AUGUST 23rd ~ SEPTEMBER 22nd
Virgo

Virgo is the sixth Sign of the Zodiac, to be exact, and that's the way Virgos like it: exacting. Those born under this Sign are forever the butt of jokes for being so picky and critical (and they can be), but their 'attention to detail' is for a reason: to help others. Virgos, more than any other Sign, were born to serve, and it gives them great joy. They are also tailor-made for the job, since they are industrious, methodical and efficient. The sense of duty borne by these folks is considerable, and it ensures that they will always work for the greater good.

Virgo is represented in modern Astrology by the Virgin, although this association should not be taken literally. Rather, Virgos tend to take on some of the qualities of a Virgin, things like modesty and humanity. Some might consider them repressed, although Virgins would argue that it's a noble quality, as opposed to a negative one. Most of all, Virgos enjoy indulging their practical and logical side and poring over their projects to the tenth degree. To say these folks are good at fact-finding almost understates the case, since Virgos revel in their exacting (some would argue pedantic) behavior and are a whiz with minutiae. Virgins are an asset in the workplace as they can be counted on to get things right the first time, every time -- and no detail will be overlooked. They are also balanced and fair in their assessments in keeping with the Mutable Quality assigned to this Sign.

Virgo is ruled by the Planet Mercury, and as portrayed in ancient Roman mythology, Mercury wasn't one to sit still for long. This swift-footed god was a bundle of energy, both physically and mentally, and that pretty much sums up the Virgin's makeup. A Virgo's brain is in overdrive most of the time, which is why these folks get so much done. Those born under this Sign are also able communicators and use their mental acuity to maximum advantage. All of this brainpower can make Virgins prone to skepticism, and can even lead to the kind of overthink which surely leads to overkill. Thankfully, though, Virgos are also a studious lot and can temper their worst impulses with a bit of careful analysis. Virgos enjoy studying a situation in great detail, whether it's a work project or a friendship. Virgins are truly interested in understanding things. The bane of many Virgos is the perfectionism which can get in the way of their usual clear thinking. 'I'm not a perfectionist; I'm discriminating!' a Virgo would say, happy in the knowledge that their taste is unparalleled. Along those lines, Virgos are also neat and clean, save for the occasional sloppy Virgin (they do exist). Virgins are also reliable and practical and oh-so-useful to have around.

The Element associated with Virgo is Earth, and in keeping with that, most Virgos are grounded, salt-of-the-earth types. The flash and dash can go to others, since Virgos would much rather be humble and easy-going. That said, Virgins do enjoy material possessions and are (dare we say?) picky about what they bring into their lives. Some might even go as far as calling them self-centered, but it's really more of a desire to surround themselves with what's right -- for them. This knack for discernment also serves Virgins well in business, where their decisions are usually dead-on. Those born under this Sign are eminently sensible and use their critical eye well. While Virgins can be worrywarts, they do their best to temper these impulses. However, if this nervousness goes unchecked, it can lead to hypochondria, that ugly skeleton in the Virgo's closet. For that reason, Virgos are extremely health conscious, to the point of being storehouses of information on diet and hygiene. Many Virgos even choose a health or medical career so they won't miss a beat.

Working out is elemental for Virgins, if only so they know intellectually that they're helping themselves physically. See, the benefits of exercise are far more important to Virgos than the process itself. That's why Virgos are likely to time themselves on their runs and get in those 300 sit-ups every day. When it comes to the game of love, Virgos are able to loosen up somewhat and are devoted to their lovers, even if they can be a bit jealous. Since Virgo rules the intestines, worried Virgins need to be wary of bowel upsets. Soothing relief often comes in the way of earth tones, which is why Virgins like to be surrounded by shades of tan and a warm yellow.

The great strength of the Virgo-born is in their practicality, sharp mind and attention to detail. When merged with their willingness to serve, Virgos become essential helpmates. They can be picky -- so what?

ELEMENT ~ EARTH

The Element of Earth is attached to the Signs Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn, and it also rules the Second, Sixth and Tenth Houses. All the earthy metaphors are appropriate here: salt of the Earth, feet firmly planted on the ground and so forth. Those graced by an Earth Sign in their horoscope are practical, grounded and dependable. These folks aren't taking big risks, much preferring a sure thing.

Much like the Elements are considered the building blocks in nature, Earth Signs are the builders of the zodiac. To these Signs, creation is a tangible proposition. Whether it's building jobs or homes, or creating comfortable rooms within that home through the acquisition of possessions, Earth Signers are about all what is solid around us. Those influenced by this Element feel best once they have accumulated a goodly number of worldly possessions. The risk inherent in this, however, is that these individuals may become greedy and far too materialistic.

The Element of Earth also confers a sense of duty, responsibility and reliability to those in its sphere. These are the people you can count on to be there when you need them. Those influenced by Earth also tend toward caution and conservatism, in both desire and approach. That said, they are sensualists, certainly in that they appreciate a good meal and fine wine better than anyone else.

