zodiac seasons

Your Guide to Virgo Season

Notable Virgos, clockwise from bottom left: Marguerite Higgins, Maggie Cheung, Fiona Apple, Shabana Azmi, Ava DuVernay. Photo-Illustration: by Preeti Kinha; Photos Getty

As summer starts to wind down, you’ve probably noticed the stores stocked with folders and planners, shelves piled high with tools for organizing your thoughts, for getting your life together and tightening things up. They say it’s all for back to school, but honestly, they might as well be advertising for Virgo season. It’s the final zodiac sign of the summer, the one that leads us away from the wild, hot haze and up to the crisp edge of autumn. It’s the season of taking your life seriously and setting things right.

Virgo season, which typically lasts from around August 23 to September 22, marks a departure from the boldness and drama of Leo season. After a month in a creative, dramatic fire sign, Virgo season gives us the chance to come back down to earth a little quieter and more attuned to the everyday material reality of the world we’re living in.

As an earth sign, Virgo is closely connected with the body. Unlike fellow earth sign Taurus, Virgo isn’t primarily sensual or hedonistic; rather, Virgo is focused on health and care and living a good life inside this human form. Virgo season is about treating your body respectfully — by eating foods that make you feel stronger, or exercising just enough to steady your mind, or finally making that doctor’s appointment you’ve been avoiding, or just getting enough sleep. This is a time to care for yourself the same way you would for a friend you really love.

Virgo combines a natural affinity for the physical and practical with a sharp intellectual streak. After all, it’s ruled by Mercury, the planet of thought, curiosity, and communication. It’s not an abstract or unfocused kind of braininess, but an energy that’s analytic, observant, and grounded in the physical world. Virgo is also one of the zodiac’s four mutable signs — adaptable, constantly evolving, and unafraid of change.

Virgo tends to be stereotyped as the fussiest of the zodiac signs, hyper-critical and detail-oriented to the point of perfectionism. Like most astrological stereotypes, there’s some truth to it: Virgo does notice what others might ignore, and cares about doing everything correctly, down to the smallest detail. Other signs might be content to haphazardly throw a project together, call the result good enough, and move on, but Virgo won’t be satisfied until it’s been done right. To some, this meticulousness can come across as frustrating, nitpicking pettiness, but it’s hard to deny that the results can be breath-taking: Beyoncé’s body of work is a perfect example.

But don’t imagine that during Virgo season you need to focus on details at the expense of your big-picture goals. Rather, tending to the small things right now is the best way to bring your grander dreams to life. Fundamentally, Virgo’s careful practicality is a way of engaging with the world honestly, without ignoring the facts that are painful, or neglecting the tasks that are inconvenient. And just as important, don’t believe any stereotypes that imply Virgo is drab or uninteresting. Think about Fiona Apple (who has her sun, moon, and Mercury in Virgo) standing onstage at the 1997 VMAs and calling the entire music industry “bullshit.” Virgo’s conscientiousness isn’t always quiet and undramatic. It can also look brave and, frankly, extremely cool.

Virgo season is a time to get your life back in order. You can tackle the projects you’ve been avoiding, and really do them justice. You can notice the things that are making the world around you worse, and set them right again. Just don’t let anyone convince you that during Virgo season, you have to think small. You can organize your planner, your bookshelf, and your closet, but you don’t have to stop there. You can organize your workplace, your apartment building, and your city, too.

Your Guide to Virgo Season