In the earliest hours of Wednesday, September 20, the New Moon in Virgo arrives. This New Moon is quiet, unassuming, careful, and much concerned with the details of healing, mending, and taking care. This is a time of respite, when we attend to our needs and the needs of those closest to us.
One glance at the chart shows how focused everything is in this sign of mutable Earth. The Sun and Moon sit together at 27 Virgo. And we see the other three personal planets, Mercury, Mars, and Venus, also in Virgo. Venus will have entered this sign only a few hours before. Mars and Mercury are nearby but none close enough to be conjunct.
Virgo is the Earth sign ruled by Mercury. This is the sign of careful planning, of craft, of working with the hands to tend to whatever needs are present. Virgo is associated with fussiness and anxiety, but this is her Shadow. The heart of Virgo is the ability to pay attention and do what needs to be done.
At this New Moon, we check our nets, the ones that protect us and hold us together in difficult times. Are those nets frayed? Broken? Holding together but perhaps showing signs of strain?
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The New Moon is opposite Chiron in Pisces. The wounded healer brings our attention, gently but inexorably, to what needs to be mended. Recent catastrophes and tragedies have affected us all, but have triggered some in more personal ways. Chiron helps us see where patterns of wounding are repeating so we can heal them.
I have noted before that fiber arts like weaving and embroidery are associated with healing in many traditional cultures. Women wove symbols of healing and protection into their fabrics, which transformed shirts, jackets, and blankets into lorica, which is both the body armor of ancient Romans and a prayer for protection like the one attributed to St. Patrick.
Virgo, as an Earth sign, also relates to tending to Gaia, the Earth herself. How can we mend our ecosystems? How can we take better care of the many gifts we are given daily? Virgo asks us to find the specific local actions we can take.
The New Moon is inconjunct Uranus and Eris. This 150 degree angle is awkward and edgy, difficult to bring into clear focus. Uranus and Eris symbolize so much of the Fire we’ve experienced lately, the chaos of a world in upheaval, where natural disasters and violent attacks seem to arrive one on top of the other. The inconjunct shows how we want to get away from it all. While the New Moon offers some quiet time, the world and all its difficulties are still out there. That inconvenient truth makes it all the more important to make sure our safety nets are strong and supple.
The New Moon is widely squared by Saturn and Black Moon Lilith. The challenge here feels like the famous words of Winston Churchill: We have nothing to fear but fear itself. Yes, Virgo can be prone to anxiety. Yes, this can be crippling. The answer is in the work, something both the sign of Virgo and the planet Saturn understand very well. Saturn may want big solutions. The Virgo New Moon will hold her ground and take small steps when needed.
With Mercury, Mars, and Venus also in Virgo, our thoughts, actions, and values align easily with the New Moon. Small steps, careful actions, planful thinking are all indicated.
Mercury rules Virgo and therefore rules this New Moon. He is also exalted in this sign and so is strong here. Notably, Mercury and Neptune are opposite each other. This connection between Virgo and Pisces in the context of a New Moon in which we are called to healing brings to mind something I learned recently about mindfulness.
I am reading Linda Graham’s Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being. I have been curious about resilience, what it is exactly and how we develop it. Graham brings to bear the latest understandings from brain science on issues of how we cope with living. She discusses mindfulness early on as an ancient and important practice that science has shown to be effective in helping us create new, healthy, adaptive neural pathways.
She writes about how mindfulness connects us to the specificity of our present moment experience. We focus on the breath, how it feels in our nose. We become aware of the contents of our minds: the thoughts and feelings with us right now. As we become aware, we create a small distance that allows us to observe without getting caught up.
This is the circuit of focused attention associated with the prefrontal cortex. Developing this ability to observe our experience without immediately becoming reactive is a sign of what we call maturity. It is less present when we’re young and can be interrupted or damaged by trauma and injury.
This focused attention circuit seems very Virgo to me. We maintain present awareness, develop a compassionate detachment, and are able to say to ourselves, “Oh, look, I am feeling irritated again. I notice this happened last time I met this person. I wonder what’s going on here.”
Graham notes that mindfulness then leads us to an awareness of how much space there is within us. We begin to connect with what Buddhists call the true self, the experience of the stillness between thoughts and feelings. We get a sense of a vast and quiet space in which our specific experiences exist, but which is in no way defined by those specifics.
There is a second circuit associated with this she calls the defocusing network. In describing this circuit and the kinds of thinking associated with it, she uses words like fluid, play, relaxed, new connections, holistic, deep. This circuit engages the right hemisphere of the brain. Doesn’t this sound like Pisces, the sign of dreams and visions, of confusion but also of poetry?
This Virgo New Moon in opposition to Neptune in Pisces is offering us the chance to experience both. We can understand that this is not an either/or, but a both/and. We need both kinds of thinking to create truly strong and vibrant nets.
As always, check your birth chart. The New Moon falls at 27 Virgo. Which House is this in for you? What planets and points are connected? If you have not yet taken the plunge to start looking at your chart for each Moon, let this detail-oriented, personal New Moon be the time to begin. This page at Astrodienst will create a chart for you from your birth data.
Knowing where this New Moon falls will help you choose your wishes and intentions. New Moons are times for planting. Which seeds will you carefully choose, nestle into fertile ground, and tend?
If you have been stressed and anxious during these times of challenge, what self care do you need? Give yourself permission to take care of yourself. Extend the same welcoming of care for those around you, without judging someone because you think they should get over it already. Plants seeds of care and support.
Are your circuits of focused attention and defocusing in balance? Stress often leads us to focus, focus, focus. Too much of that is not good for us! On the other hand, some of us may be zoning out too much, drifting rather than tending to real needs. Check in on where your balance point is and plant seeds for gentle corrections.
The Autumn Equinox is almost here. Summer may linger, but days will grow shorter. With lean times ahead, tending becomes essential. What preparations are called for before the dark half of the year?
At this New Moon, we check our weaving. Where we find frays, we mend. Where we find strength, we celebrate. Small steps are fine. We will get there.
I use Unsplash for almost all my images. The images in this post include the title, created from the photo of a weaver by Instagram.com/igorovsyannykov/, the broken wire fence by Eric Didier, and the wrapped hands by Davide Ragusa.