Finding New Ways to Nourish on the Virgo New Moon

The mutable earth sign of Virgo is symbolized by a maiden, or virgin, who carries a shaft of wheat. In the past the virgin was associated with sexual modesty and chastity, but as we shift our understanding of astrology to be more empowering, we can regard this figure as someone who belongs wholly to themselves and approaches things from a purist point-of-view. Virgo is well-known for its determination and practicality, but often we disregard its earthy qualities, forgetting the wheat the maiden carries, which symbolizes this sign’s health consciousness.

As we approach a new moon in Virgo on September 9, we can become curious about the different ways in which we nourish ourselves and whether our proverbial cup is full. Virgo rules the intestines, and during this new moon cycle we can take a critical look at our diet and the needs it satisfies within. It is important to do this from a nonjudgmental perspective, as many of us face pressures regarding what we put into our bodies.

We can begin by asking ourselves what motivates our culinary impulses. Are we drawn towards food for taste, sustenance, or comfort? Do we eat out of necessity or with enjoyment? Do we seek to feel stuffed or full? What flavors do we revel in and which are we repelled by?

As these answers come through, you can start to distinguish between the behaviors that are related to nourishing the body and which might be an attempt to satisfy an emotional need. If we tend to gravitate towards comfort food, we might look for other, more sustainable ways to provide relief. If we are eating or drinking to the point of being overstuffed and lethargic, we can ask our bodies what they need to feel full.

I do not mean to diminish the potential difficulty of these exercises. Many of us have complex relationships with food that were fostered in early childhood. It might take many, many moon cycles to shift this relationship, but at the very least you can use the energy of this new moon to become aware of your habits and understand where they are stemming from. You can also introduce new ways of nourishing yourself, to prove to your body that other options exist.

Especially within the United States, meal times no longer carry the same reverence as they once did. In places like France, people often reserve an hour or two for each meal, understanding the value of breaking bread to support social relationships and how taking the appropriate time to refuel can invigorate the rest of your day. Unfortunately, many of us have grown accustomed to eating alone, in our cars, and with little awareness of what we are eating and how it makes us feel.

In addition to asking the questions above, there are a few simple exercises that can bring more mindfulness into meal times and help us feel nourished.

Prior to beginning your meal, spend a few minutes thinking about the hands that prepared it, perhaps the farms or factories where the different foods came from, and all of the effort required before arriving on your plate. Give thanks to the people, plants, and animals that were a part of this process. Give thanks to yourself if you had any hand in cooking or preparing the food.

Try to savor each bite. If you’re eating with someone else, do not talk while chewing, but allow yourself to notice the taste and texture of each mouthful. If this is difficult for you, you can try counting how many times you chew your food, aiming for 5-10 bites for softer foods and 25-30 bites for denser dishes.

Wait at least 10 minutes before having a second serving, giving your belly time to signal to your brain when it is full. Consider how you define “full.” Do you usually feel sluggish and sleepy after meal times? Ideally, how would you like to feel after you have finished eating?

Additional activities that will encourage healthy digestion include drinking plenty of water and taking a quick walk or similar light activity instead of plopping down at your desk or on the couch directly after eating.

The archetypes associated with VIrgo -- the virgin, the maiden, and in tarot, the crone -- are able to access wisdom and remain on their chosen paths because they take the appropriate steps to nourish their minds, bodies, and souls. We cannot expect for insights to arrive if we are starved, hurried, or otherwise ungrounded. We have to understand how our physical vessels support our inner well being and become curious about our needs outside of what is comfortable or feels good in the moment. Being able to make these distinctions is what will allow us to tap into Virgo’s resourcefulness and receptivity.