Leo Zodiac Sign: Characteristics, Dates, & More
Leo is the fifth sign of the zodiac. These folks are impossible to miss since they love being center stage. Making an impression is Job #1 for Leos, and when you consider their personal magnetism, you see the job is quite easy. Leos are an ambitious lot, and their strength of purpose allows them to accomplish a great deal. The fact that this horoscope sign is also creative makes their endeavors fun for them and everyone else.
It’s quite common to see a Leo on stage or in Hollywood since these folks never shy away from the limelight. They are also supremely talented and have a flair for the dramatic. Warmth and enthusiasm seem to seep from every Leo pore, making these folks a pleasure to be around. They do love pleasure and being the center of attention!
Leo Symbolism + Myth
The Leo zodiac symbol is the Lion, named for the stellar constellation this sign corresponded to by the astrologers of the old world. The astrological symbol of the Lion goes back to Greek mythology, when it was associated with the Lion that Heracles overcame in a heroic mythological battle. Since then it is a symbol of victory, pride, and courage.
The constellation of Leo contains many bright stars, one of which is called Regulus, which means “the little king” and lends some of the magical and regal connotations to the Lion’s sign. In Latin, Leo means “lion”, becoming the official name for this sign in western astrology through translations of ancient astrological texts.
Leo Element, Mode, and Season
In the western tropical zodiac, Leo season begins on July 23, commencing the middle and height of Summer in the Northern Hemisphere. This is the time of year when the sun, Leo’s planetary ruler, is at its most potent strength, heat, and light. The Leo archetype radiates proud “solar” confidence, heart-felt courage, and is linked to the celebration of the fruits of Summer.
Leo is the second of the four fixed signs of the zodiac, who all hold an elemental energy of endurance and stability in the center phase of the four seasons. Leo begins the middle, and height of Summer, the symbolic source of this sign’s assured, well-established, and sustained confidence.
Leo’s element is fire, the lightest, brightest element, thought by ancient astrologers to be akin to the divine light of the stars and the vital, life-living rays of the sun. Leo’s affinity for leadership, performance, self-promotion, and courage are kindled in the fire element.
Leo Planetary Rulership
Domicile of the sun
In classical astrology, the sun only ruled one sign, and so is the natural planetary ruler of Leo. Here, the sun has full affinity and potency in this regal, radiant archetype, being able to be as proud, performative, and vital of a planetary force as it likes to be. With the sun as the center of our solar system, it puts Lions in the center of life and in the middle of their families and communities.
The sun in Leo is found in the charts of courageous, often dramatic and artistic people, that do not mind taking leadership or being in the limelight. In more modern, psychological forms of astrology, the sun is connected to our core ego expression, giving folks with this sun sign a reputation for having a strong, well-developed sense of self.
Detriment of Saturn
Leo is in polarity with the fixed air sign Aquarius. Ruled by the sun, Leo likes to express, conquer, and perform, where Aquarius (classically ruled by Saturn), likes to test, judge, and set boundaries. When in the opposite sign of his preferred home, Saturn is said to be in detriment or at a sort of disadvantage in the bold sign of the Lion. Imagine the stern planetary god of time, trials, and discipline, thrust into a world of drama, pride, and passion.
Leo tends to be a sign associated with pride, vanity, and youth, where Saturn is associated with wisdom, restraint, and eldership, two very opposite phases of life. Positioned in this sign, Saturn would have to compensate, presenting in those born with Saturn in Leo as those who need to learn how to strike a balance by being discerning and disciplined when expressing themselves. It may result in them either inhibiting their more theatrical nature or in applying great discipline to their artistic or leadership abilities, becoming their own hardest critics.
Leo House Rulership
The Fifth House
In the modern astrology system of the Twelve Letter Alphabet, each zodiac sign rules one of the twelve houses in the birth chart. This innovation was created by psychological astrologers to match sign affinities to related house topics.
Leo was assigned the fifth house of children, good fortune, and creativity since its bold, childlike enthusiasm is similar to the way the fifth house indicates what themes a person will be drawn to when seeking pleasure, expression, and inspiration. Since Leo is ruled by the sun, this modern astrology system invites a radiant, solar sub-signature to the significance of the fifth house.
The Ninth House
In classical astrology, Leo’s planetary ruler, the sun, was said to find its “joy” in the ninth house of “god”, spirituality, higher learning, and foreign travel of the birth chart. This is related to the sun classically being considered the light that is central to life and growth that illuminates all that is hidden and that clarifies our perceptions.
The sun is able to “joyfully” express it’s more radiant, life-giving offerings here, giving those born with the sun in the ninth house natural confidence. Often being great teachers themselves, this placement makes them great seekers of knowledge and truth.
