Astraea, the Goddess associated with Virgo, was the last immortal to live on Earth, until she left in disgust, so disturbed by humanity’s wickedness, evil and corruption. Being a Virgo, she probably also developed a physical ailment from all the pollution and toxicity. Nonetheless, Astraea became part of the starry constellation we call Virgo and when the planets pass through her piece of the sky, we too can become peevish, turning a critical eye on our life and our world. All the things that we wish were different annoy us. We easily see what needs cleansing, organizing, fixing, improving, healing. Astraea’s legacy to us was the urge for a more perfect existence.
Alas, unlike Astraea, we are not immortal. We live on a planet with homelessness, war, disease and suffering –and, can you believe it?– most of us still want to postpone the eternal invitation to join Astraea in her starry legacy for as long as possible. In my re-imagining of this myth, I like to think Astraea stayed on Earth for as long as she could, too, pitching in at disaster clean-up efforts, helping those who suffered from the evils of corporate giants (or the equivalent of her time), gardening, doing reiki, housekeeping or astrology; offering her spiritual balm and bounty.
Astraea offered what she could, offered what she was able.
As a parting gift, I also like to think she left us those little angels who tirelessly give the compassionate service of unconditional love to us humans: our treasured pets.
The word Virgo is Latin, meaning self-contained or self-sufficient. The ability to do something, a craft or skill, and do it well, is its own reward; we know we can rely on our own power and resources. Where we have Virgo in our charts, we work hard at perfection, are aligned with the urge for service, to give. And because improving, healing and helping is woven into the archetype, its where we are oriented to give our particular expertise. Not because we know better, or are perfect, if perfection even exists, but because we can. And because Virgo’s built to help and improve– fix a flat, lend a hand to stop world hunger, cut a great head of hair – it’s gratifying.
Virgo’s shadow stems from a warping of that instinct to perfect; criticism, flaw-finding born of perceiving the world, our self and others, as wanting. It’s so easy to grumble about what we’re not able to have, be or do; it’s so easy to shame our self, or others, for not being able.
It’s so easy to appreciate what we don’t have much of. It is much, much harder, and perhaps takes a level of spiritual mastery, to value what we do have a lot of. Maybe we don’t have much money, but we have a lot of love to give. Maybe we don’t have health, but we’ve compassion and wisdom. Perhaps we can’t eliminate suffering in the world, but we can reduce our own suffering, which absolutely affects everyone.
As we appreciate what we do have, it grows: into vocation, a sense of rich purpose, humble wholeness. What we devote our self to, grows- that’s Virgo’s harvest.
To flow with Virgo New Moon, take a few humble steps towards making your life and world a better place to inhabit. Streamline life routines. Organize your junk drawer. Clean up your diet (Virgo New Moon is a great time to begin new health regimes). Start a spiritual practice. Thank the people who are more often an invisible presence in your life (farmers, service workers). Appreciate your pets. Turn a critical eye toward areas that could use your help, but not so critical that you mistake a need for progress for perfection, and fall into the abyss of procrastination or overwhelm –a Virgo hell. Look to the house this New Moon falls for a fresh start.
Be humble: we have such a limited time on this Earth. No matter how imperfect you believe your life or this world is, no matter all you yet don’t have, your life is a humble harvest. Tend your harvest with loving devotion. If you are perfecting your self, do it in the gentlest way possible. If your life is a little to chaotic, create more ease through efficiency. Be of service, in the way you are able. Then revel in these abilities. Maybe the best thing any of us can do is to offer what we can.