Saturn moved from Leo into Virgo on September 2, 2007. As an astrologer and a Virgo, I found myself strangely excited to witness this not very frequent planetary phenomena. Strange, because excited is not the first feeling that generally comes to mind when astrologers think of Saturn or Virgo. Saturn transits usually include words like this: persistence, patience, commitment, fortitude, limitations and lessons. Virgo words tend to run along the same lines: organized, discerning, systematic and detail oriented.
Not quite a picture of verve, daring and excitement is it? Yet when Saturn in Virgo is placed in the context of where we stand now, as a species, facing the decisions and challenges that we are confronted with at a global level, a whole new perspective begins to emerge. Saturn was last in the sign of Virgo in the mid-1970’s when environmental awareness, and alternative medicine first begin to enter the mass consciousness as important issues. Saturn’s current transit through Virgo, during a time when we face environmental breakdown, and global epidemics reveals new and interesting sides of this sixth sign of the zodiac. In the current age, Virgo begins to emerge as an earthy superheroine, made for our times, poised to swoop in and rescue us with gardening skills and homeopathic remedies.
Like all the best superhero’s, Virgo’s story starts with a myth. A long, long time ago, when the Greeks still believed in the Gods, a conflict arose between Gods and Humans. The short form of that story is this: the god Prometheus created humans, gave them fire and was brutally punished by his divine brothers and sisters. The gods chose a unique punishment for the humans involved, sending a box disguised as a gift to Pandora, a mortal woman. Pandora, as we all know, opened this gift from the gods and unleashed a tsunami of war, disease, and suffering. Only hope remained, and stupidly or bravely, we’ve been living on it ever since.
The unpleasant after effects of Pandora’s box led the gods to vacate their home on the earth and head towards the relative safety of the sky, where we know them today as the planets (Sun-Apollo, Moon-Artemis, etc. etc.)
Only one goddess remained behind and this was Astraea. Astraea brought an earthy form of justice to humanity. Her work was teaching humans how to live in harmony with the earth. Astraea taught the ancient Greeks about the changing seasons of nature, the flow of life cycles, and what is most essential to let go of for the sake of survival. This discriminating quality can be seen in her association with innocence and purity.
Astraea was the very last of the gods to leave the earth for the heavens. She stayed behind to serve humans, teaching them what they needed to know about life on earth. Astraea’s mission was to acclimate humans to the earth plane, grounding them in their new world.
Astraea is the goddess that the sign of Virgo is most associated with. Virgo, in her highest form, holds the essence of Astraea’s gifts. These gifts are qualities that in modern times have been distilled down to these rather boring Virgo keywords: discriminating, service-oriented, humble and practical.
In the current age, as we wrestle with a planetary psychology that is out of sync with the natural world, drowning in our own excess (which we had the chance to see clearly during Saturn’s recent passage through Leo), we come to find respite in these Astraea/Virgo qualities.
Uranus’ current passage through Virgo’s opposing sign, Pisces, has been shaking up the roots and limitations of Virgo’s everywhere. There is a new kind of Virgo emerging, one that we can recognize in the incredible surge of interest in environmentalism and holistic health which has emerged in recent years. This embodiment of Virgo serves to create a bridge of connection between humans and the earth, to invoke and remind of us natural law, helping us discern what is necessary for a right relationship with our planetary home, and what we need to let go of in order to work with the laws of nature.
As Saturn settles into its Virgo home, the embodiment of this energy has a chance to ground itself, to display its mastery, to share and serve humanity as Astraea once did.
Now is the time for all those with Virgo in their chart to assess how they might best serve the flow of natural law, to purify themselves of self-criticism and censorship and invoke the graceful knowledge of Astraea.
Virgo’s everywhere are engaging in Saturnian lessons about perfectionism, criticism and what it means to maintain both the physical body, and the living body of the planet.
All those with Virgo planets are learning through the patient discipline of Saturn how to distill the best of Virgo, while leaving the more self-destructive qualities behind, embodying the essentially purifying nature of Virgo energy.
The generation born from roughly 1966-1972 has Pluto and Uranus in Virgo and as such, is particularly positioned to powerfully manifest this energy. As Saturn begins to move forward through Virgo and conjunct this natal planetary alignment, this generation has the opportunity, and will feel the pressure to realign themselves to provide Astraean-like service to the earth. This transit also promises to help reground the collective as a whole in the natural world, reminding us of the earth laws we are asked to follow here, and connecting us more deeply with the interrelationship between all forms of life: plant, animal and human. Our relationship to food, medicine and exercise are also poised to undergo Saturn’s sobering changes as the transit unfolds. These are all areas that will become of more concern and interest to us as we gain more insight into the mysteries of Saturn in Virgo.
Astraea, the goddess, promised to return to humans once they had learned a thing or two about living in right relationship with the earth. Perhaps this Saturn transit through Virgo will open us up to receiving the divine guidance we need to navigate through this time of great transition.