Ancient Babylonians called this constellation Big Dog, Egyptians named it Sickle and only in the ancient Greece it was named Leo.
In the ancient Egypt there was a cult of goddess Sekhmet, solar deity with lion head and the daughter of the Sun God – Ra- her name denotes “powerful”. She was regarded the patroness of Pharaoh and a companion in military ventures. Although her husband was second Ptah, in myths she is a lot more related to her father. She was Ra’s eye (or the snake Ureus on his forehead) and she represented destructive solar energy that burns the divine enemies. She was also related to the cat goddess – Bast, goddess of justice – Mat and Goddess of beauty, motherhood, love and art – Hator. In the legend, in the attempt to destroy the humankind, Ra lost the respect after the unification of the upper and Lower Egypt so he bluffed Hator to believe that humans want to kill her. She was so angry that she took Sekhmet’s appearance and set off in revenge. Since the bloodshed went out of control, Ra made Hator drunk with beer of blood color and in the memory of this event at the beginning of each year orgiastic festivals were celebrated to imitate the cessation of war.
The main myth on how Leo came among the stars is related to the first among 12 Hercules tasks in which he had to kill Nemean Lion who cruelly terrorized the area around Nemea – South Greece. He had such a strong skin that no human or divine arm could break it. Hercules was unsuccessfully trying with bow and arrow, sword, cudgel…at the end he was forced to wrestle with the lion and strangle it with his own hands. With the help of Athena’s advice he used its claw to flay it and in the future battles he wore his skin for protection.
In regards to myths on Leo there are many other symbolic stories on struggle and sacrifice of Sun God. In the late classical period Druids celebrated the season changes when the constellation of Leo was the highest in the sky. It was its symbolic funeral and harvest festival. The period when sun rays are the strongest, but they also gradually retrieve before the longer nights.
Leo is also related to myths about Mountain Mother or Mother of Gods – Cybele. She was worshiped in many cults through classical period and her animals were lions that dragged her carriage.
The core of all these myths talks about mastering the great strength that Leo presents, but also which each individual and the society carries within. They talk about the need to win animal instincts with conscious will. It’s the only way to stand out from the mass and be respected – it’s what everybody whose personal planets and key horoscope points are influenced by the stars of this constellation strives for.
Within this constellation there is one of the most famous stars in astrology – Regulus or Lion heart. Ancient Persians still considered it as the one of four great guardians of the Sky and on the transition from 2012 to 2013 it entered Virgo. It is the guardian of the North whereas Aldebaran from the constellation of Taurus is the guardian of the East, Antares from the constellation of Scorpio the guardian of the West and Formalahut from the constellation of Pisces the guardian of the South. The transition has a deep symbolic meaning for the humankind. Forecast is unfavorable, but it certainly doesn’t announce the end of the world.
Besides Regulus on the first minutes of Virgo in this constellation between 12°40′ of Leo and 22°23′ of Virgo there are also:
Ras Elased Borealis – head of Leo on 21°26′ of Leo
Subra – left knee on 24°15′ of Leo
Zosma – lower back of Leo on 11°19′ of Virgo
Denebola – top of Leo’s tail on 21°37′ of Virgo
The photo of Leo constellation taken from
THE AGE OF LEO
It lasted approximately between 10 500 and 8400 B.C. and it appears appropriately after the end of the Ice Age when sun rays melted the North Hemisphere that was covered by ice. It’s the period of Sun cults and mysterious standing stones, symbols of sun rays that are coming down. This is the period when humankind “takes off” layers of ice and prepares for the construction of new civilization with the help of mastering Prometheus’ fire.