Traditional astrology has shown us Virgo images of a sexless old maid school teacher with her legs crossed contrasted with a licentious "profane" prostitute, downtrodden and victimized. The common idea of Virgo is that of a virgin, a sexless person, however, the original meaning of the word virgin has been lost. In Latin, 'virgo' simply means unmarried, while 'virgo intacta' refers to the lack of sexual experience. To say that Virgo is virginal simply means that she belongs to no man, that she can not be possessed. Her sexual acts are not used to obtain possession, security, or power. She does not need a man to give her a sense of identity, rather, that is found within herself and her identification with the goddess. And a major attribute of the goddess was divine sexuality. Hence a woman could make love with a man for their mutual upliftment, not for bonding.
As Stephen Arroyo once said at a conference I attended, "After all, Virgo is an earth sign." Earth signs are sensual, grounded, of the body. The difference for Virgo is that sex must serve a higher purpose. As Virgo sifts the wheat, separating the chaff from the lifegiving grain, so it sifts its human relations so that they must be lifegiving. Virgo sexuality must be dedicated to something higher than itself. It must be for the sacred, dedicated to the goddess principle. What we have lost is the image of the strong woman standing proud in her sexuality, using it to serve the divine by sharing it and its bounty with others, teaching through her bliss and ecstasy. When this image is lost to us as a culture, many are lost as to their own definition of themselves, and it hurts us all by limiting our perceptions of our own sexuality and its higher purpose.
The great goddess in her bounty, bestowing life, love, bliss, including sexual pleasure, is an image that has survived all attempts to tarnish it even if it has had to go underground to do so. Virgo embodies this image of sacred sexuality and will become stronger by reclaiming it. The sacred prostitute archetype is one of sexual strength and healing, not the sexually crippled image of Virgo some of us have been given. Virgo is not the split between the madonna or the whore, Virgo is the integration of the madonna and the whore, and thus holds a key for all of us as we strive to integrate the many and varied parts of our Self.
© 2010 Catherine Auman