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The Lion and the Child: Leo Season 2023

The first ray of light that dawns in Leo season summons a feeling of celebration. The Sun has returned home to its place of rulership. And as the Sun rises to its full power, a surge of courage and vitality will shift the mood dramatically. The Sun is a symbol of spiritual power, the heart of the heavens that pours forth its ceaseless love to the earth below.

Judith by Gustav Klimt (1901)

Leo season is the middle of summer in the northern hemisphere. Everything’s hot and lush, sweltering with light. And as the Sun tilts further upon its path of descent, the Sun’s rays become increasingly powerful.

The days seem endless, a shimmering haze of heat waves offering a glimpse into eternity. And yet, every shadow that falls contains a subtle pang of urgency. The Sun won’t be enthroned forever. And outside your notice, daylight is imperceptibly waning by minutes.

“Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.”

Shakespeare Sonnet 18

It’s this foreshadowing of loss at the edge of summer that accelerates your desire to make the most of life. There’s no time to waste being half-awake, half-alive, or half-sure. Instead, the wisdom of Leo insists that there’s only time to be true to yourself.

The journey of discovering your true self is described in a parable by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, called The Camel, the Lion and the Child. The story outlines three stages of spiritual transformation that resonate with the archetypes of Leo and its solar virtues.

It begins: The beginning of self-realization is described through the life of a camel. These animals travel in herds and are made to carry many heavy burdens. At first, the camel is unaware of any other life and takes great pride in how much weight it can carry, saying:

“What is heaviest … that I may take it upon me and rejoice in my strength.”

Eventually, the camel comes to resent being overworked and exhausted. The burdens he’s asked to carry become so heavy that he finally runs away. He escapes into a lonely desert, where he evolves into a lion.

Third Century Roman Lion, Mosaic detail

In Nietzsche’s words:

“The spirit here becomes a lion; it wants to capture freedom and be master in its own desert.”

The lion is the symbol of Leo, its golden mane and regal countenance resonant with the Sun. The lion also symbolizes the Sun’s strength and ferocity. As the king of the beasts, the lion is self-possessed and empowered by the Sacred No.”

But the lion is continuously tormented by a dragon, called “Shalt Not,” turning his life into a battle with external forces. The lion begins to resent the never-ending fight. He realizes that he’s mastered the power of saying “No!”, but still knows nothing about how to say “Yes.” When the lion stops fighting with the dragon, he evolves into the child.

Cupid On a Lion by Václav Hollar (1600s)

Nietzsche describes:

“The child is innocence and forgetting, a new beginning, a sport, a self-propelling wheel, a Sacred Yes.”

The “Divine Child” represents the highest archetype associated with Leo. Nietzsche says that the child’s power is the “Sacred Yes,” revealing the Sun’s alchemical gold in every atom of creation.

At this level of self-realization, life becomes a celebration and an affirmation of blessings. To have the spirit of a child is the secret to happiness and creative freedom. It means you never stop loving, learning, or finding joy.

This Leo season, it’s worth reflecting upon what areas of your life you feel most like the camel, the lion, and the child. This parable can offer profound insight into your own spiritual evolution and inspire you to grow in the right direction.

The final wisdom of Leo season asks you to open your heart to the Divine Child, whose playful spirit is lit up by the joy of saying Yes! to life.

Leo Season Forecast

The season ahead will unfold in three chapters, beginning with Venus retrograde in Leo and concluding with Mercury’s station in Virgo. This will be a time of deep soul-searching, self-discovery, and a return to innocence.

The Kiss by Gustav Klimt (1907)

Chapter I. July 22–August 2: Sun in the 1st decan of Leo

On the evening of July 22, the Sun will return to its sign of rulership in Leo. As the days and weeks unfold, a bright light will shine upon a role that you’re truly meant to play. If you’ve been hiding your light for a long time, you may feel very shy about fully stepping into this. And even if you have already stepped into your role, you might feel shy about letting your performance blossom into its full potential. Wherever you are, know that the month ahead will inspire courage, helping you to overcome fear and conformity so you can truly be yourself.

July 22: Venus stations retrograde in Leo

Like synchronized dancing, just as the Sun is making its grand entrance, Venus stations retrograde at 28º Leo. This begins a deep soul-journey of renewal in love, friendship, art, and beauty.

Venus represents the force that attracts the spirit into unification with the body. From this union, the physical senses emerge to appreciate life’s beauty as spirit and matter. Venus lives within you as desire, which stirs your soul’s longing and pulses as your inner magnetism.

When you lose touch with desire, magnetism fades and life’s pleasures begin to wane. Fortunately, this Venus retrograde represents an alchemical journey that will get you back in touch with your soul’s deepest desires.

To better understand the alchemical process unfolding over the next 40 days, a perfect Venusian metaphor can be found in the life cycle of a rose, which demonstrates the natural process of withering, germinating, and blooming. Thus, the internal alchemy of Venus’s retrograde will begin with death and end in a flourishing rebirth.

Stage I: old desires wither, like dead flowers decomposing.

Stage II: new desires emerge, like seeds germinating.

Stage III: desires become fulfilled, like rosebuds blooming

The beginning of Venus’s retrograde is your time to allow old desires to die. This requires soul-searching, looking deeply into your relationships and interests to discern where desire is no longer alive.

Between now and September 3, Venus will guide you through a change of heart, one that’s based on loving who you are now. This change may lead you toward forgiveness, separation, or deeper intimacy. But whatever takes place will be a sign of growth. Under this influence, you can release the past, clearing the clutter of outdated priorities and attachments.

The ultimate purpose of Venus retrograde is to revive your soul’s deepest desires, putting you back in graceful alignment with relationships and interests that really turn you on.

