Jupiter in Leo: Self-Actualization or Self-Aggrandizement?


Jupiter's entry into the land of Leo this past Wednesday (Jul 16), where he'll stay through mid-August 2015, kicked off the major energetic shift of the year (which I wrote about in my last essay).

Though this benefic big-boy changes signs annually, pointing us to wherever on the zodiac-wheel we're likeliest to experience easy expansion, this year's transit of Jupiter out of Cancer (where he's been since June 2013) and into Leo holds wider astrological relevance. It also moves Jupiter decidedly out of his lengthy T-square standoff with the still-squaring Uranus and Pluto, and into a flowing fire trine with Uranus in Aries.

Jupiter is said to be the good-luck planet because his influence presents us with opportunities to grow beyond our prior limits. On the most general level, though, Jupiter's archetypal purpose is simply to make things bigger. He's earned his traditional status as greater benefic because we typically consider 'making things bigger' a good thing—particularly when it happens to our financial worth, our professional position or worldly status, or our level of interpersonal appeal. But Jupiter's expansive effect is perhaps most profound when it inspires us to broaden our perspective on what's possible… removing our blinders, revealing options we'd never really looked at before, and helping us redefine our personal version of success or meaning.

Jupiter's time in Leo promises to heighten our focus on who we are as individuals, as well as how we share ourselves with the world. A warm and expressive fire-sign, Leo gets unfortunately saddled with a bad rep as an utterly self-centered spotlight hog—a reputation which I believe is, though at times justifiable, largely unfair. Leo is the only zodiac sign ruled by the Sun, the central star in our solar system… and, as such, those who have their natal Suns comfortably dignified in Leo often find it more natural to unreservedly 'just be themselves', positioned in the center of their world.

Leo's intrinsic expressiveness, however, is not necessarily driven by an egoic desire to be The Big-Name Star, at the expense of everyone else's causes, cravings, and concerns. On the contrary, at its heart-centered best, Leo radiates a spirit of generosity… sharing so much of its true being not for the attention (although it's always nice to be recognized for our generous gestures, Leo or not), but to inspire others to share themselves with just as much comfort and color. Leo doesn't merely want applause from its audience. It wants to make them happy, with the pure joy of one's person soul connecting with another's. This is the higher translation of Leo energy, of which the narcissistic 'me me me!' version is but a hollow mimicry.

Jupiter in Leo holds the potential to make it easier for us to unabashedly express our personal truths, more freely translating what we know to be our individual essence-of-self into outward statements, words and deeds, which reflect who we are. This Jupiter will spark in many of us greater courage to throw off the inhibiting shackles of self-consciousness, supporting us in shutting up the 'what will people think?' voices that hold us back from putting ourselves out there. He will also help some of us see our genuine selves more clearly and fully, opening our defining concepts of who we are to a more spacious breadth, allowing us to more confidently play with these less-developed parts of ourselves.

Jupiter in Leo can even inspire heroism, if we rightly understand that our efforts to share uncensored (and potentially unflattering) personal reflections about the more challenging angles of our lives, with heartfelt honesty and empathetic grace, uplifts others who may quietly face similar challenges and suffer in relative isolation, until, that is, we extend our hand in connection. Witnessing another person confidently and unashamedly stand in who they are, when one has struggled to do the same until comparable conditions: Such sincere role-modeling can literally save lives.

Of course, with every potential benefit comes a potential drawback, too—even when we're talking about the greater benefic—and Jupiter in Leo is no exception. Jupiter's propensity to 'make things bigger' can also go way too far. Jupiter is as renowned for his excesses and exaggerations as he is for bringing lucky chances or broader perspectives. While we may wish for our bank-balances or job-descriptions to grow, we usually don't want our waistlines to swell or our bad-habits to expand their grip on us.

In Leo, Jupiter's worst potential problems should be pretty obvious: a bloated sense of self-importance; narcissistic interpretations of what would constitute 'heroic' behavior; blindness to how one is sucking up too much relational space, at the expense of others' interests; concern with maintaining an image of warm-heartedness, rather than actually operating from a warm heart. In other words, Jupiter threatens to magnify the worst of Leo's stereotypical traits. If we don't stay self-aware, it quickly becomes a slippery slope from 'self-expression' to 'self-aggrandizement'. We must consciously strive for confidence without cockiness, self-assuredness without snide superiority, self-determination without selfishness.

Both the positive self-actualizing potential and the off-putting threat of self-aggrandizement carried by Jupiter in Leo will be further boosted by the trio of trines to Uranus in Aries (which, incidentally, is the other zodiac-sign most often accused of self-centeredness). Though the first Jupiter-Uranus trine isn't exact until Sep 25 (with the other two exact hits occurring in March and June 2015), the fire-sign synergy between these two is already in effect. Uranus-in-Aries's self-focused drive to assert whatever individuating impulse one feels will foster personal freedom, no matter the chaos or upset, is ratcheted up to an even more dramatic pitch with Jupiter-in-Leo's goading. The sudden left-turns or startling surprises will declare themselves with greater bombast, for greater effect and greater attention… and the ability to see past one's own reasons for instigating such discontinuities, for a clearer view of how others will be disruptively impacts, may become blinded by the bloat of self-interest. Because this Jupiter-in-Leo/Uranus-in-Aries duo so emboldens us each as individuals, it also increases the likelihood of conflicts between us turning fierier faster, each party refusing to back down due to excessive pride.

Yet, Jupiter-in-Leo's positive relationship with Uranus is an excellent initiative-generator, helping rouse us from our resting-places, spurring us to quit serving as a supporting actor in somebody else's show… and to step into our big leading role, headlining that self-produced epic which most genuinely presents our life-story. With the fire under our asses, we can act more bravely on our own behalf, choosing to do this instead of that only because 'this is what I want to do!' As always, we'll face reactions, responses, repercussions. But under Jupiter's watchful reign, we needn't necessarily understand how they'll all ultimately shake up. He asks us simply to believe that openly expressing our authentic selves, with a warm heart and generous spirit, is always a great starting-place—no matter our final destination.