(redirected from Virgos)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Acronyms.
Related to Virgos: Libra, Capricorn


(vûr`gō) [Lat.,=the virgin], constellationconstellation,
in common usage, group of stars that appear to form a configuration in the sky; properly speaking, a constellation is a definite region of the sky in which the configuration of stars is contained.
..... Click the link for more information.
 lying on the eclipticecliptic
, the great circle on the celestial sphere that lies in the plane of the earth's orbit (called the plane of the ecliptic). Because of the earth's yearly revolution around the sun, the sun appears to move in an annual journey through the heavens with the ecliptic as its
..... Click the link for more information.
 (the sun's apparent path through the heavens) between Libra and Leo, and SW of Boötes; it is one of the constellations of the zodiaczodiac
[Gr. zoion=animal], in astronomy, zone of the sky that includes about 8° on either side of the ecliptic. The apparent paths of the sun, the moon, and the major planets all fall within this zone.
..... Click the link for more information.
. Virgo is traditionally depicted as a maiden holding an ear of grain to symbolize the harvest; various civilizations identified her with such figures as Ceres, Isis, Ishtar, and Rhea. The most prominent star is SpicaSpica
, brightest star in the constellation Virgo; Bayer designation Alpha Virginis; 1992 position R.A. 13h24.8m, Dec. −11°07'. A bluish-white star of spectral class B1 V, its apparent magnitude averages about 0.
..... Click the link for more information.
 (Alpha Virginis), a white star of first magnitude. In 1936 a supernova was discovered in Virgo. A famous cluster of 2,500 galaxies, the Virgo cluster, lies in the constellation; the radio galaxy Virgo A is also found there. Virgo reaches its highest point in the evening sky in late May.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.


(ver -goh) (Virgin) An extensive zodiac constellation straddling the equator between Boötes and Leo. The brightest stars are the 1st-magnitude Spica (α) and some of 2nd and 3rd magnitude, including the binary Porrima (γ). The Mira-type variable R Virginis, which varies between magnitudes 6.2 and 12 over 145 days, makes an interesting telescope object. The area contains the Cepheid variable W Virginis. The constellation is rich in faint galaxies, which are members of the Virgo cluster, and contains the first detected quasar 3C–273. Abbrev.: Vir; genitive form; Virginis; approx. position; RA 13.5h, dec –5°; area: 1294 sq deg.
Collins Dictionary of Astronomy © Market House Books Ltd, 2006
Enlarge picture
The constellation Virgo with the caduceus of the planetary ruler, Mercury. From Abstrolabum Planum, 1493. Reproduced by permission of Fortean Picture Library.


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Virgo, the sixth sign of the zodiac, is a mutable earth sign. It is a negative (in the value-neutral sense of being negatively charged), feminine sign, ruled by the planet Mercury—though some modern astrologers dispute this rulership, claiming that it is ruled by several of the major asteroids or by the planetoid Chiron; an older generation of astrologers associated Virgo with the hypothetical planet Vulcan. Its symbol is a young woman, and its glyph is said to represent a serpent that was formerly linked to the serpent-like glyph of Scorpio since it is said that Virgo and Scorpio were once one sign. Virgo takes its name from the Latin word for virgin. Virgo is associated with the nervous system and, especially, with the bowels, and people with a Virgo sun sign are susceptible to bowel problems and ulcers. The key phrase for Virgo is “I analyze.”

This sign has either a very simple or a very complex mythology, depending upon which mythological figure is taken to represent Virgo. The constellation Virgo is pictured as a young woman holding an ear of corn, linking the sign to Demeter, the Greek goddess of the harvest (in the Northern Hemisphere, the Sun is in Virgo during harvest time). She taught humanity agriculture, and was the mother of Plutus (wealth). Far from being a virgin, Demeter was a mature earth goddess and the patroness of fertility. Virgo, however, is one of the traditional barren signs. Thus, a better (or, perhaps, an alternative) representative of Virgo is Hygeia, goddess of health and hygiene. Hygeia was the unmarried daughter of Asklepios, the eminent physician, who, attended by his daughter, was often pictured with serpents (commonly associated with doctors; e.g., the serpents twisted around the medical caduceus).

