Virgo ♍ Ingress – Inner Marriage

“I long to accomplish a great and noble tasks, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.”

Helen Keller

On August 22, at 12:07pm CDT our Sun  transfers into the methodical, industrious, and mutable earth sign of Virgo (♍) until September 22. The keywords for Virgo are “I Analyze,” indicative of trademark Virgoan themes of intelligence, conscientiousness, and order.

Preceding sign Leo ♌ basks in attention, praise, and fun, while Virgo is responsible, self-contained, modest, and derives satisfaction from being of service to others. Adjacent signs always carry evolving lessons, so a good bit of Virgo can help to humble the mightiest of Lions.

In my experience Virgo is one of the most misunderstood signs, mostly because of its symbol being the Virgin. Trivial astrology will probably tell you all about a sign that is picky, clean, and organized.  While it’s not uncommon to encounter a Virgoan individual with a critical outlook on themselves and others, or practicing purist actions or aforementioned tidiness, the opposite is often true. I think it’s important to look at the origin of the word Virgo in Latin which translates into “self-contained.”

“In astrology, those born under the sign of Virgo are said to behave in an individualistic, self-sufficient manner. Their nurturing comes from a place of not needing others to find fulfillment for them, but being able to create for others because they can already create for themselves.”

The most popular Myth of Virgo surrounds Persephone, the virgin daughter of Demeter (the goddess of grain, agriculture, and fertility) and Zeus (god of the underworld). When Zeus abducted Persephone and carried her to the underworld to be his wife, Demeter became enraged and threatened to starve the inhabitants of the earth with famine. Thankfully, a consensus was reached. Persephone would spend part of the year with Hades and the rest with Demeter. Whenever Persephone left her mother to return to the underworlds, winter began. Hence the myth of the changing seasons. Through this Myth, we can also see the affinity that the signs of Virgo (Persephone) and Scorpio (Hades) have for each other

Virgo, Mercury , and House VI – Work, Health, and Service

A virgin may choose not to behave in sexual activity for a number of reasons, but in the case of Virgo it stems from a desire to achieve a certain image of perfection which ironically may not be typical perfection (it is usually varied and unique for each individual.) In this way, I like to think that Virgos often adhere to their own personal systems often having specific ways to go about routines and habits. It doesn’t always make sense, but it makes sense to them!

In order to find the perfect partner, Virgo cannot merge with just anyone and valuable keys are found through the intellectual, versatile, and reasonable planet of Mercury (☿).

“Clear reason can only emerge when disentangled from the conflicting ties of emotional attachment; yet although it has a just reputation for control over passions, Virgo is not an unsympathetic or insensitive sign.”

We can learn a valuable Virgoan lesson from Mercury, the arts of conscientiousness and healthy discrimination. The simple truth is that we tend to find ourselves in better situations by applying a bit of discrimination to our choices. Some might experience Virgos as ultra critical beings, which they can be at extremes, but looking deeper you might learn that this stems from inclinations towards efficiency, detail, and improvement. At the end of the day, Virgo truly wants to help.

“Virgo forms reliable instinctive impressions through a powerful gut-reaction, (their energy is seated in the gut), aided by their ready ability to analyse complexities and penetrate superficial presentations. The result is a talent for forming good judgment quickly and applying it to practical affairs.”

Virgos are also known to be among the hardest and most efficient workers of the zodiac so it’s no wonder that it is linked to house VI of a natal chart which describes our work life, daily routines, health, and habits. Planets in house VI often call use to set our ego aside and adjust whether it is becoming more efficient with our time, or practicing health consciousness.

“Adults have routines, but children have rituals. Rituals create energy; routines drain it. Rituals invite assistance from the invisible world. They serve a magical protective function—acting as the garlic and sacred cross that keeps the 6th house vampires at bay.”

Another notable trademark of Virgo is body awareness. In many cases, people with Virgoan energy tend to be critical of their bodies or in contrast, very aware of them. To the outsider this might sometimes be observed as hypochondria. However, it is known that Virgo does tend to have a sensitive digestive system so it’s not uncommon to encounter someone following a strict health regimen. I was once listening to an astrology podcast that made the joke that all Virgos like soup. I thought that this was hilarious as the abdomen and digestive system does fall under the rulership of this sign and I have observed a good number of those with Virgoan energy to frequently experience digestion related upsets, especially under stress.

