Aside from Scorpio, Pisces might be one of the most misunderstood signs in popular Western Astrology. Pisces is often described either as a saint or hopelessly gullible and prone to all sorts of problems like addictions. The reason for this misunderstanding is that Pisces is the sign that is least attached to the material world. Pisces natives tend to be much more interested in religious, spiritual, and metaphysical matters than they are in physical and earthly concerns.
Pisces by Season
In the West, most astrologers use the Tropical Zodiac which is tied to the seasons rather than the constellations. As the use of the Tropical Zodiac started in Europe and the Middle East, the meanings for the signs became tied in with the seasons in the Northern Hemisphere.
There are advantages and disadvantages to this system over the Sidereal Zodiac, which is used mostly in Vedic Astrology. Some of the important advantages are that the signs match the seasons, and the Sun is in the same sign at about the same time every year. This makes it possible for most people to know their Sun Signs so long as they know their birthday. In the case of Pisces, the Sun is in this sign from around February 19 to March 21. The days that the Sun changes signs do vary slightly from year to year, so if you were born at the very beginning or the very end of this time period, you may need to have a full Natal Chart drawn up in order to know your Sun Sign.
A major disadvantage to using the Tropical Zodiac is that the seasonal associations are the opposite in the Southern Hemisphere.
Pisces is the final sign of the zodiac, and it is the Mutable Sign of Winter. In Western Astrology, the new year begins with the Sun’s entry into Aries, which makes Pisces the last sign of the year. This is a time of letting go of the previous year and getting ready to start the new one. We are cleaning our cabinets and our refrigerators of the food still remaining from the previous year, and the early flowers and bulbs are just starting to poke through the snow. We may also be starting seeds inside for the coming season.
From this perspective, many of the traits of Pisces make sense. This is the time of year for detaching from what has been. In a real sense, every year is fresh and new. Yes, there are carryovers from what happened in the previous years, but every year gives the opportunity for a new start. Pisces is the time of clearing things away to make room for this new start.
In the West, the main holiday that falls during the Sun’s sojourn through Pisces is the season of Lent in many Christian traditions. In the Filianic tradition, it is Moura. While in the Christian tradition, the exact start and end time for Lent vary from year to year, in the Filianic tradition, Moura coincides exactly with the time period that the Sun is in Pisces.
Both Lent and Moura represent times in which people take on spiritual disciplines in order to cleanse their souls for the upcoming time of rebirth.
Pisces by Element
Pisces is a Water Sign. Water represents the All Possibility and is malleable and able to change forms. As Mutable Water, Pisces does not have a definite form nor does she have hard and fast boundaries. She is able to adjust her shape and her nature based on her surroundings. It is common for Pisces to be at least somewhat empathic and she is easily influenced by those around her.
Pisces’ Dignities and Debilities
The planetary principles are the pure essence of their nature and thus, they are always at their highest expression. On the other hand, the planets themselves function better in some signs than in others. The relative strengths and weaknesses of the planets in each sign are known as their essential dignities and debilities. Below are the essential dignities and debilities for Pisces.
Ruler – Jupiter
Jupiter is the Greater Benefic and governs matters related to faith and spirituality. This fits well with the theme of pulling back from the material world to reconnect with the Source. Pisces is Jupiter’s Night House, and so the abundance of Jupiter is someone more subdued in this sign.
Exaltation – Venus
Venus is exalted in Pisces. In Pisces, the planet representing Love in all of its forms is able to express herself in kindness and gentleness. The highest nature of Venus, which is the sacrifice of oneself for another, is also emphasized in Pisces.
All three signs of an Element are ruled by their Triplicity Rulers. In the Dorothean system, the rulers of Water are Venus by day, Mars by night, and the Moon is the participating ruler. According to William Lilly, Mars is the only triplicity ruler for Water, by both day and night.
Detriment – Mercury
Pisces is the most formless and nebulous of the signs, and Mercury is the most malleable of the planets. When Mercury is in Pisces, she becomes diffuse which makes it hard for her to exercise her analytical functions.
Fall – Mercury
Not only is Mercury in detriment in Pisces, but she is also in Fall. This emphasizes the difficulty that Mercury faces in a sign that can give her little in the way of form and cohesion.
In addition to the planets that have dignity in a sign in its entirety, there are planets that rule specific degrees of each sign. These are known as the planet’s terms or bounds. There are two main systems of the division of the terms, Egyptian and Chaldean.
