School Of Fish – Venus Enters Pisces

Venus begins 25 days in Pisces just before 1 am EST on Saturday morning. Venus will thus be entering the sign where it is exalted. For a planet, exaltation is like being an honored guest in a royal castle, entitled to privilege. That means Venus will be in a friendly place with no agenda beyond its receptive archetype and the sign it occupies. You can therefore expect the development of Venus in Pisces to express itself in a particular, even peculiar way in your life. For many of us it will be like going back to school — the school of fish.

A planet exalted is a potent thing. It is second only to being a ruler among the hierarchy of essential dignities that enhance or diminish the influence of a given planet in a given sign, and much older. Long ago an astrologer named Ptolemy (not the same fellow as the politician/general of ancient Rome, by the way) codified the traditional rulerships we use today. The origin and reasoning of exaltations, on the other hand, is lost to history.

The case of Venus in Pisces, however, makes a lot of sense even if we do not know the original idea behind it. The association between Venus and Pisces invokes the ocean and its inhabitants, but begins in the sky. Long ago, people looked at the stars and projected images upon their distribution. Among those images, called constellations, was Pisces. The tableau is two fish linked in unity. The myth behind the picture is that of Venus and her son, Cupid, transforming themselves into fish to escape the monster, Typhon. The symbolism continues in the sequential order of the modern, tropical zodiac. 

Pisces is where the zodiac cycle concludes. Hence, it is the place that the other eleven signs flow to, as rivers flow to the sea. Looking at the planet-sign relationship from the other side, the mythical origin of Venus is consistently piscine, portraying the goddess as arising from the foamy surf. Given such a deep and seamless connection in myth, what form of erudition can we then expect to receive when the celestial object we call Venus symbolically returns to her place of birth? It would probably have something to do with perspective.

You, and everyone else reading these words, live on land for the most part, breathing air. Aqueous life, much like the exaltations of planets in astrology, goes back much further in time and represents a different perspective, shrouded in mystery. Venus in Pisces thus manifests an opportunity to go beneath the surface and learn what fish already know. It is a different world, an acoustic world, and that is our first lesson in the school of fish: listening.

It is common for us to ‘go and see’. Listening is less central to our experience. The receptive archetype of Venus in the watery realm of Pisces is an encouragement to correct that balance. Speaking of balance, that’s another thing that is intrinsic to the energy of Venus by benefit of its rulership in Libra, and another thing that fish can teach us through the exaltation of Venus in Pisces.

To live on land is to contend with gravity. By and large, we must support our own weight, and it is nearly always possible to fall. For fish, gravity is orientation, and buoyancy is the challenge. While it is unlikely that people will ever be able to actually float through the air, we can learn to perceive possibilities that allow us be supported by our environment. We can do that by thinking of our world as something to be in harmony with rather than contended against. That of course, means we need to consider ourselves a part of it all, as Venus ruling Taurus would have us do.

Residing on a solid surface makes it more difficult to appreciate that we are integrated with our environment. Perhaps this is best illustrated by a humorous observation. The late, great, comedian Gilda Radner once noted that “fish swim in their own toilet.” Stop and think about that. If we thought of ourselves the same way, would our survival, and that of all living things be as threatened as they are today? The error of perceiving ourselves as detached from our environment derives directly from our attachment to the artificial and external structures that have come to govern our lives. Seeing beyond those structures is another thing we can learn by looking beneath the surface to another world from which we could afford to receive teaching, but that would be a big adjustment.

So much of what we call reality, or ‘how the world works’ is derived from outer, artificial structures like calendars, clocks and the authority of those who impose and control them to manipulate our lives for their material gain. The planet Venus knows nothing of such things. At this time last year, Venus was in Sagittarius, moving to re-unite with Mars in May. Fish know nothing of our artifice either. Their existence is at one with the rhythms of Earth, intrinsic to and flowing from the sea. They pursue their lives, tolerating us and what we do because they know no other way. From that tolerance we can perhaps take our greatest teaching.

