LEO - The Lion
July 23- August 22
SYMBOL - The Lion
ELEMENT - Fire
QUALITY - Fixed
RULING HOUSE - Fifth
PLANET - Sun
LUCKY COLOUR - Gold
LUCKY STONE - Ruby
LUCKY DAY - Sunday
LUCKY NUMBER - One
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Hercules With Nemean Lion Pelt
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Leo - The Lion
The Nemean Lion
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|Leo is the fifth sign of the zodiac.
These folks are impossible to miss, since they love
being center stage.
Making an impression is Job One for Leos, and when you
consider their personal magnetism, you see the job is
quite easy. Leos are an ambitious lot, and their
strength of purpose allows them to accomplish a great
The fact that these folks are also creative makes their
endeavors fun for them and everyone else.
It's quite common to see a Leo on stage or in Hollywood,
since these folks never shy away from the limelight.
They are also supremely talented and have a flair for
Warmth and enthusiasm seems to seep from every Leo pore,
making these folks a pleasure to be around. They do love
It's the Lion that symbolizes Leos, and the king (or
queen) of the jungle is a most appropriate mascot, since
they consider themselves the rulers of their universe
(and the zodiac at that).
Like Lions, Leos tend to be dignified and strong, and
it's this sense of their power that allows them to get
things done. A Leo on your team is a good thing, since
Lions are eager to see their projects through to
completion. Putting these folks at the helm is a good
thing, too, since the Leo-born are natural leaders.
They may ruffle a few feathers along the way, however,
since they can also be overbearing and somewhat
autocratic. This may be in keeping with the Fixed
Quality assigned to this sign -- Lions are indeed
opinionated and set in their ways.
That said, they are well organized, idealistic and have
a knack for inspiring others.
The Nemean Lion was an enormous beast twice the size of a large
bear, with huge jaws and razor-sharp teeth. Very, very
That was the good news. The bad news was that its thick golden
pelt was impenetrable. Neither iron, nor bronze, nor stone could
pierce it. Very similar to hospital food, only not quite as
Some say that the Nemean Lion was the offspring of the monster
Typhon, or of the Chimera and the Dog Orthrus; yet others claim
that Selene bore it with a fearful shudder and dropped it on
You see, as punishment for a promised sacrifice that was not
fulfilled, the moon goddess Selene vengefully set it to prey
upon the people who dared dishonor her, the story goes.
The ancient poets are probably still arguing about the origin of
the Lion to this day:
Hesiod: "Hey, I wrote the book, so I should
know whodunit. Python was responsible for the Nemean Lion."
Demodocus: "At Hera's request, the moon
goddess Selene created the Lion from sea foam enclosed in a
large ark. Iris, the goddess of the rainbow, binding it with her
girdle, carried it to the Nemean mountains. Sorry Hesiod, I
normally defer to you, but on this point you stand corrected."
Pindar: "It's two against one, Hesiod; The
Nemean mountains were named after a daughter of Zeus and Selene,
and the Lion's cave is still a must-visit tourist trap, located
about two miles from the city of Nemea. My cousin is a tour
guide there, perhaps I can arrange a complimentary visit for
At any rate, Hercules arrived at the village of Cleonae, where
he lodged at the house of a poor shepherd named Molorchus, whose
son was one of many slaughtered by the Lion.
Mourning Molorchus was about to sacrifice a ram to Hera.
'Whoa, there! Hold on, pal! Did you say Hera?'
have none of that!
Surely you remember the bad blood between Hera and Hercules,
right? Let me refresh your memory:
Hera hated Hercules ever since he was born. Her husband Zeus,
King of the Olympians, had a nasty habit of consorting with
countless beautiful young mortal women, and Hercules was his
love child from one of those extramarital affairs.
Hera in wrath had made it her life mission to eternally torment
Hercules. Actually, she hated him even before he was born!
Listen to this:
Hera, patroness of midwives and childbirth, had purposely
delayed the birth of Hercules by four hours so that his cousin
Eurystheus, whose own birth she hastened by two months, would be
Hera did this by squatting cross-legged at the threshold of the
birthing room, preventing Alcmene from delivering her baby
By so doing it gave the two-month premature baby Eurystheus the
right to claim the royal throne - by virtue of being older -
rather than the rightful heir, Hercules.
Weak and sickly Eurystheus, even though King, could never get
over playing second fiddle to his famous cousin, who was
fearless and built like a god. Eurystheus was small and puny,
and had absolutely no nerve.
Gutless King Eurystheus was the exact opposite of his legendary
cousin. Hercules was so strong and fearless that he had
excitedly strangled two huge venomous python snakes sent by Hera
to devour him when he was just a months-old baby.
As the years passed, Hercules became even more powerful, and
King Eurystheus even more cowardly, and his resentment of his
larger-than-life cousin grew daily.
King Eurystheus was the one responsible for issuing the twelve
labors that Hercules had to perform in order to purify himself
of some vile murders (see Cancer Zodiac
Wanting desperately to see Hercules dead, King Eurystheus
commanded the hero to slay the Lion and return with its pelt as
proof, knowing full well that it was an impossible task.
At Cleonoe Hercules asked his host, the shepherd Molorchus to
wait thirty days.
"If I return safely, sacrifice to Savior Zeus; if I do not,
sacrifice to me as a hero! Just don't sacrifice to Hera, she
drives me mad!"
