I work at home, almost exclusively by email, phone, or Skype. From the time my husband leaves for work until he returns home in the evening I rarely exchange non-work-related words with anybody, other than a visit with my neighbor or the occasional brief chat with the UPS guy.
Recently, a gregarious friend asked me whether I get lonely working like this, spending whole days alone. “Absolutely not,” was my lightning-fast response. “It’s heaven.”
And it’s the truth. The thing I hated most about my years working in an office was being forced to socialize. I particularly loathed the never-ending office potlucks, baby showers, and retirement parties. I was at work to work, not to stand around eating cake and listening to speeches. (Though heaven knows, I have nothing anything against cake.)
Mind you, I’m not a total hermit. After all, I do have approximately 50,000 planets in Leo, a Sagittarius Ascendant, and a seventh house Moon. But when it comes to pursuing my life’s ambitions, one need look no further than my Virgo Midheaven, straddled by Mars and Pluto, to locate my abhorrence of workplace “team building” exercises. When it comes to work, I’m not a team player. At best, I’m a quiet craftswoman, toiling away in her musty studio with a cat at her feet and the phone off the hook, humming a happy and contended tune.
The Virgin is Complete
Virgo is symbolized by the virgin, a self-sufficient woman who needs no man to support her or to make her whole. Where Virgo falls in your birthchart, you are complete. Like Sun in Virgo actress Greta Garbo, who famously said, “I want to be alone,” in the matters ruled by this house you are happiest when left to your own devices. Here, you’re absorbed in the happy work of Virgo – problem solving, figuring stuff out, and making things work. It’s also, funnily enough, the area of life where people look at you with a kind of respectful awe – possibly because you don’t seem to need or care about anyone’s approval. In this part of your life, you don’t need a report card from anyone else. You’re grading yourself on an entirely different (and probably much more punishing) scale.
We wander into the bad side of Virgoland’s tracks when we go to extremes, starving or overindulging our love of solitude. As soon as a guilty voice in your head begins scolding that you “should” do something, anything other than spending time in some happy, quiet pursuit, then you’re in trouble. But when a sad voice in your head begs you not to step away from your solitude and join the human race because those interactions are just too scary, you’re also in trouble.
Virgo is a sign of adjustment and compromise, and its symbolism contains an essential truth: That having things exactly the way you want them all of the time is not a reasonable goal, or even a healthy one, and it certainly won’t make you happy. Even alone, contentedly pursuing our Virgo objectives in a hermetic cocoon, we can’t be happy forever; humans are social creatures, and every now and then we have to rub shoulders with our fellow man. Otherwise, something hardwired into the genetic code of our species turns us existentially gloomy. And as soon as we are confronted with reality by other people or simply by our own awareness of our limitations, the process of adaptation begins. In Virgo’s house we may be complete, but untrusting; we are never entirely at ease, never completely satisfied.
The Road to a Contented Heart
Look to the house in your birthchart that contains the 9th degree of Virgo. (Don’t know how to find it? See this post.) It’s time to calibrate the energy center of your life that’s represented by this house. This New Moon is also a Solar Eclipse, with the Sun and Moon entangled in challenging aspects to Mars, Saturn, and Neptune; life can feel especially crowded, hectic, and uneasy at eclipse time, with contentment seeming very far away. Eclipses demand change, especially this one, but it won’t necessarily come easily.
But neither do you have to surrender to the undertow of chaos. Take Virgo’s simple, practical approach to regaining equilibrium. If you’ve been letting others dictate your schedule and priorities, it’s time to step back, take the phone off the hook, and carve out some alone time. And if you’ve been sealing yourself off from the rest of the world for too long in a hermetic bubble of engrossing activities, force yourself out of your garret for awhile to see what the rest of the world is doing.
Overall I’m a happy hermit, spending my days alone, building my little business in solitude. But I’ve learned to recognize the moment when being comfortable has become hiding out. That’s when I force myself, however painfully, from my snug bungalow to have lunch with a friend or go to an astrology group meeting. Virgo asks us to walk a razor-thin line that separates our longing for perfect solitude from the chaos of human interaction, a path that, while uncomfortable, leads—straight and sure—to a contented heart.
© 2012/2016 April Elliott Kent