The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little—Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Amidst the delays, the frustrations, the upsets of daily life, there may a dawning of new possibilities over the harvested fields of our past. As we approach the autumn equinox in the North, spring’s swelling and greening in the South, we may sense a kindling of a new creative impulse. As the days lengthen or as darkness descends, the light, the air, the earth beneath our feet has a new cadence.
Mercury, ruler of the Virgo Sun, moved direct on Sunday, August 19th bringing gifts of clarity and insight birthed after his sojourn in the darkness of the underworld. Mars spurs our intentions, as he moves from Aquarius into Capricorn, and goes direct on August 27th; Saturn is direct on September 6th ; Pluto on October 1st. And this week, the Sun moves from the glamour and glitz of extrovert Leo into temperate Virgo. Another turning point in the Great Wheel of the year. In our own lives, perhaps, these seasonal shifts are measures of decision-makers’ choices that, at last, emerge with new vigour, as four of the six retrograde planets turn direct in the velvet blackness of the skies.
The old sky maps reveal Virgo’s association with the fecund Magna Mater, ancient goddesses of the earth, old rituals and rites of passage. Virgo is the Harvest Maiden, who holds a sheaf of wheat in her left hand and offers us all the fertile potential of the seeds of the grape with her right. The constellation of Virgo depicts the fixed stars Spica as the sheaf of wheat, and Vindemiatrix as the grape vine, reminders of the cycle of nature, of reaping and sowing. Of the labour needed to make bread and wine, partake of the sacrament of Life.
Discernment and pragmatism are two words associated with the archetype of Virgo. She attends to the little details, she seeks solutions, she’s the spinner and the weaver of the warp and weft our daily lives. Purification and ritual breaking of bread, vestiges from the Old Religion are now enacted during the Sun’s transit through Virgo. Virgo is a mutable sign. Mutable signs bridge the sacred and the mundane.
For those of us who carry the imprint of the Virgo archetype in our birth chart, we will inevitably encounter the duality, the complexity, the tension, associated with the Earth Angel, weighted with the detailed task of seeding the potential in every idea, every action; the never ending task of trying to create order out of chaos.
Virgo is prone to fret and fuss, flaying her nervous system with worry about making the right choice, doing the right thing, giving enough, being enough. The detailed labour of the writer, the craftsperson, are associated with those who have planets in Virgo. Her vision focuses modestly downwards, directed at the little things, the little moments. Leonard Cohen expressed his Virgo Sun, Venus conjunct Neptune in Virgo, and possibly an early degree Virgo Ascendant, in the painstakingly slow distillation of poetry and deep emotion that was his discipline and his craft. He infused genius and breathed prophecy into his poetry and lyrics. And yet, he said, “I don’t see it so much as creativity, but as work.”
Virgo is associated with The Earth Goddess who is self-contained, intact. We meet her on the road and call her name: Mary Magdelene. Holy Harlot. She belongs to no man but gives her favours with an earthy abandonment that pre-dates the Judaic-Christian morality and the strictures of patriarchy.
In Virgo we encounter the Prostitute Archetype, in our own lives, and in the corridors of power. This month, we may contemplate how easily we can be bought, bargained for. We might ask ourselves, where do we negotiate our power, trade our gifts and talents, when our survival is at stake?
The polarity of Virgo is Pisces, that boundary-less sign that so often disintegrates in relationship, is sacrificed on the cross of service, that needs to be needed so very much that she loses herself in her own story of Victimhood. Virgo looks on warily, because these same drives can be her shadow, that part of herself that lurks beneath the sensible, practical authentic Self. This month, we may ask ourselves where we lack faith in our own ability, where we deny our own inner strength.
The Full Moon on August 26th at 3° Pisces, illuminates the opposition between the sacred and the earthly, reminds us that the archetype of the Virgin is also the Alchemist and the Healer. In her truest manifestation, the archetype of Virgo has an affinity with plants and animals—a knowing that reaches beyond book learning or Google—a wisdom threaded through generations of healers and wise men and women.Virgo is also associated with the Alchemist, the Sisters of Mercy, the Wise Virgin who tends her oil lamp with due diligence. She’s Vasilisa, the Beautiful who separates the poppy seeds and corn from the soil. She is aligned with The Hermit IX in the Tarot and the anchorite who holds the lamp of inner guidance as we prepare for a major change in our life direction.
As we cross the bridge between the sacred and the mundane this new month, may we pour Love into the cracks that make us human.
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in—Leonard Cohen.
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