Welcome to Virgo
Dear Friend and Reader:
Wednesday afternoon, the Sun ingressed Virgo, beginning the third and last month of the season. This is always true of the mutable signs, Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces. At the end of each of those signs, the Sun begins a new season. Virgo is an earth sign, ruled by Mercury. Though many people are taking time off from work this time of year, the mental quality of Virgo is a great time to accomplish challenging tasks that require a high level of focus.
In German, the word for Virgo is Jungrfrau, meaning young woman — that’s a bit more literal and easier to understand than our word, which implies virginity. However as you’ll read, there is something of a mystery embedded in this sign.
I’ve said this a few times, though it’s worth another reminder: for the first time all year, the inner planets (Mercury, Venus and Mars) are in direct motion, and none of them are about to station retrograde. While our complex lives never quite facilitate the simplicity we dream of, it helps at least in the midst of complexity to have the inner planets moving forward, and eclipses out of the way as well (the next Mercury retrograde, and the next eclipses, take place in November, both of which will directly affect the U.S. presidential elections — more about this soon).
While it may be tempting to relax after the turbulence of the past seven months, I suggest you strike a balance between easing off and easing into some real accomplishments. Set your agenda carefully, and make sure you include your most significant goals.
Meanwhile, the Sun is opposing Neptune. That was exact earlier today, but we’ve been feeling it all week and it’s in full effect through the weekend. While the Virgo Sun is mentally focused, its meeting with Neptune in Pisces is calling for some imagination. It may also be inviting you to indulge in many of the things for which Neptune is famous: things that change your consciousness, art, music, cinema and intense fantasy. The Sun opposite Neptune can feel like a mystical kind of Full Moon, though more inspiring than agitated.
Just remember to keep a grip. When there’s a lot of Neptune in the picture, there’s a necessity for maintaining your integrity (tell the truth, drive sober, and don’t finalize important decisions till the aspect passes). This aspect has an idealistic streak, which will tend to overlook the details; give the details time to come into focus.
That will happen soon enough, as the Sun gradually slips into an opposition with Chiron in Pisces. That is exact on Aug. 30, and is a turning point in the tone for the Sun’s transit through Virgo. That’s how Chiron almost always works; it’s a moment of clarity.
Chiron (relatively new to its visit to Pisces, a sign it occupies for about eight years of every 51) has a strong association with Virgo (not exactly rulership, but rather in traditional terms, something that feels more like exaltation or natural resonance). Chiron is about a kind of hyper-awareness, and in Pisces, it represents a focused spiritual vigilance.Sun opposite Chiron asks two questions: one is, what is the mode of expression of that vigilance? The Sun is about expression, illumination, creativity and a measure of glory in what we’ve accomplished. Chiron is holding up a powerful mirror to the Sun. Do you feel like you’re adequately expressing yourself? Do you want to go deeper into what you’re doing, expressing yourself from closer to your core?
What arises around the time of this opposition will help you see how you can do that, though beware that you may have to confront a sense of inadequacy as you do. Think of Sun opposite Chiron as the acupuncture needle that guides you to direct your energy with more focus and purpose. What I’m saying is that this will be easier and more pleasant if you maintain your awareness through the Sun-Neptune part of the trip, and don’t zone out into denial — to which Chiron invariably serves as an antidote.
As for Virgo itself.
In traditional astrology, it’s ruled by another planet — Mercury, which is always worth considering when we’re mulling over the meaning of this sign. Fred Gettings, in his excellent astrology dictionary, describes Virgo as a sign “deeply committed to the intellectual process.” Those of us who know and love Virgos are familiar with intelligent, clever, somewhat nervous people who can never seem to do enough. But this is not mental activity for its own buzz; there appears to be something inherently spiritual, transcendent of ego and dedicated to world service that is apparent in who many Virgos are and what they represent.