Leo’s archetypal traits are derived from its active, masculine, or yang qualities, making this sign oriented toward assertive engagement with the outer world. Alive in both a Leo woman or Leo man, those born with the sun-god as their rising, sun, or moon sign have radiant energy in their core personality—like the solar power in the heart of Summer.
As a fixed sign, the Lion holds the qualities of being a sustainer, making those with Leo in their charts great at dedicating themselves passionately to projects as well as taking leadership in inspiring their team. Ruled by the sun, these natives can be thought of as the “performers” of the zodiac that will courageously set themselves in the center of any dynamic.
Being natural-born leaders, the primary strengths of Leo are courage and confidence. Being born with a sunny, solar disposition, they usually find it easy to feel happy, enthusiastic, and optimistic. When embarking on their journeys and endeavors in life, those with strong, well-supported Leo chart placements rarely question themselves and can usually access a strong baseline of self-assuredness.
Leos have a great sense of pride and loyalty, and if you let them shine in your world and give them the praise and adoration that makes them feel alive, they will be a friend for life. Being so confident and optimistic themselves, they tend to see their friends and loved ones through the same lens, encouraging their abilities and self-confidence as well.
In enjoying life’s pleasures, and wealth, they tend to be very generous with others, showing love and appreciation with fine gifts and experiences. Leadership is a natural strength for this sign in the sense that they can be a figurehead or representative of an idea, a group philosophy, project, or movement. Unless their charts lend other more earthy placements, their leadership strong suit will not necessarily be administrative, but rather inspirational, keeping everyone connected to a message and purpose through their motivating presence.
Those born with strong Leo placements tend to be artistic and express their fiery nature through body movement as well as active, stimulating, and bold art forms. Leo’s connection with royalty and rulership lends a regal and magnanimous presence to the embodiment of those born under the Lion’s sign.
Some sources of weakness for Leo are rooted in their great strengths. Being a fixed fire sign, Leos can get passionately “fixed” in their opinions or principles and proudly defend these long after they even believe in them anymore. Because of their great pride, it may be difficult for them to admit when they have been wrong, or hasty.
A helpful practice to balance an overly dominant or overly self-centered Leo nature can be to engage in active listening and taking time to consider another’s point of view. The Leo hunger to be in the limelight can make them rather ruthless and self-serving, making it important for them to remember the people that supported their ascension to success along the way.
At the core of Leo-type personality imbalances is a surprising vulnerability and insecurity that others may not see because of the way they project confidence regardless of how they may be feeling. It points to a potential over-dependency on compliments, soothing, and assurance from friends and family that can be exhausting and unrealistic for all parties to sustain.
The deepest pitfalls for Leo can be their own vanity and jealousy, which are intrinsically linked. In need to have constant assurance and attention from their lovers, they can become deeply jealous and competitive with anyone who tries to share the affections of those they care about. This is an important message to teach Leo children; there is enough love in the world for everyone, and everyone needs a chance to shine.
Leo Life Purpose and Career
Mantra and Purpose
The voice of authority, confidence, and zeal for life comes forward in the Leo mantra: I will. Leo’s sense of purpose is all about conquering obstacles, achieving victory, and rising to prominence. They are performers, moving into center stage in life to lead and inspire others.
We all have Leo somewhere in our birth chart, so we can look to the house that Leo rules to find the specific area of our life we approach in a confident, generous way, or where we need to call in this solar energy for mastery.
Natives from this sign tend to be drawn to any pursuit where they can shine by creatively expressing themselves, or can inspire others to do the same. Art, dance, fitness, movement, and any performative, dynamic activity provide Leo an outlet for their potent fiery energy.
Leo at Work
Leo’s sense of pride and confidence makes them uniquely suited for professions where they are the center of their work through their talents or presence. Their careers need to have some dynamic of creativity and performance to be fulfilling. With their personality most likely as their strong suit, jobs where their light is dimmed would be a waste of their persuasive potential.
This could manifest in many professions, but likely will not be found in staid, routine-type jobs that require laboring over finicky details or analysis. Like all the fire signs, Leo needs a challenge, movement, and space, so will not be content for long behind a desk—unless of course… that desk is an art table! If they do have a sedentary aspect to their work, they need to counterbalance this with dance, art, or other inspirational activities.
Since Leo is ruled by the sun, the planet of confidence, inspiration, and rulership, a natural career fit could potentially be found in the many facets of the political world. Any way that a Leo native can take the role of inspirational leadership, and positive power, will likely be most fulfilling.
The performative worlds of theatre, film, dance, and the music industry hold many naturally challenging and stimulating avenues of expression for those with strong, expressive Leo placements.
