April 22, 2024

Alan Leo’s Planet Profiles

Management of Measurement Constructs
Alan Leo Planet Profiles

I am a great fan of Alan Leo, a masterful astrologer in England (most productive in the first decade of the 20th century). Leo was born 7 August 1860 at 5:49 AM in Westminster London.

In 1912, six years before his death, Leo published his classic text, “The Art of Synthesis”. This is a book of astrological thought and practice that one would surely include in the armful of books allowed on a desert island! In it, Leo profiles the planets (pre Pluto) with remarkable insights … insights that have entered our theoretical lexicon to stay forever. –Here is a short overview of his presentations to refresh us:

Sun –The Life Giver Leo shows the light of the Sun going throughout the entire solar system, throughout our entire being. A margin note I scribbled some thirty years ago: “Is any planet ever indeed free of aspect if the Sun’s energy floods our Cosmos?” –And Leo does say (page 32), “Each planet draws its life from the Sun, and therefore no planet can be powerful in a nativity if entirely free from an aspect with the Sun; whereas each planet in aspect with the Sun adds to the strength and power of the individuality.” –My observations of the “dissociated complex” when the Sun itself is ‘without aspect’ stem from this Leo discussion.

Moon –The Mother Leo says, “The Moon is the great moulder of form (page 38).” This observation so many years ago helped me along the road to postulating the Moon as symbol of the ‘reigning need’ of the horoscope. –Leo continues (page 47), “The Moon then stands for the personality, which is a ray from the individuality sent out from it for the purpose of gathering experience and playing a definite pre-determined part during one life of physical incarnation.” –Leo had the Moon in Aries trine the Sun in Leo, squared by Venus and by Mars, sextile Uranus.

Leo presents a thought that easily stimulates a year of study(!): “The sway of the Moon over the feelings is illustrated by its importance in questions of marriage in a male horoscope (page 51). The planet to which the luminary first applies [in the Horary sense] is held to indicate the type of person to which the native will be attracted” … But he adds in further explanation: “This planet in question is the one in closest association with the Moon by aspect and by dignity in the lunar sign … the planet most strongly affecting the Moon in this way is not always that to which it first applies .” –For women, he makes a similar, parallel reference in terms of the Sun.

Mercury –The Thinker On page 53 … hold on to your seatbelts!: “Mercury, the winged Messenger of the Gods, is the expressor, the mirror of all the planets. All who study Astrology for any length of time sooner or later become aware of the fact that the planet which represents the conscious human being more directly than any other, and which most effectually acts as an agent or interpreter of the influence of other planets is Mercury.” –Note on our Discussion Forum how rich the exchanges have been –how consistent the corroboration– about Mercury, from the sound of the voice to articulation skill to memory to critical faculties to depression, etc. Think (!) of our folk-philosophy of ‘you are what you think,’ in various forms.

On page 54, Leo suggests: “If [Mercury is] connected in any manner with the planet Saturn, it (Saturn) makes all things corporeal, substantial and practical, inclining those born under this influence to science and all work requiring concentrated thought and careful analysis. It is the most tangible and permanent vibration that Mercury can express, but it acts according to the nature of the aspect.”

Leo’s Mercury was retrograde in Leo, conjunct his Sun, both in the 12th House, trine the Moon in Aries. Leo was a superb marketer of Astrology.

Venus –The Unifier And here’s a jumbo thought (page 66): “Venus cannot act directly upon the physical plane until the reign of Mars is over and the passions have changed their blood-red hue to the pure crimson of purified emotion, which finally fades into that delicate rose-pink which is the colour of the highest emotion of the spiritual Nature.” –Leo is saying that passions and drives must be settled –the ‘animal soul’ got out of the way—before the refinement of Venus can pervade the system.

Leo (page 68) suggests that Venus in Pisces signifies the unfolding and awakening of astral consciousness in a human being..

Leo’s Venus was problematic, in my opinion: Venus in Cancer, retrograde, opposed by Mars, retrograde in Capricorn. Freeing this Venus was probably a lifelong challenge for Leo.

Mars –The Energiser Curiously, Leo appeared uncomfortable with Mars, which in his horoscope was in Capricorn(!), retrograde, square his Moon in Aries and opposed his Venus in Cancer.

He writes (page 76): “When Mars is weak in any nativity, it gives cowardice or faintheartedness, which may lead to criminal tendencies; a cruel and brutal nature is often the result of a weak and uncontrolled martial nature—the man is a coward, he fears, and hence he ill-treats.”

