At the end of the zodiac band lies the unassuming constellation of Pisces the Fish. Pisces is considered to be much more in tune with an inner pulse and rhythm that connects everything together. Through this connection, Pisces is said to have an easy and unique window into the rest of the world and the inhabitants therein making it a very intuitive sign that some would say is bordering on psychism. Modern texts seem to consider Pisces as more of a tunnel through which spiritual energy easily flows, this is generally said to manifest itself in the form of artistic expression (especially in the abstract), musical talent, and storytelling. Apparently by being at the end of the zodiac band, Pisces is said to bring together many of the characteristics of the other signs, as a sort of big final conglomeration of the zodiac. Though, while they are said to have these qualities, it is said they also hide them, making their possession of said qualities speculation at best. Escapism is also a big part of the Pisces sensibility, being that when things get too sensitive, they run into their happy place, and when things get too bad, they go into their dark place. Getting a Pisces out of said places may be about as easy as coaxing a turtle out of its shell as it’s thought to be one of those Pisces inner journey things. There are many more common thoughts about Pisces than there are stars in the sky, but we’ll see which ones have founding in tradition and which are just a puff of air.
Astronomically, Pisces is a pretty unimpressive constellation. The brightest stars in this constellation are only in the mid 3 magnitude range, and the constellation only holds one deep-space galaxy (Messier 74). Aside from that, the only really important thing would be that the vernal equinox point currently resides in Pisces, effectively making it the “Age of Pisces” where various parts of the past nearly 2000 years have been influenced somewhat by this constellation. With Pisces being so focused on spirituality, it makes sense to say that the Age of Pisces corresponded with a point in time when religion was at its height. In the Age of Pisces, religion has been, not just a personal or cultural choice, but has become something used for control of the world and has thus attempted to make changes in secular policies with stunning success. Only within the past few hundred years have governmental policies been put in place to separate religion from governmental control and such huge religious bodies like the Vatican and the Pope have become nothing more than figureheads in the eyes of the state. While religion is losing it’s hold on people with 20% of Americans in 2007 saying that they were non-religious (while still a minority, it is a larger minority than most, including African Americans, homosexuals, and Jews, and is in fact a bigger number than there are teachers employed within the U.S.), it is still something that has not yet been removed completely from government.
The mythology behind the constellation of Pisces seems to begin – as all zodiac signs’ myths begin – in Babylon where the constellation was known as Nunu, and in fact seems to be universally recognized as a fish (except for the Far East whose constellation set up is a bit different). This is true of the Babylonian culture, the Persian culture, the Turkish culture, and of course the Greco-Roman culture. Also equally universal is the connection between this constellation and feminine deities; Anuntium, Simmah, and Ashtarte, to name a few. In Greek mythology, the two fish are seen as the Aphrodite and Eros who transformed themselves into fish so they could escape from the rampage of Typhon as he attempted to destroy Mount Olympus. They were thought to have tied a cord between them so as to not lose one another during the chaos of the escape.
In William Lilly’s Christian Astrology, the author describes the sign of Pisces as “of the watery triplicity, northern, cold sign, moist, phlegmatic, feminine, nocturnal and the house of Jupiter, and exaltation of Venus, a bicorporeal, common, or double-bodied sign, an idle, effeminate, sickly sign, or representing a party of no action.” This is an interesting run down of words that describe the sign, and the author puts in a thought of his own at the end calling Pisces a party of no action.
The feminine signs among the zodiac are known for the introspection and reception; Pisces is no different and is perhaps the most interesting of the feminine signs. Pisces is highly sensitive to her environment and anything that she feels becomes internalized and anything that goes inside of a Pisces, stays inside a Pisces. This can be a positive or a negative attribute as it can either lead to something potentially creative or something potentially painful. Pisces is a very internal sign that has a complete world inside of her spacey eyes that plays out every fantasy that crosses her mind.
Perhaps the single largest contributor to the significations of Pisces is the association between Pisces and the watery depths of the ocean. This watery association makes Pisces almost everything that it is. Being seen as representatives of the oceans, Pisces is not known for being quick and decisive, quite the opposite when simple problems suddenly become eternal riddles laden with a billion paths that lead to a billion more. The ocean is seen as an depth of emotional and spiritual power and so it is no surprise that Pisces is thus connected with emotions, and just like a fish, a Piscean does not want to make waves and is the textbook definition of a pacifist. Other, more assertive signs (and lets face it, they all are), may interpret this as spinelessness and scold Pisces for letting herself be trampled on. As a representative of the water element and thus the emotional realm, Pisces is easily influenced by their environment, especially the emotions that are flying through it. It is said that to Pisces, emotions are infectious, and Pisces may find herself copying the emotions of people nearest to her which may lead to more internal distress and she attempts to separate what is hers and what is not. The best thing I’ve seen written on this particular subject makes the distinction between the water signs by saying that Pisces is the only one without a shell, so has no barriers between herself and everything else.
