At Home in the Universe

Book of Your Life for Virgo | By Eric Francis Coppolino

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The first thing to know about Virgo is that it’s the sign of the Goddess. Interestingly, there is no sign that represents God, per se. We have Sagittarius, which points us toward the outer cosmos (and religion), and Pisces, which points us toward the inner cosmos (and mysticism). Yet we do indeed have a sign of the zodiac, a central idea, that’s about the Divine Feminine. In the astrological system, divinity per se is a feminine embodiment. Feminine takes us within. This is why the first task of the astrologer, or the astrological seeker, is to “know thyself.”

Sign Art by Lizanne E. Webb.

Virgo is an earth sign, and that’s the direction we look in for anything spiritual in female form: toward our home planet. If divinity has any meaning at all, it must start with what nurtures our existence, and the substance of which we’re made.

Yet to experience divinity as one born under the sign Virgo, or with Virgo rising, there’s work to be done. Some of it is spiritual work, the work of evolution. Virgo is one of the most mentally oriented signs, which is challenging to live within. Too often, the potent thought process of Virgo turns on itself, and the result can be debilitating. One of your most important projects in this lifetime is to be less hard on yourself. If you want to be a better person — however you define that — you will find the answer through some other means.

A combination of factors is making this especially important to address now. Some of them are in your sign, which is a good place to start. One of them is a point rarely used by astrologers, called Transpluto. This is not a planet but rather a kind of mental phantom, technically called a hypothetical. It exists only in mathematics, in computer programs, and in the minds of some few astrologers.

It’s still newly in Virgo, at the beginning of an approximately 75-year journey across your sign. Transpluto would be less meaningful were it not so obviously relevant. It represents the principles of narrowness, contraction, perfectionism and high focus. There can also be a do-it-yourself obsession. Researcher Lynn Koiner describes the ‘reformer complex’ as a key attribute of Transpluto, which can translate in the personal sense to an obsession with self-improvement.

When we consider your naturally self-critical nature, all of this tells me you must ease back on these qualities rather than lean into them. You have plenty; your momentum will carry you, if you stay out of your own way. There comes that time in any growth or improvement project where you have to ease back, have a glass of wine or even smoke a cigarette. Radical, I know. However, you’re at a stage of your life where you must follow your own rules, and to do that, your rules must be practical and workable. There’s no point setting goals that you cannot meet.

Often Transpluto represents an internalized authority complex: a kind of inner persecutor. Nearly everyone on the planet was born with Transpluto in Leo, which describes a certain pervasive self-esteem complex that we experience on a pandemic scale. The very most important work of growth, of therapy, or of any spiritual process, is addressing this internalized persecutor. You can do it, though it takes a gentle kind of discipline, and it requires assistance. The very impulse of Transpluto is to go it alone, and this is something you must be mindful of, because it’s false data. Yes, ultimately, one learns guitar and is not taught, but the teacher makes that learning easier. The teacher provides an example.

Another factor in Virgo is called Orcus. A slow mover out beyond Neptune, Orcus is like Pluto but without the passion. Whatever you may say about Pluto, at times it can generate heat. Orcus is chilly, and its impulse to grow feels that way. With Pluto, sooner or later, one must make friends with the task at hand. Pluto’s obsession and do-or-die nature can have an erotic or transcendent quality. With Orcus, that’s not so easy, so you may be feeling the drive to grow and yet reaching for passion for growth. As long as you know you have this influence, you can find that passion in other ways; and who knows, we may be able to transform Orcus (which was only discovered in 2004, the year prior to the discovery of Eris).

So, to me, Orcus is saying: find your passion. If you’re getting the message to grow and to become, find your passion for growth. Passion means feeling, beauty, angst, love, confusion, pain and discovery: the things you discover in every meaningful endeavor. This may involve confronting the thing that humanity must fully engage in order to claim its soul: a certain inner emptiness.

