The Moon is in Scorpio again today, but now void of course.
Meanwhile, Venus in Virgo is moving closer to an opposition of Neptune and Mars in Virgo is about to conjoin with Jupiter in Virgo. It’s a good day to reflect on the sign of Virgo, especially on the ideas of purity, morality, innocence, youth, learning, organization, health, and discipleship.
We live in a complicated moment in history when it comes to these subjects. More than ever we glamorize youth…we don’t want to lose it, we associate the definition of health with the youthful beauty or pliability of the body, and we find naive ignorance along with moronic sarcasm and willful immaturity the standards of high humor in the media. At the same time, it has become nearly impossible to take an ethical or moral stand about our beliefs or convictions without someone else taking offense or accusing us of some form of prejudice, ignorance, or cruelty. In our liberal arts west it might be said that we feel most suspicious about certainty or conviction of any kind…to the extent that sometimes at best we are each moral relativists without much ideological, religious, moral, political, or social consistency. We both fear and yet embody judgment like we’re walking the halls of a perpetual high school experience, and inside many of us wonder where our real loyalties lie or if we have any at all.
All of these struggles can be discussed through the sign of Virgo.
First let’s consider the idea of purity as it relates to youth. Why is youth associated with purity over, say, adulthood or old age? Isn’t it also true that what is young desires to be older, wiser, mature, skilled, experienced, capable, and self-reliant? Isn’t there something about youth that is also ignorant rather than innocent? Why do we favor the words innocent or pure rather than ignorant or inexperienced? The hardest thing to understand about archetypal images is that they contain multitudes of diverse and often contradictory ideas without losing their general cohesiveness. What tears us apart with an archetype is the tendency to struggle too intensely with the polarities contained within it. For example, how can we embrace the idea that youth isn’t only sexy or pure but also ignorant and inexperienced? Or how can we learn to see that ignorance is often wise and devotion to fixed ideals often ignorant?
How can we hold the tension of these images creatively within our experiences, rather than clinging to one side versus the other?
Here are a few Virgoan tensions to carefully consider:
* At some point I’m no longer a student but a skilled practitioner
* At no point will I ever stop being a student
* It’s important for me to have formed opinions and ideas, and to know what I’m talking about
* It’s important for me to remain modest and indecisive in case I’m getting something wrong
* My virtue is connected to living in consistent accord with the values I believe to be good, true, and pure
* My virtue isn’t at all connected to my ethics, my standards, or my ability to live up to them
* My work is only as good as my attention to details
* My work is only as good as the spirit in which I do it, pass or fail
* It’s okay for me to be less experienced, less wise, less capable, less learned, or less anything than someone else
* I don’t need to live by comparisons to others
* It’s my duty to gain experience and to become wiser and more discerning and careful, adult like
* It’s my duty to not let my experiences take me far from youthful openness…I could always still be wrong about things
* Images of age and purity are not in a linear relationship with each other
* Images of age and purity are in fact intimately related
* Honest criticism is healthy for my soul and teaches me how to mature and improve
* Criticism is uncreative, ungraceful, unforgiving, unimaginative, or painful
* There is a right way to do things
* Better to let go of certainty and err on the side of worry or caution
* I reject the idea that I have anything to prove to anyone
* I reject the idea that my substance as a person is separate from my actions, skills, experience, correctness, or usefulness in the world
We could easily roll out another dozen polarities…but instead let’s close with the image of a young girl sitting in the field, near the end of summer, and near the end of her youth. Does she notice the angel wings sprouting gently from behind her shoulder blades? Does she see the bird sitting on her shoulder? What is she looking at on the sunset-horizon? Is it death? The coming harvest? How should she hold herself now, in a world between worlds. What comes next, after youth? Who does she serve and how can she tell when she’s arrived somewhere? Next to her sits a bundle of wheat, carefully prepared. Is it a sacrifice, an offering, an attempt to legitimize or prove herself? Prove herself to who, and for what?
Prayer: Harvest maiden, draw us more completely into your complexities, and teach us to hold the tensions of all the images and ideas you contain