AUGUST/SEPTEMBER - Virgo occupies the end of summer in the seasonal year. The hot, lazy days bake the soil into dry, dusty clouds. Grasses fray and rattle in the wind. But higher up in elevation, there is a note of the coming cold on its way. In the valleys below, summer fruits and vegetables are fat and ripe and eaten in droves. Wild salmon spawn up river, and other animals begin fattening up. But most importantly, grains like wheat, rye, oats, barley, corn, and rice are beginning to approach harvest season. And both people and animals need to make the most of this time of year, if they are to survive the coming winter months.
Nearly every culture has a harvest season which falls at this time of year. In order to harvest enough food and supplies for the winter every able person had to work extremely hard, day and night, from sun up to sun down and under moonlight. Harvesting and preserving was important when people lived seasonal lives. Before refrigeration, pickling, canning, drying, salting, smoking, and filling the root cellars was how many people saved food for the coming winter months. Tying (drying hay in the sun) was vital to keeping livestock alive and fed through the winter. Winnowing (separating grain from the shaft) and milling (grinding grain into flour) were done so that flour could be stored and used to make bread. There was also plenty of cleaning, organizing, and seasonal preparation to be done in order for communities to prepare for the cold. Everything had to be done and done immediately in order to ensure their future survival. And everybody had to work together in order to get it done.
Many Germanic cultures associated this time of year with harvest, winnowing, and changing leaves. In the north where the cold came on sooner, the West Frisian Calendar called this “Autumn Month”.
The Babylonians first associated this sign with the star Spica, meaning “Grain” or “Furrow”. Later on, in Egyptian astrology, this Sign and the constellation of stars itself was referred to as The Maiden, a woman between the ages of puberty and marriage. The Greeks associated the constellation with the myth of the virgin Astraea, who was the last immortal to live with humanity. She was too pure to live amongst mankind, so she fled and became the constellation Virgo. The modern symbol of Virgo is a virgin bearing sheaths of grain, uniting both the virgin and grain symbols together, which makes her more closely resemble Demeter (Roman: Ceres), the goddess of agriculture, harvest, and motherhood. Later European art of the renaissance also depicted her with the wings of an angel, further marking Virgo’s chaste and perfect forms.
In pre-Christian European society, Maiden was synonymous with Virgin, and both meant that you weren't married, not that you didn't have sex. The Latin word “virgo” actually means “self-contained”; it described an autonomous individual, an independent woman who was not owned by a husband. For example, temple prostitutes included sacred sex as a part of their divine worship, but were called virgins because priestesses did not marry. Many goddesses were likewise depicted as virgins because they did not succumb to any man or motherhood title, even though they bedded many beautiful mortal men. Later on, in Christian Europe, the term changed to mean that the woman had never had sex. The Virgin became a young woman who had begun menstruation but not yet married, was “pure”, “innocent”, “chaste”, and “perfect”, saved from the "sin" and "filth" and "shame" of sexual activity.
The modern glyph is an “M” symbol with a hook that folds back on itself. The “M” is said, by some sources, to be an ancient medical symbol for health and healing, perhaps derived from the Latin word “medicina”. The accompanying loop represents the closed hymen or crossed legs of the virgin. It is the female healer symbol (as opposed to Scorpio, which is the male healer symbol). In Medieval Europe there also emerged a branch of medical astrologer that associated Virgo with the stomach area of the body. So the many loops and folds of the symbol also represent the organs and intestines, respectively.
Virgo is created by coupling the Mutable Quality with the Earth Element. Men and women of this Sign, like Taurus, tend to fill the gender roles society assigns them. Female Virgos become dutiful wives and mothers who look after their family, feed them healthy meals, keep the house and their children clean, and run their houses on a tight schedule. To the outside world they the perfect woman. The men take their careers seriously and provide their family with a stable and reliable income. All the bills are paid on time, the car is in working order, everything broken gets fixed straight away. To the outside world they are the perfect man. Take a peek inside the privacy of their lives, however, and see that they struggle to let down the emotional walls they've erected. They have trouble being warm, sensual, and sexual without permission to do so. And they have even more difficulty with the more difficult emotions, like anger or resentment. That is something all members of this Sign have in common.
