"I've got good news. That gum you like is going to come back in style."
—The Man from Another Place, from "Twin Peaks," Season 1, Episode 3
In astrology, Jupiter represents style trends, among many other things. The largest of the planets (1,200 times the size of Earth) orbits our Sun in about 12 years, exerting so much gravity on our central star that the Sun oscillates as Jupiter tugs on it. By the way, you can tell that to anyone who claims that the obstetrician exerts more gravity on the newborn baby than does Jupiter (by which logic astrology cannot possibly be true). I've never seen a doctor cause a star to wobble.
I don't think astrology is based on gravity, though. Reading the charts is the art of reading symbols, whether they have any mass or not. Points with no mass, weight, or size can have an influence. For example, what is a "sign"? It's a direction in space. Is there really a young woman living up in Virgo?
In our minds there is. Virgo is the astrological home of the Goddess. It's true that other signs are ruled by Venus and that Virgo is ruled by Mercury, who is androgynous. But you might think of Mercury in this capacity as a servant of the Goddess, capable of doing something that's nothing less than tantric: bridging the gap and opening common space between maleness and femaleness.
Last month Jupiter arrived in Virgo. It was last in that sign between August 2003 and September 2004. Those were difficult times, at the peak of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, during the first term of the Cheney-Bush presidency.
Despite the rawness of emotions and the still-open and infected wound of the September 11 incident, there was a feeling in the air: We must do something about this. I don't miss the Cheney-Bush presidency, but I do miss the spirit of devotion that was infused into the peace movement, especially in the form of documentary journalism—that is to say, actual thought, analysis, and reasoning, mainly emerging on what was then a much smaller, simpler, and decidedly less commercialized Internet.
In traditional astrology, Virgo represents food and the places where food is stored, in particular, grain and dairy. For modern humans these are essential. In the Northern Hemisphere, the Sun passes through Virgo during the time of harvest, when the crops are coming in and being processed, preserved and stored. This is a central concept of civilization; the difference between humans roaming around as small bands of hunter-gatherers and humans as the dwellers of towns and cities is our ability to grow and preserve food.
By a series of associations, Virgo in modern astrological thought includes service, medical care, healing, and teaching. In my experience there is a larger concept: Virgo and the axis it forms with its opposite sign Pisces represent the holistic principle. Everything is related to everything else. When we really want to address a situation or problem, it's helpful to invoke whole-system thinking: that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Any aspect of the environment can also influence the whole environment.
Said another way, what we think of as physical and spiritual are aspects of the same thing, accessible through each other. This idea is slowly catching on. For example, a scant few people are starting to notice how they feel after drinking two liters of diet soda, contrasted with how they feel better after drinking some water. The "mind-body connection" is a popular phenomenon most easily found in yoga.
In astrology, the concept of an axis of two signs—in this scenario, the Virgo-Pisces polarity—is essential to understanding just about anything. What we have with Jupiter in Virgo is the planet representing Pisces visiting its opposite sign. This is relational; it's an image of seeming opposites morphing together. It's an image of fertility—of the cosmic waters of Pisces soaking into the earthy territory of Virgo. Virgo and Pisces depend on each other, as do all the opposite signs. Now we get to experiment with what happens when there's a real mutual union between them.
Why I say "mutual" is that Chiron is presently in Pisces. Chiron does not "rule" Virgo, as it was not a factor in classical astrology. But it's certainly a representative of Virgo, in terms of Chiron's devotion to service, healing, and teaching. Chiron is still on its long but not long enough visit to Pisces (spanning from early 2010 through early 2019). This invokes the ancient astrological con cept of reception—Chiron in Pisces and Jupiter in Virgo are vibrating together, receiving each other's energy.