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.


“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.



Sense of Duty


Self Deprecating
Anal Retentive
Over Analysing
Unending Servitude
Detail Fixation













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.


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.



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.


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.



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.




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.


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.



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.


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.


Child of the Inner Light: On Leo

Greetings and welcome back to Journeys for another in depth post. This month I am sharing with you some thoughts on the sign of Leo. You can find further writing about Leo here and here. If you enjoy this article please consider showing your support for more like it in Patreon


For Dinara

“The cat . . . is for the man who appreciates beauty as the one living force in a blind and purposeless universe…the cat is such a perfect symbol of beauty and superiority that it seems scarcely possible for any true aesthete and civilised cynic to do other than worship it.”
― H.P. Lovecraft, Cats and Dogs

Remember the last time in your life when everything seemed to be passing through darkness? Perhaps it is now, perhaps years ago, but we have all been through such times. Times when dawn is an eternity away, the endless expanse of the night sky with all its glorious stars is completely smothered by gloomy grey clouds, and there seems no end in sight. Depression and sorrow have their own gravity wells which can suck us into a spiralling vortex of despair.

Now, think of something you did to entertain yourself during such a period, something you did to cheer yourself up. Remember the last cartoon or comedian who somehow magically managed to pop your bubble and release you, even if just for a moment, from your personal hell. Remember the last performance you saw by an actor or actress that managed to reach out to you and speak to you about your personal situation without ever really even knowing what it is or even actually existing as a character in real life. Remember the last song that made you want to sing and dance on a day when you didn’t think you could get out of bed. This is the power of Leo. In our darkest hours, when all hope seems lost, Leo rises like the Sun dawning on a new day to remind us that the future is always brightening for the young at heart and the brave. It teaches us about the art of living, the magic of being alive and the many roles we play in life’s strange but often comical dramas.

Yet make no mistake, this beast is red in tooth and claw. It is the consummate predator of the zodiac, regarding itself as the king of the beasts and possessing the qualities to back that up. It is feral and wild at heart, and not a solitary creature but a communal one, dependent upon the notice and company of others. To Leo, it is as if life forever holds up a mirror into which it gazes and its reflection of its own spirit becomes both an bewitching enchantment and a path to self-awareness and enlightenment.

Below I have presented you with some examples of the qualities of Leo 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 Leo means in your life.


Self Respect
Self Love
Self Expressive
Born Leader
Artistic Flair
Hot Spirited
Trust in Life


Your Superior
Attention Seeking
Unable to Share a Spotlight
Burned Out












For about three thousand years, between 6,000 and 3,000 BCE, the stars of Leo were those which were the last seen to rise in the night sky in the east before dawn (heliacal rising stars) on the summer solstice of the northern hemisphere. This period is literally the beginning of recorded history with the emergence of writing, but it also sees the beginning of the Bronze Age and our modern world of agriculture and animal husbandry, with both of these taking root globally and transforming every culture.

As prominent stars of this time they were thus hailed as stars of summer, light, heat and radiance and were of great significance to the Egyptians. At this time of the year in that era the Nile would flood, bringing life back to the parched lands and sustenance to the people. To facilitate and honour this, the Egyptians constructed lion heads through which the gushing waters would be channeled and pour, and this is the origin of the commonly seen lion heads on many fountains today. It is an extremely ancient tradition going back millennia to a deeply magical society.

So there is an early connection with light, summer and waters which bring life (note that opposite these stars, its celestial partner, are the stars of Aquarius the Water-Bearer). For as far back as we can trace, these stars have been symbolised as a lion. It is the later Greek/Roman Nemean Lion (slain by Heracles/Hercules as the first of the 12 Labours), but it was also known to the Mesopotamians, Turks, Indians and Jews as a sacred or divine lion and has mythic and astrological origins stretching back beyond our memory of history.

In the Greek story of Heracles and the Nemean lion (which has an impenetrable hide and lives in a cave where it abducts young women) we seem to have an allegory for the powerful breaking of certain ‘pagan’ cults by an authoritarian religious pantheon – the lion is symbolic of feminine wisdom which was held within these cults, a wisdom which was being supplanted by a patriarchal shift towards masculine strength in world culture. So ‘Hercules’ may be the villain of the story, being a warrior (or series of them) sent out to subdue pagan practices by killing their priestesses and breaking the back of the transmission of their sacred lore. In essence I am saying that there was a time when the anciently great magical and social power that women held in society waned, and the matriarchal rulers were supplanted by predominantly patriarchal ones, and this period is connected to these stars. This breaking of a primarily feminine wisdom is associated most strongly with the star Zosma (Delta Leonis) in the back of the Celestial Lion. The heart, Regulus, is that part of the lion with a ferocious will to fight, but one that is tempered with grace and charm.

