Enter Virgo Cleanup Phase


I won't pretend I'm not still actively contending with the fallout from a fiery, eclipsey August… and I presume I'm not alone in this.

The 'great American eclipse' carved its path of totality a mere handful of miles from my Portland home, and, as I write this, a huge fire continues to burn through the nearby Columbia River Gorge, having rained ash all over the city and making it hard enough to breathe that I've been hiding in my basement these past few days.

Yet, in the midst of this hazard and all the others now inflicting their dangers elsewhere, we are experiencing a significant astrological shift. After a few weeks of Mars traveling through Leo, in sustained conjunction with the Sun and fueling fire-trines with both Uranus and Saturn, the engine-driving warrior-planet moved into Virgo this past Tuesday (Sep 5). On that same day, Mercury wrapped up a 3-1/2-week retrograde, having slipped back into Leo during its last few days… and began its direct-motion return trip back towards Virgo, which it'll reach by Saturday (Sep 9). Over the course of this week, then, the recent plentitude of bold dramatics and ego-proud expressiveness will be giving way to a lower-key, more studied and pragmatic reality-check vibe.

When Mars is in Virgo, we assert our will, advance toward our desired aims, and fight our battles with deliberate care and a perfectionist's restraint. We want to ensure each move happens just so. We're willing to take smaller steps, one at a time, if it'll enhance the quality and efficacy of our results. (Too quick, brash, or sweeping a deed leaves too much room for error.) We vigilantly observe the scene, and scrutinize our adversaries' actions. We take notes; we keep score. And we incessantly analyze all this data we've gathered, in an effort to decrease the likelihood that unknowns will creep in and spoil our good work (though of course there are always unknowns), preparing and planning as best we can to produce exactly what we set forth to create (or as close to it as humanly possible).

Because Virgo is ruled by Mercury, Mars will become even more adept and dexterous with its careful moves once Mercury's back in its home-sign by week's-end. Mercury in Virgo is relentless in its precise, diligent, logic-based processing of information. It doesn't accept presumptions at face value, but insists on looking at all the facts and drawing its own conclusions. In communications, Mercury in Virgo adopts a reasonable tone, speaks only what it's sure about, and rarely falls prey to boastfulness or hyperbole. The Mercury-in-Virgo word is dependably good… though, by meticulously choosing certain phrasings over others, it can slyly avoid having to go on record with provocative opinions or dishonest remarks, often outsmarting the others.

With Mars having to 'report' to Mercury (via dispositorship), our next round of assertive maneuvers and forward assaults will be most effective when first filtered through our rational analytic mind. This synergy between Mercury and Mars is only further strengthened by their conjoining in Virgo (Sep 16), a coupling of shrewd planning with only the most judicious shows of strength. Through the end of September, Mars will rely heavily on Mercury-in-Virgo's studied observations and logic-driven reason for the supporting data it needs to act successfully.

The popular stereotype of Virgos as being anal-retentive neat-freaks (which sometimes proves true, though I have known a few sloppy Virgos in my day) stems from the manner in which Mercury makes sense out of our chaotic world when in Virgo. Mercury in Virgo is a categorical thinker, approaching a new experience or insight by first closely examining its details, comparing and contrasting it with other similar-and-dissimilar examples it's already known… before finally deciding 'where it goes' in relation to everything else and then 'putting it in its place' according to this order. This way of thinking can lead Virgo types to organize their physical spaces accordingly, though this tidying impulse originates in a mental tendency towards classifying information. In seeking to get everything just so, Virgo often resorts to cleaning up any messes in its immediate environment, allowing it to bask in a spacious orderliness aimed at reflecting an ideal purity-of-mind (even, hopefully, knowing humans always fall short).

In our trying to move beyond the fallout from a bumpy eclipse-filled month, this strong Virgoan emphasis will demonstrably support us in any 'cleanup' efforts we must now take on. Taking our cue from a Virgo-mindset angle, the first order of business must entail objectively taking stock of our current reality. We can't develop a truly competent response-strategy without a good hard unvarnished look at our circumstances: what's damaged or lost, what has survived and can still be counted on, what needs the most urgent attention, which steps must come before which other steps. Only after we know what we're working with can we then start putting pieces back where they belong, replace the broken ones, and steadily improve the situation. Order: Survey, calmly attend to emergencies, clean, fix, make better than before.

A couple weeks from now, Venus will join the Virgo lineup (on Sep 19), bringing its aesthetic ideals to this cleanup process and inspiring our inner craftsperson's most delicate touch to assume a greater role. Venus is not considered at its best in Virgo (the sign of its fall), mainly because the usual bridging-of-differences that Venus enables in its archetypal task of 'bringing together' doesn't happen quite so easily. Venus in Virgo is discriminating with its preferences and proclivities, holding fussy standards which must be met if an interpersonal relationship is to be fostered or an artistic creation considered 'well done'. While this Venus-in-Virgo influence further encourages us to be painstakingly precise in our handling of details, we must beware of becoming so particular that our perfectionist tendencies disallow anything that's less than ideal from manifesting.

Venus and Mars conjoin in Virgo on Oct 5 (less than a week after Mercury's moved on to Libra), the essential union of receptive and projective energies in a sign that strives for immaculacy, impeccability, and divine order. The weeks leading up to this Venus-Mars conjunction are a celestial invitation to work towards our own purification… to aim a critical eye at our lives, to identify any urgent crises that demand first-response remediation, to begin addressing whatever's recently been left in disarray, to repair the fractures and fill the holes, and to treat this as our silver-lining chance to improve upon what hasn't yet achieved that 'just so' status.

Venus will remain in Virgo through Oct 14, while Mars stays through Oct 22.