The Moon is in Virgo this morning, moving toward a square with Saturn in Sagittarius and then a trine with Pluto and conjunction with Jupiter.
For anyone interested, tomorrow night I will be hosting a public/donation-based talk on the planetary symbolism of the Narnia Chronicles. The talk begins at 7pm eastern time, via online webinar, and you can find the live login information in the comments section below today's horoscope!
Meanwhile, here is a list of archetypal themes to watch for based on the current planetary dynamics:
* As the Moon approaches her square to Saturn and then moves on toward Jupiter today, watch for a positive exchange between an older person and a younger person, or a teacher and student, or elder/authority figure and younger person...watch also for difficulties between these figures, between old age and youth, between parents and children, between one generation and the next...though the Moon brings Jupiter and Saturn together today, and though Jupiter has the upper hand over Saturn, the Moon will be walking into a ray cast by Saturn, which might mean that there are some difficulties or unexpected road blocks or even intentional acts of interference, insult, or provocation...today is a good day to remain innocent, ethical, and humble
* The Moon/Saturn square can also create a general aura of heaviness...a gravity or melancholy, and in particular the obligations, details, and tasks we have to tend to this afternoon may be somewhat burdensome and agitating...watch for a critical edge, temper, or rigidity and try to stay focused with patience on the task at hand...be careful not to let the unreasonable expectations of others, or even yourself, dictate the course or mood of the day
* The Moon/Pluto trine this afternoon may also bring to light things that have been hidden from clear view...this transit might also clear or purge something from the body, or unclog something that's been pent up for too long...also watch for the inappropriate or secretive dealings between an older person and a younger person, or from employers and employees, etc
* The Moon/Jupiter conjunction later this evening should lead to a more joyous or uplifting and expansive evening. Watch for the drama, pomp, and bigness of the Moon/Jupiter themes tonight, and notice in particular what themes are "growing" larger in your mind or heart. Notice also the clash between the attention to details and specifics in relationship to or competition with charismatic ideals and big visions.
* Right now Venus and Mercury are still traveling closely together in the sign of Aquarius, in a whole sign square to Mars in Scorpio. This transit involves the big minded ideals of Aquarius, particularly artful and communicative with Venus and Mercury, coming up against or working with the aggression, subversion, intensity, and focus of Mars in Scorpio. Extremism, bullying, self righteous indigence, and ends justifying the means thinking are at work in this transit as Mars is in the superior position and both Mercury and Venus are moving toward his rays. It's one of those times to be careful of public debacles, debates, or standoffs...there is a definite, "I'm not afraid to hit below the belt" quality to this transit, and it will be building all the more as Mars starts to slow down and approaches a long retrograde back through Scorpio. In particular the violence of words and ideas, intimidation techniques, and the desire to disabuse people of their independent thoughts through coercion is strong right now. And this applies to both good ideas and bad ideas...even positive ideals can be used as weapons...
Meanwhile, next Moon cycle we have two eclipses, plus the Spring Equinox. A big spring coming!
Prayer: Help us to remain modest, and please remove the thorns of envy, impatience, distrust, and frustration.
The Moon is in Scorpio again today, but now void of course.
Meanwhile, Venus in Virgo is moving closer to an opposition of Neptune and Mars in Virgo is about to conjoin with Jupiter in Virgo. It's a good day to reflect on the sign of Virgo, especially on the ideas of purity, morality, innocence, youth, learning, organization, health, and discipleship.
We live in a complicated moment in history when it comes to these subjects. More than ever we glamorize youth...we don't want to lose it, we associate the definition of health with the youthful beauty or pliability of the body, and we find naive ignorance along with moronic sarcasm and willful immaturity the standards of high humor in the media. At the same time, it has become nearly impossible to take an ethical or moral stand about our beliefs or convictions without someone else taking offense or accusing us of some form of prejudice, ignorance, or cruelty. In our liberal arts west it might be said that we feel most suspicious about certainty or conviction of any kind...to the extent that sometimes at best we are each moral relativists without much ideological, religious, moral, political, or social consistency. We both fear and yet embody judgment like we're walking the halls of a perpetual high school experience, and inside many of us wonder where our real loyalties lie or if we have any at all.
All of these struggles can be discussed through the sign of Virgo.
First let's consider the idea of purity as it relates to youth. Why is youth associated with purity over, say, adulthood or old age? Isn't it also true that what is young desires to be older, wiser, mature, skilled, experienced, capable, and self-reliant? Isn't there something about youth that is also ignorant rather than innocent? Why do we favor the words innocent or pure rather than ignorant or inexperienced? The hardest thing to understand about archetypal images is that they contain multitudes of diverse and often contradictory ideas without losing their general cohesiveness. What tears us apart with an archetype is the tendency to struggle too intensely with the polarities contained within it. For example, how can we embrace the idea that youth isn't only sexy or pure but also ignorant and inexperienced? Or how can we learn to see that ignorance is often wise and devotion to fixed ideals often ignorant?
How can we hold the tension of these images creatively within our experiences, rather than clinging to one side versus the other?