So there is in the stars of Leo a possible connection to the tragic mis-balancing of genders – the ‘breaking of the backbone’ of feminine mystery schools and the skewing of our notion of what constitutes strength towards raw, muscular force, an occult mystery which, in part, is what is being encoded in the imagery of the Strength Arcana of the tarot. To be clear; this is a feminine strength and power we are dealing with, not a masculine one. This is clearly shown in all feline characteristics, facial and body features, which are remarkably feminine (unlike those of dogs). We must also bear in mind the matriarchal hierarchy of lion society. This is a Lioness. It needs nothing so crude and course as brute strength to accomplish its will. It needs only its inner light of conviction, its generosity of spirit and its development of poise in the universe.

The star Regulus which serves as the heart of the constellation is a major star in magical tradition and may be regarded from this point of view as a stellar ambassador of the pristine Fire Element, or ‘Divine Light’. For centuries the light of this star has held watch over the births and coronations of imperial and royal families, making it a star whose power is well known in the establishment, particularly in Freemasonic circles. Across the world it is heralded as an influence that brings success, honour and recognition as well as spiritual power, but the ancient astrology of the star (going as far back as Persia) bring warnings about any success being taken away and swift ruin if a nemesis is not avoided at all times, this nemesis being the spirit of revenge. It is certainly a kingly star (and also a queenly star) but its resonance and mythic significance often attach themselves to rulers who are sorely tested and lose all their honour through acts of vengeance. In Persia the tragic king is a legendary figure called Freydun and his story is that he was a beloved and respected ruler of the entire world for over 500 years until his death. He divides the world, giving the two eldest sons the Greek and Roman lands (the west) and central Asia and China (the east), while bequeathing the central kingdom of Iran to his youngest. When his two eldest sons attempt to take the inheritance of their younger brother by killing him Freydun takes revenge on them by giving away everything to his youngest sons grandson, with the result that this great grandson plots additional revenge against the eldest brothers and the spiral of vengeance then brings the kingdom (and thus the world) to ruin. This mythic theme of a noble king being tempted to take terrible vengeance with their power and suffering the loss of everything if they do has occurred in other forms, one of the most popular and well known being the tale of King Arthur, but there are also similarities with the tale of Osiris and other legendary rulers. Disney’s popular animation ‘The Lion King’ is also very resonant with these stars.

So in reality Regulus is a star with heavy karma attached to the misuse of power and thus is a star which punishes those who do so, often spectacularly. Additionally the warnings about not using our power to take revenge would not be necessary if we were never placed in a situation that sorely tempted us to do so, and so the star is not all brilliance and glory but is instead a harsh taskmaster that demands a noble attitude. This is the will that drives the burning heart of Leo – to ennoble and exalt itself, to rise above the petty and embody the majestic. Its spirit is cast down by indignities and crushed by the use of its power to punish those who have wronged it. It can be a soft and generously affectionate pussycat or a ferocious and savage lioness, but it is always a ruler, a sovereign over its own internal light, the light it seeks to share with the world and thereby make it a better place. Little can extinguish its sense of poise in the universe and few things can diminish its development.

In Egypt, the deification of Cat took Earthly form in Bubastis, a major city of worship southwest of Tanis on the eastern banks of the Nile, although the height of its power was not until much later around, 1000-500 BC. Herodotus describes it to us then as follows:

“Temples there are more spacious and costlier than that of Bubastis, but none so pleasant to behold. It is after the following fashion. Except at the entrance, it is surrounded by water: for two canals branch off from the river, and run as far as the entrance to the temple: yet neither canal mingles with the other, but one runs on this side, and the other on that. Each canal is a hundred feet wide, and its banks are lined with trees. The propylaea are sixty feet in height, and are adorned with sculptures (probably intaglios in relief) nine feet high, and of excellent workmanship. The Temple being in the middle of the city is looked down upon from all sides as you walk around; and this comes from the city having been raised, whereas the temple itself has not been moved, but remains in its original place. Quite round the temple there goes a wall, adorned with sculptures. Within the inclosure is a grove of fair tall trees, planted around a large building in which is the effigy (of Bast). The form of that temple is square, each side being a stadium in length. In a line with the entrance is a road built of stone about three stadia long, leading eastwards through the public market. The road is about 400 feet (120 m) broad, and is flanked by exceeding tall trees. It leads to the temple of Hermes.”

