It’s Virgo season — time to get out a fresh sheet of paper and your favorite pens and brainstorm a dozen or more future possibilities that bring you sheer pleasure. Although it still feels very much like summer where I live, there is a seasonal shift in Virgo season toward preparation for the colder times — a pause to assess, to revise, to find that place of readiness within us for what comes next. The pausing and revision are very much a theme of this month as we have many retrograde planets, including Mercury stationing retrograde on the 9th. Retrogrades are a time to turn inward, to slow down, to review the details we might have missed in our hurry before. This is the quiet power of retrogrades in Virgo season — the capacity to keep with the work, to keep looking, to keep questioning, and to keep revising.
When I was a young artist taking drawing classes I hated to erase anything I’d made. I was attached to every line, every gesture, even if I had measured wrong and they were throwing off the whole composition. I thought I’d never make such a good line again — even if the rest of the drawing was out of whack, I needed to preserve this one lyrical moment of genius, right? But my teachers kept pushing me to be willing to erase and redraw, erase and redraw. They wanted me to build the muscle memory of drawing, to trust that I could make something better the next time if I erased my beloved first (or second or third or eighteenth) try. One teacher told me that each drawing is just practice for your next one — that one in a hundred drawings is worth keeping, and the rest are helping you get to that one.
We often code Virgo as critical, and criticality is a necessary skill in the editing process — in being willing to say “we’re not quite there yet” and erase and start again — but I believe in Virgo season as a time of unbounded optimism. Virgo energy is willing to believe that things can be better, and what is more important, willing to work towards that vision. As an earth sign ruled by the planet of the intellect, Virgo holds in tension the actual (earth) and the ideal (what we can imagine). And in this Virgo season, as its ruling planet Mercury moves retrograde and Mars in Gemini keeps setting off tiny anxiety-spiral explosions, we’re in need of that willingness to keep being with what it, to keep planning toward something better.
This month offers us tools for staying grounded amidst the chaos, for holding a quiet center in which to focus our hopes and our intentions. But I also want to honor the chaos itself: Mars in Gemini is like a champagne cork popping off in a library — the books that get knocked off the shelf might be just the ones you need to read right now. Accordingly, I encourage you to move between times of brainstorming — of being in the chaos of experimentation and creativity, of questioning and risking — and quiet focus — the process of turning inward, slowing down, and fine-tuning what you’ve learned into something useful.
You can get in touch with me for a reading if you want personal support and strategies, and for more astro insights you can follow me on Instagram, join me on Patreon, and listen to my New Moon podcast The Hum. May this Virgo season bring you both inspiration and the time to map things out and make them real.
Brainstorm: A rekindling of joy in small, unexpected ways without needing to travel too far from home. Sending brief love notes to your inner circle. Asking questions that open up new questions that open up something in your heart. Finding your affinity with a flock of starlings, rising into the air in a kind of glorious chaos. Admiring your creative capacity to think of so many more things than you can ever do.
Quiet Focus: Underneath it all, your body is asking you to attune more to how it moves through time. Notice what small, repeated changes can do, like more breakfast or just the right stretch in the doorway. Don’t get bored with the small things.
Brainstorm: The fullness, ripeness, and abundance of all that holds you in the kind of relationship with the world where you can wake up and say: Yes, this is good. I will enjoy this. Letting grief take it’s place at the table, but not letting it all the food. Finding anxiety a small bed to curl up in and sleep. Focusing, rather, on what feeds you. I’m picturing towers of ripe fruit, a stocked freezer for the winter, jars of honey that you slip into the pockets of visiting children like a good neighborhood witch. Seeing the stuff of your life, the beauty it shines back it you with all its everything, and laying out a clean cloth to place it on. Letting grief be there with you, but not spoiling the feast.
Quiet Focus: And after and before and even during the feast, a quiet desire that’s not yet met — something about your creative life, something about the need for attention and love, something asking you “how?” Keep following that question, trusting that it will eventually lead you to an answer.
Brainstorm: Becoming an unstoppable force, claws out like a kitten’s, about to climb some furniture and fly around the ceiling. Having any or all directions in which to aim your wild flight. Landing lightly, leaping again. Letting motion become rest. Letting motion become meaning. Not needing to know what you mean. Becoming a trajectory of joyous, wild questioning that rips its claws through the old curtains that have been blocking the light. Knowing that you mean it, whatever “it” might be.
Quiet Focus: And underneath all the frantic energy, the ability to just as easily curl up and sleep. To make a nest in the crook of a tree or under your arm. Insisting on quiet when the mind is still on a tear. Perfecting your inner lullaby.
Brainstorm: How to lucid dream. How to stay in that in-between waking and sleeping state long enough that time unfurls like a ribbon far into the future in the minutes between your first alarm clock and the snoozed reminder. The importance of what happens that stays half-remembered, but the feeling still strong. The importance of how you wake up rearranged, longing for a certain friend or needing to hear a new song. How lucidity is not so much about being able to control the dream, but being able to inhabit it willingly. To taste the cherry, to see the two moons in the sky. Finding yourself where you like to get lost. Letting yourself wander.
Quiet Focus: And the language you need to come back to the waking world, the language you need to describe yourself to yourself, the words you’ve been looking for to help you know if it’s a yes or a no — all this is clinking in your pocket like loose change right now, present but still potential.
