If your birthday does not fall during the Virgo timeframe for the year you were born, this DOES NOT mean that you do not experience the energy of Virgo, because somewhere in your natal birth chart, it is present. All twelve signs of the zodiac are expressed in your being, although some signs, and therefore their corresponding energies, may be more emphasized than others.
The Sun sign is about your essence, your vitality (what makes you feel alive), and your self-image. Whatever your Sun sign, you are on a life-long journey to discover and fully embrace this sign’s energy. You may be tested in life to experience the meaning of your Sun sign’s energy.
The Sun transits the sign of Virgo beginning August 22, 2012 at 10:07 am PDT.
The Transition from Leo to Virgo
The Sun’s transit of the sign of Virgo occurs in late summer, when daylight still predominates, but is waning. The weather is still warm, and sometimes hot, but changes are perceptible. With respect to astrological personalities, we have experienced the bravado of sunny, creative Leo, displaying talents for all in a reciprocal exchange of love. Time, as expressed in the zodiac wheel, moves on, and we embark upon a new stage of development. As the signs proceed around the zodiac, the succeeding sign shows a tendency to display behavior in “reaction” to characteristics of the previous sign. Whereas Leo was a showcase for a personality on exhibit, Virgo’s energy turns inward, desiring a little more modesty. Those of us who have strong streaks of self-involvement know that such a perspective can get boring, and that we can quell that through identification with a greater purpose. Virgo represents the beginning of that stage in the zodiac. Virgo taps into the need for personal growth and humility through service.
I am now more cognizant of looking at what a sign “retains” from the previous sign. Virgo is intent upon taking risks, just as Leo was, but in a different style and with a different purpose. At the beginning of his book’s section on Virgo, astrologer Steven Forrest has a wonderful quote from author James Baldwin: “One can give nothing whatever without giving oneself—that is to say, risking oneself. If one cannot risk oneself, then one is simply incapable of giving.” [i] Leo took risks to perform and to love, and Virgo carries on, but with a different perspective and focus. Virgo is intent on discovering, perfecting, and transforming herself through being of service. Steven Forrest clarifies that Virgo is not about the servitude that astrologers of other centuries described, but rather about the desire to be of service as a form of self-expression. By perfecting herself, Forrest says, Virgo serves the principle of service. [ii]
Virgo Symbolism, Rulerships, and Personality
The symbol of Virgo is the maiden or virgin (like the medieval painting shown at the beginning of this article). In modern times, the term virgin has a sexual connotation of inexperience, but that is a distorted view of the symbol. Astrologer Catherine Auman says the name Virgo derives from the Latin word “virgo” meaning unmarried, and the term virginal means that she belongs to no man, that she cannot be possessed.[iii] The maiden, or virgin, in simplest terms, refers to the state of purity.
|Glyph of Virgo|
Bruce Nevin, an astrologer living in the Rockport colony of Massachusetts, explains that the sign’s glyph (shown above) suggests virginity by its self-contained final curve. The loops of the symbol resemble the loops of the intestines, which are ruled by Virgo. The “M” of the symbol stands for the Mind, which facilitates the talent for discrimination, like sorting the wheat from the chaff, metaphorically speaking.[iv]
Virgo is the sixth sign of the zodiac, ruling the sixth house of work, servants, health, diet, and daily routines. This house covers the terrain of skill building and competence, so that we can meet our responsibilities as adults and contribute to society. It is the place where we are apprentices in the development of a trade. Conversely, it can also be the realm where we serve as mentors to others. Steven Forrest observes that modern astrologers have a gap in meaning for the sixth house. He notes that the western side of the chart has to do with various forms of relationships, but modern astrology leaves out the discussion of relationships for the sixth house. Forrest posits that the sixth house is about relationships, but ones that are no longer prevalent in our nuclear family constellation. These are the relationships that we traditionally had with aunts and uncles. These relatives cared about us, but they had the “emotional distance” to assist us with developmental issues that young people find difficult talking to their parents about. In our modern society, we may have mentoring relationships that substitute for the traditional ones, and in that case, the sixth house is where we might expect to find that activity.[v]
Virgo is a mutable earth sign. Mutable signs are often in motion, says astrologer Lynn Bell, but they are not about action in the way that cardinal signs are. Instead, mutable signs move between the realms of the cardinal signs and the fixed signs. Bell uses the analogy of the Tao, what the Chinese refer to as the one constant in the world. This is the center between creative and receptive energy. When this mutable energy is disregarded, Bell continues, a culture (or person) may be uncomfortably caught between the need for constant action (the cardinal principle) and the desire for permanence (the fixed principle).[vi]
Because Virgo is an earthly manifestation of Mercury, the planet of the rational mind, it is characterized by both the urge to produce and the urge to analyze. This makes Virgo an excellent craftsperson, and someone who may be attracted to gardening, and to the practice of herbalism or other forms of healing. Interestingly enough, the earth signs are not viewed as particularly fruitful in childbearing.
