Virgo New Moon: Dharma Protector

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

Online Relationship Class!
Three class sessions, beginning Sep. 22, 2018. Join us live or follow the recorded webinars. Save if you register by Sep. 15. Details here!

30 comments to " Virgo New Moon: Dharma Protector "

  • Leah

    April, your experience reads very much like mine over the past couple weeks. (I am also still reeling from July 27 and August 1 which drowned my dream as if it was a bag of kittens.)

    But, ultimate truth or not, I have always benefited from a reframing of perspective. Like the old story of people with their eyes covered, each describing a different part of an elephant, your truth is your truth and it is valuable in and of itself. It may only be a part of the whole, but it’s an important part, most certainly.

    Especially if you are sharing it with people whom you’ve come to know well, I think it is particularly valuable. I am beginning to think that perhaps I was tapped to be a messenger this summer, and mistook it for something else, at first. But, now that the mesage has been delivered with respect, the road has been paved to trust.

    Or at the least, I know that I acted as my authentic self, which means that I can move forward with peace. Sending good thoughts your way and thanks for sharing your experience here.

    (And for sharing your insights in your reading with me, which helped me navigate this tricky terrain so much!)

  • LILY


  • Oh this is perfection. I found myself holding my tongue back as I navigate my homekeepers at the moment. The virgo moon takes off those rosey glasses from the full moon and feels raw and vulnerable. I do feel I’m too gentle in this world and need to firm my grip on what I want and why I want it. This is a great story to sit and reflect on my own truths.

  • Rhea

    There can’t be an absolute truth for each of us hence religion. The world needs people like you, go for it and don’t be guilty.
    It’s no help to you I know
    , Iv got mars con. Pluto con. Saturn in Leo sex nep. In libra all in a yod to my Pisces sun.
    I can’t say “ I know how you feel” because you’d kill me!!!


    • April

      LOL! Actually, I find it comforting when people say they know how I feel. Makes me feel less like an oddball. Thanks for your comment, Rhea! 🙂

  • Jackie

    Thank you for the reminder that a) every placement and aspect has potential for a higher calling, and b) it is hard to live up to that a lot of the time… but is worth trying for. My Mars conjunct Chiron in Capricorn in the sixth (and currently getting fired up by the current grand trine in earth signs) is a case in point… up, down and sideways… keep trying to serve the greater good but haunted by each less than perfect action/reaction. Going to keep trying anyway.

    • April

      Mars in Capricorn always sounds so great to me, Jackie… but I mentioned to someone recently that actually, I find having planets in their rulership or (in this case) exalted is actually kind of a lot of pressure! As you say, it feels like a lot to live up to, but we just have to keep trying. 🙂

  • Erin

    That was balm for the soul. It was indeed a hellish last couple of weeks. A lot of things slotted into place as I read this essay. Thank you for helping me make sense of the things I can’t change, and identify the things that I can.

    • April

      Sorry you’ve had a bad time of it these past couple of weeks, Erin. Here’s hoping for a clear, fresh start with this New Moon. xoxo

  • Rachel

    So well described April! I too think I have just burnt a bridge without consciously meaning to – I was hiding that sword behind my back. Those retrogrades didn’t help – something had to give. Yes, I think in the end we need to be true to ourselves and call time when we’ve had enough, with as little blood as possible, as you say. Authenticity rules! Thank you April.

  • Leanne

    Virgo midheaven, Mercury and mars in Pisces (third house) and a Libra Moon… aye yai yai…… I know how you feel. What a week! Thank you for you insights April.

  • tired

    i have a stellium of sun jupiter moon uranus mercury pluto and venus in pluto virgo pretty much all square my mars in capricorn 12th house. Felt like the all the retrogrades was aries effort to kill me, again.

  • Oh, Goddess. I’m more dragon than gorgon, a Mars-Saturn woman, with an Aries Lilith and rising, and Mars Saturn conjunct in cancer, I don’t exactly move quietly through the world either, even though my libran moon would have it be so. An astrologer described my effect on people as that of an SAS officer walking into a room of volunteer army people having a bake sale. This past week has seen me finally picking up my sword to cut through the crap in my 18 year relationship, and it’s rough. The Pisces full moon certainly didn’t trigger love and light here, but hopefully the goddess new moon will show me the way through.

  • Ilona

    As my chart is very similar to yours it’s not surprising that I used my sword…
    I resigned from a committee that over past 9 months has done nothing but try to undermine, lie and use dirty tactics to get rid of me and another member.
    I stayed on the committee to keep it honest but they played games that I don’t want to be good at….

    So I quit with a email stating a few home truths….

    I also broke all contact in a close relationship after years of being treated not well.

    What a week….

  • Ann Raabe

    Indeed, a tough “go”, lately.
    April, your thoughts/wisdom/insight, and the following comments have solidified my knowing that ultimately we are all in this Earthly realm together.
    As a people-pleaser, I’m at my ropes end. I have to look at myself and the dance I’ve danced with others (yes, I’ve usually felt secretly superior….because I’m “the nice one”) .
    Finally, if I have the stomach, I’ll grow up and become fierce and real, at age 61.
    I have the stomach.
    It’s time.

  • Sophia

    I relate to the dramatic endings of long standing relationships. They no longer are or maybe never were what they seemed to be. I chalk it up to either my ability to perceive more clearly or simply that one or both are becoming more true to themselves and now no longer compatible. My moon is in Scorpio. I have spent years leaning to master my sharp tongue yet when I realize I am being deceived or used it can cut through the bullshit quickly and takes no prisoners. Our truth can hurt but where would we be without it?

