Persons born from August 24 to September 24, or those who have this sign rising at birth (which can be ascertained only through a knowledge of the hour of birth), will come under the dominion of the earthly, mutable, discriminating and critical sign Virgo, symbolized by a Virgin holding some ears of corn, and ruled by Mercury, the “Messenger of the Gods.” The intellect of people born under Virgo is as intelligent as that of the other sign which is ruled by Mercury (Gemini), but, fortunately, it is not so vacillating or restless.

Virgo is a somewhat contradictory sign, being the most earthy and passive of the three earthy signs, and at the same time doubly influenced by Mercury, which is exalted therein. It is to be observed that this sign is the only one in the zodiac that claims as ruler the planet thus exalted, and that astrological tradition describes Virgo's ruler as “the negative side of Mercury.”

These facts give peculiar significance to the claims of certain esoteric astrologers that the true ruler of the sign is Vulcan, an undiscovered planet whose existence has been suspected by some astronomers, and whose invisibility could easily be accounted for by its nearness to the Sun and the effacement of its small light by that body. Further plausibility is given to this speculation by the discovery of Neptune in 1846, and astrological observations of its domain lead us to accept it as the true ruler {72} of Pisces, a sign in which similar incongruities have been found in the attempts to justify any of the previously known planets as its lord. A complete and fascinating analysis of this occult claim, reasoned from the symbolism of the ancient god, Vulcan, will be found in Isabelle Pagan's study of the zodiacal signs, entitled “From Pioneer to Poet”; but, as our purpose has been throughout to hold strictly to scientific interpretations, we shall discuss the sign from its mercurial significances, which are not contradictory when we bear in mind the ancient statement that it is the negative side of this planet that operates through this sign.

Mercury is in all respects the very opposite of earth, for he is mutable, mobile, airy, restless, ever-changing; and this antinomy is hard to resolve. Therefore, also, as we have seen to be the case in Gemini, it is extremely difficult to find natives of Virgo whose appearance has not been modified by planetary factors. The earthy type of Virgo native is big, the mercurial type small; but there are no great contrasts between an active and passive type such as we have seen with other signs.

In the earthy type, generally speaking, the head is broad-skulled, sometimes large for the body. The face is generally homely, with a tendency to wide nostrils, and is rather aggressive, sometimes even overbearing in appearance. The eyes are clear but small, frequently with an expression of cunning; they are hardly ever sympathetic. The mouth is small and thin, the very gross lips, occasionally seen, can probably be attributed to planetary interference. The body is often ungainly and {73} with the limbs ill set; there may often be some actual deformities. Nature seems to delight in playing tricks with these people; giants and dwarfs are usually found to have this sign in the Ascendant. The hair is rather indeterminate in color, but though it may be either light or dark, there is a peculiarity of shade which strikes the expert eye. It is often crisp or wavy, and it stands up and away from the forehead in an extremely characteristic manner.

The mercurial type of Virgo native is a very different object. It should be said at once that this type is much more common when the latter degrees of Virgo are rising, and it is a somewhat doubtful point as to whether this type is not really caused by the influence of the entering of Libra into the Ascendant. However this may be, the fact remains that the type is dissimilar in almost all respects, the chief similarity being the tendency to a slight deformity or lameness. The stature of the Virgo native is unusually small; he is exceedingly well knit, well proportioned and active. The skull is very long, the features small and regular, tending to a slightly feminine delicacy. The color of the hair is usually light brown, and that of the eyes hazel or gray; in rare instances, blue. The nose is straight, small and sensitive, though still with rather wide nostrils; and the same adjectives describe the mouth well enough. The expression of the eyes is rather rank and simple; they are inquisitive and active and express a keen intelligence.

Virgo rules the bowels, the solar plexus and sympathetically the lungs and nervous system; disorders of these organs should be guarded against. We must differentiate {74} between the diseases of the intestines that are secondary to stomach troubles and those that arise directly. The region especially under Virgo is the alimentary canal itself.