Bast or Bastet is the feline goddess of the Egyptian pantheon who is not only the protector of cats and of people but also a deity of warfare in earlier traditions. Many cats lived alongside the people in beautiful Bubastis and were regarded as sacred. Many were mummified and the site is the principle area where mummified cats are found in Egypt. An oracle of Bast dwelt within the temple to the goddess and there was an annual procession and celebration in honour of her which eventually drew many foreigners for visits during the festival. Herodotus (considered a reliable witness by historians) also tells us about this festival, describing it in this colourful way:

“Barges and river craft of every description, filled with men and women, floated leisurely down the Nile. The men played on pipes of lotus, the women on cymbals and tambourines, and such as had no instruments accompanied the music with clapping of hands and dances, and other joyous gestures. Thus did they while on the river: but when they came to a town on its banks, the barges were made fast, and the pilgrims disembarked, and the women sang, playfully mocked the women of that town and threw their clothes over their head. When they reached Bubastis, then held they a wondrously solemn feast: and more wine of the grape was drank in those days than in all the rest of the year. Such was the manner of this festival: and, it is said, that as many as seven hundred thousand pilgrims have been known to celebrate the Feast of Bast at the same time.”

Here we can see some of the imprints passed onto Leo as a zodiac sign with the festival of Bast clearly being a celebration of life and light and joyousness, celebrated through feasting, dancing and the entertainment arts. And it happens in front of a huge audience of 700,000 pilgrims who have come from all over the ancient world. Add in the countless revered cats, and you have what must be heaven to all true Leos.



Leo is a Fixed (or Stable) Fire sign, an emanatory expression of the solar Electric Fluid as forces of externalization, expression and individual life. It is innately creative and noble, heart-centred, regal, courageous, gracious, merciful, artistic, vibrant, flamboyant, generous, confident, self-assured, charismatic and commanding in its presence. The primary virtues of Leo also include (but are not limited to) stellar confidence (i.e. confidence in the unique talents and gifts of ones spirit or nature), spontaneous creativity (improvisation), a bold flair for colour and design, warm humour, talent in entertainment and drama or theatrics, inner radiance, dignity and poise, power being carried gracefully, nobility of spirit, honesty and integrity.

These are some of the key positive qualities that inform the zodiac sign of Leo, but they can result in many effects when cast through the prism of the zodiac. The spiritual child of this Celestial Lion, Leo the zodiac sign, the Stable expression of the Element of Fire, can be easily perceived in our physical world in a flames (or stars) intention to keep burning as brightly and as long as it can. Leo is therefore willfully motivated and wants to hungrily outshine everything around it gloriously. But this is not mere ego (although it can be); it is also exceptionally generous – it wants to shine in order to warm the world into life and, despite having the feral lioness in its heart, it is both soft and romantic for the Leo intuition is that all things want to be adored and most deserve to be. It seems like a fairy tale, and to Leo that is fine. It just knows this is the way it is, and does not care a bit what the rest of us say about it or how things actually work in the grittiness of the world. It knows, in the core of its being, that we are all unique and thus all special, and we deserve to have a chance to show that off in life.

Whereas Earth signs are connected with physical matters, Water signs are connected with emotional matters and Air signs are connected with mental matters, Fire signs are innately connected to the most sublime and subtle of currencies, the substance of life itself. Leo is connected to the inner spark of life within each individual thing which informs it that it is unique and therefore has unique gifts to share with others. It is the part of the Fire Element which embraces life as a creative process but which needs an audience of others in order to witness and receive the emanation of inner light. As a Stable or Fixed sign, this process is about an accumulation of an Element, in this case the Fire Element, which means that the emanation of the inner light in a continuous and ongoing illumination of life does not deplete it but instead there is a feedback loop which actually strengthens the presence and power of the Fire Element as it is emanated. One simple way to understand this is to imagine yourself as a performer on the stage – when the audience reacts to you when you feel connected to the audience because you have their attention, their energy feeds back into your performance and helps to enhance it. Without an audience to watch you, there is no feedback loop and you are left shining into an empty, dark space. The Stable nature of Leo is a chain reaction of creative forces like a nuclear reaction that builds in power the more it receives input (especially adoration) from external sources. This is why it needs to command some kind of spotlight in life, because without it the connection to life itself begins to wither.

