Moonrise Over Lake Michigan II oil painting by Anne Nordhaus-Bike

Living in Harmony

An ANB Communications Publication

Leo 2012

Sun into Leo: Time to Open Your Heart and

Shine Your Light

Vol. 2, No. 6

Leo purple watercolor by Anne Nordhaus-Bike
Welcome to Leo time. The Sun leaves Cancer and enters Leo on Sunday, July 22, at 5:02 a.m. CDT (10:02 a.m. GMT). It will remain in Leo until August 22.

This shift is taking all of us from water to fire, from our emotions to our spirits. Ruled by the brilliant Sun, the center or heart of our solar system, Leo reminds us how important it feels to have sunshine, cheerfulness, and warmth in our lives. Also, the Sun, a longtime symbol for divinity, reminds us of the spiritual Sun that lies within each person's heart, making this month a good time to explore spirituality, seek your heart's desire, and consider how you uplift others when you radiate kindness and emotional warmth.

About Leo: Open your heart, express your gifts freely

When the Sun travels through Leo each year, it brings a dramatic, fiery energy that inspires us to open our hearts and to express love as freely as the Sun shines its light upon all creation. We move away from Cancer's watery emphasis on memories, motherhood, and emotional security to the Lion's passionate world of creativity, courage, and confidence.

Leo's exuberance and flair for drama push us to seek the limelight in some way in order to share our gifts with others. If we avoid getting caught up in needing applause or basing our happiness on others' opinions and instead keep our focus on generosity and extending what we have to help others, we have an opportunity to connect with new people and enjoy expressing ourselves in new ways.

Leo time also urges us to honor the child within and return to its sense of wonder and innocence. Besides helping us remain sympathetic to young people regardless of our age, tapping our inner youngster gives us an endless source of personal renewal and creative inspiration. This resource can help us remain young at heart, although when taken to excess it can bring challenges by encouraging vanity, selfishness, and a refusal to grow up or take on adult responsibilities. Leo also can become a bully, intimidating others by roaring when it doesn't get its way; it also can exhaust others with emotional neediness that demands endless flattery, attention, or applause, or it may look down on others by seeing itself as royal or superior to mere mortals. At its best, though, Leo warms our lives with a brave and loving heart, inspires us to become our best by setting a noble example, and makes life fun through childlike enthusiasm for any new creative project.

Leo symbolism

Leo is ruled by the Sun, an ancient symbol of divinity and one of astrology's symbols of authority and the father. This symbolism suggests our status as children of the divine and reinforces our regal, noble origin as children of light on the spiritual plane. As a star, the Sun emits heat and light, both aspects of fiery Leo that give rise to Leo's charisma and star quality--and its link with light, whether the material world's sunshine or the invisible world's inner light of truth and understanding.

The Sun's location at the center of our planetary system gives us Leo's association with the heart, the life-giving pump that sustains our physical existence as well as the focus for our emotions and the center of our spiritual existence. We do best when we "put our heart into" a task or cause, and if we are "stouthearted" we exhibit the steadfastness and loyalty of Leo. If we are authentic (another trait important for Leo), we can express ourselves in a sincere, heartfelt fashion, and if we are brave we exhibit courage--a word derived from a root word meaning "heart."

Leo's symbol, the Lion, gives us the essence of royalty, leadership, and charisma; those born under the sign of the Lion exude warmth that attracts others, and they often show talent for leadership. This sign's metal, gold, indicates Leo's dedication to a high standard of excellence. When out of balance, Leo may seek what is flashy or showy and may become haughty or egotistical; at its best, though, the Lion seeks the best in everything, including potential that lies within friends and loved ones. It also shares its riches generously and joyously with others so that all may enjoy true luxury:  of a life free enough from want to pursue both spirituality and our heart's desire.

Current astrology: fire and air ask us to take inspired action

After last month's challenging square between Uranus and Pluto, we have a somewhat quieter period allowing us to draw inward to seek inspiration. Doing so will give us the higher thoughts we need to direct our energies in constructive, life-affirming ways:

  1. As Leo time begins this year, the Sun joins Mercury, already in the sign of the Lion and in retrograde. Whenever Mercury is retrograde, we have an opportunity to re-think areas represented by the sign it occupies. With Mercury in Leo during the Sun's journey through its own sign, we have a stronger than usual opportunity to consider Leo's themes of spirituality, the heart's desire, creative self-expression, and childlike joy. Now through August 8 (when Mercury ends its retrograde) is the time to identify what brings you joy and how you shine your inner light to help others. If your life lacks happiness, or you have been living with any kind of lie, this is an excellent time to think about how to change your situation for the better.

  2. On July 29, these Leo themes take center stage when the Sun catches up to Mercury in Leo. Notice any special insights you receive at this time, especially new thoughts about creativity and what you truly want in life.

  3. All this month, the outer planets Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto remain retrograde. This fact heightens the need for meditation and prayer in order to seek answers from within regarding spiritual awakening to our unique purpose and identity (Uranus in Aries), spiritual inspiration regarding our essential oneness with all creation (Neptune in Pisces), and powerful urges for transformation in all structures and routines (Pluto in Capricorn).

  4. Venus and Jupiter are in curious, communicative Gemini, while Mars and Saturn occupy peace-loving, balance-seeking Libra, giving us a powerful emphasis on air signs that harmonize well with Leo and allow us to tap higher thought as we take action. As we attend to Leo themes surrounding authentic self-expression and emotional warmth, our efforts can take inspiration from thoughts about relationships that stimulate our minds (Venus in Gemini), how beliefs affect thinking and communication (Jupiter in Gemini), how our inner drive can help us create balance and peace in partnerships (Mars in Libra), and how maturity can assist us in creating a just society (Saturn in Libra).

