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Pisces and Pisces Rising: The Mask and the Mirror

IT’S AS IF you’re living in two worlds right now, dreaming a dream that you sometimes remember and sometimes forget. Despite the seeming drama of your life there’s the sense that something else is happening, something lightly veiled but penetrable only by careful noticing and a delicate approach. Yes, something larger than you, yet something you contain like a hologram.

Pisces

It will be easiest to start with a detailed description of the current astrology; by current I mean now, most of it lasting through the year, and the most important part lasting two more years. The scene is set in your 12th solar house, Aquarius — the sign before your own. If our own sign is the house of ‘self’, then the previous sign is the sign of ‘non-self’, a thinly-veiled world where none of the usual rules apply. Connect the traditional associations with a thread and see what you intuit: dreams, things larger than life, insanity, fantasies and pleasures of the bed, overwhelming institutions and the prenatal era of life.

Basically we are talking about the unconscious. And at the moment your unconscious is extremely conscious, judging from the number of planets that are aligned there, and the events that are taking place there. Not one but two of your ruling planets are in your 12th house right now, Neptune for the long-run and Jupiter for all of 2009.

Well, I say extremely conscious but it may feel more like pressure, restlessness, an incredibly active dream life, an equally active fantasy life or like a large portion of your awareness is consumed in an invisible dimension.

Neptune in this sign since 1998 has been hard enough. You may know that I am one of those astrologers who follows traditional rulerships before modern ones, but there can be no denying that Neptune is profoundly influential toward, and related to, Pisces. Its long-term presence in your 12th house is the feeling of having to materialize yourself out of thin ether. I have looked at many strong 12th house natal charts and reflected that it was amazing the person wasn’t on a psych ward, and the truth is, the 12th does induce that feeling.

In 2005, both Chiron and Nessus arrived, which is like bringing night vision into the 12th house, and that can be maddening on the one hand and deeply healing on the other. (Centaurs usually have this kind of two-edged thing going on, which you learn to associate with real potential rather than inflated hope of progress or healing.)

I am writing this with the Sun in Aquarius, and now Jupiter, your traditional ruler, has shown up as well. And Mercury is about to station retrograde. And there is about to be an eclipse of the Sun, meaning the Sun, Moon and North Node make a conjunction.

Given the nature of the 12th, can you see how you might be feeling this kind of intensity verging on overwhelm with all these planets here? Can you imagine how much is lurking in a hidden dimension of your life?

I’ll add one more thing from traditional astrology that you might find interesting. I do, over and over: see if you can follow along. Usually the 12th is considered the house of Pisces, since Pisces is the 12th sign. Therefore people say, “Aquarius is the Pisces house of Pisces.” Which is sort of true. It can feel like that and it’s a useful metaphor.

What most astrologers unfortunately do not know is that according to the ancient Hermetic texts (one in particular, called the Thema Mundi), the 1st house is associated with the sign Cancer and not with Aries. This means the 12th house (no matter what 12th house we are talking about, in any chart) has not a Pisces association, but a Gemini one. Pisces is dualistic; Gemini is actually dual. It is in two realities at once, two discrete beings, and this is suggesting that your 12th house life is in two realities at once: like you have not one but two distinctly different things going on: it really does look a lot like the brilliance/madness dichotomy.

Now for the third side of the triangle. Aquarius has two ruling planets. Generally when you have a lot of activity in a sign, you look to the ruling planets and you see what is going on with them. And here we see an extremely interesting drama being played out.

The first of those ruling planets, Saturn, is in your opposite sign Virgo, which works as your relationship house. The second of those planets, Uranus, is in your own sign, Pisces. I’m not going to interpret these — yet.

The two are making a long (as in two-year) opposition. And while these energies seem tangible enough where they are placed, in such tangible houses as the 1st and 7th, the reality is that they represent all the strangeness going on behind the veil of your 12th house. You could call them puppets, or you could call them archetypes. They are ambassadors of the inner trip of your 12th house. The setup is reminiscent of the old saying, “Everything I see is me.” Except I’m going to qualify it and say, “It’s as if everything I see is me.”