Leo is the singular sign of the Sun, an Electric and radiant expression of the spirit as a bright, commanding and self-confident display from a centrally fixed depth point. The creative urge of the Sun given to Leo seeks to warmly animate things to life, to bloom and glamorize them, to illuminate and reveal their beauty. It is a sign that is externally focused and directed toward activity in the mental plane where its spirit is most radiant. The action of Leo is to consolidate and focus individual power and light upon itself and then to radiate that quality outward in all directions as charismatic, impressive and generous creative acts, like the way a lion roars from the depths of its heart when touched by the dawning Sun. It burns with an inner light which refuses to be extinguished and a spirit of dominion which seeks to establish some kind of territory to prowl and shine upon.

Attuned so directly and centrally to the light of the Sun, planets in Leo instinctively sense the divine majesty and power within them, the power to co-create with life, and in some way will seek to consciously channel this into some form of creativity for which they can be recognised and beloved. Another way of looking at this is to say that Leo never really loses the essence of the inner child, and for this reason it engages life in a spirit of play and a sense of the sheer joy of being alive. Leo seeks to reunite with this inner child throughout life, by playing games, expressing it artistically, or showering others with generosity, which they can do, because generally these people look at life as an abundant playground. This is not to say they are not serious – when Leo is aroused to anger, you’d better believe they’re serious! Lion’s claws are savage and direct, giving new dimensions to the phrase ‘brutal honesty’.

So kindness, playfulness and an awareness that life is meant to be enjoyed and even celebrated are also at the heart of Leo. Leo is radiant and utilises the Fire aspect to shine forth an inner light that warms and melts the iciest heart. This sign is the sign of the kitten that pounces as much as the lion that roars, and the two can change places quite quickly. Often the lion will emerge when pride is injured, integrity is questioned or when there is no other option but an all out ferocious attack. At most other times the sign is by default ‘fluffy’ and cuddly in its attitude.


Fortune shines on Leo because it has an innate positive outlook; as the Sun infiltrates the darkest shadow so it also puts Leo in the light and shines a path in hard times, opening new fields of action when it looks as if no visible solution to problems is apparent. Here dwell spirits who are living proof that the power of conscious will and intent is the co-designer, the co-director and the co-creator of our experiences. Life itself always has the ultimate say, and it is also the producer, but Leo sees itself and knows that it is also part of life, and so can determine its own destiny. It embraces this task with gusto. When trounced by life – dumped, made redundant, sick – the spirit of Leo pounces back as soon as possible because it knows this as the best remedy. The immense courage of this creature has nothing to do with the reputation of the lion as a predatory beast, for what courage does it take for the lioness to kill the deer? That is a different instinct. The courage of Leo instead has to do more with the sheer and irrepressible spirit of play in life, the way the kitten immediately runs back to play some more after it is frightened by a noise, and by the indomitable will which is able to resist and overpower that of more villainous and less noble creatures when it is necessary.

Given that the sign must seek some kind of spotlight and given also its Fixed or Stable nature and the Fire Elements predilection for power, Leo is often drawn to leadership roles. Like the Sun, Leo is drawn to take command in a dominant position around which other objects are in orbit. This is why it has a long association with royals and stories of families of divine or special origin. Unlike Capricorn which is drawn to power out of the sense of responsibility, seeing itself as the only one capable and dependable enough, Leo is drawn to power out of the basic need for attention and praise and because it’s natural charisma leads it to believe that the adoration of people will be enough to secure its position. It is rarely the case, especially in the modern age. To win respect as a leader Leo has to avoid falling into its pitfalls of darkness (described below), for if it does not it will quickly draw only resentment, which it cannot be sustained by.