Leo has a big and impressive image that they build up for themselves, which distracts everybody from the vulnerability and insecurity the timid cats truly feel deep down inside. Virgo, following the Lion in the zodiac, takes on some of that. Virgo has a cold outer shell: reserved, critical, observant, and utterly rational. But this outer image is just to keep people away until they can be trusted, for as mean as Virgo looks on the outside, deep down they are actually very sensitive, romantic, sentimental, and warm. They give all of themselves to the person they love. And so, to protect themselves from giving their all to somebody who might hurt them, they done the infamous Virgo bitch-face.
As they are getting to know you, expect Virgo to notice all the little things about you. They mentally note the details that other people miss, like how your teeth are just a little bit crooked, or when you eat too much junk food, or how you never tell your mother you love her enough, or when you leave the kitchen in a mess. Virgo thinks a lot about these things - mostly about how to fix them. Like taking you to the dentist, or cleaning up your diet, shopping for some new clothes, or the two of you taking your mother out to breakfast. It is in Virgo's nature to want to press out the wrinkles and scrub out the stains. They are practical, analytic problems solvers with a workable solution for everything. To them, it's helping to organize your life, make it more orderly, more predictable and secure. They want to make you healthier and happier person, or to just make you better overall.
To you, their constant nitpicking, fussy little reminders, and judgemental tone can feel like an annoying insect is buzzing in your ear. But Virgo, in their heart, is just trying to help. This is a Sign of selfless service unto others, the Sign of the nurse and the mother and the caregiver, who compassionately heals and takes care of people (and animals). They know what people and situations need in order to improve, so they put together an action plan, complete with a list of steps to follow to zero in on your weak spots and focus on improving them. It is true that all of these ideas are born out of a moral (and intellectual) high-horse which favours science, intelligence, rationality, health, work, purity, and perfection; Virgo's own personal views of right and wrong are very black and white, with no room for doing things any other way. For all their good intention, this can cause relationships with Virgo to become strenuous. And for Virgo themselves, it leads to repression and denial of everything they find undesirable in themselves.
If you think Virgo is hard on you, you have only a fraction of an idea of how hard they are on themselves. Virgo can become obsessed with perfectionism, weighing themselves down with oppressive thoughts about what they should be like. They criticize every flaw in their skin, every roll in their body, every treat they eat. They become rattled with guilt whenever they "act out" or show their emotions in an "inappropriate" way. Virgo represses their sadness, laziness, resentment, hatred, envy, jealousy, and insecurity, denying simply on the basis that they don't believe one should be those things. But this, in turn, leads to repression of joy, excitement, ambition, and sexual desire, which causes makes life dull, even miserable! Virgo needs to be more compassionate with themselves. They need to learn to see right and wrong, good and bad, as subject to each person's taste and personal belief system, not as things set in stone. And Virgo needs to see perfection as a never-ending process, not an achievable end result. They are only human!
Virgo children are usually closer to their mother than their father. Girls especially tend to absorb their mother's value system and imitate her as they get older, whether they realize it or not. Their circle of friends matters a lot too, because like Leo, Virgo wants people to like and respect them more than they want most things. They usually are quite popular because of this trait, fashioning themselves a role as leader or organizer of their group. Secretly they are warm and soft, all giddy over little animals and small children, drawn to humour, glamour, sensuality, and romance. But outwardly they appear cold and guarded, cynical, shy and reserved, to protect their softer, more emotional, insides. They are like that from childhood all the way to adolescence.
