The Golden Orchard: On Virgo

Greetings! 🙂 And welcome back to Journeys. I took a break this month to take care of a persistent cold but I am back now to share with you an end of month post on Virgo. If you enjoy this post, please show your support by becoming a Patron.

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“The devil is in the details” (Old phrase)
“God is in the details” (Older phrase)

 

To know Virgo is to be blessed in the way that we are all blessed when we know we are being cared for by another. Virgo is a sign with a simple and clean exterior behind which lie far more complicated realities. Of all the 12 signs it is the one that requires a little more careful and diligent meditation and reflection before its inner nature becomes clear. Part of this is because the symbolism of Virgo, the Virgin, acts to conceal its mystery – our attention is directed to chastity and the mostly negative connotations of not having had sex in a highly sexualized society. However, the precise and analytical mindset of this sign requires a high degree of quality control. Once this quality control is enabled, the naked form of Virgo reminds us not of a humiliating inexperience and naivete but of purity and the immaculate.

For this is truly a Maiden more than she is a virgin, it is a powerful young woman who is fruitful and untainted by the corruption of the adult world or the sexual advances of men. She is a bearer of fruitful gifts in all of her depictions, almost universally reaching forth with her hand/s bearing a symbol of harvest time. Mindful of her duties, attentive and observant of nature, She understands that harvesting the bounty of beauty from nature is an ongoing labour. In this, she is both a tree bearing fruit and a blacksmith hammering away at an anvil. Virgo is a sign which teaches us how to produce things and how to optimise and improve them, and it’s virgin nature is more about reaching an elemental purity of method and solution than it is about anything that does or does not happen between the sheets.

Below I have presented you with some examples of the qualities of Virgo as they might appear in a person’s character. Always remember that these examples are only meant as a guideline to get you started on your own inner reflection and your own observation of what Virgo means in your life.

 

WHITE MIRROR

Helpful
Attentive
Humble
Modest
Observant
Analytical
Rational
Logical
Optimizing
Pureness
Measured
Methodical
Efficient
Industrial
Sense of Duty
Brainy
Discriminating
Composed
Assimilating
Orderly
Tidy
Editorial
Discerning

BLACK MIRROR

Interfering
Nit-picky
Self Deprecating
Shy
Anal Retentive
Clinical
Over Analysing
Predictable
Pedantic
Hypercritical
Restrained
Mediocre
Bland
Overworked
Unending Servitude
Detail Fixation
Perfectionist
Unresponsive
Derivative
Fussy
Rigid
Censorious
Over-scrupulous

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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LORE

As the image above shows, I wrote this post as Venus was with Spica in Virgo.

The northern hemispheres spring equinox occurred in the constellation of Virgo 15,000 years ago and many date the constellation as having an even older history. The stars of Virgo have taken the shape of a maiden goddess or a furrow or plough in human awareness for many thousands of years and are considered among the oldest of constellations. Some think that they are part of the inspiration for the modeling of the Sphinx, which bears the form of both Leo and Virgo.

Around the 10th century BC in the Babylonian culture the constellation is divided into two parts, named “The Furrows” and “Frond of Erua”, both of which have the same imagery we use today for Virgo, an agricultural instrument and a woman holding forth a palm frond. The Furrows were anciently connected to the goddess Shala and her ear of grain. Shala is an ancient Sumerian goddess not just of the harvest and grain but also the principle of compassion, for the ancients believed that a bountiful harvest was provided at the mercy of the gods. She is wife to the fertility god Dagon and was often depicted associated with lions. Today a mountain on Venus, Shala Mons, is named after her.

To some of the ancient Egyptians Virgo was the literal body of the goddess Isis, sister–wife of Osiris and mother of Horus (embodied in the constellation Taurus, especially by its red eye Aldebaran, while Osiris himself was in turn thought to inhabit the constellation Orion). This identifies her as the giver of the magic of agriculture and planting as well as the mother of magic in general. She is shown in the earliest known bas-relief zodiac depiction found at the Temple of Denderah, now on display in the Louvre, as a wingless but radiant woman holding a sheaf of wheat, offering humanity the magic of agriculture and the harvesting of crop. Particles dropped from the sheaf were believed to form the Milky Way.

The Greeks, as is often the case, offer several incarnations of the celestial. Early Greek astronomy associates the constellation with Demeter, goddess of the Earth, and here the stars seem to gain associations with tragedy and loss when her daughter Persephone is stolen away by Hades, leading to her decision to withdraw her grace from the Earth during the winter months. Thus these stars were a highly significant factor in the initiations of the Eleusinian mystery schools. According to her tale Persephone is the inspiration or spirit of spring and at one time the surface of the Earth was a garden of perpetual springtime. When Hades the King of the Underworld falls in love with Persephone and abducts her, the Earth turns into a frigid wasteland. Zeus intervenes to save mankind, forcing Hades to return Persephone to Demeter. But when Hades gives her a pomegranate Persephone violates a stricture from Zeus that she must not eat the food of the Underworld, and so she is bound to return to it and to Hades for four months of every year, these months being the four months when the constellation of Virgo is not visible in the sky at night, the nights of late autumn and winter time.

