People born from February 20 to March 22, or those who have the sign Pisces rising at birth (which can be ascertained only through a knowledge of the hour of birth), will come under the dominion of the watery, mutable, emotional sign Pisces, symbolized by the two fish, and ruled over by the psychic, impressionable planet Neptune.

Pisces, symbolized by two fish swimming in opposite directions, was the pictorial representation given by the Ancients to this sign. These people are natural wanderers and lack concentration and directness. They are restless physically and inattentive mentally. They should not have too many conflicting interests, and should strive to overcome a tendency to scatter their forces.

Venus is exalted in the sign, and the Moon seems to have a strong influence upon its natives, as is indicated by the fact that in the Tarot the card representing the Moon is attributed to Pisces. The sign is, indeed, the most feminine and receptive of any in the zodiac. The God of the Sea, that world of waters which is so exact a physical symbol of the emotional psychic plane, was hailed in ancient times as “the saviour” and Pisces is preeminently the sign of salvation, the true earth of body, soul, and spirit as united in man, which is attained only through the evolution of the emotional or psychic body. The ocean, even when calm, is never absolutely still; ebb and flow and unseen undercurrent are perpetually in motion; it {179} answers to every breeze with a quiver of response, and while it mirrors the sky above, its waters rest upon the solid earth. This thought is connected with action through emotion, and it is by the gradual evolution of the emotional qualities that a man at least learns to choose his pleasures rightly, since through their agony lessons of spiritual growth are brought home to his inner self in wrongdoing. We shall see that the planet Neptune is considered in esoteric astrology as typifying the soul in man, and there is something eminently fitting in his rule over a sign which, free of contradiction in its undeveloped natives, nevertheless represents the struggles and defeats through which an aspiring soul in bondage must come into its full fruition, whether here or in another life. Moreover, though Neptune may be masculine, his force is that of a finer vibration of the Venus rays, and his dominion over the sign is therefore unmarred by any lack of harmony between the lord and the exalted lady, or with the Moon which, as we have suggested, has strong influence therein.

The physical type of so mutable a sign depends very largely on planetary influence, and there is, therefore, a great deal of variation in the type. The shape of the skull in particular will depend to an immense extent on Saturn's position, and the general stature on the strength or weakness of Jupiter, but the Pisces face is very easy to recognize. Its lines are of singular softness. Everything in it is rounded, but particularly the cheeks, which are usually very prominent, one might almost say bulging. The eyes {180} are unusually prominent, in most cases suggesting the fish totem, and generally with a sleepy expression. The lips are full and there is a decided tendency to double chin. The neck is short and thick and the Pisces native generally has round shoulders. The hair is usually brown and the complexion is normally florid, but in some cases the influence of a rising Moon or similar planetary configuration may cause an extreme pallor. The more masculine types may be mistaken for a weak Leo; the more feminine types for the passive form of Cancer.

When there is no strong planetary indication to the contrary, the stature is rather below the average; the frame is weak – weaker than in any other sign. Generally speaking, women with this sign rising are better formed than men. There is sometimes a good deal of sensuous beauty, the gracefulness in repose of the Persian cat, but this is very likely to degenerate into slackness of body. The legs are apt to be short and fat. Weak specimens of this type hardly exist for themselves or by themselves, but great care must be taken to distinguish this recessive type from that in which Neptune asserts himself to the full – the type in which we find the great, jolly face; the boyish, genial manner – yet even in such cases the expert Astrologer can trace the stigmata of weakness manifested in softness, luxury and self-indulgence.

Pisces governs the feet and, sympathetically, the hands, the arms, the lungs and nervous system; gout is the characteristic disease of this sign. Being a torpid and coldblooded sign, its peculiar relaxing softening action upon the tissues explains its manifest connection with tuberculosis and many diseases involving the secretions. The constitution is not strong; it does not resist attack {181} or infection of any kind, but the native is so adaptable to his circumstances that he is not easily upset. When ill, he takes great care of himself and responds readily to treatment, but as he is so suggestible, it is of the highest importance that his doctor should have a strong personality and the gift of communicating confidence. The type is not very long-lived in any case. A great many die in infancy, while adults are almost sure to fall a prey to some disease caused by slackness and self-indulgence. He is particularly susceptible to the influence of toxins, and drugs and drink have a strong fascination for him; if he is not addicted to morphia, he is pretty sure to indulge in excess of some kind. This tendency manifests itself in the higher type by an intense passion for love or religion or psychic manifestation, with little self-control in its pursuit. Pisces is wholly sensuous in all these matters. His chief interest in religion or art, for example, is the spiritual exaltation which he derives from it, and such sensuousness is only a short step removed from sensuality. His spiritual emotion is apt to be orgastic.

