This article first appeared on Mooncircles. It is reprinted here with permission of the author.

As a schoolgirl, every year about this time, I'd take out a clean sheet of paper and with a bold, optimistic hand, write at the top: "The New Me." Then I would list all the wonderful qualities I was determined to adopt in the coming school year: "Smile." "Be helpful." "Always say something nice." In the weeks before entering fifth grade, I read Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People and following a suggestion in the book, made note cards of its winning slogans and strategies. I knew nothing about astrology. I was following the Sun's path into Virgo quite unconsciously--which is something I continue to do. Last night, forgetting entirely about Virgo's coming New Moon (and the article I needed to write for it), I was imagining the butcher block paper I was going to tape to the wall, filled with qualities I wanted to nurture in the new me.

When the wheat-bearing Virgin enters our consciousness, we're moved to gather the year's yield so far, sorting what's useful from what's not, so that we may purify and reorient ourselves. As the sixth New Moon of the astrological year, Virgo is a transitional sign, turning our concerns from the above-ground growth of spring and summer, to the more critical, introspective work of autumn and winter. We're digesting all that we've absorbed in the prior seasons. We're raising our powers of discernment and analysis. We're inspired toward perfection, a refinement of our techniques. How can our lives be improved? What must change? This cycle we choose some aspect of our world to take apart, cleanse, re-work, and polish until it shines.

My sister always gave me plenty of faults to work with. "You're too uptight and hard-hearted. You care only about yourself." The lover I recently broke up with is writing me emails saying much the same. I can still remember what my ex-husband, my parents, everyone who's ever had an unkind word has said about me. Being Virgo rising, I've always paid attention to such criticisms, on a mission to become perfect. But I wonder. As I raise my pen to compose another self-improvement list, a rogue thought enters my mind. What if Virgo's discernment also means honoring the positive reflections I've received? These I usually discard..."Generous and kind? You must be talking about someone else. Insightful? Not insightful enough! You think I write well? Someone's pulled a veil over your eyes. This skirt would look good on anyone, nothing special about me."

What are alternatives to being perfect?

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  • I wonder what would happen if I filled my butcher-block paper with a more positive harvest? Instead of describing the perfect person I want to become, why not review the good things I've tended this summer? I finally grew sweet peas after years of saying I would. I got my son to read two books during his vacation of video games-we had some rich conversations too. I got to witness amazing breakthroughs with clients and received positive feedback that makes me blush. I've made progress on the book I'm writing. And I've been exploring tantric dance, a goddess wisdom that initially felt as foreign as eating fish eyeballs. The more I danced this summer, the more joy I felt in being a woman, and the more kindness I felt toward myself and others. Friends and acquaintances say "What's happened? You look so different! More relaxed, more joyful...more powerful!" This is not the kind of things a Virgo rising usually hears. This is not a reflection of the humble, perfectionistic, hard-working Virgo. But isn't this good stuff Virgo too?

    The beauty of the goddess is the less publicized Virgo, the ancient mystery Virgo, the Virgin Virgo, harrassed by no one, pure and unafraid. Known as Diana to the Romans, Brigid to the Celts, Artemis to the Greeks, she's both hard-working and delightfully free. She roams with elemental forces, knows the secrets of roots and herbs, keeps the rhythms of earth and Moon, heals animals, assists in childbirth, climbs mountains, keeps hearths warm, and is entangled by nothing. This is Virgo with the wild and joyful heart. When I hold my pencil just so, with sensitive fingers, the wild-hearted Virgin guides me to hear the forest whispering in its wood. When I walk barefoot through my house, she guides me to feel the earth breathing beneath the floor. Why did it take me so long to see her beauty embodied in me?

    Pluto stations Direct shortly before this New Moon. It's time to go forward on the good transformations. Allow yourself to make good on those aspirations and ideas that have perhaps been stewing since March, when Pluto went retrograde. Venus and Jupiter conjunct in the New Moon chart are a happy symbol. Take joy in the goddess' grace, be generous with your beauty. And the Sabian Symbol for this year's Virgo New Moon? It says, "After the wedding, the groom snatches the veil away from his bride; the penetrating and unveiling power of the trained mind." May you snatch the veil away from your own virgin beauty this cycle. Virgo's discernment could mean loving things exactly as they are right now. That's a kind of perfection too.

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