You can take total responsibility for the world; but you risk insanity. So it’s better to look at things symbolically. The word is archetypally.

I’ve been dialoging on the Pisces horoscope with a Scorpio named Mimi in my neighborhood, who I am starting to figure out is a wise owl of an astrologer. Here is how she describes this setup:

The 12th house is a scrim; a veil. This is not the same as the Klingon cloaking device that makes the mothership coming at us invisible, but the way that, on a stage, when one uses a scrim it makes the actors behind it, and their world of action, into the “other” realm of soul, turning them into not so much unreal actors as archetypal ones. They “become” their character.

In theater, masks hide the face to reveal a deeper essence. The scrim of the 12th house works/plays the same way…revealing. This is the key to the 12th house. It is the scrim that reveals, that a scrim is necessary to see certain things, the way that people who read auras deliberately close their eyes halfway creating a ‘scrim’ of their eyelashes and eyelid to be able to read the energetic, vibrational essence of the aura.

The three times in my life that I have done a very powerful mask exercise (that one does not do lightly), every single time the response to others has been that they see me as a goddess. (I do not say this to raise your expectations.) The point is that the mask leads instantly to seeing an archetypal being. Scrim of the 12th house is revealing archetypal energy, making it visible…which we Logos creatures don’t like so maybe that is why we put it away in prisons and institutions.

What’s the Aquarian drama playing behind the scrim of the 12th house? What can we only see when we “scrim” it? Is the 12th house the scrim of the 1st? Of ego as our only idea of the self, and we need a scrim to get us to see our aura, the quality of our cosmic vibration? Aquarius as new — a new aura? Vibrating at a new cosmic pulse/pattern as we approach the (infamous) 2012? Now that we are in “the chaos point” is Aquarius supporting us in seeing the vibration of chaos as taking us into the future?

Yes, the chaos point. That’s what it feels like. If the chaos in the outer world gets to be a bit much, try not to think of it as an “expression of the inner world.” Rather, go inside and explore, make your adjustments and see what results you get on the level of feeling rather than “in the world.” If your inner life is too intense, try expressing yourself. We all have our ways of blowing off pressure from the 12th house.

Having studied this astrology from an interior standpoint, let’s look at it as something that exists in the world. Remember what these placements represent: the inner workings of the 12th house, veiled so that we can see what is going on more clearly.

Uranus in Your Birth Sign

Uranus in your birth sign the past five years has been restless, indeed, relentless. Energizing yes, but incredibly restless; it is a wonder you can sleep at night, and I am sure there have been many nights when you did not. Uranus is the original god of change, pushing you toward the future, ripping you out of the past, and inducing a series of rapid transformations that are far from over.

Rapid is always one of the energies hanging around with this big green planet, which (at the suggestion of my Pisces brother Richard Tarnas) I prefer to think of as Prometheus. He was the guy who stole the “fire of the gods” and delivered it to humanity.

What was that fire? What is it now? In a word, awareness. If Uranus represents innovation, foresight or the willingness to rebel against the fashions of the moment or the crust of history, that rebellion begins with awareness.

It would be fair to say that Theme #1 of your past few years has been raising awareness, whether you liked the feeling or not; whether you appreciated what you were and are becoming aware of, or not. By one metric, human beings have one basic function, which is to expand or contract consciousness. Of course if you notice this fact, you are becoming aware. This is not a passive process. It’s possible to open your eyes and not actually see; you have to look. That act of looking at what you see is what I’m talking about here.

That experience of seeing changes you, and it is doing so now; it means that you’re consciously processing the data (both inner and outer data) rather than letting it pile up in the corner. In fact, there has been very little room in your life for very much of anything to pile up in the literal corners of your space, and if it has, you would be wise to start digging and filling recycling bins. Consider this a metaphor for your life.