Virgos had best put these qualities to good use. They have a lot of energy to burn and have an inherent need to be of genuine assistance to the world. When they are fulfilling this role, they are generally quite happy and involved; when not, they can become annoying, particularly to themselves. Many astrologers feel that the keywords of Virgo are I Serve, and many born under this sign know exactly what they’re talking about.
Alice A. Bailey, in her 1951 book Esoteric Astrology, addresses some of what may be going on beneath this impulse. (Note, if you buy this book and try to read it and can’t figure it out, please write to me; it’s also worth a short ‘reader’s guide’ kind of article on how to work with it.)
“The sign Virgo is one of the most significant in the zodiac,” she writes in her introduction to this sign, “for its symbology concerns the whole goal of the evolutionary process, which is to shield, nurture and finally reveal the hidden spiritual reality. This every form veils, but the human form is equipped and fitted to manifest it in a manner different to any other expression of divinity and so make tangible and objective that for which the whole creative process was intended.”
I think the first sentence of that statement is pretty easy to grasp, but I had to read the second one a few times. Remember, she is writing from an esoteric or occult viewpoint, which takes the view that the physical world is like drapery hung over the inner life. One could just as easily reason that all of nature, including human nature, is the living expression of divinity at every moment.She is saying, essentially, that every form in nature veils the inner life of spirit; that the soul is hidden within what we see every day. But there is something in the human form (represented by Virgo) that is in a position to make divinity tangible in a way unique in all the world (or universe), and which is the intent of the entire evolutionary process. This notion rates the human experience as the most important on the planet (debatable, and also a position held by some religions), but maybe if we took that seriously, we would be kinder to other living things and the planet herself. Humans really are in the position of noblesse oblige. Many humans claim that we’re special; certainly, much has been given to us. The concept suggests that “noble ancestry constrains to honorable behavior; privilege entails to responsibility.”
Next, she adds a bit of interesting, ancient data, which we don’t have any conventional way to verify. “The word Virgo itself is a descendant of and corruption of the ancient Atlantean root name which was applied to the mother principle in those far-off times. This Virgin was the founder of the matriarchy which then dominated civilization and to which various myths and legends bear evidence and which have come down to us concerning Lilith, the last Virgin Goddess of Atlantean times.”
In other words, the sign Virgo represents the feminine principle of divinity in its entirety. We might think of that as the spirit that animates mater-mother-matter, our entire earthly life, our bodies, and all we do and create within the material plane.
Bailey also associates Virgo with Mary, “who carries the process down to the plane or place of incarnation, the physical plane, and there gives birth to the Christ child.” She adds that “Virgo is, therefore, the opposite pole of spirit and stands for the relation of these two after they have been brought together.”
In other words, Virgo represents the physical embodiment of spirit; the form into which the soul incarnates.
Everyone has Virgo somewhere in their chart, and thus, working in their lives. I would offer the idea that the urge or impulse to bring the divine force into our lives tangibly, as healing and service, that each of us encounters where Virgo is in our charts is the impulse to give birth to something intended to heal the world.
Let’s see where that takes us this month.
Aries (March 20-April 19)
There are people who insist that the best sex happens after a huge fight with one’s partner, and this is one description of your charts right now. We could however apply it to many areas of your life, and many different kinds of partnerships. The way the astrology is describing it, your MO seems to be resist until you decide to submit. While this is helping maintain your reputation of someone who is not afraid to stand up to authority (in whatever form it may take), I don’t think it’s helping your peace of mind. If you’re looking for some dependable success and/or a stable situation in a relationship, it would help if you expressed yourself in a way that invites collaboration. I’m aware of the sensation of giving up one’s individuality to do that. However, I would propose that it’s the best way to find your identity. Your astrology is configured in such a way that you are extremely, boldly and assertively yourself, and then in equal measure (on a half-moment’s notice) you’re able to have your identity disappear into a relationship. You can consider your rebellious moments as attempts to define your identity within a partnership. This would be a lot simpler if you didn’t view this process as standing up to authority but rather an experience of meeting another person on level ground. The boring part of this is that it’s not as dramatic or brimming with pathos. The sensation is more like a conversation across a table, which can go anywhere you mutually decide.
