Leo Totems and Archetypes

“With pride the Lion lifts his mane

And takes a look at his wide domain

 He knows that he must rule with might

 Yet ever so gently with Love and Light.”

~ Alan Oken

The Sun goes into Leo at 3.30 a.m. on Thursday 23rd July.  This is the third in the series where I look at some of the animal totems and Archetypes for the various signs. If you are not yourself Leo Sunsign, Ascendant or Moonsign, you very likely will know someone who is, and can observe the Archetypes.

Animal Totems


In all my 25 years of working with Animal Totems, I have only ever been convinced of one main animal totem for Leo (contrasted with about 100 for Scorpio!).  I think this is because the Lion truly is the King of the Jungle, and wouldn’t want it any other way!  You will notice that some animal totems I have ascribed to Leo here are shared with other signs, of which they are primary totems.

[Hubby Mike says the Lion cannot be called the King of the Jungle, as he doesn’t live in the Jungle: he should be re-named King of  Beasts]

Stefanie Weiss says of the Lion:

“Lions would rather roam the savanna with their pride than engage in battle with other animals.  If provoked, of course, they will fight ferociously and protect their loved ones.  They care for their young with great gentleness and more than enough patience, making for a beautiful family dynamic…The Egyptians linked the lions to power and wealth.  The Chinese viewed the lion as a symbol of courage and strength.”

There is only really one animal totem for Leo – all the others are bit players.


The Lionness has her own reputation, as huntress and provider, and guarding her young cubs with fierce protectiveness.  Her role is distinct from that of the male, who has great status as leader within the tribe, and in relation to other tribes as a warrior.

Other Big Cats

Other big cats can often, though not always, be ascribed to the sign Leo, but the association is not as powerful.  Quite a few big cats are associated with Scorpio.

Elephants and Gorillas honorary totems

The Elephant, by virtue of its size, has some affinity with Leo, although is a main totem for Taurus.  The Gorilla, again by virtue of its size, has affinity with Leo.  Monkeys are a totem of Gemini.  Genetically, Gorillas are closer to humans than chimpanzees.

Royal Corgis

Dogs mainly come under Aries and Sagittarius, but Corgis have come to be associated with our Royal family.  It was revealed this week that the Queen is not thinking of replacing her two ageing corgis.  She was first given by her father at the age of 7.

Queen Bee

Sshh! Don’t tell the Lion, but there is another Animal Totem, which I will title Insect Totem: the Queen Bee!  However, it’s only the Queen Bee that is associated with Leo.  Most insects come under Virgo, and especially worker colonies like bees and ants.

Bird Totems


The Peacock has a love of display, self-esteem, and magnanimity worthy of the Leo character.

Nicky Scully says of the Peacock:

“Peacock is a somewhat controversial totem…Peacock is quite playful – a hedonist, in fact – but it doesn’t bother him.  There is no self-criticism or denial here.  He encompasses, in a warm, open-handed way, his ability to relish and envelop life.  He would laugh at our judgements, for he enjoys himself without being kept from Spirit.”

Peacock is another totem shared with Scorpio, as it is known in the Tibetan tradition as the bird that can take poison.  Some are superstitious about this bird, and perhaps it says something about the human psychology of not revealing too much about oneself, or fear of arousing jealousy.

Golden Eagle

The Golden Eagle is a regal bird, associated with power, strength and leadership.

 Smaller yellow or gold birds can be supporting characters: Goldfinch, Golden Oriole, Goldcrest, Canary, and Yellowhammer among them.



The King represents temporal power, and is related to the Tyrant archetype.

One example of the King Archetype is the Film Director, who controls all aspects of the making of a film.  Many Film Directors are born under Leo, and embody that total creative vision.

Examples: Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Sam Mendes, Christopher Nolan, Roman Polanski, John Huston, Cecil B. de Mille, Wim Wenders, Peter Bogdanovich


Strong Leo in a chart can indicate royal connections in past lives.  Tina Turner, who thinks she was an Egyptian Queen in a past life, has a Leo Ascendant.

Specifically South Node in Leo can indicate royal past lives in Egypt.

Leo actress Helen Mirren has played the Queen on film and in theatre.  Cate Blanchett, who has played Elizabeth I, has the Sun (ruler of Leo) rising.

The Queen/Executive

In 2013  Caroline Myss published a new book on Archetypes for the modern age.  One of these is the Queen/Executive:

“Elizabeth’s [I] archetypal successor in the modern world is the Queen/Executive.  A new archetype, this is a partnering of a noble force, the Queen, with a contemporary concept of power associated with business and finance, the Executive.”  I know a Leo woman who very much fits this description.