Astrologer Deborah Houlding says that ancient and traditional sources cite “the benefits of Virgo as bestowing purity, diplomacy, a mastery of words, a discriminating intellect, a propensity for study, a talent for investigation and analysis, skillful creativity, and a keen appreciation of the mysteries of nature.” [vii] The more difficult sides to Virgo are pickiness, extreme criticism, skepticism, hypochondria, self-deprecation, and overly self-sacrificing.[viii] Forrest says that in order for Virgo’s self-criticism not to be self-destructive, there must be self-acceptance.[ix]
Debunking the Virgo Stereotypes
The Virgo need to improve or perfect is often misunderstood or exaggerated. Any personality characteristic can be taken to an extreme, but this is true of any sign. With a Virgo Sun and Pisces Moon, Jan Posse, editor of The Mountain Astrologer, observes, “Virgo knows only too well that we live in an imperfect world. She doesn’t expect to be perfect—only beyond reproach.” Posse also notes that astrologer Stephanie Austin often substitutes the word impeccability for perfection.[x]
I have known many people with Virgo Suns in my lifetime. As with any sun sign, you will see variations in personalities because of the various combinations of energies in an astrological birth chart. I sometimes read that Virgos are very neat, clean, and orderly. Now, this certainly may be true of many Virgos, but it is not the common thread I see running through the personalities of Virgos. I have observed that Virgos seem to share a gift of knowing how to implement a concept in earthly reality, and the ability to articulate the steps one might take to resolve a problem. This does relate to orderliness, but it is the orderliness of the mind. It is analytical. It is the meshing of air and earth energy of the planet Mercury (Virgo’s ruler), which needs to utilize the rational mind, but in the context of earthly manifestation.
At her most balanced, Virgo has the powers of discrimination and discernment. She uses her analytic abilities to determine where to put her energy. This reminds me of the discussions I used to hear in the 1980’s among working women with children about how to have a balanced life with so many demands. The concept I most remember hearing is that priorities change from day to day. What was a priority yesterday is not necessarily a priority today. This to me reflects Virgo energy, i.e. knowing where and for what to devote one’s energy.
Popular western astrology often paints a picture of Virgos as demure, prudish, and perhaps sexually uninterested. Vedic astrologer Kenneth Johnson points out that jyotish (Hindu) astrology views Virgo as passionate and sensual with a soft, relaxed, languid, erotic quality.[xi] Even if we use the western astrology framework, Virgo is an earth sign, in touch with carnality. I do not know how this western astrology image came to be, but it may surprise many to know that Virgo is associated with the sacred prostitutes in the ancient cultures of Egypt, Babylonia, Sumer, and Rome. The concept of sacred prostitution may be foreign to us in our present-day culture. In the Pre-Christian times of goddess worship, sex with sacred prostitutes was viewed as a sacred act. They were teachers of the mysteries, and of the healing, restorative, and transforming power of sexual energy.[xii]
Profiles of Two Sun Sign Virgos
Born September 15, 1890
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the late British mystery writer, Agatha Christie, remains the most translated author in history, even exceeding the translated works of William Shakespeare! Some sources claim that with 4 billion copies of her works sold, she is also the best-selling author of all time. One of her novels, And Then There Were None, purportedly sold 100 million books, which puts her in the top ten for best-selling single works. The London production of her play, The Mousetrap, is the longest continuously running play in the country to this day.
