Virgo may be the most interesting sign. It's certainly one of the most complex, laced with inconsistencies that only start to make sense over time.
Virgo is one of the four mutable, or changeable, signs. Yet, unlike Gemini, which has more distinct polarities and modes of expression, Virgo tends to conceal its inner differences, which seems to be about an effort to reconcile them.
In the Northern Hemisphere, Virgo is the sign the Sun transits during the last month of summer. It's therefore associated with the harvest, and in traditional astrology it was associated with places where grain and dairy were stored. It's an earth sign and thus represents the abundance of the earth.
Those of us who know and love Virgos are familiar with intelligent, clever, somewhat nervous people who can never seem to do enough. And it's difficult to figure out where you stand with them, since like the motion of their ruling planet Mercury, every day is a little different.
You can think of this as Virgo in its outer form, how it expresses itself in ways that we can observe with the senses and almost eat for breakfast. Then there are the deeper layers. We can find something about this in a 1951 text called Esoteric Astrology by Alice A. Bailey.
"The sign Virgo is one of the most significant in the zodiac," Bailey writes in her introduction to this sign, "for its symbology concerns the whole goal of the evolutionary process, which is to shield, nurture, and finally reveal the hidden spiritual reality. This every form veils, but the human form is equipped and fitted to manifest it in a manner different from any other expression of divinity and so make tangible and objective that for which the whole creative process was intended."
She describes this process as being conveyed in three female figures from mythology: Eve, Isis, and Mary. Each of these goddesses conceals and gestates the inner spiritual quality of humanity until it's born in human form as Jesus, the Christ. I don't think she means this literally as much as she is presenting a metaphor of spiritual development, and a model of the feminine being that gestates a deeper quality in humanity.
Eve "took the apple of knowledge from the serpent of matter and started the long human undertaking of experiment, experience, and expression" of our journey on and with our planet. Isis "stands for this same expression down onto the emotional or astral plane." Mary "carries the process down to the plane or place of incarnation, the physical plane, and therefore gives birth to the Christ child."
Many things are going on here, in the midst of the anachronism of these three figures. Bailey is describing Virgo as an expression of the threefold goddess, which takes many other forms. She is also describing Virgo as a sign that, through a series of steps, brings humanity closer to its essential spiritual nature—the one we know exists at least in theory and more probably as a spark of light within us—being born in real life, as a physical manifestation.
An idea becomes real; a potential manifests. The germ of life inside the seed of grain is protected, and when the conditions are right, it emerges and grows. That is the essence of Virgo, where we see so much in the way of intellectual expression yearning for a place to take form. To do this, it's necessary to honor the life within what we're doing, and the deeper life within ourselves. This takes patience and care. It requires living in service of that inner light, until it's fully born.
Even in the most ordinary themes of Virgo we see these qualities expressed—for example, in the undeniable emphasis on service that Virgo so often presents. When a person with strong Virgo in their chart is in conflict or crisis, it would be a good idea to check for the extent to which they are honoring and are in harmony with that inner life. Note: Service does not necessarily mean being a nurse or a teacher. It means doing what one came here to do. It means following one's true calling, which almost invariably serves humanity.
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© 2014 Omega Institute for Holistic Studies