Virgo Symbolism and Mythology Explained

Virgo is considered the sixth sign in the Zodiac. It gets its name from the constellation of Virgo. It’s also been called «the Virgin» or «the Fair Maiden».

The constellation of Virgo itself is made up of many bright stars and seems to include a large amount of galaxies within its boundaries. The brightest star in the constellation is called «Spica». It also happens to be one of the top 20 brightest stars in the nighttime sky.

All the mythological accounts agree that Virgo represents a goddess, but which one exactly depends on which account you’re reading. The one common theme here is that Virgo has been linked to almost every single important goddess that ever lived. So you almost get to pick which myth you like best.

Ishtar was a goddess that was mostly known for her sexuality. She was the goddess of fertility and sex, love and war. (There were really some yin and yang themes going on with her). Some of her followers were involved in prostitution but since she was a goddess it was called «sacred» prostitution; I guess that made it seem okay. Ishtar herself had many lovers, though she was reputed to use them and then carelessly walk away and forget about them.

Cybele is another goddess that is associated with Virgo. She is also known as «mistress of the animals» and was reputed to drive a chariot pulled by lions. Her main claim to fame is that she was able to resurrect her son Attis. Which explains why she is associated with being a cyclical deity; you know, life-death-rebirth type of thing.

What happened according to the legend is that Attis was in some form of sexually induced ecstasy and he, caught up in the moment as he was, castrated himself and then died. Apparently this was not all that uncommon, as many of her followers would do this to themselves. Not necessarily in moments of ecstasy, but they would castrate themselves. They would then wear female clothing and would give themselves new lives as women. (It’s interesting to note that men who were devoted to following her, but weren’t quite willing to go all the way and castrate themselves, were able to sacrifice a bulls testicles instead).

At any rate, Attis got caught up in the moment, castrated himself and died. His mother of course was heartbroken at the loss and so she then resurrected him. This earned her a reputation as being a cyclical deity as well earning her a place in the stars.

Another deity associated with Virgo is that of Callisto. She was a follower and nymph of Artemis. As such, she’d taken a vow of virginity. However apparently Zeus saw her and wanted her. So he being the sneaky god that he was disguised himself and lured her into his embrace. Once there he forced himself on her and left her with child. When Artemis found out Callisto was pregnant she was angry and turned her into a bear. Callisto later gave birth to a male child named Arcas that years later would see her in bear form and would try to kill her.

Finally, Virgo has also been identified with the goddess Athena. She was said to be the daughter of Zeus and Metis, a Titan. Apparently there was a prophecy that said the child of their union would be greater than Zeus himself. Zeus didn’t like that idea very much, so after he was done sleeping with Metis the legend says he swallowed her whole to prevent her from giving birth. What Zeus didn’t know was that it was too late. Metis was already pregnant. Metis cared for Athena inside Zeus until she was old enough to burst from Zeus’ head, fully armed with weapons her mother had given her.

Athena was the goddess most closely associated with peace, warfare and wisdom. She often appears accompanied by an owl. She was also known as «The goddess of the Hunt». She was a great help to other Greek heroes such as Heracles and Odysseus. The Parthenon itself was built to worship the goddess Athena.

Virgo is associated with the element «earth» and has «mutable» qualities. Virgos like to have a «place for everything and everything in its place». They are very organized and like their routine.

When it comes to getting a tattoo there are many different choices. You could get a tattoo of the brightest star in the constellation called Spica, or else maybe use the Sanskrit name for Virgo which is «Kanya». Or perhaps you would even prefer a rendering of one of the many goddesses that Virgo is said to represent. To keep it simple you could even use the Virgo name in a different language.

Whichever tattoo you choose, make sure to discuss it with the artist who will be doing it before you start. Many times they have good ideas and suggestions that might make your design even better than what you had planned.

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