One thing that people constantly say about Pisces is that Pisces is the “mystic” of the zodiac or that somehow the sign of Pisces is more spiritual than other signs. Let’s try to let this go for today and take a look at Pisces from a different angle. Pisces is the feminine or nocturnal home of Jupiter, and Pisces is a water sign. In archetypal terms we might more closely associate “her” with the earth, with the Moon, and with the broader archetypal realm of the feminine/lunar qualities held by the word “soul” or “anima.” The soul is quite different, but inseparable from, the spirit in archetypal/mythic language.
Here are some basic distinctions. The soul is memory, and body, and history, and the moving realm of image, dream, and the imminence of psychological and imaginative reflection. The soul entangles us in the differentiating labyrinth of images and embroils us in its cyclical fantasies. The objective truth or the literal truth is the great delusion, and the action of deepening into, obfuscating, hiding, suggesting, and associating endlessly in a web of relationship the “real” evidence. Soul is problems and their depth and meaning for life, the romance and beauty and pain, not necessarily their final solution.
Now take Pisces, the sign of the two fish, tails tied together, swimming in an endless circle. A shape the soul loves, the circle. An image of the soul, the deep and slippery evasiveness of the fish. The dream of what lies below and beyond, in the cool or warm watery depths, which is also the sky.
We are so quick to try to make a sign about us, about our behavior, about our psychology, about “core needs” or “core characteristics.” We’re being “cored” to death by astrology! But there is nothing “core” about the two fish and their dreams, and we’ll understand more of Pisces by contemplating the image, and contemplating soul, and dream, and by actually imagining, then we will talking about “mystics” or “cosmic dream activation” or “victimization” or “escapism.” All these terms become the stuff of dead language, and we forget that signs are not the exclusive property of human beings, or Carl Jung, or west coast archetypal studies, or evolutionary groping. They are the vast cosmic homes of the Gods. They are celestial mansions where planets find themselves as travelers or hosts, dignified guests or exiled mavericks. We will get so much more out of the signs of the zodiac when we don’t rush to make them about ourselves and “my psyche” or “my psychology.”
By contrast, the word spirit implies something different, something not as close to Pisces as the word soul. Spirit is direction and mission. Spirit is the compass, purpose, and transcendent cause. Spirit animates and illuminates. Spirit leads out of the confusion and provides clear yes and clear no. Spirit clarifies the objective truth, the universal order, and the decoding or translating of the sacred truth or scriptural absolute. Spirit unifies and interprets the mystery. Spirit is assuredness and conviction. Subjectivity is the great delusion, and deepening into becomes distraction. Spirit is the solving of the problems and the liberation from the prison of the flesh, body, or the entanglements of soul.
Of course the soul and the spirit as an archetypal pair are reflected all throughout astrology, in the alternation of signs (masculine and feminine), in the two luminaries, in the daytime and nighttime skies, in the rising, culminating, setting, and anti-culminating of planets, and so forth. They are a cosmic couple and their mythology recurs all across the planet in different mythic disguises and languages, different myths and traditions. Their alchemical union is one of the great metaphors of our planet. And the point today for us to consider is that the sign of Pisces is perhaps better associated with the soul than spirit. So we might try saying that Pisces is a “soulful” sign before we say that Pisces is a “spiritual sign.” The difference might seem silly, but differentiation is one of the major tasks and loves of the soul…as diversity adds depth to how we live and how we reflect upon our experiences or how we actively imagine.
To truly appreciate Pisces season, we should remember that the two fish may look similar, but they are different. They may swim in an eternal circle, but no two laps are the same. Their tails may be tied together, but its also what keeps them from ever reaching one another in the maze of their circle. The less we spell out what Pisces “means” or what it means “for me” and the more time we spend with images the closer we will get to the gates of this vast celestial mansion…nighttime home of Jupiter, the faithful one…spirituality embodied in the tremendous ecology of earth.
For today’s prayer, I’ll end with a poem from Mary Oliver, a soulful poet born with Neptune conjunct the Sun. Notice the two fish swimming in her words, the images of the earth and the fluid lyricism of the poet’s eye for individual things, and then notice the marriage of soul to the spiritual Sun at the dawn of a new day, on the edge between day and night, sleeping and dreaming.
“Why I Wake Early”
Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who make the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the miserable and the crotchety–
best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light–
good morning, good morning, good morning,
Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.