The Lion and the Cobra and the Leo-Scorpio Square

Lion and Cobra

There are often profound insights to be found in scripture. This has nothing to do with religious belief either, it merely states a clear fact, because it states in the bible that you really don’t want to be stepping on the Lion and the Cobra if you can possibly avoid it. (Actually it says that you can tread on the Lion and the Cobra, providing you trust in the Lord thus: “No evil will befall you, Nor will any plague come near your tent. For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands, That you do not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread upon the lion and cobra, The young lion and the serpent you will trample down.” From Psalm 91). Clearly though the wisdom contained therein suggests that unless you have the Lord’s protection, then the last things you should step upon in all creation are the Lion or the Cobra. They’ll mess you up. The aphorism derived from this is astrologically apt, the Cobra will leave you alone providing you don’t provoke it, and a happy well-fed lion will happily ignore you too, providing you show it proper respect and this is no more or no less than we understand about the nature of Leo and Scorpio.

In my experience Leo speaks to two key principles; leadership and creativity and all Leos and Leo placements will have at their essence one of these Manuscript Headerconcerns (and often both). The reason that Leo speaks to leadership concerns is because of its innate expectation of respect, because like any lion, Leo wants to be admired. Thus Saturn in Leo creates a test of leadership, the pull of the Leonine fire is toward exaltation, like the fixed flame of his genesis, it is a wondrous sight to behold (think “the eternal flame!”) but with Saturn the desire for that divine state is turned into a life-challenge; people will not admire the Leo configured with Saturn even though the native will demand it, this creates (often) arrogance and pomposity – which is merely a state of demanding respect which has not been earned. That is Saturn in Leo. Similarly, Leo is the creative principle; ruled by the Sun, creator of all life, which is exactly why Jupiter in Leo so loves children and Saturn in Leo struggles to love them. Moon in Leo is instinctively commanding, when put under pressure the Moon in Leo native will try to take charge. All of these insights are underpinned though by the fixed nature of the sign. Yes fire is warm, fire draws people to itself, but the fixity of Leo proclaims itself as a fire that cannot be put out, thus it cannot be extinguished, managed, controlled or argued with, Leo is an ‘always on’ type of energy that like the Lion will not stand down.

And then there is the cobra. Here is an entirely different animal. Cold-blooded, deadly, hard to properly see and generally feared, but not feared out of respect for its magnificence like the lion, feared because it will leave you for dead as soon as look at you. The cobra is not mighty in that divine and kingly way that the lion conjures, but just as deadly, just as implacable. Now if you think about the cobra (or the Scorpion: another facsimile for the Scorpio energy) you will understand right away that they are small, almost insignificant, but they can kill an animal many times their own size and what this really underlines is the key power of the sign of Scorpio: survival.

There are sub-plots with Scorpio of course, but they all boil down to the essential foundation of the sign’s nature, which is the survival instinct. The major sub-plot is the idea of penetration; that is a sexual imperative (via the penetration involved in coitus) as well as a mortal one (since penetration of the flesh by sword, sting or venomous fang will destroy the life), but essentially, this penetration is always at its core a survival issue; sexual penetration ensures genetic survival while combative penetration ensures physical survival; thus the essence of Scorpio is always survival. I have written about this in the past in context of Moon in Scorpio, but consider Mars in Scorpio; here is a placement that is ideal for the warrior type. It is not the chivalric, noble warrior code of Mars in Leo for whom honour and glory on the field of battle are possibly held in higher regard even than survival, but it is instead the kill-or-be-killed mentality of the pit-fighter, it is the secret, stealthy mentality of the assassin, it is the merciless and ruthless killer who, without hesitation strikes down his foe and doesn’t look back. There is no consideration of honour, but neither is there any attempt to bathe in the glory of an act of violence, it is merely expeditious; it is a doing what must be done, without a great fuss, in order that life can go on.

This understanding gives a powerful insight into the Leo-Scorpio square. Both signs are in their way implacable, both are fixed, both will not give way and a head-to-head between the lion and the cobra is going to make an uncomfortable contest. The lion cannot give way because he would be dishonoured to do so and his dream of respect and leadership would lie in tatters if he were seen to ignobly baulk at the offer of battle. By the same token, the cobra will not turn his back on the fight because his survival instinct is too strong, turning his back would leave it open to attack and so a stand-off ensues.