The Greeks also associate her with Erigone, a dark fated maiden whose father, a follower of Dionysus, is killed by shepherds who drink his wine and think they are poisoned. Erigone is led to her fathers grave by her faithful hound, Maera, and when she discovers what has happened she is so overcome with despair that she hangs herself, and Maera jumps off a cliff. Too late, Dionysus sees them and sets them in the heavens, Erigone as Virgo and Maera as Canis Minor, the Puppy. So at this time they are accruing a darker, more tragic significance (which is perhaps a reflection of the decline of Goddess worship and the rise of monotheism).

These darker themes are also present in the stories associated with Dike, the goddess of Justice, who was the daughter of Zeus and Themis. Here the notion is much more clearly about a fall or descent of humanity into a more barbaric state. According to Aratus’ account of the constellation’s origin Dike was, like Persephone, a goddess who lived upon Earth during the Golden and Silver ages, when there were no wars or diseases, people lived bountifully and did not yet know how to sail on water. These early humans grew greedy, however, and Dike was repulsed by this. She proclaimed, quite prophetically:

“Behold what manner of race the fathers of the Golden Age left behind them! Far meaner than themselves! but you will breed a viler progeny! Verily wars and cruel bloodshed shall be unto men and grievous woe shall be laid upon them”. — Aratus, Phaenomena 123

Dike then departed the Earth for the sky, from which, as the constellation Virgo, she watched the decline of the human race into the Bronze Age, when war and diseases arose and they learned how to sail.

Virgo is also firmly linked to the Greek goddess of innocence and purity, Astraea. Astraea is a minor but important goddess from Greek mythology. Known as the “Star Maiden” or “Star Goddess”, she is best known for being the last immortal to live among the humans on Earth before leaving in disgust of humanity’s brutality and wickedness. According to the creation myth, Zeus sent Pandora down to Earth as a punishment to man. Because of her curiosity, she opened the box the gods had warned her not to, and let the plagues of hate, envy, sickness, etc. out into the world. Of course, Hope did not escape, but the Earth was just unbearable. One by one, the gods returned to the heavens to live. Astraea was the last to leave. She became the constellation Virgo, and according to legend, when the Golden Age comes again, Astraea will return to the Earth.

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During the Middle Ages Virgo becomes firmly religiously associated with the Virgin Mary, and also in this period the constellation formally adopts its huge pair of wings which engulf the sky around it. Although this is not the first time the virgin nature of these stars has been emphasized it seems to be the time when the modern conception of the figure began to lean in this way. Agricultural magic became less important for common folk to possess after the Industrial age and certainly into the Information and Computer age.

In our mythology Virgo has represented fruitfulness and fertility for tens of thousands of years, but this wondrous constellation has also proved its fruitfulness in ways undreamed of by the ancients. We know now that this constellation is the home of an immense cosmic cluster, a nexus made up of many thousands of galaxies some 65 million light-years away, but still visible here with a telescope. There are currently 35 verified exoplanets orbiting 29 stars in Virgo and it’s also home to the first quasar (an extremely luminous and active galactic nucleus) ever to be identified.

Two stars of Virgo have more cultural significance than the others, Vindemiatrix in the right wing or hand (which lies about 109 light years away and is a giant star ten times bigger than our Sun) and Spica, the bright star in the outstretched left hand (a binary star system about 250 light years from Earth). The name of the former star is from the Greek for ‘grape gatherer’ because in classical Greece the appearance of this star as a heliacal rising star was the signal to gather the grapes. This has led the star to become astrologically associated with wines, things which ripen and the ripening time for all things, even today after thousands of years when the star no longer gives this seasonal signal. Spica, one of the brightest stars in the sky, is the gift of wheat offered by the goddess, the instruction in the practical magic of spells and control over Elemental nature.

The Irish goddess Brigid also has a powerful connection to these stars, being a goddess of both fertility and the forge, two of the principle analogies of Virgo. It is possible that these stars were involved in ceremonies for Brigid or some of her earlier forms (she seems to be a triple goddess), but to date I have been unable to uncover any evidence of this. Brigid is said to have been one of the Tuatha, the mound builders who visited this world through the sacred sites of Ireland. 

So, tracing the lineage of this constellation, again and again we encounter the same symbolism across all major cultures – this is a woman with all the magic and power that comes with it, and she bears with her in her hands gifts, precious things which allow us to cultivate nature and elevate ourselves. She has been associated with most goddesses simply because she is the lone female figure of the zodiac. As Isis, she grasps the ankh and the secrets of magic. As Mary, she holds the innocent child. And as Persephone or other harvest goddesses, her arrival brings nourishment and a renewal of life. These stars are in resonance with the discoveries of agriculture, the earliest farming techniques and harvesting of resources before winter time, the secrets of seed planting and the magic of making things flourish and ripen. This is a practical magic that yields fruits and grains, wines and cornucopia of all kinds. Its connection to reason and intellect and to goddesses of justice and law arises because these matters require careful evaluation, weighing and a harvesting of facts from opinions and accusations that facilitates practical and dispassionate judgment. So our zodiacal sign Virgo is connected with all these qualities and they have developed through the zodiac into an expression of the Earth Element that is tidy, neat, orderly, precise and calculating, yet also helpful, polite and pragmatically intelligent. The chastity and innocence have become simplicity and shyness and the knowledge of the magic of the harvest have become the light of reason and the gifts of scientific thinking. Her transition from being a powerful and mighty sorceress and a Goddess with the magic to change the shape of the land to a symbol of chastity and innocence and finally one of reason and the benefits of logic is a telling journey which symbolically depicts the relationship of humans to the cultivation of the fruits of the Earth.

