The History of Leo
The sign of Leo does not entirely coincide with the constellation of Leo. In the zodiac, it is located between Cancer and Virgo, taking the fifth 30 degrees of the zodiacal circle. Leo is a fixed sign that comes after the summer has already begun in the sign of Cancer. It represents the hot, sunny summer, stable and unchangeable, with no sign of autumn that is to come.
Leo is one of the earliest recognized constellations, documented in Mesopotamians for the first time as early as 4000 BC. Babylonians called it UR.GU.LA – the great lion. The brightest star of this constellation, Regulus, was known as “the star that stands at the Lion’s breast,” or the King Star. The constellation of Leo was also called Ser or Shir by Persians, Artan by the Turks, Aryo by the Syrians, Arye by the Jewish and Simha by the Indians, all translated as “lion”. The ancient Egyptians had great respect for the constellation of Leo, because the Sun shone in front of it at the time of annual flooding of the river Nile.
This constellation has one star of the first magnitude, one of the four Royal stars, the guardian of the North – Regulus. This constellation actually resembles a lion and the brightness of Regulus with the fact that the Big Dipper points to it make it easy for us to find Leo in the night sky.
The myth of Leo
Leo is connected to the first of twelve labors of the Greek hero Hercules, in which he had to kill the notorious Nemean Lion.
The Lion lived in a cave in Nemea and terrorized the people who lived there. There was no way to defeat him because of the impenetrable skin that could not be punctured by iron, bronze or stone. When Heracles found it, he tried to shoot it with arrows and they simply bounced of the lion’s skin. When the lion entered his cave to hide, Heracles started a search for it. He needed two months to find it in that cave and finally strangled it, using its own claws to get its skin. This skin was made into a cloak, worn as a trophy and a reminder of Heracles’ strength, as well as a cloak of protection that made him look even more fearsome.
The second myth written in the constellation of Leo is the myth of a tragic love affair between Pyramus and Thisbe. This is a story that looks a lot like a Shakespeare’s novel, for both lovers commit suicide by the end of it. When they arranged a secret meeting, Thisbe arrived to the meeting point first and saw a lioness with mouth bloody from her recent kill. She runs off scared and leaves her veil behind. This veil is later found by Pyramus, who kills himself thinking that the lioness killed Thisbe. She then returns to find him dead and stabs herself with the same sword.
The connection between the Leo myth and the Leo zodiac sign
The entire myth of Leo seems quite depressing. Either Leo is killed or responsible for the death of innocent people, or love in general. Things are not that bad when you think of it from a different angle. The sign of Leo is the sign of Neptune’s fall and we can see that these myths carry the story of pretending, adultery and deadly misconceptions within. This could help us understand the need Leo representatives have to shine a light and find the truth in everything. Even the smallest lie can hurt them, or those around them, greatly.
Heracles kills the indestructible lion of Nemea, but the main part of this story is the one in which the lion gets scared and hides. This speaks of the need of this constellation and the sign of Leo for bravery. It is deeply rooted that Leo mustn’t fear anything, or he could get seriously hurt. We can also see the story of lion’s claws that finished him off, meaning that any weapon, physical, emotional or verbal, will hurt the person who used it, not the one it was intended for.
Still, in its good position in a personal chart, Leo represents bravery, royalty and success. It holds the story of someone strong, indestructible and fearless, for as long as the person does not act out of fear, hurting others and ending up getting hurt. Leo needs to be courageous and righteous or there won’t be much fun for them in this lifetime.