There is also a connection between Virgo and the roots of the nervous system, Gemini's influence upon this part of the body being more peripheral. Many nervous disorders of the seat of the primary lesion, such as locomotor ataxia, may be traced to afflictions of Virgo. Here again will belong the chlorosis of adolescence. The Astrologer will soon learn by experience to determine in what way planetary influence will cause one disease rather than another; thus, a Saturnian affliction of Virgo might cause tuberculosis of the bowels. Mars might produce typhus, enteric fever, cholera or inflammatory troubles such as colitis. Uranus or Neptune, on the other hand, would be more likely to give rise to “tabes dorsalis” and probably such maladies as Graves' disease, Addison's disease, and perhaps diabetes.

People with Virgo rising are usually very sensible in matters of health and avoid most of the troubles commonly brought about by mismanagement or self-indulgence; they are temperate, with no strong temptation to abuse pleasure. They like quiet, regular and active lives and, as a rule, do not require violent exercise to keep them in health. They are inclined naturally to thinness rather than to fatness, though as a rule the balance is held very even, and any error in diet will usually be on the side of abstemiousness. The lure of the senses has no strong attraction for these people. The simple life agrees with them. It will have been noticed that most of their characteristic {75} maladies are somewhat obscure in origin. A physician, therefore, when consulted by people born under Virgo, will do well to search very deeply into the primary cause of the affliction.

Virgo is one of the signs that confer great length of life, if the perils of early infancy are avoided. Convulsions and infantile diarrhea are the principal dangers at the beginning of life. After that, it is likely that Virgo people will never know a day's illness until the time comes when obscure degenerative diseases begin to menace the constitution. If the Virgo native be under good direction and transits during this period of life, say from thirty-five to fifty, he will probably escape altogether, and may then expect to live to a green old age; in which case, life is likely to be terminated by paralysis.

Baudelaire offers a striking illustration of the way in which these influences operate, for he has Mercury the ruler within three degrees of the conjunction of Mars, which is in exact square to an exact conjunction of Uranus and Neptune; accordingly, he was struck down by complete paralysis, which left him entirely incapable of speech or movement while apparently permitting him the full use of his intelligence and consciousness. In this state he continued for about a year. Contrast with this the case of Oscar Wilde, whose Mercury is in Scorpio, squared by the Moon, and in opposition to Uranus. Such aspects over-power the natural abstemiousness of Virgo. It was indulgence in absinthe, aggravating specific disease, which caused his early death; and the influence of Virgo is indicated strongly by the spectacular manner of that death, so graphically recorded by a biographer. {76}

Mercury being so strong in this sign, there is a great similarity between it and Gemini in the matter of mentality, but the earthiness of Virgo diminishes the pure rationality of this native and his reasoning powers are not valued for their own sake, as we found to be the case with the more positive Mercurial sign.

The Virgo native is extremely practical and his aims are usually influenced by some so-called material advantage. His outlook is apt to be petty and his reason itself hampered by the perpetual intrusion of the pragmatical viewpoint. He is, therefore, practically incapable of producing anything with the fire of true genius, and however talented he may be, it is difficult to conceal the fact that he has “an ax to grind.” Thus Charles Dickens sacrificed his art in his attempt to use it for moralizing propaganda; instead of being engaged with beauty, as was Balzac, he deliberately wrote his novels to help abolish imprisonment for debt and to reform all kinds of abuse. His Sun in Aquarius gave him a humanitarian objective instead of a sordid money gain. It is to be observed in passing that his characters are all moral caricatures, suggesting the tendency to deformity which we have already learned to associate with Virgo, and it is also desirable to call attention at once to the extreme care in matters of detail shown by the master and his weakness in the construction of his plots.