Leo is strongly harmonious with both of the other Fire signs, Aries and Sagittarius, and also with the two Air signs nearby, Gemini and Libra. It is most inharmonious with Taurus and Scorpio and has a polarised and opposing nature with Aquarius. Fixed (Stable) Fire is a modality of Light like Sagittarius and Aries, and as I have pointed out earlier the substance or currency of these signs is the experience of being alive and of life itself. All of these signs thrust themselves at life and are filled with vital life-giving energies. Leo is by far the most creative of the Fire signs, and the one with the most focus on other human beings. Gemini and Leo are buddies because Air always feeds Fire, and the gentle ongoing and restless enquiry of Gemini is often both communicative and flirtatious as well, qualities which Leo is fanned by (literally, this is probably the best place for Leo to find a fan), while Gemini is often impressed by the innate charisma and charm of Leo with its ability to warm and entertain people. Libra and Leo on the other hand are brought together by their shared need for other people, one in terms of partnership and the other in terms of audience. Both signs also possess considerable charm and persuasiveness which the other finds different to their own but equally effective. They make fantastic creative partners and work well together in anything artistic.

The problem with Taurus is essentially that it is too cautious and not spontaneous enough for Leo, which lives life more in the present and has to be spontaneous in order to appeal to its changing audience and to be true to its muses. Taurus is also very materially focused while Leo is focused more on security for the spirit through self-expression rather than accumulation of stuff. With Scorpio, the Leo urge to always seek the spotlight is directly at odds with the Scorpio need to avoid it and cling to the shadows, while the eternally optimistic and sunny disposition of Leo brushes aside and refuses to admit the existence of the dark, complex, emotionally disturbing world of Scorpio. Taurus, Leo and Scorpio can agree that change needs to be strictly controlled and directed, but not on how it should be done. The relationship with Aquarius, the polar opposite of Leo in the zodiac, shares core similarities around which cluster many opposite approaches and differences. If Leo is the performance then Aquarius is the collective reaction. If Leo is the unique capability of the individual, then Aquarius is the networked power of those unique individuals when they are combined in the formation of a collective or group. If Leo is the monarch, then Aquarius is the people. Leo and Aquarius I call the emanatory processes, because both are Elemental processes which either emanate from inside to outside (Leo) or from outside to inside (Aquarius) through a process akin to empathy but these being Fire and Air signs this is with a more Electric charge or nature than we usually think of in association with empathy. Yet it is there, taking the form of generosity (Leo is very generous in general spirit, and Aquarius is very generous ideologically and mentally, with its inspiration and utopianism).


The creatures of Leo include not only all felines and cats of every description but also every kind of creature which organises itself into a commune with the central leadership taken by individuals. It is analogous to the life of the cell itself. The playfulness of animal life, the ways animals entertain themselves, all belong to this sign, so particularly playful creatures have an affinity with its spirit. It is the fire of a sunny day, the bright light of the spotlight or the camera flash, the colourful expression of plant life in flowers and dramatic displays, the tail of the peacock and other visual mating signals designed to lure and attract, all creatures which laze around in the Sun and grow lethargic and languid in the heat, dry and parched places but also places where nature puts on some kind of show, steam vents and other places where thermal activity builds up, places where life is vibrant and the living is good. It is connected to gold, sunstone, amber resin and all precious gems, to crowns, laurels, coats of arms, robes of office, laurels, rings of power, all the flowers of the Sun (sunflower, heliotrope, etc), and the things which glitter.

Leo is the sign of high summer (northern hemisphere) and the radiant ruler of the heart centre (where it is analogous to openness and brightness of heart, courage, generosity, sincerity and emotional warmth), but is also analogous to the solar plexus (as charisma, power, strength of being and general warmth), as well as the spine (Leos have ‘backbone’), Its colours are golden and yellow, its direction is southwest, its musical note is F, and in the Hebrew Tree of Life it is associated with the 11th Path of Wisdom, the integration of individual empathy with individual consciousness, producing the Scintillating consciousness (“…the essence of the veil which is placed before the ordered arrangement of the powers. Who walks this way acquires a special dignity – he can stand face to face before the Cause of Causes”. – The 32 Paths of Wisdom). This Path is analogous to the letter Teth (‘Snake’), the task of which is for the initiate to consciously cast their coiled “scintillating consciousness” and attain the magic and arcana of the Strength tarot card (Mastery of the mental fluids). In plant alchemy Leo rules digestion, a process in which gentle heat is applied to a substance over an extended period of time. This is the first stage of the fermentation operation in which decomposing essences are reabsorbed.

