The Integration Point

Dear Friend and Reader:

Virgo may be the most interesting sign. It’s certainly one of the most complex, laced with inconsistencies that only start to make sense over time. Yet I would also make the daring statement that at this time in history, Virgo and what it represents may be the most relevant sign — to notice, and to learn from.

Fractal flame, created by Gut Monk, Wikimedia Commons.

It may be the sign that represents what we are going through at this stage of human and planetary evolution.

In last year’s introduction to Virgo, Threefold Goddess in a Field of Grain, I referenced Alice Bailey’s chapter on Virgo in her 1951 text Esoteric Astrology. She describes Virgo as the place in the womb of the goddess that gestates the highest human potential.

“The sign Virgo is one of the most significant in the zodiac,” Bailey wrote in her introduction to this sign, “for its symbology concerns the whole goal of the evolutionary process, which is to shield, nurture and finally reveal the hidden spiritual reality. This every form veils, but the human form is equipped and fitted to manifest it in a manner different to any other expression of divinity and so make tangible and objective that for which the whole creative process was intended.”

An idea becomes real; a potential manifests. The germ of life inside the seed of grain is protected, and when the conditions are right, it emerges and grows. That is the essence of Virgo, where we see so much in the way of intellectual expression yearning for a place to take form. To do this, it’s necessary to honor the life within what we’re doing, and the deeper life within ourselves. This takes patience and care. It requires living in service of that inner light, until it’s fully born.

Even in the most ordinary themes of Virgo we see these qualities expressed — for example, the undeniable emphasis on service that Virgo so often presents. When a person with strong Virgo in their chart is in conflict or crisis, it would be a good idea to check for the extent to which they are honoring and are in harmony with that inner life. Note: service does not necessarily mean being a nurse or a teacher. It means doing what one came here to do; it means following one’s true calling, which almost invariably serves humanity.

In today’s article I would like to introduce another idea about Virgo, something I’ve been mulling for a while and that is starting to come into focus.

Julia Set, a fractal related to the Mandelbrot Set and the Fatou Set. Wikimedia Commons.

Virgo is one of the four mutable signs. The first of the four is Gemini, which I described in an article from this past spring called A Glass Bottomed Boat Reveals Undersea Wonders.

Gemini is the seat of dualism in the zodiac. While most of the signs describe dualism to some degree and all of them imply it in some way, Gemini is the first sign where a person shows up, and there are not one but two people. The mutable signs all carry this quality, of reflection, of two sides to the story.

We see this reflected in the many ways that both consciousness and society always seem to bifurcate — to split into two. The two could be female-male; self-other; light-shadow; sinner-saint; higher-lower; rich-poor; paper-plastic; debit-credit; gay-straight; single-married; perpetrator-victim; content-structure; form-function —  and so on, and on.

The story of physical life seems to be an endless study in binary splits, and I believe this is gradually driving us insane. At the least, it sets the scene for a worldview that cannot really make sense of existence.

If Gemini, ruled by Mercury, is the sign where dualism is the most obvious, Virgo may be the mutable sign where it tries to come together as one thing. Mercury is described in classical astrology as a planet with no sex — officially, it’s the only androgynous planet. (Personally, I think that Saturn does a good job being androgynous as well.)

Another Mercury-ruled sign, Virgo has no obvious theme of dualism. It’s there — in various forms of inner tension, conflict, changing positions spontaneously, and a struggle to express male or female energy clearly. If Gemini is the sign of either/or, Virgo is the sign of trying to be neither, and I think therein lies the main clue what this sign is about.

Natural fractal shape of Romanesco broccoli. Photo by Jon Sullivan / Wikimedia Commons.

Think of Virgo as the place where opposites collide and try to fuse into one thing. I recognize that this is a concept sometimes attributed to the next mutable sign Sagittarius, though Virgo is a step on the way to getting there. It’s the place where most of the work of integration actually happens. This is the essential conflict of Virgo — its role is to constantly integrate opposite polarities.

Most of the struggle of both society and of individuals at this time involves the attempt to judge, cast off or attack whatever is perceived as the opposite. The energy field known as Virgo has the impressive work of calling back that projection of otherness and reabsorbing it into the whole. This is a vital expression of the holistic principle, which seems to find its home in Virgo. It is not surprising that Virgo has emerged as the sign associated with holistic healing.

This attribute of Virgo seems to have emerged right around when Chiron was discovered, seen as the patron saint of healers and associated with Virgo.

