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A term that embraces all fishes and fishlike vertebrates. The Pisces include four well-defined groups that merit recognition as classes: the Agnatha or jawless fishes, the most primitive; the Placodermi or armored fishes, known only as Paleozoic fossils; the Chondrichthyes or cartilaginous fishes; and the Osteichthyes or bony fishes. See Chondrichthyes
Pisces(pÿ -seez) (Fishes) A large but inconspicuous zodiac constellation mainly in the northern hemisphere near Pegasus. It contains the first point of Aries, i.e. the vernal (or dynamical) equinox. It has one 3rd-magnitude star and several of 4th magnitude. Objects of interest, visible only to an observer with a telescope, include the spiral galaxy M74 (NGC 628), the double star Zeta (ζ) Piscium, and Van Maanen's star, a white dwarf. Abbrev.: Psc; genitive form: Piscium; approx. position: RA 1h, dec +15°; area: 889 sq deg.
Pisces(religion, spiritualism, and occult)
Pisces, the twelfth and last sign of the zodiac, is a mutable water sign. It is a negative (in the value-neutral sense of being negatively charged) feminine sign, ruled by the planet Neptune (in traditional astrology it was ruled by Jupiter). Its symbol is the fish (two fish moving in opposite directions, tied together by a rope or, in other versions, by their tails); its glyph is said to be a stylized representation of this symbol. It takes its name from the plural of the Latin word for fish. Pisces is associated with the feet, and individuals with a Pisces sun sign are susceptible to athlete’s foot and other foot problems. The key phrase for Pisces is “I believe.”
The mythology of Pisces is complex. The image is usually said to represent Aphrodite, the goddess of love, and her son Eros, the god of erotic attraction, who held hands and turned themselves into fish as they jumped into the water to escape a conflict. Both these divinities are the subjects of lengthy mythologies. The fish symbol is similarly complex, with rich associations in Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Norse, and Sumerian mythologies; it is often a goddess symbol. In classical mythology, fish were sacred to Venus (Aphrodite) and Neptune (Poseidon).
The symbols for the other two water signs are associated with water, but are in a certain sense only “part” watery: Cancer is a crab, sticking close to the shoreline, while one of Scorpio’s symbols is the snake, a creature having earth as well as water associations. A fish, however, is a purely marine creature, indicating that Pisceans are more at home in the subtle dimension beyond this realm than they are in everyday life. Unless other factors in a natal chart indicate otherwise, Pisceans have a difficult time coping. They attempt to transcend life through an ethereal art form like music (Aphrodite was patron divinity of the arts), or through some form of mysticism. Negatively, this same tendency can manifest as escapism through daydreaming, drugs, alcohol, or the like. Pisces natives can also be highly intuitive or psychic. Like the divinities of love who became fish, Pisceans can be loving, compassionate people; alternatively, they can be so trapped in the swamp of their emotional insecurities that they become obsessed with themselves.
The sign that the Sun was in at birth is usually the single most important influence on a native’s personality. Thus, when people say they are a certain sign, they are almost always referring to their sun sign. There is a wealth of information available on the characteristics of the zodiacal signs—so much that one book would not be able to contain it all. Sun-sign astrology, which is the kind of astrology found in newspaper columns and popular magazines, has the advantage of simplicity. But this simplicity is purchased at the price of ignoring other astrological influences, such as one’s Moon sign, rising sign, etc. These other influences can substantially modify a person’s basic sun sign traits. As a consequence, it is the rare individual who is completely typical of her or his sign. The reader should bear this caveat in mind when perusing the following series of sun-sign interpretations.
One traditional way in which astrologers condense information is by summarizing sign and planet traits in lists of words and short phrases called keywords or key phrases. The following Pisces keywords are drawn from Manly P. Hall’s Astrological Keywords:
Emotional keywords: “The emotions are inhibited, native is sensitive and impressionable, psychic, devoted, melancholy, lacks ability to resist environment, secretive, misunderstood.”
Mental keywords: “Abstract, intuitive, compassionate, introspective, quick in understanding, executive, philosophical, religious, clairvoyant, versatile, synthetical, loquacious, impractical, procrastinating, lack confidence.”
