This week we'll take a look at Leo, the fifth sign of the zodiac, ruled by the Sun. This is a fixed fire sign. Compared to the life of an individual, the light of the Sun never expires. It represents life itself. Its symbol is the Lion, the King of the Beasts.
When the Sun is in the sky, it's daytime. Our central star is considerably larger than all of the planets of the solar system put together. The planets bow to the Sun's preeminence, hiding behind a cloudless blue canopy during the day, only daring to venture out at night under the cover of darkness. In the body, Leo rules over the heart and eyes. As a personality, Leo shines through with honor and pride. They strive for glory. At their spiritual best, they both have and offer the love of God. On the flip side they can be vain and boastful. They are generally handsome and have great hair, of which they will be the first to tell you. They seek victory, glory and trophies, anything which helps them to stand out and shine. They desire to win favor and acclaim. Like any fire sign, Leo is prone towards action in bold, brave, center stage deeds. They want to be noticed, and are their own biggest supporters.
In Book XVII of Homer's Iliad, our next Leo book, all of these themes are demonstrated at the very beginning of the chapter in an excellent celestial choreography. Watch for them, and learn how Leo plays from the heart, and is born to make a stand. Now, enter one king, center stage. Starting with (where else?) line 1:
"In the midst of the great fight
"One whose heart leaped at Patroklos' fall
"Hot with anger, red-haired Menelaos growled:
The two men clash, and it is Euphorbos who is undone by a single blow. We then learn how handsome he was, and what beautiful hair he had!
"He thudded down, his gear clanged on his body,
"And as a mountain lion
Following this confrontation between these two high-spirited individuals, Apollo, the Greek God of the Sun, makes his entrance. Notice that he does so through the influence of a mortal, just as the planets work through us even today.
"He might with ease
Apollo's presence is strong in this chapter, as we might expect. And with this we may be catching a glimpse of just who it is that Menelaos is fighting. Is Euphorbos a take off on 'euphoria', a word meaning 'a strong feeling of happiness, confidence, or well-being' according to the dictionary? It would certainly fit in with the larger design we see at work here. But the Leonine images continue to flow, with the fire binding the notion of Hektor's heart with that of Menelaos.
"Turning back, once more the god
'What now? If I
'To fight a man god loves.' This image goes right to the heart of our theme, and as in the fifth book of the Bible, Deuteronomy, you will also spot images of 'god's will' and the 'heart', themes of Leo, coming through in these lines of Homer. But to return to our story, then our lion, King Menelaos, begins to back off, thinking better of his pride, and bowing to a more practical path.
"Backward at last he turned, and left the body,
After being beaten back, Menelaos finds Aias, and now it is the latter's turn to play the part of lion.
"And still Aias,
Indeed, even the way in which Menelaos summons Aias to the contest uses Leonine themes.
"Menelaos ran to his side and said:
'Aias, come, good heart, we'll make a fight of it
This call went straight
Both flashing bronze and glory are strong in this chapter, as is the image of fire.
Notice how the fire roars! And then again...
"So all fought on, a line of living flame."
And in one final scene, taken from close to the end of the chapter, the lion is tired, but the memory of the warmth of the heart of Patroklos keeps him going.
"Menelaos complied, but slowly, as a lion
'Remember poor Patroklos, each of you,
So, is it the lion or the fire which roars, or could they be one and the same celestial essence? As Homer draws upon these various images, and how they are symbolized through the spirit of fire, the heart of a lion, or the pride, vanity and boastfulness of ego, he crafts for us yet one more image, simple and to the point. What does the chariot of the Golden God look like on a sunny day?
"The main armies,
He doesn't seem to miss a trick. If you watch carefully for these themes, you will find them in great abundance. The image of a lion is a favorite of Homer's, and is used in many other locations, but not to the extent that it is found in this chapter. Remember that this epic was composed in the middle of the Age of Aries, a fire sign, and the spirit of battle was the backdrop around which much of life was composed, hence the Iliad is an epic of war. It is similiar to, but different from, the way the church and Christianity are an all pervasive backdrop for western culture during our time and throughout the last twenty centuries. But specific Leonine themes rise to the surface as various forms of vanity, pride, beauty, and boastfulness and are portrayed against this backdrop in the heat of battle. Leonine qualities are artistically interwoven in real time, with extensive examples occurring throughout Book XVII, in a chapter which has a total of 29 references to the heart, for those just learning astrology and how it really impacts life.