Born Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller in Torquay, Devon, England, she was the youngest of three children. She was home schooled and she later reminisced that her childhood was a very happy period. Others observed her to be a highly imaginative child who frequently made up stories with a wide range of characters.
In World War I, Agatha Miller became a member of the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) that provided nursing services at a hospital in her hometown. Not surprising for a service-oriented Sun Sign Virgo, she enjoyed her duties, referring to nursing as “one of the most rewarding professions that anyone can follow.” As part of her assignment, she worked at the hospital pharmacy, where she learned extensively about medicines and poisons, appropriate subject matter for the first detective story that she wrote during this period.
At the age of 24, Agatha Miller married Archibald (Archie) Christie, an aviator enlisted in Britain’s Royal Flying Corp. The marriage produced only one child, a daughter named Rosalind Hicks. Mr. Christie’s assignments called for travel, and Agatha accompanied him, leaving their child with family. The couple traveled to Hawaii, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand. Agatha and her husband became avid surfers.
Early in her marriage, Agatha wrote her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. Although it was completed in 1916, it was not published until 1920 in the United States. Set in a large isolated country manor, it introduces her soon-to-be famous character, Hercule Poirot, an Inspector of Belgian origin. The novel, similar to her future works, successfully presents meticulous details about the scene of the murder, possible motives, red herrings, and surprise plot twists. She later revealed that she did not care for her character Hercule Poirot, whom she considered pompous and arrogant. Agatha Christie expressed greater fondness for her elderly sleuth protagonist, Miss Marple.
The year 1926 became a tumultuous one for Agatha Christie. First, her mother passed away. Later that year, Archie asked her for a divorce, explaining that he had fallen in love with another woman, Nancy Neele. After a quarrel in early December, Agatha Christie left a note saying she was headed to Yorkshire, but she could not be located for 11 days. In Yorkshire, Agatha Christie had checked into a hotel registered under the last name of her husband’s mistress. Accounts for her disappearance ranged from speculation that she had suffered a nervous breakdown to reactions that she had planned this event as a publicity stunt or to embarrass her husband. The couple divorced in 1928 after 14 years of marriage.
On one of her travels, Agatha Christie met archaeologist Max Mallowan, many years her junior. The two became romantically involved as she accompanied him on archaeological digs. They married in 1930, and their marriage remained a happy one until her death. Because of her husband’s frequent travels to exotic locales, these sites became settings in her stories.
During World War II, Agatha Christie once again worked at a hospital pharmacy in London, expanding her pharmaceutical knowledge that she later applied to post-war literary works. Her 1961 novel, The Pale Horse, was credited with helping doctors solve a baffling medical case, which they discovered was caused by thallium poisoning, described in detail in the Agatha Christie’s book.
Agatha Christie attained much acclaim for her literary works, and her country bestowed honors such as the Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and later the Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. With her health failing, the successful author signed over the rights to her literary legacy to her grandson. Mathew Prichard assumed the position of Chairman of Agatha Christie Limited in 1970, which now oversees the late author’s estate following her death at age 86 in 1976.
Some Observations about the Natal Chart of Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie’s natal chart appears toward the end of this section. Sometimes when I view someone’s chart, I devote significant time to understand why someone engaged in his or her life pursuits. From my vantage point, this is not the case with Agatha Christie. My eye naturally went to the author’s 10th house of career, which contains the sign of Gemini, although the MC (the cusp of the 10th house) is in the late degrees of Taurus. Gemini is ruled by Mercury, the planet representing the mental processes and communication. This indicates that any of the communication processes, speaking and writing, would incline the native to use these talents in a career. The planets Neptune, representing imagination, and Pluto, the motive to purge and transform, as well as to explore deep mysteries in life, are drives impelling Agatha Christie to express these in writing. Moreover, the ruler of Gemini, Mercury, is in the writer’s second house of personal resources. No doubt, Christie used her communication resources in her career, and in turn, her career brought her tremendous financial resources. Furthermore, Jupiter in air sign Aquarius, the planet of abundance and good fortune (and sometimes overindulgence) trines (flowing compatible energy) both Neptune and Pluto from the fifth house of creativity and fun.