This is some of the most important growth work that we can be doing in a time of history when dualism is in fact killing us. Ways of thinking that are based on domination or are strictly linear are out of balance, and are driving the world out of balance. Models of business that function exclusively to provide profits at any cost to people and the environment are out of balance. Yet it’s easy to rationalize this away, on the argument that we need energy or that life is not fair.

Notably, all of this begins with thought patterns, which are a primary topic area of Virgo. Everything begins as thought, and then manifests as a physical reality. We are not going to fix the world without healing the patterns of thought that are driving the world into its present state.

You might call that state one of disintegration, which is happening many places you look. It’s also an inner struggle, for people whose life purposes are out of joint with one another — the seemingly separate functions of relationship, work, family, creative outlets and earning money. One dire necessity of a great many people is to get these elements of life working with one another rather than against one another.

The Mandelbrot Set, the first fractal ever discovered — though the original didn’t look so pretty. Wikimedia Commons.

I know that this seems like an impossible assignment, requiring more thought, energy and intelligence than seems available. Thinking is a skill, it’s hard work, and it seems like it’s ever less popular.

The world is dumbing down constantly, despite all these information superhighways that so often seem to be devoid of anything vaguely meaningful.

Here is where Alice Bailey’s idea about Virgo becomes even more helpful. She views it as the place where the true spiritual core of humanity is gestated and nurtured. She describes this in metaphorical terms as the gestation of the Christ consciousness within Mary. Said another way, this is describing the birth of a germ of consciousness within mother/mater/matter. The Earth is intelligent, she thinks and she supports and gestates the next generation of thought.

The problem of imbalance and of mental chaos is not going to be solved using the same thought patterns that created it. Even if we were to apply logic, ethics and science, we would still be likely to have a problem we could not solve on the same level. There must be something else.

I don’t think we’re going to integrate opposites by putting them into a blender together. Rather, the work of integration must be begun in earnest, however that feels for each person. Then some new thing will emerge, first in consciousness, then in the world. Eventually it will become a collective phenomenon — though that is a whole other step in the process, where we will need to bring Aquarius into the scenario. There is an esoteric — that is, hidden — relationship between Virgo and Aquarius, where what gestates in a hidden way is released into the collective. We may be closer to that point than is obvious to the eye.