Virgo  vs. Pisces  – Details vs. Diffusion

As the opposite sign of Virgo, Pisces includes valuable lessons of balance and is deeply linked to the qualities of Virgo. Think of the number of people you have seen who have entered into toxic relationships with an ill-matched partner. Chances are that one or both partners have neglected to connect with their inner Virgo. If we do not work to better ourselves, we will attract people into our lives that also do not do the same.

Virgo and Mercury seek order, reality, and structure while Pisces and ruling planet Neptune are diffuse, dreamy, and idealistic. However, it’s important to find a balance between these two signs. At their center, astrologer Claire Martin deems the dynamics between these two signs as the axis of devotion, two signs that often derive pleasure from serving others. You might commonly encounter a Virgo wrapped up in work and reality and not stopping to reorient to the bigger picture, or a Pisces who is so scattered and unable to cope with the intricate details of life.

“Virgo’s who are addicted to work will often encounter a crisis which forces them to take a sabbatical, re-enacting the Persephone myth by experiencing a crisis and retreating to the cool, dark depths of their personal underworld where healing is possible.”

House XII is represented by Pisces and lies opposite of House VI in a natal chart. In House XII, we learn that we must withdraw from our hectic schedules in order to rest and recharge our batteries in solitude. If we work too hard and push ourselves, we may become ill. Virgo and Pisces are here to remind us of that.

“If we identify only with the Virgo end of the axis, then we may become consumed by duty and drudgery, and we will long to escape. But until we can see the whole picture, we will always feel that anything we try to achieve is spoiled or imperfect in the making. On the Pisces side of this axis, we prefer to remain merged, undifferentiated and unformed in order to avoid having to grapple with the details and practicalities of life. In this case we are likely to find ourselves forced to engage with the world in practical ways, something we may bitterly resent.”

Moon in Virgo – Efficiency and Conscientiousness

Virgo is naturally one of my favorite signs probably due to the abundance of water and earth in my chart (Taurus Sun and Cancer Rising). I was born with my Moon ☽ at 16° Virgo. The Moon in Astrology oftentimes represents our perception of our mother. Sure enough, I have countless memories of my mother making me do something over again because it was not done “the right way”. The strange thing is that I always resented it when it occurred, yet I discovered that I was comparably conscientious about things when I began my first job at age 16. I’ve always prided myself on my work ethic and worked in several management positions.

“According to the ancient sources the gifts that she bestows are purity and grace; a charming turn of phrase, diplomacy, a mastery of words; a discriminating intellect and propensity for study; a talent for investigation and analysis; skilful creativity, and a keen appreciation of the mysteries of nature.”

The downside to this is the fact that I can sometimes become lost in the details surrounding my quests to bring order to everything and that can be mentally exhausting sometimes. This is where Virgo also gains it’s reputation for sometimes being scattered or a procrastinator. However, I like to think that my Virgo Moon has granted me with valuable powers of insight and healthy discrimination. I enjoy research and analysis while always looking for the most efficient way to accomplish a task.

Joyce Mason wrote one of the most insightful articles on Virgo that I’ve read, visiting the concept of “Inner Marriage” that I love. Inner marriage denotes that Virgo is married to herself until she is able to provide for herself. With my Moon in this sign, I emphasize self-sufficiency and carefully choose my associates.

“A true Virgo has done the difficult work of self-betterment, aiming for perfection or the best possibility. She chooses carefully to whom and to what she will give herself. She is very self-reliant, merging the mental (left-brain) aspects of traditional Mercury rulership with her feminine (right brain) sign. (It is the same, of course for the male Virgo.