Rather than embodying Demeter’s fertility, Virgo represents Demeter’s harvest aspect, and people born under this sign are good workers. This, perhaps, is the association with wealth, which is more often built on the foundation of steady labor than on sudden lucky windfalls. Virgos have fewer ego needs than many other signs of the zodiac, and—similar to Demeter who served as a nursemaid, as well as Hygeia who served as her father’s assistant—Virgos typically find happiness working under someone else. Like Demeter who taught both agriculture and the Eleusinian Mysteries, Virgos excel at teaching. Like Hygeia, they can also be good doctors and nurses. Virgos are especially concerned with good hygiene, which is derived from the name of the goddess Hygeia.

The sign that the Sun was in at birth is usually the single most important influence on a native’s personality. Thus, when people say they are a certain sign, they are almost always referring to their sun sign. There is a wealth of information available on the characteristics of the zodiacal signs—so much that one book would not be able to contain it all. Sun-sign astrology, which is the kind of astrology found in newspaper columns and popular magazines, has the advantage of simplicity. But this simplicity is purchased at the price of ignoring other astrological influences, such as one’s Moon sign, rising sign, etc. These other influences can substantially modify a person’s basic sun sign traits. As a consequence, it is the rare individual who is completely typical of her or his sign. The reader should bear this caveat in mind when perusing the following series of sun-sign interpretations.

One traditional way in which astrologers condense information is by summarizing sign and planet traits in lists of words and short phrases called key words or key phrases. The following Virgo key words are drawn from Manly P. Hall’s Astrological Keywords:

Emotional keywords: “Kindly, humane, a high evolved type, lives to serve mankind without thought of self, domestic, melancholy, somewhat petty, fussy, superficial in affairs of the heart.”

Mental key words: “Ingenious, witty, studious, dextrous, versatile, introspective, scientific, methodical, skeptical, critical, fears disease and poverty, ulterior in motive, self-centered, scheming.”

At present, there are various astrology report programs that contain interpretations of each of the 12 sun signs. A selection of these for Sun in Virgo has been excerpted below:

Careful and cautious by nature, you tend to value neatness and order. You rigorously practice very high standards of living and conduct and you demand the same of everyone with whom you come into contact. At times, you are so supercritical that you are merely nit-picky. You are good at practical skills and handy with tools. You are also greatly concerned with hygiene, cleanliness and personal health problems. Very likely your health is much better than you think it is—don’t worry so much. Extremely methodical and analytical, you are a perfectionist, which makes you the perfect person to carry out highly detailed, precise operations. But, at times, you pay so much attention to details that you lose sight of the larger issues. (From “Professional Natal Report.” Courtesy of Astrolabe [].)

At heart you are modest and humble, and you rarely strive to be in the limelight or in a position of power. You have a sharp analytical mind, a keen eye for detail, and you prefer to observe, dissect, and study life from a distance. Conscientious and conservative, you can be relied upon to be careful, efficient, and thorough in your work and you take pride in doing a job well. What you may lack in self-confidence you often make up for in skill—developing expertise, technical knowledge, and competency in some specialized area. You are adept at using your hands to create or fix things, and meticulous attention to detail and careful craftsmanship are your forte. Some would say you are a little TOO meticulous, for you can be extremely critical and petty if everything is not done exactly as you think it should be, and you worry about things that other people consider trivial and unimportant. You like to organize, categorize, and arrange everything into a logical system, and you are often distinctly uncomfortable when something does not fit into a neat category. Disorganization vexes you. You probably wish that you were not such a perfectionist, for besides being a stickler for details, you can be mercilessly self-critical as well. Whether in your environment or in yourself, you tend to focus on the flaws, with a desire to improve, refine, and perfect. You are strictly factual, truthful, and scrupulously honest in your self-estimation, and you often do not give yourself enough praise or credit.

You are also highly discriminating and may be especially particular about your diet, hygiene, and health habits. You have high aesthetic standards and refined sensitivities, and will be bothered by elements in your surroundings (such as disorder, cigarette smoke, etc.) that others overlook. Your tastes are simple, understated, but refined. Coarseness, bluntness, and vulgarity really offend you. You can be difficult to live with sometimes because of your fastidiousness, your sensitivity, and your idiosyncrasies about food and cleanliness.