Before leaving the subject, let us glance at a very different individual, an infinitely greater artist, a child of the spirit, whose sense of beauty is so profound that there {77} was nothing feminine upon which his glance fell that he did not transform into a radiant goddess glowing with all the splendors of the spring. But on what material did his poetic imagination work this miracle? A giantess, a dwarf, a negress, an absinthe drinker, or an “affreuse Juivce” – in short, deformity of some sort. Such was the effect of Virgo rising at the nativity of Charles Baudelaire.

The meticulous precision and attention to detail which characterize this sign manifested itself in his choice of words; minute perfection in form was as necessary to him as the intensity of the thought behind it. It is for this reason that, though he left only one book of poems, that book is one of the greatest volumes in all French poetry. Baudelaire's horoscope has so many powerful planetary influences that the ruling sign is little more than a background. A far more characteristic example of the mental influence of the sign is Cornelius Agrippa, whose books showed an astounding capacity for collecting and arranging facts without any ability to harmonize and comprehend them.

The practicality of Virgo and its love of order and arrangement, its patience and foresight, give it a regard for the conventions of life which may easily be mistaken for an ethical morality that the sign itself does not possess. The tendency with Virgo is to talk about ethics instead of feeling in itself what is right and what is wrong. Every fact of nature is a basis for its investigation, but the fact is always observed from outside, and so never really understood. The Virgo type of reformer is a hopeless doctrinaire; he works out by mathematics what is best for everybody and is simply annoyed at the stupidity of people who passionately attack his proposals as callous and immoral. {78}

The Czar Nicholas II and Louis XVI of France both had Virgo rising, and the destinies of the two monarchs are very similar. Both monarchs finding themselves threatened by popular discontent, proceeded to grant Parliamentary Government and then made that government farcical. They were both under the delusion that people who were suffering from real grievances would be satisfied by paper remedies.

It is the prime source of error in Virgo that the native of this sign cannot understand irrational human passion. The lack of humanity and sympathy too often characteristic of Virgo is even more striking than that which we found in Gemini; for that sign, after all, justifies itself by the completeness of its intellectuality, while Virgo habitually applies the intellect to the more material side of every problem. People born under both of these signs should attempt to form a link between heart and mind. Thus the airy quality of Aquarius becomes noble by reason of its humanitarian direction; that of Libra by its close relation with beauty; but Virgo drags down air to earth. There is something repugnant in the idea of compressing and confining air. The very spirit of liberty is in it, and when, instead of wandering unconfined, it is debased to wheeze through old bellows, our conception of its divinity is affronted.

The qualities described are characteristic only of the more or less intellectual types, of course. The average man born under this sign has for his type the husbandman; he is the steady and patient worker, but his work is always routine work.

Virgo, however, is the critic “par excellence.” He never of himself creates, but he discriminates and distinguishes, {79} often indeed with quite unnecessary accuracy. He is the purist, the statistician, the man who works by rule and who generally interprets rule in the narrowest possible way. He instinctively prefers the letter to the spirit. Especially in the earthy type, he has a certain sense of his own failings which is quite subconscious but which operates to make him contented with hard work and little pay. One of his troubles is that he cannot grasp the idea of the dollar because it is such an awful lot of cents, and he really does understand the cent. He lacks the imagination requisite to greatness, even in such a matter as a salary. Success comes to him very slowly and it is usually well earned. In this respect the sign resembles Taurus; but Virgo, being more adaptable, get around obstacles rather than through or over them, and so achieves the same result as Taurus without anything like the same expenditure of energy.

The Virgo native is often too humble, though he is sometimes very sensitive about the little dignity he may happen to possess. He is an object of strong dislike to those of warmer and nobler signs, but he is very fascinating to such people as would fear Aries, Leo, or Scorpio. He gets along easily because he is not aggressive. His insignificance excites no envy and his manner no resentment. His plodding patience assists his capacity and cleverness, and though he will never beat another man to anything, he will sometimes get a first-rate job without asking for it; while the lion and the bear are fighting, the fox slips off with the booty. These people are often what are called compromise candidates in political circles. Whenever a man is wanted to fill a place harmlessly, one should look around for somebody with Virgo rising. There are many situations when {80} the struggle between the really powerful forces is so intense that the triumph of either cannot be attained without the ruin of both; and, in such a case, a person who is neither acceptable nor unacceptable, positive on neither side but actually negative to both, offers the only solution.

