Let's talk Lions in Literature...

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Sep 25, 2014
...Now that we have entered Leo, the name for this seasonal time slot allocated by Ptolemy, designer of the system of Tropical ( Western astrology) in the 2nd century, and which is associated with the constellation of the same name. Chances are you have Leo somewhere in your birth chart, whether it is your sun sign, ascendant or Moon sign (I'm a Taurus sun sign, Virgo ascendant, Moon in Leo)

Natural History

Lions came out of the desert this time of year, driven by drought, to drink from the Nile, a sign that the great Nile flood was shortly on its way, mapped in the sky, led in by the constellation, the star lion Leo.

lion leo images

Star Lion

Dandy Lion’s
Golden Mane
Greying, Prideful
Casts Away
Alight on chance
To Lionise again


The Lion in The Tarot

Leo’s Tarot Card is Strength, Major Arcana 8. This is not simply about raw physical Strength, or bodily courage, but nerve, fortitude and grace under pressure. The lady controls the lion, but the touch is light. This is a card of self-control. King Hood protects the pride. The Lionesses hunt to feed the pride, working as a team. Hunting is dangerous for the hunter as well as for the prey. The lion does not kill for pleasure. Only for necessity. Any injury sustained during hunting can mean a slow and painful death for the lioness. To hunt for food often demands high courage from the lion/ess, unlike a modern commercial trophy hunter who doesn't venture to risk of their own life to bag the prey they don't even want to eat.

If someone asks me when will such and such happen, and I draw this card in response then the answer is, late July-late August is the likely time frame.

gilded strength

Image from The Gilded Tarot, permission of Ciro Marchetti

There are many forms of strength and courage. There is confidence, nerve, readiness for action in the face of fear. There is stoicism, fortitude, grace under pressure. The lion embodies both as an icon in the global cultural and emotional human landscape.

The Babylonians called the lion UR. GU .LA The great carnivore
The Turks called the lion Aslan, as chosen by CS Lewis as the name for his god-lion of Narnia.
The Spanish called the lion...um, Leo, from the Latin.

Any favourite lions in art or Literature?
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Absolutely relevant.

The Lion King” soundtrack is feeling the love tonight, with both the original 1994 and the latest 2019 albums seeing a 50% Spotify streaming spike in the last week.

The Disney remake opened with $191 million last weekend, and the property’s songs new and old are reaping dividends. For the newest iteration, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” with Beyoncé and Donald Glover tops the streaming count, followed by “Circle of Life” and “Hakuna Matata.” Nostalgic listeners have gone a different direction by crowning “Just Can’t Wait to Be King” as the most-streamed song from the 1994 soundtrack.

The new soundtrack surprisingly has an older demographic. For the 1994 album, 18-24-year-olds constitute the plurality with 28% of the streaming. The 2019 soundtrack’s biggest demographic, on the other hand, is the 25-29 age group with 30% of the streaming.
- Variety

But lowering the tone, you just reminded me of an old favourite, far less majestic. And the brightest star in the Leo constellation is Regulus, the king star.

But then there was Parsley, king of the Herb Garden. My favourite bit was Parsley's singing lesson at 12.20

Sage has a singing lesson
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Beautiful artwork...entirely classical. Its beautiful face. Lions have such lovely faces. Not that I want to see it too close up, you understand.
It's adorable (the tea-pot). And as for molasses...bumps up your blood iron. Also works as a pretty effective laxative so it needs care. I had a midwife once, banging on about anaemia, wanting to give me an iron injection. I took a spoon of molasses once a day for 3 weeks, and the readings came up sufficiently for me to be declared aerobically satisfactory.

But the sight of a dead lion is indeed a very sad sight @Paul Whybrow

Which brings us to the man-eating Nemean lion of Corinth. To kill this lion was the first labour of Herakles, done in tragic penance after he went mad and started hallucinating, and murdered his wife and children, thinking they were monsters.

The lion lived in a cave. Its hide was so tough no arrow could pierce it. The only way to kill this lion was up close and personal, and Herakles throttled it to death. Then he skinned it, using its own claws as the only tool up to the job, and wore the skin as a cloak. Well you would, wouldn't you, if you had a whole raft more of terrifying things needing fighting, all coming up next.

Heracles and Lion.jpg
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The Aesop's fable of Androcles and the Lion. Androcles was a Christian slave who escaped. He met a lion which approached, growling softly, and Androcles was certain he was for dinner, but then he saw the lion was in pain, with a thorn stuck in his paw. The paw was swollen and bleeding. Androcles approached, knelt and carefully removed the thorn, and the lion limped off.

But Androcles was re-captured and condemned to death in the arena. But when the portcullis came up and the lion sprang into the arena, it failed to attack. Instead it circled the terrified, kneeling Androcles for a long time. Then Androcles looked up and they made eye contact. It was the same lion.

Androcles stood. The lion reared up and laid heavy paws on his shoulder, hugging him and the crowd thought he was about to kill Androcles, but then the lion sank back again and sat beside Androcles, allowing Androcles to stroke him, and the crowd went crazy demanding they both be spared and released, to which the Emperor assented.

Aesop's message: "The capacity for gratitude is a sign of true nobility,"


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Amusement Your GPS Voice?