from the chariot to strength
the magic between cancer and leo seasons
hello, friends, and welcome to leo season.
leo gets a bad rap. a lot of signs get unfairly stereotyped, particularly in this modern age of memes and deliberately cruel astrology apps, but certain signs get vilified more than others. (are my big three among the usual “most hated?” am i a little bitter about this? yes and yes.) and leo, our sun-ruled sign of fixed fire, usually gets painted as a vain, self-obsessed, spotlight-seeking attention hog.
let’s try to change the narrative a smidge, shall we?
in the major arcana, the shift from cancer to leo is the shift from the chariot to strength. the chariot is our archetype of determination and focus, of recognizing which boundaries are protecting us and which are holding us back. it’s about asking ourselves the hard questions, identifying what we want to pursue, recognizing what really matters to us and committing to chasing after it with everything that we have. and strength, the next card in the sequence, is about going after that goal, putting all of our power and magic and intention into making those big dreams come true. it requires balance, restraint, an honest and clear understanding of our skills.
once we let ourselves fully sit in the desire that lives within us, once we completely embrace what it is that makes us feel alive and whole and excited, we can chase after it with open arms.
leo knows what they want. they understand what brings them joy, and they long to share that magic with other people, to delight in skills and talents, to make everyone around them feel as shiny and sparkly and special as they do. stepping into the energy of leo isn’t about deciding that you’re better than anyone else - but it is about shedding the notion that self-loathing is somehow noble or good, about refusing to make ourselves smaller simply so that others will be comfortable.
what do you love about yourself? when do you feel unique, brilliant, sexy, vibrant, joyful, powerful, strong, valuable, distinct? how do you shine? and which spaces, communities, moments, allow that shine to be as bright as possible?
when we talk about strength, we talk about patience, restraint, intentionality, purpose, timing, control, quiet power, and leadership. but i think we overly simplify this archetype when we don’t also acknowledge the power of wildness, of longing, of intensity. and in remembering the vibrant and intoxicating charm of leo, that willingness to let uniqueness take up space rather than surrendering to the pressure to conform, we can layer in that desire to be dazzling.
there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be special, with wanting to be known, with wanting to feel unique and valued for who we are instead of who we pretend to be. and with strength, we honor the ways that we stand out, the skills that we bring, the ways that we contribute to the collective. leos may be known as leaders, but there are so many different ways to lead, to demonstrate strength, to enact change. leadership isn’t just about being the loudest voice in the room - sometimes, it’s about being the most authentic, the most brave, the most intentional.
earlier this month i wrote about how darkness is vilified, and it’s hard not to compare that to the ways that ego is also seen as a bad thing: a weakness, something to crush or hide. and while an over-inflated ego can be intensely destructive, ego itself is not something to necessarily be feared.
what would it mean to stand in your power, to own your light, to let yourself shine as brightly as you like? what would it feel like to celebrate your strength, to share your knowledge, to let your gifts take up space? what would it offer if you could balance humility and self-awareness with pride, joy, celebration?
what if this leo season, you embraced the spotlight, instead of believing that you’ll never be worthy of it?
for more on leo and strength, check out my latest round of tarotscopes over at autostraddle. have a bright and brilliant leo season, friends.
images from this post feature the lumina tarot and the compendium of constellations. photographs by meg jones wall.