Pisces is the weakest of all the signs in its reaction to material and mental affairs. Its strength lies wholly on subtler planes, which will be discussed in the proper place. This is one of the so-called double-bodied signs, in which we find so curious a division of interests. In really weak cases, this amounts almost to negation of any moral character. Edgar Allan Poe had some pretty good planetary aspects, Venus just above his Ascendant being in exact trine to Uranus and a few degrees below Venus, the Moon {182} in conjunction with Jupiter, but Neptune, the ruler of the Ascendant, is square to this configuration, thus accentuating the weaker side of the sign. Hence we cannot be surprised to find a sensitive nature with a will unable to transcend the influence of the moment.

Speaking generally, the native of Pisces receives almost all impressions that may reach him. He not only reflects them like a mirror, but absorbs them like a sponge. He has usually no standard of truth in what may be called the essential structure of the mind. It may be remarked that this subconscious mind, which is typically Neptunian, seems to have no conception of mundane morals. Truth, to the native of Pisces, means that which he feels for the moment. All watery signs seem to have this quality to some extent when the type is a weak one. “Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel.” The undeveloped native of Pisces would hardly go so far as to explain or analyze his moral deficiencies; he would simply fail to understand that there was anything wrong.

The type is so impressionable that it reacts immediately to any influence; it cannot stand alone. This sensitiveness extends to all planes. The Pisces native is singularly open to suggestion, being always very psychic. He appears to possess no power of discrimination, no capacity of resistance to any set of thoughts. His character, therefore, is really negative; but if he leaves the sheltered life, where he has been exposed during the whole period of it to one set of impressions only, he will remain perfectly undisturbed and therefore pass for a general adherent to that particular class of views. One may, therefore, like Lord Roberts, be a quiet, conventional Christian, a gentleman and a soldier, happily married {183} and the father of just the right kind of sons. Such may be the natural development where the career is simple and straightforward, beginning at the public school where the headmaster has the baton, and graduating in the school of war where he ends by getting a baton of his own. With a different environment, one may get a Cleo de Merode.

There is something biologically admirable about the character of the Pisces native. His adaptability to circumstances is his best guarantee of survival. There is, therefore, no reason to expect anything particular “a priori” from the Ascendant of the native. We shall discover that he is much better if we examine the parts of the horoscope that refer to the people with whom he is brought in contact. For example, Edgar Allan Poe's best help came from friends, as indicated by an exact conjunction of the Sun and Mercury very strong in Capricorn in his eleventh house, whose lord Saturn is in conjunction with Neptune, thus indicating the origin of the friendships in artistic sympathy. Where the personality is itself strong, it is indicated by planets in the Ascendant or powerful aspects of Jupiter.

Hitherto we have been compelled to follow the general reaction of Pisces to external impression, but there is in the Pisces native something much deeper than this. Within himself, he is mysterious and sublime. The Tarot trump called “The Moon,” which is attributed to Pisces, gives us a very clear representation of what is here meant. At the top of the card shines the waning Moon of illusion. She sheds her light upon a winding path which leads between two towers, and on either side of the path are jackals. The pilgrim is the prey of illusion, of prejudice, of obsessing force, but at the bottom of the card is a pool in {184} which is a beetle, representing Kheperer, the Egyptian Scarab, symbolizing the Sun at midnight. The true soul of the sign lies in this secret place of reflection where the lord of life is born, but this pool is silent and unstirred. It does not manifest, as a general rule, in the external life. It is going too far to say that the native is a natural poet or mystic, but in his sensitiveness and in his interior silence, we find the passive half of genius. There is always the possibility of its coming to birth where there is an active or creative principle at work in the nativity. But even son, the form that genius will take seems to depend upon the environment.