Famous Virgos via CafeAstrology

Billy Ray Cyprus (Sun and Mercury in Virgo), Cameron Diaz (Sun and Mars in Virgo), Gloria Estefan (Sun, Mercury, and Mars in Virgo), Richard Gere, Stephen King, D. H. Lawrence (Sun and Mercury in Virgo), Keanu Reeves (Sun and Mercury in Virgo), Charlie Sheen, Beyonce, Sean Connery, Pink, Ludacris, Nick Jonas, Michael Jackson, Shania Twain

Lacey Sturm of Flyleaf was born on September 4, 1981 under the mutable earth sign of Virgo ♍

Notes:

The Virgo Myth Gods and Monsters
Mapping The Psyche Vol. II Claire Martin
The Sixth House Dana Gerhardt
Wholeness and the Inner Marriage: The Chiron Sector and Relationship Joyce Mason
Virgo the Maiden Skyscript

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Gemini ♊ Ingress – Fine-Tuning The Lower Mind

A man has a property in his opinions and the free communication of them.”

– James Madison

This year, our Sun ☉ enters the mutable air sign of Gemini  at 10:16am CDT on May 20, 2012  which is also accompanied by a solar eclipse later in the day occurring at 0° Gemini at 6:46pm CDT. The sign directly before Gemini is Taurus, where energy is focused, steady, grounded, and productive. Consequently, Gemini is where we learn to lighten up, explore, and harness the power of flexibility, and multitasking when it comes to our burdens. Gemini is the first of the intellectually oriented air signs of the zodiac, preceding the signs of Libra and Aquarius and is therefore associated with the keywords, “I Think”.  As a Mutable sign (along with Sagittarius, Virgo, and Pisces), Gemini is highly analytical, versatile, and factual, yet this can also sometimes manifest as scattered, contradictory, and superficial energy as well.

The dual nature of Gemini derives from the Roman tale of Castor and Pollux, brothers who agreed to remain immortal by living alternate lives on heaven and earth instead of dying. Similarly Gemini natives are often the embodiment of a state of mental flux and flexibility. Therefore, mental stimulation is oftentimes somewhat of a necessity for these intellectual beings.

Gemini , Mercury ☿, and House III – Learning and Communicating

There’s a youthful, curious, communicative, verbal, and witty quality to many native Gemini’s and Mercury, planet of communication is directly linked to this quality.  Certain ancient cultures considered language to be a mystical and supernatural gift, only worthy of certain people.

Skyscript tells us that Hermes is known as the Greek counterpart to Mercury.

“Hermes acts as a a holy personification of the Mind and Intelligence of the Creator. He is the inventor of language, written words, arithmetic and geometry, and his skill in communication is a direct demonstration of his Divine and Sacred powers –

” Words, and the way they were constructed, were perceived as magical symbols, mirrors of the Divine Mind. Spoken with proper intonation and with the correct spiritual approach, they were the means to summon the gods, heal the sick and command obedience.”

Because of Gemini’s association with Mercury and the mind, the sign is linked to the nervous system, hands, and lungs. This rulership speaks to the tendency for Gemini to experience nervous tension under stress, similar to the sign of Virgo which is also ruled by Mercury. I can oftentimes discern someone with Gemini energy if they speak or write eloquently, are knowledgeable about a wide range of subjects, or are crafty and tech-oriented.

Also, Gemini is connected with House III of a natal chart, representing language, learning, siblings, short trips, and neighbors. Dana Gerhardt  writes:

“The 3rd house rules siblings, neighbors, short trips, grammar school, the acquisition and use of language. But underneath these keywords lies a profound mystery: our fundamentally human dance of development–of curiosity, imitation and communication, of adapting to and connecting with our immediate world. It is not so much a house of “things” as it is a zone of activity. The way a plant reaches for light, in our 3rd house, we reach for the world with our minds. The essence of all 3rd house nouns might be collected in a single verb: in this house we learn.”

Therefore, I propose an alternate set of keywords for Gemini, “I Learn“.

Gemini ♊ and Sagittarius ♐ – Lower Mind Vs. Higher Mind

 It seems that Gemini and Sagittarius have more in common than other pairs of opposite signs. In Mapping the Psyche, Claire Martin calls Gemini and Sagittarius the Axis of Exploration. However, the issue with this polarity is that it seems to lack a grounding element despite plenty of fun! Furthermore, these two signs represent different facets of mental activity; Gemini being associated with information (objective facts) and the lower mind, while Sagittarius represents meaning (philosophy or religion) and components of the higher mind.

