No wonder C.S. Lewis chose a lion to be the “king above all kings” in his famous series, The Chronicles of Narnia. Aslan, the only character who appears in every book, possesses the ultimate in kingly–or some say, even divine–attributes. He is both gentle and fierce, both commanding and patient. He is wise, loyal, loving, and sometimes terrifying. We, too, can channel the unique attributes of the lion this month. Leo (Av in Hebrew) brings that powerful feline energy down to all of us, whether we’re Leos or not.
The lion is confident beyond apology. A lioness moves with grace and agility. At one moment, she is frolicking in the shade with her playful cubs. In the next, she’s bounding into the tall grasses to catch her prize. Lions live in the fullness of themselves at all times. Whether in caretaker, hunter, protector, or companion mode, he or she is all in. That’s the secret of lion confidence.
This is a great time to boost our own confidence as well. Instead of questioning ourselves or shrinking from social or other opportunities, we can spring from the grasses of our insecurities and greet the world fully! Feeling silly? Let it show (unless you’re in the middle of a business meeting–but then again, we can all use a well-timed laugh!). Have an opinion that you’ve been tentative about sharing? There’s more to lose in holding back than there is in going for it. Because as the old saying says, nothing ventured, nothing gained!
The bottom line? Be yourself, for better or worse. And bring the wholeness of YOU to every moment. You may be surprised at how things begin to shift your way.
Besides, you’ve got the light on your side this month. Leo is the only astrological sign ruled by the sun. In kabbalah, the sun links us to the Infinite Light–that spiritual, creative energy that contains everything positive. The challenge of Leo lies in harnessing and directing this influx of light in positive ways. Leo’s tendency towards selfishness (the wish to receive for the self alone) can lead us down a path of “So much light! Shine it on me!” thinking. Relying too much on confidence or self-image without a strong balance of humility can turn a sweet thing sour. Enter the dangers of Leo pride.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the positive aspect of pride as “A feeling that you respect yourself and deserve to be respected by others.” I’m all for respect and self-love. And there’s nothing wrong with feeling good about an accomplishment–because you’ve earned that feeling! However, the negative, ego-based sort of pride is defined as “the feeling that you are more important or better than other people.” And that’s the sort of pride that turns on itself. It shrinks us and holds us back. Founded in fear rather than love, it masquerades as judgment, blame, manipulation, and haughtiness. According to psychotherapist Dr. John Amodeo, “Pride prevents us from acknowledging our human vulnerabilities,” which cuts us off from authentic connection. In other words, we stop growing.
So instead of allowing our personal pride to stunt us, we can work on opening our hearts more. We can hold onto our confidence while still remembering our humanness. Because in that sense, life is an equal playing field. No one is better or worse than anyone else. Some may take wrong turns in their path, leading to destructive outcomes. Others may experience great achievements that win them the adoration of millions. But at their essence, everyone is equally worthy of respect, affection, and happiness. One of my all-time favorite Leos, the great kabbalist Rav Berg, believed that the most important rule of all is to “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” And in that act, there’s no room for pride!
The great Aslan’s mighty roar was described as having made “all the trees in front of him bend….as grass bends in a meadow before the wind.” This is the immensity of the cosmic power available to us during this light-filled month. As kabbalah teaches, ego (or pride)-based living always begins and ends with ourselves. Instead, we can share the light and might of Leo to influence, inspire, and lift the world in lasting ways.
By gaining dominion over our pride and tempering it with humbleness and empathy for others, we can become better friends, spouses, parents, and leaders. We can rest in the shade AND step into the light, as kings and queens are known to do.