Like any other Mutable Sign, drop them into a group of people and watch them contort to be the coolest, the best, the brightest, the moral example for everyone to follow. A religious family with puritanical values will raise a Virgo child who is a youth group leader with a Bible beside their bed. A blue-collar family will raise a hard-working conservative with a career his father admires. A vagrant single-mother will raise a Virgo daughter who has sex, steals, smokes, drinks, and does drugs, all to be cool in front of their friends. The one thing they all have in common? Virgo trying to be perfect in the eyes of the people they look up to, being too young to have a solid sense of self yet.
But if you really want to learn about Virgo children and teenagers, you have to learn about sex. Specifically, how Western culture views sex. Virgo, being the Mutable Earth Sign, naturally wants to use sex and sensuality to bring pleasure and healing to their partner, adapting to all their physical desires. But sex is largely forbidden, taboo, unspeakable, private, censored. It is shameful, dangerous, sinful, something to feel guilty and embarrassed about doing. To be promiscuous is to be dirty, washed up, used, and unclean. And to be "untouched" is to be honourable, clean, chaste, pure and perfect. Sex, we are told, is only acceptable within the confines of a traditional marriage, and that is it. And yet...sex is still used to sell commercial products, to entice an audience, to make someone cooler. To be sexually desired is to be quite powerful, even admired, even loved. Culturally, we have a negative image of sex - but personally we are captivated, intrigued, curious, and desiring of it in our private lives.
Now picture the Virgo child: an insecure perfectionist who is already too hard on themselves, who wants only to impress other people, being raised to feel ashamed of doing something they are expected to inevitably do. They are taught what is appropriate and respectable (work ethic, obedience, chastity, intelligence, responsibility) and what they should feel ashamed of (sex, anger, laziness, violence, cruelty). But they are also curious about the pleasures being performed behind closed doors, of how partners show their love for one another, of the biology of how babies are made. They feel pressured to perform well, to know technical skills right off the bat. Which is why, when they are finally ready, Virgo is drawn to older, more experienced partners who know more about sex than they do.
This crossroad Virgo arrives at - their natural desire to serve a sexual partner at odds with their guilt and shame about having sex - usually ends with them repressing their sexual desires and all their "inappropriate" emotions. But Virgo does grow to resent the world for making them feel this way. They grow up feeling overwhelmed by all the demands being levied on they by other people, burdened by all the "shoulds" they are pressured to perform. Deep down, the Virgo child is stubborn and rebellious, questioning why things have to be the way they are. But fear and insecurity force them to walk the line they've been told to walk, and it isn't until much later on in life that they find the strength to say no to people.
Being guarded on the outside and soft on the inside, rather like a Cancer, Virgo is unsurprisingly an introvert at heart. They are not one for big parties full of strangers. They are not superficially friendly, and often put people off with a stern look and curt tone. No, they prefer to stick to the close friends they already have, running dinner parties in their home, organizing events for the group to do together, and saving all their friendliness for the people they already care about. For the people meeting Virgo for the first time, they may be somewhat unnerved at the silent, regal air Virgo wraps themselves in, as if they are measuring themselves up against this new person (which they are). Others may find their shyness awkward (which it is). But ask a Virgo's friends what they are like, and you hear all about how funny, warm, charismatic, and motherly this Sign actually is, much to your surprise!
When seeking out a romantic partner for themselves, Virgo has shallow stipulations which reflect their outer coldness, and secret dreams that lie in their deeper warmth. To the outside world, Virgo wants a partner who is a good practical fit. They must be clean and neatly groomed from head to toe, smelling good, with stylish hair and clean fingernails. They must be hardworking and financially stable, with a good head on their shoulders and a promising career. And they must be clean and organized themselves, since Virgo can't be bothered picking up after them all the time. But Virgo's soft inner heart blossoms under sensitivity, romance, kindness, and sexual soul. It draws them towards lovers who are funny, glamourous, spontaneous, confident, and the life of the party. Virgo may be modest and timid, but they are drawn to lovers who have flair and style all their own!
