This question raises the interesting issue of how the usage and meaning of words changes from one historical period/cultural phase to another. Within our current culture the word virgin when applied to humans generally means sexually intact. However, in ancient times when matriarchal religions were practised, the word virgin and the astrological sign of Virgo held a deeper and more complex set of meanings.
For example, the priestesses who served the ancient virgin goddesses Atargatis and Artemis were anything but virgin in our contemporary sense of the word. They were women who belonged to themselves and the goddess(es), whose duties to the temple were paramount and who owed allegiance to no particular male partner. Indeed,it was commonplace with those priestesses who had children to foster them out. They were too busy with their sacred duties to have much time for motherhood. (Virgo’s contemporary association with perfectionism, attention to detail, and devotion to work began a very long time ago!)
The eminent astrologer, writer and teacher Dr Liz Greene expresses the essence of what the sign Virgo is about in her “Astrology of Fate” p 215:
“….this issue does not deal solely with sexual matters, but embodies an entire view of life….I would understand it more as an openness to the flow of life, a willingness to trust the natural order, an acceptance of penetration and change….”
In the chapter “Myth and the Zodiac”, pp 211-220, Liz Greene offers a very full account of the complex, paradoxical mythology and symbolism connected to the sign of Virgo. I commend it to you!
If you’d like to read some more factual aspects of this topic, try this Wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virgo_(astrology).
Thanks for your stimulating question!
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350 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2013
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