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SUBSTANCE

Virgo is the second sign in the Earth triplicity (Taurus and Capricorn complete the triad) and it is the mental plane focused Earth sign, so it’s appropriate that the ruler is Mercury. It is a Mutable/Reactive sign, thus it is innately changeable and flexible, as well as an Earth sign, signifying it is characteristic of the Earth Element in an experimental state that is in an adaptable flux or mutation, specifically one of purification or refinement. Reactive Elements are more pliant and malleable than other manifestations of the Elements. These signs are the times of year in which the seasons are in transition from one state to another. They can be visually perceived as spirals of energy which reach both into the past (the sign before) and the future (the sign following), with the more Electrically inclined signs (Gemini, Sagittarius) tending towards futurism, and the more Magnetically rooted ones (Pisces, Virgo) inclining to evaluation of the past.

Virgo is conscious, then, of the hard, practical work that has gone and must continue to go into things to create perfection, working integration, wholeness and purity. A strong Virgo nature is work conscious, helpful, meticulous, discriminating, pure, logical, practical, health conscious and hard working when there is something to harvest at the end of a season. It wants to help or assist and often provides aid or charity in immediately useful and measurable form. Its virtue is its innocence or purity, the Maiden of course representing this in human terms with her implicit virginity. The Maiden is of old a symbol of the youthful face of the triple Goddess, a figure of innocence and purity and this was reflected in the many fertility rites which took place in cornfields and meadows during the Virgo month (the leaving of offerings from the harvest for example). Virgo is the innocent and pure awareness of the young or adolescent, the method of the seed planter, the discriminating intelligences that instinctively obey the physical laws of time and nature, an energy which sifts, dilutes, purifies and refines raw materials under a microscope of natural laws. The innocence of Virgo is really its innocence in the face of the ways of the flawed adult world with its complex machinations and manipulations, and its keen mind is really an acute observation of physical nature. Virgo is simple and natural. It prefers no artificial flavourings or preservatives, literally and figuratively. It relates to people by taking them at face value, but it often quietly analyses their words and actions, sometimes excessively.

Among the signs positive qualities are a purity that stems from this innocence and simplicity, a love of improving things in a helpful way, an astute and precisely tuned objectivity and an ability to bring method to any madness. Its changeability is in its willingness to incorporate new facts and to revise a hypothesis. According to hermetic philosophy all things move and change, in many different ways. Everything vibrates, and its vibration is a unique signature. The Earth Element is no exception; it is just slow to human perception. Not always, though – sometimes it simply buries whole towns or cities, even countries. This is one of its more obvious forms of mutability, when it is liquidated by excessive Water (flood) or Fire (quake) and turns to mud or an avalanche of dust. But there are other, more subtle, movements of Earth which give rise to its mutability. Particles of dirt on the wind brush up against mountains and change their faces over the crawl of eons of millennia, and rocks make epic journeys that last millions even billions and trillions of years, just ask any of them.

woman-159549_1280Yet these are literal manifestations of the Earth Element using a literal analogy – weight and density. The reality of the Earth Element is not so limited – it is the architect of shape and structure, the manifest potential of all 4 Elements and their cohesion into a magical form. Reactive Earth is both supple and substantial, being a dense and thick Element which is tensile and can be distilled, or purified. Virgo can be likened to celestial grain passing through a cosmic sieve, or Light splitting through a prism. This distillation – where a slow heat (the carefully applied attention) gives off vapours (pure thoughts, stripped of flaws and faults) that condense (become manifest) into methods and forms is the pattern of behaviour Virgo identifies with. It is akin to analytical process, to scientific processes that pare away the spoiled and corrupted materia to leave only the virgin essence. It strains away imperfection through logic like Spock but emotionally it is not fully aware that it is doing it and so sometimes strips away the nutrients, the essential meaning.

Virgo appreciates an order of things above all else and works practically to ensure things run smoothly and that purity is not compromised. They are purists in the truest sense being attuned to the harvest time in nature when corn and wheat are gathered representing the distillation of all previous hard work by the workers, who must now separate the spoiled from the unspoiled. It is a practical sign that knows how to cultivate, harvest, measure, ration and store things. Generally, it takes great care and pays diligent attention to details, tends to be methodical and analytical, and is very precise and detail oriented. It represents a need to be of service to society and therefore positions its intellect and hands in areas where they feel most helpful. Virgo is perfectionist and capable of making very fine distinctions and discriminations. It radiates analytical intelligence and a clean edged vital energy (that is, a kind of Earthy wholesomeness or healthiness), and is keen to mend and constantly improve and self perfect, to align with essential pure values. It has simple, modest needs but is frequently shy or humble about sharing them. Strangely it does not often seek help or enjoy being helped, as this strikes it as somewhat unnatural, it being an intelligence that prefers to be the helper.