Poe was powerfully influenced by the peculiar form that mysticism was taking at his period. He did not make a systematic study of the business. Scholar as he was, it does not seem to have occurred to him to investigate the classics of the subject and to compare them. He took the quaint volume which Glanville wrote about the witches. He was profoundly interested in the phenomena of hypnotism, which were just becoming well known in America, and on these slender data he meditated and produced a charming little philosophy of his own, with hardly any other aid than a trace of Plato, natural enough to one of his education. One is really reminded of the fish, perfectly happy in his own environment, displaying his golden sails on golden sand, but becoming rapidly black if he happens to reach a pool with a muddy bottom.

In all cases, however, we find that this extraordinary flexibility and adaptability seem to select the subtle and interior nature of the forces which are at work upon it. The developed native has an almost divine power of separating the subtle from the gross, and using only the former. {185} Nature itself seems plastic in his hands. We may see this very strongly manifested in a very unusual department in the case of Luther Burbank, in whose hands even living things changed their nature as though under the manipulation of a magician. The transmutation of life is no less wonderful, but rather more so, than that of metal.

Pisces responds not to the surface of things, but to the soul in them. The Pisces native seems to have an intimate apprehension of the spiritual forces in any phenomenon. We do not find Poe investigating mesmerism in the scientific sense, despite the fact that he had a remarkable gift, both for pure mathematics and for close observation, as is witnessed by his analysis of Maelzel's chess-player and the similar power displayed in some of his stories. He preferred to go behind the phenomenon, to deal with causes rather than with effects. The supersubtlety of Pisces often leads to most serious danger for the native. He is only too apt to take the shadow for the substance. He too easily confuses the material and spiritual planes. He has no rational idea of the correlation of cause and effect and may often be quite absurdly superstitious. Pisces will always act on an impression rather than on rational judgment.

He delights to feel himself in communion with the subtle worlds, and unless well developed, he has no power to discriminate between the world of true causes upon higher planes, and that of dream, glamour and illusion. Such people may often be abominably untrustworthy; they will say, “I know something or other,” when all they mean is that they dreamt it. Another point connected with the extreme sensitiveness of the Pisces native is his exaggerated reaction to those {186} physical influences which hardly disturb the mind of the stronger type of humanity. Alcohol is exceedingly dangerous to natives of this sign, and the temptation to employ the subtler and stronger drugs is even more pronounced. The immediate effect is extraordinarily bad, throwing the native off such balance as he may possess, and there is an appalling strength in the temptation to indulge habitually and to excess. Drugs do for him exactly what he is in his own nature only too prone to do without their aid. They translate him to a subtler world. This world, always dangerous, is invariably fatal when created in such artificial manner.

In dealing with matters of money, this native is exceedingly careless and is likely to spend profusely and with little judgment. He cannot be called untrustworthy in managing the affairs of others, but he is certainly not reliable. He is generous, but not wisely so. He helps other people indiscriminately without consideration as to what may be genuinely useful; though his charity gives temporary pleasure to the recipient, it does not assist him to get permanently out of his condition of distress.

In speech and writing, the native is very fluent and voluble. His words seem to flow forth from him in a torrent. He is extremely genial and may be the life and soul of a party. He is inclined to see everything through rose-colored spectacles. His style is usually very pleasant to hear; the poetry of Poe, from the point of melody, is the most musical ever written in the English language.

The Pisces native, being essentially lazy, is one of the most domesticated persons to be found. He does not give much active assistance in the home, but he always makes himself pleasant and is very often the pet of the family. {187} He has the great art of making those around him happy. The exception will be if any of them are of a stern, uncompromising type, who object to his character as such. He will never leave home of his own initiative, for circumstances which irritate other people, the narrowness and restraints upon ambition, do not affect him at all. He lacks ambition and he is very happy where he is.

