Greetings everyone and welcome to the August ChatterBulletin and the fiery sign of Leo. Our theme for this month is Love, Creativity & The Olympics. Back in February 2010 we talked about Love in the Aquarius newsletter because Valentine’s Day falls in the month of February. However, it is Leo, sitting right opposite Aquarius that is the sign truly connected with Love. Why Leo? Think about it. The Planet Saturn co-rules both the sign of Capricorn and Aquarius, and although the Aquarius is a social creature, they can be quite detached emotionally because that’s not what they’re wired for; emotions are for the water signs. And, the months of January and February are the coldest of the year, are they not? Valentine’s Day is connected with Christian martyrs and persecuting Romans, so what’s loving about that? But with Leo, the calendar month is August when it is hot, very hot, and the element is Fire, so our ruler is the ultimate in life-giving energy and warmth – the Sun. Anatomically, the sign of Leo rules the Heart, the vital organ that gives us the “heartbeat of life,” and without that, we cannot live. And it is the Heart that we also associate with Love, or being “broken-hearted.” So it is up to our Leo to warm everyone up with their feline affection and pure heart-felt Love. Our Leo is the sign not only associated with Love but also with Loyalty, and they are extremely loyal creatures to those they love. And from Loyalty, we move to Royalty. Not simply because the words rhyme, but because our Leo is also the “King of the Jungle,” making them the most regal of signs as well.
Now, while we’re on the subject of Royalty, I would be remiss to not inform all of you that HRH Queen Elizabeth II is now a “Bond Girl!” Yes, that’s right, and in case you missed it, this was perhaps one of the “crowning” moments (pun intended) of Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle’s London Olympics Opening Ceremony spectacular! In this particular short film segment, James Bond, played by the ever so dashing Daniel Craig, was seen arriving at Buckingham Palace in a London taxi, after which he was escorted along some lushly carpeted palace corridors, corgis in tow, to a small drawing room where the Queen awaited his arrival. At first her back was turned to him as she was sitting at her desk writing, but then, she looked around and greeted him with a prim, proper and very Royal “Good Evening Mr. Bond” and you knew it was really her, she was actually in on this – how brilliant! And you could tell that Queen or not, she was loving it! Bond’s mission was to escort HRH to the Olympic Stadium where she would be opening the games. So up she gets, walks out of the drawing room, and back down along the same corridors with the excited corgis scampering all over the place (or palace!) and 007 walking right behind her. Cut to the front lawn, and now instead of the taxicab, they are seen boarding a helicopter, which then takes off into the night sky, flying across London, under Tower Bridge and over to the Olympic stadium.
James Bond and Queen Elizabeth II, the newest “Bond Girl”
Cut to where two figures, one in a suit and the other in a pink dress are seen jumping out of the helicopter with suitably patriotic Union Jack parachutes. At this point, one has to admit that by now a stunt double has surely taken over for her Majesty, and then literally mere seconds after the figures had landed, the “real” Queen was seen entering into the stadium right on cue, so that it looked like she had really jumped out of the helicopter, dropped her parachute behind the stands and then without skipping a beat took her place in the Royal Box. And even though she had quite a stern look on her face, if you looked very closely, just for a brief moment, you could detect an ever-so tiny little smile on her face, because you knew she was definitely getting a big kick out of the whole gag! Although she is for the most part by necessity and job description a pretty serious person, not everyone knows that she does in fact have quite a sense of humor, so she was thrilled to participate in Danny Boyle’s film and do something that no-one expected! It has to be seen, and you can view it HERE!
Tower Bridge/AFP Photo
So let’s talk some more about the Olympic Opening Ceremony entitled simply “The Isles of Wonder” because it also ties in beautifully to yet another of our Leo characteristics – that of Creativity. This is why we see so many Leos involved in the arts and creative professions. After Beijing, what could London possibly do, honestly? They couldn’t top it in size or magnitude, but they could do something totally different and unexpected, and that’s what they did. Enter Oscar-winning director of “Slumdog Millionaire” who literally created a “living movie” before our eyes punctuated with pre-recorded segments (such as the Queen’s) and Rowan Atkinson’s hilarious homage to the classic movie “Chariots of Fire”…. Okay, so Danny Boyle isn’t a Leo (but my goodness, is he creative, or what?), and he is English, and they do host the games during the month of August, there are Five Olympic Rings and Leo is the 5th sign of the zodiac. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Anyway, to get an idea of the scale, creativity, the theatre and pageantry of it all, click HERE!
