It looked good-natured, she thought; still, it had very long claws and a great many teeth, so she felt it ought to be treated with respect.
Has anyone said to you lately, Don’t do me any favors, but dazzled you with an utterly gorgeous smile as he said it? You’ve been exposed to the big cat. Don’t worry, you’ll recover. What’s a little scorched spot here and there? It’s not at all unusual for Leo to display his arrogant pride and his sunny playfulness at the same time, which is why he gets away with murder.
Leo, the lion, rules all the other animals. Leo, the person, rules you and everybody else. (Yes, yes, I know he really doesn’t. But please don’t tell him. It would break his big, warm, egotistical heart.) It’s best to humor him. Then he’ll purr, instead of roaring and scaring you half to death. The lion alternates between being energetically gregarious and beautifully indolent, as he stifles a luxurious yawn. If you want to study the beast, hit all the bright, sparkling places around town. At least half the people you see living it up in style will be Leos. The shyer pussycats will be at home living it up. Leo hates the dark and boredom equally.
If you see one who blushes easily make sure you aren’t getting a blush confused with a flush of pride or ego. There’s more difference between a blush and a flush than a letter of the alphabet. His face may be pink because he’s been dancing too hard. His cheeks may be suffused with a rosy glow because the love of his life just passed by. But his high color isn’t caused by introversion or self-effacing timidity. There are no introverted Leos. There are only Leos who pretend to be introverts. That’s important to remember. You may find a few lions who keep their ruling Sun dimmed and go about being strong, dignified 164 and determined quietly. Don’t let that soft purr fool you. Even the gentle Leos are inwardly sold on their royal right to rule friends and family as they peek out from behind the curtains and watch for their chance on stage. If you don’t believe me, just choose a quiet Leo who’s pretending to be an introvert, and attack his pride. Take something away from him which he believes is rightfully his, give him orders and show him no respect. You’ll hear that supposedly gentle cat roar from here to the zoo. It takes a brave soul to challenge him when he’s defending his rights and his dignity. Some Leos mellow with age, but the lion never really lowers his proud head. Never.
As for the physical attributes of this Sun sign, just look around for people who resemble a lion or a lioness, with a mane of hair that sweeps back off the face, and a deceptively lazy look. Leos walk straight and proud, with the smooth glide of the cat. The Womans combine lithe grace with a hidden, quivering intensity. This last will be disguised by a soft, usually calm and steady nature. But don’t forget that the lioness is always ready to pounce if she feels threatened. Her claws are sheathed, but sharp.
You’ll notice a commanding air and stately bearing, as Leo looks down on all the mere mortals beneath him. Ordinarily, the movements and speech are deliberate. Leos seldom talk fast, run or even walk quickly (unless there’s an Aries or Gemini ascendant or Moon, for example). You won’t ignore the lion for long in a group. He’ll either get the center of the stage with dramatic statements and action-or hell get it by pouting and sulking behind the potted palms until someone rushes over to ask what’s wrong. The sign produces its share of blue eyes, but many Leos, especially the Womans, have dark brown eyes that are first soft and gentle, then snap and crackle with fire, often round in shape and slightly tilted at the comer. The hair is dark or reddish blonde and usually wavy, worn in a wild, careless style that upsweeps, stands out fully on the top and the sides or is sleeked down tightly, one extreme or the other, and there’s a noticeable ruddy complexion.
Leos have a strange effect on people that’s downright funny to watch. It’s hard to stand in front of the lion without drawing yourself up to full stature, stomach in- shoulders back. I really don’t know whether we peasants do this in imitation of the royal manner of the Leo we’re facing or to gather courage for a possible lecture, for they do love to give free advice. They have a knack for telling you with a slightly superior, condescending manner exactly how you should manage your life.
This love of teaching is why so many Leos end up as educators, politicians and psychiatrists. The exasperating thing is that they’re quite good at rationalizing things and smoothing out the wrinkles in your life. Too bad they can’t manage their own affairs with as much ease and finesse. Still, this is what makes the lion so downright lovable; his honest superiority and excellent abilities, incongruously mixed up with a terrible, transparent vulnerability of ego. The proud, dignified cat vulnerable? Yes indeed. He’s deeply wounded when you don’t respect his wisdom and generosity. To subdue him, simply flatter him. Nine times out of ten, he’ll turn from a roaring beast into a bashful, docile kitten, almost visibly rolling and basking in the warmth of compliments. It’s this weakness which is the Waterloo for many a stem, autocratic Leo. His vanity is his Achilles’ heel. Fattery acts like catnip to him, lack of respect blinds him with rage and both extremes make him incapable of balanced judgment. There are some Leos who control these tendencies successfully, but they’re always latent in the Sun sign and present to some degree.
