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Virgo Glyph

Virgo - The Virgin

August 23 - September 22

  1. The Myth
  2. The Astrology
  3. The Sky

The Story of Virgo

Collossal Statu of Ceres - Vatican

Throughout history, the stars of Virgo have been associated with famous and powerful females.    The Greeks alone connected various goddesses with Virgo.  There was Tyche, depicted carrying a cornucopia.  There was Themis, described as being  "of good counsel".  And there was Astraea, who lived on the earth towards the end of the Golden Age, weighing the deeds of mankind.  But the one  most closely associated with Virgo is the Greek earth-goddess, Demeter, who later on was known to the Romans as Ceres.

Iowa Cornfields

Demeter is associated with the arrival of spring and the growing season, when the constellation of Virgo reappears in the Northern hemisphere.  As the goddess of agriculture, she is responsible for the fertility of the land, the growth of the crops, and the bounty of the harvest.   She is celebrated at the end of summer, when the Sun travels through the zodiac sign of Virgo and the harvest is complete.  Of all the Greek goddesses, Demeter was the only one to concern herself with the details of the daily lives of the common mortals.  She is beloved for her kindness and generosity in teaching men how to cultivate the soil and women how to grind the grains and bake bread. 

The most well-known myth involving Demeter is that of the Abduction of Persephone.  Demeter was the daughter of Chronos and Rhea, and was the sister of Zeus, the mighty ruler of the Olympians.  Persephone was the daughter of Zeus and Demeter.  Persephone was a lovely, cheerful, obedient girl, who loved to play in the meadow near her home, picking wildflowers.
Abduction of Persephone Terracotta
Persephone's beauty eventually caught the eye of Hades, God of the Underworld.  He fell in love with her and determined to marry her.  One spring day, as Persephone reached over to pick a flower, the earth opened up, Hades rode up from the underground on his chariot, and abducted her to be his wife.  Persephone, however, stubbornly refused to eat or speak to him, knowing that those who ate anything in the underworld were not allowed to return to earth.

Demeter searched for her daughter, day and night, traveling all the world.    Eventually, Helios, god of the sun, told her that Persephone was now Queen of the Underworld.  He also told her that Zeus had approved of the marriage.  Temple of Demeter, Naxos, Greece

Demeter was so angry by the news of Zeus' betrayal that she left Mount Olympus, vowing that the earth would remain barren until her daughter was returned to her.  As Demeter's absence grew, a great famine followed.  Crops failed, animals and people began to die. 

Depressed and distraught, she took refuge in the city of Eleusis, where a temple was built in her honor.  Demeter  remained there, grieving in the darkness for her lost daughter. Return of Persephone

Finally, Zeus gave in and sent Hermes to retrieve Persephone.  However, by this time, Persephone had become very hungry.  As she was about to leave, Hades offered her a pomegranate. Before she could help herself, she had eaten six of its seeds. When Hermes arrived, Hades claimed her as his bride because she had eaten the  pomegranate seeds.

Upon hearing this, Demeter declared that no crops would ever grow if her daughter was to be the bride of Hades.  To solve the problem, Zeus proposed a compRomise in which Persephone would spend half of her time in the Underworld  and the other half on Olympus with her mother. 

As a result, each year, as Persephone descends into Hades,   Demeter withdraws to her temple to pine for her absent daughter while we enter a period of winter desolation. 

When Persephone returns, Demeter resumes her divine duties and restores the fertility of the earth, allowing spring flowers to bloom once again.

Virgo in Astrology

Like the grains of wheat in the wheat field, the energy of Virgo focuses on the minute particles that make up the whole.  Virgo is noted for attention to detail and the love of figuring out how all the pieces fit together.  It can toil for hours in the pursuit of one tiny answer.  You might call this being a perfectionist.  It is also noted for losing sight of the 'big picture'.

Image Credit: Getty Images

From the myth, we can learn how this energy is associated with the need to work the land so that it produces sustenance for our bodies.  As planets travel through Virgo, we often begin to focus on things related to our diet, the preparation of our food, and the health of our bodies.  Understanding that 'you are what you eat' takes on a whole new meaning.

Virgo leads us to a wider sense of community and a connection to the 'common man'.  There is a willingness to serve without need of reward.  Its energy is cool and efficient under pressure.  It prefers to avoid being the enter of attention. 

Too much Virgo energy can lead to being overly critical of others, being fussy and small-minded.  It is far better to use this energy on making the tools necessary to improve the lives and circumstances in which we find ourselves.

Quality:  Fixed
Element:  Earth

Natural House:  Sixth
Energy:  Yin (-) Feminine
Traditional Ruler: Mercury
Modern Ruler:  Mercury

Exaltation:  Mercury
Detriment:  Jupiter
Fall:  Venus
Key word: Practicalityl
Key phrase:  I Analyze!  

Part of the Body:  The Intestines, Liver, Pancreas, Gall Bladder, Lower Plexus, Upper Bowel

Virgo in the Sky

The Stars of Taurus
Constellation Art from Stellarium

The constellation of Virgo is the only female figure in the Zodiac.  It depicts the goddess of the harvest, lying down, with her head facing east.  In her hands she holds a palm branch and an ear of corn or wheat in celebration of the harvest.

Virgo is the second largest constellation in the sky and is noted for containing an especially large cluster of galaxies.

Most of Virgo's stars are faint, except for the brilliant blue white Spica, which is the 15th brightest star in the sky.

Due to the effects of precession, the First Point of Libra,  also known as the Autumn Equinox, now lies within Virgo.

Virgo is the Latin word for Maiden or Virgin, while the word Spica translates from the Latin to "ear of wheat". Virgo lies on the zodiac between Leo and Libra, and above Hydra, which is the largest constellation.  It can be found by following the curve of the Big Dipper to the bright star, Arcturas, and continuing from there along the same curve to Spica. 

Virgo, the Virgin, can be seen in the Northern Hemisphere during the spring and summer and in the Southern Hemisphere during the autumn and winter.