Unpacking My Library: Reading Pisces (with Mercury Retrograde)

Saturday February 23rd 2013
The Reader by Federico Faruffini.
I found this on the wonderful blog Reading and Art.

“I awoke one morning with the usual perplexity of mind which accompanies the return of consciousness. As I lay and looked through the eastern window of my room, a faint streak of peach-colour, dividing a cloud that just rose above the low swell of the horizon, announced the approach of the sun. As my thoughts, which a deep and apparently dreamless sleep had dissolved, began again to assume crystalline forms, the strange events of the foregoing night presented themselves anew to my wondering consciousness.” – The opening words of The Phantastes by George MacDonald

We’re all swamping around in a salty sea, with Sun, Mars, Neptune, Chiron and Mercury in Pisces, the final and most elusive sign of the Zodiac. Just as you feel you have defined it neatly (perhaps as the spiritual pilgrim, or Salomé), the meaning slips away, like water through your fingers.

But this is our chance to dive into that Pisces energy, wallow in it.  Meanwhile Saturn, the lord of integrity and longevity, has just turned retrograde in Scorpio, the other water sign which seeks to connect with the unseeable.

With Mercury Rx (re-reading) in Pisces (fictions, dreams)  plus Saturn Rx (classic, long-lived), it could be a good time to pick up one of those books that you’ve always meant to read. Use this Mercury retrograde to read one of the chunky classics.

Cranford was on TV a few years ago.
You could just get out the box set and the chox.

Fat Moby Dick, a tale of a white whale, death, the sea and obsession, would seem the obvious book to pull off the shelf first. Hermann Melville wrote it the last time Neptune, the sea god, was in his own sign Pisces in the 1850s. In fact that was a tremendous decade for literature. Two of the Brontes were still active, Dickens was at the height of his powers, so were Thackeray, Mrs Gaskell and Trollope; George Sand, Wilkie Collins and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Tolstoy had just started writing, and published his first book Boyhood. So you could take this Merc Rx to read The Scarlet Letter, Cranford, The Woman in White or David Copperfield. 

Victor Hugo wrote Les Miserables, a story of suffering and redemption, back then. Of course, you could go see the movie, or the play, which take up less time and have tunes.

Here are some great reads that I can recommend. These are all classics (homage to Saturn Rx) which will take you elsewhere, and that have both a real Piscean flavour and astrological connection. Feel free to add your own suggestions, since these just happen to be books that came to my mind this week.

Click on the picture to go to the amazon page for more reviews and info, or, if you have a sudden rush of blood to the head, to buy a book.

1. Moby Dick 

2. Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison (b. Mar 1). For an in-depth discussion of it’s astrology click here.

3. The Sheltering Sky. Paul Bowles novel about going losing your mind and identity in the desert. Desert is ruled by Pisces and the dissolution that happens to the main characters is perfectly Piscean.

4. The Tempest. Shakespeare’s last play is set on a magical island, Pisces idea of paradise.

5. Les Miserables, Victor Hugo

6. Henry and June: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anais Nin. Crazy lady, crazy times; both victim and devourer. Nin’s voracious relationship with the Millers exemplifies the Dionysian aspect of Pisces. Her desire to actually become someone else shows a dark side of the fishes/twins combo in her chart. This requires a longer explanation, but she really lived her chart in her life (and not necessarily in a good way), and it’s fascinating. (Pluto in Gemini and Gemini MC)

7. Madame Bovary (1856) – Emma Bovary’s imagination kills her. Is she the Anais Nin of the provinces?

8. Oblamov (1859). A hero who can’t get out of bed, the right place for a fish to float.

10. Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee – Dee Brown (Feb 29, 1908). This’ll make you cry, very Pisces. It’s about the sweeping away of a whole people and culture

11. Love in the Time of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez (March 6, 1927). The most beautiful tale of endless love, which Pisces, at it’s best, is all about.

I am going to have a go at The Phantastes – written and published during the last Neptune in Pisces. You may have read George MacDonald’s more famous children’s book The Princess and the Goblin. This is his first novel, written for adults and children, and arguably the first fantasy novel. It inspired both CS Lewis and Tolkien to dare to write fantasy.

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  1. Lachesis says:

    oooh what a list. Magnificent, spectacular, uncomfortable and sometimes disturbing reading. All I can think of to add is Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. These are – at least the books I have read on the list – works that make me shudder. Is that the astrology of now?

  2. Christina says:

    Do you know, I had not quite realised the uncomfortable nature of the reading but now that you mention it, it is. But magnificent books also. This is the astrology of now, so dive into it.

    I did not include Life of Pi, which is obviously Piscean (god, water), because it’s too new. And the Old Man and the Sea, because it’s too short.

  3. Impressive dig deep into murkiness of human emotions list!

  4. I ordered the Penguin Modern Classic of Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin the other day, so i am on board.

  5. Gilly says:

    My Dickens choice would be Our Mutual Friend, a murky, muddy tale that begins with the watermen, who make a living fishing drowned bodies from the Thames.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I am re-reading Marcel Proust’s Swann’s Way. No Pisces apparent, but plenty of water. His Sun – Mercury is conjunct my Mercury. It’s all about distant memory with a bit of faded glamour and mystery thrown in.

  7. Isy Aweigh says:

    My own writing career, as it relates to living with pain and neuro changes and the dissolution of self in so many ways, seems to be picking up speed. If I can pull myself together a bit more, in terms of focus and endurance and health (come on, Merc and Saturn and Chiron!) this could be a blossoming.

    The wealth of Piscean metaphors inherent in that, far exceed my feeble capacities to begin to aproach.

  8. Anonymous says:

    My eight-year old requested 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea around the time Mercury moved into Pisces; now he is almost done, and wants its sequel, The Mysterious Island. His Aquarius ascendant makes him a sucker for anything written by Jules Verne or any novel that features a “mad scientist” character.

  9. Sabrina says:

    Need to get around some boxes of our last move few months ago and fish Ulysses. It’s been waiting for me for a good while and Joyce’s merc is at 0 degrees Pisces. So perfect. Thanks for the reminder!

  10. Lizzie Vee says:

    I’ve just started re-reading Lord of the rings for the umpteenth time – didn’t realise how good my timing was!

  11. Anonymous says:

    I am a triple Pisces and would suggest The Shipping News

  12. Anonymous says:

    Hermann Hesse’s “Siddhartha” and “Demian”

  13. William says:

    The house of Spirits by Isabelle Allende might fit in with Pisces as well.