When Sherlock Holmes is about to crack a case, he withdraws into his thought-realm to dissect every tiny detail he’s tracked: a grass stain on a left pantleg, a hairline crack on a cell phone screen, a single hair from a West Highland terrier. Using his supernatural deduction, the detective receives the solution in a clear flash. This is Virgo’s ultimate superpower (and their biggest detriment): They experience the world through a giant magnifying glass. They notice the crumbs on your floor. They notice how you smile when you’re in love. And they just want to help make their magnified reality a little better. Grab your tweed overcoat and learn more about the Virgo personality here.
Your sun sign: Virgo
Your element: Earth. Earth energy grounds us in the present moment, transmuting passing thoughts into concrete plans (and actually following through on them). Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn embody the reliability, structure and pragmatism of the earth element. So call them up if you’re looking for an honest opinion about your career switch or need help filing a tax return.
Your quality: Mutable. The signs who occupy the transition point between two seasons—Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces—are the adaptable forces of the zodiac. Mutable signs are your open-minded pals, eager to understand your opinion on the latest indie film or join you on an impromptu hiking trip. And just as they roll with changes in their environment, they’re open to changes within themselves, too. Think of the friend who lived along the Seine for three months and returned with a new wardrobe, a French accent and a fresh baguette in tow. (She’s a Sagittarius, isn’t she?)
Your ruling planet: Mercury. The speediest planet to orbit the sun, Mercury (aka “the messenger”) represents communication and the intellect. It’s how we learn new concepts, exchange information and flex our mental agility. So it’s no surprise that the brainy signs under Mercury rulership—Gemini and Virgo—are a printing press of novel ideas, conversation starters and little-known factoids.
Your symbol: The Maiden. Virgo has traditionally been linked with the Maiden or Virgin figure, which symbolizes the sign’s pure intentions and strong independence.
Key phrase: “I analyze.”
Your one-word mantra: “Gravity.” (Read every zodiac sign’s mantra here.)
Best traits: Virgos are guided by altruism. They can envision a better world (whether that’s a country with fewer carbon emissions or a bedroom with more natural light) and use their earthy diligence to make it a reality. All of Virgo’s suggestions—while they might feel intrusive—are offered because they truly want the best for others. So don’t be surprised if they boil you up a pot of chamomile tea for your bloated tummy or offer to watch your kids (and dust your light fixtures) while you embark on a weekend getaway. These signs don’t give to receive; seeing loved ones thrive is their greatest reward.
Worst traits: Virgo is the red editor’s pen hovering over a universe that’s fundamentally flawed. The idea that Virgo simply cannot fix everything will leave them easily—and frequently—disappointed. At their worst, Virgos point this disappointment toward themselves; the earth signs hold themselves to impossible standards and can suffer from imposter syndrome. Try as they might to maintain order (see: ironed sheets), Virgo needs to learn that life is messy. And that’s kind of what makes it interesting.
Best careers: Since they’re not crazy about the spotlight, you’ll find Virgos working tirelessly behind the scenes, taking on new projects and offering to help with yours. If Virgo does anything, it has to be done the right way (even if doing so cuts into their sleeping hours). A career with a higher purpose makes all worth it. Scientific research, nutrition, editing, social work and teaching all appeal to Virgo’s meticulous eye and their drive to serve others. If you spot a hard-working Virgo at the office, let them know it’s okay to ask for help. (And then tell them again, since it won’t register the first time.)
As a friend: You won’t find any showy, superficial friendships in Virgo’s orbit. Sure, Virgo will drop a pithy remark under your Instagram selfie, but they’ll call to ask how your interview went right after. Helpers at heart, the best friends of the zodiac will stop at nothing to make you feel deeply cherished. Virgo is Chief Party Planner of your birthday soirée, has your burrito order committed to memory and isn’t afraid to dish out some real advice (especially when it’s not what you want to hear).
As a partner: If Virgos had a love language, it would be remembering that they crave 72 percent dark chocolate with salted almonds, adore Nikko blue hydrangeas and listen to Alanis Morsette on rainy days. Small details are the way into Virgo’s heart. And they’ll have no problem charming their way into yours. Once Virgos open up, they’re known for their acerbic wit, luring you into playful debates and imaginative “what ifs.” But behind all the banter is a thoughtful partner who is incredibly sensitive to your needs. If you're able to tick all of Virgo's (highly-specific) boxes, you’ll gain a loyal companion who brings out the best in you.
As a parent: Virgo parents are perpetually ten steps ahead of us. Tucked inside their jumbo tote bag is a remedy for every minor crisis—scraped knees, sunburns, snack cravings. Self-sacrificing Virgos will drop everything for their family. And they expect to raise children who are equally as caring. This means kids who put their laundry away, finish their homework on time and mean it when they apologize. If that all sounds a bit unrealistic, therein lies the Virgo’s greatest lesson: to accept their kids’ failures and (*gasp*) let them mess up. They just might learn something along the way.
A trait no one realizes: While Virgo has famously high-standards, they’re also labeled as being high-maintenance. Instead, the earth signs crave simplicity and have a deep connection to the natural world. Virgos are resourceful. You can catch them building a bookshelf by hand, making medicine from lavender springs and knitting their kid a winter hat. The store-bought stuff is overrated, anyway.