With Mars transiting Sagittarius and my first house in recent weeks, I’ve managed to antagonize a few people close to me without even trying. My intentions were good, but that’s only half the battle. How those intentions are communicated is just as important, and it’s here that I appear to have fallen down on the job.
In his book The Four Agreements, don Miguel Ruiz explores the power of language—”the Word”—and the importance of using that power impeccably. “Impeccable,” as he points out, is from the Latin meaning “without sin.” When we use our word impeccably, we use it with integrity, congruent with our true selves. But when we use our word carelessly – dishonestly, or with the intention of doing harm – we “sin,” acting against ourselves as well as against others.
For me, Virgo is the sign that best represents this concept of impeccability in one’s word. Like Gemini, Virgo is ruled by Mercury, the messenger planet. These signs are perhaps the closest to the Word, but they embrace it in different ways and with different intention.
Gemini collects words indiscriminately, like butterflies, enjoying their colors and the shimmer of their wings in the morning light. He likes to play with language, to enjoy the feel of words in his mouth, to juggle them like an acrobat. The Word is a tool of delight to the Gemini magician.
But Virgo, an earth sign, represents the Word in tangible form. And when love takes a physical form, whether human, or, say, a piece of art, the struggle for improvement is quickly underway. Virgo’s talent lies in evaluating whether the artist’s creation reflects impeccability —that is, whether it achieves what the artist intended. In Virgo, the Leo storyteller hands her novel over to the editor, who has the power to help her shape the narrative and ideally, to bring it closer to the truth of her vision. But if this power is not used impeccably, it can result in the sin of tearing down the writer and extinguishing the creative flame.
In my own life, many people with the Sun, Moon, or Ascendant in Virgo have held me to a high standard of behavior, intention, and word. I have always striven to uphold that standard, but that’s only because I was first confident of their unconditional love. When we are criticized without a foundation of love and trust, the outcome is as likely to be destructive as it is to be constructive.
Criticism is invaluable, but on a personal level it’s almost always most effective when it’s done with tact, kindness, and the presumption of goodwill.
Many planets are moving through Pisces now, including the Sun approaching a conjunction with compassionate Neptune. All those planetary voices in Virgo’s opposite sign remind us of the importance of tempering criticism with compassion, and respecting the gray areas between black and white. Ruiz likens the Word to having the power to cast a spell on others, and it’s good magic indeed to present information to others in a way that makes them feel empowered, optimistic, and worthwhile.
I learned from a Virgo client long ago that the truth is not confined to what is hurtful, but also applies to the truly marvelous things that a person might not recognize in herself. I keep this in mind in my work as an astrologer, striving to tell my clients the best truth about themselves. I manage this pretty well in my work, but in my personal life I sometimes get sloppy and say the wrong things. I’m sure I’ll continue to make mistakes in my attempt to practice impeccability in my word.
As will you, most likely. At this Full Moon, square outspoken Mars in Sagittarius, candid, air-clearing discussions will be almost inevitable. As we engage in these conversations with the people close to us, let’s imagine that Ruiz is right, and that our words have the power to cast spells. If you convict someone of being untrustworthy, intellectually lazy, or a loser, then that is the spell you are casting. But if you let someone know that you believe them to be worthy of love and capable of great things, then maybe they will believe that, too.