July 28: Mercury enters Virgo

Mercury begins a three-month transit through the sign of Virgo, his sign of rulership and exaltation. In Virgo, the childlike solipsism of Leo becomes sublimated into the desire to serve.

The exalted influence of Mercury offers an opportunity to become more useful, clarifying your mind and your message so you can communicate more effectively. Any study, creative project, or business venture can prosper under this influence, especially when motivated by an act of heartfelt service.

In the sign of the Maiden, Mercury encourages the virginal mind to purify thoughts and ideas to invite a clear connection to the infinite intelligence of the Divine Mind. And during this transit, an illumination of natural order and the rhythms of creation will increase your ability to diagnose problems, discover solutions, and distill ideas down into essential knowledge.

This year, Mercury will spend four months in Virgo, due to his retrograde period that begins in August. This extended stay promises to bring clarity to your thinking, inspiring you to improve the quality of your service, no matter what kind of work you do.

August 1: Full Moon in Aquarius

August begins with the Full Moon at 9º Aquarius. The ruler of Aquarius, Saturn in Pisces, will be opposed to Mercury in Virgo. This slows the shutter speed of your mind, asking you to dilate upon a place where pessimism and resistance have been blocking your progress. This is the kind of tension that inspires burdened camels to become roaring lions.

A Full Moon occurs when the Sun and Moon oppose one another, stirring a dialogue between opposite sides of the zodiac. This reveals an area of tension and division in your psyche that can be brought into better balance.

The Sun in Leo represents the warm-blooded heart of creation, the blazing fire of life and love around which everything revolves. Whereas the Moon in Aquarius represents the wilderness, the place of exile known only by the light of a distant star.

The Sun in Leo commands great honor and celebration. The Moon in Aquarius is outcast, wandering upon the edge where only forgotten wisdom, heretical ideas, and experimental art can thrive.

As the Moon in Aquarius reflects the light of the Sun in Leo, the glorified self must face the shadow of the exile. Internally, something that you’ve exiled or rejected in yourself can now be embraced and brought back into your heart.

This Full Moon in Aquarius offers an opportunity to make a bold departure from the status quo, burning away your fears of rejection as you explore the full spectrum of your potential as a creative being.

Minerva (1907) by Gustav Klimt

Chapter II. August 3–12: Sun in the 2nd decan of Leo

As the Sun moves into the middle of Leo season, Venus retrograde continues to reveal where you’ve become most demagnetized, where passions have cooled, and where interests have become far removed from your soul’s true longing. Surrender with grace, for all that’s been lost will be restored as renewed desire. Allow the gentle current of the waning Moon to support any emotional release that’s required.

August 9: Venus retrograde in Leo square Uranus in Taurus

This is the second square between Venus and Uranus this summer. The introspective focus of Venus retrograde can spark a sudden awareness of where you’ve become an automaton, just going through the motions instead of finding real pleasure, connection, and beauty.

This square to Uranus could trigger the loss of something that you’ve been numb about for a long time. Or it might snap you out of your numbness and light your fire. Either way, the third and final square will complete this process at the end of September.

Hygeia by Gustav Klimt (1907)

Chapter III. August 13–23: Sun in the 3rd decan of Leo

The third act of Leo season begins with Venus retrograding through the heart of the Sun. This is called the inferior conjunction, representing the halfway point of the retrograde cycle. The stage of withering and loss now concludes as the union of the Sun and Venus sparks new life within. A cosmic seed of desire and magnetism begins to germinate.

August 13: Sun conjunct Venus retrograde in Leo

This conjunction between Venus and the Sun is like a cosmic seed, vibrating with pure potential. Thus, the inferior conjunction offers a magical awakening. In the sky, Venus is invisible while she crosses through the heart of the Sun. But soon, she’ll rise like a diamond, heralding the dawn of renewed desire.

August 16: New Moon in Leo

The New Moon in Leo at 23º summons many of the virtues of the Sun in its rulership, all of which will be challenged by an element of surprise.

The start of every lunar cycle summons a wave of creative and emotional energies. But with the New Moon conjunct Black Moon Lilith and square to Uranus, your ego will be challenged by a painful confrontation with buried feelings.

This New Moon has a brutally honest edge. The over-idealized images you have about yourself might suddenly crack, revealing all the fragility and pain you’ve been hiding. But through the cracks, the light of your soul will shine through, revealing strengths you never knew you had.

With Mars trine Uranus, you can show up for this day as a force to be reckoned with, ready for any challenge. And this New Moon in Leo will inspire the courage to be yourself. Life is wasted trying to be somebody else.

The wisdom of Leo knows that you were born to shine the light of your true self: the Divine Child. And the solar wisdom of this New Moon sees courage as the noblest of all virtues, the foundation upon which all other virtues rest.

There are no true beliefs or convictions without courage. And there is no true self without courage.

August 23: Sun enters Virgo

On August 23rd, the Sun yields its throne to become the servant of Virgo, the earth priestess. The end of summer brings the climax of life on earth. Fruits are ripening in abundance and many things you’ve been working on all year are now coming into fruition. But time is of the essence. The languid summer days that once seemed like eternity are now slipping away quickly. Simultaneously, Mercury stations retrograde in Virgo, initiating a deep cleanse of your mind so that you can learn how to make the most of your time.

Rachel is the creator of Aeolian Heart Astrology, a voice that speaks to free spirits and free minds. She illuminates the timeless wisdom of Hermetic philosophy with a unique blend of pop culture, history, and art. She believes that astrology is magic because following the rhythm of the planets reveals life as a graceful dance. Her natal chart readings awaken the soul, reigniting one’s passion, purpose, and flow. Since 2015, she’s been sharing the light of the stars through her writing and teaching. And she has inspired thousands of clients and students to get back into alignment with who they were born to be. Click here to sign up for the Aeolian Heart Astrology newsletter!





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