Agatha Christie’s Mercury is in the air sign of Libra, a sign that strives for harmony in relationships and other aspects of life. I have also seen Libra associated with various aspects of the arts, including literature. Libra is also the sign on the cusp of Christie’s third house, the area of life associated with one’s local environment and the sphere of communication. The third house is naturally associated with Gemini, which, once again, is ruled by Mercury. The planet of innovation and uniqueness, Uranus, resides in Christie’s third house, conjunct (fused with) her Mercury in the second house. Bringing a new style to mysteries, Christie ushered in the golden age of detective fiction. Furthermore, the planet Venus can be found in Christie’s third house of communication. Venus, ruling relating, the arts, and resources, is in the intense and passionate sign of Scorpio. This zodiac sign is driven to dig for the truth, to delve deeply into the psyche, and to uncover life’s mysteries. The modern day ruler of Scorpio is Pluto, the planet appearing in Christie’s 10th house of career and social standing.
Agatha Christie’s ascendant, or rising, sign is in the sign of Virgo, the zodiac sign often associated with the processes of perfecting, attention to detail, a sense of service to a cause, health and purification. Needless to say, Christie earned the reputation of being meticulous in her detail of fictionalized crime. Although an earth sign, Virgo is ruled by the planet Mercury. During two world wars, Christie served her country in the medical field, becoming adept in the knowledge of medications. The sign of Virgo is often involved in the healing professions.
With so much Mercury influence, through Gemini and Virgo, it is no wonder that Agatha Christie had the capability for prolific literary production in terms of quantity, as well as in the brief span of time in which she produced her mysteries. By the end of her life, Christie had written over 100 literary works in the genres of romance, detective, crime fiction, thriller, and murder mystery.
Saturn, the planet associated with Father Time and boundaries, resides in Christie’s first house of identity, personality, and physical self. Saturn squares (a relationship of tension) Christie’s Neptune and Pluto in the 10th house of career. This relationship between the planets reflects the need for Christie to display discipline in order to bring manifestation to her creative imagination and her ability to delve deep into the human psyche and into the realm of murder.
Sagittarius, the sign often symbolizing the urge to travel and to understand and be immersed in other cultures, thereby exploring a wide variety of subjects, takes up the good part of Christie’s fourth house of residences and roots, which fits with Christie’s wanderlust and lifestyle of traveling extensively with her husbands.
Despite her travels to countries with cultures much different from her own, Christie displayed considerable cultural snobbery, racism, and anti-Semitism. Considering her works have been translated into so many different languages and enjoyed by readers representing the whole spectrum of political thought, the author herself was tremendously intolerant of people who were not of the white upper crust. Her descriptions of characters of non-white origin are less than appealing in her pre-World War II works.
Writing for Inside Story, Dennis Altman says British journalist Johann Hari posited that Christie held a conservative Burkean worldview that possesses a deep desire for order (Virgo!) and a suspicion of radical change. Altman contends that this is giving her too much credit for having a coherent political position. Nevertheless, continues Altman, “we read Christie despite her prejudices, not because of them, just as one might enjoy James Bond as entertainment but deplore Fleming’s sexism and love of violence.” Furthermore, observes Altman, “When I am falling ill one of the early signs is a desire to reread Agatha: even if I remember who did it, there is still pleasure in watching how cunningly she leads us to the eventual denouement.”
Virgo Film Director and Screenwriter
Born September 15, 1946
Oliver Stone rose to prominence in the cinematic world in the late 1970s as a screenwriter, and since then has expanded into filmmaking as a director and producer. His screenwriting and directing credits now span over 20 full-length feature films, many that have earned him critical acclaim and awards.
Born in New York City on September 15, 1946, Oliver Stone was the only son of a French-born mother, Jacqueline Goddet and an American stockbroker father, Louis Stone. Growing up in affluence, Stone spent significant time in his early years in France with his maternal grandparents. He was educated at the Trinity School on the west side of Manhattan, followed by four years at The Hill boarding school in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. Accepted at Yale University, Stone dropped out after a year.