Taurus (April 19-May 20)
You are seeking freedom, and it looks like you encounter the same obstacle over and over again. This is an attribute of your character, as it’s currently set up. Something has suddenly shifted over the past few weeks, where you’re aware of this obstacle in a new way, and more determined than ever to let it go. What you’re doing in these weeks of your life can serve as a foundation or entry point to the process. You have the potential to see and understand the issue in a new way. This will prove to be helpful if you remember what you’re learning. Unraveling whatever block, interference or past injury you’re working with may take a while — figure about 18 months from now, if you stay with yourself. What you’re working with goes back longer than you may recognize. To work it out in so short of a time will be a miracle, and your willingness is essential to that happening. I suggest one thing. What you think the problem is may be incorrect. What you think the solution is may not actually be the one. It’s essential that you consider your situation as a moving dynamic, and that you consider yourself a work in progress. I would share with you some lines of the poet T. S. Eliot, who understood a lot about the human condition. He wrote: “I have heard the key / Turn in the door once and turn once only / We think of the key, each in his prison / Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison.”
Gemini (May 20-June 21)
You may have a tendency to be overly reactive with partners, loved ones or colleagues this month — and the closer you are to the person, the more reactive you might be. Lurking underneath this is an expectation that people will be like you, or perceive the world as you do. And there is something else with how powerfully you can identify with people close to you, and how self-conscious that can make you feel when the identification no longer works. Underneath all of this is something about identifying with your mom, and part of the reason there is some struggle here is that you’re not her. Yet there is some bond that I suggest you look at; that may be how you respond to her sense of loss that you’re now an adult, or how she responded to you in the years when you were becoming an adult. I suggest you ask yourself an honest question: did she resist your becoming an adult? Did she strive to delay any aspect of your maturity? If so, I suggest you get inside this dynamic and understand how it still may be controlling your life. One angle to look at is the expectations you have on partners. Another is how you respond to drugs or alcohol in your environment. And there’s one last: do you ever feel like you’re concealing an iron fist inside a velvet glove? It may work for some things, though it’s not that helpful where intimacy is concerned. And there is another approach.
Cancer (June 21-July 22)
You’re figuring out that you need more room for yourself — both outer space and inner space. You may think it’s taken you a while to understand this, but really, not as long as you might imagine — and you’re really ready. Over the next couple of months, your creative aspirations are going to take a step forward. This strongly implies you’re getting serious about desires that may have only seemed like fancy ideas in the past. If you’re feeling like you have to rearrange your home or office, or get into something bigger, that’s probably a real signal. Then there is the more elusive concept of inner space. That’s another way of saying: is there room in your life for you? If there is not, it’s time to start making some adjustments. This will begin with your positive priorities — not what you need to cut. I suggest you focus on getting clear what you want to do, and what your space needs will be. Then start clearing things out of the way. This will help you focus your efforts. If you start by clearing out your time, you may not quite know what to do first. So I suggest you set your agenda and then make room for what you know you want to do. The upsurge in your creative energy will have a way of displacing what’s not necessary, what’s redundant and what’s no longer serving you. Meanwhile, if you’re feeling cramped, consider that a good sign — evidence that you’re about to molt, as crabs must often do, though this is a big one.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
Your mind is getting bigger, and it’s likely that your physical space will soon need to accommodate your growth. This may not happen tomorrow, though if you’re feeling antsy or restless, consider whether your home environment actually accommodates who you have become in recent years. Yet there is also something here about outgrowing certain long-held emotional tendencies that have shaped your psyche. As a child, this may have led you to a kind of submissiveness that you seem ready to let go of. That letting go may come with the feeling of getting a grip on your emotions, taking charge of your space, and recognizing that you’re the only person who can make sure that you’re not manipulated by others. What may be useful for you to know is that the way that’s most likely to happen is when others pick up on your passion and use that against you. With Mars becoming more active in your chart for the next couple of months, you may be able to observe how this happens — and figure out what you can do about it. While you’re considering ways you can make more space, along the same theme, I suggest you create emotional space for yourself. Space translates to time and peace of mind, though in the event that you move locations, make sure that some part of that structure belongs to you and you alone. Create a sanctuary that’s free from the influences and ideas of others, and this will become a living metaphor for your emotions.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