At present, there are various astrology report programs that contain interpretations of each of the 12 sun signs. A selection of these for Sun in Pisces has been excerpted below:
Extremely sensitive, you absorb the emotions of others (whether positive or negative) like a sponge. Emotionally vulnerable, you are easily touched by the feelings and plights of others. You are at your best when you can structure your environment in such a way that you are surrounded by positive, upbeat people. You are very helpful and understanding of the needs of others. Indeed, at times this can be a disadvantage, because you can be a sucker for anyone who needs help. Rather shy, dreamy, romantic in nature, you delight in retreating into your private fantasy world. Just be careful that you do not get lost in it. Trust your intuitions—you may be quite psychic. (From “Professional Natal Report.” Courtesy of Astrolabe [http://www.alabe.com].)
At heart you are very gentle, impressionable, and receptive—a dreamer. The world of your imagination, feelings, and intuition is as real to you as anything in the outer world, though you may have trouble verbalizing or interpreting your inner experiences in a way others can understand. Mystical, artistic, musical, emotional and imaginative, you have a rich inner life, though you may seem rather unobtrusive and quiet outwardly. You usually keep to yourself.
You have great sensitivity and empathy with others, and you often sense things psychically or intuitively which prove to be correct. You are tolerant, forgiving, and nonjudgmental, accepting people unconditionally regardless of their flaws, mistakes, or outward appearance. You have deep compassion for the suffering of any fellow creature and often feel others’ pain as if it were your own. You sympathize with the needy, the disadvantaged, the misfits of society. You are capable of giving selflessly, living a life of devoted and compassionate service to others, as a healer, physician, social worker, or minister. However, you tend to give indiscriminately, to let others take advantage of your kindness, and to encourage the weak to remain so by becoming dependent upon you. You have little sense of boundaries, of limits, of knowing when to say “no.” Moderation and self-discipline are not your strong points.
You are a lover and a peacemaker rather than a fighter, and you try to avoid open conflict. You will patiently ignore or “tune out” problems and hope they will go away by themselves, rather than directly confronting them, and you tend to lack the positive fighting spirit that is sometimes necessary to overcome challenges. You are fluid, open, nonresistant, and somewhat passive. You do things in a subtle, often covert, manner.
Your gifts may also lie in the realm of the creative, artistic, or musical, for you have a great sensitivity, inspiration, and limitless imagination. You respond very strongly to beauty and to love.
Your faults include a tendency to be lazy and negligent, and to wallow in self-pity rather than taking strong, definite action to change your life for the better. You also tend to become so detached from your immediate environment that you live in a disorderly, chaotic sort of hodgepodge, though this probably bothers those around you more than it bothers you. (From “Merlin,” by Gina Ronco and Agnes Nightingale. Courtesy of Cosmic Patterns [http://cosmic.patterns.com].)
Transcendence. Mysticism. Spirituality. That’s Pisces at its best. In this part of your life, you’ve been given an instinctive sense of mystery and vastness. Something there seems automatically to think in terms of centuries, of high purposes, of divine interventions. Reflexively, when faced with life’s vicissitudes, it asks, “What will this matter in five hundred years?”
That’s the soul of spirituality. It’s also dangerous. Transcendence can run amuck, leaving Pisces in an uncaring, drifting mode, “transcending” while its life descends into entropy. Along that road there are some sad waystations: forgetfulness, spaciness, then escapism—perhaps into alcohol or drugs, perhaps into food, maybe into the television set. Avoid those sorry journeys by feeding your Piscean circuitry exactly what it needs: meditative time, silence, a few minutes each day to sit in the infinite cathedral.
With your Sun in Pisces, you face an astrological paradox: the symbol of identity (the Sun) is shaped by the sign that refers to transcending the identity. There’s something inside you that keeps eroding your ego, filling you with a sense of the cosmic joke—we’re all spiritual monkeys dressed in perfect human attire, really believing we’re insurance salespeople, housewives, and VIPs. And people wonder why you always seem to laugh at “inappropriate” times!