Geographically it is the Sun sign of the current charts for Greece (1974), Netherlands (1581), Jamaica (1962), Bolivia (1825), Ivory Coast (1960), Singapore (1965), Bahrain (1971),South Korea (1948) and Estonia (1991). In general Leo is analogous to all grand or majestic places such as theatres, palaces, stately homes, public speaking halls or spacious public parks, in the wilderness where wild and predatory animals roam, while inside homes it is the place near the fire or source of heating or where the most luxurious furnishings, clothes or jewelery are situated.

Leo Sun sign can be seen in the charts for Neil Armstrong, Orville Wright, Amelia Earhart, Andy Warhol, Henry Ford, Mata Hari, Petrarch, Coco Chanel, Alexander Dumas, H.P. Lovecraft, Alan Whicker, Whitney Houston, Madonna, Claude Debussy, Barack Obama, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Clinton, Haile Selassie and Mae West. The Moon is in Leo in the charts for Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Ezra Pound, Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, Jeane Dixon, Elena Ford, Mark Rockefeller, Stephen Fry, Charlotte Church, Karen Carpenter, Barbra Streisand, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Winston Churchill and Marilyn Manson. Leo rises in the charts for Frida Carlo, Henri Matisse, M.C Escher, Donald Trump, Pablo Picasso, Maya Angelou, Anne Frank, Richard Branson, Elton John,Tina Turner and Meryl Streep.


“In all the scriptures, the guru is described to be as good as God, but the guru never says ‘I am God’.”

—‘The Science of Self Realisation’,
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Praphupada

The primary darkness of Leo is not difficult to see – a creature that craves attention and thinks of itself as the centre of creation is on a slippery slope toward flaws like pride, vanity, resentment of others success, arrogance and self centeredness, pomposity, the will to dominate all others, a superiority complex or a need for excessive praise or attention, jealousy and envy, predation on the weak, tyrannies, controlling behaviour and childishness. In extreme cases Leo becomes very narcissistic, which is defined as a self-centredness arising from the failure to distinguish the self from external objects, either in very young babies or as a feature of mental disorder.

The tyrannical pushiness and bossiness of Leo is well known, as is its vanity and arrogance. These qualities tend to dominate the description of the darkness of Leo in modern astrological thinking, whereas in earlier times it seems to have been viewed more destructively as a hungry force of nature constantly on the prowl for prey. An overdramatic and exaggerated sense of self-importance and a craving for a special role can become easily distorted into a perverse need to outshine everyone and everything in every possible way. Ego trips and domination are also potential pitfalls of the sign which can get rapidly out of control if the hunger for them is fed.

Pride, vanity and ego can swell to epic proportions, especially if the Leo in us suddenly find itself the centre of attention. What Leo forgets at these times is that it is not the only beloved child of the Universe, that each created thing is equally unique and so has equally special gifts to offer, and that the Great Spirit sees no distinctions of greatness. In the quest to express talents – and Leo planets always have many creative gifts – Leo objects can lose sight of the importance of compromise and team efforts, because they want to direct everything according to their own view of ‘what is best’, which is what, in their view, is best for everyone. The natural aptitude for organising, motivating, leading and enthusing can make them appear domineering, bossy, inflexible and ego centred; some of the most zealous fanatics in history have been born under this sign, as have some of the most charismatic and radiant leaders and artists.

Another weakness of the sign is how easy it is to pacify, even when it is enraged. The simple truth is that mere flattery cools the Lions wrath even when that flattery is transparently insincere. Leo is easily manipulated by soft words and compliments, and deep down they have a need to make up with those that they fight with because they prefer things bright and sunny. Brooding and sulking like children when resentful or when they can’t get what they want, Leo can be a difficult person to be around when they are not receiving enough attention but most of the time they are already looking for a way out of it because they don’t like to sit around in the doldrums. More serious and lasting hurts or slights that the Leo will hold onto are often connected to their cubs, their actual or metaphorical children. Insult or harm these, and the claws will probably stay out.

This creature is truly ferocious when it is genuinely enraged as we would expect. It launches powerful and forceful attacks intended to cripple and incapacitate its foes as quickly as possible. The basest nature of this beast literally delights in the gush of hot blood over its jaws as its favoured prey falls beneath it. The glory of victory and the admiration of the gladiatorial arena are the meat and drink of this sign and its competitors are often intimidated by boastful and braggart behaviours designed to unsettle and humiliate them. Leo can tolerate no equal in its position as king or queen of its territory except perhaps in matters of love, where it is often able to share the spotlight. In most other cases contenders for the crown must be taken down and taught a lesson about who is really in charge, a lesson that will have to have an audience in order to be truly effective. Yet it is swiftly defeated when its reputation is attacked or degraded, as the source of its power is undermined. When Leo loses its followers it begins to lose faith in its ability to win battles. When its reputation is not to its liking, it lacks the tools it needs to achieve its ambitions. A monarch without a people is just a person with a pretty crown and no real power.

