Virgo’s gift is for the work of the everyday – work that is never-ending, self-perpetuating, like washing the dishes or trying to keep your closet organized. Work that will never, ever be finished, because it’s the work of supporting and sustaining… what, exactly?
That’s a tricky question for our Virgo natures to grapple with. Virgo is a foot soldier, and remaining steadfastly earthbound can limit one’s perspective. And when your Virgo nature loses the sense of connection to a larger purpose, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and disheartened by work that is never-ending and repetitive.
But life is more than a series of meaningless tasks and rote servitude. And it’s not necessary to abandon Virgo’s analytical rigor or worldly pragmatism in order to find a sense of meaning in life, some cause deserving of Virgo’s deft and graceful talent for bringing order out of chaos. It is only necessary to ask, “Whom do you serve?” As Saturn inches nearer to Sagittarius, a sign dedicated to seeking the big picture, this New Moon brings a decision: How will you use your Virgo gifts, and in the service of what larger cause?
This New Moon Solar Eclipse, sextile Pluto, signals an opportunity to release Virgo’s more negative expression in our lives. It’s time to release the tendency toward busywork that distracts us from the real work at hand; the urge to criticize the efforts of others; the complete denial of life’s poetry and magic, in favor of a rigid, rational approach. The Solar Eclipse point (20.10 Virgo) lies close to the Moon’s North Node in Libra, drawing a line that connects us to a long pattern of trying to overcome such negativity. In the previous years when eclipses fell in Virgo (most recently 2006-2008), where were you to quick to criticize, too slow to notice the beauty around you, and too busy sweating the small stuff to keep your eye on the big picture?
Turning Routine into Ritual
One of my favorite Virgo parables is found in the movie “Groundhog Day”, with its provocative thesis: What if you were forced to live the same day over and over again? And not a particularly exciting day, either, but a day full of minor annoyances and petty frustrations, neither better nor worse than a thousand other days of your life. Phil Connors, portrayed by Virgo Bill Murray, attacks the problem with resistance, cynicism, complaint, and nihilism–until finally, after repeatedly trying and failing to destroy himself, he surrenders. He spends each day in devotion to good works and self-improvement, even though he knows that he’ll have to do it all over again the very next day. By the movie’s end, nothing much has changed in the town–except for Phil, who has become compassionate, accomplished, and beloved.
It’s not easy to reclaim our spirits from cynicism and our everyday routines from the tyranny of file folders and post-it notes, and particularly not when Scorpio/Pluto are the forces behind the change. Saturn moving toward Sagittarius, a sign representing the laws of society, insists that we temper even our finest Virgo impulses toward helpfulness with a commitment to the world as it is. As Phil Connors found, before we can hope to improve society we must first commit to being part of it.
When Scorpio and Pluto are involved, this commitment carries some risk. There is a story about a man who was unexpectedly confronted by an unfriendly dog that promptly took the man’s entire hand into its mouth. Most people’s instinct would be to pull the hand away, and in doing so probably shred the flesh against the dog’s teeth. But this man’s instinctive reaction proved much wiser: he pushed his hand further down the dog’s throat, and when the dog gagged, he opened his mouth. The man pulled his hand out, uninjured.
At this New Moon, the answer to overcoming Virgo overwhelm (or boredom) with every day life might be similar to dealing with an unfriendly dog: when you’re feeling trapped in the jaws of life, don’t pull away—go deeper. Where you’re relying on past insights, you might do better to dig in and discovering new ones instead.
The problems of the world can feel much too large and overwhelming to be helped in any way by our small ritual gestures of help and healing. Probably, they are. But ritual and mindfulness remind us to operate in our immediate environment in a way that’s guided by larger principles of conviction, belief, and inclusiveness. And maybe that’s enough. There will always be work that needs to be done, and we can’t always change the outer world – but we can always change the inner one.