Pisces is a phlegmatic sign, which is likened to weak stomachs, skin as white as snow, and in the worst of cases, sloth. It is said that those of us who are of the phlegmatic humor are the slaves of our emotions and desires, and Pisces is no different as they only tend to move when there is some personal emotional investment in the matter. Pisces overabundance of water means that they are extremely emotionally susceptible to damage, but are slow to rise in protest of this damage. Perhaps the biggest Piscean flaw is her susceptibility to alcohol, drugs, and other such addictive things. This is due to the phlegmatic “slave to desire” concept, as like water, desire is difficult for the phlegmatic to direct and control. Water has this annoying ability of going every which way which inevitably leads it to finding a way around obstacles and obstructions. Phlegmatic desire is similar in that they have difficulty controlling it and limiting themselves. “One more bite can’t hurt” is what helps Pisces sleep at night.
Pisces is a mutable sign because the seasonal transition of winter turning into spring occurs when the sun is in this sign. As a result, Pisces is herself a changeable being who lacks predictability and control. This is mostly just a double-statement on Pisces’s phlegmatic significations as well as mutable signs have difficulty with discipline and are often restless which can get them into trouble. Pisces needs to be able to be flexible and do her own thing and follow the streams as she will. Boxing her up in a fish tank and dictating where she can swim will make her go insane. Pisces’s mutability makes her great at the arts and design, which allow for adaptation and creativity, both things Pisces has in spades.
Fertile or fruitful signs are those signs that are said to be telling of easy pregnancies and many children, however there is another side of these fecund signs that is often forgotten that being the creative impulses that are unrelated to child generation. Pisces, though, is so fertile that it is often considered too impressionable and has difficulty concentrating and applying the brilliantly creative ideas she may envision. This is due to both the mutability (which has difficulty remaining focused) and the fish motif (who has a three second memory).
The planets that are associated with the signs often play a part in developing that sign to some extent. Jupiter is the traditional ruler of the sign and fuels Pisces’s fires for freedom and escape from mundane ordeals. However, Jupiter loses control over Pisces as she focuses more and more on faith over reason which is something that almost completely opposes the other Jovian sign of Sagittarius. Venus being exalted in this sign also explains some of the more romantic visions and tender cares of the sign. Pisces is on a journey to find beauty in this world, even if she has to make it out of nothing. The modern rulership of Neptune does nothing more than emphasize the watery/oceanic origins of the Pisces symbol. While offering more of a pitiful face for the Pisces to put on and associating it more with the spiritual world, and the addictive tastes, this Neptune rulership also emphasizes the escapism and depression that Pisces faces.
While the modern notion of Pisces is of two fish swimming around one another in a sort of yin-yang-esque image, nothing could be farther from the traditional view where the fish are swimming in opposite directions. This signifies the inherent discord and complication between the two fish, instead of assuming an inherent cooperation between the two figures. This shows the valid concerns of moving in two directions at once and how Pisces tends to strain against herself. While the symbol of the fish being a representative of the ocean tends to speak of spiritual principles of kindness and trust, it can assume a blind faith of following the rest of the fish for some unknown destination.
Anatomically, Pisces is said to rule the feet, and thus rules all illnesses that relate to that area of the body. This means Pisces is associated with athlete’s foot, lameness, ingrown toenails, bunions, calluses, and other such foot infirmities. Aside from this, Pisces is susceptible to colds and flues, or any illnesses that are excessive in moisture as well as any sort of contagious virus or airborne illness. An interesting association is that between Pisces and sicknesses that occur just through lack of proper hygiene. Places associated with Pisces are all places associated with water, as well as holy places and places of seclusion.
The stars of a constellation have an effect on what the constellation and sign eventually come to signify. Ptolemy lists the stars in the head of the southern fish as being of the nature of Mercury and Saturn, the stars in the body of the southern fish are of Jupiter and Mercury, while the tail of and cord belonging to the southern fish are of Saturn and Mercury. The body and head of the north fish are said to be of the nature of Jupiter and Venus, the northern line and tail are said to be of Saturn and Jupiter, while the knot between the ties is said to be of Mars and Mercury.