“If we lose our objectivity, and ignore the actual facts, then we will find ourselves increasingly out of touch with, and alienated from, the very sense of vision and meaning which was so important to us, because we will not have any perspective or have learned to put our vision into words, or developed the ability to discuss it objectively with others, to compare it to other schools of thought or to teach it.”

Progressed Sun in Gemini – Mental Acquisition

There have been several times in my life when I felt completely overwhelmed by copious amounts of data. As a Taurus born with Mercury retrograde conjunct the Sun, it has oftentimes been important for me to properly absorb new information on my own terms. Yet, the current cycle of my life is prominently characterized by flexibility and a infinite and compulsive hunger to learn! Naturally, it seems that my passion for acquiring such knowledge has a lot to do with the fact that my progressed Sun is moving across 5° Gemini during this year.

Education is a very serious issue for me, and as my progressed Sun moved from Taurus in House XI to Gemini in House XII at age 16, I experienced an involuntary detour in my educational path that led me to take  alternative steps in order to further my education.

I am really enjoying The Zodiac by Degrees by Martin Goldsmith. The following is for the degree of my progressed Sun.

5° Gemini: An outrageously dressed artist bursts into a quiet museum and shocks the patrons by nailing up a painting and a printed manifesto

Descriptive Phases – Publicity; passionate desire to get one’s message across; putting one’s message in a catchy, original form (slipping important messages into humor, crazy wisdom); catalyzing social change by bringing fringe ideas to the attention of the public; throwing a complacent public off-balance through extremist tactics (attention-seekers, may cultivate notoriety if fame is not forthcoming, publicity stunts): presenting reality in a startling new light (visual arts), faith in direct perception, living with few assumptions (constantly amazing by life’s surprises); jauntily dancing  within a situation in spin, keeping one’s edge vs. relying on proven formulas; staying true to one’s viewpoint vs. selling out; developing a trademark style; self-advertising.”

Goldsmith’s imagery for 5° Gemini eerily describes my experiences of this past year. I began broadcasting my own astrology and music based college radio show on COOG Radio, and it was the beginning of an empowering phase of original self-promotion that I never really expected. I conceived The Ecliptic, with Garron Ballard from the depths of my own mind, and never thought it would grow into an international entity that so many people would come to support. I have also certainly taken huge leaps in learning new skills and developing my dormant talent in the visual arts such as photography, graphic design, and web design.

My progressed Sun will continue to move through the sign of Gemini for the next 25 years, and through this time I aspire to continue learning as much as I can. I didn’t always see it, but I can certainly see the incredible strength that exists in remaining flexible, communicative, and lighthearted now more than ever.

Famous Geminis via Cafe Astrology:

Michael J. Fox, Angelina Jolie, John F. Kennedy, Mel Blanc (Sun and Moon in Gemini), Drew Carey, Courteney Cox (Sun and Mercury in Gemini), Johnny Depp, Melissa Etheridge, John Goodman (Sun, Moon, and Venus in Gemini), Steffi Graf (Sun, Moon, and Mercury in Gemini), Elizabeth Hurley (Sun and Mercury in Gemini), Nicole Kidman, Anna Kournikova (Sun and Mars in Gemini), Lenny Kravitz, Kylie Minogue (Sun, Moon, Mercury, and Mars in Gemini), Marilyn Monroe (Sun and Mercury in Gemini),  Prince William (Sun and Mercury in Gemini), Brooke Shields (Sun, Moon, and Venus in Gemini), Pete Wentz (Sun and Mercury in Gemini).

Chino Moreno of Deftones was born on June 20, 1973 under the mutable air sign of Gemini  .

Retrograde ℞ Activate!

I would describe the past few days in three words; technical difficulties, galore! On Monday, before an interview for a major internship, the wireless card on my laptop died after four solid years. Three days later, I realize that my debit card has disappeared. After a feeble attempt to utilize my credit card to fill my empty stomach late at night, my funds are declined. These events are in stark contrast to the smooth sailing and internal ardor that has characterized my life in the past month or so. Inevitable? Yes, life is full of ups and downs. Yet, some might say that as an astrologer, I should have known! Mercury ☿ is retrograde in Pisces ♓.

