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an extract from “Growing Pains”
copyright: Alex Trenoweth
All rights reserved
The French polisher
Imagine having the task of buffing a large floor space to an incredible shine. It’s a huge job and can only be done by hand — and there’s no- one to help you. Far from rushing through the job, you relish in the perfection of technique to achieve the very best standards. You’re not bothered that progress is slow. After all, you know it will all be worth it…in the end.
It’s a bit of an understatement to say that Jupiter in Virgo pupils like things to be perfect. They’re the kind of pupils who painstakingly choose exactly the right materials for going back to school. The pencils they use will not only be perfectly sharpened, but the material they are made from will also be ecologically sound. The lead will have been researched and then chosen for its durability. They won’t let others share their crayons for fear of wearing them down unevenly or, worse, contaminating the implements with germs. Pens must not blot and the paper they write on must not be dented or smudged. Jupiter in Virgo pupils will drive their teachers crazy as they tidy their workspaces and carefully organise their shelves. There’s always a long queue to wash hands before lunch and the complaint box for the canteen is always full. Jupiter in Virgo pupils can’t be pleased so it’s better to give up before you even try.
OK, that last bit was an exaggeration but it’s not too far from the truth of the perils Jupiter in Virgo pupils face. For in their search for perfection, their progress is often so slow that their teachers give up on them — even if these pupils do have their noses in books most of the time (when they’re not disinfecting everything, that is). They hate to be rushed and will hide their work and take a punishment for doing nothing rather than submit work that is less than perfect. Very often these pupils will have their own intricate systems which may seem chaotic to the teacher but is in fact in an order they understand. Don’t mess with their stuff, and one day they will bowl you over with what they have learned.
A far greater threat is that Jupiter in Virgo pupils frighten people with their well-meaning but harsh criticisms. Peer assessments often precipitate World War Three — with the teachers. Group work means that germs will be shared, so teachers will have to keep industrial containers of anti-bacterial gel nearby just to encourage Jupiter in Virgo pupils to sit closer together. However, these pupils are very good at independent study. Their research is thorough if they are shown how to do it right. Their work is immaculate both grammatically and in its presentation. They are quiet but deep thinkers who laboriously choose the best words to suit the purpose of the given assignments.
By the time these pupils reach their first Jupiter return and enter secondary school, they will have had a chance to re-organise themselves. They know themselves better and they can’t wait to have a chance at “real” study. They’ll be disappointed if there isn’t enough homework and devastated if they lose their diaries. Locker room chaos after PE will cause them to have a nervous breakdown. They will have some sort of routine for preparing for the next day that is best left alone for them to figure out how to make it better — even if they are the type of Jupiter in Virgo who seems to thrive on disorder. These pupils will normally follow the rules, but by the time they are fifteen this tendency will change enormously. Given a little freedom, they crave more, and suddenly it’s a philosophical battle to get them to do their ties up properly or wear their hair in a less time-consuming style. They may change their religion or become fascinated on some faraway cause in the Far East.
If you are a teacher with Jupiter in Virgo, you will have developed your own systems of organising yourself and your pupils which may or may not be admired by other teachers. You probably avoid the canteen or, conversely, consume so much junk food that you require your own postcode. You like extremes and secretly wish everyone would make up their minds to be as fastidious (or not) as you. However, somehow you always get the task of organising the no nonsense staff dos and many colleagues will swear by your ability to pull together a fabulous party without breaking a sweat — but this only means you are adept at hiding your stress. In turn, this means you suffer headaches, bouts of flu and other maladies far more than others. You become known as the pharmaceuticals hoarder and everyone will know you have every type of cold remedy known to man carefully alphabetised in your cupboard. You love Ofsted and secretly smile as you watch your colleagues fret and work themselves into forced early retirements.
Fine tuning the role of Jupiter
Mercury rules Virgo as well as Gemini. However, in Gemini, Mercury’s ability to change and adapt is more apparent. In Virgo, Mercury’s preference for precision and its connection to health matters is clearer.
Mercury in Aries These pupils quite literally learn by using their heads. Like Vulcans, they are orderly, methodical and adept at removing human emotion from any situation. Teachers will be thrilled by their precise mathematical calculations, but their pupil’s search for the formula in artistic endeavours will leave them cold. Parents are usually alarmed by the number of head injuries these children receive.
