The Story of Virgo
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Natural House: Sixth
Energy: Yin (-) Feminine
Traditional Ruler: Mercury
Modern Ruler: Mercury
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
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 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.