Egyptian Terms for Pisces
0 – 12 Venus
12 – 16 Jupiter
16 – 19 Mercury
19 – 28 Mars
28 – 30 Saturn
Chaldean Terms for Pisces
0 – 6 Venus
6 – 14 Jupiter
14 – 20 Mercury
20 – 26 Mars
26 – 30 Saturn
Each sign is divided into three parts, known as face or decantes. Each face has a separate ruler. The faces of Pisces and their rulers are:
0 – 10 Saturn
10 – 20 Jupiter
20 – 30 Mars
Pisces and the Body
Pisces rules the feet. If Pisces is prominent in your chart, you need to be careful of your feet because they are especially prone to illness and injury. This is also the case if you have a Libra Ascendant because in that case, Pisces governs your 6th House of injury and illness.
If your Venus or Jupiter are in Pisces, you need to take problems with your feet very seriously. The reason for this is that the strong parts of your chart are the most dangerous. If you have a Leo Ascendant, you also must be careful, because Pisces rules your 8th House of Death.
Pisces in a Nativity Chart
When reading a Nativity Chart, most astrologers look first to the placements of the Sun, Moon, and Ascendant, which is also known as the Rising Sign. You can learn these by getting a Nativity Chart report from an astrologer, or by getting a computerized report for free from Astrolabe. Below are brief descriptions of how to interpret a Pisces Sun, Moon, and Ascendant.
The Sun is not especially debilitated in Pisces, but she does not have any dignity either. The Sun is the initial force of Creation, and Pisces is the Sign that is moving away from manifestation. If you have a Pisces Sun, you struggle with establishing a true identity. Your sense of Self is easily influenced by others and it is sometimes hard to know where you end and others begin.
Pisces Sun by Day
Being born during the day always makes your Sun stronger, no matter what sign she is in. If you were born during the day, you probably express your Pisces nature in what you do for a living or your role in the world. You are likely to be in a helping profession. You may also be clergy or heavily involved in a religious organization in some way.
Pisces Sun by Night
If you were born during the night, your Pisces nature will take a backseat to the sign of your Moon. This means that you may be burdened with more mundane and material matters than you would prefer. You may judge yourself for what you see as your “escapist” tendencies. You really do need to emotionally and mentally pull away from ordinary life on a fairly regular basis, though, in order to keep going and not fall into negative habits.
The Moon is dignified in Pisces, and if your Moon is in Pisces, the positive traits of both the planet and the sign will be magnified. You have an excellent imagination, and you are able to express your Pisces nature in artistic ways, as well as in compassion for others.
Pisces Moon by Day
If you have a Pisces Moon by day, your softer and more intuitive nature will be more hidden and private. Your interests in Piscean matters such as fantasy and spirituality will be hobbies and activities that you do in private. You will have a need for a rich fantasy life, which will give you energy for your day job.
Pisces Moon by Night
Of all of the major Pisces placements, a Pisces Moon by night is the strongest. You have a deep spirituality, and you will be able to arrange your life so that you have the time to express it properly. You will have a stong sense of the magical parts of life and a deep appreciation for beauty. Also, your intuition will be highly developed.
With a Pisces Ascendant, there will be a sense of magic about you. You are likely to come across as vague or scattered, particularly when people first get to know you. People tend to underestimate you. You are easy to talk to and be with, but you have an otherworldly manner to you, and it can be hard to see who you really are.
With Pisces Ascendant, Jupiter is the ruler of your chart, and thus, the placement of Jupiter in your chart becomes extremely important.
Using Whole Sign Houses, your Ascendant will determine which planet and sign rule all aspects of your life.
Home – Gemini
With a Pisces Ascendant, Mercury-ruled Gemini governs your 4th House. Your home is likely to be disorganized with many different things laying about. You collect interesting and unusual things, and your bookshelves are filled with books on a variety of different subjects. You came from a background in which learning was highly encouraged.
Partnership – Virgo
Virgo governs your 7th House, which is also ruled by Mercury. The Mercury of Virgo is much more solid than the Mercury of Gemini. Even though you tend to be very easy-going, you can be rather critical when it comes to your partner. You are attracted to someone who is practical and organized and who is able to balance your sometimes scattered nature.
Career and Public Reputation – Sagittarius
Your 10th House of Career and Public Reputation are governed by Jupiter-ruled Sagittarius. You tend to be rather lucky when it comes to your career, and you are able to take a lighthearted approach to it. You may have several different careers over your lifetime. Alternatively, you have a career that allows you to travel quite a bit.