“I was thinking if I cheated on my fears, broke up with my doubts, got engaged to my faith, I can marry my dreams.” -Beyonce
On August 22nd we entered Virgo season, whose card is The Hermit. Since I myself am a Virgo, this month's conversation is especially personal. While I do possess some of the typical 'Virgo traits' I have never really resonated as a Virgo especially. Whatever your astrological sign, your unique personality no doubt includes some of its assigned 'traits' and some that don't resonate with your sign at all. No one appreciates being bucketed into a 'type' or worse, hearing someone else use a zodiac sign as an excuse for bad behavior! Instead of kicking up frustration with being labeled by the limitations of a zodiac sign, I think that it is more valuable to examine the role that contradictions play in our understanding and expectations of ourselves. Understanding the truth of what The Hermit and Virgo actually represent require understanding their multitudes.
The Hermit appears in the archetype of an elder. He looks like a wizard and indeed the staff he carries is a magic wand. He stands atop a snowy peak. He carries a lantern with a six-pointed star that lights the path just before him. The sign of Virgo is the Virgin. The Virgo maiden is based on Astraea, the virgin goddess of justice, innocence, purity, and precision. Because she is aligned with the harvest, she is often depicted with wheat. Virgos are described as hard-working, organized, analytical, and loyal. The words Hermit and Virgin can sometimes bring up some negative associations. Hermits have been culturally depicted as outcasts who at best are anti-social and at worst dangerous villains. Virgins have been sanctified, commodified, and ridiculed, so much so that the true meaning is lost. While it would be easy to interpret The Hermit as a solitary monk, that would make this card inaccessible to almost everyone. Similarly, if we were to take the meaning of Virgo and Virgin simply to be a symbol of abstinence from sex, chastity, and purity, we’d rob the archetype of its usefulness and accessibility for all. Enter Beyonce...
I have been a Beyonce fan since the early days of Destiny's Child. With songs like, “Gift from a Virgo” and “Signs”, Beyonce proudly owns her astrology fandom. When I learned that not only is she is a Virgo, but she shares my September 4th birthday too, well how could I not look for commonalities in our greatness? Whatever you may think about Beyonce, (but honestly, how is it possible that she has haters?!) I think that she is a perfect living example of the complex nature of The Hermit and Virgo. Beyonce is famous not only for what she creates but also for her long periods of absence from the spotlight. For years she was silent regarding her personal life amidst rumors and speculation. Then she dropped the entire Lemonade album, videos and all, at once. This is often how The Hermit shows up for us. Before a breakthrough evolution of our psyche, we are very often invited into some big tantrums from the thinking mind. When we are in Hermit, it can feel like we should be acting, moving, or taking a trip. The ego hates discomfort and the unknown. The Hermit shows up to demonstrate the wisdom of stillness in advance of an explosion of creativity. The Hermit's lantern is there to shine a light no further than the next step ahead. This light comes from within and it is the Hermit's wisdom that allows him to faithfully trust it. When we think about wisdom, The Hermit sure does look the part; however, if a person who looked like The Hermit were to cross your path, my guess is that your first thought wouldn't be, "Wow, what a wise person that must be." As a culture, we don't practically honor or revere our elders. I would argue that's in part because we don't value wisdom, we value knowledge.
It's very easy to quantify knowledge and therefore to commodify it. A university degree comes at a price tag because it ostensibly proves the student has acquired knowledge. And knowledge is great. I guarantee that if my physician hadn't retained the acquired knowledge from medical school, there would be huge problems. But as anyone who has completed any type of education certification can attest, what is more meaningful to the student individually, is the wisdom attained from the lived scholastic experiences. The Hermit's lantern is lit by a connection to the soul and his wisdom is expressed in his willingness to follow that light, even though it illuminates only the very next step. Why then would this also be the symbol of the virgin Vigo? When we think of a virgin today, the word is almost a stigma. Or a company. When young women reach the age of consent, they are yoked with the madonna/whore paradox. Young men receive an equally ridiculous expectation that they should not only be ashamed of virginity but that anything short of endless partners is a failure. When we talk about Virgo as a virgin, we are talking about vestal virgins. These honored priestesses were responsible for maintaining the fire sacred to Vesta, the goddess of the hearth and home. It was believed that this fire was a safeguard for all of Rome. Again, enter Beyonce.
“It's not about perfection, it's about purpose” -Beyonce
One Virgo trait that I personally identify with is loyalty. The loyalty of the vestal virgins to keeping the flame lit was driven by the purpose to keep Rome safe and in service of the divine. The Hermit's loyalty to his inner light demonstrates wisdom. He knows that the divine exists beyond what his lantern can illuminate, and so he can trust that what he can see is enough. Beyonce doesn't shed very much light on her personal life to the press, but she lives by her faith and convictions, and her music reflects that. Best Thing I Never Had is Beyonce's song about her first boyfriend, Lyndall Locke. He's publicly stated that her pledge to save sex for marriage led him to cheat on her. Beyonce's second boyfriend goes by Jay-Z. The point of course is not if Beyonce was or was not a virgin on her wedding night, but rather, she had the wisdom to trust her inner light. One of my wisest clients is a desirable, beautiful, adult woman with a degree and a career. She has made the same decision to wait to have sex until she knows it is absolutely in alignment for her and let me tell you, she inspires me so much. Virginity as a model of Virgo isn't about not having something, it's about having fidelity to one's inner wisdom and listening to divine timing before taking action.