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Life Arts    H4'ed 9/5/12

Emerging Archetypal Themes: Service Without Self-Sacrifice: Virgo: 'Mistress of Spices'

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St. Francis of Assisi
St. Francis of Assisi
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Service without Self-Sacrifice.  

That's our emerging archetypal theme for this astrological month of Virgo.   As we leave behind the Piscean Age, which embraced self-sacrifice (a very Piscean notion) as well as service to the world (its Virgo counterpart), we have to shine a new light on the subject of service, because we are being called to service -- to bring our talents, inspiration and imagination together to re-create our society, heal Nature and reject war as a means to peace.  

In these past few thousand years, service always included self-denial: sexuality and pleasure, independence and wealth were foresworn so the ego's attention stayed focused on spirit.   So many people took oaths of "obedience, poverty and chastity', seeing their service as a duty to their Deity.   Mother Theresa and St. Francis of Assisi are inspirations to us.   As they well should be.

However, when we see that sexuality, pleasure, independence and wealth are not bad "in and of' themselves, allowing ourselves those experiences no longer prohibits us from being of service to our fellow sisters and brothers.   While taming the senses and appetites is a necessity for greater consciousness and free will, we have to balance them with work and service.   It is time to bring Heaven to Earth, combining Spirit and Matter; that means, let's enjoy life while serving others.

That's the theme of Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's The Mistress of Spices.   Both the 1997 book and the 2005 movie explore this idea of service and sacrifice.  

Virgo: Healing, Service and Our Authentic Talents

But first let's look at Virgo's lessons and initiation.   There's alchemy involved in Virgo's lessons, the union of opposing energies and the transformation of those energies through self-knowledge into a new sense of wholeness and Self-consciousness.    Virgo is the sign where we work to perfect ourselves, not by being perfect but by coming to understand how we see ourselves, what we value, how we process life, what our emotional body feels like and where our creative impulse lies. We weave ourselves together in Virgo, discerning what is us and what is not us.

When we apply ourselves to discovering what we can do, we want to put that purpose to work.   In doing so we see how our talents can be of services to others.   A time of apprenticeship is a learning time, and that's what Virgo wants to do.   Learn as much of her craft as she can and continue to perfect it as a master craftsperson.   When we create like this, we are always of service, even when we work for ourselves.

Virgo symbolizes the Virgin of Life, coming at the time of year when we gather in the harvest of our creations.   The Egyptian goddess Isis was associated with Virgo because the end of summer is the time of year when the Nile floods and new life returns to the land.   This aspect of Isis is not the Goddess as Lover, but as the Mother who carries her child in her lap, symbolizing the manifestation of the potentials of life.   A new creation occurs!   New insights are born and new solutions generated.

That is the magical side-effect of Virgo's initiation into meaningful service!   Something new emerges, something deep and true.   A problem is solved, a wound is healed.   That is also the message of our movie this month -- a new truth emerges when we seek to heal a wound and allow a new potential into our lives.

Virgo's ability to discern what's happening in the moment and then to find a solution that works is the backbone of being of service to others. There is a joy to this work, a flexibility that is open to incorporating each experience into a new whole.   Virgo concentrates on doing her job well and is humble enough to offer her mastery to the world.   Being of service gives us the opportunity to perfect ourselves and our craft.

The Mistress of Spices

This sensual, colorful movie is a delight to the eyes; not only are Aishwary Rai and Dylan McDermott outstandingly good-looking, but the spices that inhabit the shop and our imaginations are exquisite beyond compare.

The Mistress of Spices is a story of two people who are chosen as children to walk the Piscean spiritual path.   The young woman follows her path into Virgoean service; the young man rebels against his mother in anger, forgets his calling and walks a Virgoean path of aloneness and disconnection.   When they meet as adults, their opposing paths collide and they find themselves attracted to each other.   On an unconscious level, their souls know they can heal each other.   But each has been wounded, and so they have to learn to trust their hearts again instead of the inner beliefs they've learned to live by.

The story begins with Tilo, a young Indian girl with the gift of prophecy.   While her ability to see brings her fame and fortune, it also brings tragedy.   Pirates want to profit off her talents and they come and kidnap her, killing her parents.   We know that someone with this kind of spiritual power needs to learn how to control it, and soon learns that it really can't be used for personal power and gain.   That's what happened with Tilo and her family.   Tilo has to learn the lesson of offering selfless service to others.

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Cathy Pagano is a spiritual advisor and Jungian psychotherapist, storyteller, author and teacher. She is the author of a book on the return of the Goddess, "Wisdom's Daughters: How Women Can Change the World". Cathy trained at the C. (more...)

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