Try it sometime. In the middle of receiving one of his lectures, interrupt respectfully and tell your Leo friend he looks positively magnificent in that sweater. The result will probably be an abrupt fall from dignity, as the lion blushes and says, completely disconcerted, Really? You really think I do? In most cases, appreciating the intellect works as well as complimenting the appearance.
Leo just can’t help feeling superior and behaving dramatically now and then. One of my children has an August-born teacher. She came home from school one day to say, Mother, my teacher is so funny. He’s awfully smart about everything, but sometimes he runs around the room and waves his arms in the air and shouts, ‘I’m surrounded by idiots!’ We always giggle, because we know he doesn’t mean it. Poor lion, even the children know his roar is worse than his bite. It’s only fair to remind you that you may stumble on one who has an afflicted Mars or Mercury with, say, Scorpio rising, and then the bite will be more serious, but we’re speaking now of the typical cat In many ways, Leo is extremely astute. Hell seldom waste his energy trying to get water from a dry well, as Aries often does, which makes him a superb organizer and a wise distributor of duties. His commands are surprisingly effective when he tones down the dramatics, because he can be a master of the simple, straightforward speech, even if it smacks slightly of theatrics. Leo expresses approval generously and openly, and can give almost embarrassingly extravagant compliments. He’s not at all bashful about his displeasure, either. Whatever he says, he usually means. It can soothe or bum, but it never fails to leave an impression.
The regal ways of this Sun sign are splendid when the Leo man or woman is host or hostess. They make you feel you are being entertained in a royal palace. You keep expecting to see a coach and footman pull up outside the door at any moment to drop off Marie Antoinette, or, at the very least, Nell Gwyn and Madame Du Barry. Leos surround their guests with heaps of superb food, fine wines, beautiful women, and soft music. I must admit I do know one lion with strong Virgo planets in his natal chart who serves diced cucumbers sprinkled with herbs, parsley and wheat germ at parties, but the other trimmings are luxuriously leonine, always including the feminine guests. Such pulchritude! Louis XIV never had it so good. But after Louis XIV the deluge-and after many a Leo’s romantic dancing and dining comes a deluge of proposals, passion, tears, anger, apologies, and just plain sentimental confusion.
Now that we find ourselves on the subject of romance, which is a pretty common place to find yourself when you’re involved with the lion, either in person or on paper, we should note that you won’t find many bachelors or spinsters born under this Sun sign. If you come across one, don’t form a definite opinion until you’ve discreetly checked the closet. There’s usually a paramour hiding nearby any lion’s lair. He may not be married when you first meet him, but he’ll be in love, or just about to be, or hell have recently broken a romantic shackle, and will be wearing a pathetic, lost look. The fiery pride of Leo causes plenty of shattered love affairs and marriages. A lion minus his mate is usually a woeful sight to behold, but when his pride has been injured by a lover or a legal mate, he can drop his sad-eyed look and become pretty fierce and wild instead. Still, there’s no one who can bear more in stoic dignity, or adjust more courageously to depressing conditions with sheer faith and optimism when it’s necessary.
Since forgiveness and sympathy of spirit are part of the big cat’s inner nature, the reconciliations are about as frequent in Leo’s emotional life as the splits, once the fireworks of outraged dignity have sputtered out and he gets lonely. He’s almost continually in the throes of passion, not just with the opposite sex, but with life itself. Life without love, to both lions and shy pussycats, is like a plug without a socket. The Sun forgets to shine for them when romance dies.
