This year, the sun will travel through the territory of Virgo between August 22nd and September 22nd. Virgo is the feminine, mutable Earth sign, and is ruled by the planet Mercury. Virgo is often depicted as a maiden holding a sheaf of corn or wheat. This bundle of grains points to the Maiden's penchant for separating, digesting, discriminating, and clarifying. As one of Mercury's signs, Virgo shares his affinity for small things, and the ability to see and manipulate small component pieces of structures. Separating wheat and chaff, breaking down chunks of food and pulling out molecules the body requires, and picking nits out of hair are all fastidious activities that involve a lot of Virgoan energy.
While this tendency to focus on details can create a reputation for being too nitpicky, the Virgoan mode of functioning can be very valuable in the process of gaining greater awareness. While we usually think of Leo (the sign that comes just before Virgo) as the energy strongly related to the self, if we look closely we can find a valuable relationship between Virgo and self identity.
The energy of Leo is that which allows a person to grow beyond their caregivers and become a self-sufficient being able to function and be seen in the world. With a focus on projecting energy outward, Leo is like the actor on the stage who is focused on giving a grand performance in his fancy costumes surrounded by perfectly placed props. The United States as a country tends to embody this mode of being. The Sibley chart, one of the commonly used charts for the birth of the country, has the North Node in Leo in the 9th House. The North Node is also called Rahu which means The Dragon's Head, and represents an aspect of reality that we tend to aggressively pursue. The 9th House of the chart represents philosophy, spirituality, religion- ideals that we move toward and attempt to embody in our lives. Leo in the 9th House, combined with the voracious appetite of Rahu, has shaped the current culture of the United States. People living here are encouraged to build their self-identity around external appearances. Do you wear the right clothes? Do you have the right kind of car and house? How about the best kind of job and right sort of family? For the most part, people are not encouraged to examine and attend to their subjective, internal reality.
While there are certainly times when these firey, self-focused Leo energies are appropriate, if it's the only tool in your toolbox, you're going to end up with a very lopsided life. So what is beyond the cult of the external self? This is where Virgo's talents can assist. In this analogy of self growth, Virgo represents the process of turning within and starting to examine the self that Leo built, and starting to ask- who am I beyond how I present to the rest of the world? If we are willing to be honest with ourselves in this examination, we start to notice that a lot of what we have defined as our self is actually stuff we have bought from others. We take on and take in the thoughts, feelings, emotions, points of view, judgements, decisions, conclusions, computations, implants, fears, desires, needs, requirements, expectations, projections, separations, and rejections (to name just a few) from our parents, caregivers, peers, teachers, and others. The potency of Virgo lies in being able to look at all of these little pieces and start to separate ideas that are actually true for us versus ideas we have taken on from others.
From now until the Fall equinox on September 22nd, the sun in Virgo provides a boost to our ability to look within and examine what we find. To actively strengthen this ability, my favorite tools are meditation and Access Consciousness. Using these practices and processes allows us to start to recognize and let go of all the things that we think are us that actually are not. When you start to get free of all the stuff that isn't really you, it becomes much easier to choose things and do things that will make you happy and make your life work for you. Unfortunately, this process also makes you more different than most people are willing to be. How brave are you willing to be? How far outside the box are you willing to go?