a soul, and a being to behold in all its mystery -- which helps humans do something important: feel deep. And after all these years, they are still the best way to catch a rat.
Leo is not an ordinary sign, and because of its central place in the astrological system, it plays a vital role in everyone's life. Where we have Leo is a power source in our charts. Where we have Leo people in our lives is an anchor point. Astronomically, we reckon our lives by the apparent motion of the Sun around the ecliptic, a model for one of the epic dramas of humanity told in many myths. It's the only one of the 12 signs ruled by a star, not an orbiting body of some kind. Though not a particularly remarkable star, and a small one, as they come -- but it's our star, at the center of our consciousness, providing much of the energy we live on and the matter of which we are created. It takes us along as we orbit the galaxy once every quarter billion years or so. Leo is associated with leadership, with kings and presidents, with the heart, and the metal gold. It is something of the reference standard for astrology.
At the moment, Saturn is in the sign Leo, a transit which is affecting everyone, particularly you who has Leo Sun or Leo rising. This transit is said to be fundamentally at odds with the energy of this sign. I don't see it that way. While Leo is often assigned properties of high creativity, more often what you will find Leos doing is taking care of the necessities of life, rising and setting each day like the Sun, making sure the crops grow and the seasons change. Leo may shine like the Sun some of the time, but you also shine behind the clouds, rain or shine. In homeopathy, the remedy aurum metallicum (made of gold) addresses the situation of people who work tirelessly, and get tired. Think of aurum as addressing what you might call service fatigue.
Saturn, the planet sometimes associated with the opposite metal, lead (and your opposite sign, Aquarius), is compelling Leo to come to terms with its fundamentally creative nature, rather than just being it in potential. Saturn is always about recognizing necessity, and the teaching mission of Saturn in this placement is working toward sustainability and economy. Saturn has a dependable way of liberating us from excess, including from the sense of excess talent that is not being utilized; hence, it will be put to use. But Saturn in Leo is very good at focusing the inventive property normally associated with Aquarius, and helping humanity create ideas, things and conditions that focus energy for the long run. Saturn can point out exactly what you need to do to work more effectively, and I would reckon this is a big piece of the Saturn in Leo puzzle.
Part of this is based on coming to terms with just how much responsibility you have, then becoming realistic about it -- and therefore, practical. This transit is about making adjustments and balancing out the accounts of talent and responsibility.
With Taurus positioned on top of your solar chart, your work must be something that's important to you, and with Aries in your 11th solar house (throughout our lifetimes, graced by Eris) you thrive on distinction. For Leo, your contribution to the world must be a direct expression of your values and your individuality, more so as time goes on. It is less important that you "be creative," and more important that you do what is right for you, and what you perceive as right for the world. Saturn in your sign is pushing the creativity factor as a matter of long-term necessity, focused now. The game at this point in your life is about being creative enough to organize your energy so you have enough left for what you want, without sacrificing what may be a far mightier priority -- being part of the world, and in some crucial way, being at the center of your world.
The gift and the lesson that Leo brings for all of us is being at the center, unapologetically. The lesson and the gift that the rest of us bring to Leo is the part about there being nine members on a baseball team and many instruments in the orchestra. Living the center implies being the center of something; that something implies others, a mission, an active purpose. It's a good exchange.
However, at the moment, the focus on Saturn in Leo is specifically about one-on-one relationships, since Saturn is the ruler of your relationship house. This is a conditioning factor that is helping you take on board the viewpoint of the people closest to you at the same time it plunges them into your point of view. It's as if, whenever necessary, you and anyone close to you can switch places and align your points of view. And because Saturn is the planet telling this story for you personally, there is a structure involved; everything is happening (or must happen) within reason, in line with a reasoning process, though the challenges of life may push you right to the edge.
The relationship angle of your solar chart (the 7th house or Aquarius) is described by three factors now, which are making good old Saturn something of a comfort zone, and one that you are gradually being nudged and budged out of.
The first and most prominent factor is Neptune in Aquarius. I say most prominent because Saturn and Neptune are in opposition, and will make two of them in 2007, completing this fairly rare and somewhat dangerous alignment. Neptune was in your relationship house years before Saturn arrived in your sign, which has signified a long reevaluation of your ideas about love and partnership. One aspect of that was allowing yourself to be idealistic; another was taking some of the 'self' aspect of Leo and, perhaps uncomfortably, making it 'selfless'. As many have noticed, to really be someone special, you have to be a bit of a nobody as well.