In 1965, Stone traveled to Viet Nam to teach at a Catholic high school in Saigon. A year later, he joined the U.S. Merchant Marine, where he worked below deck on several ships. These voyages took him around Asia, back to the U.S., and Mexico. During this period, he began writing, penning a large manuscript that he entitled “A Child’s Night Dream,” a work that was later consolidated and published three decades later. In 1967, Stone enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he served in active duty in Cambodia and Vietnam. Wounded twice, Stone later received the Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his service.
After returning from Vietnam, Stone enrolled in New York University and began the study of filmmaking, with a faculty comprised of such teachers as Martin Scorsese. After attaining his Fine Arts degree in 1971, Stone worked many jobs that supported his screenwriting pursuits. Stone’s first breakthrough came with his 1978 low-budget film, Midnight Express, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. In succeeding years, he wrote The Hand, Conan the Barbarian, Scarface, and Year of the Dragon. His directed and co-wrote the screenplay for the film Salvador, which explored the political complexities in Central America.
In the first of his Vietnam trilogy films, Stone received international acclaim for the 1986 release, Platoon, for which he won Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture. Stone’s second Vietnam movie, Born on the Fourth of July, released in 1989, told the poignant story of the struggle of veteran Ron Kovic, played by Tom Cruise. Receiving critical acclaim, Stone won a second Oscar for Best Director and Cruise was voted Best Actor. He completed his Vietnam trilogy in 1993, with the release of Heaven and Earth, which recounted war as experienced by a Vietnamese woman. Oliver Stone became known for his realistic approach to war storytelling through these three films.
Other successes in Oliver Stone’s filmography include Wall Street, the highly successful 1987 film about financial greed and corruption. A sequel, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, debuted in 2010. Stone ventured into historical and biographical filmmaking beginning in the 1990s with JFK, The Doors, and Nixon. In 2008, Stone released W, the story of President George W. Bush, while the Chief Executive was still in office.
Oliver Stone has increasingly been associated with political filmmaking, releasing a documentary on Fidel Castro, Comandante in 2003. That same year, he addressed the Palestinian and Israeli conflict in his documentary entitled Persona Non Grata. In 2010, he released, South of the Border, which journeys to South America to observe the political changes that have occurred under the leadership of new mavericks. More such controversial works are expected toward the end of 2012.
Stone has had run-ins with the law for his alcohol and drug habits, which began at least as far back as his Vietnam days and have continued into this past decade. The prolific writer and director loosely based the Scarface movie script on his own addiction to cocaine.
Some Observations about the Natal Chart of Oliver Stone
The vast majority of planets in Oliver Stone’s natal chart (shown at the bottom of this section) are above the horizon, signifying that he finds purpose, meaning, and fulfillment through his relationships with others and activity in the social world (represented by houses seven through 12). Only Venus lies beneath the horizon, but even this planet of relating and resources is in his first house, conjunct the Ascendant. Indeed, through filmmaking, Stone tells stories about historical figures and international conflicts that influence all of our lives. Unlike some other filmmakers, Oliver Stone has very clear opinions about what is going on in the broader world.
With Mercury conjunct his Sun, Oliver Stone will be known for his thinking and ideas, appropriately in the arena of community with like-minded individuals (the 11th house). With Sun and Mercury at the same degree, the planets are “combust,” which inclines these individuals to take an active role in communications. Individuals with this astrological aspect are expressive and need to be heard, and often do so in an animated manner. They may find it difficult to passively listen and absorb information. These people may be better speakers than listeners. In the case of Oliver Stone, this tendency for restlessness may be even more pronounced because the planet of sudden and revolutionary changes, quirky Uranus in Gemini, squares (reflecting tension) his Mercury in Virgo (a sign ruled by Mercury). Uranus in Gemini can spark out of the box thinking and behavior that might upend the Virgo qualities of systematic and methodical approaches.
Stone’s Moon trines (flowing, compatible energy) his Mercury and Sun, which indicates that he is comfortable talking about feelings. He probably trusts his instincts, and he may be inclined to use both his perceptions and mental faculties in compatible ways.
