A Leo Vignette [ Excerpted from my book Signs of the Zodiac: Clothing of the Self]
The gifted gestalt therapist Fritz Perls, endearingly celebrated himself in all his flawed Leonine glory in his Autobiography. Although a Sun sign Cancer, he certainly warrants placement in the pantheon of influential Leo personalities given that he has Leo as his rising sign and also the planets Mercury, Venus and Mars in Leo. On the first page of his autobiographical memoir In and Out The Garbage Pail, he writes: “I know I am not called upon to write true confessions, but I would like to be honest for my own sake.” He is as good as his word for on page two we get: “I do what I do for myself, for my interest in solving problems, and most of all for my vanity .. I feel best when I can be a prima donna and can show off my skill of getting rapidly in touch with the essence of a person and his plight ..” A little later he confesses a ‘secret’ that many Leos hide from others and sometimes even from themselves: “I am sure that in spite of all my boasting I don’t think much of myself .. I am sure .. most of my showing off is overcompensation. Not only to compensate for my unsureness, but to overcompensate, to hypnotize you into the belief that I am something really special. And don’t you doubt it!”
Having acknowledged his vanity, boasting and ‘showing off’, he goes on to another classic Leo personality trait, the need for recognition. He writes: “I often ask for approval, recognition and admiration during conversations. As a matter of fact, often I push myself forward or bring the talk around to subjects not in order to be brilliant and shine, but to boast about the recognition I, or what I consider the same, Gestalt Therapy is getting.” Substitute ‘child’ for Gestalt Therapy and I’m sure you’ll recognize the boasting and unconscious need for recognition of many a Leo parent.
Perls also owns up to name dropping, another classic ploy to inflate one’s self importance that Leo is especially prone to: “The fact is .. my meetings with such famous people as Einstein, Jung, Adler, Jan Smuts, Marlene Dietrich and Freud were casual encounters .. mostly resulting in nothing but providing material for boasting and indirectly impressing my audience with my own importance – glamour often overshadowing vision and judgment.”