There is therefore an inability to compromise in any square between the signs of Leo and Scorpio, both want to go their own way and neither is prepared to back down. The result of any square is tension and ultimately inertia, but with these signs the tension is multiplied and magnified both; neither sign too understands the other, inextinguishable flame and stagnant water have little enough common quality, it is an irresistible force and an immovable object combination that simply creates a peculiar form of paralysis. Actually, as we are beginning to understand it is actually very much a stand-off; neither can feel it is able to win the fight, but neither – for entirely different reasons – feels comfortable with the idea of backing down.

Let us consider a few informative examples.

How about Ted Bundy, the American serial killer, estimated to have murdered between 29 and 100 young women between 1974 and 1978?

Ted Bundy Nativity

Here the square aspect connects a conjunction of Saturn with Pluto in Leo on the 12th with Jupiter in Scorpio riding the Imum Coeli; this is significant especially. Saturn combined with Pluto is known for its brutality; it was known bt Ebertin as “hard labour” and indeed wherever it is found it makes life very, very difficult; it is for this reason that esoteric astrologers consider it to be a deeply karmic aspect, and whether or not you choose to believe that, the reality is, it makes something of a prison sentence of the life. With the ruler of the 8th – Neptune – itself being the ruler of the 12th, then it is little surprise that Bundy’s life ended in prison at the hands of the legal system (Neptune in Libra!). This aside though, consider the ruler of Leo, the Sun and place that brutality in context; the Sun is in the fourth, so the brutality implied by the Saturn Pluto conjunction is enacted through increasingly sadistic sexual tendencies (Jupiter in Scorpio negated) in private (the 4th). The majority of his attacks were carried out in his car or in the homes of his victims, (3rd/4th houses). Jupiter configured with Saturn creates an enormous oscillation; it is a stop-start, hot-cold aspect that generates debilitating tension; Jupiter and Pluto bring leadership and dominance issues to the fore; especially across these signs; here there is tremendous potential for abuse. Consider the near-peregrine island of Mercury and Venus in Scorpio; here is somebody who thinks about sexual or power issues, who possibly confuses love and sex and who is sexually dissatisfied (implied by the Venus quincunx deviant Uranian thinking in Gemini). The mix is difficult and dangerous.

The key however is Jupiter in almost partile square to Pluto; which itself combined with Saturn in the suppressed 12th gives near-fanatic sexual dominance issues that conjunct the IC, are carried on in secret. Anyone born in the years 1946 and 1947 with this particular square (and more generally the Sa/Pl conjunction) will probably display some measure of fanaticism in their outlook; I have seen it time and again in this subset of the Pluto in Leo generation and it nearly always combines power and money issues in some way (and how else explain how that generation ushered in the most debilitating era of pointless and soulless capitalism since the days of European feudalism?) Here is a further example:

Arnold Schwarzenegger Nativity

Consider this identical aspect in the chart of the well-known actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Here the fanatic impulse is found in the Sa/Pl conjunct in Leo too, but now in the earthy 2nd, there is therefore a financial connotation, and Arnold is truly wealthy, but the house (and the sign of Leo too) is now dominated by the Sun, partile to the cusp in its domicile; creating an enormous ego and huge personal and physical power. The square to Jupiter in Scorpio creates a leadership issue too, but the Ascendant is trine Jupiter giving an easy outlet for the tension into the body itself. Arnold’s physique becomes a channel for all that power, leadership and dominance; he can quite literally manifest the tension into his muscles. In the 5th as well, Jupiter introduces an element of joy into proceedings, Arnold enjoys flexing his biceps and showing off his great power. But let us not forget too that Arnold has a peregrine Venus, he really wants to be beautiful and admired for his physical perfection (Venus rising) and in the sign of Cancer and with Moon quindecile to Mars in the 12th, he probably feels compelled to do that because his mother didn’t nurture him very well.

But despite all of this, there is a combination of Leo and Scorpio that is respectful to both. It is the Spartan. Here is a warrior that retains honour and respect, but fights for survival. The key to transforming the Leo-Pluto square then is to fight, not like Richard, Coerr de Lion, but to stand your ground, like Leonidas at Thermopylae. That is the archetypal compromise for these two difficult energies. It is not so much a winner and loser scenario, but instead it speaks of finding the very narrow common-ground, the perfect balance between the two, where their energies can be combined in the person of the Scorpion-King (who bears more than a passing resemblance to Conan the Barbarian, the role which first catapulted Arnold Schwarzenegger to the A list. Another example of just how succinctly life imitates art!)

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11 thoughts on “The Lion and the Cobra and the Leo-Scorpio Square

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  1. Arnold Schwarzeneggers wife Maria Shriver happens not only to be related to the Kennedy clan but is also herself a Scorpio.