Jupiter –The Uplifter Leo saw Jupiter as the planet of “fortune.” I think he was not in best of focus when he submitted that “Jupiter is never an extreme, but always a mean between extremes, a harmonizing and reconciling power.” He theorized this thought simply by seeing Jupiter’s dual rulership of Sagittarius and Pisces, mutable ‘double’ signs. And he then went on to contradict this thought, recognizing excess and prodigality, extravagance, dissipation, and wastefulness when involved with Mars.

On page 85, Leo is strong with the assertion that “Jupiter is considered a planet that is concerned with the transcendental world, while Saturn is engaged in all that is materialistic and essentially practical or demonstrable.”

Leo’s Jupiter was conjunct his Sun. And he didn’t know it, but his Jupiter was squared strongly by Pluto.

Saturn –the Subduer For Leo, Saturn “tends to produce greater extremes of good and evil than any other planets.” He saw Saturn as the planet that “chastens, and to all who strive after purity, virtue, and modesty, the words ‘Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God’ will have a special meaning; for by leading the continent life which Saturn demands, the gates of heaven will open and the blessed will see as God sees.”

It is very important to know that Leo [a sophisticated mathematician, probably the world’s greatest classical rectifier at the time, surely adjusting his own horoscope] has the planet Saturn precisely upon his Ascendant in Leo. Leo was deeply involved with the Theosophy movement, Helena Blavatsky, the occult-spiritual worlds. He seemed to be fighting a personal war with the forces of Mars-Venus through his dominating peregrine Saturn.

He writes, “The highest mental attribute of Saturn is perfection … giving an intense desire to find out the true state of things.” Page 93: “Saturn delays, retards and hinders for no other purpose than that perfection shall be reached by all things and all men. Saturn concentrates and purifies until all impurities are, as it were, precipitated to the bottom of each earth life, until right action is performed for right’s sake only.

Uranus –The Awakener What a wonderful word-description!

Leo related Uranus [sextile his Moon, Sun, Jupiter; quintile his Neptune] to three life-departments; action (will), feeling, and thought (page 95). “Uranus is remarkable for being equally strong in all three. This accounts to a large extent for the sudden and unexpected nature of the events it brings about.”

(page 98)”In good aspect to the Moon, it [Uranus] strengthens the imagination; to Venus it intensifies the affections, as well as giving love of beauty in colour and melody; to Jupiter, it increases the imaginative side of religion and mystical ritualism as well as beauty in form and harmony; to Mars, it gives great ardour, enthusiasm, and enterprise in any work that may be undertaken.”

Leo links Uranus to Mercury [the ‘octave’ idea] and acknowledges the great volume of energy inherent in the Uranian symbolism operating chiefly through the mind and nervous system. “Just as a small spark falling upon gunpowder will produce enormous effects through the sudden liberation of the energy previously locked up in the compound.” (page 101)

Neptune –The Mystic At this point in the pantheon of planetary profiles, Leo was at the end of the line. Pluto was not to be discovered until some twenty years later. [At this time, astronomers were looking for a planet beyond Neptune, but it wouldn’t be until January 21, 1930 when Professor Lowell spotted the ‘new’ body on a photographic plate.]

When he wrote this chapter [Neptune had been discovered in 1846], Leo was working with a Neptune only 66-years-old. nN my opinion, Neptune dominated Leo’s life and thought; his Neptune was in Pisces but was unaspected! Neptune was in his 8th House quintile his awakened Uranus and sesquiquadrate his Sun.

“Neptune is supposed to be the planet of Chaos, representing a state of things undifferentiated, disordered, without shape or definite form; it is therefore the planet of confusion, causing hypochondria, hysteria, etc. Leo placed Neptune on a non-physical plane; securely on a psychic or emotional plane. (page 103)

Leo postulated Neptune’s symbolization of drugs, affinity with the arts, instincts and intuition (rather than intellect), spiritualism, dreams, masquerade (from which came my development of the ‘camouflage’ theme). And THEN, appearing on page 115, there is one of the superb image sentences ever written in astrology [in my opinion, please!] –which I have pondered forever: “Neptune allows the soul to leave the body.” –In teaching, I add the questions, ‘to go where; to do what?’. The answers here chart the projection of spirit throughout a lifetime.

**I hope you have enjoyed this overview of an early Master’s theorization –and my exuberance for what we can continuously learn from Alan Leo. My affinity with Leo is not surprising, with his Ascendant and Saturn precisely upon my Moon!