As Saturn has gradually moved into opposition with Neptune, a sobering quality has entered your life; ideals are important, and so, too, is clarity with people. You have likely taken on the role of Mr. or Ms. Boundaries, even helping people understand what's important to them from the space of knowing what is best. This has, at times, felt like herding cats, but the thing about cats is, they have to eat, so mealtime is a good place to have discussions that don't happen at other times.
The effect on you has been one of gradually teaching you to relax and to notice how people and things so different than you can have potent effects on you -- ones you may not have noticed, or which are slowly dawning. Indeed, you're living through a long phase of people working their way into your life, into the cells of your mind and patterns of your existence. You have always been attracted to intelligent people; unlike many of our worldly comrades who either dumb themselves down or get shaky knees when they encounter someone with educated opinions, hyper intelligence is one of your fetishes.
Now let's add Chiron in Aquarius to the mix, a new kind of planet that mainly has the property of focusing whatever it touches or even comes near. Chiron is now in the process of opposing your Sun, though the later in Leo you are born, the later this exact transit will occur. The mystery of "what Chiron means" can be solved in this one idea: Chiron brings out the meaning of whatever it is contacting. Hence, it is associated with healing, with awakening, with crisis and with awareness; and as a result, with change and consequently, progress. Chiron so personally situated is a lot of focusing power. (This answers Rob Hand, the Papa Smurf of astrology, who once said to me that he had worked with Chiron for a while, but could not figure out what it 'meant'. But he noticed how the intensity level of everything went up when it was in the neighborhood, which usually accompanied other important transits.)
So, let's assemble some of the pieces. Neptune in your relationship house starting in the late 1990s began an irrevocable process of change that helped you deepen your relationships and drop many of your prejudices, and was also associated with a new kind of idealism and perhaps faith in humanity. There may have also been a shift in your relationship to drugs and alcohol: maybe you started hanging out with people who did more of them; maybe you became aware of that, made some decisions reflective of your values, and did less. Along the way, a process of your old relationship ideologies and structures melting away began, and is still underway.
Then in 2005, Chiron crossed your solar 7th house, joining Neptune in your relationship house, throwing a spotlight on whatever you were willing to look at and some things you were not so willing to look at. It remains there today.
Then a few months later, Saturn showed up in your sign, which suddenly gave you the strength to deal with whatever you needed to deal with: the patience, the boundaries, the sense of fortitude and also the willingness to make the personal changes you've needed to make. Saturn is about taking personal responsibility, particularly in your own sign. And you have done plenty of this, taking over the 'parent' part of your psyche and making sure that you are the one who takes this role in your life, effectively ousting others from this position -- be they actual parents, or people taking a parental role. And, this process continues as well. The ongoing meeting between Saturn and Neptune is a long reckoning of ideas and reality; of fantasy and necessity; of idealism and practical realities, that in the end will have moved a mountain.
Later this year, Saturn changes signs to Virgo, which will help you complete the processes I'm discussing here, and also provide some very helpful changes on the financial front; I'll leave those details for another time.
One last factor exists, that I haven't mentioned. That is that Chiron is currently traveling with a fellow Centaur, called Nessus. Nessus is like Chiron, but with a specialty: it addresses the responsibility for abuse, calling attention to the dark side of our programming and helping us resolve what we have had inflicted on us as children. Nessus is about taking responsibility, but it's really about knowing where that responsibility actually rests. It is not automatically with you, but you must take responsibility for the ultimate awareness. Indeed, it can be complex, but Nessus helps us get to the bottom of things, so we can get on with life.
Moreover, Nessus reveals the underlying psychological dynamics of relationships, so that we can actually see them, give them names, and if we need to, be free of them.
Centaurs discovered subsequent to Chiron all work a little like Chiron, but each with particular specialties; they all put the magnifying glass to things, with a particular filter. What Nessus (the third Centaur) helps reveal are the invisible psychological damages that might otherwise go unnoticed, because they were not accompanied by anything more overt (such as beatings), or because responsibility was somehow diverted (perhaps you were blamed for what you had no control over, so you miss the fact that it was your parents' role to take care of you, not the other way around). Nessus also addresses what is potentially inappropriate, and helps us decide whether it was (or is) in fact, inappropriate. This is often a truly helpful sorting-out process that can help us clarify our values, and then act on them. Important Nessus questions are, "Who owes what to whom, and why?" or, "What happened, and what does it mean?" or to give another example, "Was permission given?"
What is interesting is the extent to which your astrology is calling you into group relationships, of many kinds, or revealing group dynamics.