Though you seem rather cool and self-contained, you have a very helpful nature and you enjoy serving others. You are content to be in a supportive, assisting role rather than in the lead. You are quietly devoted to the ones you care for.

You are careful and cautious in your approach to life, realistic, practical, and disinclined to gamble. You analyze before you act. You are too serious sometimes. Allowing yourself to play and to make mistakes would be HEALTHY for you! (From “Merlin,” by Gina Ronco and Agnes Nightingale. Courtesy of Cosmic Patterns [].)

Virginity isn’t the point. That’s just a kind of inexperience, and in the long run no one learns much from avoiding experience. Virgo means purity. Perfection. Getting everything exactly right. That’s a tall order. Perfection is a harsh master. It drives the Virgoan part of you, haunting you with a sense of what could be, a sense of the ideal. It also holds a flawless mirror before you, revealing all the imperfections and shortfalls in your character. The combination is powerful. It fills your spirit with hunger and divine discontent, imbuing you with restlessness, as though you’d taken out an insurance policy against complacency. Be careful, though: Virgo energies can self-destruct, slipping into a crippling hyper-awareness regarding all the flaws and shortfalls inherent in people, oneself, our possessions, our prospects—everything. And nothing kills our climb toward perfection faster than that.

With your Sun in Virgo, sitting around feeling good about yourself doesn’t stoke the existential furnace. What drives you, vitalizes you, makes you feel alive, is effort. You were born hungry to accomplish things. You’re hungry now. You’ll die hungry too. That sounds like a baleful prophecy, but it’s not as dark as it seems. Another way of describing your innate restlessness is that you’re eager to evolve, to learn, to grow, and are never content to rest on your laurels.

Your soul took a risk working with this energy. You sense what you could be, how you’d look if you were wiser, purer, clearer. Just as vividly, you see what you really are, with all your flaws and shortcomings. Ideally, that contrast should inspire you. But if it gets twisted, then you plummet into self-criticism, guilt, and crippling, self-imposed limitations. And that pathology gets expressed outwardly as a critical, nit-picking personality. On the deepest level, you’re learning about self-acceptance. But you’re doing it in the toughest of all psychological environments: an honest mind. (From “The Sky Within,” by Steven Forrest. Courtesy of Matrix Software [] and Steven Forrest [].)

Among its several natal programs, Matrix Software created a unique report based on the published works of the early twentieth-century astrologer Grant Lewi (1901–1952). Lewi’s highly original delineations were recognized as creative and insightful by his contemporaries. One measure of the appeal of his work is that his books Astrology for the Millions and Heaven Knows What are still in print. The following is excerpted from the report program “Heaven Knows What”:

“Three things are to be looked to in a building: that it stand on the right spot, that it be securely founded, that it be successfully executed.” (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, born in Virgo, August 18, 1749.)

“The happiness of man consists in life. And life is in labor …. The vocation of every man and woman is to serve other people.” (Count Tolstoy, born in Virgo, August 28, 1828.)

To discover the motivating drive in the life of any Virgoan, it is necessary to look at the work he is doing; for so deep is Virgo’s utilitarian sense that he identifies himself with his work and is quite willing to lose himself in it. His personality and character development depend, to a peculiar extent, on the nature of the work he has set himself, for he will be as big or as small as his job or mission. He is capable of becoming single-tracked, absorbed and narrow over whatever he happens to fall into. He is capable of making work his god, and thus going high and far in a chosen direction. He is capable of expanding his spirit by selecting a career somehow related to service. He is capable of the extremes of self-denial if he thinks his work calls him to that. And he is also capable of feeling that his work requires self-immolation, self-limitation and self-sacrifice to an inordinate degree.

