A roll call of influential Pisceans include an impressive array of evolved souls, sages, scholars of the perennial philosophy, healers, creative artists and compassionate activists, with many a Piscean of course, fitting more than one of those categories.
In the category of evolved souls and sages I would place Rudolph Steiner, occult scientist and practical mystic, founder of influential movements in education and agriculture; Edgar Cayce, the famed psychic seer, yet personally humble man of God; P. D. Ouspensky, the Russian scientist/occult philosopher, author of In Search Of The Miraculous, a lucid exposition of the hitherto impenetrable teachings of the Armenian mystic George Gurdjieff; the founder of the transpersonal psychology of Psycho-Synthesis, Rupert Assagioli; and the renowned scientist Alfred Einstein.
Einstein is an inspirational example of a Piscean successfully integrating spiritual wisdom with supreme understanding of the material basis of reality. No contradiction for him between science and religion, intellect and feeling, love and reason – as the following passages demonstrate: “The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion as well as all serious endeavour in art and science.”
“A human being is a part of the whole, called by us the ‘universe’, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
Influential philosopher/scholar/sages include German philosopher A. C. Schopenhauer; R. M. Bucke, author of the classic treatise on mysticism, Cosmic Consciousness; anthropologist of the sacred Mircea Eliade; occultist Manley P. Hall; author and teacher of integral sexuality David Deida; and Richard Tarnas, author of the acclaimed history of Western thought, The Passion Of The Western Mind, and a recent monumental work, Cosmos and Psyche, that correlates planetary cycles and aspects with the major figures and events of Western history.
Creative Piscean artists of note include classical composers Vivaldi, Handel, Rossini, Ravel, Rimsky-Korsakov and Chopin; ballet dancers Nijinsky and Nureyev; opera singers Enrico Caruso and Kiri Te Kanawa; painters Michaelangelo, Pierre Renoir, and Piet Mondrian; writers Victor Hugo, Maxim Gorky, Samuel Pepys, Anais Nin, Lawrence Durrell, Tom Wolfe, Jack Kerouac, John Steinbeck, John Updike, Philip Roth, Anthony Burgess, sci-fi authors William Gibson and Douglas Adams, author of A Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy; children’s author Dr Seuss; and the doyen of magical realism, Gabriel Garcia Marquez; poets Robert Lowell, Wilfred Owen, W. H, Auden and Elizabeth Barrett Browning; playwrights Christopher Marlowe, Henrik Ibsen, Edward Albee and David Williamson; travel writer/historian/journalist William Dalrymple; literary journalist Ryszard Kapuściński; photographer Diane Arbus; and musicians Glen Miller, Ornette Coleman, Herbie Mann, Nina Simone, Harry Belafonte, Nat King Cole, Fats Domino, Jerry Lewis, Al Jarreau, George Benson, Johnny Cash, Ry Cooder, Lou Reed, Kurt Cobain, George Harrison, James Taylor, Roger Daltrey, and Quincy Jones.
And as would be expected, given Pisces ability to empathize with the emotions of others, and attraction to living in a fantasy world of their own imagination, many stars of stage and screen are Pisceans. For example actors David Nixon, Peter Fonda, Rex Harrison, Sidney Poitier, Jean Harlow, Jennifer Jones, Elizabeth Taylor, Lynn Redgrave Glenda Jackson and Juliette Binoche; and cinema directors Sam Peckinpah, Spike Lee and Robert Altman.
Other culturally influential Pisceans include the giants of science Galileo and Copernicus; inventor of the telephone Alexander G Bell, [who was originally a teacher of the deaf]; the first man into space, Russian astronaut Yuri Gargarin; astronomer Percival Lowell; chemist Linus Pauling; biologist Paul Erlich; nutritionist Adelle Davis; adventurers Richard Burton and missionary/explorer David Livingstone; theologian John Henry Newman; founder of the boy scout movement Lord Baden-Powell; dare-devil/wild-life conservationist Steve Irwin; consumer advocate Ralph Nader; historian Manning Clark; jurist Richard Kirby; political philosopher John Rawls; media magnate Rupert Murdoch; Apple Corporation chief and technological innovator Steve Jobs; CEO of Dell Computers Michael Dell; economist Alan Greenspan; chess champion Bobby Fischer; behavioural psychologist B. F. Skinner; leading new age authors and motivational speakers Wayne Dyer and Tony Robbins; and finally politicians George Washington, Neville Chamberlain, Harold Wilson, Mikhail Gorbachev, Ariel Sharon, Edward Kennedy, Gordon Brown and the assassinated Israeli martyr for peace, Yitzak Rabin.
The work of French diarist and writer of erotica, Anais Nin, is replete with Piscean imagery, themes and metaphors – water, fantasy, deception, drugs, duality, love, romance, soul, ecstasy, and wisdom. Here are two examples from Children of the Albatross:
“There were always in me, two women at least, one woman desperate and bewildered, who felt she was drowning and another who would leap into a scene, as upon a stage, conceal her true emotions because they were weaknesses, helplessness, despair, and present to the world only a smile, an eagerness, curiosity, enthusiasm, interest.”