The sign is systematic in developing and executing ideas. To the Virgo perception quality supersedes quantity, perfection is the goal, and flaws are best eliminated (and chances for success logically rise) when all the fine points are scrutinised under a microscope. There is compassion, but it is not sentimental. Virgo hardly ever acts without considering the ramifications and consequences for other people, and if it does so it sees it as a mistake. This is a deeply natural form of altruism more commonly associated with Pisces, with the difference that Virgo compassion and sensitivity to others is not emotional and transcendent but pragmatic and physical. To Virgo we are all tiny but critical parts of a whole, the whole being society, whereas to the Pisces the whole is something more ethereal.

With Virgo in the limelight there will typically be a lot of books and papers and many writing tools. A desk or study area will often be a much lived in spot, so the sign helps make natural writers, editors, analysts and students, but also healers, organisers and helpers. Gemini is frequently on the midheaven or involved in the 10th temple when Virgo rises, often bringing about such talents, but it is really the observant, detail oriented nature of Virgo that gets the work done. The dry nature of Virgo creates a detached mental perspective that is able to shrewdly and crisply analyze and present ideas, give advice or supply care with diligence but without mushiness, and it is especially good when dealing with facts so the sign often produces excellent researchers too. There is often a love of studying and learning for the purpose of becoming knowledgeable and being able to inform others more helpfully. Generally a very tidy, hygienic and neat sign, tending to be minimal and to favour earthy tones like green and brown and with an uncomfortable dislike of clutter, Virgo can also go the other way and live in chaos but it will still be uncomfortable and will actually make itself ill more often this way – the sign is very much sensitized to the mind-body relationship. Frequently there will also be a beloved pet. Virgo just loves to take care of things.

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Virgo is supported by and supportive of objects in the other Earth signs, Taurus and Capricorn, as well as the two Water signs Cancer and Scorpio. It clashes most dramatically with the other Reactive signs, finding a polar opposite in Pisces and a messy set of challenges with the puzzling Gemini and Sagittarius.

Taurus and Virgo are an extremely productive team as both of these signs harmonise with the others intention to get busy with work. The conservative nature of Taurus agrees with the assessment of Virgo that things are best saved for later rather than indulged in excessively now, and the high physical yield of Taurus gives Virgo plenty of resources with which to do what comes naturally to it – dividing up the spoils and ensuring that they are used efficiently. With Capricorn, the relationship is more about order and productivity. Both signs are dear to responsibility but Virgo (unlike Capricorn) does not like to assume it. The two signs work well in managerial roles and at making sure that things run as they should and on time and with respect to the rules. They also find their talents combine well together in planning and in organising structures and systems. The dryness of Virgo finds an easy remedy in both Cancer and Scorpio. The analytical and intellectual caring nature of Virgo which wants to help finds in Cancer a partner with a natural instinct to protect and care for others but with greater awareness of the emotional needs. So, while Cancer often needs to know more practical ways to help people improve their situations, Virgo often needs to understand how they are feeling and the two signs excel at teaching one another a way of being which draws on both. With Scorpio, however, the chemistry is concerned with the observant and perceptive nature of both of these signs. This combination can result in a perfect detective, someone who is able not only to deduce the correct solution to a puzzle through an exacting and methodical analysis of the facts but who is also able to make intuitive leaps verging on the psychic and uncover insights into the hidden psychological dimensions and motives of the people and the problem, especially in the emotional area where Virgo is lacking. These combined qualities not only make good detective skills but also analytical skills and research skills in almost any area.

Problems arise with Gemini because it is too restless and jumps to conclusions in the perspective of Virgo, while to Gemini, Virgo just doesn’t know how to have fun with facts, people or ideas. The argument between these two signs boils down to the question of whether or not there is an ultimate answer to anything, with Gemini always producing more questions and Virgo disregarding many of those questions as irrelevant or impractical. However the two signs energise one another in the pursuit of knowledge. With Sagittarius the clash is less intellectual and more existential, and highlights the difference in approach between detail oriented research and general umbrella oriented research. Virgo is a number cruncher that assimilates facts into practical working knowledge, while Sagittarius is a roaming vagabond of philosophical inquiry that wants to understand the universal and general principles of things rather than the minutiae of how they work. Sagittarius seeks to encompass greater and wider horizons of experience, often leading to God or some higher intelligence, while Virgo is busy in the chemical and sub- quantum realms trying to crack the God particle. Yet both are in essence seeking something pure and elusive – truth.

