13th moon



Unanticipated Harvest


Monday, September 12, 2011 at 2:27 am PDT
The Moon and Sun Opposed at 19.17 degrees Pisces/Virgo

At every Full Moon, Luna's silver light illuminates what is normally hidden from view, the shadows recede and the world becomes an oracle. A time of revelation with insights reflected through the unique archetypal lens of the sign in which Luna falls, tomorrow morning's perfect circle of light falls in mystical, ethereal Pisces, one of four mutable signs, along with Gemini, Virgo and Sagittarius. Characterized by a freeflowing, adaptable nature, mutable signs occur at the end of the seasons when life is in flux and instability and change are in the air.

The Full Moon is the culmination of a cycle that began two weeks' prior, and marks the harvest time for our personal seeds of intention planted, consciously or not, at the dark, fecund time of the New Moon. Each Full Moon can also be considered the fruition of a even larger cycle that stretches over half the year, a cycle that began when the New Moon fell in this same zodiac sign. The Full Moon in Pisces, then, can be considered a kind of "Harvest Moon" for the Pisces New Moon last March. So it might be illuminating to think back, contemplate what was going on last March in your life. What were your wishes and intentions at that time? What were you striving towards? And how well have those wishes, intentions and seeds sprouted and grown in your life? What surprises have you experienced in the interim? setbacks or changes in course?

What you began back then, at the Pisces New Moon, is now culminating, maturing — the fruit ready for harvest. In life though, sometimes the harvest is predictable and recognizable, while in other cases it is a complete surprise. Sometimes it is as if some wild, exotic seed was carried by the wind and deposited into our garden, or some odd hybrid was inadvertently mixed into our seed packets. We walk our tidy, cultivated rows of crops to find that, among the tomatoes, eggplants and peppers, there are unfamiliar plants thriving and bearing some very strange fruit.


"Happiness is a function of accepting what is."  — Werner Erhard


In my own life, six months ago, just a couple of days after the Pisces New Moon last March, we put our house back on the market for a third try at selling. We have been attempting to sell our house for the last three years, and the strange fruit that we are just now harvesting is the absolute reversal decision to stay put and not sell after all. Even though we were really looking forward to new adventures and the time and money to travel abroad for a while, and even though economic conditions here in the United States pretty much MADE the decision for us, we are actually very happy about keeping our home and staying here after all.

My husband and I bought our home 14 years ago now, after living in a tiny apartment for five years in order to save every nickel we could. We closed escrow on September 16th, the very day of the Pisces Full Moon and Lunar Eclipse that year, 1997. Fourteen years is roughly a half-Saturn cycle, and on that day, Saturn was retrograding back to conjoin the Aries IC — the root — of my husband's natal chart, a natal "angle" that represents home and family. Mars had returned to the exact degree it was on the day I was born, and the Moon's North Node fell at 19 Virgo, with the South Node at 19 Pisces, the same degrees of this Full Moon opposition. 19 Pisces also happens to be the degree of our daughter's natal Pisces Sun, a beautiful baby girl born two-and-a-half years later.

So we are now busy cooking up new projects and rethinking our plans. Living in limbo for three years and not wanting to start anything new, has resulted in a wild surge of creative energy which we are currently unleashing. And so I am extending my writing and consulting break a bit longer so that I can have the necessary time to work on these projects and do the mental, emotional and physical moving back into my home.

Apparently we are the buyers we were waiting for.

So here's an offering on the Pisces archetype and symbolism from the Blue Moon archives. Blessings of happiness and abundance to you on this soulful Pisces Harvest Moon. I hope your garden, literal and figurative, is full of marvelous surprises tucked in among an abundance of anticipated delights.

Holy Water: The Pisces Full Moon

Mystical, ethereal Pisces is one of four mutable signs, along with Gemini, Virgo and Sagittarius. Characterized by a freeflowing, adaptable nature, mutable signs occur at the end of the seasons when life is in flux and instability and change are in the air. Unlike the other "mutables" however, Pisces is also a water sign.

Mutability, combined with the sensitive, formless water element — it is no wonder Pisces individuals often feel surreal and insubstantial, as if they are made of nothing more than fairy dust. With one foot on earth, the other in the clouds, Pisces is drawn to the numinous realms, where the earthy illusion of separation recedes like some vague dream.

Ruled by both horizonless Jupiter and misty, otherworldly Neptune, Pisces is the 12th sign and culmination point of the zodiac wheel, the last astrological stop in the human journey towards higher consciousness. Pisces is where we learn to connect with the eternal.

Those born with the water element prominent in their charts — Pisces in particular — possess a private, shortcut path to fairyland, candlelit and flower-strewn and nearly always at their disposal. With such an easy escape route to bliss, it can be very hard to face life, especially when one has, say, a choice between dancing with the elves or cleaning the toilet. Life with its humdrum routines and boring chore lists can sometimes be hard to take. Water signs know exactly why that young laddie in the old tales, who stumbled upon a fairy mound was never seen again.