Stone’s Venus in Scorpio brings a tendency for intensity and secretiveness in relating, the only planet below the horizon in his chart. Venus opposes (bringing awareness of the other) the Moon in Taurus. Venus likes to go deep in exploring the processes of the psyche and the motives of others, whereas much more light-hearted Taurus is satisfied with hugs and other sensual activities that do not necessarily involve the profound. The modern-day ruler of the sign of Scorpio is Pluto, which is at the top of Stone’s chart. Pluto is the apex planet of the t-square between Venus and the Moon. Since Pluto is in Stone’s house of career, this may represent a tension between his relationships with others (business partners, marriages) and his career and his autonomy. Pluto facilitates purging in order for the soul to grow. Although I do not have a clear sense of the nature of his business relationships, I am aware that he has been married three times. Stone is no stranger to exploring the unsavory aspects of life, such as violence, war, and drug dependence. Going into these realms must certainly raise issues with both business partners (Hollywood studios) and intimate relationships. However, Saturn, the planet of timely restraints and boundaries, conjuncts Pluto, which may provide a “reality-check” (not to mention nice contracts and royalties) on how Oliver Stone explores these taboo aspects of life.
The planet Jupiter urges people to dream “big,” and often brings benefits. On the other hand, Jupiter often represents too much of a good thing, something that has been taken to excess. In Oliver Stone’s chart, Jupiter is conjunct his Ascendant, which governs his personality. This can indicate a self-confident and optimistic individual, but taken to an extreme they can be arrogant and proselytizing, sometimes viewed as fanatics or zealots. Certainly, Oliver Stone is a larger than life personality, with many successes.
Jupiter may also activate benefactor tendencies in his personality. He actively pursues (Mars conjunct Jupiter and the Ascendant) what he wants. Stone is clearly a powerful figure.
Sources for Quotations
Retrieved on 7/30/12 from: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/k/kobe_bryant.html
Lily Tomlin. From Becoming Myself: Reflections on Growing Up Female. Retrieved on 8/5/12 from: http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/219212-becoming-myself-reflections-on-growing-up-female
Mother Theresa. Retrieved on 8/5/12 from: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/mother_teresa.html#ZsiiryXrr7122D0L.99
Jane Addams. Retrieved on 8/5/12 from: http://womenshistory.about.com/od/quotes/a/jane_addams.htm
Molly Ivins. Retrieved on 8/5/12 from: http://womenshistory.about.com/od/quotes/a/molly_ivins.htm
Leonard Cohen. From the song Anthem on The Future album. Retrieved from: http://www.cduniverse.com
[i] Forrest, Steven. (1988). The Inner Sky. San Diego: ACS Publications, pp.61-66.
[iii] Aumen, Catherine. (June/July 2002). Virgo, Sexuality, and the Sacred Prostitute. The Mountain Astrologer, #103, pp.17-21.
[iv] Nevin, Bruce. (1982). Astrology Inside Out. Rockport, Massachusettes, Para Research Publishers, p.89.
[v] Forrest, Steven. (June/July 2002). The Case of the Disappearing 6th House. The Mountain Astrologer, #103, pp.9-16.
[vi] Bell, Lynn. (August/September 2004). Virgo’s Wings and Other Musings on the Mutable Signs. The Mountain Astrologer, #116, pp.36-41.
[vii] Houlding, Deborah. (August/September 2007). Virgo the Maiden. The Mountain Astrologer, #134, pp.25-31.
[viii] Nevin, Bruce. (1982). Astrology Inside Out. Rockport, Massachusettes, Para Research Publishers, p. 147
[ix] Forrest, Steven. The Inner Sky. Op. Cit.
[x] Posse, Jan. (August/September 2004). A Letter from the Managing Editor. The Mountain Astrologer, Issue #116, p.5.
[xi] Johnson, Kenneth (August/September 2004). A Vedic Perspective on Virgo and Pisces 8/04 116 Vedic (Hindu) Astrology. The Mountain Astrologer, #116, pp.77-83.
[xii] Aumen, Catherine. Op. Cit.
Please note that sources for the two profiles are presented after each section.