Leo Season in Cinema: The Lion King
There are spoilers! However, keep in mind that the new version is almost an exact replica of the original.
The story of The Lion King perfectly illustrates the Journey of the Leo.
We're currently in the midst of Leo season, when we all can learn to recognize the lessons of Leo as our own. Let's start by analyzing the virtues of Leo: noble, natural leaders, self-starters, and community generators. We see all of these features in Mufasa, and recognize the buds of such qualities in baby Simba - along with those of his uncle Scar, a personification of Dark Leo: self-centered, ungrateful, resentful, secretive, and manipulative. Simba "just can't wait to be king" (they didn't cut this song, despite my greatest wishes) and opts to go his own way instead of listening to his father. Curiosity is also a strong trait of a Leo - but when paired with manipulative means is a kind of Mufasa-Scar supercombo move. In his youth, Simba is learning both ways of living - and will ultimately have to choose who he becomes on his own, as we all do.
Leo Season is the time to discover our regal and righteous selves, checking our toxic selfishness at the door. Scar is a cautionary character, showcasing the results of resentment gone rancid. It can only lead to self-avoidance, isolation, and eventual ruin. When we allow our insecurities to take the wheel, our conscience loses sight of itself, no longer able to see potentials and passions through the foggy road. The new obsession then becomes BEING right, rather than DOING right. Big Cersei energy - another lion baddie with corroded roots and no honest sense of self - blaming others for her own destructive path.
So many of us have traumas that root back to some of our earliest memories. Leo is a master of avoidance, a self-stonewaller, and a champion of toughing-through-it. After his father dies, he suffers a blow of tremendous guilt and shame like he had never before felt. So what did he do to cope? He ran away to paradise, met some sweet outcast stoner friends, hung up his Bob Marley poster and spent his lost Jesus years in a poncho repeating an out of touch self-medicating mantra. And a namaste to you too, Simba. Perhaps he doesn't really believe it, but he uses it. Remember Frank Costanza with his "Serenity Now!" in Seinfeld? Same same.
Simba spends such a long time out to spiritual sea, and doesn't come around to any notion of returning to land until it finds him through a visitation of his old bestie, Nala. You know, the powerful feminine? Again, something we all contain but often avoid for the sake of feeling tough. And what he does is so familiar to most of us when we are met - without warning - with blunt and direct confrontation of truth. He runs away from it...until he can't anymore. This is actually the only time in the entire story that Simba is alone. Up until that point, he jumps from one situation to another, and never has the space to hear his own thoughts. In taking the time to walk through his own dark night of the soul, therein lies his most sincere voice. A voice powered by the wisdom of his bloodline, too. Finally meeting himself, he agrees to heal his own soul- as well as his ancestral lineage. Not a bad goal to have during Leo season, am I right?
If there's any major takeaway from this Lion King/Leo Season crossover, it is this: your community is what makes you. You can either exalt and be exalted through it, or consume and be consumed by it. And another thing. It's a big one: You may think you don't need anyone. It's nonsense. And what's more is that others most certainly need you.
Photo by Michael Nichols for National Geographic