In his classic book, Astrology, Psychology and the Four Elements, Stephen Arroyo writes of water's vague, indeterminate nature, deep emotion, and need for some kind of containment:

The water signs, like the nature of water itself, have no solidity or shape of their own. They are therefore happiest when their fluidity is channeled and given form by someone else, particularly the earth signs [Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn] who have the solidity that water can trust and rely on. The water signs tend to dislike those who are boisterous or who have strong personalities, such as the fire signs. They feel most comfortable with others who are rather secretive and self-contained, which gives them a greater feeling of protection and security. This secretive quality of the water signs, by the way, is rather deceptive; for, although they may be calm on the outside, there are constantly brewing storms on the deeper levels and hidden undercurrents which can drag them down.


The symbol for Pisces illustrates the concept of functioning in both the material and spiritual realms: two fish tied together, one swimming downstream and representing the earthbound personality, the other heading upstream, representing spirit. Pisces' motto is "serve or suffer" and when Pisces serves the "ego" or the desire nature, while neglecting the soul, suffering can be the result. Their intense need to banish the experience of separateness can lead to a dangerous lack of discernment. A tender, compassionate nature can result in a poor selection of associates — Pisces can too easily be talked into situations that are not in their best interest. All of which can bring about profound sadness and disillusionment, as it is so hard to accept the dark side of humankind. This kind of despair can lead to escape into food, alcohol, or drug abuse. Isabel Hickey in her classic book, Astrology, a Cosmic Science, explains this Piscean dilemma:

Complete resignation and submissiveness to whatever stream they are in — whether it be love or lust, work or pleasure — is indicative of the Piscean nature trying to lose the sense of separateness. The only true freedom comes through spiritual orientation. When they are true to their real nature Pisceans have a high and holy destiny and are the true saviours and servants of mankind.


When Pisces musters the necessary self-discipline and healthy discernment, takes command of the ship's wheel, and sets a course for some clear and worthy destination, they can reach the most sublime heights. For Pisces is the only sign that can take Neptunian fog and transmute it into holy water, blessing us with the most exquisite of artistic sensibilites, humanitarian dedication and spiritual devotion. When Pisces is inspired, we get a glimpse of heaven. It is no ordinary soul who can successfully harness the higher vibrations of Neptune.

Take American photographer Toni Frissell for example, a Pisces woman who revolutionized fashion photography by taking models out of the studio and depicting them as active women, rather than frozen, "Pygmalion-esque" statues. The photo at left was taken in Europe during her service in WWII and shows Frissell sharing her camera with a group of children. Her first job as a fashion photographer was for Vogue in 1931, and later she went on to work for Harper's Bazaar. In 1953, she became the first woman on the staff of the recently launched Sports Illustrated magazine.

Frissell was well known for her fashion photography, but also World War II photographs, portraits of famous Americans and Europeans, children, and women from all walks of life. She took the beautifully evocative photo featured at the beginning of this article in 1947 for Haper's at Weeki Wachee Springs, a roadside tourist attraction in Florida known for its underwater acrobatics performed by women dressed as mermaids. (It doesn't get any more Piscean than that!)

And in a funny synchronistic twist, just a couple of days after I first came across Frissel's photos, the movie Full Grown Men arrived in the mail in its bright red Netlix envelope. An Indie comedy about two childhood buddies who, in order to avoid adult responsibility a tad longer, take off on a pilgrimage of sorts to "Diggityland," the theme park they visited as kids. On the way, they encounter several characters who demonstrate the importance of growing up and moving on, including a sad, aging "mermaid" (played by Deborah Harry), who performs at Weeki Wachee Springs.

The sensitive, intuitive water element, often mistaken for weakness, is actually a powerful agent for change in surprising and paradoxical ways, as the Chinese sage Lao Tzu elucidates:

Water is yielding, but all-conquering. Water extinguishes Fire, or finding itself likely to be defeated, escapes as steam and reforms. Water washes away soft Earth, or when confronted by rocks, seeks a way around. It saturates the atmosphere so that Wind dies. Water gives way to obstacles with deceptive humility, for no power can prevent it following its destined course to the sea. Water conquers by yielding; it never attacks but always wins the last battle.

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Related Essays

Daydream Believer — The Pisces Full Moon (August 24, 2010)

Rousing the Heart —The Pisces New Moon (March 4, 2011)

The gorgeous woodblock of the owl is by Japanese artist Keizaburo Tejimi. It is titled The Owl and the Moon.

The photo at the beginning of this essay was taken by Toni Frisell in 1947 for Harper's Bazaar. The second photo was taken in Europe during WWII. During the war Frissell volunteered her photographic services to the American Red Cross, and later became the official photographer of the Women's Army Corps. The third image is a fashion photograph Frissell took in 1939 for Vogue. For more information, on Toni Frissell, here is an interesting Wikipedia bio.