Mercury in Taurus These pupils learn by touching things and talking things through. Typically, these pupils resist new ideas and prefer to chew over previous lessons. Teachers struggle to get these pupils to experiment with new ideas and concepts. Parents are usually convinced they are raising a future member of the Conservative party.
Mercury in Gemini These pupils learn by using precise language. They typically have extensive vocabularies with lots of big words such as those found in medical dictionaries. Teachers usually discover (eventually) that these pupils are excellent mimics rather than original researchers. Parents think they are raising parrots rather than children.
Mercury in Cancer These pupils learn by using their gut instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, they won’t go with it. Teachers usually find these pupils have a nose for reliable resources and can spot anachronisms with ease. These pupils are naturals when it comes to history. Parents just think they need to get out a bit more.
Mercury in Leo These pupils learn by using their natural abilities to gain attention. If the spotlight isn’t on them, giving them the incentive to show what they can do, they lose interest. Teachers usually discover instant feedback keeps them inspired. Parents are often worn down with their demands for attention.
Mercury in Virgo These pupils learn by using their methodical thoughts process to analyse information. Natural pupils, these pupils usually favour mathematics and sciences or any activity which allows them to employ precision. Parents usually think they have hypochondriacs on their hands.
Mercury in Libra These pupils learn by measuring differences. They are usually able to get people to work together by pairing strengths and weaknesses. Teachers often appreciate their manners, but despair at their inability to make firm decisions for themselves. Parents often trust these children to plan parties and other special occasions.
Mercury in Scorpio These pupils learn by using their personal power to get people to do things they would not ordinarily do. Some people might call this a hypnotic hold over others; others might attribute it to considerable psychic powers. Teachers would call it the inherent ability to get out of homework. Parents would agree with the teachers.
Mercury in Sagittarius These pupils learn by using the fearless sense of adventure to explore strange new worlds and philosophies. Teachers appreciate their enthusiasm for learning but secretly wish they would stop breaking things. Parents, fed up with being preached at all the time, just wish for a bit of peace and quiet.
Mercury in Capricorn These pupils learn by using their talents for building firm and lasting foundations. They understand step one thoroughly before they progress onto step two. Teachers are sometimes maddened by their slow progress but impressed by how well they remember and use previous lessons. Parents think they live with miniature Bob the Builders.
Mercury in Aquarius These pupils learn best by using their ability to embrace experimentation. There’s really nothing these pupils won’t try — except the tried and trusted method of doing things. Teachers are often puzzled by these pupils’ boredom in the classroom and should try stepping aside and letting these pupils teach every now and again. Parents have come to accept that “predictable” is a word not found in their vocabulary.
Mercury in Pisces These pupils learn best by using their ability to tune into the mood of others. They have the uncanny talent of understanding artists’ or writers’ intentions. Teachers know the trick to getting these pupils to do a task they don’t want to do is to make them feel guilty. Parents try to use this technique to get them to clean their room, but it usually doesn’t work and they end up doing it themselves.
Case study – Tom Hanks
9 July 1956, 11:17 PDT (Rodden rating: AA; Collector: Rodden)
Concord, California 37 ̊N58’41”122 ̊W01’48”
Jupiter in Virgo, Mercury in Cancer Saturn in Scorpio, Pluto in Leo First Jupiter return October 1967, Feb, June 1968, age 11 years, 3 months Saturn opposition, May 1971, age 14, 10 months
Time between first Jupiter return and last Saturn opposition: 3 years, 7 months
First Saturn return: January 1985,
April and October 1985: Second Saturn opposition: November 2014
Fifth Jupiter return: August 2015
Tom’s parents had split and re-married different people and had produced several half siblings before his first Jupiter opposition at the age of 6. In a Rolling Stone interview, he said that he was an evangelical Christian and his perception of his teenage years is that he was disliked by both fellow pupils and teachers but he would yell out funny captions for film strips. He knew acting was for him and he spent his time watching plays alone, eventually winning his first accolade in 1978 (the year transiting Saturn was conjunct his natal Jupiter) playing a villain in The Two Gentlemen of Verona. 5 After this, he moved to New York and starred in low-budget films and eventually in the television comedy, Bosom Buddies.