Virgo is thrifty and very constructive in financial affairs. The Virgo native is accurate in his accounts and inclined to pay much attention to petty details, believing concretely that if he “takes care of the pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves.” He is thus open to the accusation of stinginess and, in undeveloped types, may be very mean.

Mercury being the god of commerce (as well as of thieves), the native of Virgo is extraordinarily well adapted to routine business and is exceedingly clever at driving a bargain.

He will expend infinite trouble on saving a penny, and finds great pleasure in getting the best of a bargain. It exasperates him to find himself outwitted by one of the moral types, whom he looks down upon but whose imagination has a far wider range of vision than is possessed by the man who is limited by Virgo. The narrowness of his horizon is frequently the cause of his being overreached. He painfully adds up columns of figures while the other man, having made a rough estimate, is occupied with the dynamic qualities of his scheme. In other words, Virgo makes an excellent bank clerk or cashier, but rarely produces a financier.

In his speech and correspondence, Virgo is usually tedious to a degree, filling his page or his discourse with every kind of unnecessary detail, and laboring in argument over what the other man is perfectly wiling to accept without discussion; thus he may wear his subject {81} threadbare without ever touching the heart of it.

In his domestic life, the native is usually happy enough; he does not provoke trouble and he does not respond easily to it. Anger with him is apt to be as shallow as his other passions. He dislikes change and does not care to leave his home. He prefers the life of the village or small town to that of the city, and in the city he will choose a commercial career in preference to one of the professions. He makes a good lawyer, though not so good a one as a native of Gemini, so far as the controversial part of law is concerned, but he is certainly wholly admirable in those departments of law which are really specializations of business; for example, conveyancing. He is a reliable guide for the investment of funds and his advice with regard to any matter is shrewd and politic, provided it does not call, as many matters do, for considerations that lie deeper than the visible facts. In a dispute with another in business, one may often have a very good case and lose a lot of money by wining it. Virgo may sometimes see as far as that, but seldom farther. He is always very much alive to present advantage.

In love Virgo is an impossible mate for temperamental people. He is not passionate and he is not especially affectionate. Narcissus, who is attributed to this sign, is an excellent symbol. He is cold because he is self-centered; he has no conception whatever of the inmost secret of love, the mutual abandonment of the self for the beloved resulting in a true spiritual fusion into divine oneness. Indeed, the dividuality of the ego and the non-ego is the quintessence of pain, but Virgo is entirely unconsious of this. He detests the idea of self-surrender. He does not even care much for the idea of conquest, and thus he fails {82} to arouse true enthusiasm, either in himself or in others. Thus we may say quite flatly that he is incapable of loving. Paradoxically enough, this very quality makes him popular with the very large class of the community that likes to play at love. Men with this sign rising often are successful at lovemaking in the lighter sense of the word, where nobler types would fail for the simple reason that they will not “play” at the game. The woman has also a feeling of safety in having a so-called love affair with such a person, because of the instinctive recognition of the fact that the whole affair is taken so lightly by Virgo that there cannot possibly be any serious trouble.

With regard to children, one could hardly find a better parent; the Virgo native is extraordinarily careful to attend to every detail of the child's welfare. A child with a personality worth preserving will easily learn to exercise a proper influence over its parents in all important matters, while at the same time the placid routine of the Virgo life is perhaps the best soil in which its genius can develop.

In their treatment of inferiors, natives of this sign are usually successful; though lacking in sympathy, they attend carefully to detail and see to it that they are well served. The person employed knows that no carelessness will be permitted, and though he may acquire little affection for his master, he will not be offended by arrogance or overbearing disposition on the part of the latter.