We see a lot of this but it doesn’t usually get called by that name. We feel a lot of it and often don’t identify what’s going on; the outer forms that this quality takes are often things like chasing unwanted success, materialism or the quest for the special relationship. In other words, it’s projected outward, and when we do that, it’s difficult to identify what’s really happening.

During the Standing Rock protest, I saw a meme that I thought was meaningful and got to the point. It said something like, “We don’t need our men to be gentlemen. We need you to go out into the desert and take peyote and face the emptiness inside yourself.” I would say that this is true for everyone in some sense, whether the means involve an entheogen (formerly called hallucinogens) or art or spiritual training; this is a circumstance ubiquitous to the human condition.

Said another way, we’re coming to a crest of the spiritual crisis, both personal and collective, which means that it’s time to move toward the roots of that crisis.

Pisces on the 7th: A Universe of Possibilities for Healing

Pisces is the 7th house of Virgo, meaning that it’s where you can look for information about relationships and partnerships. It’s challenging enough to have Pisces here. Most people seek tangibility and commitment from relationships. They want some certainty. With Pisces as the sign coloring most of your relationship experiences, this is not easy. You encounter a particularly stark contrast between the drive for concrete knowledge that Virgo has, and the ethereal, mystical energy of Pisces. This takes some skill and spiritual depth to be able to navigate.

Currently Pisces is the scene of a great gathering. There are two centaur planets present (Chiron and Nessus), two Kuiper objects (Manwe and Borasisi), and there is Neptune, technically the outermost planet (though that’s a quirk of categorization; many planets are further out than Neptune, including two just mentioned).

Additionally, for the past 18 months or so, eclipses have been moving through the Virgo/Pisces axis (following the lunar nodes), which has likely been shaking up your relationships and your sense of identity, which are often related — particularly with the nodal axis influencing both at once. The nodes and the eclipses are moving on to Leo and Aquarius, which will take some direct pressure off of you. Note: it can take some time to settle down from eclipses passing through your sign.

Even if we just consider the combination of Neptune and Pisces in your 7th house, that’s describing a high demand for integrity. It’s not so much that you or anyone specifically lacks integrity. It’s more like, when you’re sailing on the ocean, paying attention to the weather is more important than when you’re driving your car down a freeway. In your current environment, you’re in the land of truth or consequences, but not the trivial kind.

The two best-developed factors (that is, best understood by astrology) in your 7th house are Neptune (which has been present since around 2011) and Chiron (which has been present since around 2010). Either could precipitate a crisis; Chiron is particularly good at it, though it’s often a healing crisis.

To say that Chiron would do so through an emphasis on your relationships is an understatement, though the primary effect is to focus what you had not seen before, what was invisible, or what you were denying. Our society and much of our relationship dynamics depend on denial to be what they are, and when that goes away, then there can be a sudden confrontation with all that was not previously noticed or acknowledged.

With Chiron in the 7th it’s vital to have some interpretation other than your relationships being one long series of disasters. You must take a positive view, emphasizing what you have learned, and the ways your experiences have transformed you. Chiron is an antidote for woundology, which you might think of as living while putting your injuries out to the world first, as some kind of sigil of your identity. Chiron does this by provoking healing every time you engage with it, and that healing comes with awareness of the problem first. If you take Chiron as your teacher, you will put healing rather than injury out to the world first, and when you’ve got some mastery there, you will comfortably orient on service.

One crucial and beautiful element of Chiron’s presence is the opportunity to engage with teachers, healers and mentors. In a sense you must consider everyone in your life to be a teacher, under such potent influence of Chiron, though that may at times come in the form of lessons learned. Still, it’s likely that you have drawn to you one or more genuine exemplars who have managed to reach you, and teach you something about vulnerability and human connection. The thing is, this is unlikely to have come in the form of a ‘special relationship’, which has meaning of its own: Chiron teaches the many, many forms of profound intimacy. Twenty-seventeen is the last full year of Chiron in Pisces; in 2018 Chiron will gradually transition into Aries, with another set of effects that I will write about in a future reading — though we could sum that up in one statement:

Neptune arrived soon after Chiron did, and will be with you in your relationship house for several more years. I’ve written many times that the experiences, lessons and skills cultivated under Chiron in Pisces will be necessary to remember once Chiron has left, and Neptune is the primary influence on your relationships.