During the past few years, you’ve learned a lot about what’s the most meaningful to you — and a lot about what you do with your money. The lessons and learning have come in many forms and have covered many topics, including the value that you place on relationships. Yet if you’ve been even vaguely responsive to some powerful astrology, the main thing you’ve gained is a new level of self-respect. You may not walk around every day humming about how good you feel about yourself, though you have built a foundation, and you’re standing on it. Think of that foundation as a conscious relationship to yourself. You may be noticing how many people around you seem to be standing on nothing at all, and who seem to lack any conscious relationship to who they are. If you’ve learned nothing else in the recent years, it’s that you must engage with yourself consciously, and that this inner encounter is the foundation of all your other relationship s. It’s not merely the floor you walk on; it’s what holds up the floor. You’re embarking on a time in your life when your outer-world encounters with others are deeper, more provocative and call on you to possess actual maturity. Not everyone has the integrity that you have, and not everyone is interested. Others are in a learning process, and some will be profound teachers. When in doubt, come back to yourself, and remember that everything stems from the value that you place on your own life.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
Saturn is getting ready to make its exit from your sign. It’s been there since right around Halloween 2009, and its arrival may have been attended by all kinds of fanfare. Saturn’s exit is a time for a review not only of that two- to three-year phase of your life; it’s time for a life review, centered on the theme of coming to terms with yourself. If you’re familiar with astrology, Saturn in one’s own sign is a little like the Saturn return: it’s a get-serious point, and an opportunity to leverage yourself to a new point of maturity. The way the world is currently configured, that’s always a miracle; and it’s rarely easy. We’re conditioned regularly to deny who we are, and to pretend we’re someone else. As for maturity, many places that concept seems to be a museum piece. To the extent you’ve progressed along these lines, count yourself fortunate — though first I suggest you take stock of everything that’s happened since this transit began. When Saturn changes signs to Scorpio in October, the theme shifts to self-esteem — another astounding deficit in our society, and where you will encounter a phase of enforced growth. These processes are always easier if you understand yourself and your agenda, and have a sense of what you need to accomplish. It’s always a bit more than you think — though today I would remind you that in the past few years you’ve come a lot further than you may believe.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
Be mindful of your tendency to expect disaster in matters of the heart. Nothing else would serve to create that more dependably than negative expectations. This works differently from superstition or ordinary paranoia. For example, the fear that your house might burn down is not particularly incendiary. You can check your extension cords, the stove and candles. But similar fears projected onto a relationship can have a profound effect on the emotional dynamic. Your fear will tend to increase as passion, interest and vulnerability become more real to you. This is a situation calling for mindfulness, and for honesty. Yet the one thing that is not called for is control, which will only stoke your fears. And nihilism — expectation that all is for naught, so what’s the point anyway — is a form of attempted control (mainly, of your own emotions). Your fear level will drop as you set yourself free to have the experience. If someone in your life means a lot to you, be willing to go where the situation takes you. Be willing to share yourself in a way that’s more generous than you might ordinarily, and by share, I mean generosity without expectation. Withholding is yet another form of attempted control that will serve only to strip you of your influence. I would remind you of this: we tend to love who and what we take care of. When you subtract that from the equation, you’re trying to limit your own vulnerability, which is like trying to have sex in a Tyvek suit.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