In love, this native is of an exceptionally pleasing type. The devotion displayed exceeds even that of Taurus, but it is much more placid in character. It is almost a parasitical phenomenon. There is little tendency to infidelity of the active sort, but on the other hand, there is no likelihood of much resistance to any pressure that may be exerted by some new admirer. Both men and women of this type exact the most constant attention, particularly the women. Women with this sign rising are usually very fertile. Both fathers and mothers are devoted to their children, but are too indulgent to make good parents. The Pisces native may get on very well with servants because of his natural tendency to be indulgent toward them and his manifest appreciation of their devotion to him. In marriage, the woman of Pisces makes an ideal wife from the Oriental standpoint. The woman of the harem typifies very exactly the sensuous nature of the Piscarian's enjoyment of emotion in her indolence, her devotion to the sweetmeats of life, and her complaisant response to the invitation of passion. Such a disposition is not well suited for marriage in countries where the wife is not kept secluded and under lock and key, since if the undeveloped woman of Pisces is left too much to her own resources, her {188} natural sensuality will assert itself, for there is little chance of her working it off by active interest in intellectual amusements. In the more developed type these tendencies manifest themselves in devotion and loyalty, though still with much taste for indolence and the sweetmeats. Where the Pisces native is a man, he will be very devoted and pet and spoil the wife, but he will be little good for the practical duties of the home.

Comfort will be his first consideration, but he will not take very active steps to secure it. He is the worst kind of husband for a woman of any activity. Mr. Mantilini in “Nicholas Nickleby” is a good picture of the undeveloped type of Pisces. As a business associate, very similar objections apply to him, though he makes a splendid sleeping partner. If a man is needed to put his money into a business and let it lie there, it would be well to look for a native of Pisces. In the active conduct of public affairs, Pisces will be utterly hopeless, if he is ever intrusted with anything of the sort, which he hardly ever is. An amusing example is offered in the case of a man who, through family influence, was intrusted with the conduct of a railway in Central America, the men to whom he was responsible being far away in New York. His idea of carrying out their instructions was to throw all their letters unread into the waste-paper basket, because it saved him trouble, and when somebody came down and threw him out, he remarked that that saved him trouble too, because the job was rather a bore after all.

The subconscious mind of this native is the best part of him; in fact, he may be said to live in that mind and by virtue of it. To him this world which we can see and {189} touch is not the world of reality. The same man who so ridiculously failed in Central America is in his real life a far-seeing mystic of an erratic type, with what seems to be a genuinely prophetic gift. There is, however, nothing in the temperament itself that enables the native to make a bridge between the subconscious and the ordinary mind, so that in many cases he is a voice crying in the wilderness. His marvelous ability does not even benefit him in the majority of cases, since he does not naturally have the gift of action. However, assisted either in business or in public affairs by harmoniously balanced active partners, his insight and intuition may make him a veritable power behind the throne.

The native may reach great eminence in science through his appreciation of the subtle forces behind phenomena. In philosophy, he may prove admirable from the same cause, but in both philosophy and science, his work will almost infallibly be one-sided. The man is likely to make new discoveries, but not to have anything like a complete intellectual understanding of the subject as a whole.

In religion, the Pisces native may be a mystic of the devotional type; he will, in all probability, be highly gifted with clairvoyance. Religion being altogether a matter of faith and inspiration, he is enabled to dispense with even the pretense of rationalism. Very low types of this sign will be conventionally and sentimentally religious to an inordinate degree. Even when the native is a mystic, he is unbalanced; there is no intellectual backbone, no idea of maintaining psychic balance by any corrective skepticism.

The native is extremely warm in his friendships, sometimes even unpleasantly so. He is always trying to drain {190} the last drop of any honeyed cup. Most people prefer friendships to be something in the nature of an offensive and defensive alliance. The native of Pisces tries to make it a romance. However, there is no better man to dine with when you are tired and have the blues. He understands very well the art of entertainment, and his desire for fullness of everything never allows him to forget a single ingredient that makes for pleasure.

Pisces yields immediately to any kind of constraint without resentment or any tendency to revolt. He becomes immediately part of the existing system that is imposed upon him. He has not the slightest desire to make trouble for anybody.