Neptune in the 7th can have three main effects. One is that it can turn your relationships into a kind of dream or fantasy, where the dream figures manifest and then move on. These can be genuinely beautiful and meaningful experiences, though they don’t seem to last in the way that we expect special relationships to last. There is often a setup where entanglements become difficult to maintain; the environment may be so slippery or nebulous, it becomes difficult to grasp or cling to.

Second, there can be a feeling of isolation. It’s almost like you can see and hear everyone, but cannot reach out and touch them. Neptune can have a curious way of insulating one from contact. At the same time, it can provoke a fantasy existence, where everything is going on in your imagination; this too is like insulation from intimacy. It may seem like imaginal experiences are the only ones available. Chiron is providing a counter to that influence, in the form of its ‘get real’ approach to life. As you dream things up, Chiron may be showing up to awaken you from the dream. If this pattern exists for you, please do take notice of it.

Third, Neptune is a caution about the influence of toxins in your environment. The first and most obvious is noticing the influence of alcohol, which shows up another way, which I’ll get to shortly. Seeing the effects of alcohol is difficult, because they are so pervasive, considered so normal, and available on every street. However, if there is alcohol present in your life, say on more than a twice-weekly basis, or in the life of someone you’re intimate with, you might look to that as an indicator of what’s really happening in your partnerships.

For you, intimacy and integrity are synonyms right now. Neptune places a high priority on this. Remember, the factors that I’ve described as Chiron are your best means of addressing the factors I’ve described as Neptune. And this brings me to Nessus, which is something of a morph of these two influences. Nessus, a centaur, is a relatively recent arrival and will be in your opposite sign until 2032.

This is calling for genuine mastery in the field of relationships. There is nothing you can take for granted under this influence; you simply must question everything about your interactions with others. Nessus demands a level of mindfulness that verges on requiring awareness on the level of sitting in a therapist’s office 24 hours a day. No cause can be seen separate from its effects. No effect can be seen as separate from its cause. This is a tall order. It’s not vaguely romantic; as with Chiron and Neptune, Nessus is a study in boundaries. You might say that it’s advanced study, given that it will lead you to peel back generations of influences. To do this, you would be well served to study the relationships of your parents and your grandparents, and see the parallels that might arise in your life.

Most of the karma — that is, the persistent issues that we must address in life — is not of our own making. These issues are inherited property. The presence of Nessus will help you sort out and claim your inheritance — and process or return what is not yours. You might say that Nessus in the 7th is about an ongoing process of sorting out. Everything must be evaluated on the basis of what is helpful and what is harmful. You might consider dispensing with the idea of a neutral influence, and instead, categorize based on negative or positive impact. This will compel you to make a commitment regarding whether any influence is productive or not.

A Relationship To Yourself

The sum total so far points to the need to deepen your relationship to yourself and, in truth, the inevitability of this. It’s difficult for you to have relationships in the usual sense of that concept — the kind you see on TV, or the kind that your friends might aspire to. To the extent that you have those relationships, they are still likely to point you back to yourself. There may be several important facets of your life that make it difficult to find others who you can truly relate to.

It’s necessary to see that different external relationships have different purposes. There’s just one all-purpose relationship in your life, which is the one that you have with yourself. You might say that all of civilization was constructed to help us avoid this relationship. The obsession with what is exterior, and a general state of panic over what is interior, within consciousness, is the prevailing state of the world.

Most people are curious but not committed. You must be both.

One way to look at this is to see that all of your relationships are extensions of your own consciousness. This is true on its face: your relationships would not exist without you. But when you add in the factor of projection, that context miraculously vanishes. Now, however, you have the perfect storm pointing you back to your own consciousness at nearly every turn.

