The Virgo Project arises out of a fantasy I have had for quite a while. Here is a bit about the evolution of it.
My relationship to astrology has everything to do with how it connects to the culture in which we live. That is why so much of the old stuff needs to be questioned. Technique is one thing but interpretation cannot happen outside your own life experience. In the late 1990s I created a monthly newsletter called the Divine Design. It was originally called Archetypal Perversions. Although i thought this was a great name everyone seemed to thing it was about kinky sexual stuff which wasn’t my point. I had read a book called Gyn/Ecology by the radical feminist theologian Mary Daly and i latched on to a concept which she called patriarchal reversal. This is the idea that in a patriarchal world things often come to mean their opposite.
I was also influenced by a book called, The Chalice and the Blade by Riane Eisler who uses the word dominator to describe our culture rather than patriarchal. Essentially we have lived in a world of hierarchical dominance for thousands of years and it has warped our ability to see what is actually happening, even who we are. As I played with these ideas which made sense to me on some macro level I began to see how in a way this is true for each and every sign of the zodiac. The core or essential meaning has been perverted to support the cultural trance of dominance. Out of these thoughts grew my newsletter. (Which is still available here.) I used a myth and or fairy tale to investigate the possible core meaning each archetypal construct might have on the assumption that the essential meaning of all the signs had been mangled by dominatior culture.
Virgo stood out for me as the most damaged of all the signs. As I was writing the Virgo edition I came upon the story of Hestia or Vesta one of the original Olympians who had asked to be excused. As humans developed their culture of war and dominance she was less and less interested in participating. Hestia is the goddess of the hearth fire; the heart of every home.
Eleanor Bach, my first astrology teacher, wrote the first book on the asteroids which are named Ceres, Pallas, Juno and Vesta. She taught astrology using the asteroids as if they were equal to the rest of the planets. Each one represents an aspect of the feminine that had not been destroyed by the dominators. Ceres was the Mother, Pallas the warrior, Juno the partner and Vesta the sister. It was Eleanor’s belief that without these four feminine principles astrology (as well as culture) only saw women as sexual objects or emotional weather vanes.
It was helpful to imagine a mother not owned by the father of her children, a wife equal to her partner and a warrior woman who could stand up for her beliefs but the one that fascinated me the most was the sister. What is a sister? Of course there are biological sisters but there are also spiritual sisters and lest we forget there were, back then a new kind of political sisters. Sisterhood was powerful. Sisterhood seemed also to be seriously challenging the status quo. In her own way Vesta seemed to me to be the most threatening to the dominator world because Virgo is about about wholeness. The cornerstone of domination is violation. By this I think we mean first and foremost violation of the body and all the violations that follow. That’s how domination works. Once you violate a person’s body you can subjugate them. This of course is as true for men as it is for women; there is rape, there is slavery, there is poverty and etc. Virgo is a yin sign but there are as many men who carry it as women.
So why is Virgo associated with bitchy, high strung, anxious energy? Why is Virgo often seen as weak sign? In a world of domination those who favor integration seem weak. When Virgo sees things amiss (Virgo loves to fix things) it cannot get attention except from a position of weakness; by being sick, anxious or servile. It often finds itself desperately trying to create order in a chaotic reality.
Surely it’s time for this to change! Based on that notion I decided that I needed to hear straight from the mouth and mind and heart of Virgo. But there is only one way to get an archetype to speak. Archetypes don’t live outside of us. They are what we are made of. If you want to hear the gods and goddesses speak they will do it through us and our world. Even when it seems they are speaking trough nature or natural disasters it is the humans who interpret what has happened. I decided that if I could get a room full of people who have Virgo prominently placed in their horoscope and if I asked the right questions I would hear Virgo speak. After all it happens every day in my consultations.
Since men are as damaged by dominator culture as women are you may wonder why I didn’t invite any men to join this group. Simply put it is because the tasteless, colorless odorless gas of male privilege is very difficult to sort through for men and women. I felt that if men came we would not be able to speak freely enough to hear Virgo’s message. Men would take on the guilt of being the oppressors which is not fair when dealing with individuals and women would work hard to help them feel better about it which would not be productive. Something like that.
So although the actual Virgo project has not included men thus far. I am interested in input from men on this topic however, should they feel so moved to comment on the website as, hopefully, the conversation grows.
In a book called “The Bond Between Women‘ China Galland tells the story of Durga. ”
“The world stood poised on the brink of destruction once before.
Rivers dried up, plants did not grow. People starved. War was everywhere. The demons … raged unchecked across heaven and earth, drunk on destruction. No one could stop them, not even the gods, who had been defeated, one by one.
Humiliated, the gods withdrew to the heights of the Himalayas and took counsel amongst themselves. Their situation seemed hopeless. … Then it was remembered that this time had been foretold—a demon would come to destroy the world, and only a woman could defeat this demon—only a woman could save the world.”
I’m thinking that woman has some serious Virgo in her chart.
It’s not as if people set out to marginalize Virgos specifically. It’s a cultural theme. Being forced to the margins of society is also about loneliness the feeling that you are not quite welcome inside the circle. I believe this arises out of living in a world that doesn’t honor wholeness. There is very little reflection in the culture to live in harmony with nature. It’s a kind of exile. Exile is hard on humans. But this is beginning to change. And that is exciting.
We are often drawn to find a collective sense of wholeness in religion or spiritual traditions. In these areas you often find Virgo tending the flame and cleaning the alter but since all those religions come to us through the voice of domination they are told through stories that are inherently hierarchical and exclusive. We think of enlightenment as something that’s achieved. We aspire to it. Only some have access to it.
Virgo is about being connected, not aspiring. It’s about being whole and wholesome. It’s our birthright. We are one with the natural world. It’s virtually impossible when we are bombarded relentlessly with images of violence, rape, torture and desperate consumerism. Violated people are enraged not inherently subservient. Trauma lives in the body and must be healed through the body. This is the domain of Virgo.
One of the good things about the margins is that in times of chaos such as the ones we are living in at the moment, change comes from the margins. People who live outside the realm are freer in their thinking because they see things from the outside. Hierarchy implies that the world must be transcended. Virgo is the inherent wisdom of being present, living into the process of life. Virgo longs to live in a sacred world, where every mundane thing is seen as sacred simple because it was created. This is a far cry from precious, by the way.Sacred has teeth.
I believe the time for Virgo to claim its rightful place in the pantheon is now. My astrological reasons are to be found in the transition of Regulus to Virgo and that Mars will be in the sign of Virgo from November of 2011 until July of 2012 as it goes retrograde and direct.
The Virgo project is not some misguided attempt to create a new religion. I believe it to be a conversation that is starting for those of us who have begun it to alter the way we see ourselves and the world. It helps to foster the idea that there can be a place where the sacred is accepted and acknowledged but not corralled. Mostly it is an experiment to see what Virgo has to say.
Feel free to have your say about this by commenting below. We are listening.