Uranus in the 1st house has a deep effect on the people around you: the energy of 1st house transits, particularly of outer planets, is kinetic. It spreads into the consciousness of those around us, and those others are not often fully awake; we are not often fully awake, but as a Pisces with Uranus in your sign, you are something very close to it. If you know you’re paying attention and if you’re willing to see what you look at, you can rest easy, if you’re getting any sleep at all these days.

Saturn in the 7th House

Within the past year, another significant lifetime transit has entered your personal cosmos and is only about halfway through: Saturn in your solar 7th house (this being Virgo), your relationship area, and opposing your Sun. Saturn in the 7th is about awareness in relationships: most particularly, awareness of the need for progress, for clearing space, and for authentic commitment. Though Uranus in your 1st house may seem to make you erratic or unpredictable, in fact it does represent a commitment to yourself, and the people around you need to either show up or get out of the way.

There are many factors here, including the need to understand who and what you’re relating to; there is a connection to the ways of the past that you are assessing; and there is a process of making room in your life for the people and experiences you want, which will typically involve a series of transitions.

With Saturn in the 7th people around you need to be in the right role — for you, and for them. You need to confront the limitations and the potentials in the relationships, and rise to the challenge of being the one who makes the decisions that affect you and at times others.

As a Pisces you may be accustomed to playing a passive role in your relationships. Or, borrowing from the language of the S&M scene, you usually top from the bottom. That is, you typically assume a passive role, but quietly manipulate the situation so that you are taking charge. Taken a few steps further, this might qualify as passive aggression; if you want a quick test for whether you have qualified, carefully observe what you do with your anger; for example, do you mention it with any degree of honesty? If not, you’re probably taking it out on others “passively.”

If you are at the point where you can speak up and state your feelings, have resolution and move on, you are working them out actively. Psychology is not as complicated as some people make it, at least as a reasonably healthy person.

This way of existence has not always worked so well, and you’re in a phase where you are learning new ways to handle yourself. I trust that you are finding an unusual depth of confidence; something you’ve never quite experienced before. You’ve been feeling the push to focus your confidence for a long time, though it’s often seemed like grabbing hold of something a little too forceful to easily direct.

Plus, the sheer force of your personality has become something you must learn to ride like a tiger. It is easy for you to appear not necessarily as innovative, but as wild and a little threatening (believe it or not) and this is an excellent incentive for self-awareness.

The Mirror: Opposition of Saturn and Uranus

Over the past couple of months, as Saturn and Uranus have aligned from Virgo to Pisces, this has come into focus as a plain, bold necessity. These two planets are forming a mirror of Aquarius. This is such an elegant illustration of your 12th house right now as to defy that it’s “accidental.”

It is also a perfect confrontation with your potential: the two are often delivered in the same package. Part of the mirror aspect is that in dealing with you, others are being confronted with their potential.

To sum up in a few words: Uranus through your sign has pushed you to be and express your most authentic individuality, staying on the frontier of your existence. Saturn has summoned your discipline and it will continue to do so. By discipline, I mean the ability to relate to the people around you in some way other than a parental one. They may indeed think they want to be treated as children, or to be your parent. They are neither, but it takes some devotion to awaken them to this fact.

Most “normal” relationships, the ones we see many places and often counter directly, involve parent-child transactions. These are not free. If they are mirrors, they are usually unconscious mirrors. But Saturn opposite Uranus is no more unconscious than a bolt of lightning striking a television tower.

As you have become increasingly aware of your need for autonomy of thought and experience, you seem to be encountering certain people who are clinging to their old ways, and others who seem determined to hold you to a structure of some kind. I think by now you have recognized the futility of trying to convert anyone to a new way of thinking. This journey is all about converting yourself out of what amounts to a false mode of thinking, and revealing the deeper one you have always carried with you. However, I suggest you pause and recognize that you are having a significant influence on your surroundings and all those with whom you come into contact.

