What’s in a name, one might ask? My name, Cat, like the animal, was first a happy accident and then a deliberate choice. I tried out Kate, Cathy and Katie, all perfectly fine derivatives of Catherine, but none felt quite right. As a girl, I was always uncomfortable so I tried to make everyone else feel comfortable — except in ballet class. There was something about losing myself in dance that made me find my confidence. My ballet teacher, Miss Kim, was a Leo and one day at the barre starting calling me Cat, first by mistake and then she said, “I like that name for you.” Immediately something shifted. Cats always felt sassy, bold and glamorous; as a Batman nerd I worshiped Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt’s versions of Catwoman, so the moniker stuck. Miss Kim was the classic embodiment of Leo the lioness in her highest vibration.
As a working, professional ballet dancer, Miss Kim famously chose to decline a small role in Cats, instead furthering her already growing ballet school empire with numerous students, many who went on to successful careers. My memory of her is so vivid, from her dedication to proper technique, her bubbly laugh and of course her long luxurious locks. Like most performer Leos, when she took center stage you were in for a treat. From dancing sequences from Swan Lake with her perfect chignon, not a hair out of place, to transforming into a whirling dervish where she let her black hair down, Miss Kim was full of fire, life and love, groomed to perfection, yet wild with abandonment. A lioness queen, I too, could be.
Anahata, also known as the heart chakra, is green in color and translates from Sanskrit as meaning “unhurt, unstruck and unbeaten.” Despite being different systems from East and West, it’s no surprise that Leo, ruled by the Sun, also represents the heart in Western astrology. Anahata is all about compassion, loving openly and learning how to forgive others rather than holding on to resentment, fear and jealousy. Anahata radiates self-love and respect for oneself and therefore others. Leos are naturally lovers, passionate about protecting their partners and cubs. One of their life lessons is to avoid getting “green with envy.” Cats, of the large and small variety, all have undeniable presence, and now that we’ve entered Leo season along with a New Moon and Mars (all in the big cat’s sign), it’s time for bold behavior, big hair, and taking chances in confident fashion.
Miss Kim was in a horrifying car crash before opening up her ballet school and had a significant scar on her cheek, faded by plastic surgery and make-up, and she proudly told her students about the importance of overcoming our fears whether it be dancing on pointe or making friends. She often spoke about how before the accident her sole desire in life was to become a principal ballet dancer and many of her daily rituals involved altering her appearance severely so she could fit into the expectations of what a ballerina should look like. This woman, of course, was in peak physical condition, yet I remember her stopping herself when she started to complain about her “large” muscular calves. She was so candid with her students in these moments saying things like, “girls look how silly I am even though I know better.” Miss Kim made every size feel graceful and powerful, but by being honest about her own struggles with beauty she felt like a relatable big sister while remaining a tough instructor.
With this Leo season, challenge yourself to overcome a fear and commit to working on it through August 21nd which brings a second New Moon in Leo which also happens to be a Solar Eclipse. What an opportune moment in time we have to focus our energies of whatever is plaguing our heart chakra. This doesn’t have to be your all time biggest fear but something significant enough that it currently makes you doubt your own talents, intelligence or self-image. In my ballet studies I was one of the last girls in my class to dance “en pointe,” where a dancer is quite literally dancing on the top of their toes. I had weak ankles and Miss Kim patiently worked on building up my muscles, reassuring me that it was wiser to build up the physical strength because it takes a leap of faith and ultimate self-confidence to perform such an intricate and challenging style of dance. That day, lacing on satin dance slippers and going up en pointe was among one of my bravest and proudest moments.
Find those specific moments of courage in your own personal history and use them as matches to light the fire in your heart this Leo season and dance forward with unbeatable strength.
Images: NYCB Firebird Ballet; Slutist Tarot by Morgan Claire Sirene