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.

A stereotype of Virgos is that they’re detail oriented to the point of perfectionism, exacting to the point of fussiness. This isn’t always a bad thing — look at Beyoncé, a Virgo and a hard-working, meticulous genius. And in Virgo season, you can give yourself permission to care deeply about the small stuff, the details you only notice when you look with care.

But “perfectionism” can imply a kind of fault-finding pettiness, when Virgo energy is so much more than that. At its core, Virgo is about seeing the world sharply and clearly, without making excuses or ignoring painful or inconvenient facts. It’s about an unwillingness to be appeased by hollow words, or bought off with half measures, or lied to. Sometimes, from the outside, this can look like a frustrating fixation on ultimately inconsequential details, but it can be brave and grand, too. Look at Fiona Apple (who has sun, moon, and Mercury in Virgo) calling the music industry “bullshit” in her acceptance speech at the 1997 VMAs. Look at Ava DuVernay demanding, in When They See Us and 13th, that we look at hard truths that are often easier to lie about or forget.

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