These men and women never lean on others. Instead, they prefer to be leaned on. Responsibility toward the weak and helpless appeals to them. Leo may roar theatrically that everyone depends on him and he’s forced to carry the whole load, but don’t pay a bit of attention to his complaints. He loves it. Try to relieve him of his burdens or lend a helping hand, and youTI see how quickly Leo will disdainfully refuse your help. Accepting financial aid is something he especially prefers to avoid. Though he may be broke frequently, he’s always certain he’ll find some way to line his pockets again soon. Very few Leos are cautious with cash. You may find an occasional one who was frightened by a bill collector at an early age, and behaves as if he’s headed for debtor’s prison any moment. But the typical lion is a spectacular gambler at heart, often wildly extravagant; even the rare cat who pinches pennies will dress expensively, and always look well turned out. He wants first class and luxury all the way, and he’ll spend freely on fun and pleasure. Leo will give money to almost anybody. If he’s asked for a loan and he’s short of cash, hell often go out and borrow it from someone else before admitting that the King isn’t in a position to help his ‘needy subjects. That’s a last resort, however, because Leos are mortified to be forced to turn to others for money, advice or encouragement. They have enough ego to supply (heir own encouragement, they’re clever enough to accumulate their own pot of gold-and goodness knows they don’t seek advice readily. One seeks advice only from those above him, and who is superior to the lion?
Leo often runs high fevers, is prone to accidents, sudden, violent illnesses and is usually immune to chronic, lingering disease. Since they seldom do anything halfway, these people either radiate incredible vitality or else complain that they’re not long for this world, the latter a typical reaction to lack of appreciation and starvation for affection. Leos seem to have either superbly strong hearts or some sort of weakness in the heart area. They may suffer from pains in the back and shoulders, spinal troubles, accidents to the legs or ankles, problems relating to the reproductive organs and hoarseness or sore throats. But they recuperate with vigor from sickness, and their main danger is carelessness about health or getting up too soon when illness strikes. To stay in bed and be waited on flatters the Leo vanity at first, but when he realizes he’s playing the role of weak instead of strong, his spells of incapacitation are quickly conquered.
There’s no inbetween with the Sun-ruled. They are either dreadfully careless and sloppy or meticulously neat and orderly. They rather enjoy gossip, and they feel hurt or left out if something is going on around them they don’t understand. Leos are fixed in nature. It’s hard to sway them from a set path, though they can sway others with convincing oratory. They accumulate only so that they can distribute to others, once they’ve provided themselves with a glittering throne complete with a soft, feather pillow. They can show as much ferocious energy as a steam roller, and then be as sleepily lazy as the cat, stretching out and snoozing in the sun. When they work, they work. When they play, they play. When they rest, they rest. Most lions have an impressive genius for cheerfully delegating messy and unpleasant jobs to others, while they attend to important matters, like deciding who should be elected President and how the war should be won.
Surprising himself, when a real emergency falls on Leo’s strong shoulders, he’ll carry it lightly and never shirk his duty, helping the defenseless, protecting the frightened (though he may be twice as frightened himself inside), cheering the melancholy and tackling his true responsibilities with courage. This is the inbred Leo nature, which will shine forth after the playboy phase has been tucked away with his gaudy hand-painted ties and that guitar he used to play.
The next time you’re on the receiving end of the lion’s proud roar, remember the Queen of Hearts who constantly shouted, Off with his head, white everyone’s head stayed securely fastened on. Remember the cowardly lion in The Wizard of Oz who tenderly nursed his beautiful tail in injured dignity, anxiously searching the world over for the gift of true courage, only to find he was really the bravest one of the group when the real crisis came.
Leo is a fiercely loyal friend, a just but powerful enemy, creative and original, strong and vital-whether he’s a quiet or a flamboyant lion, for there are both kinds. He dresses in glorious raiment, appropriate to his colorful personality. We overlook his arrogance, his sometimes insufferable ego, his rather ridiculous spells of vanity and laziness, because his heart, like his metal, is pure gold.
Brimming over with fun and generosity, the gay, affectionate lion prances in a field of poppies when his Sun is high in the sky-and the dice he throws with confidence bear the numbers one and four. Leo proudly wears a topaz for luck, then pushes it too far, but he has a true inner dignity and grace that lets him carry his misfortunes with courage. The warm, yellow rays of his cheerful hope deepen to orange in the sunset’s glow, and his nights are bright with a thousand stars.
Famous Leo Personalities Gracie Alien Lucille Ball Ethel Barrymore Bernard Baruch Bill Count Basic David Belasco Napoleon Bonaparte Walter Brennan Robert Burns Fidel Castro
Julia Child Arlene Dahl Cecil B. DeMille Eddie Fisher Whitney
John Galsworthy Alfred Hitchcock Aldous Huxley Carl Jung Jacqueline Kennedy Princess Margaret Rose Mussolini Ogden Nash Dorothy Parker Walter Scott George Bernard Shaw Percy Bysshe Shelley Robert Taylor Mae West Young