Although the television series didn’t last, the impression Tom made on his audiences did. In 1982, as Jupiter made a series of three conjunctions to his natal north node, Tom made a guest appearance in Happy Days and caught the eye of Ron Howard who was casting for Splash. In 1984, just before his Saturn return (three hits between January and October 1985), Tom had starred in this box office hit as well as the successful Bachelor Party.
Shortly following his Saturn return, transiting Saturn was conjunct his North Node as he proved he could play a serious role. Nothing in Common (1986) was a turning point in his career. As transiting Jupiter opposed natal Saturn, Tom portrayed a boy who wished to be a man and became fully mature overnight. Big established Tom as a major Hollywood talent. The transits for this time are so appropriate, they are pure poetry.
Unfortunately, the next couple of years saw Tom lose his way slightly as he starred in a couple of duds. The ‘Burbs (1989), Joe Versus the Volcano (1990) and The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990) did nothing for his career. The only saving grace at this time was the Disney film Turner and Hooch. Saturn had opposed his natal Mercury from December 1988, and only Jupiter’s transit to the same position saw his career pull out of its nosedive.
The start of his third Jupiter return towards the end of 1991 saw him filming what would become the start of his climb back to the top of his game. A League of Their Own led to Sleepless in Seattle and then Philadelphia, the film for which he won Best Actor at the 1993 Academy Awards. During filming, and as the film was released, transiting Saturn squared its natal position and opposed Pluto’s position. For the role as a gay lawyer who contracted AIDS (at a time when the AIDS scare was at its highest as Pluto was in Scorpio), Tom had lost two and half stones (thirty-five pounds) and thinned his hair to play a dying man suing his firm for discrimination.
During the following year, 1994, transiting Saturn opposed natal Jupiter and Tom starred in Forest Gump as a man who witnessed, and even influenced, some of the major events of the latter half of the twentieth century. Tom won his second Academy Award for Best Actor and became only the second actor to achieve the accolade (interestingly, Tom and Spencer Tracy, the other actor, were the same age when they achieved this). After a series of three Jupiter conjunctions to his North Node, Tom then starred in Apollo 13 and was the voice of Woody in Toy Story.
Transiting Jupiter squared natal Saturn and opposed natal Pluto as he worked on Saving Private Ryan, a film for which he eventually won his fourth nomination for the Academy Award’s Best Actor (he had five nominations with two wins). The film has been called the finest war movie ever made at the Academy Awards. He went on to other successes in the same time period: You’ve Got Mail and Castaway (his fifth nomination for Best Actor at the Academy Awards).
In 2001, as transiting Jupiter was conjunct his natal Mercury in Cancer (Jupiter would make a series of three hits, the last in March 2002), Tom starred in The Road to Perdition, which was about a father and son who take revenge on the mobsters who killed the other members of their family. The film is striking for its lack of dialogue and concentration on emotion and imagery — influences that might be expected for planets in the sensitive sign of Cancer. He followed this role with Catch Me if You Can as a federal agent pursuing a con artist. In mythology, the gods Mercury and Jupiter were known for their trickery and ability to shape shift. These were the planets active during this time. In that same year, Tom assisted his wife (Rita Wilson) in producing My Big Fat Greek Wedding, a surprise runaway hit. In June 2002, he became the youngest recipient (at the age of forty-five) of the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
As transiting Jupiter conjoined his natal Neptune in 2001, Tom worked on his role as a professor of religious iconology and symbology who escapes a murder charge with the help of a cryptologist in The Da Vinci Code. The religious themes and allusion to mysterious symbols share common ground with Neptune. When transiting Saturn made a series of three conjunctions to his natal Saturn in 2009, it was announced Tom would again play the role in Angels and Demons — and be paid the highest salary ever paid to an actor. Overall, he has been in seventeen films that have grossed over $100 million worldwide. Toy Story 3 is one of his highest grossing films, and was released as transiting Jupiter was square natal Saturn and opposite natal Pluto.
Tom’s 5th Jupiter return in August 2015, commences his “Age of Wisdom”. He has already had his second Saturn return and thus for the first time in his life, a significant Saturn transit occurs before a significant Jupiter transit. Tom may feel he is ready to sit back on his laurels and pass on his knowledge to others.