However you figure it, the puzzle of his nature will be solved if you find his attitude toward the hub of his universe, his work. So true is this that when you run across an unemployed Virgoan you have the most woebegone and incomplete personality in the world. In losing his work, Virgo loses his whole reason for being. In its best forms, this makes for efficiency and brilliance in the performance of duty, and it may take the sense of duty into very humane realms of selflessness. In its worst form, it makes for narrowness of outlook, great inability to talk anything but shop, lack of interest in anything not related to work. So engrossed does Virgo become in his job (talk, mission, message or whatever he calls it) that he sometimes seems intent on destroying all the rest of the personality that doesn’t belong to his work. He loses interest in extracurricular activities, so that his life is one long routine of keeping the nose to the grindstone, and he is unhappy when for some reason or other the grindstone stops or his nose gets away from it. To fix the aim high, to select a job that requires diverse talents and wide knowledge, is Virgo’s best bet for a well-rounded life. If he has the misfortune to be able to find progress and security in a rut, he is likely to see only the progress and not realize it is a rut. He needs activities, companions, fun, diversions, hobbies to broaden his life, and should seek these along constructive lines lest his overtaxed body and brain force him to seek them in undesirable forms of escapism, brooding and introversion.

Following are the aspects to your Sun. In a general way, the trines and sextiles to your Sun make ease, contentment, happiness, luck; while squares and oppositions give you energy, drive, success, ambition. Conjunctions bring both energy and luck, and are translatable in terms of whether the Sun receives squares or trines, along with the conjunction. Similarly, squares and trines to the Sun together bring success through work and perseverance, and luck develops in proportion to the work done and the effort extended. (Courtesy of Matrix Software [http://the].)

The following excerpt comes not from a natal report program, but from David Cochrane’s recent book, Astrology for the 21st Century. Based on lessons for astrology students, it approaches the signs of the zodiac from a somewhat different perspective than the other short delineations cited here:

Virgo is notorious for its tendency to categorize, criticize, and try to make everything operate perfectly and immaculately. Of course the world is not perfect and mistakes are made on occasion but Virgo tends to become irritable and disappointed when things do not work perfectly. Striving for perfection is natural for Virgo, but learning how to be patient with error is more difficult.

Virgo is also described as being a helpful sign, and Virgo does love to serve. Virgo loves to fix things, correct errors, and help you fix the problems in your life. However, Virgo, in my opinion, is interested in fixing problems in your life because it seeks perfection and loves to fix your life, but if you want sympathy or a shoulder to cry on, very often it is better to seek out someone other than the person with lots of Virgo in their chart. Virgo wants to fix the problem, not indulge it, and Virgo usually has a clear idea of how to fix things and is inclined to become impatient and irritated if there is a lot of discussion and analysis required before the actual improvements can be made. (Courtesy of Cosmic Patterns [] and David Cochrane [].)

A number of specialized report programs has been developed that offer useful supplements to the generic delineations of general reports. The following sun-sign interpretation has been drawn from a program written by Gloria Star (originally part of her book Astrology: Woman to Woman) that generates a specialized report for women:

With your Sun in Virgo your ego is driven by a powerful need to do things well. Although you may not ask for recognition, and may act uncomfortable when it comes your way, you crave the confirmation it brings. Yes, you are a perfectionist and you definitely have opinions. Yet you can be flexible when necessary. Just be sure that flexibility doesn’t turn you into a doormat when you run into those people who are the controllers. It’s okay to have things your way some of the time, too.

You may be glad you’re a woman. In fact, some of the more brutish aspects of manhood may hold absolutely no enticement to you whatsoever. As a Virgo woman, you’re not interested in expressing your masculine side as a man might—you would prefer to own your identity and express it just the way you want it! Face it, you can be intimidated by men, and may have given away some of your power because you don’t really feel very comfortable tooting your own horn. There is a difference between appreciating yourself and standing up for the recognition and advancement you deserve, and letting someone take advantage of you. Unfortunately, you may not really want to do battle and may prefer to just do your job or attend to your duties and let the blowhards have their fun. You may also get in your own way by being too critical of yourself, or feeling that you are not really “perfect enough,” to have all the glory. It’s possible that you felt a strong sense of judgment or criticism from your father, and learned to be Little Miss Perfect in order to gain his approval. But that was when you were a little girl. By applying your powerful sense of discrimination and critical judgment to determine if you’re getting what you need from your relationship, your job or your family, you can make an honest assessment of your life situation. Then, you can forge a plan of action which will assure that you can achieve a better pathway for your personal fulfillment.

