This New Moon features a nearly exact opposition to Uranus in Aries, which emphasizes the non-dual dualism of Self and Other, of internality and externality. The author and astrologer Adam Elenbaas remarked about this opposition, and with “Mercury now direct, and with a Mars/Jupiter conjunction approaching… it's time to GET. SHIT. DONE. This cycle opens with a bang, and it's all about doing what we know we have to do, in the most tactful and diplomatic way possible. We can't go where we need to go or accomplish what we're here to accomplish in life without ruffling some feathers. And even if we feel deeply troubled by the responses we get from others at this time, it's important that move forward with confidence in the direction we know in our hearts to be right for us at this time. Diplomacy is a process of meeting others' needs as we meet our own. Cooperation and team work including rooting out the tendency to either take all the credit or point the finger too intensely. Team work is a habit of perception that is built by sharing the wealth of our decisions, the results of our actions, and the process of problem solving. When we take all the credit or distribute all the blame, we stand very little chance of sustaining anything in the long run. All of these issues might be pronounced at the time of this new moon, or over the course of the next day or two.”
The current Virgo stellium will endure through mid-November, well beyond any planet in Libra, and so I will emphasize virgoan archetypes. Let us dive into Virgo and Libra’s connection to relationships by exploring the breath of the year, a theme and image I always return to.
Breath of Stardust
Earth’s revolution around the Sun holds endless points at which to mark our moments. The varying seasons of this planet are a great inhalation and exhalation, singing cycles which permeate our every myth, metaphor and understanding.
Spring draws air inward towards the Self, propelled by Aries’ vehement “I am!”, and the full lungs of Summer, founded by Cancer’s roots “I feel”, nurture us in our development and deepening.
Fall expels this breath outward towards the Other, commenced by Libra’s equalizing “I weigh.” Our relationships with the external are sought amidst autumnal leaves, and established as they give way to Winter — instigated by Capricorn’s “I master”, lungs empty as the world is surveyed, our energy released unto it in external confirmation of a role fortified and dissolved in cold warmth as Spring nears.
The breath of the year descends from Aries’ head, the vernal inhalation, and reaches Summer’s end with the stomach and digestive faculties of Virgo, the boundary of Self and Other. Air has rushed down the spine, through the Lion, his chest puffed out in the pride which precedes virgoan humility.
Virgo, The Harvest Maiden
From the Virgo New Moon of September 12th to this Libra New Moon, the two lights and every planet as far as Jupiter have at some point sat on the boundary of Summer and Fall, of Self and Other. In these two signs they all currently hang.
In Virgo, what has been consumed and internalized is separated from what is expelled. The body gains nourishment and waste is discarded. This is not only Virgo’s association with health, body consciousness and discretion, but also her ostensive sexual selectivity and separation of idealogical wheat from chaff. She seeks the finest suitor, whether a lover or a concept.
Virgo mediates between Leo’s self-radiating romantic vision, “God’s gift to man”, and Libra’s balancing judgment of the external, its knowledge of Self through the Other. Virgo is the gift held in the hesitance to devote oneself — or to dive into service and sacrifice with no abandon. To give oneself to the ideal perceived as highest, or to consider every ideal, turning them over mercurially in the light? To be monogamous with one, or with the whole world? There is prudence in either. Thus, the virgin-whore dichotomy of Virgo.
Each sign contains every other sign within it, and there is a quality to Virgo both mercurial and scorpionic, penetrating in its awareness of others, particularly their strengths and weaknesses. There are perhaps no two signs as psychologically and sexually perceptive as Virgo and Scorpio. Known for its simultaneous criticism of and sympathy for the underdog, Virgo is often a paradox of strength and self-doubt. “How can anyone be that bossy and a total doormat at the same time?”
Virgo is probably one of the more misunderstood signs of the zodiac. Virgoan types are powerfully sensual, even sexually deviant (whatever that means, in a world of ubiquitous and beautifully varying inner perversions better expressed than repressed), and yet the symbol of the Virgin is not explicitly sexual a priori. In many Greek translations, ‘virgin’ simply means ‘one unto herself’, and such is the innate completion of she who straddles the ambiguous line between Self and Other. To be content in one’s word and deed regardless of the degree of acknowledgement. To withhold oneself knowing one’s worth.