Fine art is another field where these folks may be naturally drawn to work with color, sculptural mediums, or performance art as excellent ways to make bold culture-shaping statements.
Fashion design, either by creating clothes, producing runway shows or by modeling the looks themselves are ways Leos can use their ideas and love of attention to celebrate dramatic beauty.
Leos tend to be active, and like all great cats, are very proud of their appearance, making them naturally drawn to teaching others how to optimize their own beauty and well-being through health and fitness practices.
Leos love luxury, but fine things cost money, making Leos very good at creating the wealth that they love to spend. Their friendly and confident natures give them a talent for persuasion that can make them excel in sales of all kinds, especially real estate—every ruler needs a castle!
The confidence and charisma that Leo naturally embodies inspire great admiration from others, often prompting people to ask how they can have a little of the Lion’s mojo in their lives. This uniquely positions Leos as natural motivational speakers and life coaches.
When exploring overall compatibility in astrology, it’s important to take more than the sun sign into consideration, as other planetary cross-connections will tell the whole story in relationships. That being said, these natives will tend to blend best with fire signs and air signs; and may need to work harder on relationships with water signs and earth signs.
Leo will typically find great affinity with other fire signs, as they will understand each other’s impulsive, spontaneous nature. Aries and Sagittarius can handle its heat and are individualistic enough to not have to compete for Leo’s spotlight.
Two Leos have the potential to be a great match, as they understand each other’s needs and motivations, and are drawn to the same creative pursuits. Drama could arise, however, if they don’t know how to share the stage or compromise to meet their partner’s needs. They could have a great affinity or great rivalry, with either scenario stoking very strong passions.
Air signs bring a natural complementary energy to Leo, as air feeds fire, stoking it to grow and become more alive. Gemini and Libra bring a playfulness, sociability, and curiosity to Leo’s love of pleasure and celebration.
Ruled by Saturn, Aquarius brings discernment, thoughtfulness, and objectivity to this proud and solar-ruled sign. And together, they potentially have an “opposites attract” connection that can be either magnetic or polarizing. Leo teaches Aquarius to get out of their head and live in the moment, to put themselves first. While Aquarius teaches Leo the benefits of patience, time-tested knowledge, and considering all sides of an argument.
Water signs may have the biggest challenge when relating to Lion, even though they may bring vulnerability and emotional intelligence to help cool and counterbalance Leo’s proud, self-focused, and reactive tendencies.
Cancer will be very good at caring for Leo, which Leo will love, but may prefer to stay in when Leo wants to go out.
Pisces will potentially be a great creative collaborator for Leo, yet may be too sensitive and private to fully enjoy Leo’s performative world. Mars-ruled Scorpio can bring sexual potency to a relationship with Leo, but with Leo’s jealous tendencies and Scorpio’s possessive nature, this is a potentially volatile match that needs to be handled with awareness and emotional maturity to work out.
Earth signs can potentially stabilize the Lion’s dramatic nature, with Capricorn, the authoritative cardinal earth sign, having the fortitude to stand their ground in the face of Leo’s demands. Taurus, although a kindred soul in loving life’s pleasures and beauty, is just as stubborn and unwilling to compromise as Leo can be, making this match a hard one to navigate.
Virgo may be too demure and focused on doing things perfectly to enjoy the scrutiny of Leo’s on-stage life. In general, when this sign joins forces with earth signs in work, they can cover a lot of ground together, with earth signs offering the practicality and dependability to collaborate and help support Leo’s bold campaigns and ideas.
In classical astrological medicine, there were four temperaments, that were connected to four vital fluids, and four essential constitution types. Leo, being ruled by the sun, is associated with a more moderate version of the choleric temperament, which was thought to be hot and dry, and connected the production of digestive bile.
This temperament provides these folks with a potentially strong appetite and fast metabolism, and a tendency to run hot—both physically and emotionally. Those born with Leo rising especially may present the fiery physicality of an athletic body, blood pressure fluctuations, and vulnerability to dehydration.
In classical astrological medicine, the entire zodiac was mapped out on the human body, with Leo ruling over the heart, the arteries, and circulation of warmth and blood through the body radiating out from the center. As a result, those with Leo prominent in their charts display the quality of courage or “heart” when meeting life with passion and confidence.
This highlights the need for natives from this sign to take care of their heart health, making them especially prone to diseases of the heart and arteries caused by stress and high cholesterol. These folks need to keep their diets and exercise in balance with their love of celebrating life with good food and drink. They can keep their systems cool and stress levels low with calming, relaxing practices, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, and good hydration.