Take care of that spirit-spark inside you. Make certain you have a little bit of time every day to stop being yourself, to float into that vast, luminous space between your ears. Otherwise, you’ll start “transcending” at awkward moments: losing the car keys, missing highway exits, losing the thread of conversations. (From “The Sky Within,” by Steven Forrest. Courtesy of Matrix Software [http://thenewage.com] and Steven Forrest [http://www.stevenforrest.com].)
Among its several natal programs, Matrix Software created a unique report based on the published works of the early-twentieth-century astrologer Grant Lewi (1901–1952). Lewi’s highly original delineations were recognized as creative and insightful by his contemporaries. One measure of the appeal of his work is that his books Astrology for the Millions and Heaven Knows What are still in print. The following is excerpted from the report program “Heaven Knows What”:
Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire, conscience. (George Washington, born in Pisces, February 22, 1732.)
The humblest citizen of all the land, when clad in the armor of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of error. (William Jennings Bryan, born in Pisces, March 19, I860.)
Pisces seeks salvation within himself, striving always for self-sufficiency, self-knowledge and effacement of self. His aim is deep and worthy, and if he does not succeed, it is because of the difficulty of the goal rather than because he does not try. His early aim appears material, because he knows instinctively that the search for self goes on most successfully if physical wants are not a source of worry. But he is not always equipped by nature for the give-and-take of commerce, and often feels himself a failure when he should not. His “failure” is more often than not that of a square peg in a round hole. When he finds his noncommercial place of service, love, understanding, he goes far toward the deep kind of satisfaction that is his personal, and therefore his true, success.
Because his aim is different, he tries ill-advisedly to accommodate himself to what he thinks he ought to be instead of following what his heart and instinct tell him. And because he wishes deeply to do the right thing, he becomes confused about his true aims and gets bewildered and lost in the business of living. It all comes about because he has forgotten the stir, small voice—because he has allowed himself to be distracted from his true desires—and because in following an uncongenial and unfamiliar path his feet stumble. He thinks he is misunderstood—but this is true only because he misunderstood himself, tried to palm himself off for something that he wasn’t, and found he didn’t have the heart to go through with it. When he is being his truest, deepest self he is crystal clear—unselfish, sweet, lovable, devoted, demanding little, giving much, eager always to sacrifice himself for others.
It is only in the presence of the material world, when Pisces tries to submerge the sweetness which he may come to be ashamed of, that he is unhappy. It is then that he becomes demanding, jealous, unreliable, self-deceived and perhaps even deceptive—because he is trying to force his meditative spirit into a harness where it must try to be something it isn’t. Let Pisces follow his heart, his conscience, his inner desire for service, self-realization and self-knowledge, and the world be damned, and he is the happiest, most useful of mortals, living comfortably with deep spiritual truths that give him an almost mystic grip on other people and on the reins of his own life. (Courtesy of Matrix Software [http://thenewage.com].)
The following excerpt comes not from a natal report program, but from David Cochrane’s book, Astrology for the 21st Century. Based on lessons for astrology students, it approaches the signs of the zodiac from a somewhat different perspective than the other short delineations cited here:
Many astrologers associate Pisces with intuition, art, poetry, mysticism, music, and a passive, receptive quality that inclines it to sometimes be dominated by more forceful and aggressive personalities. In my observations, I have not found Pisces to be as “spacey” as is often attributed to it, nor have I found Pisces to be extremely passive, although there is something sensitive and non-aggressive about the Piscean nature.
It appears to me that Pisces seems to approach any subject with a sensitive holistic approach rather than with a singular, well-defined point of view. Pisces sees art in biology and chemistry, and sees science in art. Pisces seems to see past categories and stereotypes and experiences life more honestly and directly, without filtering information through the powerful mental constructs that we unconsciously routinely use in our everyday lives. Pisces does not thrive in our modern day school systems that focus on performance, memorization and getting the “right” answer. (Courtesy of Cosmic Patterns [http://cosmic.patterns.com] and David Cochrane [email@example.com].)
Many specialized report programs have been developed that offer useful supplements to the generic delineations of general reports. The following sun-sign interpretation has been drawn from a program written by Gloria Star (originally part of her book, Astrology: Woman to Woman) that generates a specialized report for women:
With your Sun in Pisces, your ego dances most freely in the realm of imagination. Your compassion and sensitivity can stimulate your desire to give of yourself for the betterment of life. You may be quite responsive to the energy of your surroundings, and can be tempted, chameleon-like, to adapt to the needs and demands around you instead of determining what you really want, and the manner in which you want to project who you really are.
