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Down the Rabbit Hole
Paul Kiritsis, PsyD candidate, DPhil., MA (Psychology), MA (History)

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The Zodiac: Pisces the Fish

Paul Kiritsis - Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Date of Rulership: 18th February-March 20th; Polarity: Negative, female; Quality: Mutable; Ruling planet: Jupiter/Neptune; Element: Water; Body part: Feet and immune system; Colour: Sea-green; Gemstone: Moonstone or bloodstone; Metal: Platinum or tin

 

The last archetype on the zodiacal procession is Pisces the Fish. It is most fitting that the cycle concludes with a water sign, for it is from the watery womb of our mothers that we are born and to the primordial waters of chaos that we eventually return. Whilst in the first sign, Aries, we encountered a fiery, egocentric embryo-soul wishing to come forth and make itself at home in the cosmos the last happens to be an inverse of the first in which we encounter a complete dissolution of the human ego, an awareness of the greater Self, and a jettisoning of psychological and social barriers that allows for mystical union with the divine aspect of existence. As an archetype, Pisces is the embodiment of the transcendental spirit, God, and all that is good in the world. If one were to look towards the star cluster of Pisces and ask why the hell God created the world, he or she would surely receive the following response: “What most people erroneously portray as a bigoted, mindless, and frustrated father figure akin to the Zeus of the Greek gods is actually a sexless, sometimes ambivalent but wholly benevolent entity that personifies love, wisdom, and grace. The nature of all these sentiments is to expand and replicate like the cells of the human body. Why? Well, doesn’t the quality of love equate to the quantity of multiplication? As the ultimate form of goodness, Love wants to make carbon copies of itself.”

From this statement it should be blatantly clear that Pisces is not a practical, discriminatory, indifferent, or concrete sign. Just like its magnanimous visions of God, the Fish believes all sorts of weird and wonderful things about the universe. For one, reality is by its very nature ethereal and inexact and should not be reduced to the quarks and atoms of contemporary mechanistic science. Hence the Pisceans are predisposed to either identifying with or gravitating towards the cosmogonies of spiritual torch-bearers like mystics, seers, saints and religious gurus. According to these persons, a fundamental and indifferent unity pervades the cosmos which can be directly perceived by withdrawing into a little corner of the non-conscious Self though self-hypnosis.  Here, one sees past the illusory constructs of time, space, good, and evil to a unitary dimension of existence where life is being formulated on an altogether higher and more teleological level. Proceeding from this altruistic notion of higher causes, the Fish express no particular preference or bias for specific colours, races, substances, sentimentalities, values, and other corporeal things. By their very nature, God and Nature have created the world as an assortment of sympathies and antipathies that perpetually strive for Oneness and Unity. Pisces is in complete harmony with this and recapitulates it on a worldly level by providing an empathetic shoulder on which the socially disenfranchised can lean on for moral support. Unfortunately there’s a downside to this, for in attempting to mimic the high-minded values of the creative force that arranged the universe according to the holistic language of mathematics Pisces tends to leave its own easily malleable ego unguarded and susceptible to attack by energy vampires, gold-diggers, emotional tricksters, opportunists, spiritual charlatans, people of neurotic or overtly dependent disposition, and the like.

As a social animal, the Piscean is usually popular with people from all walks of life and of incongruently related backgrounds. It has a tolerant, easy-going and broad-minded approach to being and the manner in which it surrenders itself to variegated experiences attracts others like a magnet. Herein likes the secret to its tremendous success when it comes to accruing the love, trust, and companionship of those around it. The soul of Pisces is moulded of a selfless, oversensitive clay and its sensory feelers derive much more pleasure in listening to the harrowing needs, troubles, and lamentations of others than tending to its own bodily needs, cultivating its own inner being, or fostering its own egocentric worldview. From this vantage point it’s easy to see why Pisces willingly enters into dialogues and correspondences with human agonies and frustrations simmering in the subterranean depths of the collective unconscious, a harrowing place resembling quicklime that most (if not all) other zodiacal signs will avoid stepping into at all costs. One could say that the Fish imbue the proverbial generalization “open heart” with an inventive meaning that introduces an element of personal surrender or transmutation for the sake of accommodating another. We could probably equate the indigenous Piscean disposition with the alchemical base substance of receptivity called prima materia on which a variety of new, foreign and unprecedented physical or psychic forms can be imprinted. The Piscean psyche is no doubt mercurial and protean, an animating force of no particular weight, form, or temperature that can be moulded into anything and everything. Sometimes, the Fish finds that it can’t quite make up its mind whether it wants to inhabit an aesthetically feminine or aesthetically masculine patina, what its prevailing quality is, or the length of time it wishes to assume this intended guise. In a few words, Pisces is notorious for its vacillation and famous for its flexibility and interconvertibility. This lack of discrimination on the part of the Piscean archetype to successfully identify, entrap and annihilate psychic bits of radioactive debris that encompass the potential to poison its body, mind, and spirit sometimes facilitate circumstances that leave its miniscule and unguarded ego looking like the dark side of the crater-ravaged moon.   

