This is a personal piece.
I have Sun and Mercury both in Pisces, and five planets in water signs in my chart. I think by emotion, and I feel my way into things. When I am dealing with ideas in astrology I am feeling for a certain sense of symmetry, balance and wholeness.
I’ve always been bugged by the usual definitions of Pisces, traditional and modern both. In some of the older material Pisces is the garbage bin of the zodiac, dissolute wastrels destined to come to an ill end.
In more modern material you will often read about how Pisces is a sign of self-sacrifice, giving oneself over to the larger whole. Part of me completely rebels against that idea. Inside I do not feel like the self-sacrificing type at all.
If anything, the inner feeling is the opposite.
I have always had a sort of background natural sense of our all being interconnected, part of a larger oneness. That larger sea of oneness is the reality I swim in. My challenge feels like the opposite; I need to work at getting a sense of who I am as a separate individual, distinct from this oneness – not separated, but distinct.
It took me many, many years to figure out that our mainstream Western religious culture is very much slanted towards the virtue of a selfless, self-obliterating sacrifice to a greater good. I’ve never felt comfortable with that notion, but it has only been in the last couple of years that I realized that particular moral value was not a given fact of the universe, but a human assumption, an opinion.
When I figured that out, I could stand back and question the value of selfless sacrifice. I could weigh it and make my own value judgement.
I have weighed it, and I find it wanting.
I do not think we can ever be self-less; I think it is a contradiction in terms. We can hide who we are, we can deny who we are, we can pretend we are something else – but, we cannot obliterate who we are.
We are each created as individual selves, and we were created as individuals for a reason. I think our challenge here as humans on earth is to truly become, embody and express who we really are as individuals, as unique creations, as unique points of view within a larger universal consciousness.
We are stars.
If you think of the night sky, you look up at it, there is no way to escape a feeling of unity, of universal wholeness. Once you embrace that darkness it contains everything else like a womb.
That night sky is filled with stars – beautiful, distinct, shining stars. The sky would not be more completely one if all the individual stars were obliterated, and there were only darkness. Each star has the being, the task, the obligation, to shine into the sky, or from the sky. The star offers itself, and is part of the greater oneness of the sky..
Unity in diversity, not unity in sameness.
I hear calls to selfless sacrifice being used as a way to ask people to give up who they really are and conform to some external authority. That is self-obliteration, and I think it is spiritual poison. “Sacrifice yourself for the greater good” too often means “shut up and do what I tell you”.
I am convinced that, for wholeness in spiritual life, there needs to be a balance and complementarity between Individuality and Unity. There is indeed a need for us to develop as individuals, but this does not mean that we stay separate as individuals, over against or opposed to the larger unity. Rather, I think the challenge is to find a way to completely be ourselves, and let ourselves feel our oneness with the larger whole. The individuality then becomes a gift we give back to the collective; we let our own individual stars shine each in their own way.
To use a an older metaphor or parable, denying our individuality is putting a bushel basket over our light so that it cannot be seen. You can only “let your light so shine” if you accept it, and that light is who we uniquely are as individuals.
Our job is not to be perfect. Our job is not to conform to some external perfect standard where we are doomed to fall short. That is false spirituality.
Our job is to simply and completely be ourselves, and to share who we are with the world around us.
I think that our culture has misunderstood the meaning of sacrifice for a very long time. If you look at the etymology of the word, it doesn’t mean to give up or destroy, it means to make sacred, or to perform a sacred rite. I think that sacrifice in the positive sense means to be completely who you are and to offer or give that to the larger Unity – not to obliterate it, but to share it.
It is a star shining in the night sky filled with other stars.
Shining in the night sky, self-offering, self-giving ,unselfconsciously accepting and being who we are – if that is what Piscean sacrifice really means – that I can accept.