We spend so much time judging each other and, it seems, the rest of our precious existence judging ourselves. Consider what life could be like if we were free of that. We would be less less concerned with seeing and being seen and more with listening and being heard. We would know more of buoyant levity and balance and less of the weighty and grave. We would see ourselves integrated with each other and our nourishment rather than segregated by greed and want. We would have no need to be enslaved by artifice in order to structure a brittle identity. Finally, we would find no cause to sustain the fraud by declaring others to be something less and ourselves, somehow, never enough.

We stand to learn a lot, and we need to, during this impending visit of Venus to Pisces. So, make like Venus and be receptive to the teaching that will surely come your way. Do not be put off if you encounter the unfamiliar, because that will be the sign. Do not be afraid to release attachment to that which has never been you or yours, to that which you have never been an authentic part of, because that will be the lesson to be learned in the school of fish.

Offered In Service    

21 thoughts on “School Of Fish – Venus Enters Pisces”

  1. Gorgeous essay, Len. Reminded me just *why* the buddhamothers are given to earthen bouyancy.

    A few years ago I tried to memorialize that feeling while floating in a saltwater pool, asking my skin and muscles and bones to recall what it was like to be in a comprehensive balance of support and relaxation. I thought if I could internalize it deeply enough, I’d find the um, ‘updraft’ that rides right next to gravity.

    Still working on that.

    Thanks for revealing there is a sidereal component to this process as well.


  2. aword, Carrie, alpssmile: Thank you for being so generous with your comments.

    marymack and be: Thanks again for the joy you have brought me.

  3. Being “possessed” isn’t all bad. For days now I’ve been whistling “Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, I gotta love one man til I die. . . even in the grocery store!

    But this one, from my early years, my momma taught me. . ahem. .
    Down in the meadow in a little bitty pool
    Swam 3 little fishies & a mama fishie too
    “Swim” said the mama fishie, “Swim if you can”
    And they swam and they swam all over the dam.

    Now when I learned it it was called “Itty Bitty Poo” and it was probably that line which alpsmile has just referenced:” . . Gildna Radner once noted that ‘Fish swim in their own toilet” that sent me way back to my childhood. Have you heard the one about the fish that didn’t get away?

    This one’s not going anywhere Len! “boom ditty-datum why-don’t chew?”

  4. PW pumps out SO much info in the Wed-Fr timeframe, that weekend catching up has become a rite . . . Started with this!

    WOW is right. A deeply ecological statement. Swimming in our own shit: a call to purify; a call to limit our impact; a call to honor earth, the container — the dangers of exceeding its capacity, the innocence of those subjected to the residue of our greed and the beautiful, generous of lifeforms that are ever-forbearing abuse, ever-teaching wisdom, ever-revealing divine nature.

    Deep bows . . .

  5. this piece and the posts have stayed with me … I just wanted to share that I’m embracing the lessons of the fish and listening as if I had no other sense available. I come to note that I’ve not really been breathing deeply and so I allow this “meditation on fish” to fill me up with air as I listen with every cell in my body. It’s incredible that I’ve made it to the age of 50+ without breathing and listening … perhaps that’s what fear does to a soul.

    thank you so much, Len …

  6. “I imagine you are quite a master-listener of the transformational and watery realm.”

    He is, Marymack.

    Thanks Len for this; I really love the way you articulate the deepest ideas and bring them to the surface so the rest of us can understand them. Amazing and beautiful all at once.

  7. Like sparkling sand beneath the bellies of a school of hungry fish, your golden words are crafted by the wisdom and time of ages and hold fertile food for my soul.

    Thank you, Len. Thank you so much.

  8. Hugging, Sarah, be, Huffy, Rob44, Maeve, amelie, patti.t16, marymack, Green–Star-gazer, Jann, and Brendan: Thank you all so very much for your kind words.

    also, Maeve: “and proud of it”

  9. Very, very good Len. I always see your work later in the day, since it doesn’t come out until after I’m at work. That makes it no less pertinent though, no less thoughtful. A fish in air: a sailboat tacking against the wind, going forth in spite of the breezes pushing it elsewhere.

