This contributed piece is a part of our Featured Voices series, which invites writers, poets, artists, and creators to explore the various intersections of Blackness and Greenness. “Virgo: A Time to Assess the Health of the Harvest” is a personal essay by kay, darling that explores the relationship between astrology and the environment. Using the sign of Virgo to highlight the seasonal transitions of fall, this piece encourages the practice of intentionality and ritual in grounding oneself alongside nature. kay, darling is receiving and engaging the zodiac as a chronically ill Black enby ecowomanist and descendant of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade who sees the world through an anti-imperialist lens. These experiences lend to kay’s perception of all that astrology can signal, challenge, and change, both internally and externally. You can check out more of kay’s writing through her newsletter sag, rising. If you’d like to work with kay on decoding your own natal chart and uncovering what astrology has to offer, you can check out their offerings through their practice, Cosmic Healing.
While the sun sign tends to take center stage in horoscopes, the sign that the moon was in at the time of your birth holds a deep and life-long significance. When I was born, the moon was a faint sliver in Virgo, one day after the 1996 new moon in Leo. As I took my first breath, the constellation of Sagittarius was coming up over the horizon, and is therefore deemed my ascendant (or rising), forever imbuing me with a Sagittarian spirit. I’m still learning how and where to channel my rising’s lofty goals and optimistic recklessness, but as a Leo sun, I easily accepted myself as the main character of my life who would be enjoying a happy ending to my story. Paired with my Virgo moon, I grew up enshrined in a responsibility to myself to keep shifting, adapting, processing, and perfecting, until I got there, wherever it was.
In Sag(ittarius) rising fashion, I expand my sense of self through traveling to new places, and in Virgo moon fashion, I find my grounding in the vast and beautiful Earth. My high school environmental sciences courses inspired a dedication to the Earth’s cycles. In college, Indigenous and ecowomanist philosophies helped to deepen my understanding of the human-Earth relationship: Earth living in the category with woman, wild, other, Earth as the divine mother, the denigration of Earth as akin to the plight of an enslaved woman—though enlightening, these were also sobering considerations as a young Black woman realizing that the Earth and I are one and the same.
I also began exploring astrology in college, finding a few in-depth horoscopes to be especially grounding and even prescient. I wanted to know more—beyond its personality characterizations. I had no idea that astrology provided a metaphysical analysis of the nature of time, space, and life itself. As esoteric as it may be, astrology is essentially a diligent and expansive tradition of charting cycles, note-taking, and observing. Through daily, and now relatively unconscious mental processes, I access appreciation and peace grounded in my (lack of) understanding, my relationships, and my walk about the planet, all since tuning into the motion of Earth, and further, the motion of all the planets in the solar system through the constellations of the zodiac.
The zodiac is a collection of signs in and from the stars. This series of messages and inklings ranges from explicit to abstract, and the translation of those signs as “seasons”—loosely defined as a combination of place, time, and energy—is an ongoing, dynamic project of pattern-finding. While once siloed and gatekept, this project is widening to include more perspectives now that the population of astrological pattern-finders is broadening to include an audience beyond the privileged. With my natal Mercury (we’ll get to them later) also in Virgo along with my moon, I receive assistance in bridging these communication gaps, both the wisdom from above and hearing the language of my own body within.
Virgo is of the mutable modality and is the middle child of the earth element. Temporally, mutable signs signal a time of wrapping up, preparing for the transition brought on by a solstice or an equinox. Elementally, Earth represents the material, the tangible, resources, and our visual reality. Seasonally, Virgo signals waning light and cooler temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere to bring in autumn and waxing light and warmer temperatures in the South to welcome spring. This time is our opportunity to gather in celebration or preparation of a community’s bounty, but the nature of the time is also one of inspection: ripe for assessing who all is responsible for planting and harvest, who is benefiting from this bounty, and what needs bettering before we begin the next season. Physically, mutable earth Virgo manifests as Earth in transition: shells becoming sand, silt becoming loam becoming clay, the leaves that sprout in spring and blow away in the wind during fall, the birds’ migration patterns. Virgo represents the ever-changing nature of Earth (it/her/them/our)self.
Personified throughout astro-mythology as the virgin, maiden, nurse, slave, we get an understanding of the claustrophobic box Virgo’s been put into over the astro-millenia, likely triggering the anxiety poops we’re known to experience (Virgo, in medical astrology, rules over the gut and intestines, causing a predisposition for sensitivity in these areas). More recently, especially among the astro-youths, Virgo has been described with a bit more levity and freedom as a faerie, a witch, and a healer. I see this as a reclaiming of the magic in stewarding the land rather than reducing Virgo to a reflection of an epochal legacy of populations being forced into service and/or servitude in exchange for basic needs.
Virgo is a place/time/energy to investigate exploitation. In, through, and with Virgo, we have the opportunity to reclaim the self and each other from systems of extraction by refusing to work in service of a false sense of supremacy. Instead, we can honor our own well-being and pledge our labor to the health of sustainable cycles that honor life. We can divert our intentions and expectations into fulfilling that which feels personally expansive and conducive to critical, positive change on Earth.
Virgo corresponds with the planet of signs, Mercury. This quick and erratic planet is involved in movement, transportation, communication, intellect, thought processes, decision-making, and mundane action. In Virgo, Mercury practices pacing and precision. Tuning into the planetary lessons requires quiet and presence, which together cultivate a reverence for the experience of being in-progress and ideally inspires a shift out of routine and into ritual.
FINDING THE MAGIC IN THE MUNDANE
The difference between routine and ritual is simply a question of significance. What do your actions and precious, mundane moments in time mean to you? Can they mean more? Should they mean less? These are questions for the quiet, for the truth beneath the surface, beyond the conditioning. I regularly check in with myself on whether I’m feeling connected with a task. Ideally, the action and the moment enmesh seamlessly. If whatever it is that I’m doing feels discordant, or my body feels resistant, that may just mean that it isn’t the right moment for the action.
Our earthly bodies are microcosms of the Earth on which they reside. If our bodies’ needs are ignored, the needs will only become more urgent. As such, if we don’t take care of the Earth, she will go only so long before demanding us to do so. Through which mundane Virgo matters—such as eating, cleaning, yoga, healing, caretaking, etc. Do you feel engaged with your body, your surroundings, and others with whom you share the planet? When you have the agency to intentionally choose how to satisfy the mundane moments of self maintenance, the magic in those actions has more space to manifest. Having the time to make these choices is necessary, and in Virgo, the Earth offers us that time.
“By reclaiming our time, our choices, our magic, our rituals, we can recycle that love back into the lifeforce that sustains us: the abstract, the tangible, the ever-changing Earth.”
Virgo encourages an assessment of our bodies and minds and an attunement to whatever is off-kilter. Learning to experience this as enlightening rather than excruciating is a very Virgo process. Tuning into the measured speed of the planet, rather than the violently unsustainable speed of capitalism and the imbalanced cycles of exploitation, provides an appreciation for the mundane as magic. The surety of what’s meant to be—the ebb and flow of the tide or the inhale and exhale in your lungs becomes a source of comfort. The dissonances—a stark change in temperature or a shift in your menstrual cycle demand attention.
Virgo’s clarity about what requires alteration is an act of love. By bearing witness to the life that is in every living and once-living thing around us, across time and space, we can choose service to the self and to the land, to the spirits, to the oppressed, to all who occupy an interconnected and threatened life force. Re-energizing this lifeforce is a matter of intention, preparation, and celebration. By reclaiming our time, our choices, our magic, our rituals, we can recycle that love back into the lifeforce that sustains us: the abstract, the tangible, the ever-changing Earth.