I wrote this article for AstroLogic Magazine, where it was published last month. For non-subscribers, the full article is included here. Let me know what you think, if you like this type of post, or if it inspires you to ponder the symbols of the signs in a new light. Enjoy.
Astrological glyphs are symbols used to depict each zodiac sign. Have you ever wondered about the meaning behind these simple designs? There are secrets, messages to unravel within them. The study of all twelve glyphs would make an excellent meditation.
This is the Pisces glyph, drawn like a pair of parentheses with their backs to each other and a line across the middle. Many people are familiar with Pisces symbolized by two fish, commonly shown swimming in opposite directions. The two curves in the symbol represent the fish and the natural environment for fish, the element of Water.
The last of the three Water signs following Cancer and Scorpio, Pisces is intuitive, creative, and poetic. Pisces can lack stability and grounding and may have an unrealistic, impractical approach. The dualistic nature enables Pisces to live in two worlds simultaneously, which in itself can be a blessing and a curse. The harsh reality of the material world can cause emotional and psychological escapism, perhaps encouraging the piercing of veils into the mystical world. Contrarily, losing themselves in the mystical realms and ignoring their responsibilities in the material world has its own consequences.
The natural Twelfth House of the chart corresponds to Pisces, the Twelfth Sign of the Zodiac. Therefore Pisces may easily gravitate towards making choices or holding beliefs that can cause isolation and loneliness. The less evolved Pisces struggles with a fluctuating dualistic view, a split view of life, perhaps finding great difficulty maintaining their mundane life while living a hidden life of addiction, for example. On the other hand, Pisces may place tremendous importance on service with a strong desire to be altruistic and selfless. But even here, they run the risk of becoming overly absorbed in other people’s issues that their own life, their health and well being, may be neglected. This is a pitfall for the more evolved Pisces, who puts the cart before the horse with their good intention of taking care of others when they haven’t taken care of themselves first.
The horizontal line of force between the two halves of the Pisces glyph represents the burdensome yoke of samskaras, karma, or ignorance which binds our split-selves like a plow that harnesses a pair of oxen. In this separative grip, we live with little awareness of the division between heaven and earth, holding at odds the gap between our spiritual essence and our perception of the physical world. We plow the fields of existence functioning primarily from our solar plexus downward and respond to Life with clouded, conditioned emotion rather than from Love-Wisdom or the radiant light and vibration of heart in tandem with the clarity and intelligence of mind. Without these two operating in cooperation, a continual rift between our head and heart will cause varying degrees of turbulence throughout our lives and we will continue to lack integration.
With a stronger emphasis on our body than our mind, we may go to our graves wishing we had learned more or had made wiser choices. As long as we are horizontally yoked, we are the fish swimming mindlessly in the pool of our personalities, driven selfishly to conquer and fulfill the desires of our egos, unaware that there is a greater source, a power far beyond what we can dream, that could bring much more love and wisdom to our existence, understanding to our conscience, and purpose to our incarnation. We have little to no awareness of the veils creating a blockage between our Soul and our personality, and the Soul remains a fanciful thought rather than an encountered tangible presence.
The more evolved Pisces, who has undergone many years, many lifetimes of karmic processing, having worked hard to unravel the knots that bind the two halves, thus bridging the dualistic world view by having undergone (and survived) much inner work, loosens the yoke that binds and opens to a critical turning point, a pivotal shift, where the horizontal imbalance in matter becomes a vertical ascension in spirit. Through transformation and liberation, the two halves turn to face each other and, in whole-ness, form a circle with no beginning and no end.
The dual world experience- ego/personality opposing the veiled Soul- can now merge energetically into a unified Whole, becoming a purified receptacle wherein the ego/personality is joined to the Higher Self and learns to cooperate with the Soul’s impulses, intuition, and instruction. How much and how well this link provides loud and clear expression depends on the individual’s capacity to hear and perceive. How much and how well the individual acts upon what is heard and perceived depends on the individual’s maturity and readiness.
Many students stepping on to their spiritual paths discuss the ego as something ‘to kill’ or ‘destroy’, but this is incorrect. The ego is an intentional part of Creation just as much as anything else and has its own purpose. Through personal and spiritual growth and the gaining of wisdom, inner awakening and shifting towards wholeness brings awareness of the Soul’s essence which slowly tames and trains the ego. Before the full presence of the Soul’s radiance and guidance, the ego emerges as the spiritual soldier waiting for his marching orders. This link between ego and Soul is sometimes referred to as the Antahkarana. The Soul gradually overshadows the ego/personality, strengthening its reign through the individual’s spiritual evolution until there is a solid connection established and the individual’s little will gives way to the Great Will of the Divine.
Let’s put it another way… You are a spiritual being in a physical body. You have to get up every morning, go to work or school, perform at your job, and take care of your home, family, and your body. In your spare time, you shop, go out to eat, watch movies, enjoy concerts, and cheer with great gusto for your favorite sports team. In short, you stay very busy and the only time you tune out of the materialism of life is when you fall asleep. If this sums up the totality of what you consider conscious living, it is possible you have forgotten your spiritual essence, your essential Self which is Spirit, Light, and higher consciousness, which has a direct line to the Soul. Your Soul wishes to be heard, felt, and acknowledged. A best friend waiting for you to team up, your Soul patiently waits for you to synchronize your ego to a higher purpose.
This is the deep message from Pisces as symbolized in the Pisces glyph. The back-to-back curves are your material life forgetting about your spiritual essence, and your spiritual life wondering what to do with itself while it’s not yet active in expression. The line yoking them together is a fundamental reminder that both worlds – your outer life and inner life, spirit and matter, body and soul– exist simultaneously whether you are consciously aware of both or not.
The fluidity of the Pisces fish suggests a need for constant movement and the greatest movement one can make is an about-face—pull back from the constant distraction of the outer world or the centrifugal force of spirit from the inner world and surrender to the stillness that resides at the center, linking the two curves into that perfect circle where there is no division, no beginning and no end, where your material life and your spiritual essence flow in unison, in congruity, where the ego and Soul are teammates facing the same direction with combined intent and pointing the way to a fulfilling and purpose-driven life.
Remember, this does not only apply to people who have Pisces on their Ascendant, Moon in Pisces, or Sun in Pisces. This symbolic message is for every one of us. We all have Pisces ruling one of the twelve houses of our natal charts. The house ruled by Pisces will provide clues to where each of us can bring our material lives in harmony with our spirituality, or where we need to establish boundaries in our spiritual practice to perform better as a human being.
Look at where Pisces shows up in your life by reviewing your chart and learn where this balancing act occurs, where this necessity to loosen the yoke of materiality needs to unlatch so that you can move into the guiding light of your Soul waiting for you.
Renate Maria Bell is a certified Vedic Astrologer, Jyotish Visharada, and approved teacher with the Council of Vedic Astrology. She currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org