Inner Child

Play is a natural function of Leo, and Moon in Leo brings up the Playful Child, and also the Performing Child.  We all have the Inner Child Archetype, and it is usually described accurately by our Moon Sign.

“Star Healing” by David Lawson describes this quality of Leo well:  “Leos are inspired by the magical qualities of children and many Leos express their creativity through the raising, teaching or guidance of children.”

Examples of the Performer: Mick Jagger (Sun, Jupiter, Pluto, I.C., Mercury, North Node and Chiron all in Leo!) and Madonna (Sun, Uranus and Venus in Leo).  Madonna blends Leo with Virgo (Moon and Ascendant among other features) for her “Like a Virgin” image.  Performers can of course also be grown-ups.

The Father

Shared with the sign of Capricorn, this Archetype in its Leo manifestation brings up a feeling of Protectiveness and Guidance.  The Capricorn manifestation is more authoritarian and disciplined in nature.

The Hedonist

The Hedonist is one of the primary Archetypes for Leo.  It deals with the pursuit of pleasure and leisure.  Note that whereas there are not many animal totems for Leo, there are plenty of Archetypes.

The Hero

The Hero overcomes all odds, sometimes over and over again in their lives. You can spot a Hero Archetype by their stories, which can be long and complicated with a thread of how they came through.

Shadow Side

The Tyrant or Bully can be a negative Archetype, for whatever reason, and that includes psychological bullying. Napoleon, an Archetype himself, was a Leo.  It is interesting that the Arab Spring movement, that of the Inner Rebel (Aquarius/Uranus) confronted the various Tyrants (Leo) of the Middle Eastern Countries, and Aquarius opposes Leo in the Zodiac circle.  It is one of the astrological balancing acts, Leo vs Aquarius.


Deities include the Hindu deity Brahma the Creator, and the lioness-headed Goddess Sekhmet from the Egyptian pantheon (the Goddess as fierce protective mother).  Sekhmet does also have Scorpionic features.

Leo author J.K. Rowling is a female example of the Creator: she conceived her 7 Harry Potter books all in one original vision before writing them, and they were all turned into films – a gargantuan all-encompassing achievement.


The Salamander comes under this category, shared with the other fire signs Aries and Sagittarius.


 “The Golden Cauldron” by Nicky Scully

 “Archetypes” by Caroline Myss

 “Spirit Animals” by Stefanie Weiss


Today began with an early morning square between Mercury and Uranus – you may already have observed an over-active brain or some disruption to your normal Sunday morning routine.

There is also a trine between Mercury and Chiron operating today, so there is the potential for solving mental conundrums.  It’s a good day for solving the cryptic crossword or the advanced Sudoku.

On Tuesday (21st) the Sun will be trine Saturn, which can bring about some stability and solid endeavours.  Put your shoulder to the grindstone.

Mercury trines Saturn on Wednesday (22nd) and so the hard work will be on the mental level, with results that stand the test of time.

The Sun enters Leo on Thursday (23rd) and it is time to let your light shine in this month of the Inner Performer (see the animal totems, bird totems and Archetypes above, for inspiration).  Even if you are not a Leo, you can work on your self-esteem this month and display your talents, e.g. display your artwork in a local exhibition.

At lunchtime, Mercury follows the Sun into Leo, and mental application can be brought to bear on creative projects, ingenious holiday plans, and scriptwriting.

In the evening, Mercury catches up with the Sun and they form a conjunction.  I have found this conjunction to be excellent for writing and crystal clear thought, e.g. poetry, perception and future vision.  Its appearance in Leo increases its creativity, expression and joie de vivre.

Saturday (25th) is not quite so straightforward.  Firstly, Venus turns retrograde, for a considerable period, until 6th September.  Relationships, money, and the Arts all come under extra scrutiny and demand more from you.  Much has been made of this Retrograde by Astrologers, and it is worth observing and learning from your process during this period, and taking note for future reference.

Any blips in your experience may come from Venus turning retrograde, but they may also be confused with Mars squaring the spanner-in-the-works, Uranus.  You may distinguish the two as Venus causing relationship disruption, while Mars may cause mechanical or electrical disruptions.  Try not to be too ambitious about your plans for Saturday.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – Disruption, then resolution
  • Tuesday – planning
  • Wednesday – planning
  • Thursday – creative expression
  • Saturday – relationship review, and disruption