“In the world of the dreamer there was solitude: all the exaltations and joys came in the moment of preparation for living. They took place in solitude. But with action came anxiety, and the sense of insuperable effort made to match the dream, and with it came weariness, discouragement, and the flight into solitude again. And then in solitude, in the opium den of remembrance, the possibility of pleasure again”
In the preface to Delta of Venus, a collection of erotic vignettes commissioned by a wealthy patron who enjoined her to ‘cut the poetry’ and get straight to the sex, she offers this sage, quintessentially Piscean response: “Sex loses all its power and magic when it becomes explicit, mechanical, overdone, when it becomes a mechanistic obsession .. The source of sexual power is curiosity, passion .. Sex does not thrive on monotony. Without feeling, inventions, moods, no surprises in bed. [It] must be mixed with tears, laughter, words, promises, scenes, jealousy, envy, all the spices of fear, foreign travel, new faces, novels, stories, dreams, fantasies, music, dancing, opium, wine .. [with] silk, light, colour, odor, character, temperament .. There are so many minor senses, all running like tributaries into the mainstream of sex, nourishing it. Only the united beat of sex and heart together can create ecstasy.”
American ‘beatnik’ writer Jack Kerouac, perhaps best known for his autobiographical novel On The Road, is another classic Pisces. In his life and work we find creation/dissolution, talent/waste, romance/squalor, faith/addiction, elation/sadness, sympathy/callous self regard, the high road and the low road in equal measure. “What’s your road, man? – holyboy road, madman road, rainbow road, guppy road, any road. It’s an anywhere road for anybody anyhow.”
“There was nowhere to go but everywhere”
– Jack Kerouac [from On the Road]
On The Road, a paean to the ‘ragged and ecstatic joy of pure being’, is the story of his search for a place as an outsider in the American dream of personal freedom, based on his travels across America with a group of friends later dubbed the ‘Beat Generation’. Of such friends he writes: “the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous roman candles exploding across the stars ..”
A noteworthy feature of the text is the repeated use of the epithet ‘sad’ to describe people, places and situations, for Pisceans readily succumb to that emotion, be it deep sadness, overwhelming sadness, helpless sadness, endless sadness, heavy sadness, bleak sadness, resigned sadness, crippling sadness, pitiful sadness, poignant sadness, sweet sadness and yes, even joyful sadness, for emotions, as Pisceans well know, can merge seamlessly into each other, a property they share with the element water. Music is a wonderful medium to express emotion, and trumpeter Miles Davis, a Sun sign Gemini who had Mars in Pisces, expressed many colours of sadness in his soulful melodies and improvisations. Kind of Blue is a good example.
True to Pisces defining symbol of two fish joined together though swimming in opposite directions, L, Kerouac for many years led a double life, dividing his time between experimental drug use with his friends imbibing copious amounts of benzedrine, morphine, marijuana and alcohol and a straight life in his parents working class household. Compare his protestation to interviewers that “he wasn’t ‘beat’ but a ‘strange, solitary crazy Catholic mystic’ who wouldn’t have been able to write as much as he did if he didn’t live ‘a kind of monastic life’ at home with his mother most of the time” with poet Alan Ginsberg’s testimony in his diary that they experimented with drugs to facilitate their discovery of a new way of life that would enable them to become great writers: “The poet becomes a seer through a long, immense and reasoned derangement of all the senses. All shapes of love, suffering, madness. He searches himself, he exhausts all poisons in himself, to keep only the quintessences ..”
For Kerouac the Beat Generation was a religious generation, a contention supported by his friend John Holmes who said of the characters in On The Road: “they were on a quest, and .. the specific object of their quest was spiritual. Though they rushed back and forth across the country on the slightest pretext, gathering kicks along the way, their real journey was inward; and if they seemed to trespass most boundaries, legal and moral, it was only in the hope of finding belief on the other side.”
Apart from On The Road, Kerouac also wrote a whole series of similarly autobiographical novels with classic Piscean titles, for example, The Sea Is My Brother, based on his time as a merchant seaman; Book of Dreams, Tristessa, The Scripture of the Golden Eternity, Desolation Angels, The Dharma Bums, Lonesome Traveler, Mexico City Blues and Satori in Paris.
Finally, the Indian Spiritual Master Meher Baba was archetypically Piscean in his emphasis on love as the surest path to Self or God realization, retreat into silence, and the touching of his feet as the devotional practice of his devotees. Although this is a traditional practice in India, with him it was a central ritual. [Pisces rules the feet in the body.]
“My message is, love God to such an extent that you become God”
– Meher Baba
He provides a beautiful ‘explanation’ of the longing for love and an end to the sense of separation which is arguably Pisces central characteristic: “God is love. And Love must love. And to love there must be a Beloved. But since God is Existence infinite and eternal there is no one for Him to love but Himself. And in order to love Himself He must imagine himself as the Beloved whom He as the Lover imagines He loves. Beloved and Lover implies separation.
And separation creates longing, and longing causes search. And the wider and the more intense the search the greater the separation and the more terrible the longing. When longing is most intense separation is complete, and the purpose of separation, which was that Love might experience itself as Lover and Beloved, is fulfilled; and union follows.”