Illustration: The Emperor's New Clothes, by Vilhelm Pedersen, 1837

{Image description: Black and white illustration of the Emperor wearing only the crown and an undershirt and holding an orb and a sceptre. He is walking under a canopy that is held by four men. Around them the crowd watches the royal procession, and on the right side a small child points to the Emperor.}


For the sign of Leo it was inevitable to choose the story of the Emperor who, blinded by vanity and pride, refuses the truth and is exposed by the innocence of a child. This tale was written by Hans Christian Andersen and published in 1837, along with The Little Mermaid and other tales. The author tells that he was inspired by a narrative published in 1335 in the Libro de los ejemplos, a Spanish collection of traditional tales. However, it was the Danish writer's version that popularized the story, to the point that its title became an idiomatic phrase.

The tale begins by describing its central character, an Emperor so vain that he was more concerned with choosing his clothes than with his duties as the sovereign of the nation. Leo, which belongs to the Fire element, is an extroverted and very expressive sign; Leo likes to show off and to be seen. Its ruler is the Sun, which signifies kings, monarchs, and heads of state in general, as they are the most visible figure and even the image of a nation. This monarch embodies well the shadow side of this energy, vanity, pride and ostentation, with his favorite activity: showing off his new clothes in official parades.

One day two men who claim to be weavers arrive in town. They advertise that the cloth that comes off their looms is very special, not only amazingly beautiful, but also magical because it has the singularity of being invisible to all people who are unfit for the positions they occupy, or just incredibly stupid.

The Emperor soon decides to have a new suit made from this fantastic fabric to find out who around him would be unworthy of their position. He immediately hires the two impostors and puts all means at their disposal so that they can proceed to weave the wonderful textile without further delay. But on the looms nothing can be seen, not even when it seems that the two men work tirelessly, waving their arms and hands as if they were passing the threads from one side to the other.

Throughout the weaving process, the monarch, doubting his own abilities, sends two officials of his highest confidence to inspect the impressive work. From each of the visits, the men give in to their own pride and, although questioning their aptitude and intelligence, do not admit that what they see before them are only two empty looms, and return to their Emperor with the imagined account of the wonders they would have seen.

Finally, and after hearing so much about the dazzling cloth, the monarch decides to go himself to admire the weavers' amazing work. Obviously, when he arrives at the workshop he is confronted with the same vision as his employees, but he soon decides that no one will know about his limitations and weaknesses. These conmen know Leo's nature too well and take advantage of its weaknesses—pride, conceit and the need for external recognition—personified by the Emperor and his representatives, to carry out their plan.

Throughout the narrative, Andersen allows the invisible fabric to invade our imagination as well, as if the work were really being performed in our fantasy, growing with every adjective and every word of admiration. Despite being aware of the hoax, the reader is entangled in the fakers' staging and in the ostensible lie. Because the fantasy it is so much bigger and more splendid than reality, it also becomes more irresistible. Creativity is one of Leo's best qualities, but when it is used through insecurity and fear, instead of aggrandizing us and helping our self-expression, it separates us from the truth and serves only to feed a false and empty ego, like the looms of the two con men.

The farce continues, stimulated and amplified with the pride and vanity of each person who admires the non-existent fabric. And with it, the swindlers are getting rich from the considerable salary paid by the Emperor and from the silk and gold threads that never reach the looms. One of Leo's characteristics is the taste for wealth and luxury, but so are generosity and benevolence, and the sovereign does not shy away from rewarding the extraordinary craftsmen greatly.

Finally, the day comes when the Emperor will show off his new outfit, made of the wonderful textile. With yet another bit of imagination and creativity, the impostors convince the sovereign and his entourage that the material they have produced has such prodigious and sublime characteristics that it becomes as light as air and therefore cannot be felt on the skin.

Dressed only in air, the Emperor goes out in procession, and the people attending this spectacle, not wanting anyone to know of their inability to see the clothes and, consequently, of their incompetence or ignorance, all praise the beauty and perfection of his robes. As if wrapped in a collective hysteria, everyone follows the example of their ruler, and the entire city echoes the Emperor's vanity and pride, but also his fear of ridicule and his lack of confidence in his abilities. The Sun, the star ruling Leo, is a source of light to everything that surrounds it, and, symbolically, is an example to those around him. So is this monarch, who is followed in his blind pride by his subjects.

Amidst the buzzing of the crowd, a child's voice is heard, "The Emperor has no clothes!" And slowly other voices are raised until everyone realizes the obvious: their ruler is naked. The Emperor, after this obvious and indisputable display of his nakedness, as a symbol the weaknesses and frailties of all of us, does what any Leo would do, lifts his chin even higher and continues his parade with all the dignity, nobility and solemnity required by the occasion.

The spontaneity and transparency of the child, who does not question his truth and expresses it without filters and without fear, act as a catalyst for the release of the collective lie and expose the Emperor in his greatest fear, that of ridicule, of making himself look bad, of falling short. At the end of the tale it is the child who is the genuine hero and the true example of Leo's noblest qualities, sincerity and the natural and pure expression of what our heart knows to be the truth.

Leos are special, not because they are majestic or exuberant, not because they need to show off and get the attention and recognition of the world. But because they are a shining light and a model to follow whenever their expression is spontaneous, joyful and generous. So yes, they are a center of vitality for their community, as the heart is for the body and the Sun for the planets. A hero, who, courageously faces their fears and insecurities, learns to believe, from the inside out, in his own light, and in doing so, teaches others to shine as well.