This tension – between the Leo need to be completely self-sufficient and dominant in its environment and the recognition that it’s existence depends upon the respect of others – is a major conflict within the sign itself, a conflict which is often a source of creative sparks but more often a source of temper and overcompensation. The glitter and glamour of the sign which is well-known (in both men and women Leo is attracted to adornments of all kinds) is also frequently an ugly trap which leads the Leo into greed, envy and covetousness akin to that of Taurus, but with less interest in the actual monetary value and more interest in the way these things attract eyes and hearts. Taken to extremes this urge results in a tasteless attempt to turn homes into gaudy palaces displaying wealth and opulence and symbols of power and authority to those who visit. Behind all of this there is always a devouring hunger for love and affection and attention, a hunger which regrettably only repulses and repels those who might offer it but who cringe because of an attitude of superiority and entitlement.

There is also often great integrity which refuses to be compromised and thus a somewhat inflexible code of honour which can be an attractive or repulsive quality depending on how it is applied. The rules of engagement in relationships and partnerships may be too ego-centric, sacrosanct or domineering, too inflexible to the way things are for other people because it is too fixed on the way they are for Leo. Bright ideas and feelings which excite can be overpowering and lead the Leo in us to disregard the creative input of others. In most situations the darkness in Leo will assess others according to one of two categories very quickly upon initially meeting them – either they are a threat to the role and position and territory that Leo regards as its own, or they are a subject of it, someone who can potentially supply them with the loyalty and respect they deserve. It even comes as a surprise to Leo sometimes that other people resent being categorised this way, for it sees its need to identify its rivals as a natural right while its subjects are privileged by its generosity. So the virtues of Leo described previously – its generosity, its integrity and its confidence – can easily become some of its more unattractive qualities when it becomes too myopically focused on the grandeur of its own existence.

In the modern age of Aquarius, Leo becomes the shadow side of our collective psyche. It seems abundantly clear to us now that the Age of Aquarius is dawning as a technological age, an age in which the technological advances humanity makes will lead to some kind of new era of human existence. Probably the primary development will be the development of artificial intelligence at some point in the relatively near future, but it may also come about as a result of contact with extra-dimensional or extra-terrestrial beings or through some significant breakthrough in our understanding of physics which transforms human society. Whatever it is, the shadow side of this is represented by Leo, which is the loss or the degrading of the soveriegn power of individual uniqueness. It is clear, for example, that if human beings develop an artificial intelligence or meet with intelligent life beyond this planet then our central role in the theatre of life as the sole and dominant sentience will be threatened. The Leo in humanity itself will find a serious contender for its own spotlight. The technological advances which are rapidly overtaking our ability to keep up with them also threaten our individual expression by putting us all under surveillance and shepherding us towards conformity. These are some of the ways I think we are already beginning to see the shadow side of Leo emerge as a dominant theme for the next 2000 years. If we look at the previous Age of Pisces, the shadow side of Virgo is clearly there in the form of an overemphasis on rationality and reason and a gradual rejection of intuitive and spiritual pathways to understanding human experience. This unbalanced shadow side of Virgo reason led to the creation of world-threatening scientific discoveries. If a similar dynamic were to occur in the Age of Aquarius, then we will be heading towards totalitarian, dictatorial, nationalistic rulers and governors as a shadow reaction towards the collective and globalist trend. This also seems to be happening in the present day. In essence we have to overcome the shadows and darkness of Leo collectively instead of fleeing to it in safety. The entire dynamic of the Age of Aquarius seems to depend on us overcoming the shadow of tyrannical rulership in order to prevent the emergence of a controlling world order that uses world changing technology against the interests of its people, while at the same time grappling with the existential question of our overall role in life when that role is irreversibly changed. And at the moment, in these early decades, we have as much idea about what that role is changing into as the world in the decades following the crucifixion did about what religions would mean today.



