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|The Labors of Hercules - Labor VI|
|The Two Ways
As always there is a choice for good or evil before the native of a sign, depending on his status of evolution and the degree of sensitivity. Virgo is called the goddess of virtue or of vice. But what is the root meaning of "vice"? "To render ineffective", and that for Virgo is to negate the whole purpose of the sign, for it is said that "the Christ is to her the purpose of existence." The root of "virtue" is the Latin word vir meaning "strength", "man", as in "virility". The deep meaning of vice as an ineffectiveness of the spiritual life, reminds one again of the explanation of the saying in one of the Rules of the Road: "For each must know the villainy of each and still love on". For it appears, that a villain in this sense is merely a narrow-minded, rather uncouth fellow, a dweller in a small village, who knows nothing beyond his own small ring-pass-not.
How obvious, and what breeders of true tolerance, are these root meanings. Too long have we belabored the body, the physical, as the root of all evil, when it is really our narrow minds, our hard, small hearts, that cause wrong attitudes and habits; the body being but an automatic response apparatus,  subject to the control of the inner man. Another idea presents itself in this connection, i.e., that "sin" means literally "anything that is done amiss". Just not hitting the "bull's eye", the "eye of illumination" spoken of in Taurus, is a sin for the son of man who is also a son of God. How perfectly these fundamental ideas interplay and confirm each other, when we abandon the complexities of the lower mind. Virgo is also called the "goddess of the two ways", because as the Holy Mother principle she symbolizes matter and also is the custodian of the Christ life.
It is meaningful that this sixth sign, the number of physical plane activity, is called the number of the Beast. This idea seems to have a horrible fascination for many, but what it really means is that Virgo is a symbol of the triplicity, 6 on the physical plane, 6 on the emotional plane, 6 on the mental plane, not 666 at all.
It is to be remembered that the lion is the king of beasts. The native attains finally in that sign the rounded-out personality. But in Virgo, the first of the steps towards spirituality is taken, the soul is called the son of mind, and Virgo is ruled by Mercury, carrying the energy of the mind.
In this Virgo lecture A.A.B. gave a most interesting sequence of prophetic references to the Virgin as follows:
"Behold, I will bring forth my servant, the branch". (Zechariah 3:8). One symbol of Virgo is the woman with the ear of corn, or the sheaf of wheat, or the branch of fruit in her arms. Remember also the prophecy in Isaiah upon which our New Testament is based: "And a virgin shall conceive and bring forth a son", and link up with that verse in Ephesians when St. Paul said that some day we shall attain unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. I would remind you that Christ laid the emphasis again and again on the new birth rather than on blood sacrifice. The esoteric meaning is "the blood is the life". We are always too literal. Even as the old practice of offering slain animals at the altar passed, so should pass the idea of  at-one-ment by the blood of Christ. That was born of the medieval guilt complex and the torturing of the physical instrument as a means to produce the dominance of the spirit; when the truth is that the body should be attuned to the soul and bring its beauty into manifestation, redeem it. All this is implicit in the sign of the Virgin and its labor. In The Secret Doctrine is a clear statement of the whole message of this sign: "Matter is the vehicle for the manifestation of soul on this turn of the spiral; and soul is the vehicle on a higher turn of the spiral for the manifestation of spirit, and these three are a trinity synthesized by Life which pervades them all".
The Constellations and Stars
The three constellations in close proximity to that of Virgo are: Coma Berenice, the mother of the form only; the Centaur, the man riding upon a horse or the horse with a man's head and torso, representing the human being, for man is an animal plus a god. This is the lowest of the constellations and it is notable that Hercules, though he had passed through five Gates failed at the sixth Gate, and had to begin again at the bottom, and make reparation for his lack of love and understanding. It often happens to advanced disciples. The third constellation holding promise of the future is Bootes, "the one who is coming", the savior in Pisces who frees humanity from subservience to the form.