Hawthorn Berry is a prime herbal ally, with its primary benefits being helpful, supportive, and healing for the heart. Loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, Hawthorn is known to heal cardiac tissue after heart failure, helps lessen heart palpitations, and lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. Interestingly enough, Hawthorn extract can help promote hair growth and prevent hair loss when applied topically, making it an asset to preserve that beautiful mane!
Rosehips are another ally, containing vitamin C and flavonoids that promote immunity and calm inflammation. Rosehips are known to strengthen the walls of the arteries and the connective tissue in the body, helping to tone up and lessen varicose veins. This helpful herb can help relieve hypertension and contains pectin that can help the body detox. Combined with Hibiscus, Rosehips makes a cooling tea to help soothe Leo’s hot, fiery systems.
Horsetail is an example of a Saturnian plant, bringing the medicine of “antipathy” to Leo’s solar constitution. Rich in minerals and silica, Horsetail strengthens bones and connective tissues, helping support a strong, active body. Horsetail also strengthens hair and nails, again, nurturing and protecting Leo’s glamourous lifestyle.
The Three Decans of Leo
Each of the twelve zodiac signs represents a thirty-degree slice of a 360-degree band of constellations, circling the earth. The thirty degrees of each sign can be further subdivided into three ten-degree decans, or faces, each with its own planetary sub-ruler placed around the zodiac in Chaldean order.
These decans can be used for timing magical rituals when seeking to evoke and harness the sun’s planetary power. In studying the Leo personality, we can use the decans fo this sign to fine-tune the flavor and nuance of planets or points placed within these decanic degrees.
First Decan of Leo: Saturn
Degrees 0 through 9 are ruled by Saturn. This is the detriment of Leo, making those with planets in the first decan very disciplined, but also highlights some potential struggles with elders or authority. The personality of the first decan can be more serious than the other decans of Leo, which in the appropriate circumstances can help ground and focus Leo’s passionate nature; but can also make them pensive and prone to frustration and sadness.
Second Decan of Leo: Jupiter
Degrees 10 through 19 are ruled by Jupiter. This is a very strong, expansive decan, making those born with planets here the more enthusiastic, optimistic, and proud of all the Leos. They are likely to demonstrate the more social and friendly qualities of Leo than first and third, making them naturally persuasive and easy-going leaders.
Third Decan of Leo: Mars
Degrees 20 through 29 are ruled by Mars, the planet of conflict, war, and drive. Mars’ influence here amps up the ambition and competitiveness of this sign and can make those born with planets in the third decan of this sign more drawn to ascension, power, and conquering their opponents. This decan gives people incredible courage and fearlessness that will help them go far in life but may lead them into conflict and power struggles at times.
Leo Tarot Cards
Major Arcana: Strength
The Tarot card that correlates to Leo is number 8: Strength. The Strength card depicts a lion being calmly and gently subdued by a graceful, confident character. It speaks to a sense of true inner strength and courage when we bring our primal passions into balance and harmony.
This card tends to appear when we need to take some kind of action in life that may require some force or initiative to get off the ground. It signifies being bold and decisive, yet aware that we may be met with some confrontation or resistance. This can be harmonized if we are non-reactive and conduct ourselves with integrity.
5,6, and 7 of Wands
In the Minor Arcana of the Tarot, the Suit of Wands, also known as Rods, is associated with the element of fire. Here we see the 3 decans of Leo assigned to the 5, 6, and 7 of wands, cards associated with the initiation of projects, the process of finding inspiration, and exhibiting courage in our spiritual and creative endeavors.
5 of Wands: Saturn in Leo
The 5 of Wands corresponds to the first decan or face of Leo. It carries the sub-signature of Saturn and was referred to in the Book of Thoth as the card of “Strife.” This card appears when we may be feeling angst and unrest, as it depicts a fray of youthful, unbounded energy that needs some authority or discipline to manage.
The “Strife” card explores how “there is no limit to the scope of this volcanic energy.” (Book of Thoth)
6 of Wands: Jupiter in Leo
The 6 of Wands corresponds to the second decan or face of Leo. It carries the sub-signature of Jupiter and was referred to in the Book of Thoth as the card of “Victory”. This card appears when we are about to take on a new challenge or quest, feeling supported and assured by our previous victories.
The “Victory” card shows the stabilization of energy and a “completely balanced manifestation.” (Book of Thoth)
7 of Wands: Mars in Leo
The 7 of Wands corresponds to the third decan or face of Leo. It carries the sub-signature of Mars and was referred to in the Book of Thoth as the card of “Valour.” This dynamic card appears when we need to suddenly stand up and fight for what we believe in, yet are also facing the consequences of past actions.
The “Valour” card represents an abrupt “departure from equilibrium.” (Book of Thoth)