Belated issue no. 19 ;-)

Well, I am late. I know.

Lots of work, unexpected trips… lots of experiences to sort trhough ;-).

But here it goes… Issue no. 19 of The Way of the Stars. On this article: Planets and signs revisited, and the last of the zodiac signs, Pisces.

The Way of the Stars

An Introduction to Astrology

By Pablo Dotro(*) – The Mage of the Many Shadows.

“In the Stars, Destiny is written,
and to Her we call upon to read it.

In your name I write these words,
my Lady Urania, in praise and love.”

Merry Meet my dear friends! I hope you had a pleasant weekend and a pleasant Full Moon celebration for those of you who do celebrate such occasions. In this issue of The Way of the Stars, I will talk a little about what distinguishes planets from signs as a prelude to a new step in our journey through Lady Urania’s realm. Also, this week we finish with the signs of the zodiac, with no other than the spiritual and mystic domain of Pisces.

Planets and signs revisited.

We have defined signs as areas of the sky, divisions of a great circle called ecliptic. The signs are the greater archetypes of astrology, the basic symbols that we use in our Art. In all the previous issues of this column, we have explored the signs one at a time; we have briefly observed their relationship with each other, with the solar cycle of the seasons and so on.

The signs are like the Major Arcana in the Tarot, immortal archetypes that transcend our human limitations. Now, we, as “ordinary humans” cannot truly comprehend the nature of these symbols. They transcend words and images, our myths and experiences. But it is by those tokens (words, images, myths, stories, personal experiences and so on) that we can relate to them.

When we see a birth chart, any birth chart, we are faced with the absolute potential that is represented by the zodiac wheel: within each one of us, there is the seed of the entire zodiac. How this seed grows and becomes manifest is the province of the planets.

The word, ‘planet’ comes from a Greek word (1) that means “wanderer”, and that was used to reference an “errant star”. Our ancestors noticed that some stars moved through the sky in relation to a lot of other stars that kept their positions night after night. Those stars that remained in position are often called by astrologers “fixed” stars, and those that move around are the planets. The astrological planets are not really tied to the modern astronomical notion of planet. The Sun and the Moon, for example, are “planets” to astrologers, even as we do know that scientifically they are a star and a natural satellite of Earth respectively. Pluto is also considered a planet in astrology, no matter what the IAU(2) says… astrology is an art founded in tradition, not an exact science.

Now, these moving stars… these planets, move very close to the ecliptic circle, and so the pass though the signs of the zodiac. Their movement is slow and in some cases very subtle, but in time the traverse the entire 360° of the great circle of the sky. It is from these movements that the ancient astrologers observed that when certain planets where in certain signs, important things happened here on Earth. The planets are like mediators and conduits for the incredibly deep and complex energy of the signs.

Each planet has a character of its own, surrounded by deep myths and millennia of accumulated lore, but nevertheless, when we see them in action, it is always to express the qualities of the signs that they transit.

The signs represent inner qualities and motives, calls to action and ideals. They are like a great script in a Shakespearean theater of life. The planets, on the other hand are like the actors that will interpret this play. Each one is an individual, so it has its own personality and affinities, but when they are in the play, they act according to the script… maybe tainting it a little with their character, but trying to respect its essence and theirs at the same time.

This is a very important concept… one that is often diluted in modern astrology texts and web sites: planets are the active elements in a chart. Signs tell them how to act, but the moving energy is on the planets. Planets and signs are not the same thing.

There is, however, some affinity between certain planets and certain signs… we talked about this when I explained (3) the concept of planetary dignities like rulership and exaltation. Drawing an analogy from our language, the planets are active elements, like conjugated verbs and substantives, while the signs are more abstract… like verbs in infinitive or potential form.

The last sign of the zodiac: Pisces.

Pisces is one of the more often misunderstood signs of the zodiac.

If you recall my introduction to Aquarius from last week(4), I began by explaining how the signs from Aries to Capricorn describe the “conventional” reality. The two signs that follow Capricorn (Aquarius and Pisces) “do not fit” into the model of normal society that was expected a few decades ago.

Aquarius is a visionary and somewhat of a rebel. It takes an interest in everything and has a lightning mind that changes everything it touches. Pisces is, on the other hand, its spiritual counterpart. Where Aquarius is an air sign, Pisces is the sign of mutable water.

Pisces “feels” what Aquarius can only think or imagine. Sagittarius brought us the idea of religion; Pisces transcends the boundaries of the religious into the spiritual.

One of the main themes of Pisces is dilution, Pisces blurs all limits. The ideal of Pisces is a world into which we are united in one undifferentiated all. In this sense, it is an almost opposite of Aries’ desire for uniqueness and differentiation.

The cycle of the zodiac started in Aries, differentiating the spark of life out of a primordial nothingness, in Pisces we have gone full round… we have experienced all we can experience, and we are ready to surrender the ego and fuse ourselves with the Universe.

Since our own person has no boundaries, we experience a connection to all other beings… this brings exceptional sensitivity and even psychism. Mediums and those who talk with spirits often are people with a highly developed Pisces in their charts.

These blurred edges also apply to our imagination and fantasy. Pisces is the sign of dreams and fantasy. Mainly fantasies that are not easily separated from reality. This can lead to situations where we are easily confounded or lost because of those fantasies.

Now… Aquarius finds his place in society often by being “the eccentric” or “the revolutionary”… how does Pisces manages to survive the Capricorn-like world of everyday obligations? It may take many forms… that of the creative or sensitive genius, the skilled therapist, the charitable soul who dedicates its life to helping others.

The underside is that Pisces may manifest as a “victim complex”, where someone with a very strong Pisces in his/her chart always tries to be on the downside of every situation, or as its opposite, as a messiah or savior. These two roles stem from the Piscean ideals of sensibility, self sacrifice and giving to others.

Many of the ideal Christian values and virtues are Piscean in nature, as is the “Golden rule”. A good deal of the imagery of Jesus is explicitly Piscean.

The full wheel.

With the sign of Pisces we have come back to the beginning. The archetypal soul has come from its instinctive awakening and differentiation in Aries, through a complete set of trials and learning experiences… to a new undifferentiated state. Since the nature of Life is cyclic, we should expect to begin anew in a new level with a new Aries… and beyond.

The signs are a representation of growth and evolution, like an ever moving wheel that faces us with new challenges and experiences every day.

Coming up next week:

We are now a few steps inside this huge ocean that is the science and art of astrology. We have ventured into the water just enough to let it play at our feet, and to let us play with it a little. Next week, we begin a new stage of our journey together as we start learning about the planets. Stay tuned ;-). Remember you can read this one and all past columns in my blog(5).


(*) Pablo is an advanced astrology student at the Centro Astrológico de Buenos Aires (, a First Degree student at Witchschool, and has extensive experience in Wicca, ceremonial magick, computer science, the Internet, physics and chemistry.







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