They may range from drinking buddies to therapy groups to political activity to family situations, but the idea of relating to several other people is now focused. So, too is your attractiveness. There may be a heck of a lot of people who feel that you are the right person for them, whatever your situation may be. Partly this is occurring because you are actually someone who understands others, partly bestowed by Chiron in your 7th house.
Notably, this increase in energy is occurring in an era when monogamy is a word that for most people is lacking a coherent definition. Past the veil of the primacy one-on-one relationships is the reality that we all love many people; yet how we respond, such as what we say or do, is a matter of context and integrity.
Beyond the fact that we almost always relate in the context of a group dynamic is the underlying truth that every relationship is indeed one-on-one. Beneath the presumptions and the social dramas, the expectations and the unquestioned values, we have these layers of dynamics: the idealized or unquestioned level; the level where we can look at what we choose to see; and the level where all the nuts and bolts of the damage that was done to us are shown to us, and which we have the ability to change, mostly because we have agreed and have chosen to be conscious.
So to say that conscious relationship is the main theme of your life now is an understatement, but to say that it's a rich time for you to be exploring this is also an understatement. Indeed, the potential is awesome at the moment for you to be one of the clearest people within your relationships, and on the whole subject, to become a kind of lightbulb among your friends -- if you haven't already noticed this, and if not, well, that's what's happening.
As for The Spiral Door aspect. Pluto's movement through your 5th solar house, Sagittarius, has encouraged you to create a brilliant fusion of art, sex and your spiritual experiences. This has felt risky, but it's really been a matter of learning that all the things you love the most are one thing; and that you can bring passion into whatever you do, and there is little point in living any other way.
Note that Leo is the 5th sign and Pluto has been transiting your 5th house -- compelling you to come to terms with your deepest level of creative energy, the very life force that Leo itself represents.
What Pluto's conjunction to the Galactic Core does is melt away any possible remaining barriers between work and play; between love and supposed responsibility outside of love -- because nothing exists outside of love. This year is likely to be the phase of the greatest experiment, and the boldest adventure of all. You are likely to see the point you were driving at all these years, and find the quality within yourself that you were looking for. You may not get to 'have' it -- indeed, it is too big to have -- but you will indeed get to be it (yourself), feel it (yourself) and experience it (yourself) in a big way.
We began this discussion with the Great Sphinx, of which I will include a photo by my friend Charlie Lemay below so you can see a reflection of yourself. I would like to end with a discussion of the cat, the pussy, the lion and the sphinx.
Leo, as the sign of the Sun and the sign ruled by the Sun, is the sign of what is called vital force: the life force, prana, chi, orgone, kundalini -- the energy of life. It is symbolized by a cat. The cat appears in the tarot card Strength or La Force, the Leo card, which depicts a woman spreading the jowls of a lion, symbolically spreading her vulva. The ancient esoteric masters drew a connection between the female genitals (the gateway to life), a cat and the vital force. Thus the reference to vulva as "pussy," whether visually or in language, is extremely old. But not as old as the oldest thing on Earth, which is a representation of a lion morphing into a human being or vice versa, called the Great Sphinx.
There is some dispute as to the age of the Sphinx, and it would be difficult to date precisely because it doesn't have a serial number. I have seen it, and it makes the Great Pyramid look like a new bank that just went up last week (which it is not). Official estimates have the Sphinx being built around 2520 BCE, but this is ridiculous. It was already being repaired during the Middle Kingdom, which began around 2030 BCE, so this would seem to be a slight underestimate in age. Most amusing of all is the water damage on a stone thing standing in the middle of an old desert, damage which nobody can account for, except for the possibility that there was once an entirely different climate where the Sphinx stands. And, indeed, the climate changes, and the Sphinx endures. Humanity endures, the vital force endures and Leo, the Lion, has seen it all.
Saturn (the structure and lord of time) in your sign is making you aware of this fact: of the experience, strength and wisdom you possess -- and counseling you to take your time, because as long as you take care of your heart, you do have time. The opposition of Saturn to Neptune is a cool image of that structure experiencing an ebb and flow and changes of climate, emerging perhaps in some ways different, but still very much recognizably yourself -- though everyone stands around and wonders.

For more information about your relationships, please see Aquarius. This will give you an idea what is happening for those closest to you, and how they may experience you. For more information about your career, please see Taurus. You can consider this an alternative take on your professional life, as it's an assessment of your 10th house. For more information about the home and security angle of your chart, please see Scorpio. This will give you greater detail on themes just covered in this horoscope that relate to home and security. For an explanation of the houses, please see this article.

The Great Sphinx, photographed with Fuji Velvia film. Copyright ©2003 Charlie Lemay.

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