Holism is analogous to Virgo, for Virgo is seeking the clean and whole in all things, and being a sign of Mercury this is often in a scientific way, experimenting, comparing and recombining individual experiences into new theories, systems and routines, testing them against established facts and raw data, and continuing the refinement, always elaborating on the details and methods involved and always sharing what it learns to improve the whole. It is a wholesome sign given to the love of natural methods. This holistic analogy is part of what connects it with its polar partner in the zodiac, Pisces, which takes a more mystical approach of merging into a whole through uniting with its essence. We can say that on a simplified level these two signs are the polarity “I want to believe” (Piscean) and “Where is the proof?” (Virgoan) – Mulder and Scully. These approaches appear opposites, but on a subtler level they are unified because the believer also wants the evidence and the one wanting the evidence also wants to know what to believe. They differ only in approach and form, not essence, like all polarities. Virgo/Pisces I define as the refining processes, the natural processes through which things are made to be more essential, pure and undiluted expressions of their own uniqueness. These are Reactive Earth and Water Elements, which means they are both very responsive, sensitive signs that mutably adjust to their surrounding stimulus. There is often a theme of order vs. chaos in their interaction. They act to protect, shield, conserve and nurture the supply of essential meaning as it moves from one state to another and thus we find that in serving others by helping them to embrace the compassionate and the essential we educate our bodies in healthy behaviour, learning about the physical and astral and gradually but unceasingly mounting in wisdom. As Virgo experiences show us the way we become more pragmatic in applying the most abstract and mystical of physical lessons; the mystery adds up, the puzzle pieces fit into place and the present moment becomes the place where perfection is forged like a blade in the smithy.

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ANALOGIES

Virgo is symbolically associated with all forms of grain and all seeds for planting, as well as with the tools and agricultural infrastructure of farming, with instruments of the forge and industry (mills, turbines), with small creatures including microbes and other microscopic life as well as even smaller units of life, with trees that bear fruit, with animals that humans have domesticated, with soft rock, clay and mud as well as fields and meadows lacking in flower and with all animals that are known to help others (dolphins aiding swimmers for example, but look at the details and you will soon find things like monkeys grooming one another, bats which feed their sick to help recovery, ants which link their bodies together to form ladders or rafts across water, and many other examples of biological altruism). Many animals also have healing abilities (dogs, cats, bees and even snakes since their venom can be used to treat blood clots and strokes) and almost all animals with a strong sense of smell have an ability to sniff out disease, all of which is symbolically connected with Virgo. Study and learning, dairies, libraries, accountancy, cleaning and repairing are also analogous with Virgo and its herbs and plants are of the dominion of Mercury and include maidenhair, dill, celery, azalea, bryony, wild basil, carrot, mulberry tree, parsley, parsnip, oregano, hopclover, coltsfoot, fennel, myrtle, reeds, beans, aniseed and valerian. The sacred trees of Mercury are the Aspen, Walnut, and the Hazelnut.

The essence of Virgo energy is the harvest which is founded upon the practicality and productivity of the Earth Element when it is stimulated by the rapidity and ingenuity of Mercury. In the human body this is analogous to gut reactions (instincts) being stimulated by intellectual rationality. This sign naturally relates to the solar plexus chakra (as the capacities of classification and analysis, conformity, selfless serving and devotion) and the abdominal region including the intestines and gut, the spleen, bowels, diaphragm and belly, the process of digestion in the large intestine and the act of chewing things over and over, breaking them down into smaller and smaller bits whilst retaining an instinct for the taste of the whole, the colours of golden and yellow-green as well as all muted and subtle Earth tones and shades, the direction south west, the musical note G, the Hebrew letter Yod (‘Hand’), the magic of The Hermit, the Kabbalistic Path from Tiphareth to Geburah (called the consciousness of Disposition), and with complex yet ordered orchestral compositions. It’s alchemical process is distillation while its astrological process can be described as refining, externalising, form building, reactive and rooted in the mental plane.

Geographically it is the Sun sign of the current charts for Poland (1989), Russia (1991), Uruguay (1825), Trinidad and Tobago (1962), Qatar (1971), Brazil (1822), North Korea (1948) Malaysia (1963) and Venezuela (1830). Generally Virgo is connected with all natural locations low down and connected with agriculture (such as farms and fields, dairies, granaries and breweries etc), while inside it is connected with generally lower ground study areas, books and libraries and places where grains or writing implements are stored (including typewriters, word processors and computers used for these purposes), places where accounts are made or kept and with cupboards and other storage areas, medical cabinets, food storage, and with places where things used to restore physical objects are kept such as sewing machines and DIY kits, as well as with the servants quarters of large houses.

Virgo sun sign can be seen in the charts for Elizabeth I, Goethe, Tolstoi, Dante, Stephen King, Sophia Loren, Sean Connery, Augustus Caesar, Roy Castle, Peter Sellers, Mary Shelley, Charlie Sheen, and Buddy Holly. Virgo Moon sign can be seen in the charts for Alexander Graham Bell, Dolly Parton, Dustin Hoffman, Henri Mancini, Cheiro, Jack Nicholson, Jodie Foster, Sean Connery, John Travolta, L. Ron Hubbard and Madonna. An accurate Virgo ascendant can be found in the charts for Mozart, Woody Allen, Elvis Costello, Raphael, Charlotte Bronte, Peter Sellers, Oprah Winfrey, Marlene Dietrich, Harold Lloyd, Walt Disney, David Copperfield, Yoko Ono, Barbara Stanwyck and Howard Hughes.

