Getting to know Pisces


As this oddly dry high-desert winter draws to a close, the astrological calendar moves out of the airy, electric and intellectual realms of Aquarius and into the deep emotional waters of the cosmic fish. Happy birthday, dear Pisces.

Pisces is one of 88 constellations that are strewn across the entire celestial sphere and one of a dozen that has the special designation of being in the zodiac, the band of sky where the sun journeys on its yearly circular path.

Swimming between the signs of Aquarius and Aries is Pisces, a pair of fish orbiting each other in perpetual motion.

When someone talks about astrology and says something like, "My brother is a Pisces," they're talking about the sign the sun was traveling through when that person was born. In the modern zodiacal calendar, Pisces season last from about Feb. 19 to March 20 when the sun will move into Aries and kick off spring.

According to United Kingdom-based traditional astrologer Deborah Houlding, the constellation of Pisces was seen by the ancient Babylonian culture, situated in modern-day Iraq, which this country invaded 15 years ago, saw the dual fish as a pair of goddesses. Meanwhile, the Syrians understood the constellation as the goddess Ashtarte. The Greeks morphed the sign into two of its deities, Venus and her son Cupid, Houlding writes.

The constellation is a dim, sprawling and somewhat amorphous V-shaped grouping of stars, best seen in the night sky in the late autumn and early winter.

Yet modern astronomical technology has shown us another depth to the dark. According to the Chandra X-ray Observatory, the "flagship" NASA mission for X-ray based astronomy, the constellation contains six of 38 galaxy clusters, located between 1.4 million and 9.3 billion light years away from Earth, that are used to calculate the Hubble constant, the agreed-upon rate of expansion of the universe.

As for the astrological associations of the Pisces season, it's an emotional time. To say people born under a Pisces sun (or a Pisces moon, Venus or ascendant) experience "emotional depth" is an understatement. Picture this: two fish slowly finding their way to the bottom of the ocean, but it goes so slow and the ocean is so big that the descent seems infinite. So it is with the mutable, or changeable, water sign of Pisces.

Psychic abilities, environmental awareness, humility and a tendency toward indecision all run deep in Pisces.

Currently, the sun is joined in the sign of the fish by Neptune, Mercury and Venus, which is at her best in Pisces.

Visit to read about the other signs of the zodiac.