We all know there are 12 zodiac signs and chances are you also know where your Sun is located. I’m a Virgo, you say? Well, what type of Virgo are you? If you didn’t know that there are subdivisions within each of the zodiac signs, then welcome to the 36 decans.
Each of the 12 zodiac signs is divided into 3 distinct parts of 10 degrees each. So if your Sun is at 8 Virgo it’s in the 1st decan of Virgo but if it’s at 26 Virgo it’s in the last. We can consider the decans as 3 distinct acts in a 3-act play, the overarching theme of which is the zodiac sign involved.
For example, Virgo is oft thought of as a methodical person who clings to routine: keywords for Virgo include craftsman, cautious, health conscious, industrious, and picky. The inherent theme of Virgo reflects that indeed, the devil is in the detail.
You work that you may keep pace with the earth and the soul of the earth.
For to be idle is to become a stranger unto the seasons, and to step out of life’s
procession that marches in majesty and proud submission towards the infinite.Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet (on Work)
But quite how that all infolds in any given native of Virgo depends on the decan involved.
1st decan – Ruled by both the Sun and Mercury, this is a rewarding place, at least it can be if you’ve paid close attention to that which is necessary to carefully cultivate and harvest your crop (whatever that is). Images associated with the decan are often include a pretty, young maiden with some tasty fruit in her hand. The implication is that this fruit is the result a natural process that like it or not, was not 100% under her control – how humbling!
If we want our tree (or project) to bear fruit, then we need to tend it with due care. In turn that requires a good deal of work and careful attention as to what is required for that care and it is this pursuit, in which planets in the decan flourish. Mercury is good at learning and the Sun in this decan suggests the native has a gentle, focused awareness of what’s going on in the world around him/her.
Little wonder the tarot card associated with this decan is the 8 of coins, the Lord of Prudence. This decan is perfect for those like writers, who will benefit greatly by calm, constant revision of their craft.
2nd decan – With both Venus and Saturn as the rulers, this decan is more complicated than the first. Saturn, the taskmaster, gets caught up in the routine and, as Saturn is prone, to be critical and find fault with said routine. Little wonder this decan is oft thought of well-suited to the efficiency expert! Venus, unhappy in Virgo (she is in fall here), develops an awkward relationship with that is perceived to be beautiful and of value.
Whilst the 1st decan deals with natural processes, this decan deals with human creation, and more specifically, the processes underlying it. For example, you marvel at the diamond in the ring on your finger whilst having little understanding of the toil and trouble to get it here. In other words, when this decan is involved rather ugly processes are either hidden or ignored, so that we may concentrate, instead, on the beautiful result.
The tarot card, the 9 of Coins, associated with this decan is known as the Lord of Gain, which is not quite the same wealth (that comes later). This card depicts a stern looking woman in a lovely garden with a hooded hawk on her shoulder. Often this is taken to suggest we must work hard to keep our primitive animal passions at bay. But perhaps a deeper meaning, more closely in fitting with older imagery associated with this decan, anything distastefully primitive (including the hawk that kills the rodents and vermin in the garden) in making it lovely must be kept at bay. .
3rd decan – With this decan comes the end of the season, a season which, in the northern hemisphere, has taken us through to the harvest. As is the case with all decans that bring closure to a seasonal quarter, the tarot card associated with it is 10 (the end of the line), in this case the 10 of Coins known as the Lord of Wealth. Natives with important planets here are always aware that all things in the material plane must terminate in death and/or destruction – which quite literally, is the end of the line.
Little wonder this decan is associated with the idea of legacy, or that which we leave behind us. Ruled by both Mercury and Venus, this is a complex energy focused on the consequences of one’s action, the causal chain of cause and effect.
At the end of the day, the question always will be whether or not what we’ve done has resulted in something of value, although unlike as is superficially suggested by the 10 of Coins, that which is of most value is not always the amassing of material wealth.