In Greek mythology, Leo was identified as the Nemean Lion which was killed by Hercules during one of his twelve labours, and subsequently put into the sky.
Leo, much like the Sign of Cancer, is representative of a mythical monster fought by the great Heracles. This monster was the Nemean Lion. The valley of Nemea had been terrorized by the beast, which was thought to be impossible to kill. The First Labor of Heracles was to find the lion in its mountain lair and destroy it before it could completely wipe out the Nemean countryside. Once he had killed the lion, his brother and taskmaster Eurystheus wanted him to bring its hide back to the city as proof that he had actually accomplished the task.
Heracles sought out the lion and immediately tried to kill it, first with his arrows, then with his giant sword. The arrows bounced harmlessly off the lion's hide, and the sword broke. When Heracles realized that the lion's hide was truly impenetrable, he decided to kill it using brute force. He wrestled the lion, strangling it with his bare hands. Then, he skinned it using its own claws and carried it triumphantly to Eurystheus. His brother panicked and ran when he saw the lion's remains. He told Heracles to leave his spoils outside the city gates in the future. Heracles took the lion's carcass away. He made a cloak out of the skin and a helmet out of the head. Pictures of him nearly always show him clothed in the skin of the Nemean Lion. The spirit of the lion was placed in the sky, where, no longer deadly, it has become beautiful.
The lion is the symbol for this sign because the lion embodies the best characteristics of the Leo; proud, regal, relaxed, and in charge. Leo people know they are in charge, even when it may seem outward that they are not.
In the 12 zodiac signs, Leo signs tend to like relaxation, preferably someplace warm and comfortable. Leo likes the big picture, not the small details and fine print. Things that are too complicated, involved, or boring, they have no patience for. They are natural leaders and don’t often do well in situations where they have to take orders from others.
Fire signs, like Leo, are warm, bright individuals that use that energy and warmth to draw people to them. When the right balance is struck with a Leo, those around this sign will feel as loved and appreciated as the Leo in their midst.
Leo is very independent but they need something to control and someone to admire them and appreciate them. They are fully capable of being greatly successful on their own but they are much happier if they have an audience and a following of people who look up to them. They would prefer not to be alone.
Love is king to a Leo. To love and be loved is a driving motivation for this sign. Leos, not unlike the lion of pride, need to be adored. If they are ignored or go unrecognized for some contribution they will feel hurt. All Leos like to know that they have been seen and appreciated.
Upside: Leos tend to be honest and decent people, opting to do the right thing regardless of the situation. They love organization so that they can find their ‘things’. Leos love material goods and luxury and want those that they love to experience this wealth as well. Leo is generally accepting of everyone initially and they make decent, lasting relationships.
Downside: Leos have a great sense of self-worth which can cross the line into arrogance. Leo can tend toward extravagance if they are not satisfied with what they have. Because they like to be in charge, they can often become smothering to their mates and friends, which may leave them alone (which Leo hates). Divorce and loss are devastating to this sign as they are all about the community and family.
Charismatic marks: Regal manner, powerful, strong, muscular.
Likes: The theatre, being admired, taking holidays, fun with friends, expensive things, bright colours.
Dislikes: Being ignored, facing difficult reality, not being king or queen.
Best environment: In the sun! Also, any place where Leo has a chance to be creative or shine in front of others.