New Moon in Leo: Walking the Circle


I need to loosen up,” I told an astrologer friend recently, explaining that I’d like to play more, leave myself open to new experiences, and generally become less a slave to schedules and plans. “But I’m afraid to,” I confided, and was stunned to find myself suddenly fighting back tears. She tactfully paused, then asked, “What are you afraid of?” I couldn’t answer right away. I hadn’t really thought about it; I had simply obeyed the limitations of the fear without question. “I’m afraid of being ignored,” I finally realized, “that if I let go, I’ll disappear.”

I’m a Leo. Traditional astrology will tell you that being ignored is not a problem most Leos have to contend with, adept as we are at calling attention to ourselves. But that is not my story. I was born with the Sun in hard aspect to Neptune, the planet of obfuscation. Far from being a flamboyant Leo queen, I spent much of my childhood in a fog, afraid of everything and everybody, hiding under furniture when unexpected visitors dropped by. I had only the most tenuous Neptunian boundaries to safeguard my sense of self. It has taken conscious work for many years for me to gain confidence, and most of the time I walk around thinking I’ve done a pretty good job. The conversation with my friend, however, pointed out that that I haven’t come as far as I’d thought.
You needn’t be a sun-sign Leo, or have a difficult aspect between the Sun and Neptune, to relate to feeling a lack of confidence. You need only be human, with a human’s basic need to feel good about yourself and to be paid attention to. We think of the Sun – and Leo, the sign it rules – as symbols of self-expression and confidence. But perhaps what they symbolize is the striving for these things. The symbol for the Sun – a tiny speck surrounded by a circle – has always reminded me of the bulls-eye of a target, with the astrological Sun describing both the bulls-eye we are aiming for, and how we need to develop as an individual in order to reach that target. We begin as a tiny, nearly invisible speck, surround ourselves with empty, insulating space, and then build a solid circle around it all, a boundary to safely contain our fearful smallness. There is goodness in us too, and it is not so fearful or small. But if we draw our boundaries too tightly, we become a closed system, and the goodness has a hard time getting out.

For some of us, building a strong enough circle can be the work of a lifetime. Others seem to have strong boundaries right from the start. People with healthy egos are able to dance between self and not-self, occasionally navigating liminal space where boundaries don’t exist, then safely returning to the center of the circle. They know how to play, and how to re-create themselves; they can shape-shift effortlessly, either permanently or as a mini-vacation from reality, seeing it all as one enjoyable and unfolding journey.

But Leo, being a fixed sign, tends to find this kind of flexibility elusive, even threatening. Leo prefers to be himself, thank you; if Leo were an actor he would be John Wayne, who was always pretty much John Wayne, no matter what role he was playing onscreen. And so during the annual Leo season we are normally concerned with fortifying the traits and creative impulses that make up the boundary between us and other, and define our identities.

Walking the labyrinth - But at this New Moon in Leo, with transiting Uranus about to form the second of seven squares to Pluto* (on September 18/19, 2012), the impulse to tear down is at least as strong as Leo’s desire to create. Breaking with the past can be very liberating, and sometimes the only way to initiate change is to act boldly and irrevocably. At this New Moon, with the Sun and Moon receiving supportive aspects from courageous Mars and practical, determined Saturn, we have a better than average chance to make changes that really mean something.


We live in reckless, destructive times. But seen another way, the world is in the process of recreating itself, and we are weaving change and upheaval into the fabric of our new future as we go along. Sanity tells us to be afraid, but faith whispers that there are no false moves now; however random, even capricious these changes appear to be, they are embedding themselves into our new foundation like stray river rocks and sea glass. Perhaps this Leo New Moon season calls for a new glyph for the Sun -  not a closed circle with a dot in the middle, but rather a labyrinth. A labyrinth has a single, unambiguous route we can follow to the center and back. We set forth in life on a walk through this labyrinth, and no matter which course we take, or how lost we sometimes feel, we’ll inevitably end up precisely where we’re meant to be.

The New Moon is a dark time. It is midnight now in our gardens, and it is tempting to suspect that chaos lurks in every shadow and to obey the limitations of fear without question. But while the New Moon in Leo is invisible to us just now, just below the horizon in the night sky, it’s still there, and we feel it even if we can’t see it. It reminds us that we are works in progress, and we are creating, every day, the selves we want to be and the world we want to live in. Even if there is much in the world, and in us, that could be better, Leo reassures us that it will be – because we are free to be whatever we want to be, and because there is so much good in us.

* Uranus will square Pluto seven times between June 2012 and March 2015. Here is a list of articles on the topic from around the web, collected by About.com’s Molly Hall.
© April Elliott Kent

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