Brainstorm: A network of cords leading from your heart to the future, to many possible futures, to worlds you will help create. Ways that you don’t have to get there alone. Circles of friends and friends of friends and people you’ve only spoken with once but felt that instant affinity, that sense of yes, we’re on the same tip. We’re going to do this together. Each of us the center of our own network, rippling out in laughter and hands catching us when we fall. Find your center, and find the rest of the world right there with you.
Quiet Focus: Underneath the coming and going, feel the solidity of what’s supporting you. Gravity, if nothing else. A good stargazing rock. Your back against it, completely trusting. No one’s going to let you slip off.
Brainstorm: A freeform mind-map of all the things you want to build, make, do, learn, share, teach, and show up in service to. Get messy. Get them all in there somewhere. Draw circles around some, add stars to others, start grouping them into patterns that make sense. Maybe you want to put your current calling into the center and find the ways it can branch toward future growth…or maybe you fill the center with the newest ideas, the ones you’ll need to hold most carefully as they become themselves, lest they fall back and become the old ideas again. Resist the urge to clean up the mess too soon, to believe that you know what you need to know just yet. If you get that feeling, try rearranging some things until they surprise you again.
Quiet Focus: Underneath the mental whirling of possibility and future-oriented scheming, notice your spine straightening. Notice that your feet are on the ground, or put them there. Virgo is an Earth sign that often believes it’s an Air sign — remember your embodiment is your truest resource for anything you need to know.
Brainstorm: How many other lives could you possibly live in this moment? Where can you go, physically or mentally, that will expand your reach and fill you with that special kind of satisfaction that comes from remembering the world is much bigger than you imagine when you’re caught up in what’s familiar. Almost as though encountering that bigness enlarges you, too. Like you’ve found a hidden door in the house of your mind, a room you never knew existed but opens out before you now with vivid clarity, light pouring recklessly through the windows.
Quiet Focus: Underneath this clarity, a desire to release meaning. To dissolve into dream-logic, fantasy, images that have no way of being categorized or commodified. The pleasure of your private world, where nothing needs to make sense.
Brainstorm: What cheerleading do you need to enjoy the cracking of your shell? Like crows rising in the trees, like ice breaking over a puddle where tadpoles below are beginning to stir. What has been holding you still and stiff and numb is ready to slough off, ready to fall from your shoulders with a vague tinkling sound as it shatters into smaller and smaller pieces. How do you get ready to be held by something warmer, softer, and less constrictive? What shape are you ready to take next?
Quiet Focus: Underneath the cheering is the certainty that who you’re moving toward on the other side of this loves you. That you are moving toward belonging, toward a place that knows you and welcomes you. It may take time to arrive, but trust you are on your way.
Brainstorm: If you are a plant that needs freedom, like a wandering vine, imagine how many branches your arms can hold as you move across the garden. What makes a strong, solid connection? How do you hold tight without strangling your host trees? What happens if you’re twirling your tendrils and only find empty air? How do you constitute yourself through all these relationships — the places your edges meet another’s edge — how can all this be mapped out as a kind of love? Find the relationships you’re willing to keep mapping, keep winding around and letting breathe. Let all these hand-holdings help you travel far.
Quiet Focus: You have a direction, a mission, and it may not be the time to say it out loud yet. But it’s there, glowing like an ember, wanting a breath of air. Offer it your breath, but not all at once, not until you’ve built the architecture of sticks and logs it needs to become itself. Patience is a powerful practice for this.
Brainstorm: Every sensation your body loves. The pump of thigh muscles on long walks, the smoothing on of lotion at night, the sharp juice of an apple, and more than that the ways each pleasure calls to you at a certain time of day or night, shaping a repeated ritual of how to keep this fickle animal willing to do what you ask it to. Find your rituals and rhythms. Multiply sources of pleasure. Get curious.
Quiet Focus: Your mind within the body wants to travel far. Notice a desire for the far-flung, the distant past or future, the narratives that bring you outside of the day-to-day. Notice how tending to the mundane can help you project your mind outward and forward.
Brainstorm: Occasions to throw parties where something is glimmering — maybe candles, maybe bioluminescent algae, maybe body glitter — and occasions within these occasions to be the center of attention in a circle of loved ones who want to know what’s on your mind — the stranger the story, the better. Find ways and means and times and places to come back to life through joyous togetherness — and I must, of course, keep reminding you that we are still in pandemic times, so don’t drop all your Covid cautions just yet.
Quiet Focus: A quieter voice under the raucousness is offering you a glimpse of yourself, transformed. An opportunity to shed an old skin, to step out of it and behold the shape you were, hovering in the air briefly, then dissolving like mist.
Brainstorm: Let yourself be a meadow in full bloom, a proliferation of flowers and bees and small burrowing creatures, everyone closing their petals at night or finding the just-right hollow in the earth where all they hear all night long is a steady heartbeat. Let your seeking of safety find many homes, an abundance of arms and night skies to hold you and rock you to sleep.
Quiet Focus: Underneath the loud clamor of activity, a part of you is looking to fine tune how you say yes to longterm love and what that yes entails. Let yourself mull over and find words for emerging needs, emerging boundaries, and patient conversations that weave a strong cloth of connection — not too tight, but not so loose you slip through the threads.