This looks like an evolutionary project on a multiple-lifetime scale: as if you’ve reached a point of growth where you are ready to engage the fact that your mind creates your reality; and your relationship to your mind, and your reality, are the only actual relationship that you have. It’s worth considering this as a proposition, as a potential that you test out. It will be especially worthwhile if you’re not having the kinds of relationships that you want, or if you have some persistent theme to your relationships that you want to change.

Let everything point you back to you, as the focal point of your existence. This will enhance your capacity for relationships rather than diminish it. The more solidly you are present for yourself, the more solid you can be for others. But that’s really beside the point; focusing your intimacy with yourself is its own reward.

There is so much controversy about this that it’s almost strange to write about it. We have society-wide problems to contend with, such as vanity, narcissism, egocentrism, and so on: I’m not talking about any of them, though on some level you may need to subvert them. Indeed, it’s the pervasive conditioning for toxic self-obsession that both obscures, and necessitates, the need for a conscious relationship with yourself. If you recognize your own humanity, you will more readily recognize the same attribute in others.

You are more cryptic to yourself than you may imagine, and you’re more cryptic to others. The more comfortable you are in your mind and in your skin, the more transparent you will be to those you encounter — because you have the confidence; because you want to be. In a way, being cryptic is a kind of haze that provides you with a block to intimacy. You no longer want that, and you no longer need it: but resolving the riddle of self must point back to self, rather than to others.

Jupiter, Pluto and Self-Esteem

The presence of Jupiter in Libra, your 2nd solar house (or 2nd by whole-sign houses for Virgo rising), is giving you some added material to work with for this project; some substance that allows you to experience your own presence in the world. The 2nd house is your zone of self-value. It’s also one of the more prominent symbols of relationship — and you have both in the same place.

Jupiter is hanging out opposite yet another factor that’s provoking both self-searching, and discovery of yourself apart from the context of relationship.

Think back on how challenging that’s been at different times in your life: to really feel your presence in a place, and to take your space as your own. Society has a way of diminishing the individual, and this is particularly hard on Virgos. This is likely to have been true in your early family life, which mainly served as a factor that made it necessary to grow up too soon.

Your relationship to yourself is a kind of quest for your original child self. Each breakthrough in self-relating is likely to help you feel a little younger. The way we see this is the ongoing transit of Pluto through your 5th house. The 5th is the house of pleasure and adventures in play. It should be the most active house in the life of a kid. In the case of Virgo, with Capricorn here, there’s that element of being forced to take on adult responsibilities or cares before you had a chance to fully imbibe and experience childhood. Pluto continues to open up your 5th house; which is to say, its movement represents experiences that are urging you to live with passion. Remember, this is about experience, not theory; and experience begins with an experiment. You might say that this is an experiment in coming out of your shell.

For your objectives, anything that leads you to explore life merely for the purpose of fun is something that will serve you well. If you’re really feeling Pluto, that quest will become a bit obsessive, potentially subverting your usual sense of purpose, which is about living well and living seriously. Passion is about healing. Erotic sharing is about healing. Art is about healing. Humor and diversion are about healing. All of this will contribute to your integrity by allowing you to integrate rather than isolate those states of being.

You could say that apart from all the psychological concepts attached to self-esteem, the experience you’re looking for is feeling good about who you are. This is a feeling, not a concept. Rather than strive for the feeling, the thing to do is give yourself the experiences that you want; the experiences that will enrich you and help you develop into your personhood.

What you may encounter is guilt, however. Guilt is the indication of something that you need to express outwardly, usually anger or resentment. To feel good about yourself, it’s vital that you know how to express who you are, and what you feel. It’s not easy to see that guilt is about the emotions of anger and resentment turned on themselves. The reason this is difficult to identify is that these feelings seem natural. I assure you, they are anything but natural; they are the very definition of synthetic. Once you know that, they’re a lot easier to address: but this takes real self-awareness.

