Virgo Season: Season of the Goddess Aflame.

{Photo credit: Maren Zweifler}


The uncanny orange light spilled through the seams of space above the curtains, pooling on the ceiling like a warning.

I was jolted out of my morning haze, startled into thinking wildly of fire as the smoky air invaded my room.

I threw open the curtains and beheld the sky in horror.

A surreal vista greeted me, smelling of charred flora and fauna, dyeing the sky a malignant hue, lidded like a Titian tomb.

Nothing moved in the thick air, as if the heaviness suppressed all life. It was eerily quiet, I didn’t hear a single bird.

The sky was painted in a doom-glow by the fires nearby, not in my neighborhood as my panicked morning mind thought in fright, but in the wooded and grassy areas nearby, in Northern and Southern California, Oregon, and Washington.

The entire West Coast is now wreathed in plumes of smoke from wildfires.

This dreaded shroud now reaches as far as Tijuana.

The stillness of the air that day clung to everything, as I moved slowly.

Like some prehistoric insect caught in amber, limbs ensnared in a deathly languor gleaming burnt orange, too slow to even know the darkly crystalline embrace meant death.

I made coffee in the darkness, drinking while staring at the insidiously incandescent sky.

All vigor drained from me, having left my window open during the night I felt the air thick and tar-like in my lungs.

It felt as though there was an inverted Lichtenberg figure of grime blackening the delicate pink membranes within me.

A latticework of charred death seemed to infiltrate my being with leaden tendrils that pulled me down to my bed.

I stared up at the ceiling patterned in umber hues and ruddy shadows. I couldn’t find the frail meniscus that separated me from my surrounds, as if both my body and my bedroom breathed in the oily, blackened claws of smoke with the same ragged, wheezing breath.

Fire season has changed. It’s come earlier, and it hasn’t colored the city in searing death tones like this before.

I managed to drag myself out of bed and venture into the garden, which was all yellows, oranges and reds. The grimy mantle blocking all other shades from the heavens.

In the silent bower of greenery, I began to find calming breath. Not the labored creaking I felt in the apartment, but the hushed, muted flow of leaves sighing. Slower, dulled, but vital and lush despite the oppressive ochre enclosure.

Fire season is Virgo season, the sign of purity, integration and healing.

It’s an energy that I could feel pulsating still in my small, verdant chamber, even as I sensed the West Coast being consumed all around me.

I felt a heaviness like guilt for having a leafy refuge while all around SF the land burned.

Virgo is also the sign of digestion, the hearth energy of our body that heats, breaks down and assimilates material. In Yoga, we call this Agni.

This kind of heat could be related to the natural fires that were stoked in the area, or the fires set by the Natives to clear and encourage fecundity.

Though some of the fires in the West were started by an aberrant lighting storm, the fires raging now are a different kind of flame.

The post-Colonial, post-industrial fires are spun of doom and destruction. Nightmarish and insatiable, they are signs of climate change and the balance being thrown off by a planet in chaos.

Virgo is associated with the Virgin goddesses of the Near East.

Virginal not in the modern way we understand the term, but a word indicating freedom, being unclaimed by any man.

As Liz Greene said: “The word ‘virgin’ , like the sign, is complex. These days we are prone to understand it as referring to sexual intactness and inexperience, but this is far from the original sense of the word. Our astrological Virgo in her mythic context is scarcely a virgin.”

John Layard writes: “We speak of a ‘virgin forest’ as being one in which the powers of nature are untrammeled… thus in this sense of the word, ‘virgin’ does not mean chastity but the reverse, the pregnancy of nature, free and uncontrolled.”

It’s this virginal energy that I feel summoned now, a powerful conserver of nature, fecund and unmarred by the claim of men.

The Virgin archetype can also be fierce in the defense of an inner purity, as we can see in the goddesses of The Near East, both holy harlots and rulers of war. Astarte was invoked in both matters of sexual and martial potency.

We are now in a war, the way the upcoming election is spoken of is often in terms of a battle for the soul, but in this season, the season of Virgo, I think in more corporeal ways. Virgo is a sign associated with the body and its messages. Virgo heeds the signals of the body and integrates them into healing, purifying action.

For me, this is a battle for the body of the earth. The great Earth Mother is giving us messages, and we as a part of this physical system, this primordial body, will either respond or not.

Beneath the social battles we must fight for justice is the battle to conserve the balance of our earth. The play of action that is humanity is a mere overlay upon the surface of the earth, and her cycles are shifting, quickening, intensifying.

The lust for oil gleams as dangerous and darkly aqueous as the sediment clotting the lungs of the people on the West Coast of the US.

The danger of a tyrant upholding offshore oil interests and fracking over the welfare of all creatures of earth should feel as choking as the air in this moment.

The poison sludge of this administration should feel as dire and viscously virulent as our burdened breath right now, in the thick of battle.

I left the garden and returned heavily to my bed, to watch the undulating shadows play in the unspooling, sanguine light.

I realized that Virgo, the earth sign of integration, had allowed me to feel the battle in all its darkness and blood.

It had permitted me to feel the pressure of this moment, integrate it into my body, not as an abstract or in purely cultural, human terms.

This is a war, and the lives of all creatures depend on the outcome.

To feel this reality so powerfully, so kinesthetically, was terrifying, but I’m grateful that I did.

I’m grateful to have felt this truth imprint on me more profoundly, and for it to deepen with every breath.

{Photo credit: Maren Zweifler}


Maren Zweifler enjoys teaching Yoga with a focus on free movement and intrinsic shapes, emphasizing spinal fluidity and innate, primal posture. Deeply inspired by movement systems that embrace nature like Sridaiva and Continuum Movement. He completed a 500-hour certification in SF and has taught both there and in Austin where he honed his skills teaching private classes tailored to the individual needs of his clients. He created a wellness/yoga program at a non-profit. These experiences allowed him to explore both the unique individuation of the physical experience in one-on-one sessions, and the commonalities of the human form that can be witnessed in large groups. You could connect with Maren on Instagram.


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