So, about that Pisces Full Moon, loving everybody stuff: Yeah, that’s not really how the past couple of weeks went for me. Instead of turning the other cheek and showing gentleness to all, I lifted my Mars in Virgo sword and cut a bloody swath through some bullshit.
With Mars and Pluto in Virgo at the Midheaven of my chart, I can’t seem to move through the world gently, try as I might. I’m a tightly wound perfectionist with a lively temper, and I’ve spent a lifetime trying to learn to cut myself and everyone else some slack. When the great Steven Forrest did a reading for me, he managed—as is his gift—to put an affirming spin on that Mars. “You’re a dharma protector,” he said. A defender of truth.
That’s a flattering interpretation, and I’d like to believe it. Even after this hard, bloody week, I stand by my sword. To my mind, I had some truths to tell and no choice but to tell them.
The question is, who gets to decide what is the truth? Every tyrant thinks he’s right, that he knows the truth. So when is one a dharma protector, and when is one a self-righteous jerk?
“You’re a dharma protector,” he said. A defender of truth. That’s a flattering interpretation, and I’d like to believe it. But who gets to decide what is the truth?
In astrology, we consider Libra the sign of justice. Like a wise judge, it weighs all sides and delivers a verdict. But Libra is preceded by Virgo, in which the prosecution and the defense assemble the facts that will guide their arguments.
Ruled by Mercury, Virgo is good at analyzing objective facts. Spock-like, it brings bloodless logic to an argument—unless it’s angered. Then, it remembers it’s an earth sign; the volcano erupts, and Virgo grabs you in a pitiless Vulcan nerve pinch.
It’s always easier to recognize the truth when it’s not yourself who’s in the middle of it. That’s the story of Mercury, which never orbits too far from the Sun; it risks becoming the sycophant who tells the Queen only what she wants to hear. Or, evoking the Sabian Symbol of this New Moon degree, “Two girls playing with a Ouija board,” it risks nudging the truth toward the preferred outcome.
So we can’t rely only on Mercury, on objective facts, to determine the truth. It’s more complicated than that. In the end, Virgo is not a machine, a computer that processes facts and spits out a report to hand off to the judge. Even Mr. Spock was half human. Truth requires all the information that’s available, and not all of it can be analyzed in neat formulas and proper syntax.
For Virgo, truth has a lot to do with high standards of conscientiousness, duty, and efficiency in service of some ideal. It’s the gardener at my local monastery who creates a beautiful place for the Carmelites to pray. It really is the opposite of Pisces, for whom love and acceptance are themselves the ideal.
And that seems to bring us to this Virgo New Moon, in close opposition to Neptune in Pisces. The Tibetan master Atisha taught that, “All dharma agrees at one point.” When one person’s truth conflicts with another’s on the way to dharma, is one of them wrong? Or are we just reaching toward the same destination, coming from different directions? Does someone have to be wrong in order for truth to be served?
I don’t know. I’m not a Buddhist. I haven’t studied these things. But I know there are moments when something feels true to me – not intellectually true, but true in my body – and it has to be expressed. And that comes with baggage. Like many women of my generation, I was simultaneously taught to go after what I wanted, yet also to put others first. It’s an unwinnable contradiction. It breeds anxiety and conflict and self-doubt that make conflict difficult. It’s the opposite of truth.
Does someone have to be wrong in order for truth to be served?
What I’ve come to understand with age is that feelings are non-negotiable and conflict is inevitable, but you have to accept that standing up for anything has consequences. It’s hard enough for me to engage in conflict that by the time I finally raise my sword, it most likely means the end of a relationship. Any truth that is worth all of that is certainly worth defending—but also worth doing so with a minimum of bloodshed.
As we approach the Virgo New Moon, I’m finding it helpful to meditate on these things. This was a week that highlighted the distance between my vision of a few relationships in my life and the reality of them; and also, the distance between my ideal version of myself, who accepts everything, and what it appears I actually am—a dharma protector, I guess. Or a fearsome gorgon at the gates of high standards, harder on myself than anyone else. After all, that Mars in Virgo sword cuts both ways.
Anyway, that was my week, which kind of sucked. How was yours?
© 2018 April Elliott Kent