Who Are You? The Aug 1 Solar Eclipse in Leo


If you're starting to get nervous quivers in your tummy, those are just anticipatory side-effects from another ride on the Wheel of Fortune, now picking up speed on its latest spin.

The impetus for this latest go-around? Friday (Aug 1) morning's solar eclipse in Leo… an invitation to flip the page and move onto the next chapter of our life's experiences.

Around eclipse time (approximately every six months or so), we often witness a concentration of climactic developments, unfolding at an intensified pace over a few short weeks. Once things finally begin to calm down and settle in, we can look back and realize just how far we moved in a relatively tight time-span of change.

As far as predictive techniques, eclipses most effectively signal a major event when they fall very close (within a one-degree orb) to forming a hard aspect to one's natal chart. Yet, even for the rest of us not directly impacted by its position, an eclipse can signal themes along which the next steps of our evolution are likely to take place, giving us suggestions on the issues most asking for our attention.

When the Sun gets eclipsed in Leo, the sign it rules, we're offered an opportunity to examine how we present ourselves to the world… whether our outward personalities are authentic representations of who we actually are… and where we tend to 'elaborate' (that is, fudge the truth) in an effort to impress other people, trying to appear as we imagine they wish us to be (even if our imaginings are wholly inaccurate).

Generally speaking, Leo is known to trigger powerful responses, such as the common stereotype that Leo Suns love to make everything 'all about them'. Though such a characterization usually comes couched in judgment (due to the accuser's unresolved relation to whether she is living out her most self-actualized existence), it's not entirely off-base.

Because it's ruled by the Sun, Leo symbolizes the fullest expression of the ego-self, brightly shining across the sky to illumine the ever-present beauty of life. If we all took the Leo archetype to its logical extreme, we'd be proudly showing off our true colors to each other in a dazzling display of human diversity. Is that really a vision deserving of snide judgments?

Where we get into trouble with Leo—and the issue that this eclipse's energies will emphasize—are the instances in which what we're showing isn't exactly 'the real thing'. But that's not limited merely to cases where conscious deception occurs, since we're not always aware of what we're trying to hide or cover up with a pretty fašade. Sometimes, we don't even discover we've been 'faking' anything… until we're caught in a situation totally ill-suited to our truest sensibilities, and we must clarify who we really are in contrast to the mistaken impressions of us we've somehow fostered. Indeed, such situations often teach us who we are through the always-effective trial by fire.

The most obvious Leo-related offenses occur when we put on airs… hoping, for instance, that a pricey Gucci ensemble and a few strategically dropped names will fool others into overlooking our questionable past… or that, by throwing around specialized jargon in an authoritative tone, we'll convincingly seem like we know what we're talking about. Nobody likes a striver, though similarly superficial acquaintances may keep one around long enough to see if they might ever amount to a useful connection.

Just as problematic, however, is the opposite response to expression—withholding one's self completely, out of fear that showing too much distinctive personality will alienate others or turn them off. Rather than extrovertedly exaggerating one's traits, a person suffering from timidity, shame or a lack of self-esteem might try to airbrush away any individuality… hoping that, by making 'safe' choices that never upset the apple cart or warrant much attention, they can hover beneath the radar. But that only sets one up for a life of minimal risk and minimal reward. To never reveal one's light is to exist as if perpetually in costume: Who would even recognize you?

In both these cases of Leo gone wrong, ideas of who we think we should be (either 'big name' or 'shrinking violet') have been embedded in us from family, peers or culture… and, if we want to grow more fully into ourselves, we must root them out and kill 'em off. Friday's eclipse, a South Node-powered event, is likely to present opportunities to break whatever old habits might cause us to resist the truth of who we are. Where we have felt pressure to prove ourselves or fit in at all costs, we may find we can no longer pull it off.

Mirroring the eclipse this week, we also experience an opposition of Venus in Leo to Neptune (exact on Thu Jul 31)… an aspect that heightens our likelihood of seeing things as we want them to be, and of recasting the reality of our interpersonal relations into a 'story' that places us as the starring hero. Venus-Neptune oppositions are notorious for their potential to delude us, promising us such 'idealized' pleasure and enjoyment that, to the utter dismay of our inner diehard romantics, we can never live up to in reality. We may think we're feeling this wonderful connection… only to later learn the other person doesn't feel what we're feeling or, if they do, the feelings themselves won't be enough to sustain the connection. Despite what our heart may tell us, mundane differences in lifestyle or belief do matter.

But if we're just 'being ourselves', to the best of our sincere intentions, we will end up where we need to be—though that could mean, of course, the end of a relationship or a huge messy detour in the road. That's due to our interactions with all those other people, places and experiences that aren't us… and over which we have no control. When our efforts to garner attention by performing an inauthentic role blows up in our face, we must do something else. When we accidentally end up center-stage, with everybody watching, we also must do something (other than running away in tears, that is).

All we can really hope to know for sure is who we are. The experiences the universe has in store for each of us as individuals are still to be unearthed…