  2. Interesting blog entry (and blog overall).

    I have two conjunctions in my chart that involve planets in Leo and Scorpio. Only one conjunction pair creates a square by aspect though. Not sure how that manifests itself in my life…People have told me that I seem flexible and soft (lots of mutable energy in my chart) but underneath I’m like a immovable wall. Steel in a velvet glove one person said. Of course my planets in Leo and Scorpio took that as the ultimate compliment. πŸ™‚

  3. my partner is sun cancer moon pisces with a scorpio asc i have sun leo moon gemini asc aries and saturn scorpio very interesting partnership. my learning curb is patience patience patience. its like fire and ice at times. been together 14 years, alot of challenges.

  4. “Thus Saturn in Leo creates a test of leadership, the pull of the Leonine fire is toward exaltation, like the fixed flame of his genesis, it is a wondrous sight to behold (think β€œthe eternal flame!”) but with Saturn the desire for that divine state is turned into a life-challenge; people will not admire the Leo configured with Saturn even though the native will demand it, this creates (often) arrogance and pomposity – which is merely a state of demanding respect which has not been earned. That is Saturn in Leo. ”

    I think it all depends upon one’s capacity for humility, really. As astrologer Isabel Hickey would say, Leo’s downfall is “enthroning the ego” where the heart should be. And Saturn would certainly present plenty of hard knocks to keep the ego in check if the individual were to become inflated with a false sense of unearned pride. Hickey spoke of Saturn representing the knees, as they are symbolic of our capacity to bend/kneel, and thus are associated with humility. Though this mixture does tend to mix rather inharmoniously, there is the capacity for a natural check and balance in this pairing by virtue of the fact that Divine Right mixes with Delegated Authority.

    My favorite Sun/Saturn in Leo celebrity is Robert Plant, lead singer of legendary rock band Led Zeppelin. Plant is also of the Pluto in Leo generation, though his Sun/Saturn combo is too far out of orb to be conjunct it. Even now the man still looks the part of the Lion King, albeit one with a rather grizzled mane.

    I think Plant didn’t have many life challenges re: admiration, though in his Wikipedia entry there’s an interesting bit from Jimmy Page in there wherein he mentions seeing/hearing the 20 year old Plant sing for the first time and couldn’t believe that Plant wasn’t a huge star already. If Plant did have challenges getting admiration, they must have been while he was quite young and it must have been fairly short-lived. His talent seemed obvious to Page, at the very least.

    However, he certainly lived out the “struggles with children” part – heartbreakingly, his young son passed away while he was on tour with the band. I would be quite interested to know what Plant’s relationship with his own father was like.

    But as far as Eternal Flames go? I’m not sure you can really beat the guy – he’s had a tremendously successful and enduring career, both as part of the band and as a solo artist. People are still clamoring for a reunion tour today, especially in the wake of all the critical accolades Celebration Day recently received. Plant has always been dodgy about a reunion tour with the rest of his Zep bandmates….I was amused when he was ducking questions on the subject with a dismissive “You’ve got to see the Capricorns – I’ve got nothing to do in 2014”, referencing Jimmy Page & John Paul Jones of course. Must be hard being the King and having all these people clamoring for your attention. Oh, heavy is the head that wears the crown…..! I think that is a perfect sentiment for Sun/Saturn in Leo…there is a lot of weight on that crown when the coronation does come at long last. Being a figurehead is not without its own pressures and duties, and I doubt many would feel it more acutely than one with this combination. It’s pressure when people look up to you, or have this expectation that you perform a certain way, or at a certain level. I am sure much of it is inclined to be self-generated with the conjunction, the fear of failure likely to drive one mercilessly. The perverse “blessing” in such a scenario is that such fear/self-generated pressure can also push one to achieve great heights.

    Leo just wants to play, Saturn demands that you roll up your sleeves and get to work. I guess that’s not a bad thing if you want to be a professional entertainer and wind up becoming one of the most respected rock stars out there – that’s definitely one way of manifesting this combination.

    Who knows, maybe Plant didn’t struggle in the admiration department because he was surrounded with all these Capricorns? Goats certainly are hard working SOB’s and perhaps their influence helped make sure Plant was in fact earning all the praise he would be receiving – perhaps they were his saving grace and kept him somewhat in check – as much as anyone can with a Leo, anyway….!

    Cheers, Jeremy – I enjoyed the article very much as your insights have great depth and breadth. You’re one of The Greats and it’s truly a pleasure getting a look at how your mind works. Thanks for sharing with us.

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