Your own sense of identity and strength may allude you, especially if you feel confused about your place in the world. The influence of your Pisces Sun may stimulate marvelous dreams about what life could be, but you may not fully realize those dreams unless you can find a way to create positive personal boundaries. This is first accomplished by becoming acquainted with who you are, especially on an inner level. You may feel a special fascination with men, and may believe that they have more influence and power than you. It’s tempting for you to project the qualities of power and control onto the men in your life rather than taking the risk of standing up for yourself and your needs. It’s also possible that you will unconsciously seek out men who are wounded and need your compassionate support. In truth you have an exceptional strength through your resilience and adaptability. You can flex and bend with the changes happening around you and within you, and emerge quite nicely, thank you! However, in order to fully own and express your will, you may have to struggle with the feelings and sensibilities which make you vulnerable to being victimized by those who would take advantage of your gentle spirit. It’s also tempting to allow men to see in you whatever they wish instead of establishing an identity which is more readily definable on your own terms. It is this challenge which tests your ability to embrace and fulfill your own needs.
You really don’t have to save the world in order to be a success. But with your Sun in Pisces, you may at least try to save a part of it in some way. Your deeper goals may have a more spiritual basis, like achieving a sense of oneness with life. You may never feel satisfied with the everyday successes until you feel connected on the inner level. There is always plenty to do in the world, and sometimes you’ll feel wonderful when you’ve created something that makes a difference. But the real success occurs when your perspective changes and you see yourself and others through the eyes of true forgiveness and compassion. (From “Woman to Woman,” by Gloria Star. Courtesy of Matrix Software [http://thenewage.com] and Gloria Star [firstname.lastname@example.org].)
Responding to the revival of interest in pre-twentieth-century astrology, J. Lee Lehman developed a report program embodying the interpretive approach of traditional astrology. The following is excerpted from her book Classical Astrology for Modern Living and her computer program “Classical Report”:
You are morally idiosyncratic, trusting yourself over others. You find it easy to withhold information or things because “it’s best for them,” perhaps forgetting that primarily, it’s best for you. You can be quite vicious when angered, and you may stammer when you are stressed. You are libidinous, and addicted to gaming and feasting. Yet you are harmless to others, injuring mainly yourself through your excess generosity and enthusiasm.
Astrologically speaking the sign of Pisces is considered to be ruled by the planet Jupiter. One of the dangers of the Sun in the signs of Jupiter is Jupiter’s mythological interest in love affairs (especially when the solar person is perceived as being in a position of power or authority.) In other words, you may treat power (real or imagined) as an invitation to act godlike, with all the trappings and advantages. Yet curiously, this doesn’t mean that you go out of your way to seek power. But have a care when it is thrust upon you.
You are mutable, which means that you adapt easily to change. However, you adapt so easily compared to others that they may wonder if you are capable of maintaining a permanent stance about anything.
You are a Water Sign, which means that you are “cold” and “wet.” The “wet” component means, among other things, that you blur distinctions, and that you are more swayed by passion than by intellectual argument. At your worst, you see too many connections, becoming lost in conspiracies. At your best, you spot the connection that everyone else missed. You are perceived as being “cold,” which in your case simply means you may not be quickly reacting on a surface level. In the modern parlance, it fits better with “cold and dry” than with simply “cold.” However, a “cold” type is basically lethargic, or slow to react. Here we have an interesting apparent contradiction: your emotions run deep, but that doesn’t mean you’re talking about them all the time! The quiet quality of “cold” may mislead others about what you’re feeling. The “problem” with “cold” is that it makes it hard for you to forget slights. Because you don’t tend to lash out immediately, it’s hard for you not to allow your anger to build up. (Courtesy of J. Lee Lehman, Ph.D., copyright 1998 [http://www.leelehman.com].)
Readers interested in examining interpretations for their Chinese astrological sign should refer to the relevant entry. A guide for determining one’s sign in the Chinese system is provided in the entry on the Chinese zodiac.