Much like the first decan of Leo emerging from Cancer’s crab shell, the question of “the Spotlight” as Austin Coppock called it, Virgo’s position calls into question how best to honor both oneself and the other — one’s own calling and its fulfillment in the external world. Hiding behind the curtain, a Virgo is often content to know her role is masterful, her craft consummate, whether or not she is acknowledged on the world stage. This is a major difference between Virgo’s yin energy and the yang nature of Leo and Libra framing her, both of whom thrive on the dramatic fire and gusto of a grand gesture acknowledged with as much light as it’s given in. Many born August through October have planets in all three of these signs, all of these instincts coexisting within them. And yet every human holds each planet and sign burning within our souls. All the stars shine and all the planets weigh uniquely at our births.
Some new age astrology argues that the zodiacal symbol of the Virgin has patriarchal origins, and surely the motives in sharing such perspectives often come from a place of truth and balance. However, to look at a symbol whose original observation in the sky was a participatory act of consciousness and human realization of subjective meaning, as something of inherently patriarchal intention, risks sacrificing greater understanding of Virgo — whose meaning, as we have already explored, is not only physically sexual. All dimensions of life are sexual in that they involve alchemical union of perceived opposites. Perhaps the insistence on a physically sexual meaning for Virgo reflects the overly outward emphasis of a materialistic western paradigm. If she, the ‘Virgin’, exists at the boundary of inner and outer, that is both the line of outer physical life, all its conquering and being conquered, and the other side of this line in spiritual victories both heralded and kept quiet.
She is a sign of both the masochist and perhaps even the sadist in physical discipline, as well as the optimist and pessimist in her forward thought. Mercury is the true switch, more so with Gemini planets, and Virgo the spiritual realist. Virgo carries mercurial rulership shared dually with Gemini, and within these signs Jupiter expresses its ‘detriment’ held in these two signs’ opposition to his dual rulership of Sagittarius and Pisces.
The Tale of Two Suitors
Virgo, the witch both spell-casting and rationally minded. Virgo, again seeking the finest suitor, whether a lover or a concept. Her discernment leads to Libra’s balance, and both of these signs display a consideration and inner debate on the prospect of devotion to any vessel or idea. Libra is a sign of relationship to the outer world, valuing beauty as a principle atop aesthetic dimensions. It is a sign of balance, fairness, social diplomacy and even fence-sitting. Between Virgo’s critical eye and Libra’s unsureness, sometimes there arises a confluence of energy which is fantastic at doubting all things mystical. One of the most amusing paradoxes I’ve ever witnessed is how great Virgo is at disbelieving astrology, and yet if you put five of the most literal-minded Virgo women or Virgo men in the same room together, they will all figure out what’s going on.
Just as hyper-criticism of anything in life can drain it of its romance, so hyper-rational doubt can shatter the cup which must be emptied to receive any love or magic. It’s all participatory. And so, the opening words of Richard Tarnas’ magnum opus Cosmos and Psyche, carried from his essay “The Tale of Two Suitors”…
“Skepticism is the chastity of the intellect, Santayana declared, and the metaphor is apt. The mind that seeks the deepest intellectual fulfillment does not give itself up to every passing idea. Yet what is sometimes forgotten is the larger purpose of such a virtue. For in the end, chastity is something one preserves not for its own sake, which would be barren, but rather so that one may be fully ready for the moment of surrender to the beloved, the suitor whose aim is true. Whether in knowledge or in love, the capacity to recognize and embrace that moment when it finally arrives, perhaps in quite unexpected circumstances, is essential to the virtue. Only with that discernment and inward opening can the full participatory engagement unfold that brings forth new realities and new knowledge. Without this capacity, at once active and receptive, the long discipline would be fruitless. The carefully cultivated skeptical posture would become an empty prison, an armored state of unfulfillment, a permanently confining end rather than the rigorous means to a sublime result.”
“You know what the issue is with this world? Everyone wants a magical solution to their problem, and everyone refuses to believe in magic.” —Lewis Carroll