Rulers: Mercury and Jupiter (Neptune)
Natural houses: 6th/12th
The Virgo-Pisces Axis is ruled by Mercury and Jupiter in their
earth and water manifestations, and is naturally associated with the 6th
and 12th houses. The themes on this axis are order and chaos, control and
trust, form and content, the practical and imaginal worlds, realities and
dreams, service and devotion. I often equate this axis to the Grail legend,
with the Pisces question being, 'Whom does the Grail serve?' and the Virgo
answer being, 'He who serves the Grail'.
If this spectrum polarises on the Virgo side, then there will be a strong need for control over the daily routines of life, in an effort to keep chaos at bay. And yet, if the qualities of Pisces are not integrated, they will emerge from the unconscious and the Virgo individual will feel increasingly overwhelmed, and will tend to attract more and more disruption into their lives and feel more and more out of control. Virgo is analytical, self-critical and perfectionist, brilliant at spotting errors and at focusing on the details but prone to missing the whole picture, which belongs to Pisces. If we identify only with the Virgo end of the axis, then we may become consumed by duty and drudgery, and we will long to escape. But until we can see the whole picture, we will always feel that anything we try to achieve is spoiled or imperfect in the making. On the Pisces side of this axis, we prefer to remain merged, undifferentiated and unformed in order to avoid having to grapple with the details and practicalities of life. In this case we are likely to find ourselves forced to engage with the world in practical ways, something we may bitterly resent.
One approach to this axis which I have found helpful is to remember the mantra: 'Trust in Allah but tie up your camel'. Both are necessary. This axis describes the way we attend to the daily necessities of life, not just for their own sake, or to earn a crust, but in the service of something which we find meaningful.
Audience: So are you saying that if we have the Sun in Virgo, then there is always a Piscean aspect to that, which needs to be explored and made conscious?
Clare: Yes, and if we are working in this way as astrologers, when we encounter a person with the Sun in Virgo, we will automatically start placing them on the Virgo-Pisces axis. Our job will be to find out where on that axis they are identified, and hopefully it will not have become too polarised, because that is very hard to work with. For example, if someone has polarised on the Pisces end of the axis, or in the 12th house to the exclusion of 6th house matters, then it may be very hard to reach them, because they will be so diffuse. It can be like trying to grasp a piece of soap. The danger is that the astrologer who doesn't spot what is happening can easily fall into acting out the unconsciously projected Virgo end of the axis, and find themselves taking a particularly analytical, problem-solving or critical viewpoint, or alternatively, start overemphasising the importance of work, diet and routine, all of which are likely to be meaningless to the client.
Divine drudgery: Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velázquez,
'Christ in the House of Mary and Martha' (1620)
Equally, if someone is polarised on the Virgo end of the axis, or in the 6th house to the exclusion of the Pisces or 12th house end, then we can find that we have been 'Pisced'. We may become confused and muddled and lost, unable to communicate satisfactorily to our client. This will be equally meaningless to our Virgo-identified client. Our only hope is to place ourselves firmly at the centre of the axis, which gives us a chance to navigate the whole spectrum.
Audience: So how do you know where someone is on the spectrum - can you
see this from the birth chart?
Clare: Not always, although as a general rule we normally identify with the planets and signs in the 1st and 2nd houses and project the 7th and 8th houses onto others because it is notoriously difficult to see that the qualities of the 7th and 8th houses belong to us. And because it takes a lifetime to develop the full potential of our Sun-signs, then it is not unusual to encounter people with the Sun in Virgo who are chaotic and diffuse, prone to giving themselves away, taking on too much and becoming overwhelmed. There seems to be a gradual process of increasingly refining and defining their personal boundaries. And this is also true of people with the Sun in Pisces, who often present themselves as Virgos, being very dutiful and efficient, practical and down-to-earth.
Audience: I have met that a lot. Perhaps they are just embarrassed to be Pisceans, especially if they are teachers or parents. It doesn't seem to be very acceptable to be a Pisces if you have to work hard and hold it all together.