In more ways than one. Heracles reached Nemea at midday but found
nobody to direct him, since the Lion had de-populated the entire
region. It was sending real estate prices right down the toilet!
Presently Hercules located the Lion as it returned to its lair,
covered head to toe in blood from the day's slaughter, pleased
as punch with itself and all the chaos and bedlam it was causing.
Stealthely it disappeared into the darkness of its cave.
The shepherd Malarchos had warned Hercules in hushed tones
how the beast would kidnap the beautiful maidens of the
neighboring villages and transport them unharmed to its lair.
There it would await the inevitable arrival of the maidens'
saviors. Assuming the form of the damsels in distress the Nemean
Lion would feign sleep, only at the last second changing back to
its true form.
It then would pounce upon the unsuspecting heroes, biting their
heads off. Hercules was wise to this ploy and did not fall for
An expert marksman, Heracles unleashed a torrent of arrows at
the unseen beast deep inside its lair. Come out, come out.
The Nemean Lion licked
its chops bemused, and worked its way to the light of the cave
entrance as the arrows rebounded harmlessly off its thick hide.
It yawned as the charging Hercules, shouting a glorious battle
cry, stabbed it with his frightful sword, given to him by the
messenger god Hermes. Incredibly, the weapon bent as if made of
soft lead, and worst of all, he was certain that the warranty had just expired.
Damn! Never fails.
Heracles threw down the useless sword and heaved up his behemoth
club - so heavy only he could lift it - delivering a stunning blow to the muzzle of the animal
that would have done Babe Ruth proud.
The mammoth club
splintered into tiny toothpicks.
Hercules did not see that coming. The trusty
truncheon had been formed from an ancient oak, holy tree to
Zeus, and it was supposed to be unbreakable.
'Got to check the warranty on that as well,' he
However, this crushing strike by the world's strongest man,
which would have pulverized any other creature, had no more than a
minute effect on the beast, for it leisurely got up and
sauntered back into
The Lion took a final dismissive gander at Hercules as if to say,
'You're lucky I'm not hungry, you strong little pesky human!'
Hercules, casting a rueful glance at his shattered Louisville
Slugger, decided to take matters into his own hands. He placed a
net at one entrance to the Lion's cave and went in by the other.
Knowing that weapons were useless against the Nemean Lion, he
began wrestling with it. That's when the Lion bit off one of his
Bad, bad Lion! Naughty Lion! Now the hero was *issed!
"So you want to bite, eh? Bite this!"
cramped and darkened quarters, Hercules with his fists relentlessly battered
the Lion upside the head, momentarily stunning it.
When the Lion gathered its senses enough to pounce, Hercules
caught it in midair. With one hand grasping the Lion's forelegs
and the other its hind legs, the world's strongest man bent it
backwards over his knee, breaking its back.
The Nemean Lion lay lifeless at the feet of Heracles, his first of
twelve grueling labors complete.
Hercules 2 - Lions 0, for those of you keeping score at home.
That was the second ferocious lion of his brief career, and he
was just getting started! This was going to be fun!
Some versions of the myth have our hero then freeing the trapped
maidens and delivering them safely to their homes.
Heracles returned to Cleonae with the huge lion carcass slung
over his shoulders, and found the shepherd Molorchus about to
offer him a heroic sacrifice, it being the thirtieth day.
Instead, together they sacrificed to their protector Zeus.
Hercules then proceeded back to Mycanae, to present the carcass
to that sissy, Eurystheus, as per his command.
Even though the Lion was long dead, King Eurystheus was terrified at
the sight of his buff cousin - somehow still alive! - with a
huge lifeless lion slung over his broad shoulders.
After he changed his underwear, Eurystheus ordered Hercules to
immediately remove the nasty Lion and to never again enter his
city with scary creatures, dead or alive.
In the future he was to display the fruits of his Labors outside
the gates. Wimp! Still trying to control his bowels, Eurystheus
had his smiths forge him a bronze jar, which he buried beneath
He set his watchmen on the city walls and henceforth, whenever
the approach of Hercules was signaled, he hid in the
subterranean urn, and
sent his orders by a herald.
What a wuss!
A hero dies only once, a coward a thousand times - Evidently,
one thousand to one odds sounded real good to Eurystheus...
At first Hercules was at a loss as how to skin the Lion. All
objects shattered next to the thick hide. But he was a clever
man, and he remembered something wise Athena had told him:
"Use your enemy to your advantage."
He applied the beast's own diamond-sharp claws to flay the animal,
and in no time at all Hercules was wearing the invulnerable pelt as armor, and
the head as a helmet.
There was very little, if anything, that could penetrate the
epidermis of the Nemean Lion. Hercules, the world's most
powerful hero, had become even more invincible!
Not just that - the pelt fit the magnificently well-built
Hercules so well, Grecian maidens near and far swooned at the
21-one-year-old hunk, heroic son of Zeus, who was sculpted like
a Greek god.
His exotic fashion statement became all the rage in Greece, and
Olympian Dior® wasted no time in prominently featuring
their new exclusive Herculean Lion™ line during
Fall Fashion Week.
I made that last part up.
To commemorate the heroic deed, Zeus placed its image in the sky
as the constellation Leo the Lion, the fifth sign of the Zodiac,
joining the honored and exalted Little Animals in a