But even when the find the perfect person, Virgo does not fall in love very quickly. Naturally monogamous and sexually withdrawn, they need to be close to somebody in order to let down their walls. They also need to be able to justify sex to themselves, so they confine sex to loving relationships, and aren't the type to sleep around (unless they are trying to prove how cool and laid back they are). They tend to be skeptical and held back, until trust lures them into deeper emotional waters. Then, once in a loving relationship, Virgo's selfless devotion really takes hold. They are curious about their lovers, wanting to know everything they can about what they like, what they want, what they need, what their childhood was like, what their ambitions are. They then use all this knowledge to cater to them, pampering them with sensuality and luscious gifts. Virgo protects the people they love from poverty with money, illness with good health, and unhappiness with a happy home. They give and they give and they give...and seldom ask for anything in return.
Virgo needs to be careful, though. They can just as easily fall into the trap of "fixing" people. They find lovers who are broken in some way, who need to be healed, who depend on other people for love and support and who can't function on their own. It makes Virgo feel needed, which brings out the caregiver in them. Unfortunately, it also means that they attract losers, users, and abusers who exploit Virgo's kindness and devotion for their own selfish gains. I've seen Virgos stay in relationships with spouses who cheat on them, simply because they already devoted themselves to the relationship, and still think their partner needs them to take care of them. And I've seen Virgos continue to give money and support to an ex they still care about, even after they started dating someone else. Instead of having the self-respect to leave, most Virgos accept that they may have to share their spouse in order to keep them around. They still attempt to control the relationship with their "woman of virtue" act, guilt-tripping their partner whenever they are being selfish. But that isn't enough to make shitty people see the light, nor will it turn a bad relationship into a good one.
So Virgo commits to a relationship with a horrible person in the hopes of turning them around, and Virgo is the selfless victim who gets their heart stepped on. Right? Well, there is also a smidgen more to it. Virgos usually settle down with a partner fairly early. And while their relationships have trust and commitment, they lack excitement. Virgo also usually has very real problems with sexual repression and sexual guilt, sometimes from past abuse, sometimes from absorbing cultural messages about it being dirty and shameful. Couple that with insecurity and problems with jealousy, and Virgo can become cold and withdrawn, even in the company of someone they love. So their partner isn't always to blame. What Virgo needs is a partner who doesn't stray when they bottle things up. Instead, they need a partner who is gentle and patient enough to open them up. Once there, Virgos are actually some of the most incredible lovers in the zodiac - sensual, serving, intelligent, and attentive, both in the bedroom and out of it.
This Sign shines in their career. Virgo is known for its incredible work ethic, as well as for being prepared, organized, responsible, diligent, and efficient. That is why Virgo is usually touted for administrative work managing all the details that help departments, courses, offices, and their managers run smoothly. Virgo also does well in work that involves health and healing, like working down at the hospital or showing people what kinds of healthy meals to add to their diet. Caretaking is also a big one, where they are looking after animals, children, the sick, elderly, or anyone else dependant on them for support. All of these satisfy Virgo's compulsive desire to fix and perfect, as well as their pursuit of excellence, their drive to be the absolute best. Michael Jackson, Beyonce Knowles, Freddie Mercury, Warren Buffet, Leo Tolstoy, Stephen King - all examples of Virgo in action!
Virgo is happiest with work that is an outlet for their abundance of nervous energy. With a mind that is always spinning, they need to be up and moving around to burn it off. Give them detail-oriented work, such as cleaning, organizing, sorting, and keeping things in order. Give them the freedom to nitpick, colour co-ordinate, get the paperwork in order, straighten things out, and tidy up, and see them shine! Of course, like other Earth Signs, money matters too. As does a healthy dose of appreciation for all their hard work. All these things together, and Virgo is a loyal and dedicated worker who keeps their workplace running smoothly.
Your Virgo employees and coworkers are usually the unsung heroes of your workplace, who make sure all the details are taken care of so the rest of you can sleep easy. They prefer to do their work alone, where they can be as fussy as they want without bothering anybody. But they do tend to spend too much time fussing over insignificant details that nobody else notices or cares about, so make sure you rein in on their procrastination with deadlines and check-ins. Overall, Virgo would rather do their work quietly behind the scenes in a routine, orderly way, not thrown out onto stage, unprepared, flying by the seat of their pants. They already put enough pressure on themselves - they don't need it from everyone else!