Simply put, a planet is described as retrograde when it appears to be moving backwards through the zodiac. However, are planetary retrograde cycles such as Mercury retrograde the root of chaos and disorder? I have certainly observed a number of intriguing events that have occurred under the influence of planetary retrograde cycles. It is also important to note that planets do not ever move backwards. However, in astrology they appear to reverse motion when viewed from earth. The effect is similar to observing two cars traveling at different speeds on a freeway. The slower car will appear to be moving backwards despite actually continually moving forward when viewed from the window of the faster vehicle.

In astrology, Mercury is the planet associated with communication and what we would call our automatic mind. The messenger’s planet has dominion over the signs of Gemini ♊ and Virgo ♍. Cafeastrology.com states the following about Mercury retrograde periods:

“Mercury retrograde tends to breed a certain level of confusion. Mercury rules our “lower” mind–how we perceive and interpret information that we receive from our environment, and how we relay that information to others. Mercury has rulership over such things as speaking, negotiating, buying and selling, listening, formal contracts, documents, travel, the mail and shipping, and so forth. All of these areas of life are affected when Mercury is functioning in a sluggish state. Decision-making is challenged during Mercury retrograde. Needless to say, it is not advised to sign contracts, engage in important decision-making, or launch a new business. Delays and challenges are more probable with Mercury retrograde. It’s a time when being careless with money, our personal information, or paperwork can be costly.”

Before a planet appears to change directions it performs what is known as a station where the observed planet seems to be at a standstill in the sky. The days in which a planet preparing to turn direct stations are considered to be days where the retrograde energy of the planet is strongest and there seems to be a bit of truth in this based on my observations. Take 2011 for example when COOG Radio, The University of Houston’s first student run radio station, was aiming to launch on August 1st right before Mercury stationed to turn retrograde for about three weeks. As a radio station, COOG Radio naturally falls within the jurisdiction of communication oriented Mercury. Interestingly enough, the station did not launch on August 1st, rather on August 29, 2011 immediately after Mercury’s retrograde period ended!

Also, shortly after Mars went retrograde in Virgo around the beginning of this year, the touch screen on my phone decided to give out after almost two years. As you can see, an important theme of retrograde cycles seems to be that “expect the unexpected”. I wouldn’t expect too many things to go as planned and it does seem that one can benefit greatly from applying caution in certain instances. During Mercury retrograde it’s a great time to tune up your car, backup files, double-check facts, or cross your T’s and dot your I’s in general.

In general, days with an abundance of retrograde energy may not be optimal for purchasing expensive technical equipment, or scheduling major life or communication related events like marriage. Amusingly enough, the infamous Kim Kardashian married Kris Humphries on August 20, 2011 when Mercury was retrograde in romantic Leo ♌. They divorced after just 72 days of marriage. Theme of the event: What were they thinking?  Will you be cursed if you plan to go ahead defy the odds on retrograde dates? Most likely not. Remember that astrology is not fatalistic, but a wonderful tool for examining cycles and tendencies.  Even the most seasoned astrologer cannot consistently and accurately predict anything.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying to put your life on hold when planets are traveling retrograde as this happens very often. Currently, Mercury, Mars, and Saturn are all traveling retrograde while Venus and Pluto will soon exchange places with Mercury and Mars over the next few months. In addition, some people born under the influence of retrograde planets have reported being unaffected by such periods. In my opinion, the tendencies of a retrograde cycle are dependent upon the specific planet’s location in the sky and the aspects it forms to other planets during its cycle.

Despite the frequent negative connotations, there is a positive side to retrograde cycles. Astrologer Lynn Koiner states this:

“The traditional statement about Mercury retrograde is that it favors anything that begins with the prefix “re-” — re-negotiate, re-vamp, re-new, re-vise, return, re-issue, re-visit, re-finance because the word retrograde itself means “to go back and retrace one’s steps.”

So if you have felt like the world is out to get you recently or like nothing is going as planned, don’t worry too much about it! Mercury retrograde ends by the end of the first week of April and Mars will turn direct shortly thereafter the next week. Hooray!

Bloc Party – Mercury (Flosstradamus Remix)