Virgo people make excellent partners in marriage or business; small comforts and conveniences are diligently attended to. The partner is businesslike, whether in housekeeping or in office work. Even flirtations will usually be of a mild order; nothing will occur to threaten the home. In business, he will not seek to dominate, and a man of {83} great initiative should look for such a partner for this reason.

In public affairs, the Virgo native makes a useful secretary. He is likely to be able to suggest useful improvements in any organization, and his activity and alertness may prove a valuable safeguard to those whose minds, intent upon great projects, are likely to lose sight of all the little things that count. The native is trustworthy and diligent in all affairs, those of state as well as his own personal concerns. There is, however, a certain exception to be noted which extends over the whole gamut of his activity. Virgo being like Gemini, a mercurial sign, is in itself neither good nor bad; it lies somewhat apart from those passions which create great happiness or great misery. Mercury is cold-blooded and indifferent, but there is this factor which renders Virgo less dangerous than Gemini, that the sign is earthy, more stable and practical than its airy brother. There is, therefore, a certain conservatism in Virgo. The mental activity is less obsessing – in a word, Virgo has an anchor. It is easier for the native of this sign to observe conventions and routine. He is not carried away by ideas as is the native of Gemini, but the possibility of such violent impression remains, and the very practicality of Virgo sometimes implies greed.

When there is no definite moral bias, such as we find in Taurus and Leo, a powerful planetary interference with the natural tendency of the sign will operate easily. There is no subconscious revulsion against crime. Suicide is somewhat common with natives of Virgo. We may notice the horoscope of Guy de Maupassant, whose Sun is squared by a retrograde Uranus, and the ruler of whose ninth house is in conjunction with Mars in the Ascendant. {84} With such aspects, one can hardly be surprised at his suicide. It might also be remarked that in his stories he sometimes shows an exceedingly detached point of view. He has several tales of cold-blooded cruelty, which are agonizing even to read. Though this great realist doubtless observed them from life, he indicates at least the possibility that such ideas were not beyond the range of his temperament.

In science and philosophy, the Virgo native may be preeminent, for he has the power to perceive minute differences, to make careful measurement and to analyze appearances until the ultimate secret is laid bare. He can distinguish the false from the true; the real from the seeming. These qualities above all are necessary to the successful prosecution of research in either of the departments mentioned. In religion, the Virgo native is not likely to achieve great things. He lacks enthusiasm; he lacks emotionalism. His perception of truth will lead him to reject all spiritual revelation as superstition, and while he may remain perfectly content with the faith in which he is educated, he will take it very superficially.

It will be instructive here to glance at the nativity of Brigham Young. It was not he who founded Mormonism; he was the clever, calculating administrator; the Sun, Venus and Mercury all in the tenth house and Mars nearly conjoined with Jupiter and exactly sextile to Uranus, conferred upon him a tremendous power of making his will paramount. Contrast this with the founder of that interesting faith, the visionary Joseph Smith, with the prophetic sign of Cancer on his Ascendant, and the Moon and Mercury in conjunction on the cusp of the seventh house in exact square to a conjunction of Saturn {85} and Uranus. Brigham Young could have administered a federation of the world; Joseph Smith had no such executive ability. Just as Christianity owes its tremendous spread and power to the organizing and administrative genius of St. Paul, so with Mormonism we find the spread of its teachings dependent on the power and energy of its leading apostle.

The friendships of the Virgo native are frequently intimate and durable, but they exist by virtue of community of interests, usually upon the intellectual plane. Such friendships are easily broken by divergence of view, for the native of this sign is exceedingly jealous of interference and suspects its existence even where the danger is quite imaginary.

The Virgo native is not especially impatient of constraint; he feels it but little. Hamlet says, “I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams.” Virgo has no bad dreams. It seems natural to him that all things should be arranged in a somewhat petty order, and he sees no reason to complain.