The influence of your Virgo Sun stimulates a need to follow a path which will allow you to utilize your analytical abilities and powers of discernment. Raising a family may be one of your greatest joys, and you can be a supportive and understanding mother. In your choice of career you may be an exceptional educator and will enjoy a career which allows you to continue learning. You may also choose designing, health care, writing, editing, or prefer to work in supportive roles in business. If you have your own business, you will enjoy catering to those with discriminating taste, and may promote quality material and workmanship. (From “Woman to Woman,” by Gloria Star. Courtesy of Matrix Software [] and Gloria Star [].)

Responding to the revival of interest in pre-twentieth-century astrology, J. Lee Lehman developed a report program embodying the interpretive approach of traditional astrology. The following is excerpted from her book Classical Astrology for Modern Living and her computer program “Classical Report”:

You are given to all manner of learning, and skilled at the sciences, or many areas of knowledge. You are cheerful, discrete and judicious, and a lover of the arts. You are studious, with a wit ingenious but discriminating, and wholly for its own end. You enjoy musical and culinary entertainments.

You are mutable, which means that you adapt easily to change. However, you adapt so easily compared to others that they may wonder if you are capable of maintaining a permanent stance about anything.

You are an Earth Sign, which means that you are “cold” and “dry.” The “dry” component means, among other things, that you see distinctions easily, and that you are more swayed by intellectual argument than by passion. You are perceived as being “cold,” an outward appearance of being unemotional. In the modern parlance, it fits better with “cold and dry” than with simply “cold.” However, a “cold” type is basically lethargic, or slow to react. The “problem” with “cold” is that it makes it hard for you to forget slights. Because you don’t tend to lash out immediately, it’s easy for you to allow your anger to build up. Combine this with a tendency, being “dry,” to prefer the reasonable approach, and you can end up completely out of touch while your emotions run rampant. (Courtesy of J. Lee Lehman, Ph.D., copyright 1998 [http://www.].)

Readers interested in examining interpretations for their Chinese astrological sign should refer to the relevant entry. A guide for determining one’s sign in the Chinese system is provided in the entry on the Chinese zodiac.


Cochrane, David. Astrology for the 21st Century. Gainesville, FL: Cosmic Patterns, 2002.
Forrest, Steven. The Inner Sky: How to Make Wiser Choices for a More Fulfilling Life. 4th ed. San Diego: ACS Publications, 1989.
Green, Landis Knight. The Astrologer’s Manual: Modern Insights into an Ancient Art. Sebastopol, CA: CRCS Publications, 1975.
Hall, Manly P. Astrological Keywords. New York: Philosophical Library, 1958. Reprint, Savage, MD: Littlefield Adams Quality Paperbacks, 1975.
Lehman, J. Lee. Classical Astrology for Modern Living: From Ptolemy to Psychology and Back Again. Atglen, PA: Whitford Press, 1996.
Lewi, Grant. Astrology for the Millions.5th ed. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn, 1978.
Lewi, Grant. Heaven Knows What. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn, 1969.
Star, Gloria. Astrology & Your Child: A Handbook for Parents. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn, 2001.
Star, Gloria. Astrology: Woman to Woman. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn, 1999.
The Astrology Book, Second Edition © 2003 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


A constellation, right ascension 13 hours, declination 0°. Also known as Virgin.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


virgin (Aug. 23–Sept. 22). [Astrology: Hall, 315]
See: Zodiac
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. Astronomy a large zodiacal constellation on the celestial equator, lying between Leo and Libra. It contains the star Spica and a cluster of several thousand galaxies, the Virgo cluster, lying 50 million light years away and itself containing the intense radio source Virgo A, which is the closest active galaxy
2. Astrology
a. the sixth sign of the zodiac, symbol ♍, having a mutable earth classification and ruled by the planet Mercury. The sun is in this sign between about Aug. 23 and Sept. 22
b. a person born when the sun is in this sign
3. Astrology born under or characteristic of Virgo
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Virgo's ruling planet Mercury rules the brain and nervous system, it also controls the links between the mind and the functions of the body.