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DARKNESS

When the Virgo nature is un-equilibrated or shadowed it can be hyper-critical, petty, fussy, dull, tediously unsatisfied, boring, over-skeptical, constipated and perfectionist. Virgo tends to find fault in things as it searches for ways to make them pure and serviceable, but by only looking for the cracks it can actually lose sight of the natural purity that pre-exists in everything. The donut is the thing, not the hole in its middle. A fixation on method and detail leads perception away from essence and source – on making the hole a perfect circle, not on the taste of the dough. An innate desire to be of help and service can become perverted into an attitude that always knows best and finds endless things wrong with the way things are actually being done. A need to be perfect becomes perpetual imperfection. Method then becomes obsessive order and the need for clean tidiness becomes distaste or hatred of mess, mud, chaos and dirtthe emotions of the self included. Purity becomes impurity and unworthiness. The awareness then spends all its time inefficiently correcting things that others would consider insignificant details (no detail is insignificant to Virgo) and never being content with the end results. It drives people away.

So the quest for physical perfection and exactitude must often be re-oriented away from the criticism of others and of physical matter itself, and redirected as positive personal qualities such as exactness, adherence to facts, and so on, and the need to help and service others must come from a humble place born of the recognition that nobody ever possesses all the facts. In other words, the critical nature must be largely confined to the self (unless solicited) and only the helpful nature given to others.

Wherever Virgo falls in a chart there will be a tendency for ‘splitting hairs’ – making ever more precise and refined distinctions and comparisons about the differences between things. It can become lost in this mind maze just as surely as a Gemini, led astray by the endless splendour of Mercury. The negative display of Mercury here is in the signs corrosive qualities like perfectionism, fussiness, problems with organisation (too much is just as bad as too little) and a niggling and annoying sense that nothing is pure or perfect. An overemphasis on this sign can make a person come across as a pointy headed intellectual, blocked by their own analytical processes or constantly worrying over tiny matters to which they attrribute great importance.

This is a constipated sign – meaning it tends to over digest and retain things, unlike Gemini the other sign ruled by Mercury – and this over digestion often turns to worry and anxiety about things going wrong because they are not (and never will be) exactly ‘right’. For this reason Virgo is the most hypochondriac of the 12 zodiac signs, given to thinking and worrying so much about that little pain or rash that they come to believe it is something far more serious than it is, and this belief can have such a substance to it given the power of the Earth Element that thought leads the body in that direction. So one of the most important things that Virgo has to overcome in its darkness is the capacity for its analytical and critical mind to reveal so many flaws and imperfections that constant worry and anxiety disrupts the health. This can develop an extremely negative vicious circle from which Virgo cannot escape until it recognises the involvement of mind with matters of the body. Virgoan planets are obsessed with studying details and putting right impurities which can become a great asset in dispelling its darkness once this connection and its practical importance is realized.

Chaos of all kinds is also extremely disruptive to this signs well-being, and so it is a sign given to being carefully prepared when darkness looms or danger threatens. It keeps the larder well stocked and the medicine cabinet useful in an emergency, and when the blood is on the floor it has a cool head that can save lives. Given the worrisome nature of the sign it may miss important opportunities from procrastinating or analysing, fussing over details or perceived imperfections instead of just leaping into the spirit of the moment and abandoning cautions to the winds. When all else fails, logic of some description is often the guiding spirit for Virgo, and where logic fails the most immediately practical approach is the next preferable alternative – in other words when you don’t know what to do, do something immediately useful, even if it just running for help.

Logic is a potent tool of comprehension but when used alone it becomes as potentially destructive as its absence, for it then opens itself to two dangerous assumptions about the Universe –

a) That what has not been can therefore never be, and
b) That what has been will therefore always be.

The word ‘therefore’ in this analysis being the point of contention, for it often though not always obscures the reality of the whole truth, which to pure logic is infinite in its incomprehensibility. Logic, to be purely effective, must become part of a dual system; for when paired with sensible imagination it makes possible a true ascent like the two wings of the great mountain eagle which lift her to the summit of the sky.

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So there is a pragmatic attitude to helping others, a genuine desire to be of service to other people and to improve social conditions because they reflect the whole. This leads the Virgoan person to see many ways in which the order of things can be improved. On deeper analysis, however, this essential pragmatism breaks down utterly…a case in point; were I to mistype the word Virgo for ‘Vergo’ or ‘Viergo’, it would stick out and jar in the Virgo mind. This may itself seem like a minor detail but it is not, and to Virgo the overall intellectual strength of the arguments in this message will be significantly weakened. The desire to correct a mistake to make something better is admirable, but the kindness to automatically overlook and forgive others’ unintentional mistakes without feeling the urge to point them out is also a quality the sign should strive for.