Planet Waves Monthly Horoscope for September 2014 | By Eric Francis

Aries (March 20-April 19) — The chaos factor you’re experiencing may be the result of clinging to an idea about yourself — some point of identity, which feels like insisting on ‘I am’. This has its effect whether one claims to be a doctor, married, cool, pure, gay, straight, trans, smart, stupid, old, young or any other descriptor. One problem with ‘I am’ is that it changes, and right now it’s changing rapidly for you. This may be making you nervous enough to hold on tight — to anything. ‘I am’ rarely describes the deeper and more meaningful level of existence; indeed, the insistence on identity can serve to obscure much else. Your existence is an adventure, a fact that is especially true now. Yes, you need something you can refer to for stability. A relationship will not serve that purpose, especially if that relationship cannot contain the discoveries you’re making about yourself. So what does that leave? It leaves the quest that you’re on. Define yourself by the adventure that’s before you, and within you. Define yourself by the questions that you ask. Know yourself in your immediate experience, by perceiving what is shown to you — and then gradually recognizing the perceiver. Consider the notion, “I am the mind of the senses, the consciousness of creatures.” Who is that mind? Who is that awareness? This is who you are.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — How risky are ideas? For many people they are terrifying; notice how distinctly unpopular thinking is. Notice society’s tendency to censor, to control, and to spy on what people say. But does that really mean ideas are actually risky? Well, they can be, in the sense that they are the precursor to progress. I suggest you take all the risks you can muster when it comes to thinking for yourself. To do that, you might need to tune in to the ways you were conditioned not to think for yourself, which includes everything from unquestioned prejudices to going along with the crowd to believing something is true because a parent or partner says it’s true. And herein lies the trap — the fear that if you dare to be original, or to question consensus reality, you will be cast out of the tribe. That’s about the last thing you have to worry about now; you are more likely to be considered in a position of leadership, specifically because you possess and use your capacity to think, and to think creatively. Here is a formula you can try, which can turn problems into solutions: Catch yourself every time you go into safe/narrow/prejudiced mode. Pause right then, and prompt yourself to question. Step over the nonexistent barrier and consciously allow your thoughts to unfold.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Sex is communication. Whatever else it may seem to be — recreation, reproduction, creativity, commerce — on the deepest level, it’s an exchange of feelings, energy, contact and words, all inherently communicative. When there’s any kind of breakdown around sex, from antipathy or cheating to violent assault, you can count that as a failure of communication. When you notice one of those, the first thing to do is to get the conversation going. The semantic origins of the word communicate are “to share, divide out; impart, inform; join, unite, participate in,” literally “to make common.” That’s the thing to reach for. This concept could be the basis for an entire course on sex education, suitable for adults or children. Think of it — common ground as the basis for relationship. What a radical notion. You are being drawn into that common ground right now, and it may seem on the surface to be about some form of romance or partnership. That would be true if the world were rated PG-13, but it’s not. Biology runs things on our particular planet, and that topic usually gets an XXX rating. Now, there aren’t usually many words spoken in those awesome little 10-minute features, and it’s up to you to bring some form of a dialog to the table. Not the bedroom; that’s not the best place to talk. The kitchen table is much better.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — When people say the word ‘commitment’ they usually mean ‘control’. This is not always true; in the most functional situations, commitment obviates the need for control. But in its shadow form, there is usually an expectation that someone is going to give up their power to someone else. I suggest you keep an eye on this, in whatever direction the energy may flow. Make sure your primary commitment is to yourself, and make sure that you’re open with yourself about how you feel about any given situation. Identify your needs without guilt, hesitation or resentment, then set about getting them met one by one. Honesty with everyone is central to this process, which always begins as responsiveness to your inner dialog. Now, you might notice how much of that involves the attempt at self-control — and you might notice that there are forces at work in your psyche that are saying it’s time to cut loose. This may especially be true around your work or profession. You seem tired of being hemmed in, and ready to accomplish something much greater than you ever have in the past. You do not need to revolt or reinvent your life. I suggest you do what you know works well, always with an original flare, and the revolution will come to you.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Though the Sun has moved on to Virgo, he has very courteously left Jupiter in Leo for the next 11 months. Going back years, there have hardly been any slow-moving planets visiting your sign (Saturn was the most recent one, and that was between 2005 and 2007). You now no longer need to feel like you must make something from nothing. You now have your own little solar system to play in, a planet 1,200 times the size of Earth, with 67 confirmed natural satellites. Jupiter is opening up a profound source of knowledge for you, though rather than being some form of abstract information, I mean direct wisdom. The idea is not to learn this wisdom but rather to become it. This may seem like a stretch for you, but this is the specialty of Jupiter — to broaden your horizons, to widen your mind and to open up a field of potential that you never knew existed. But this is more than wide; there is depth and a concentrated flow of energy revealed by the aspect pattern that Jupiter is making. That is depth you can access, and energy that will flow directly to you. There is no skill you cannot learn or apply. There is no problem you cannot solve. It is essential that you remain open and as free from negative thought patterns as you can.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — At this time in your life, some of the most important soul-level work you can do involves sexual healing. This process has been in progress for about six years, since Pluto entered Capricorn, your solar 5th house. Pluto describes what one author famously called “the evolutionary journey of the soul.” Normally the 5th is the place we seek fun and pleasure, though you have Capricorn in this house, which can act as a reservoir of past conditioning. It can store up shame and guilt from past generations. And Pluto is now opening the barriers that contain those fossilized emotions, all in the interest of setting you free. As this happens, it’s essential that you remain aware of what your body is feeling. You may be tempted to take the process to the mental or abstract level. You may be tempted to go to the astral or fantasy level. I suggest you stay grounded, as in bare feet on the ground. It’s essential that you take risks, especially some that you’re the most averse to. More significantly, it’s time to go past the expectations of purity that you think others have of you. Most of these are in your own mind, and they tend to create aversions to both risks and to pleasure. To open pathways to relating, creating and feeling good about yourself, this is where to invest.