In Pisces, there are really only two stars that of much significance in this constellation. The problem is that now these stars have grown much dimmer than they were in the classical times, so perhaps their power has waned as well. The star pictured above that is titled with the greek letter eta (ή) was called Alpherg in ancient times, and while today it is but a low magnitude 3 star, there is evidence to suggest it was much more brilliant back then. This star is purported to have an artistic flair, and give steadiness and success. An interesting note about this star is that it marks the beginning of the sidereal zodiac. The second star of importance is the dramatically less brilliant (than it used to be, that is) star Alrescha, which is the knot in the cord of Pisces. This star has a nature that is symbolic of other knots, which are used to tie two different things together in a literal bond. This is a good star for patching up arguments and finding common ground.
The first part of the Sign falls into the Lunar Mansion known as Al Sa’d al Ahbiyah which is said to be favorable for building, sending messengers, beginning lawsuits, travelling and forming relationships or marrying. Al Fargh al Mukdim begins at 10° 36′ and is said to be bad for everything but medical treatments. The final mansion in Pisces – Al Fargh al Thani – begins at 23° 28′ and is to be favorable for planting, sowing, commerce, marriage, medical treatment, and starting lawsuits, but is bad for building or voyages.
Dignities and Degree Influences
The ruler of this sign is Jupiter due to the beneficial relationship between Pisces and the Leo/Cancer cusp. Mercury is said to be in Detriment and Fall in Pisces as it opposes its domicile and exaltation of Virgo, which just emphasizes the lack of logic in Pisces where fact is triumphed by feelings and faith. Venus is exalted in Pisces as the humor of the sign/season and the humor of the planet match one another, and this gives Pisces her dreamy romantic visions as well as other things. Mars holds lordship over this sign as a part of the watery triplicity by night, and Venus rules over the watery triplicity by day.
0° Pisces: Face of Saturn, Term of Venus, Masculine
1° Pisces: Face of Saturn, Term of Venus, Masculine
2° Pisces: Face of Saturn, Term of Venus, Masculine
3° Pisces: Face of Saturn, Term of Venus, Masculine, Deep
4° Pisces: Face of Saturn, Term of Venus, Masculine
5° Pisces: Face of Saturn, Term of Venus, Masculine, Dark
6° Pisces: Face of Saturn, Term of Venus, Masculine
7° Pisces: Face of Saturn, Term of Venus, Masculine
8° Pisces: Face of Saturn, Term of Venus, Masculine, Deep
9° Pisces: Face of Saturn, Term of Venus, Masculine
10° Pisces: Face of Jupiter, Term of Venus, Feminine
11° Pisces: Face of Jupiter, Term of Venus, Feminine, Light
12° Pisces: Face of Jupiter, Term of Jupiter, FeminineIncreasing Fortune
13° Pisces: Face of Jupiter, Term of Jupiter, Feminine
14° Pisces: Face of Jupiter, Term of Jupiter, Feminine
15° Pisces: Face of Jupiter, Term of Jupiter, Feminine
16° Pisces: Face of Jupiter, Term of Mercury, Feminine
17° Pisces: Face of Jupiter, Term of Mercury, Feminine, Dark
18° Pisces: Face of Jupiter, Term of Mercury, Feminine
19° Pisces: Face of Jupiter, Term of Mars, Feminine, Increasing Fortune
20° Pisces: Face of Mars, Term of Mars, Masculine, Dark
21° Pisces: Face of Mars, Term of Mars, Masculine
22° Pisces: Face of Mars, Term of Mars, Masculine
23° Pisces: Face of Mars, Term of Mars, Feminine, Deep,
24° Pisces: Face of Mars, Term of Mars, Feminine, Void
25° Pisces: Face of Mars, Term of Mars, Feminine
26° Pisces: Face of Mars, Term of Mars, Feminine, Deep
27° Pisces: Face of Mars, Term of Mars, Feminine, Light, Deep
28° Pisces: Face of Mars, Term of Saturn, Masculine
29° Pisces: Face of Mars, Term of Saturn, Masculine, Dark
iVillage. Pisces: Understanding Your Sun Sign.. . <http://www.astrology.com/allaboutyou/sunsigns/pisces.html>.
Legg Planetarium. The Constellation Pisces.. . <http://www.coldwater.k12.mi.us/lms/planetarium/myth/pisces.html>.
Houlding, Deborah. Pisces the Fish.. . <http://skyscript.co.uk/pisces.html>.
Houlding, Deborah. Star Lore of the Constellations: Pisces the Fish.. . <http://skyscript.co.uk/pisces_myth.html>.
Lilly, William. Christian Astrology. : Astrology Classics, 2004.
Ptolemy, Cladius. Tetrabiblos. : Astrology Classics, 2005.
Robson, Vivian. Electional Astrology. : Astrology Classics, 2005.