Likewise, the inability to stop counting problems and worrying about them does us no service. Paying such attention to worries often only feeds them energy, draining us of confidence by revealing flaws and fractures in reality everywhere we look. Virgo must learn to separate its natural perception of imperfections and flaws from seeing that something needs work doing to it. It equates them, but it doesn’t have to – a thing can need a great deal of work doing to it, yet it can still be perfectly expressing its essence in form. Perfection is Divine (unaltered by time) in nature and origin and therefore it pre-exists as infinite potential in all created things, which are in the unending process of self perfecting. There is no end result at which perfection is absolute for Virgo to strive for. The relative perfection of a thing is attained when it fully expresses the uniqueness of its individual (innately Divine) nature, and since the individual nature is always revealing more of itself this is not a process with a definitive ending. So Virgo needs to understand perfection as a process more than a goal. All of the rough lead in us is in the process of becoming liquid gold, because of its contact with the Divine within us.

Virgo is often self apologetic, humble and meek in individual expression and has an awkwardness when confronted with highly emotional situations that causes it to shrink back more quickly into the background. All of this can keep them out of public recognition. This may be out of a healthy self image or it may be out of emotional blockage, the Virgo spirit having judged itself or others flawed or imperfect in the past and suppressed the resentment and anxiety beneath a veneer of discriminating detachment. Elimination is a key principle in the health of the Virgo spirit, which can become constipated in many ways, so it is often necessary to purge and purify the mind and body and heart of foolish and demeaning feelings of inadequacy, guilt and frustration.

Others often feel uncomfortable under a Virgos gaze, as if scrutinized for flaws and analysed for imperfections. At the same time Virgo frequently but very quietly wants to be seen as perfect by others and by itself, at least on some level. It has some notion that it must be an exemplar or epitome of some kind carried over from past experience. It can make us feel tremendously gratified when others ask us for the answers to questions, or when they show sincere interest in our opinions or appreciation for the help we provide. Cunning adversaries can play on this. It can also lead us into a form of habitual behaviour where we cover our drive for perfection by being oh-so-lowly, meeker and more self-effacing and humbler than anyone else.

So it sets very high standards for us – often too high. In fact at times it can make us feel our behaviour should always be exemplary and when it obviously isn’t we will get down on ourselves for this ridiculous ‘failure’. In such circumstances we may need to ask why we should set ourself above the rest of mankind when we are so accepting of their faults but not our own. This attitude also detaches and distances Virgo from other people. It may become defensive when questioned and keep useful ideas and opinions to itself out of the fear of criticism or being wrong. So that it may be accepted Virgo can sacrifice integrity, which later makes us feel guilty or sinful and this again puts a degree of distance between us and the world. When the Virgo in us can relax standards not only to others but also towards ourself many barriers to closeness simply disappear. A key approach that I have seen working again and again in this respect with Virgo is to willfully turn attention away from details and onto outcomes. What does it matter if some small detail is missing or flawed, if the overall desired effect is achieved or put across? Try to confine ideas to how things could be improved, not how fake or flawed they are.

This trait of emotional control can become self repressive if feelings are kept locked behind an intellectualized exterior, as Virgo will cut itself off from inner needs and emotional promptings. We can end up dissecting everything we feel in the search for what makes it tick, leaving it in pieces, ultimately feeling ourself to be only a dry and sterile personality. Some things are not improved by taking them apart to see what makes them tick. They are more than the sum of their parts, their essence arising from the way they integrate and interact together. Love is the prime example of this, but art and beauty and concepts like truth also qualify.

The Virgo area of the body equates to the area between the stomach and the hips (especially the bowels, duodenum, jejunum, ileum, spleen and small intestines) and with the functions of assimilation, absorption and the selection and utilization of vital energy from food. Poor health in these areas, such as belly aches, indigestion, constipation, etc. will often be related to this sign. The best and most effective treatment for Virgo afflictions lies in restoring the sense of whole self and its relation to the body, something modern medicine is ridiculously ill equipped to do, but it often involves making changes to diet and thought. The single most important thing that Virgo can do for the bodies and overall health is to think in terms of vitality instead of disease, purity instead of flaw. Herbalism and other natural treatments may be especially helpful too.

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MAGIC

Apart from the obvious associations with agriculture and the magic of fruitful, growing things and their harvesting, Virgo has numerous magical properties and powers, many of which remain hidden from humanity awaiting their discovery at some point in the future. As a symbolic representation of the way rational and scientific thought progresses towards conclusions and the improvement of human life Virgo holds the key to many future technologies currently beyond our grasp. One of these, for example, involves the secrets of controlling gravity and the technology which it unlocks (interstellar travel, interdimensional travel, time scrying, temporal and spatial manipulation, force fields, invisibility, teleportation). Although such futuristic technologies are often connected with Aquarius it is the many failed experiments and subsequent analyses and improvements of Virgo leading up to the breakthrough moment that make the breakthrough possible.