It’s handy that every facet of your astrology is pointing you in this direction.

Unusual Expressions of Eroticism

On the day the Sun ingresses your sign, the Moon is conjunct Vesta in Virgo. Apart from the fact that Vesta will spend most of (Northern Hemisphere) summer in your sign, this places extra emphasis on one of the most interesting asteroids. Again, we come back to the theme of unusual relationship patterns.

Both Vesta and Virgo are about service. Yet a prominent Vesta describes a service to others that often involves facilitating and holding space for their growth, without getting attached to them. This is mirrored in many other facets of your astrology, such as the planets in Pisces, which describe patterns of relating that take you beyond the ‘special relationship’.

If you’re in a committed partnership, you may find yourself serving as a facilitator for growth of your partner that does not specifically involve you getting a direct benefit, other than the satisfaction of assisting their process. Rather than trying to subvert your own needs in the relationship, you can indulge your own need for authentic devotion, which really means devotion to who someone is, and who they are becoming. Under these conditions, you would be wise to listen to what anyone close to you says about their need to become someone new, to expand their horizons and enter unfamiliar territory. What qualifies you for this process is how you’ve had to do this for yourself — often without the benefit of someone being present for you. You know the vulnerability of self-discovery well enough to be able to assist others in this process.

This is likely to happen on a fairly regular basis over the coming seasons. You may find that lovers experience you, only to move on and find a longer-term relationship. You may find yourself in a teaching role, which is best to embrace consciously and warmly. Vesta is about devotion, and rewards devotion. This is not about others: it’s about what you do, and what you offer.

Trust that you serve a vital purpose in the lives of the people who encounter you, though it would be wise to let them say that; to never state it out loud yourself, but rather allow the experience to evolve. Though I use the term rarely, it’s necessary to keep your ego out of the way, in the sense of taking credit for anything. Your own potent growth process, which is fully self-activating, provides a form of kinetic energy that influences the growth process of others.

You are able to provide a kind of ultimate service, with your being. Sometimes this will involve offering yourself in sexual service, which is a sacred gesture, indeed. If someone experiences you and their life improves, or if they heal some facet of their existence, or discover something that was missing — let this give you happiness. If you can, for a moment, relieve someone’s existential loneliness, do so — knowing that the experience will point you back toward yourself, where you need to be.

This does not necessarily involve physical sex; you may be in the role of a trusted advisor, teacher or guide, potentially with people much younger than yourself. Try not to act too shocked when you figure out how little many young people know about sex, or how much they learned about sex from porn (both men and women).

Should you find yourself in a position of what I’m calling erotic service, in the form of physical sex, you may experience some guilt, shame or embarrassment. Most people eschew or avoid these emotions and the things that seem to lead to them. In tantric teaching, the idea is to approach them. This is a core idea in terms of relating the use of sexuality to liberation of who you are.

Experiencing embarrassment, guilt and shame, all variants of the same basic emotion, indicate that you’ve come to a boundary within yourself that was set up by society. Often this is the result of family conditioning, though religion plays a part; the objective of family and/or society (functionally the same thing) is to prevent you from crossing that boundary into some forbidden experience. Experiencing any emotion along the guilt spectrum is an indicator that you’ve arrived in forbidden territory. Yet the weird part is that this is territory inside yourself.

Does it really make sense to have forbidden areas inside yourself? The way to address this is to go toward, rather than away. Treat embarrassment as a veil; the greatest rewards are on the other side of that barrier, within yourself. To experience this is to experience actual sexual healing, which liberates many other facets of consciousness. Working with this process is one of the tools with the greatest spiritual leverage. It gets right to the heart of what binds society together in the most toxic sense of that idea; and what traps and neutralizes the inherent energy of the goddess.

At Home in the Universe

Children in our society are born from an infinite state of potential into a small and controlling family of origin. It’s likely, however, that you had some sense that your family was not your real family: that there had to be something more. And you are correct.

