The Sun rules the astrological sign Leo (July 22 – August 22) and in myth, Apollo was the Sun (the Romans called him Phoebus which means “brightly shining”). In mythological symbolism, the emblem or token associated with a particular god, such as Neptune’s trident or Mercury’s staff (the caduceus), tells us something about that god’s area of influence. Apollo is often depicted with a stringed instrument called the lyre. Like a harp, each string of the lyre is tuned to sound higher (or lower) than the next. Apollo’s lyre can be understood as a symbol of creativity, order and hierarchy. The order represented by Apollo is synonymous with The Apollonian Principle which corresponds to the Leo nature. Leos maintain order and hierarchy through modeling the exercise of reason, ethical behavior and moderation (in opposition is The Dionysian Principle, characterized by things wild, unrestrained and ecstatic.)
In the hierarchy of ordinary life, Leos are most comfortable when they are in the upper echelon and in charge. Most Leos feel this as their rightful place in society partially out of a natural pride in themselves and their abilities and also because they want this position so much. This desire derives from an innate need to have everything connected with them, and reflecting on them, of the best quality. Being empowered enables Leos to exercise creative and qualitative control and to monitor (and occasionally tweak) their public image.
Like the other fire signs (Aries and Sagittarius) Leo is a masculine sign. This may explain why Leo women usually succeed in the once male-dominated world of business. In this arena their style echoes their wild kingdom counterpart – the lion. Leo women are the “go-getters” of the sign, more active than Leo men, highly capable of running with the pride, and making the kill.
In myth it is told that Zeus, king of the gods, grants Apollo the gift of prophesy. And those born under the rule of Apollo, the Sun (Leos) are well-known for their perceptiveness and well-developed intuition. Like cats (albeit one of the great cats) Leos are very aware of their body and feelings. And this intense self-awareness enhances their perceptions to an acuity that borders on the prophetic.
Though Leos have a multitude of abilities and a great deal of charisma they are often unlucky in love. The tale of Apollo’s infatuation with Daphne captures the essence of how this unfolds for the sign. In one tale Eros (called Cupid by the Romans) punishes Apollo for bragging about his importance (Leos brag a bit). To open Apollo’s eyes to the true nature of power, Eros makes him fall in love with Daphne who, in turn, is made to run away from Apollo. As Apollo pursues Daphne he shouts after her that he is no ordinary man, that he is the son of Zeus and that he is worshipped throughout Greece (note the hierarchy-focused bragging). But, no matter what his qualifications are, Daphne prays to escape his advances…and her prayers are answered. When Apollo is near enough to reach out and touch her, she is transformed into a lovely laurel tree. How is it that the god Apollo, the model of masculine beauty, cannot have his desire? This is as hard to understand as the difficulty Leos have in keeping the ones they love.
Leos can be wonderfully generous. They seem to appear when one is in need of help. Without hesitation they offer a warm, inclusive energy that restores the weakened. However, when Leos are rejected, insulted or embarrassed they may punish those who have given offense with that which hurts Leos the most – public humiliation. At their best, Leos are pure and noble and can be heroic and inspiring leaders. Unexpectedly sensitive, Leos have a need to be appreciated for all they give.