Whilst the dissolution or absence of ego-driven desire and its associative psychic defences can in certain situations prove detrimental, it puts the Piscean man or woman in a position conducive to the manifestation of fundamental harmony. Many conflicts, misfortunes, ailments, vexations, unfulfilled desires, and everlasting disappointments are by-products of disconnection from the underlying reality of Oneness and Unity. Hence if people could transcend their own demoralizing scepticism and ascend to an existentialist mount from where mediocrity, chance, feebleness and transience become limitations of human doubt, they could connect with one another in ways that would make god-like feats and the mastery of life an objective reality. As a detached adherent of this perennial philosophy, Pisces will do everything possible in its humanitarian outlook to facilitate the requisite conditions through which the wholly benevolent Divine Mind can do its higher bidding in the manner that a civilian of the developed countries might invest in immobile assets or properties to ensure a stable future. This manifests passively in their tendency to pray and actively in more vigorous deeds like partaking in volunteer or community-based work, adopting an orphan from famished nations like Ethiopia and Somalia, promoting awareness of breast-cancer, skin cancer, AIDS, and other potentially lethal illnesses, and fundraising for charities and hospices. A fairly conscientious mindset regarding the physical health and wellbeing of the Earth Mother also pervades this sign, meaning that Pisceans are usually environmentally conscious and willing to go that extra step to save energy, recycle organic wastes, plant trees, and clean the neighbourhood of inorganic materials. It’s not uncommon for a Piscean to turn vegetarian or vegan for the sake of indirectly combatting the unjustified slaughter of living things either. Afflicted Pisceans can invert these attitudes in such a way as to make them the grandiose saviour figure of mindless worship and their actions the self-sacrificial and salvific acts of martyrs. In such instances the Fish can become cult leaders like the Jim Jones of Heaven’s Gate leading a horde of brainwashed civilians to commit mass suicide or a misguided New Age witch who thinks that the laws of this world do not apply to her. 

“The world is in dire need of saving!” exclaims the Fish. “Do I believe that it can be saved? There’s no reason why it shouldn’t be possible if we’re all on the same page. And for everyone to be on the same page we need to educate our children and instil in them the moral worth of equality and equal opportunity, as well as understanding, sympathy and compassion for all living things. Things get trickier when it comes to the older generation which is generally more enrooted to an antiquated order of traditions or attached to childhood prejudices. Here, it would be wise to spin a clever web of reflection in the way that the mighty Isis engendered a moral fable designed to trick the evil Seth into admitting his immoral and unjustified actions and ensnare these people into a prickly position where there is no choice but to evolve and assimilate with the final cause of the transcendental One. Another prerequisite of achieving such a placid, productive and amorous state of existence is for everyone to let go of material attachments that our Western world and particularly the Hollywood silver screen has rendered a mandatory acquisition for the culmination of happiness. You absolutely must do this if we ever wish to live in an ideal world without disease, warfare, and famine. A bit of mindfulness will go a long way in achieving this too! There’s so much injustice and indifference going on at the moment that I don’t actually blame some of the more gentle souls in seeking repose in the world of fantasy and fiction. Hell, I do the same! Give me a suspenseful thriller novel, an art gallery filled with psychedelic paintings, a good comedy, a Broadway musical, or an interactive computer game like World of Warcraft any day of the week. If you can’t beat it then slip into your pyjamas, swallow a chill pill, and then shift your field of awareness to a paraphysical universe where beneficent deeds are always rewarded and the good always prevails over evil. I, for one, could get used to the idea of hermitship, especially when it allows me to wallow in the irruptions of my own unconscious and channel latent powers and energies generally not available to the objective mind or conscious.

I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you a little bit about the way I choose to live my life. You see the egoistic ambition to conquer, divide, and amass personal possessions, an activity that many of our predecessors considered a mark of the divine, is a fatally doomed enterprise. Why, you ask? Well can the desire and thirst for domination of lower beings, our neighbours, and the world at large ever be quenched? It can’t, can it? Hence it’s nothing but a factitious illusion fostered by the war-loving patriarchs of ages bygone that destroys the cosmic miracle that should, by all intents and purposes, be preserved–Life itself. What’s so divine about egoistic ambitions that sever the maritime aggressor from inaugurators of love and friendship such as affinity and trust? What’s so divine about an egoistic ambition that forces a state of dependency upon something or someone that will inevitably prove detrimental to the higher principle of truth? Egoism and domination are the reason that society and conventional or false relationships exist, both of which are nothing but cheap and counterfeit versions of genuine love and friendship. Hence I’ll never be able to trust society as an ideal or a human construct and I try to evade memories of the egoistic ambitions that have spurred all our problems and misfortunes by owning only the bare essentials for my survival. Naturally, I’m more than happy to share what I do have with those less fortunate than myself. We are all projections of the same transcendental One; therefore, what’s mine is also yours.”               

