Athena's Web Weekly Column

  Week of April 26th - May 2nd,  2002

Leo Full Moon

Columns Archive


   This week we're taking another look at Ovid's Fasti, this time examining the Ides of February. While this date would equate to February 13th in the Julian calendar, it corresponded to February 11th in the older calendar of the Republic. While following the lunar placements through the signs of the zodiac, this would mean that the Moon falls in the sign Leo. During Ovid's time the sign and constellation coincided, although this is now no longer the case. Because this is the Ides of February, the Full Moon of this month was in Leo.



   In the days before the Full Moon, the Romans counted down to this auspicious date. They knew, after centuries of observation, that circumstances tended to culminate at these times. The Moon represents the public mood, our feelings, and the emotional side of life. During Full Moons, our emotions can overpower the conscious, more rational disposition of the Sun (the daylight mind). People are more prone to follow their gut instincts, rather than the more conscientious dictates of the light of reason. But there is also a fuller 'luminosity', a greater glory, a longer lasting fame that comes with the Full Moon. During the Ides of January, Ovid was singing the praises of Augustus Caesar, the new leader of the Roman Empire. On the Ides of February, he is looking farther back into history, when Rome was younger, for what we can presume to be an old holiday in the calendar of the Republic.

Sir Leo

Sir Leo

   Leo is a sign that deals with pride, nobility, honor, and valor. Often depicted as king, their capacity for leadership comes naturally. They expect to be treated with dignity and respect, and can feel as though they rule by divine right.

   The Roman calendar on this date looked back in history to the prestige that one clan, the Fabii, had entertained. They offered to take on a war for Rome in 479 BC against the city-state of Veii single-handedly; to bear the expense, trails and suffering of its outcome. The parallels to Leo are obvious to anyone familiar with the celestial science.

   "A single house had undertaken the defence and burden of the city: the right hands of a single clan proffered and drew their swords. From the same camp a noble soldiery marched forth, of whom any one was fit to be a leader."

Leo, Sir

The heart of the Lion

   But, since Leo rules the heart and is so honest in their nature, they are susceptible to attack from more devious forces. Scorpio, the sign of secrecy and subterfuge, squares Leo, and hidden agendas can undermine the strength of this noble archetype.

   "Whither away, ye scions of an illustrious house? 'Tis ill to trust the foe. O noble hearts and simple, beware of treacherous blades! By fraud is valour vanquished: from every hand the foe leaps forth into the open plain, and every side they hold. What can a handful of the brave do against so many thousands?"

   There is one more clue that Ovid provides as to the celestial identity of our lunar configuration, and he establishes it at the very outset of their quest.

   "...and with drawn swords (the Fabii) broke through the Tyrrhenian array right valiantly, even as lions of the Libyan breed attack herds scattered through spacious fields."

   Coincidence or calculation? The imagery is so obvious it jumps right out and bites you.


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