Updated: Aug 24, 2018
Spica; Virgo’s Light
My eyes search the darkened cosmos Searching for a light to lead me Orion, he is always there, and Ursa Major dominates the night sky I recall an ancient phrase; “Arc to Archturus, then speed on to Spica.” Following the Arc of the Great Bear (once the pure and chaste Callisto,
princess of Arcadia; Raped by Zeus and cursed by Hera) Past her protector, Archturus To find Spica, brightest star of Virgo - A yellow sheaf of wheat, Golden ear of corn White Spark of light Fire of Hearth, In the hands of a something so Pure That one name will not suffice. She is the Virgin, Virgo Astraea; Goddess of Purity and Innocence
who clung to hope for human kind longer than any other Shala, Goddess of Grain Hestia, Goddess of Hearth and Home Vesta, Keeper of the Flame The Blessed Virgin Mary Father Time has watched her transform, Watched her name change, Watched as Man’s study of Spica Brought the knowledge of the Equinoxes. What other secrets may she hold? Father Time, the Hermit only nods and winks As if to say “Time Will Tell,” And he turns to walk away “but don’t give up the search”. And suddenly I know I am beautiful I am pure You are beautiful You are pure And Astraea can return; Through us.
~~ WJM @Hestia's Muse written Sept 1, 2010
I first wrote this poem in 2010, just as I was beginning to learn about and work with Hestia. I was also learning more about astrology, and had recently aquired this beautiful tarot deck called 'The Celestial Tarot' in which each card is related to a specific constellation or star. Virgo season had just begun and I was inspired by The Hermit card to explore more depths of the sign Virgo - a sign associated with Hestia (The Virgin). Through that study and my meditations, this poem emerged.
The constellation Virgo represents a Virgin female form holding a sheaf of wheat. She is associated with Hestia (Greek), Vesta (Roman), Dike (Greek), Shala (Sumerian), Isis (Egyptian), and Astraea (Greek). Astraea means "Star Maiden" or "Starry Night" and she was the daughter of Astraeus and Eos. She was a maiden goddess of purity and light, and was the last of the Olympian Gods to remain dwelling on the Earth with humans through the Golden Age. Mythology tells that she loved mankind deeply and wanted to stay as long as possible, but could not stay and also maintain her purity. Finally during the Iron Age it was said she ascended to Olympus, fleeing the growing wickedness of Humanity and became the constellation Virgo - to shine her light of purity on us from a distance. Legend also holds that one day Astraea will return, ushering in a new Utopian Golden Age.
Spica is the brightest star of the constellation Virgo, and 15th brightest star in the night sky. It was through observation of this star that the Greek astronomer Hipparchus discovered and proved that the stars move across the sky in a phenomenon we now know as the "Procession of The Equinoxes". The appearance of Spica in the night sky is also related to the Spring and Fall Equinoxes - as Spica is only visible to the Northern Hemisphere from March to the end of July and not visible to the Northern hemisphere during fall and winter. The name "Spica" means "Ear of Corn" or "Sheaf of Wheat" in Latin.
Spica is actually a binary star system, with it's primary star about 10 times bigger than our Sun. The secondary star is slightly smaller (7 times bigger than our sun), and in such a close distance to the primary star that we cannot optically separate the two. They orbit around each other every 4 days. I find it fitting that the brightest Star in Virgo is a binary star- as Virgo is ruled in Astrology by the planet Mercury; the Dual Minded.
As we enter Virgo season, (August 23 - September 22) the Virgo constellation and Spica are no longer present in the night sky - but rising with the sun in the mornings and following the sun across the sky all day. The sun's rays now bless the earth through The Virgin's sector of the sky. Apollo (The Sun) is visiting the Temple of the Virgin, learning and transmitting the lessons of Purity, Devotion, Service, and Sacrifice as written on the temple walls by Goddesses like Hestia, Vesta, Astraea, Dike, Isis, and Shala. Carrying the sheaf of wheat or ear of corn and guiding us through our time of Harvest. Hail the Virgin! Hail the Harvest! Io Astraea! Io Hestia!
Interested in learning more about the Goddess Hestia? Check out the Hestia & Vesta Devotion Course - now open for enrollment!