The Leo Myth
One of the myths which helps to shed some sunlight on the sun-ruled sign of Leo is the medieval legend of Parzival. Although we may recognize this figure as Sir Percival from the Grail stories, Parzival, is in fact a much older figure, whose roots lie in pre-Christian Celtic and Germanic mythology. And probably, if we were to assign Parzival a sun-sign, he would be a Leo.
Parzival is the epitome of the hero on the quest. As we have seen, the figure of the hero is close to Leo's heart, since the sign is really concerned with the expression of unique individual potential.
Our mythical hero, like many other heroes, is fatherless at the beginning of the story, and grows up in a wood with his mother. He is ignorant of his origins, since his mother has been at pains to prevent him from discovering them. She is afraid he will leave her and go off into the world. So Parzival is na´ve and innocent in his comfortable next in the forest.
One day a troop of knights drive through the wood, and Parzival sees them and talks with them. He decides to become a knight. His mother, naturally, has hysterics, since this means he will abandon her. She tries to thwart him. But he is determined to seek his future, to find out what he might become. The nobility and chivalry of the knights have fired his vision and imagination. So he makes himself a very inadequate suit of armour out of sticks and leaves, and rides off.
Strangely, Leo is often fatherless, or has a difficult relationship with the father. It seems as though the deeper significance that underlies the sign requires a kind of search for a true Father, an inner self or spiritual core. And the call to leave what is known and comfortable for the sake of a dangerous but shining future is also characteristic of Leo. Often he must rebel against authority or social mores to begin his quest. No matter where you find him, Leo always has his eye on becoming bigger, better, greater. There is always something beckoning him, more attractive than the place he's in.
So Parzival begins his adventures. After many vicissitudes, Parzival has a vision in a forest when he finds himself in a mysterious glittering castle, surrounded by incense and gold and strange figures. There is a sick old king with a wound in his groin, who performs an elaborate ritual where the poisoned blood is drawn out through the point of a lance. There is an enigmatic and beautiful woman who enters bearing a platter on which rests a sword and an object which comes to be known in later Christianized legends as the Holy Grail - the cup from which Christ drank in the Last Supper. In the original story, the Grail - of Sangraal - is not a cup at all, but a stone - the Philosopher's stone of alchemy, the symbol of the eternal Self. Parzival stares, bewildered at this drama, but does not say anything. His mother has taught him never to ask rude questions of strangers, and this people are even stranger than strangers. So he remains silent throughout the ceremony. Finally, a great angry voice speaks and tells him he has made a dreadful mistake and failed everybody because the whole point is that he asks the magic question which will