Virgo children should not be discouraged in their tendency to ask questions. They are living interrogation points and should not be suppressed, as this is their way of acquiring knowledge. Any tendency toward being too critical or faultfinding should, however, be held in check. They are naturally orderly and particular, but are inclined to let little things overshadow the more important things of life, much like their elders. Teach them to take lightly small disappointments; otherwise they will not be able to surmount greater trials or difficulties which are bound to overtake them later in life. It is very easy for them to become {86} depleted nervously by worrying or fretting over petty annoyances; from a larger standpoint, however, they have a very hopeful and buoyant side, which should be developed. These children should have frequent rest periods, as they use up much nervous force with their great mental activity, and it is more necessary for such children to retire early (as with Gemini) than for the average child. It is also essential that they should live in an atmosphere of calm and harmony and not be attended by excitable, exacting, or nervous persons. Virgo children should be given every opportunity to acquire not only a sound education but the advantages of good environment and of much travel, if at all possible, as they would be unhappy if they felt they were mentally inferior to their associates. They are not spontaneous “mixers,” however, and because of their indifference to others, they should be given an opportunity to cultivate their latent talents, in order that they may be less dependent on friends or family. It would be well to teach them to modulate their voices, if there is any tendency towards shrillness or too high pitch.

People born from the 21st of April to 22nd of May, when the Sun is in the earthy, practical sign Taurus, and from the 23rd of December to the 21st of January, when the Sun is in the earthy, conscientious sign Capricorn, are naturally sympathetic and helpful to those born under Virgo. Because their characteristics are complementary, they are good partners to the Virgo-born, matrimonially or otherwise. If too intimately associated with those with those born from the 20th of February to 22nd of March (Pisces), 22nd of May to 22nd of June (Gemini), or 23rd of November to 23rd of December (Sagittarius), Virgo natives will find it necessary to be less critical and more sympathetic {88} in order to get on harmoniously together. Such an intimacy might result in the native of Virgo becoming too petty and stressing small things to such a point as to upset his nervous system. For this reason, people born under Pisces, Gemini and Sagittarius would not make the most sympathetic or helpful partners either matrimonially or in a business way.

A period of about seven days – September 21 to 28 – when the vibrations of Virgo are merging into those of Libra and Libra still retaining some of Virgo, is known as the cusp. People born between these dates will partake of the discriminating and intellectual qualities of Virgo, as well as the just and balancing side of Libra, or a combination of the two. As Mercury, ruling the mentality, and Venus, the love nature, are so close to the Sun, they, too, may partake of some of the qualities of the adjoining signs of Virgo. This will account for some of the complex personalities so difficult of comprehension.

Again we must say that, as these deductions are drawn from the position of the Sun or Ascendant, it is probable that among the best friends of the Virgo-born, or those with whom he is uncongenial, there will be some who were not born at the times mentioned. The individual horoscopes must be consulted to ascertain how the stars combine with those of the Virgo native, and to determine the effect of the combinations of influences upon each other.

These indications will not cover all the characteristics of an individual as he knows himself, since they do not take into consideration the influence of the planets. A detailed statement or horoscope must be made to discover the whole truth. {88}

Previous | Astrology: Your Place in the Sun | Next


If you have found this material useful or enlightening, you may also be interested in


Ordo Templi Orientis, O.T.O., and the O.T.O. Lamen design are registered trademarks of Ordo Templi Orientis.


All copyrights on Aleister Crowley material are held by Ordo Templi Orientis. This site is not an official O.T.O. website, and is neither sponsored by nor controlled by Ordo Templi Orientis.

The text of this Aleister Crowley material is made available here only for personal and non-commercial use. This material is provided here in a convenient searchable form as a study resource for those seekers looking for it in their research. For any commercial use, please contact Ordo Templi Orientis.