Overview of the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony/BBC
This amazing production essentially told the story of the British Isles, starting with a beautifully green pastoral scene, complete with live animals and real turf. When it was time to change sets, the cast literally rolled up the sod as the set slowly transformed into the industrial revolution with giant smoke stacks rising up out of the ground and massive machines replacing the green fields. Thanks to the Industrial Revolution they forged the five Olympic rings, and then the set transformed again to usher in the Cyber Revolution and the Age of the Internet. Along the way there were so many references to history, literature, music and so much more, it was impossible to take it all in. We saw Beefeaters and War Heroes, Sergeant Peppers and Mary Poppins – lots of them! At one point, I (and probably a few others) did get a bit confused because all of a sudden there were hundreds of hospital beds with children accompanied by scores of “real life ” doctors and nurses (who’d been practicing for months and months) paying tribute to the National Health Service. Okay, I know the Brits are proud they’re one of the few countries that even have a National Health Service, but how does that relate to the Olympics, I asked myself?
Detail from a model of Danny Boyle’s Pastoral Scene/AFP Photo
So then we saw some of the “sick” children in the hospital beds reading under the covers when they should have been sleeping, conveniently taking us into the dream sequence and a parade of giant puppets representing some of our most scary and iconic characters from children’s literature – including Cruella deVil from The Hundred and One Dalmatians, Harry Potter’s arch enemy Lord Voldemort, and the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland… Now, part of the reason for this entire sequence is because the Scottish author J. M Barrie, who was best-known for creating the beloved character Peter Pan (or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up) and Captain Hook, donated large amounts of money to the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in London by signing all of the rights for Peter Pan over to them before he died – who knew?
Hospital Beds and NHS nurses opening ceremony dress rehearsal/Rex Features
The creativity and “storytelling” continued on from the opening ceremony to many other settings for the games, such as the equestrian arena in London’s historic Greenwich Park, which displayed wonderfully creative obstacles that included a pair of bright red post (mail) boxes, a double decker bus, Tower Bridge and Nelson’s Column – and don’t forget Abbey Road as well! And although there were many creative venues, I still couldn’t quite get used to the idea of seeing “babes in bikinis” playing beach volleyball at Horse Guards Parade! Many incredible competitions, matches and races have already been run, swum and won – but again, how could I not mention the success of Andy Murray, the Scottish “Lion Heart,” who won Olympic Gold in the mens singles tennis! Finally! The Olympics includes many professional athletes these days (which was not the case in the past) such as tennis and basketball, but these games also remind us of those lesser known sports, and the athletes who train for years and years, just to be able to have that once-every-four-years opportunity, the opportunity to compete, perhaps for only that one time, (unless you’re Michael Phelps of course, in which case you’ll compete in multiple Olympics). Whether it is Archery or Épée (Fencing), Dressage and Diving, Judo or Kayaking, Synchronized Swimming and Weightlifting – it is an amazing two weeks of competition, full of bravery, courage, dedication, inspiration and a passionate love for what it is they do. Who could not feel inspired watching gymnast Gabby Douglas bring home Gold for the USA, for example? Or how about Kirani James, who won his tiny little country (the Island of Grenada) its first ever-Olympic medal, let alone Gold! And, this was the same humble athlete who out of respect exchanged his name tag with the inspirational South-African runner Oscar Pistorius, the 1st man with 2 prosthetic legs to compete against able-bodied runners.
London 2012 Summer Olympic Rings
In closing, many of you will have heard by now that it is the first time London has hosted the Olympic games since 1948. I found some of the stories about those games very interesting, because back then, it was literally right after the end of World War II and much of Europe had been bombed and devastated. But did this deter the British? Certainly not! The motto for the war had been “Keep calm, and carry on” and that’s exactly what they did with the Olympic games as well – they simply carried on. And, they got some help too because many countries brought their own food (and towels) to take some of the pressure off the UK, and France even graciously sent a ship full of cases of wine. Only problem was they didn’t allow wine at the Olympics, so it all had to stay on the ship. What a waste!
And as always, we wish all of you Leos out there a very Happy Birthday!