The Archetype of Pisces
by Jef Bartow
If you missed our last article, we've begun a new series to better understand how the energies of each Sign from its archetypical source conditions us personally, can help us individualize our spiritual Self and live our spiritual nature in day-to-day life. Over the next 30 days, we can naturally become more attuned to the Pisces part of ourselves. The traditional symbol for Pisces is two fish swimming in opposite directions. The glyph of Pisces is two semicircles connected by a horizontal line running through them. Each of these symbols represents the duality within us. This duality is tied together or bound together within captivity. As demonstrated through the Age of Pisces, our fully developed instinctual nature runs contrary to our spiritual nature in its infancy. The resolution of this duality becomes the resurrected and transcendent World Savior. Mythologically, Pisces is represented by Dionysus (e.g. Bacchus). Dionysus’ name is translated as "twice born," or "child of the double door." The firstborn character of Dionysus is tied to wine and inebriation; "god of emotional extremes -- agony and ecstasy, suffering (Pentheus) and bliss." In the myth, Dionysus is dismembered prenatally (or in infancy) but saved to be born a second time. Ultimately, he becomes one of the sacred stars. Symbolically, he becomes the "Higher Self evolving in all the lower nature." Psychologically, captured by our barbarian nature and robbed of our individuality, we are dissolved (dismembered) into components of the collective unconscious. Our Dionysus "expansion" is the "flood of overpowering universal feeling which bursts forth irresistibly, intoxicating the senses like the strongest wine." Resurrection comes through renunciation, redemption and compassion which releases our developing spiritual nature (universal impersonal-ness) from its bondage to the extremes of our lower nature.
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Psychologically, there is a need to be needed and feeling of being connected with all life, being highly impressionable to the point of gullibility and guilt ridden with an overly psychic sensitivity. At its lowest level expression, Pisces is also old-fashioned, petty and narrow-minded and at the same time highly idealistic, devotional with a lack of discrimination and practicality. On the other hand, Pisces provides a highly empathetic and generous orientation; a kind heart and gentle benevolent nature; an honorable and idealistic devotion to ideals; and the love and appreciation of beauty. With an unassuming and wide range of acceptance and tolerance for others, our Pisces nature is imaginative, self-sacrificing, versatile and adaptable to any stage setting or environment of life. Embracing Pisces brings humility, receptivity and sensitive temperament toward helping others and people in general. With those of you whose Sun is in Pisces or with Pisces on the Ascendant, the above conditioning is powerful within the personality. For the rest of us, it will demonstrate most characteristically in the house activities where Pisces resides. Since Neptune rules Pisces, you will also see it in those areas of life (house) where Neptune resides in the birth chart.
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Let's see how these themes are played out through the various aspects of Pisces at the three levels within our spiritual journey. The instinctual part of Pisces which conditions each of us displays itself in a variety of keywords. Some of these include being timid, fearful humble and retiring. Emotional identifiers include fluctuating moods, sentimentality, hypersensitivity, emotional extremes and an abundance of sympathies. Behaviors include indecisiveness and tendency toward self-pity, a need to justify words and actions and refuge in fantasy and escapism.
Achieving this comes through fulfilling the needs of Pisces where ever it resides within our spiritual mandala. As opposed to the extremes described as part of our personality conditioning, the needs of our Pisces include bringing our emotional nature under control, learning to believe in ourselves and learning to detach, renunciate and turn away from our past without losing contact with our feelings of kindness and compassion for others. It also involves transforming our mental inhibitions into soul expression and identifying with our soul through removing our various personality attachments. Further transformations include elevating empathy into compassion, cleaning our past-life closets including leftover karma from the past and amalgamating our universal ideas about human experience with the realities of our personal life.
How do we do that you ask? For the Pisces within us, whether highly characteristic or mainly focused in one area of life, we accomplish this through self-denial and self-sacrifice. We make holy and whole through personal martyrdom, courage and a willingness to surrender until death those parts of us which keep us captive and bound to personality conditioning. A positive ongoing commitment to periods of meditation and apparent inactivity helps regenerate and restore ourselves for the rigors of discipline and sacrifice involved. Another positive habit which will help integrate ourselves in our Pisces area of life includes communication and writing (i.e. journaling) about our feelings, emotions and psychological states.
Spiritualizing the part of our life which Pisces influences will help in the release of our soul from captivity (personality conditioning). Here we will most easily gain spiritual understanding and wisdom to be used in other areas of life. By uniting the opposites of personal and impersonal within us, we will establish a castle of peace which can become our "earthly paradise" as we serve the needs of others and our higher Self.
Living our United Spiritual Self and Personality
The spiritual influence of the Archetype of Pisces is realized through living a unified spiritual and personal life. For each of us, this means living this unity in the areas of life where Pisces resides. For myself, Pisces is predominately in my fourth house with a few degrees in the fifth house. Resolving the duality of my higher and lower nature was realized through my integrating my personal home with my spiritual home; leaving all sense of personal family behind for my spiritual family; and letting go and sacrificing my emotional foundation for security in life for a spiritual foundation based on faith and idealistic devotion to spiritual growth. These fourth house areas of life became my castle of peace for almost 2 decades on my spiritual journey. Today, my home, family and creative self expression (fourth and fifth houses) are the most important parts of how I am learning to live the spiritual archetype of Pisces. Spiritually, Pisces destroys all crystallized forms of life that inhibit the flow of loving inclusivity and spiritual reality. Pisces is the powerful liberator and source of release from all levels of materiality. It is where we can best live the perfected individual soul and resurrected life as an individualized Christ. It also provides the best environment for us to attain transcendence of our personal self and orientation. By doing so, Pisces can motivate us to become a world savior (if that's our destiny) through will, love, wisdom and devotion.
Individualizing Our “Castle of Peace”
In Archetypes of the Zodiac, Kathleen Burt epitomizes the needs of Pisces as the "Search for the Castle of Peace." As a mutable water sign, Pisces is related to the "ocean of infinity, boundless and universal." The tendency is to lose oneself within this expanse which then leaves one without any individual identity or sense of self. Finding our Castle of Peace is how we release our self from material bondage and calm the waters that can engulf us. Peace is very fitting here in that some of its major keywords include: calm, quiet, placid, lack of conflict and lack of agitation. Isn't this the way we want to experience the boundless ocean of the infinite?