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Focus less on appearances and more on saying what you really mean. You might even consider forgetting appearances entirely and investing everything into speaking, and living, your truth. I normally would not cast this in such polarized terms, though these two concepts are often mutually exclusive. Appearances are usually designed to conceal the truth. You have a choice to make, though it may not be so starkly clear now as it’s likely to be around the time of your birthday. The decision involves not just whether you want to live with a veil thrown over your reality, and therefore isolated from others, but also why you would want to do so. You are more transparent than you think, and it would support your concept of integrity to be seen and known for who you are. This is for you, not for anyone else. One happy result will be you’ll have more energy to invest in what you love the most dearly. Yet there is something deeper at play here, which is your need to have an open conduit of communication with others, one that is based on actual vulnerability. I recognize how scary this is, especially in our moment of social history when the climate is chilled to below freezing. Others may think this works fine for them; you need warmth, contact and most of all, honesty.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — It’s possible to be motivated by both ideals and money, but don’t confuse one for the other. It’s possible to take profits gained through more conventional motives and invest them in what you consider socially relevant, though this usually requires a level of care and discipline that most people only ever dream about. You might ask what gets in the way of translating what you think of as materialistic into what you hold as spiritual — that is, what values, or what conflicting desires. I suggest you check in with whether you hold back when it comes to your own stated commitment to make the world a better place. Are you concerned that it’s futile, or that it will take too long to make a difference? It may be true that you’re doing everything in your power to stretch beyond your limits and make a positive contribution, but only you can know that for sure. Be aware that a deeper level of motivation is starting to wake up and make itself known. It’s a kind of calling that can only be answered by taking action — not in the future, but right now. Here is the catch: right now has to last a long time, because only sustained action gets results. For that to happen, you really have to be in harmony with yourself and with your deepest motives.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — All this energy you’re feeling is not just coming from you. Some of it is; your brain and body are running hot. You definitely burn food into calories that fuel your nerves and muscles. Yet you’re also tuning into other sources of power and strength, which you might think of as coming from beyond you, or from some aspect of yourself as yet unacknowledged or undiscovered. I suggest you leave that particular theme an open issue, and observe the ways in which you’re inspired, motivated and guided to action. Notice what forces conspire to assist you. Observe whether plans you made long ago are gradually coming to fulfillment. This may have the effect of getting you to consider what you want in the future, not on the basis of whether you think it can be attained but rather whether you think it is the right thing for you. What’s most exciting is how the concept of ‘right for you’ is merging with the notion of ‘right for the world’. One thing our entire society struggles with is the problem of separate and competing interests. If a higher power or superior intelligence is helping guide and coordinate your life, one of the first places you’ll be taken is where there’s efficiency, and where your personal efforts support, and are supported by, the efforts of others.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Laced throughout the literature of spiritualism and occultism is the notion of religion as a kind of science. The idea holds that there’s a true religion, or that if religion is practiced truly, there will actually be a result. This may not manifest for you so overtly, though it may show up as a devotion to purity, to sacrifice, or to the notion that faith must in some way make sense. You’re a more organic person than this. Yes, I see the appeal of the idea, because the human psyche can be chaotic, and you are in an extended phase that often seems to carry the message grow or die. That is not neat or tidy, though I suggest you not succumb to the idea that your growth somehow depends upon your becoming a perfect person, or living your life perfectly. What you can have, and have plenty of, is faith in yourself. The beauty of faith is that it’s not dependent upon any precursor; there is no test you must take in advance. It’s just somewhere you allow your mind to go. You know you’re there because you have less to worry about, rather than more. You know you’re there when your intellect relaxes a bit and accurate information starts coming back to you. You know you’re there when you feel more confident but you don’t necessarily understand why.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Mother — the enigma, the force of nature, the essential thing to leave behind. By leave behind, I mean various things, such as ‘not allow to run your life’ and ‘resolve the issues that you inherited from her and her mother’. I also mean the role of mother, when that role is more or less finished, or when it’s ready to transform. Yet here is what really needs to transform for our whole society — the family as the authoritarian mini-state, borrowing from the words of a great 20th century philosopher. If we want any scant possibility to live on some shared level ground with one another, or to explore any collective form of leadership, we must go beyond the model of absolute authority that is then internalized into perpetual inhibition and approval-seeking. Father plays a role in this, though in our generations that more often involves being absent or only partially present than it does the former ‘father knows best’ model of family. This can still manifest as the disembodied, nagging conscience — what another philosopher called the superego. You need order in your life. Anarchy will not suffice. But neither will the absolute rule of law, emotional or otherwise. The thing to remember is that personal autonomy requires maturity and an evolved sense of responsibility, though one that does not demand answering to someone else.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Set out to do your very best work this month — that which you’ve always wanted or needed to do; that which you could not accomplish before; what you have considered improbable or impossible. A rare connection between Chiron in your sign and Jupiter in Leo (among other planets) is opening up a conduit that could grant what seems like miraculous powers of creativity and achievement. Yet because Chiron and Jupiter are the main players, and since this is astrology we’re talking about, the process is not automatic. You must bring your intentions, your energy and your ideas. You must bring yourself to the work every day, and resume as soon as you can if you must skip a day or two. The effort factor is what will be reduced or made more efficient, and rewarded by a tangible sense of progress. Yet I suggest you not look back — look forward and work steadily. Focus your goals one at a time, and keep your sense of perspective. By that I mean work with a meta-goal and notice how your individual projects relate to one another. There is a pattern that will start to emerge, and the pieces of the plan will begin to fit together. You may feel like you’re bringing in knowledge or wisdom from somewhere else, and there’s no harm acting as if that’s true.

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