  5. On August 1, we can enjoy a beautiful full Moon in Aquarius that will give us insights (and potential illumination) about the value of detachment in the face of strong emotions. Pay attention to your feelings around this time and do your best to balance your heart and the personal (represented by passionate Leo, where the Sun is shining at this time, directly opposite the Moon) with your head and the impersonal (represented by airy Aquarius, where the usually emotional Moon will be more detached when she reaches full phase).

  6. On August 7, Venus leaves airy Gemini for watery Cancer, giving us a more emotional take on relationships, values, love, and the arts. This shift also enables us to move out of our heads to talk less about love and relationships and simply feel and experience them directly. We also can benefit from considering what we need to feel secure in relationships and reassessing the value we place on emotional beauty and intelligence.

  7. On August 17, the Moon will be new in Leo. The Sun and Moon together in this heartfelt sign invite us to start a new cycle of personal creativity, playfulness, and generosity. What seeds will you plant then? How do you want to shine your inner light?

What do I really want?

During this Leo time, we feel intuitive impulses to focus on our inner, heartfelt lives. Each astrological sign is associated with a phrase, and for Leo that phrase is "I will." This energy may be expressed negatively by imposing our will on others, misusing power and authority, or getting stuck in patterns or relationships we have outgrown. At its best, though, Leo gives us courage to follow our hearts and inspiration to use our will creatively in the arts, selflessly through noble acts of kindness and generosity, and spiritually through dramatic yet unconditional love:

Summer Flowers in Turquoise Pot photograph by Anne Nordhaus-Bike
Imagine that you are the heart of all you see. In your nobility as a child of divinity, you know your heart is both small and intimate to house your personal love and devotion and yet spacious and limitless to enable creative expression of universal love that reaches forth to touch the heart of all outside yourself. In each moment, you feel your heart beating, nourishing your physical self constantly. At the same time, you feel your emotional heart pulsing with dramatic feelings and your intellectual heart beating out the rhythm of wisdom. Directing all this activity is your spiritual heart, which exists as an invisible spark or fire that radiates divine light and illuminates your life on all planes. This spiritual heart allows you to transcend space by extending your heart outward, so that you may feel the heart of everyone you meet and everything you see. In this way, you enjoy connection with all creation, and you open your heart to compassion
Deer Skull watercolor by Anne Nordhaus-Bike
for all who suffer, joy for all who achieve, and love for life in all its many forms. In this way, you fulfill your destiny as a Child of the Sun, a bearer of divine light, and in shining forth, you achieve your original Heart's Desire.

Now is the time to embrace your light. You have the gift of a human heart illuminated with spiritual light, and with each act of lovingkindness you increase this light. If you will take up the task of making your heart the center of your life, you will come to understand why the Sun, the center of our planetary system and a mighty, perpetual fire that shines its light freely to all, long has served as a symbol of the Divine One, the great Intelligence that permeates all that is, has been, and will be.…

Wishing you a life lived in harmony,


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Vol. 2, No. 6

Sun into Leo: Time to Open Your Heart and

Shine Your Light

Deer Skull painting now available

Summer Flowers in Turquoise Pot photograph now available

Join us: Follow the Sun book signing in Chicago

Visit Anne’s Blog

Subscribe to Living in Harmony

Deer Skull painting now available

Choose from cards in two sizes, posters in several sizes

Deer Skull watercolor
This watercolor dates to a period in which my art focused on skulls, bones, X rays, and other somewhat macabre subject matter. Although created during cold weather, this painting’s subject matter and colors evoke summer’s heat and the desert’s harsh, bone-bleaching sun. These qualities harmonize with the astrological sign Leo and its ruler, the Sun. . .

Find out more

Summer Flowers in Turquoise Pot photograph now available

Choose from cards in two sizes, posters in several sizes

Summer Flowers in Turquoise Pot
Seeing this cheerful container planting during a walk while on vacation in New Mexico inspired this photograph. The pot's turquoise color evokes the Land of Enchantment and its rich deposits of turquoise and other minerals. It holds a mix of bright flowers; taken together, they epitomize summertime's brilliant color and beauty. . .

Find out more

Join us: Follow the Sun book signing in Chicago

August 5 from 2 - 4 p.m.

Follow the Sun astrology book
Award-winning astrology author Anne Nordhaus-Bike will have a Follow the Sun book signing party at Delux Bar and Grill, 669 N. Milwaukee Ave., in Chicago, on Sunday, August 5, from 2 to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

Hear Anne and mystery writer Jennie Spallone talk about their books. Get your copy of Follow the Sun (and copies of Jennie's books), meet Anne and Jennie, and get your books signed.

Afterward, enjoy socializing with both authors For more information, call (312) 622-6029.

Visit Anne's Blog

Check out Anne's Living in Harmony blog for writing, art, and photos…inspired by nature, astrology, art, and mysticism.

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Astrology Archives

To see previous astrology articles from our Living in Harmony newsletter, visit our astrology archives.

For more astrology articles, visit our Living in Harmony blog.

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The arts provide a powerful way to connect with our inner selves because—at their best—they communicate in the symbolic language of the soul.

Journey Within’s haunting arrangement consists of variations on a 17th century French melody called Picardy, which later was used in the hymn Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent. Let this music draw you in to enter the gate of your heart. Let the paintings help you make the Journey Within.

Music created and produced by Anne Nordhaus-Bike. Paintings by Anne Nordhaus-Bike: Sophie's Rose, oil on canvas; Heart, watercolor on paper.

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Living in Harmony Newsletter Archives - Leo

Vol. 2, No. 6: Leo 2012

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Journey Within With This Mystical Music Video