The logical mind of an Earth Signer is always appreciated. In keeping with this measured approach, these folks also display considerable recuperative powers. On the flip side of things, however, those supported by Earth may be so caught up in their objectives that they might overlook the feelings of others. It is a big picture, after all, but these folks may be more concerned with the finish line than the journey they are taking.

Earth Signs are dependable, practical and conservative, yet fairly materialistic. They have their feet on the ground but their eyes on the prize.

QUALITY ~ MUTABLE

A Mutable Quality is attached to the Signs Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces. The Mutable Houses are the Third, Sixth, Ninth and Twelfth; if a horoscope shows a preponderance of Planets in these Houses, its energy is weighted toward mutability.

Mutable Signs know how to go with the flow. They are adaptable and flexible and can change their form of expression to whatever a situation requires. Standing their ground is of little import to Mutable folks. These people would much rather conform to the norm, so long as their doing so will help the greater good. Luckily, Mutable individuals are versatile and find it quite easy to change. Consider them the chameleons of the Zodiac, since they can take on varied personae.

Mutable people are blessed with a tremendous resourcefulness. Talk about making lemonade out of lemons! They know how to squeeze that last drop of juice and make things better in the process. Those influenced by a Mutable Quality in their horoscope also enjoy learning, play fair and are diplomatic and well-liked by others. To their further credit, they are sharp, sympathetic and can see (via a sixth sense?) the essential elements of a situation. At times, however, their desire to please everyone can get them into hot water. They may come across as wishy-washy, inconsistent and downright duplicitous. All this in the name of aiming to please!

The beauty of mutability is that those possessing it are flexible, versatile and highly resourceful. These folks are quick to help others and are selfless in the process. While they may occasionally stretch themselves to the breaking point, they know how to bounce back.

RULING HOUSE ~ THE SIXTH ~ HEALTH

The Sixth House is commonly referred to as the House of Health. Implicit in maintaining good health is the ability to cope in the face of adversity, and this theme rings truest in the Sixth House. As human beings, we naturally have shortcomings. What will we do with them? How will we react in the face of a personal crisis? Crises, illnesses and reversals of fortune are all part of our Earthly trek. How we confront these situations and deal with the lessons they invariably teach us helps to define the person we become.

Our fears may hold us back, but if we can meet them head-on and come out stronger on the other side, we may learn the valuable lesson of service or what our life's work should be. Work and service are central to the Sixth House. The focus here is on employment (employers and employees), training, those who serve us (along with those we serve) and those who depend on us. Keeping ourselves strong throughout these efforts is also important here, which is why this House further focuses on health (good and bad), diet, fitness and hygiene.

Essential to the work we do in life is the work we do on our self. Duty, responsibility and personal growth all contribute to the creation of a fully-realized being. We work for others as well as for ourselves; we are at service to those who need us, including our own being. There will be times when crises of health or faith will stand in the way of our best self. At those times, we must endeavor to heal ourselves (again, the focus of this House is on health) so that we can return to the work of realizing our sum potential, of serving our world.

The Sixth House also addresses the daily dailiness of life: what will I wear today? Do I need a haircut? Has the dog been fed? These simple matters keep our engines humming and enable us to do the more important work of our choosing. It's a patchwork quilt: the ability to serve others in health and through work which is both valuable and fulfilling.

The Sixth House is ruled by the Sign Virgo and the Planet Mercury.

RULING PLANET ~ MERCURY ~ COMMUNICATION

Mercury, much like the winged messenger of the gods, comes in on feather-light wings and commands us to speak. Communication, intellect and awareness are all within Mercury's domain, as are logic and reasoning, our manner of thinking, and how we create and express our thought processes.

A mercurial nature brings to mind restlessness and motion. Rat-a-tat-tat -- things happen fast here. Mercury is about a quick wit, quick thinking, possibilities, opinions, reasoning and the ability to rationalize things. Mercurial energy can be good or bad, but it will certainly be energizing! This Planet also prompts us to move from one thing to the next and to get answers on both a physical and psychological level. Further, Mercury's energy is both dexterous and perceptive.

Mercury is about short trips: a visit to a neighbor or a friend across town, the workaday commute, a weekend getaway. Siblings, and transportation in general, are also within Mercury's realm.

Speaking, writing, books, online communications and learning are all within Mercury's domain. This Planet implores us to express ourselves often -- and well. When Mercury goes retrograde (the appearance of traveling backward), however, our communications will be challenged.

Mercury is never more than 28 degrees from the Sun; it takes about 88 days to complete its orbit of the Sun. It is neither masculine nor feminine energy and assumes the gender of the Sign it is in. It rules both Gemini and Virgo and the Third and Sixth Houses.

Sapphire - September