You may notice that people around you are especially reactive to what you say and do — as if it takes exceedingly little to set them off. Even stranger, you may notice that their reactions bear no resemblance to anything you said, or anything you consciously think or feel. So what’s going on? Well, often intense reactions are both powered and assigned their theme by the one having the reaction. You might serve as a catalyst and then as a projection screen, though it will be helpful if you keep an arm’s length on anything people close to you are experiencing, without disavowing your responsibility. It’s as if you’re in an extended training program of learning how not to take things personally, while remaining accountable. As a Sagittarius you’re supposed to be aloof. Yet you get as emotionally invested as anyone else, and you’re in particularly deep these days. You might also be wondering why it is that certain people respond or react to you the way that they do, if for no other reason than promoting peace and harmony in your life. This is a great time for an inquiry into your ethics and your boundaries, and that would start as an inner journey — and your ancestors are involved. I suggest you investigate the different sides of your family as individual projects, going back as many generations as you can. You may think you’re the union of all these different clans, though their influences tend to operate a lot more independently of one another than you may think.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
Just in time for the equinox, Uranus makes its second of seven squares to Pluto in your sign. Translated into plain English, this is about getting a fire lit under your ass. The sensation may be like a restless emotional stirring that you just have to act on. However, I suggest you concentrate your energy and not make any moves in a lurch. Saturn, your ruling planet, is getting ready to make one of its relatively rare changes of sign; it ingresses Scorpio in October. You may want to make some decisions now, before that happens — the kind of moves that will shape your life and help you create your future. Yet while Saturn is in Libra, you’re still working through unfinished business, and you’re still getting a sense of what you want. So I suggest you take this bit of astrological experience I am sharing to heart: wait until Saturn changes signs before making any significant structural changes in your life. Focus on completion, and on getting clear about what agenda you want to create for the next two-and-a-half years. You have considerable potential to develop your income — particularly from business-related activities. You’re likely to see a return on what you’ve worked so hard on during the past few years. Remember that your single most valuable asset is your reputation. Your second most valuable asset is your adaptability. And your passion not just for what you’re doing but for who you are is a close third place.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
You’re getting ready for some big professional moves — or depending on how you think astrology works, the universe is preparing to unveil some of its plans. As this experience unfolds, I suggest you place a high value on the role of collaboration. There is a prevailing view (seen in many political ads these days) that the only way to succeed is to ‘go it alone’ and succeed by the grit of your teeth. In fact, you always succeed by collaboration. This is more or less true for everyone, though it’s especially meaningful for you. As you engage in these collaborations, you have to walk a number of fine lines. Control is a theme, whether it refers to you seeking power over others or they seeking power over you. The other side of this is learning to engage energy in a meaningful and creative way, no matter who is the boss or who ultimately controls the resources. Then there is the question of who sets the agenda. Given certain facts o f your chart, this has to be a transparent process, where the agenda — that is, the goals, and the values that inform them — are considered something of a sacred text. Most significant is that you have to be you in your partnerships. So make sure that as you enter into new ventures, there is room for who you are and who you’re becoming, and that you choose collaborators that you actually admire for their ethics and sensitivity, as well as for their achievements.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
Who exactly is in your life, why are they there and what do you exchange with them? These have become significant questions the past few years that Saturn has been in Libra. You’ve had little choice other than to look at them closely, and do the growth work necessary to get some actual answers. You may have been through a long phase of paring down who you think of as a friend. You may have decided at some point that it would make a lot of sense to consider carefully who you engage with sexually, because so much happens in those encounters. Now as Saturn gets ready to ingress Scorpio, you’re about to begin a new phase of your life — and your relationship to yourself. I suggest you take this month as a review phase, and write a summary of your important relationships and what you’ve learned from them. This review could go back to mid-2009, when Saturn first ingressed Libra, or you could go back to 2007, when Saturn entered your re lationship sign Virgo. I trust you’ve figured out that you have a responsibility to yourself that you must be vigilant about all the time. If you don’t rate that need as a priority higher than your responsibility to others, you will be of little help to yourself or anyone else. It is high time that you stopped allowing your tendency to share to be used against you, and interrupt the flow of situations where your loss is someone else’s gain. Existing on mutual terms is eminently possible, if you focus on that goal.