Before understanding Virgo, it’s important to understand the context in which we find her. According to a lecture given by American Lutheran minister Joseph Agustus Seiss, entitled, “The Starry Worlds,” first published in 1882, God connected star groupings with:
“symbols and ideas he wished to convey, and transmitting and explaining to his posterity those names and figures thus conjoined with the stars, he would link with his astronomy a whole system of thoughts and hopes as clear as the stars themselves, and utterly imperishable as long as astronomy should remain in the knowledge of men.”
The star groups are “founded on indisputable astronomic truth, and hence form the groundwork of all maps and designations of the celestial presentations. They are in all the planispheres, celestial globes, and star-charts among all people, from one end of the earth to the other.”
Seiss attests that the stars and their groupings are not arbitrary; they are part of the “common and universal language of astronomical science.” Stars and their constellations are found in almanacs, books, and records worldwide– regardless of tradition or belief they are recognized by everyone. “Even those who have the most fault to find with them still employ them, and cannot get on without them,” he says.
God speaks through imagery of the stars– providing revelation of truth and hope. The stars tell a story in pictures of men, women, animals, monsters, and other cluster groups of stars, known as constellations, initially totaling 48. Beginning with the path the Earth takes around the Sun, the Moon and planets follow a similar pattern. The Sun moves roughly 30 degrees every month from west to east. The Moon revolves around the Earth 12 times every year.
Twelve divisions of 30 degrees each creates the Zodiac. The root word of Zodiac is “zoad,” which means to walk. Each movement around the Earth is a walk through God’s story, marked by 12 signs. Partnering with the Zodiac is the Lunar Zodiac– which coincides with the 28 days it takes for the Moon to revolve around the Earth.
Again, with mathematical precision, additional groups of stars are connected to each Zodiac sign. Arab and Hebrew scholars referred to these groups as “Decans,” meaning, a “part” or “piece.” Decans are 36 groups of stars with 3 in each of the 12 signs. Abu Masher, an Arab physician and astronomer, referred to them as “faces.” The Hebrew origin from Sehmitic Decah, means “to break.” Decans are pieces or parts contributing to the whole. Daniel referred to them as “dek.” (Dan. 2:45)
The first sign in the Zodiac and of prophetic revelation in the stars is Virgo. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, through the grace of God, tells of a virgin-born savior. Virgo is “the Virgin,” whose constellation depicts a woman holding an ear of wheat in one hand and a branch in the other. She prophesies of her coming Son.
Virgo’s three decans also help tell her story.
The first decan, Coma, means, “the infant” or “the branch.” (Isa. 11:1, 4:2, 9:6; Matt. 1:23; Jer. 23: 5,6; Zech 3:8, 6:12; John 12:24; Hag. 2:7) Coma in Hebrew means “the desired” or “longed-for,” referring to the coming Messiah. Coma represents Virgo’s desired, longed-for Son.
The second decan, Centaurus (a centaur, half man and half beast), in Hebrew (Bezeh) means “the despised.” (Isa. 53:3, 10) The centaur is holding a spear, piercing his enemy over a cross, depicting salvation from life to death. More importantly, however, is the dual nature of Jesus Christ he represents. Christ, like the Centaur, is:
“two natures in one person,” which Seiss describes as: “to men repulsive and hateful, yet really great, powerful, and beneficent, pushing with his lance at the heart of some victim, and moving the while right over the constellation of the cross.”
This the brightest star in the group, which the Greeks called Cheiron. In Hebrew it means, “the mediation.” Centaurus represents her Son who will be an offering.
The third decan, Bootes, is the “great shepherd” holding a rod and sickle (most recognized in English as “the Big Dipper.” Job 9:9 mentions this star, as does Zechariah 12:10, which refers to the Hebrew root meaning of Bo, “the coming.” Greek poets referenced this star as well, which Paul referred to in Acts 17:28. The staff and sickle are comprised by Arcturus, which means, “he comes.” Virgo’s shepherd Son will come and guard his sheep.
The Zodiac begins with Virgo, the virgin whose seed is at the center of the story of the Universe. But the rest of the star signs and their meanings are interwoven in hers and all ultimately point to the One who is yet to come: Jesus.