“Taking off my glasses
Sun pokes through my lashes
And somehow I know
There’s a time for every star to shine

Everybody got their something
Everybody got their something…” -Nikka Costa

As of last night, the Sun is in Leo, can you feel it? Its the hottest season of the year- the season of Leo. The radiating heart of the solar system, the Sun, in his home sign, Leo is strong, pulsating, fixed heat. Leo times remind us that in order to be any good at anything at all we must put our heart into it. No holding back.

I was gifted a wonderful image of Leo, two Leo’s talking at a coffee shop: one says to the other I was in front of the class, giving my all and you want to know how I felt like? – like this. She mock rips her shirt open shirt and bares her chest, Raawhhhhrrr! It’s a powerful image and its stuck with me. Baring everything, honesty, truth, raw emotion,  putting it all on the line, that’s the power of the roaring Lion. Leo lives from a raw place of strength and honesty. What we see is ferocity, courage and confidence. What the Lion feels is vulnerable.

Lion Dreaming WomanSo I was playing around with video clips this weekend, because of a recent work-related venture, casually wondering if I had the star power to be a Star. In the spirit of play, I played. Getting in front of a camera is a crash course in being Leo. First: the hair, the make-up, the clothes and dont forget the lighting, it can make or break you. Basically you became totally preoccupied with how you look (vanity), with how you’ll be perceived (ego-image) and hope your talent will come across in the process (your uniqueness and creativity). Visions of fame dance like sugar plum fairies and I got totally caught up in the process actually it felt a lot like the make believe I loved as a little girl. I tried my luck at librarian, restauranteur, teacher, roller skating dancer but never T.V. reporter or movie star: ooh, this was going to be fun. Sadly, my shooting star turned fallen star after I watched my first clip. It looked unnatural. I just wasn’t being myself. I was reading a script and even though I wrote it, it didn’t sound like me. Heck, it didn’t even look like me. As a grounded and fairly confident thirty-something lady, it was less the shock of seeing myself on camera, the gap between how-I-see-me and how-you-see-me, than the feeling of abject horror as aliens proceeded to possess my body and speak through me. I looked like I was channeling a really bad audition, the kind Entertainment Tonight pulls out of the gilded Hollywood vaults just to remind us how far Brad Pitt has come. I got why I didn’t get the part of Scheherazade in my high school musical reindition of: 10,001 Arabian Nights. I am not a Leo.

I digress. My little camera experiment brought me back to Leo’s golden rule: you shine when you’re in your strength. Pretending to be someone you’re not wont cut it. I gotta be me. And I really gotta practice, practice, practice to be a natural with the camera. And possibly I even need a coach – as I’m now sure there must be such people now – someone who knows about ensuing self-consciousness, delusions of grandeur, those shocking falls from sky to earth, and practical dilemmas (ad lib or teleprompter?).

A lesson in living in the spotlight during the age of reality T.V., youtube.com and webcams-for-everyone land isn’t all that far-fetched. Interestingly, all of this came about during Saturn’s visit in Leo. Suddenly, anyone can be a star. And why not? Why wouldn’t we play with our talent and showcase what we do well? For Leo, the question is obvious. For the rest of us, Leo times are a lesson in honing our individual strengths, aligning it with our hearts, which strengthens and benefits our very self (in astrology, our Sun).

I may not be a Leo, but I can take inventory of my strengths and start there. What do I do best? What makes my heart leap for joy? What gives me that I’ve just ripped open my chest and given you all I got…and it was so worth it because thats really who I am…feeling? A girlfriend of mine described a recent metamorphosis, from trying to play someone else’s music to playing her own. When she stopped experimenting with marketable genres and owned her own, she grew in self-awareness, confidence and motivation. She’s now talking about becoming successful gaining skill and growing in competence for the first time – a more realistic path than the Icarus version she’d previously designed. It seems, by turning toward her own authentic song, she’s received a vision of her true potential.

We forget: one path took effort and was painful, while the other was natural, easy. We may have to work hard in life but finding your luster is that simple.  It’s easy. It’s what you do effortlessly. It’s what other people see as beautiful, true and talented in you (because we so often can’t recognize it ourselves). It’s your personal ace in the hole, the card up your sleeve that you may not even realize you have.

Owning our luster, or strength, doesn’t mean we won’t suffer the excruciating vulnerability of baring all. On the contrary, truth to self works that way. We hone our chops when we live in our strengths precisely because we, more than anyone, have to believe in ourselves. People will probably reject us. And maybe we’ll suffer when they do. But we’ll also be living in our strength. And given that we’ve got enough maybes to deal with in this game of life, living in our strength is the most resilient position from which to play.

Astrological juju: Here’s your Leo theme song to be listened to daily, July 22-August 22 (preferably in your car so you can sing it really loud and proud).

My face to the sky
Dreaming about just how high
I could go and I’ll know
When I finally get there

Taking off my glasses
Sun pokes through my lashes
And somehow I know
There’s a time for every star to shine

Everybody got their something
Everybody got their something
Make you smile like an itty bitty child

People keeping score
Say better hurry up and get yours
Cause somebody else get your spot
Before you even dropped

Seek and you shall find
Everything in my own sweet time
I’ll take my chances
With what I believe is only mine

Busy holding on
So the roof don’t fly
Keep you from moving on
So get it right
Turn the tide over
Like a love song
Like a butterfly
Believe if you hand it over
You’ll come out all right

Everybody got their something
Everybody got their something
Make you smile like an itty bitty child

Illuminate the silly things
Shed some light on all that’s wrong
Everybody need it sometime
Sometimes the only thing you got
Is what makes you feel like
You’re something else altogether
You have everything don’t need
Another reason to be something
I’ve been on a ride
And caught up in the landslide
But I’m gonna spread my wings and fly…

Everybody got their something
Everybody got their something
Make you smile like an itty bitty child

There’s a time for every star
There’s a time for every star…