Virgo itself is a cup-shaped constellation with three mainstars outlining it, the cup of communion, of which the Christ said "Drink ye all of it"; in its highest meaning the Holy Grail.The brightest star is Spica, which means "the ear of corn". Christ was born in Bethlehem, which means "the house of bread". We say, "Give us this day our daily bread", manna, bread from heaven, or the bread and wine of the communion. Ever this symbology of bread runs through the Old and New Testaments, and today our great economic problem still remains to furnish bread, a symbol of food, to a hungry world: bread  for the body and bread for those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. All this as part of the nurturing function of the mother of the world, who nourishes the form and also the Christ-consciousness latent in the form.
The Mutable Cross and the Planetary Rulers
Virgo is one of the arms of the mutable cross, with its opposite sign of Pisces, and the airy Gemini and fiery Sagittarius completing the four arms. It is the common cross of those who have probationary status. Its description is as follows: "The mutable cross is the cross of the Holy Spirit, of the third person of the Christian trinity, as it organizes substance and evokes sensitive response from substance itself." (Note the beautiful correlation of this statement with the fact that the Holy Spirit over-shadowed Mary.) On this cross the man reaches the stage of acquiescence and aspiration, and so prepares himself for the fixed cross of discipleship. It is notable that "the mutable cross of the personality dedicates the man who is crucified thereon to material ends in order that he may learn eventually their divine use." "The sin against the Holy Ghost" has been the subject of much morbid wondering. The Tibetan states: "The misuse of substance and the prostitution of matter to evil ends is a sin against the Holy Ghost." It was this sin, the greatest of his whole pilgrimage, that Hercules committed in Virgo, when he did not understand that the queen of the Amazons was to be redeemed by unity, not killed. Over and over again the Tibetan emphasizes the fact that it is "through the medium of humanity that a consummation of 'light' effectiveness will be produced which will make possible the expression of the whole". We still make the mistake of Hercules, when we forget that the triangle of the Trinity is an equilateral triangle, all angles of equal importance, to the working out of the Plan. (Esoteric Astrology, pp. 558 et seq.) It is in Virgo, after complete individualization in Leo, that the first step toward the union of spirit and matter is made, "the subordination of the form life to the will of the indwelling Christ". 
The three rulers of the sign Virgo definitely relate it to eight other signs, as has been noted, making it the outstanding sign of synthesis. Including Virgo itself, we have nine signs or energies interplaying, the number of the months of gestation of the human embryo. Again "as above so below".
The orthodox ruler of the sign is Mercury, "the versatile energy of the son of mind, the soul", the intermediary between the Father and Mother. The esoteric ruler is the moon, veiling Vulcan. The moon rules the form and we are again reminded that it is the will of God to manifest through the form. Vulcan is an expression of first ray energy, while the moon exerts fourth ray energy; Jupiter is the hierarchical ruler representing the second creative Hierarchy (divine builders of earth's planetary manifestation), and brings in second ray energy.
points out that Mercury, Saturn and Venus rule the three decanates and he reminds us that
when a man is on the reversed wheel of the disciple (counter-clockwise) he will enter the
sign through the influence of Venus, while the average man will enter under the rulership
of Mercury. This is an example of how we may misinterpret a horoscope if we do not know
the status of evolution of the native. Mundane astrology, without synthesis, may be very
misleading and superficial. Alice Bailey was wont to say, with a twinkle in her eye, to a
novice who exclaimed how exactly his chart was working out: "That is too bad, if you
were living above the solar plexus, your personality chart would not work out so
exactly". The chart of the soul will be used in the astrology of the future; not the
chart of the personality. This warning is covered in a positive statement by the Tibetan:
"The basis of the astrological sciences is the emanation, transmission, and reception
of energies and their transmutation into forces by the receiving entity". This
defines clearly what should be our attitude at full moon meditations and our use of
individual horoscopes. "The point I seek to make here", says the Tibetan,
"is that it is all a question of developed reception and sensitivity." 
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