Here are a few Virgoan tensions to carefully consider:
* At some point I'm no longer a student but a skilled practitioner
* At no point will I ever stop being a student
* It's important for me to have formed opinions and ideas, and to know what I'm talking about
* It's important for me to remain modest and indecisive in case I'm getting something wrong
* My virtue is connected to living in consistent accord with the values I believe to be good, true, and pure
* My virtue isn't at all connected to my ethics, my standards, or my ability to live up to them
* My work is only as good as my attention to details
* My work is only as good as the spirit in which I do it, pass or fail
* It's okay for me to be less experienced, less wise, less capable, less learned, or less anything than someone else
* I don't need to live by comparisons to others
* It's my duty to gain experience and to become wiser and more discerning and careful, adult like
* It's my duty to not let my experiences take me far from youthful openness...I could always still be wrong about things
* Images of age and purity are not in a linear relationship with each other
* Images of age and purity are in fact intimately related
* Honest criticism is healthy for my soul and teaches me how to mature and improve
* Criticism is uncreative, ungraceful, unforgiving, unimaginative, or painful
* There is a right way to do things
* Better to let go of certainty and err on the side of worry or caution
* I reject the idea that I have anything to prove to anyone
* I reject the idea that my substance as a person is separate from my actions, skills, experience, correctness, or usefulness in the world
We could easily roll out another dozen polarities...but instead let's close with the image of a young girl sitting in the field, near the end of summer, and near the end of her youth. Does she notice the angel wings sprouting gently from behind her shoulder blades? Does she see the bird sitting on her shoulder? What is she looking at on the sunset-horizon? Is it death? The coming harvest? How should she hold herself now, in a world between worlds. What comes next, after youth? Who does she serve and how can she tell when she's arrived somewhere? Next to her sits a bundle of wheat, carefully prepared. Is it a sacrifice, an offering, an attempt to legitimize or prove herself? Prove herself to who, and for what?
Prayer: Harvest maiden, draw us more completely into your complexities, and teach us to hold the tensions of all the images and ideas you contain
The Moon is in Virgo today, applying to trine Pluto later this afternoon. Meanwhile Mercury has entered its shadow phase (the first phase of its overall retrograde cycle).
Whenever the Moon is in Virgo its like we’re transported into the past, when the phrase “chop wood carry water” wasn’t just a metaphor or zen koan. If you wanted to stay warm you had to chop wood, and if you wanted to stay cool you had to draw water from the well. In many ways its our distance from the daily work of survival, the daily upkeep of life itself, actually chopping wood and carrying water, that has created a modern slant on the sign of Virgo that is more unfortunate. We now think of Virgo as a sign that has to do with “busy work,” or “shitty work,” because our focus is on the speed and convenience of our lifestyles. This isn’t to say that people long ago enjoyed chopping wood and carrying water anymore than we enjoy organizing our taxes, but it is to say that we too easily lose track of the elemental side of Virgo (an earth sign) because of what “daily upkeep” looks like at this point in history.
From my point of view this makes it extra important to revive and amplify the more magical elements of Virgo. First we should remember that Virgo’s constellation image is that of the maiden with angel wings or the maiden and the bird. It’s through the bird/wing symbolism, in particular, that we can start to see through the most mundane level of Virgo’s symbolism and into the magic of its world.
Birds have always been an important symbol for diviners and augurs. The flight patterns of birds, the daily changes of the birds, the sudden appearance or call of a rare bird…all are images related to the discrimination of the priestess or magician during many ancient forms of divination.
What were diviners generally trying to interpret? The simplest answer is that they were trying to understand if celestial/cosmic/divine conditions were favorable or not for the success of a particular question or endeavor. Sometimes the questions (like the kinds of questions we put to our modern astrologers and tarot readers) were personal and other times they were political or societal. Either way, the careful discrimination of stomach or liver entrails, the careful observation of birds, or the meticulous reading of bones, sticks, coins, and cards have long been associated with the god Hermes/Mercury, who is the ruler of Virgo, and whose presence is found most appropriately in the bird/wing symbolism of the Virgo constellation.
We don’t normally think of Virgo as a magical diviner, but the truth is that we should. And we should also start accepting Mercury as a perfectly fitting ruler for Virgo as well (at least this is my argument for all those astrology students who often wonder how Mercury fits for the sign of Virgo!). In old times, the daily concern for survival was closely linked to a divinatory mindset. Will this year’s harvest be abundant? Will we make it through the winter? Will the rains come? Will our health be good? These questions belong to the workaday world of Virgo, and their answers are always part preparation and part divination.
Remembering the seasonal light quality of Virgo helps my point along further. Recall that Virgo is the last sign before the Harvest moment of the fall equinox. During Virgo season there is a critical awareness of the coming judgment moment. Soon the gods will measure the worth of our claim or questions and we will be judged by the scales of Libra. Virgo’s hyper awareness of the coming judgment day is part of what makes Virgo such a magical sign. The coming of judgment day tunes Virgo into the tiniest details, the smallest signs and omens that foreshadow what could go wrong and how the favor of the gods might be obtained or offended. Within Virgo is the purity and meticulousness of a very good diviner…a diviner who knows exactly what must be done to please the gods and effect a good outcome.
We lose all of this with simple cliches like “service” and “work” or “purity” and “details.” Instead we might picture a Vestal Virgin, mindful, magical, and attentive to the health fires of Rome. We might picture Virgo as the careful discrimination of liver entrails, the pricked ear to the lone bird call, the eye for impending disaster, and the whisper of the gods filled with instructions for how to change the stormy forecast. We might picture Virgo as the timing of the medicine maker, the listening angle of the moon, and the specific hand and fingers with which to pluck the fruit. Virgo is the mantra to recite at just the correct time of year. The oracular work of the farmer and his magician’s almanac. None of these things done with a lot of pomp and circumstance…but just as quietly, and modestly as a bucket of water drawn from the well or an arm full of pine wood for the fire.
There is a magic to the way we work…not just the work we do..but the way we do it…here is where most of the heavenly instructions are found and where the success or failure of our inquiries are made. Virgo’s magic lives in this world, along with the winged birds of Mercury. Let’s not forget.
Prayer: the magic of chopping wood and carrying water…
Image by courtesy of Steve Garfield, at creative commons image licensing.
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Adam Elenbaas is a professional astrologer and the founder of the Nightlight Astrology School. Adam holds an MA and MFA in English and Creative Writing and is one of the founding writers at RealitySandwich. To learn more about Adam, click here.