    I always think of the original Ptolemy first when someone writes that name out, and never the Greco-Roman general. ‘He’ only pops up when I’m accessing data about Alexander’s mis-fortunate empire. 🙂

  10. One more thing: Somehow a few years ago, I stumbled upon a PW posting by Len and began to check the PW site frequently. Len was the hook for this fish to now swim regularly in the bouyancy of Planet Waves and all who write here: Eric, Amanda and all the commenters. Much gratitude.


  11. Somewhere I have read and seen the Pisces glyph as two fishes swimming away from one another yet tied together. Maybe it is one looking back and the other looking forward. I am struck by the contrasts in Len’s observations of what was (past) and what could be (future) linked in unity by what is (present). Much for meditation.
    – – – – – –
    “We would be less less concerned with seeing and being seen and more with listening and being heard.”

    Len’s words are another noodge to me to continue on the different path toward harmony because they serve to remind me of something I learned in spiritual direction training.

    A spiritual advisor learns to listen and in truly listening, the advisee is “heard into being.” What a blessing for both.

    What an incredibly awesome, beautifully written missive – thank you ever so much, Len, and for a reminder of the direction of my other path.


  12. Dear Len,

    Kudos of the highest order! This essay is spectacular! As a full-fledged denizen of a very fishy chart, your insight is like the rainbow-hued ripples of sunlight, refracted thru gentle waves onto pristine sand below. Sparkling, mesmerizing, magical…and hypnotically healing. Thank you for this sublime offering…a gloriously nacreous pearl in the oyster of the cosmos….to be sure!

    Blessings all around you.

  13. Dear Len, what a gift you have to identify and communicate such nuance. I bow to your fishiness! as I imagine you are quite a master-listener of the transformational and watery realm.

    I had this dream last week that stuck with me, so I painted it to try to manifest the feeling tone in the physical. Painting is just OK as I lost the thread somewhere along the way. In a clamshell :), a turle or tortoise came to me and was all kinds of slow and awkward in moving forward. Then the creature is surrounded by this glorious pool of water — in my dream it is incandencent, luminous (awesome colors I tried to capture) and the critter was flowing and free. My take then was for me to slow down and feel my way forward. Hadn’t really thought about the dream further until I read your piece. I will remain feeling and listen with everything I have to ways to flow free.

    Thank you most esteemed Professor Fish,

  14. What a strange place your brain is, Len, and I am grateful for it. Thank you for such an eloquent post, full of inspired turns of phrase, and gems of knowlege that sparkle just the right way.

  15. “Do not be afraid to release attachment to that which has never been you or yours, to that which you have never been an authentic part of, because that will be the lesson to be learned in the school of fish.”

    Len, this is a gem; another carefully crafted key into the great room of 2012 opening before us. For me, every day of the last few months has been a journey of releasing artificial structures, on many levels. Leaving behind the house of cards has been hard; but stepping–swimming– into deeper authenticity is primary. Thank you..

  16. Yes. Absolutely stunning dear Len. Thank you so much. I’m definitely signing up for that school of fish! xx

  17. Oh Len, you and your perspective. You see beauty and love where the rest of us see something to be avoided, feared or even something to glorify ourselves in. This offering today is rich in history (it never occurred to me there were two Ptolomy’s. .duh) and the nature of fish. Challenged by bouyancy, yet some are able to swim upstream inspite of the odds.

    Thank you too for the early myth of Venus and her son Cupid and the ability to transform. We don’t usually associate transformation with the love goddess, in fact, she has a pretty shallow rendering these days, compared to what you have told us. And listening. . . I would have remained unconscious to the necessity of that faculty for life underwater. I’m a land fish and swim among the land creatures that depend on it less than they should. Thank you ever so much for this poignant picture of possibility; the escape from “artificial structures” and be supported by our environment. Row, row, row your boat; life is but a dream.

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