Neptune represents the unifying principle of the solvent, as against the differentiating and analytical tendencies shown by Mars. The latter impulses drive man's energies into the physical; the power of Neptune and Pisces turns the native away from the physical plane and gives a longing for union with the divine. At the first indications of this aspiration manifest in a yearning for emotional experience, we can see how it is that the undeveloped types show on the surface so little of the divine and so much of the fleshly. But as the true strength of the Piscarian is in his ideals and inspirations, in its more advanced types the natives of the sign live by inspiration, and in their supreme moments may attain to a realization of the essential unity of all things, so that their life, their speech or their writings may approach almost to the divine. Many among the saints and mystics of the early church give evidence of the dominations of this planet and sign, especially St. Francis of Assisi, whose most famous hymn illustrates his feeling of kinship with {191} the Sun and the Moon; and whose life was a long record of ceaseless love, devotion and self-sacrifice.

The instincts of Pisces children will be towards good, and because they expect people to be honest like themselves, they may be inclined to place too much confidence and trust in others. They will be more grieved and confused than resentful at an injury. The sins of this sign are those of omission rather than commission. These children lack initiative and are too willing to take a back seat, often being taken advantage of by their playmates. Later in life, they find it difficult to assert themselves and push their way to the fore. Everything should be done to teach them self-confidence and to fight their own battles; they must not, on any account, be coddled. While they should be sympathized with, they must not be made “soft” or content to hold the least place in any contest with their friends. If they are made to realize that they must fight in order to gain a standing and hold their own, this will help to give them confidence in themselves and change their outlook for the future.

It will be necessary to give these children a good education and to send them to college, if practicable. They are so impressionable that they naturally fall into the habits of those with whom they are associated; unlike their Taurus and Leo brothers, they are lacking in will power; knowledge and the realization of their own importance and potential value to the world will help to make them more self-reliant and strengthen their will. The Pisces-born, as a rule, have a strong sense of the ridiculous and can see a funny situation even at the expense of hurting the feelings of their close associates and {192} best friends. For this reason they may often be considered hypocrites, when in reality they are merely indulging this side of their nature, with no intent to hurt. Even though their intention may not be unkindly, they must realize that the other person does not understand their motives, and is therefore justified in being hurt. They are often misjudged and mistrusted for this reason, as well as for others.

Because of their absentmindedness or inattentiveness, they lose their possessions very easily, and are constantly dropping things and forgetting to pick them up.

They must guard against falling into the habit of feeling terribly sorry for themselves. They are often selfishly unselfish, and unconsciously cause others annoyance by their insistence in giving their time and strength when it is really unwelcome.

People born from the 22nd of June to the 24th of July, when the Sun is in the watery, maternal sign Cancer, and from the 24th of October to the 23rd of November, when the Sun is in the watery, self-reliant sign Scorpio, are naturally sympathetic and helpful to those born under Pisces. Because their characteristics are complementary, they are good partners for the Pisces-born, matrimonially or otherwise. If too intimately associated with those born from the 22nd of May to the 22nd of June (Gemini), 24th of August to 24th of September (Virgo), and 23rd of November to 23rd of December (Sagittarius), Pisces natives will need to practice self-preservation. Such an intimacy might result in the native of Pisces becoming too vacillating and lacking in ambition and will power. For this reason people born under Gemini, Virgo and {193} Sagittarius would not make the most sympathetic and helpful partners, either matrimonially or in a business way. A period of about seven days – March 21 to March 28 – when the vibrations of Pisces are merging into those of Aries, and Aries still retaining some of Pisces, is known as the cusp.

People born between these dates will partake of the impressionable, unselfish Pisces and the domineering Aries.

As we have said before, these deductions are drawn from the position of the Sun or Ascendant, therefore it is probable that among the best friends of a Pisces native, or those with whom he is uncongenial, will be found some who are not born at the times mentioned. The individual horoscopes must be consulted to ascertain how the stars combine with those of the Pisces-born, and thus determine what effect the combination of influence have upon each other.

These indications are only general, and will not cover all the characteristics of and individual as he knows himself, since those born under the sign Pisces are subject to modifications by the planets. A detailed statement or horoscope must be made to discover the whole truth. {194}

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