Virgos are not very comfortable in an authoritative leadership position. Sure, they want everything done a certain way, but they want to do it themselves, not look after other people as they do it. That is why your typical Virgo boss gives you all the help you need when you ask for it, but still micromanages your every move. Virgo is much more comfortable in a role where they are helping other people. They will see to it that every employee gets more than a sufficient amount of training, but you will also have to stomach their critical comments and nervous outbursts when the pressure is on. You take the good with the bad.
If there is anything Virgo does to undermine their success, it would be that they do not handle work-related stress very well. They can overwork themselves until they've completely burned out, and worry themselves sick in the process. Of course, Virgo will never admit they can't handle something, especially when other people are relying on them to pull through. They just get bitchier and nitpick more as their anxiety levels rise, until they reach a critical breaking point. If you work with a Virgo and offer to help them shoulder the load, don't be surprised when they turn you down. They still believe they are the only person capable of doing things how they want them to be done (the right way, that is). But you can help by reassuring them that they are doing an excellent job and soothing their anxieties about doing all of it perfectly well. And Virgo can help themselves by delegating work to other people and not getting so stuck in one way of doing things.
I have never really gotten along with Virgo Suns. They are hard to get close to. Everything in my chart says that we are the perfect match, but we never are. I can recall at least two different girls who were dating loser boyfriends who hit on other girls and cheated on them, which made them even more jealous and insecure than they normally were. Unable or unwilling to leave the relationship, they both chose to stay loyally in love and keep their anger bottled up, releasing it periodically to make their partner feel guilty about what they had done. Two other Virgo girls I knew in school cared way too much about being cool, and their attempt at badassery (smoking weed, having sex, bullying my friends) made them hard for this goody-two-shoes to get along with.
I do have a friend who has her Midheaven, Mercury, Venus, and Mars all in Virgo. Despite her cold and cynical outer shell, sealed with a resting-bitch-face after my own heart, she is nothing but gooey filling on the inside. She has a big, silly dog that is the center of her whole world, and two little cousins she spends a lot of time with. And despite being wronged in love in the past, she gives all of her heart to the man she is with. Still it's not like she wants anybody to see that. She blankets her chart in emotional detachment and rationality, and hides her sensitivity behind critical eyes. I guess that's why we've stayed friends for so long. We have that in common.
I also have an aunt who has her Sun in Virgo in the 12th House. She was the child of a love affair my mother's father had; he stuck around a few years before running off again, the travelling, partying, charismatic Sagittarius man that he was. She looks and acts the most like him, and is closer to him than any of his other children. A wild child at heart, she has run through a laundry-list of shitty boyfriends, apartments, jobs, and fake friendships from one end of BC to the other, but has somehow always managed to get back on her feet. These days she is kicking ass on a health binge, loving up her nephew, dedicating herself to her career, and swearing off men for good. But who knows? Her life changes so fast, it's hard to predict what she will do next.
THE virgo TRANSFORMATION
Summers turns into autumn as the sun crosses the Equinox, and Virgo turns into Libra as they grow and mature. Some things stay the same. Both Signs possess a rational mind and beautifully groomed appearance, for example. But as Virgo becomes more mature, they begin taking on more characteristics of the Sign ahead of them. Where Virgo had strict definitions of right and wrong, good and bad, Libra has a more balanced point of view. Issues become more complex as Libra understands that both sides have their inherent good and bad qualities, much like Yin and Yang both contain a piece of the other. In relationships, Virgo is selflessly devoted to serving another, even at the cost of their own health and happiness. But as they gather more relationship experience, they learn that love is not about servitude. It is, in fact, about equality and respect. Once Virgo lets go of their rigid morality and makes their relationships more fair, they have finally transformed into the next Sign, Libra.