Pisces is the last of the signs. As the last mutable, it demands ultimate adaptability, the capacity to be all inclusive. As the last water sign, it implies the possibility of complete emotional understanding, absolute compassion, and integration on the level of feeling. As the last universal sign, it is at one with all.
It is the end of a cycle beginning with cardinal, out-rushing energy and ending with mutable, diffuse and dissipating energy. It is the dissolving and destruction of the preceding cycle, a renewal. Scorpio was that too, but in terms of a psychological, psychic death, a surrendering of the ego and simultaneous with the endowment of power.
Pisces is a sign of annihilation, obliteration, the final ending. We must endure the psychic deaths of Scorpio throughout life in order to build and grow to another level, time and time again. When St. Paul said, “I die daily,” it was the Scorpio ego death to which he referred. In Pisces, there is a final return to chaos, the triumph of entropy on the physical, emotional, and mental levels. In Pisces, there is the opportunity for all karmas (potential consequences of past actions, desires, and thoughts) to be washed away forever.
All life proceeds from nothingness to somethingness and into nothingness again. Manifestation returns again to the collective, the universe to chaos, to the unmanifest state of potential energy. Eventually, all molecules break down into atoms, atoms break into particles, and the particles dissolve into waves of energy as force fields. Things fall apart, only to form once again into something new.
The psychology of Pisces involves the need to surrender to nothing or everything. The suffering associated with the sign is necessary, for pain is the most effective means, of inducting us to let go, to surrender. It is the “He who sitteth upon a hot stove shall arise” method of evolution. In Pisces, we can finally cut the umbilical cord to what we call ‘reality.’ After wandering through the blind fog of Pisces long enough, the veil of “Maya” parts, and one sees at last, the real reality. The final surrender is the abandonment of illusion.
Both Pisces and Aquarius are the signs of alternate realities. Delirium and hallucinations are part of illness, but from whose point of view are they unreal? Reality is in the eye or mind of the beholder. Since we cannot be in another person’s body or mind, there is a tendency to discount experience.
The realm of the non-structured, the numinous, and the inchoate is Pisces’ domain. It is non-local intelligence. Telepathy, clairvoyance, and dream inspiration belong here. Handel dreamed his great work, “The Messiah.” The dream experience is not repeatable. It comes up from the unconscious, spontaneously, and unbidden.
There are different levels to the unconscious – the personal, our own psychic garbage left over from daily life; and the collective, from the profound depths of which great dreams, the highest symbolism, arise. Pisces operates entirely in the land of subjectivity.
There is a spiritual orientation with Pisces in that it is motivated by love, a conscious, aware love directed toward all, which arises from the knowledge that at the “ground state” all truly is one.
Psychic qualities are attributed to Pisces too. Spiritual and psychic are not the same though, there is a tendency among the naive to think so. To be psychic is to have the ability to perform activity on or to perceive from the subtle levels of reality, and of course, includes magic, white and black. The ability to perform miracles is not spiritual per se. The psychic surgeon is no more “spiritual” than the conventional M.D. The spiritual aspect is the desire on the part of the practitioner to be of loving service to a fellow being.
Boundaries dissolve in Pisces. In the mystical experience, we are one with God in the “cloud of unknowing.” In that union, we experience the ecstasy of bliss. Everything is everything and it is good; even the relatively bad. It is all true, even the rationally false. Meditation practices and yogic trances put us in mystical states where we experience oneness, in “a place with no space, in a moment without time.”
Savior/victim dynamics are problematic with the Pisces/Virgo polarity. The Piscean savior comes to liberate us from our bondage to ignorance, to the material life; but the literal-minded, confused by the message, misunderstand and turn on him, making him a sacrificial victim; a martyr. The person who sets out to help and to save an individual whom he pities ends up being hurt himself, while the object of pity goes on his merry way. Christianity chose for its logo the suffering Jesus nailed to a cross bleeding. The scriptures tell us he was up there for three hours, dead just three days; he then arose to live forever and ever. The Piscean Age celebrates and exaggerates the brief suffering, down-plays and outright ignores the main point.
Pisces, like the month of March, is half cold, half melting. Here is its duality: one part melting, merging in a compassionate, sensitive, mystical way; and the other part ice, frozen, tight, cut off, already gone over to the other side or refusing to go.
Another theme in Pisces is that of the individual attempting to understand and come to terms with his personal, as well as collective past, while struggling with the oppressive forces generated by collective living. Piscean characters are often victims, underdogs, outcasts, and the casualties of complex systems beyond their control. Here, the individual must prove himself stronger than the forces which assail him. Often this entails a deliberate sacrifice on his part in which he loses his external freedom or privilege, yet gains an inner liberation. This is authentic freedom for Pisces.
As water is found in three distinct conditions: solid/ice, liquid/water, and gas/vapor, so Pisces is in its apparent contradictions. Though the vaporous states of fog, mist, and clouds are most frequently used to describe Piscean qualities, there are about it intermediate water states analogous to slush, sleet and pelting hail. All the water signs have an affinity for pain: pain-enduring as well as pain-inflicting. You expect it with Scorpio, are not too surprised when Cancer shows it; but, when gentle, understanding Pisces suddenly sticks in the knife and twists it, the pain hurts all the more because it seems such a betrayal! That happens at the point where Pisces has gone too long in pain-enduring circumstances and a last straw brings on the flash of anger that anticipates the next sign, Aries.
About the author:
Eleanor Buckwalter has studied, practiced and taught astrology in Los Altos, CA for more than twenty-five years, including three years with the late Richard Idemon, a psychological astrologer. Her primary astrological focus of interest is parent-child relationships and family dynamics.