Retrieving the Golden Grain: Virgo 2016


by Andrea Goodman


Virgo is shown in the stars as a large figure of a woman with wings, holding in one hand a stalk of grain. She is associated with the Goddess as fertile, abundant Earth, providing mother, supplying nourishment to all creatures. Isis, Demeter and Ceres of Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiquity are a few of her names. Writing this in the last hours of Virgo (August 22-September 22), as we traverse the Autumnal Equinox, and the Sun is about to move on into Libra, we honor and give thanks to the Goddess for all her gifts.

Jupiter just completed its year-long transit of Virgo, its themes of expansion, generosity and abundance, growth and celebration, and the reach for greater understanding of our world brought to the Virgo landscape of the practical details of daily living, of careful attention and attentive care, of the quest for purity. Our consciousness of responsibility to the Earth has grown in the face of oil spills and animals, bees and butterflies disappearing at an alarming rate. More and more of us are seeking ways to serve the Goddess, to find practical solutions for feeding and caring for everyone. We have been finding joy and fulfillment in daily tasks, as Virgo is the aspect of us who cooks, who cleans, who makes order so that work can be accomplished, who documents and organizes the office and the archives, who makes the calls, writes the letters, keeps track of the schedules.

Ancient writings, specifically the poem by Aratus from the 3rd century BCE, “Phaenomena,” speak of a Golden Age, when people lived free of war and were simply nourished by the fruits of the Earth. The Goddess lived among the people and was called Justice. Over time, as the people developed weapons and fought wars, conquered each other, and killed animals for food, she retreated and became the constellation Virgo in the sky. We have the memory of this Golden Age within us, of a time of perfection, of right action, of justice and natural order. We long for this lost state of innocence and we either nurture it quietly or become cynical in the face of the corruption and destruction around us.

Jupiter has turned up the fields and brought in its harvest this past year. During the past month of the Sun traveling through Virgo, Mercury has also been there and in fact, reached the last degree of Virgo and turned retrograde, going back over the fields. Along with whatever broken appliances and missed appointments of most Mercury Retrograde passages, we have had the impulse to go back over the past, to look over manuscripts, to sort through collected materials, gleaning the gold nuggets of value that had been forgotten, overlooked in our busy, expanded, Jupiterian activity. Mercury represents our senses, our perception, and the sense we make of what we see, hear, touch and taste. Mercury holds all that we tell ourselves about our experience–our thoughts. When it is retrograde, we are naturally more internal, and available to memory, to retrieve dropped stitches and misplaced papers, literally and figuratively.

As we make the turn to Libra, and Mercury goes direct, take a moment to appreciate being alive on the Earth in a physical body. Recognize and value the success you have made of this life, on your own humble terms, honoring yourself for your strength in surviving, for all you have created, gathered and tended. Appreciate your own wisdom, the sense you have made of your past, of your struggles, of your ecstasies. Notice and thank yourself for your devotion to your principles, for showing up in all the relationships you have, for your ability to cooperate and live harmoniously. This is gold. These are the gleanings of your golden corn fields, your wealth of nourishment. Enter Autumn with the Goddess’s blessings, carrying Her mindfully, with gratitude.