There are two symbols collected with Pisces the Fish. The first of these, an extremely ancient pictogram, is the image of two fish swimming alongside one another with an invisible cord adjoining their mouths. Pisces is the last chaotic frontier that the ailing sun must surmount before beginning its much-desired march back to the vernal point. Water, then, is a most fitting element for this sign given its recuperative and regenerative powers. Fish on the other is a creature of the sea, the watery womb from which all life on earth gradually evolved, and as such is an equally fitting symbol because it offers powerful connotations of rebirth. Whilst a definitive origin for the pictogram cannot be pinpointed, it remains blatantly clear that it comprised the mythology of many ancient cultures. For the ancient Babylonians, the star cluster encompassed by this zodiacal sign was perceived as a goddess-swallow partnership involving the deities Anunitum and Simmati. In ancient Mesopotamia and Syria there existed a matriarchal cult in which the Great Mother Goddess Atargatis assumed the guise of a fish with the head and legs of a woman whilst her son-lover, the god Ichthys, adhered to the eternal cycle of birth, death, and rebirth which we connect nowadays to the legacy of Jesus Christ. The latter is intimately linked to Ichthys, a Greek word connoting fish, and it appears that the early Christians used this pictogram as a cryptogram to identify one another when the faith was still in its formative stages and susceptible to persecution by the pagan majority. This explains its unique presence in Medieval, Renaissance and Early Modern churches, centres of Christian worship where the procession of astrological symbols was usually deemed heretically “pagan” and thus unsuitable for ecclesiastical exhibition. Anyhow when ample trade between the Mediterranean and Near East pushed the cult of Atargatis westward, the Greeks assimilated the imagery into their own mythology and regurgitated it as a tragic story recounting the tribulations of the goddess Aphrodite and her son, the winged Eros. In this version of celestial events, the divine mother and her son had to enter the Euphrates transform into fish in order to evade detection by Typhon, a feared monster sired by the Earth itself. Viewing the intercourse between astrology and mythology from this trajectory it makes a lot of sense why the Hellenes as well as many older cultures simply called the star-gods of this zodiacal configuration “Fish”. 

Used nowadays as an astrological shorthand in the synthesis of horoscopes, the second symbol depicts a back-to-back pair of arched lines dissected by a horizontal line. This derives directly from an Egyptian demotic sign found on an astrological tablet transcribing the day and month that each planet made an entry into the twelve zodiacal houses during a twenty-eight year period. On the famed circular zodiac carved on the roof of the Osirian chapel inside the Temple of Hathor at Denderah, Pisces is shown as pair of connected fish along the ecliptic between Aquarius the Water-Bearer and Aries the Ram. Nowadays, scholars are in unanimous agreement regarding the Denderah priests’ attempt to marry Egyptian northern constellations like the Hippopotamus and the ox leg in addition to Orion and Sothis, the star of the Great Mother Goddess, with the Babylonian zodiac featuring the twelve houses and the five known planets. However, it appears descrying a definitive origin for some of them has proved far more problematic than originally anticipated. One symbol that begs the question is Pisces. It’s commonly argued that the fish was a Babylonian importation into Ptolemaic Egypt under the mediation of its Hellenistic rulers, an idea which makes no sense when juxtaposed with the fact that the pictogram appears in the tomb of Ramesses VI, a Twelfth Dynasty who reigned between 1145 and 1137 bce. Nevertheless, what remains certain is that the Egyptian sigil for the zodiacal sign was passed down to us through the Greeks and remained largely unchanged until the Early Renaissance when astrologers added the connecting line and rendered it H-shaped.

Present in both the zodiacal image and the shorthand sigil is the concept of duality, a characteristic which draws attention to an innate Piscean tendency to succumb to multiple influences and dithering when a situation calls for mercurial thinking and acting. The Fish is intensely conscious of the external influences around it, particularly those that wish to weed their way into its life and exert their effects unconsciously. As suggested by the glyphs, Pisceans like to divide themselves between the psychoneotic world of “being”, a dreamy realm of timeless images and impressions and the corporeal world of “becoming” that offers sensory and carnal pleasures. Hence the Fish can become unwillingly trapped on a cosmic seesaw that is forever trying to find a healthy equilibrium between an ego wishing to bide its time perfecting the art of desirousness and a transcendental human spirit yearning for holy communion or unio mystica with the totality of being or the ethereal Self. The cord which binds the two fish is subtly suggestive of the great pains the Piscean psyche must endure in reconciling right and left-brain consciousness; the irrational irruptions of the psychic and emotional universe along with transpersonal modes of existence with more practical, measured and material aspects of living that call for lawful organization and funnel-vision. Despite the fact that these two knowledge systems proceed from fundamentally different arcs of “knowing” reality, the Piscean psyche is innately wired with a mental device that allows their incongruous marriage to transpire, bringing equipoise and harmony to its own life and the lives of those around it.

           

           

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