If I may suggest something potentially bold, give up on normal, and by normal, I mean the presumption that you can follow the normal rules of relating. Don’t expect others to do it first. Do it yourself and watch what happens. Part of the problem with the normal rules of relating is that they are unconscious; they are a set of shadow games. And they have a motive. The motive is to shut down the creative and social process. It looks nice from the outside, and fabulous on TV.

You have encountered many things that don’t work in the process of seeking what works for you. Keep going. Consider yourself an inventor in the realm of relationships, not someone who goes shopping in WalMart or the second-hand store.

I would propose that for a while, you opt out of conventional models of relationships; and if you are in one, seek an unconventional way to express your affection and attraction to your partner. If you are one of the many people devoted to your growth and awareness who cannot find a partner in the traditional sense, I suggest you look over the teacup walls, that vista that so many are so afraid to glimpse. At this time in your life, you really cannot be invested in a one-size-fits-all relationship. Do some research. There are other options. There are other ideas. Along the way, if you temporarily suspend the notion of the “special relationship,” you will see that there are many, many other fulfilling options that do not depend exclusively on structure and obligation as a reality framework.

Under the many facets of your current astrology, it is clear that you must know your environment. You must know the people around you, even a little better than they know themselves. You absolutely must be self-aware for as many hours of the day and the night as you can. And in the midst of this, you must continue to make your own way, despite what anyone else says, does or feels; or for that matter, does not say, does not do or does not feel. This and nothing else can be called free.

The Problem of Freedom

Here is a paradox for you. Werner Erhard warned against a human addiction to paradoxes. But this is one to consider, I think. Aquarius is the sign of freedom, or one of the two most meaningful (Sagittarius being the other). The 12th is the sign of that which is sealed in or veiled over, and is associated with prisons; this is a metaphor. Here you have imposed on you the archetypes of freedom and containment.

Many planets are contained in your 12th, and they seek to express themselves through your personality and relationships. And here, you are clearly seeking freedom. The thing about freedom is that once we attain it, we become beholden to it and nothing else. You cannot go back and be true to yourself. You cannot throw off the weight of oppression, of cultural rules and of compulsive patterns and be happy if you return there. Therefore freedom of any kind is an ongoing investment, and the returns are not always obvious.

One of your most vital awareness exercises right now is to be conscious of the freedom that you have, and to be conscious of your many successes. In Pisces style, you may feel like you have not really accomplished much, but your charts say otherwise. Indeed, they say you are only at the beginning of a process of building on foundations long in the making. Pay attention as your creations rise above the base they stand on, and as your psyche matures beyond where you thought it would.

There is a depth to your charts that is striking even amidst so much profound astrology. What you may be noting is that there is a shallowness to society and many people in it that makes it about as safe as diving off the shallow end of a murky pool. However, I suggest you use land-based metaphors for what you are working toward now, particularly as you move from a phase of accomplishment to finding your true place, your tribe, your true friends in the world. Remember that you are pushing back against a vastly repressive culture, but you are doing so from a stance of genuine strength; just assume that the things that need to yield to your intentions will do so.

This means working with a connection that plunges you into your own DNA, which is part of the collective pool of human data. I suggest you take solace in knowing that some of what you are addressing at this phase of your life is about the total experience of humanity, not specifically about you; but you are here, living it out, though more than an actor on a stage. That may seem like a tall order, but really it’s no easier to drag this stuff around unconsciously, and considerable energy is released when we raise this kind of awareness.

The 12th is the house of prisons, but it’s the house of the imagination’s liberty. Most people are prisoners of their unconscious thoughts; of their family’s history; of peer pressure; of guilt; of the violent tendency of humanity to go against nature and human nature; and most of all, we tend to be prisoners of our imagination, that feeling Elliot Smith described as frustrated fireworks inside our heads. You are bigger than all of this — all of it.

As you do this, you will feel your strength return; you will have a more dependable relationship to your fears, your talents and the vast unknown that you are.

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