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Musings on the Zodiac

The Complexities of Virgo






Yours is an Earth sign with fleet-footed Mercury as ruler. As the embodiment of the Archetype of the Temple Guardian you not only keep the sacred lamps burning in the temple, but also in the sacred space of your own home. You excel at organization, planning, and sorting out details. Because of your investigative and analytical mind you will be accomplished in whatever occupation you choose. Employers can count their blessings with you on the job. The Earth element means you stand firmly on the ground, and that you feel deeply connected to the Earth and all its bounty. You might find yourself designing and tending an expanded area around your home spotted with rock and stone arrangements, fruit trees, wild-flowers, and delicate spring crocuses.


Like the quicksilver mutability of Mercury itself your mind is capable of uncovering multiple gems of splendid ideas to expand or promote one task or plan. Your changeable Virgo nature is often in the mood to move things around, from rearranging the furniture to insisting your partner put his tooth brush away just so. Some people in your home and in the workplace might become annoyed if you're on them too many times, too critical about details and methods of operations. As you learn to accept things you cannot change and understand what can be altered and what cannot, you might find your compulsion with details to be a boon when approached with your amazing imagination and insight.


The Greek god Hephaestus, the lame and ugly husband of Aphrodite, is known as the god of fire, metalworking, stone masonry, and sculpture. Perhaps, like Hephaestus, you might enjoy such artistic pursuits as pounding and molding metal into jewelry or even carving sculptures out of stone or marble. Or at least appreciate such artistry while browsing in museums. While living in the underworld at his forge Hephaestus crafted stunning weapons and armor for the gods—veritable works of art. He symbolizes your Virgo gift of the ability to change that which is ugly into that which is beautiful.


Mercury the winged messenger assures that you are the quintessential communicator. The kind of writing or communication we might expect from you will be colored by the position of Mercury in your birth chart (see Appendix). On the downside, while being focused on detail you sometimes forget to take in the larger picture, the proverbial missing forest for the trees. You love to be useful and to serve your fellow humans. In whatever capacity, you minster to the public with graciousness and humility. Your impeccable nature will serve you well in your desire to make a difference in the world, small or large. 


What about the symbol of the Virgin for Virgo? The image alone lets us know that your personality can be complex, say nothing of confusing, since you actually might harbor a secret wish to be a nun, and at the same time you yearn to be in loving partnership. Vestal Virgins in Greek mythology lend depth and breadth to understanding the meaning of the Virgin image. The Roman Vestal Virgins, along with the Greek counterparts serving goddess Hestia, took vows of chastity starting at age 12.  It was believed this vow would insure they were as pure as the fire they guarded. Never entering into sexual relations with any man for the 30 years they performed their duties in the temples. But, wait…there is more to this story, a more ancient view from the age of goddess worship.


According to the Greek historian Herodotus and other accounts, in some cultures as far back as 6,000 BC, during the goddess era, temple priestesses served as sacred prostitutes to help a man in need of guidance to commune with the goddess, to find answers to life's mysteries or dilemmas. While in Babylon Herodotus observed that the sexual act offered by temple priestesses was considered as sacred and pure as the temple fires the Vestal virgins guarded. For these priestesses and those they served, there was no distinction between sexuality and spiritualty. (The sacred prostitution among temple priestesses was not even a little bit similar to profane prostitution, a profession which has gone on forever.) In some temples the man prepared himself by living in retreat in one of the temple rooms for many days, taking note of his dreams and purifying himself through meditation and diet. Sacred union with temple priestesses was not for personal love or lust, but for divine love.


The knowledge of the existence of these sacred prostitutes from ancient times might inspire you as Virgo. You might easily identify with them. You might feel astonished and relieved with this evidence that the opposing forces of nun and lover (spirituality and sexuality) thrived in harmony among temple priestesses. These ancient women expressed both ends of the Virgo's opposing nature, without conflict. As you come to befriend the contrasting forces that tend to do battle inside your mind, you might find your sense of inner balance restored. Of course, as Virgo, you will want to analyze the entire topic well and do your own research.


Meanwhile, you still must live day-to-day with this Virgo nature of yours. It's not all about a search into the ancient past. In daily life your zodiac sign's image of Virgin implies an expectation of a flawless nature in yourself and others. Because of your compulsion to have everything just right with people and things, you often encounter relationship stumbling blocks. When you don't find what you're seeking, you might notice that you harbor a secret wish (conscious or unconscious) for a marriage with a god. That's how high your expectations might be. Who can meet up? Nevertheless, you do encounter lovers (or even a soulmate) with whom you experience glorious moments of joining with the divine. Such deep understanding allows you to live with more acceptance of self and other.

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