Saturn in Virgo: Tackling the Nitty-Gritty


Lofty ideas, crazy dreams and wild fantasies goad our creative minds to imagine new possibilities…

… but if we want any beautiful bits of them to actually make their way into our real day-to-day lived lives, we have lots of totally unglamorous and routine work to do to make it happen. Not a bunch of big-picture 'visioning' and conceptual-theory hot air, and not in fleeting fits of inspiration either. Methodical, meticulous work—day in, and day out.

Hail, Saturn in Virgo… to the rescue, and right on time! As of today (Sun Sep 2), Saturn is moving on from his two-year stint in Leo, to begin his latest extended stay—in Virgo, a sign of dutiful earthly service, where we are pressed to put our self-serving pleasures on hold, so we may conduct our very best possible work.

If you've recently suffered a lack of structure or organization for the myriad tasks, chores, responsibilities and duties to our physical self-care, it's the right time to do something about it.

Get down on your knees, and thank Saturn for the discipline he can provide us in our most practical matters while in Virgo… then, humbly ask him to help you set things straight. He will surely respond with a boost in focus, patience and precision—as long as you are open to sustaining the effort, one step after the other.

It's rather fitting that Saturn enters Virgo now, in the season we (at least here in the US) associate with going 'back to school'. At this time of year, we bid adieu to the carefree days of summer, which provide freeform fuel for our heart's desires (in the form of nature walks, sports and games, travel, romance, and general play)… and dash to the local variety store for new folders and binders, pencils and pens, readying ourselves for a return to lectures, methodologies, and daily homework. We recall our bookishness. Perhaps we even relish in neatly printing our names in the inside covers of workbooks and coursepacks. In short, we redirect our attention back to business.

As I wrote back in July, Saturn and Virgo aren't a particularly tense planet/sign combo. Both are grounding, earthy energies. All Saturn asks is that we accept the reality of our limitations, with the recognition that no enduring achievements (of worldly renown or personal self-development) occur without temperance, persistence and sweat. (Not as simple as it sounds, of course.) Generally speaking, Virgo is happy to oblige… being quite accustomed to forestalling immediate indulgence, to devote its painstakingly careful efforts toward whatever practicalities need be dealt with. Sounds like a rather good match, indeed.

To understand Virgo more deeply, we might reflect on its position within the zodiac cycle—as the last sign of the first hemisphere (starting with Aries), which deals more specifically with the private concerns of an individual. Virgo comes on the tail end of Leo, the epitome of the Sun's light in its manifestation as a unique ego's personality. As the proverbial virgin (not in the strictly sexual sense), Virgo aims toward purity in all the earthly fruits it yields from its labors: through refined habits, near-perfect work results, and a clean-and-healthy body. Once we reach Libra, we are ready to share ourselves (and, naturally, all that we've produced and perfected) with other individuals… entering the second zodiacal hemisphere, where the individual overtly builds relationships with the outside world.

Virgo is often characterized as a perfectionist (or, by snider tongues, as an anal-retentive neat freak), due to its innate focus on purity. Basically, Virgo wants to do its best job possible… and accomplishes such by repeating its methods until the errors are eliminated and kinks worked out, by ensuring that things are put into their most appropriate categories, and by holding itself (and everyone else) to impeccable standards.

Obviously, we can all gain our desired benefits from Saturn-in-Virgo's close concentration on the practical details of our everyday lives. During this transit (now through late 2009), we'll show great strides in building our personal Romes—yet not in a day, and not in epic sweeping gestures, but through creating regular habits that help us attend to the million-and-one tiny steps, in the most orderly and efficient fashion we can muster. Key concepts to bear in mind, to best channel Saturn-in-Virgo's strengths: logical step-by-step processes, deferral of instant gratification, careful attention to fine-points, a discriminating eye, organizational prowess, gradual improvements, and real-world results.

And when we don't heed the call of Saturn in Virgo? Well, then, we must expect breakdowns in the usual flow of our day-to-day work. After all, it only takes one or two tiny mistakes or lapses in observation to bring the whole machine down… just a few extra calories or missed gym sessions to load on the pounds… a single glossed-over distinction to make the difference between 'effective' and 'inept'.

Maybe our unchecked impatience will drive us to rush through the instructions—and where we imagine we're saving time, we actually sabotage the smooth sailing by jumping past an important stage. Perhaps we don't want to bother with the so-called 'little shit', telling ourselves we are somehow 'above it'… only to end up with constant problems popping up (unexpectedly?), or a dull nagging anxiety coursing through our nervous systems. And if we don't stay off our slightly twisted ankle for the necessary few days, what began as a small nuisance may gradually develop into a serious injury. These are examples of how Saturn in Virgo might mess with us, should we disrespect its domain.

Of course, we must also look at the other side of potential Saturn pitfalls… that which befalls us when we go too far in the direction of Virgoan close-focus. (Listen up, sun-sign Virgos and other habit-happy folks!) For instance, if our eyes are constantly faced downward in a book, a pile of papers, or a microscopic lens, we're tempted to forget why we're working so hard in the first place. We may become so fixated on the details that we miss the container of overall meaning within which our 'details' come to life… and before we know it, life becomes a series of requirements and burdens divorced from the dynamic interweavings of existence. We may be so intent on fulfilling our daily assigned exercise that we lose the actual enjoyment of running, swimming, biking or yoga. We end up isolated from others, too busy toiling away toward this and that within the confines of the appropriate veal-pen or office-cube.

Repetitive patterns or practices may be our only effective path to reach certain goals—but they can also trap us in an endless assembly-line of 'more of the same', without regular reexamination of whether our higher needs are indeed being met. Just as Saturn in Virgo may deliver the structure we crave for streamlining our means of getting what we want, it can also steal our social and spiritual souls… replacing 'em with robotic minds and bodies, so intent on perfecting the product and replicating their own self-sustaining habits that all joy and interpersonal connection is lost. Sure, we've become physically fit and efficient, but to what ends? At what price?

Like all Saturn placements, Saturn in Virgo will come as a relief to some… and a killjoy to others. No matter what sign Saturn moves through, he always demands that we up our game, as a testing-ground for examining and enhancing just how wise and mature we are. In Virgo, it's all about our personal relationship to work and health, and the ways we look out for maintaining and improving upon them in our day-to-day lives.

Like it or not, with Saturn now in Virgo, it's time to tackle the nitty-gritty…