  • Karen

    Coming into this New moon has been a review of the truth of deception. Struggling with coming into contact with a situation of infidelity and determining the best way to handle my conscience and the unrelenting urge to say something. Do I tell my sister-in-law the truth of what I witnessed or give my brother-in-law a piece of my mind?
    After some serious reflection I texted him and shared my feelings of disappointment and asked for his email. I forwarded a couple of articles on How Infidelity Feels to your Spouse and Boundaries with Female Friends. They arrived in his Inbox with the announcement of the birth of his new granddaughter. Sure hope he takes the messages to heart and faces his Truth!

  • Clairessense

    April I’ve come late to this blog and have to say that this is so personal to me that all I can do is smile. Not at your pain but at the connection you bring for us, your witnesses, to your words. THANK YOU repeatedly for your honesty and for the massive insight I gained into my own makeup. Mars, Uranus and Pluto all in Virgo sitting closely together in my 4th house and a Sun intercepted in the 6th in Sag. I too felt the severing of a long term relationship that I finally realized was never there for me in a mutual respect, but only to use my strength in hard times. I didn’t say too much when the last disrespectful straw ignited a fire inside me, but I feel the little I have said is having an effect. I didn’t know this was Virgo in action I thought it was my Capricorn moon in the 8th or Scorpio Venus in the 5th but I guess it’s a mighty combined effort.
    Right now I feel really complete inside myself having read your words and all the responses to them. I am not alone and neither are you. We are united in our desire for honesty at all costs. Someone once called me a Tender Tyrant and even tho it’s a scary thought I own it with gratitude. Dharma Protector is an honorable path to follow and I know that the fine line is not easy. Peace be with you April. You are a leader and I love to follow your shared journey.
    Blessings and Love

  • Isabella

    April dearest, I can only join the other readers expressing their appreciation of your honesty and your courage of sharing details of your life. I have a virgo stellium in opposition with saturn in pisces, which in spite of my love for detail and guilt trips makes me unruly, untidy and a procrastinator 90% of the time, but the reason for posting my comment is that being a libra and with saturn in the 9th I have often struggled with the definition of truth (I really, really wish things were either black or white). however, maaaany moons ago I found consolation in the words of my idol oscar wilde (a fellow libran, with something in virgo if I remember well): “the truth is rarely pure and never simple”. with that in mind, over time me too I have learned that all I can do is be true to myself through self-acceptance (easier said than done…). hope you start feeling better soon. a big hug and a big THANK YOU for everything you do for us readers.

  • Rhea


  • Kerissa

    This sounds like MY month! Ugh! The part about conflict being something that’s so difficult to involve yourself in? We’re so twins there. I’ll tell you a little story that will hopefully make you smile. I went through a phase of gym addiction where I even had a fricken trainer. Said trainer one day tells me that I need to set fitness goals and I gave him a dirty look and I said I have a very important and ongoing fitness goal, jack ass – to eat what I want, remember? Back and forth with that cardio nazi and he got me to try boxing. I was not excited, but I went. I’m an excellent student (when I go to class haha) and I had the moves down in no time, but then came time for the “sparring” part. The most awkward hour of my life was the day we were partnered up for sparring. I was partnered up with a chick that had become known for being a…how should I say this…a show off that had nothing to show…off. I mean she gets an A++ for the effort I imagine it took for all those faces and then POOF, no way to back it up. She was like Scrappy Doo, you know, how he was obnoxious but so small and harmless you just couldn’t make good on your threats – that’s her. So there I was face to face with this obnoxious little shit who was bouncing around as if someone had wound her up and let her loose in the gym. THEN she starts in on her shit talking bit -which is almost as bad as her idea of an “aggressive” face. I looked her in the eyes and I said “honey, I was bred at the feet of drag queens, if you wanna talk shit, I hope you brought yourself some tissue.” I said it in a very obviously (to me) sarcastic drawl as I pretended to inspect my nails – classic movie scene attitude, right? Do you know what happened next? I wish we were having this conversation live so I could hear your guesses. I don’t think you guessed this: the girl burst into tears!!! We spent the rest of the class and about 3 hours afterward talking about how she had grown up being abused and had just broken up with a boyfriend that had been abusing her and she was trying to break the cycle. At the end, I told her, honey, why the fuck are you tryna box?! You need to start eating some protein and lifting some weights. And I told her straight, “this boxing shit? You’re never going to be good at it. You just don’t have the gone structure.” It made her laugh and then cry again, but good cry. And we ended up becoming friends. I know this is a lot of rambling, but I wanted to share it as an example of how I had psyched myself out to be able to engage in this forced conflict, I had that sword ready and sharp enough to split hairs because I can’t do lukewarm catty bitchiness – which is like sparring- I don’t enjoy making people cry – usually – but I can’t not be a bitch if I expect myself not to give in. I had been ready to give this girl a lesson I thought she was here for and she ended up giving me a lesson that I was there for. Mysterious ways, for sure, but the more I’ve been open to them and accepting of the lesson that I didn’t see coming, the closer I feel I’m coming to where I need to be. Epilogue: Scrappy Doo has become her official nickname and I’ve got her benchpressing half her body weight, but no matter how many bottles of wine we spend practicing her “mean” face, the face she makes has not gone above looking like someone just farted. HA!! XO- K

    • April

      Okay, that made me laugh – and as you say, good lesson. Sometimes we engage in conflict without realizing who is the teacher and who is the student! And if conflict is worked through successfully, it can bring us closer. 🙂

Leave a Comment