The way this appears in your solar chart is the sign Sagittarius being four signs away from yours. That means it’s your 4th house, the root or foundation of your chart. This is an extraordinarily interesting placement to have on the 4th house, one of the most intimate houses in the chart. It represents things like your bedroom, your home, your garden, and whether you feel safe on the planet.

Your 4th house is like that cabinet in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It leads somewhere vast, somewhere indescribable. It’s a lot bigger than Narnia: it’s the known universe. Sagittarius contains two center-points of our cosmos: our local Galactic Core, the center of our 300,000,000,000,000-star island in space; and the Great Attractor, which in turn is the center-point of 100,000 such galaxies.

I can imagine you as a child figuring out that your bed was on the floor and the floor was held up by the house, which was held up by the ground, which was part of the Earth, and right below the Earth, infinity. That’s where you live. I know that this has nothing to do with the usual descriptions of Virgo, which tend to get caught up in somewhat smaller topics.

And in this vast, vast universe, there’s the question of what to do, right here, right now, to do the right thing. This is indeed a real question, and it’s one so immense and wide that it’s easy to ignore, or not notice. In a sense you have to contain yourself, with a feeling of home that expansive. Yet the fact is, you are at home in the universe, and you’re entitled to feel that way.

At the moment, there are a number of spectacular transits going through this house. In some ways, these are defining your life, or they rightly would. We might say that all of the deepest questions live with you, right in your room. This includes all of the relational questions and developments I’ve described above, and a good bit more.

Though there are many significant, interesting smaller planets in Sagittarius right now, the main presence is Saturn. In whatever manifestation it may take, Saturn often points to one’s purpose in life. That purpose may be expressed through some form of profession, vocation, avocation, dharma or calling: for you it matters less what you call it, and more that you respond when you are called.

I spoke quite a bit about your function as one who holds space. If you consider what you contain, you’ll have an idea of what it means to do that space holding; you open up a micro-cosmos for anyone you play this role with. Yet Saturn is saying that you must clear space for yourself. You must clear away any of the outdated values from previous life experiences that clutter your life. That may mean taking a real step not away from but beyond the influences of your family.

Once you clear out some psychic space, and perhaps physical space, which might mean getting some physical and at least emotional distance from these past influences, your perspective will change. The thing you’re being called to do, the mission you know you have, will be more obvious. You are not far from it now, though you must have your heart and your spiritual senses open to be able to perceive it clearly. Then it will take courage to answer.

There is no formula for this, except to do your best to make sure that you’re not attached to, or locked into, situations that prevent it. Borrowing from A Course in Miracles, all you need to do is remove the blocks to the awareness of love. Love itself cannot be taught, only experienced.

We began with Virgo being the sign of the Goddess. The seemingly peculiar orientation on relationships that you’re being taught, the kind of orientation that mainstream society seems to overlook or diminish, will help guide you there. In many ways, the greater half of learning consists of unlearning.

This year is likely to bring many experiments in what you do with your time, and what you want to do with your talent. These may seem to fluctuate between what you do for passion and what you do out of duty. There is a key to happiness in learning to hybridize these. Duty must become passion and, in a sense, passion must become duty. Your sign is not ruled by Saturn, but the things you love to do, and the ones you feel called to do out of a sense of service, both are.

The deeper you go into your passion — in any form that it takes — the more you will set free the true motive beneath your quest to be of service. Remember what gets you going; remember what turns you on, and develop that: make it your own.

The universe is not usually embraced all at once, nor is your place in the universe. Rather, you engage with it in momentary interactions, and you make it with everything you make, everyone you speak to, everyone and everything you touch. Imagine that in each of those contacts, you weave existence, and give life to the world.

Virgo is something of the innovator of many small things adding up to something vast and beautiful. It’s the ritual of the habitual; the choice to be spiritual in every moment and to be a healer or holder of sacred space in every experience. That’s no small task; and there is no greater.

Or said another way, the devil is in the details — and so is God.


Chart for Virgo.

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