As this article should by now have made clear, the magic of Leo is intimately connected with charisma, command, leadership and rulership, life-giving power, artistic creativity, renown and reputation, notice, charm and all the power of the Sun. A secret of the Sun is that it burns so brightly and so blindingly not for attention but simply because it just Is, and it emanates that Is-ness to everywhere and everything around it at once, never faltering or varying its illumination. So too must Leo become like a brilliant star that shines through all eternity as a jewel of bright light in the heavens of time. Sometimes Leo will give to be admired, but at others it will give simply because it can, and it is the latter giving that brings it the greatest joy and the only lasting satisfaction. This is the secret it needs to understand and put into play. Life is a performance without rehearsal, and we each have a starring role of our own to play in its drama. It is not to be taken lightly for it is a serious journey and a precious gift which we must do justice to by being what we are and shining the light we have been given by life to share with life. All that we give is given to life itself and all that life gives us in return is given to itself.

Leos discover that their true strength has nothing to do with popularity, the number of admirers or level of glory and fame, but that it comes from the recognition that we are all stars, embodied in human form. The spirit is eternal because it is a part of the Creation, and must exist for as long as Creation itself. Furthermore, the central lesson of Leo is that every created thing is the majestic light centre of its own universe, and therefore all of the Creation is present in each thing, as either potential or substance, and therefore each role we play is as significant as any other. What actually matters is not how bright we shine but what and why we shine.


Image by R. Clark

This innate process is expressed in the Gra Tree of Life as the path connecting Tiphareth with Gedulah, meaning it is shown as the way the individual spirit connects with larger forces, with a sense of meaning bigger than its individual self, and this places things into a more majestic and often sunnier context. Along this path the Great Tree of Life projects the inner light of the core individual self, the temporal mental body or spirit, as a radiant light which emanates “downwards” on a path which leads it to form a “kingdom” of its own, a realm in which it is connected to other individual selves through strands of empathy and alikeness. The King or Queen is a symbolic figure who represents all of the people, and in the same way the individual self finds that it is like others and this similarity is what feeds it what it needs to shine. This is the process of Leo expressed in Kabbalistic terms. It establishes Force of Meaning on the mental plane by projecting the individual uniqueness and beauty of an individual life or spirit as commonality and similarity. Here is the esoteric reason for the need Leo has for an audience. It reveals that Leo is the magical expression of individual Light as empathy, integration of consciousness and symbolic essential meaning and therefore a key to attaining mastery of the mental Fluids.

In ‘The Practice of Magical Evocation’ Franz Bardon attributes the 30 spirits of the Earth Zone given to Leo with the following magical powers: the Fire principle (1°), the power of the Sun and Electric Fluid (2°), the origin of passions and the astral body (3°), magic of the Elements and the ElectroMagnetic Fluid (4°), the tetrapolar magnet (5°), the propagation of all seed (6°), the Air principle (7°), magical breathing (8°), mystical love and holiness (9°), resistance to fire (10°), ecstasy and trance (11°), divine theurgy and kabbalistic mysticism (12°), the way to perfection in accordance with the laws of creation (13°), synthesis of all religious systems and philosophies (14°), connections between the mental, astral and physical worlds (15°), omniscience and divine intuition (16°), magic of cosmic love (17°), occult anatomy of humanity (18°), talismanic magic (19°), metal alchemy (20°), prophecy (21°), esteem, power and wealth (22°), yoga and religious initiation (23°), reading of events in the Akasha (24°), sphere magic without separation of the mental body (25°), mediumistic phenomena (26°), wish realisation (27°), magic formulae of the Elements (28°), magic of water (29°), and protection against thunderstorms and gales (30°). It must be remembered that Bardon repeatedly states that these are just the Heads of the individual 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.

The principal magic of Leo is Light. Much like the heart circulates warmth and life around the body, so Leo acts to focus and collect the power of the limitless Great Spirit, to release it in some life enhancing, life affirming way. That life affirming life enhancing way is you, me and everything that is created by its grace. It is in effect the supreme leader, this Great Spirit, and Leo is aware of its presence wthin its breast to the degree that even when it cannot articulate that to itself, it seeks to do so for others. The role we play in life which is such an integral part of the nature of this sign is ultimately an expression that this Great Spirit has pre-designed us for, and when we connect with its presence within us it effortlessly instructs us in how to become it. Beauty is what happens when we playfully shine our unique Light of being upon the Creation, encouraging it all to do the same. 


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