This piece appeared originally at The House of Twigs.
At the end of a summer punctuated by fierce eclipses, powerful conjunctions between the planets and the nodes of fate, we are now in the solar season of Virgo, earth virgin, translator of earth connection, healer, mystic, initiate of both day and night. August 30th’s New Moon in Virgo arrives to ease us into a place of re-cultivation of self, of harmony with nature, of the brilliant power of our minds. This is a moment of purification, as only Virgo knows how to inspire.
Virgo is a mutable earth sign. As a mutable sign, she comes to us at a moment of transition—the end of summer which reminds us of the imminence of autumn. Mutable signs are flexible. The ancient Greek word for mutable, disomos, means double-bodied, poetically showing us that mutable signs like Virgo have the power to encompass dual roles, to fulfill multiple requirements, and to move in flux with those around them.
It of course does make sense that the other mutable signs would be “double-bodied,” when we think of Gemini we think of the twins, Pisces is a pair of twin fish tethered by ribbon, and Sagittarius’s half man half horse form shows us a duality of magic and mundane. But Virgo is always squarely the virgin, a young girl holding a shaft of wheat. How are we to understand what makes her an efficient doubling?
Virgo is ruled by Mercury, planet of communication, language, wit, and intellect. Named after the Roman god of messages from Mt. Olympus, we know that the figure of Mercury has a hand in bringing us artistic inspiration, quick cognitive function, and helps us connect with our communities via talking and writing.
Mercury is also known to us as the psychopomp, he is the deity that leads sleeping souls down to the realm of dream each night. What’s more, is that he is also responsible for guiding souls to the afterlife. His ability to carry messages from Olympus to Dis is unique. With Mercury, we have a god who knows how to translate between daylight world and underworld. Traveling between those two spaces is a mere function of this god’s experience. The planet influences us thusly, which brings an understanding of duality to the sign. Mercury ruled Virgo can go into the night, or function brightly by day.
If we connect Virgo to another famous virgin, we can find a pattern that quickly helps us expand our understanding of the sign’s powers. The story of Persephone, Pluto’s queen, is well known: She was a virgin out picking flowers with her mother, Demeter, goddess of wheat. When her mother was occupied, Pluto appeared from the underworld, and kidnapped Persephone, stealing her away to his hidden realm of psyche.
While in the underworld, Persephone ate nothing but six pomegranate seeds, and because of this, the gods deemed that she would spend six months of every year in the realm of day with her mother, and six months of the year in the underworld with Pluto. The virgin reveals herself to be both queen of darkness and page of sunshine, oriented toward both depending on what time of year it is. Here, we find a duality within the sign.
Virgo is sometimes considered to be secondarily ruled by Vesta, goddess of the hearth and home. As an earth sign, the orientation toward the mundane is strong with Virgo, there is a knack, a strength here, for helping others heal, helping others find important information, and guiding them in their journeys towards wellness and self understanding. Vesta asks for a strong foundation, a crackling hearth, a warm private environment to be erected in her honor. Virgo is blessed with this skill, no doubt.
In ancient Rome, the attendants to Vesta’s temple, all women, were all virginal until the age of 30. Their devotion to the goddess was voluntary, and in their “virginity” (read as not married to men), they were able to keep their autonomy—a rarity. Here is an image of Virgo as attendant of the divine, observer of circadian rhythm and ritual. Virgo initiated into mystic rites is powerful in her devotion. Energy flows from her earthen stance, and her magic is durable, tangible, and embodied.
The dual influence of Mercury and Vesta makes it so that Virgo can be tender and warm, or eccentric and witty. There is a pickiness here, a fussy orientation to things that makes us push for what is highest, reminding us not to settle for less than our most focused dreams.
Virgo is the doula, the herbalist, the poet, the midwife. She is the nurturing maiden who knows about chronic depths. She knows that life’s darknesses can be brightened by plant medicine, by rituals of purification. The combination of sensitivity, of nerves that flit like sparrows, and of earthen depth give the sign its quiet, unmistakable power.
This New Moon in Virgo, we see a powerful stellium in the sky, with the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars all in Virgo. Look to your natal chart and see what house is ruled by this sign to see what house is being meticulously activated by this influx of Virgo energy. This is a place of purification, of seed planting, as the New Moons are always an opportunity for working in darkness with the earth.
With the Moon trining Uranus, we’ll be open to something eccentric and strange at this time. Our energy will want to envelop and be enveloped by the weird, the radical, the creative. Letting your intuition guide you into the realm of the unknown is best at this time. If the earth moves beneath your core, you’ve found the right spot to tap in.
The Moon will also trine Saturn, planet of responsibility and self-mastery, and so we are empowered to turn our dreamy feelings into reality, following a rigorous plan laid out by Saturn. The stellium in Virgo opposes Neptune, planet of fantasy, putting pressure on us to actually make those inspired dreams into something tangible, present, and real. Take the advice of the earth virgin this week, and devote yourself to the rhythms of nature.
Listening to and sinking into your own body is the first step, and often a neglected one in our age of instant gratification. In moments of high pressure, social velocity, taking a step into our own shadow, our own underworld, is advised. Virgo is here to guide us down into that realm, as well as to remind us that after darkness comes light. Winter is followed by spring, after all. Let flowers germinate in your bones, this Virgo New Moon. Come the time of Solar Pisces, you’ll have a veritable garden blooming from your very body.