Virgo is also connected to the way invention mutates or forces adaptations upon human morality and brings it into some kind of purification. For example, when it is possible for us to turn on our mobile devices or screens and not only watch what is happening elsewhere in the world but also what has objectively happened at some point in ancient history without any recording device being involved (time scrying arrives), then all the lies that have ever been told about history will stand revealed. It will become possible for everybody to view exactly what has happened and to form their own opinion and the media will become irrelevant as we understand it today. Coming alongside this we will have to deal with the fact that so many lies have been told and it will be much harder for conspiracy theories to take root in our consciousness. All of this will force a moral adaptation upon us. Google “trans-humanism” and you will see some good examples of this kind of thing. The development of AI will also be such a development. So, the magic of Virgo is not the flashy, astonishing magic of Aquarius as these things break, it’s the much more subtle and behind-the-scenes magic of how they confront us with moral situations which collectively mature us (at least that is the plan).

In alchemical work Virgo is purification, the process of purging impure qualities from a base substance to bring it closer to perfection. It must go through a process delineated into precise and methodical stages in order to reveal the quintessence, and the mutations and permutations necessary to achieve this come from Virgo and its mutable quality. Virgo is also connected to the magic of corruption and decay – the awareness that everything in the physical universe breaks down and eventually ceases to be is the ultimate end result of Virgo logic. This awareness is what brings meaning to the work we do with the Earth Element while we are here and it is what makes Virgo humble. Additionally, there is a strong connection between Virgo and the magic of the forge, for example with deities like Hephaestus and Vulcan.

Virgo can get worn down or irritated and its astral equilibrium disturbed much more deeply and swiftly by chaos, confusion, a lack of clear objectives, people who are ‘waiting for the right time’ before they do things, by abstraction, lack of definition, lack of relevant details, things getting broken or in need of minor repairs, signs of any physical imperfection, failure, humiliation, being thought of as stupid or dull, the drudgery of routine, a lack of mental rest and constant self criticism. It is uplifted and equilibrium is restored more swiftly when we do something helpful for others, when others do something helpful for us, when work is getting done, when plans start coming together, by intelligent words, fact, logical reasoning and puzzle solving (or just by puzzle piece collecting), when we see vulnerable, sick or helpless people being assisted, by keeping things clean, neat and tidy, by getting organized, and by working with Earth. The deeper our knowing becomes of what Earth signifies for us, the deeper our connection with Virgo can go.

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Image by R. Clark

All Earth signs give Form to the Unity. This is why all three of the Earth signs placed on the Gra Tree of Life move in a direction from the middle pillar (the pillar of Unity) towards the pillar of Form. They also are shown moving in a downward direction representing a projection of a seat of awareness deeper into a particular realm. For example, Virgo is the path moving in a downwards direction towards the pillar of Form from the central pillar realm called Tiphareth. This means that at the level of Creation Virgo represents the projection of the spirit through the mental plane towards differentiation – it represents the fact that everything that ever exists is uniquely different to everything else and that the closer we examine it the more of these differences and individual quirks we see. In other words, Virgo is the emanation of the individual spirit as a thing with unique qualities and quantities, specific things which make it different to other things. The essence of Virgo is therefore towards defining things in very precise terms. In human terms, this leads to an emphasis on method and the perfection of method. On an occult level however it represents the magic of defining the powers which are inherent to our individual awareness – in other words, mastery of the mental Elements. It establishes Form on the Mental plane and facilitates the projection of the individual uniqueness and Beauty of the spirit as distinctiveness of Form.

In ‘The Practice of Magical Evocation’ Franz Bardon attributes the 30 spirits of the Earth Zone given to Virgo with the following magical powers: political events in the physical world (1°), inventions (2°), art (3°), flowers (4°), love, harmony and beauty (5°), teaching (6°), speech and writing (7°), protection of the poor and suppressed (8°), alchemical magic and astral immortality (9°), alchemical secrets (10°), success in business, trade or profession (11°), relics, holy places, temples, and all religions (12°), religious rites, rituals and ceremonies (13°), medical doctors (14°), success in business matters (especially with paper, textiles, furs, skins, leather, etc.) (15°), vegetation, agriculture and forestry (16°), sagas, fairy tales and stories (17°), architecture and the art of structural engineering (18°), magical scents (19°), everything connected to physical water (e.g. ships, swimming, diving) (20°), fortune and luck in games, competitions and at the stock exchange (21°), material laws and justice (22°), the mantic arts and the laws of analogy (23°), protection of property (24°), vehicles and means for transportation on dry ground (25°), human consciousness (26°), animals of the air (27°), aeronautic invention and the secrets of gravity (28°), intellect and knowledge (29°), true wisdom and magical secrets (30°). It must be remembered that Bardon repeatedly states that these are just the Heads of the degrees of the zodiac and that many other beings operate beneath them, additionally Bardon has not fully described all of these beings capabilities but has instead provided us with one of their primary magical analogies. In many cases this differs vastly from the astrological ones. In others it does not.

In essence the work of Virgo is in purifying the individual self so that it is equilibrated through acts of helpful compassion – a shared power with others that provides common benefit through practical means. It involves purifying perfectionism and refining criticism and fussiness. The emphasis is on using the Earth Element to reach the ultimate and perfect essence of things. It is a path to comprehending the whole by understanding all the ins and outs, the mechanics of things and how they break down or get repaired, but mostly how they operate as an integrated and healthy whole being.

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