When Logic isn't Quite Logical


Looking back from the future, last week's writing hardly did justice to the brassy astrological dynamics which worked their befuddling magic on us over the course of the week. With Virgo as the sign of the moment—last week's Virgo New Moon, Mercury turning retrograde in Virgo, Jupiter entering Virgo for a yearlong run—perhaps some of us were able to ward off outward eruptions of drama by keeping ourselves restrained and our eyes on the close details rather than the unavoidably opaque big-picture.

Maybe no external happenings occurred to bespeak all that is actually going on. But don't be fooled: Lots is going on. It's just that this "lots" may be happening internally or in a more muted fashion, thanks to all that earth (four planets in Virgo) and water (Mars/Uranus in Pisces, Saturn in Cancer) energy, a much-needed shift.

One way in which we may be "fooling" ourselves can be traced to Mercury's current retrograde trip through its ruling sign Virgo. Mercury, the planet of our mental dexterity and transmission of ideas, is usually quite at home in Virgo, a sign ruled by analytical thinking and logical approaches to matters. Imagine, though, the confusion that can arise when Mercury travels through Virgo but in reverse. We try to follow each step in our logic to its logical extreme, but somehow all the numbers don't quite add up. Perhaps all the requisite particulars are laid out, and yet we still can't come to a single clear conclusion. This is why astrologers always declare that Mercury retrograde is a time to review and revise rather than to sign on the dotted line. But with Virgo as the sign, we can be driven crazy by constant revisions in a quest for perfectionism without ever achieving a conclusion that feels properly done (let alone anywhere near "perfect").

Jupiter's entry into Virgo, transpiring within a day of Mercury turning retrograde in the same sign, offers us a clue to the longer-range meaning of this specific retrograde moment. Jupiter, unlike Mercury, is not very comfortable dwelling amidst the categorical reasoning and careful framing of experience in the realm of Virgo. Jupiter wants to make things bigger and grander than they've ever been, overflowing across boundaries into unknown territory. Virgo creates sense through perpetual tweaking of boundaries, all the while ensuring their applicable existence through meticulous tinkering.

Together, Jupiter in Virgo (a placement in effect through Sept 04) promises to teach us a thing or two about finding hope and growth through careful attention to methodical work—so long as we neither overvalue the fulfillment possible through spartan dedication to order and precision nor totally disrespect our initial logic and lapse into carelessness. What better way to kick off Jupiter in Virgo than with a Mercury retrograde calling into question all our individually-based Virgoan classifications and criteria, forcing us to reconsider each and every one, to see which still serve our purposes and which are remnants of yesterday, arbitrary-seeming in relation to the current state of affairs?

To fully understand the promise of Jupiter in the sign of Virgo, we must direct our attention to that sign's polarity with its "opposite" sign, Pisces. This Virgo/Pisces duality currently plays out with Mars and Uranus, conjunct and both retrograde in Pisces, in opposition to Jupiter in Virgo. (Uranus made its exact opposition last week; Mars makes its this week.)

Two opposing signs are best thought of not as two incomplete portions at odds with each other but rather as two ways of seeing the same unified whole. Both Virgo and Pisces represent a degree of sacrifice to something greater than our selfish desires. Virgo, the earth sign, is skilled at delaying self-gratification in favor of work and dedication to an ideal of earthly duty in which there are clearly delineated rights and wrongs (even if this ideal ultimately derives from the individual himself)—the symbol of the virgin epitomizes this self-restraint of potential energy being saved for the most perfect realization of love. Pisces, meanwhile, is the watery version of sacrifice, the giving up of one's self (and ego boundaries) in complete compassion, leaving behind earthly existence for a set of invisible and enigmatic precepts adhered to through faith alone—for Pisces, the glyph of two fish embodies the seemingly endless, purposeless course of swimming through universal waters for no other reason than that's just what fish do.

Virgo and Pisces fall somewhere in each of our birthcharts, and the transiting planets Jupiter, Uranus and Mars activate those two complementary houses, highlighting the related areas of experience in which we must learn to balance clear restraint and meticulous hard work with a faith-inspired relinquishment of attempts to order the unexplainable Everything from our humble limited perspective. After all, we live both on the Earth and of a cosmos that transcends it.

Throughout much of September, we can count on not being able to count on anything, thanks to the dual Mercury-Mars retrograde jumble. But if we play our cards right, we can work the confusion so that we allow confusing, spirit-filled change to clear out our old crap (wherever transiting Mars and Uranus falls in our charts) and open room for broader horizons through enhanced duty and logic in another, different but connected part of life (wherever Jupiter is making its move). To do so, we must start by rethinking all the rules.