We all know there are 12 zodiac signs; chances are you also know where your Sun is. I am Pisces, you say? Well, what type of Pisces are you? If you didn’t realise that subdivisions are within each zodiac sign, welcome to the 36 decans.
Each of the 12 zodiac signs is divided into three distinct parts of 10 degrees each. So if your Sun is at 8 Pisces, it’s in the 1st decan of Pisces, but if it’s at 26 Pisces, it’s in the last. We can consider the decans as three distinct acts in a 3-act play, the overarching theme of which is the zodiac sign is involved.
For example, Pisces is oft (wrongly) associated with the self-sacrificing individual, ready and willing to give of him or herself to secure the salvation of others. Keywords for Pisces include spiritual, impressionable, open-minded, and martyr. The inherent theme of the Piscean drama requires paying close attention to the less obvious, oft-hidden forces in play to achieve peace and harmony in the here and now.
Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet (on Pain)
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.’
But how that all unfolds in any given native of Pisces depends on the decan involved.
1st decan – in the first decan of Pisces, ruled by Saturn and Jupiter, the native is challenged to appreciate how the labyrinth of their weaknesses and blind spots structure their world. Not surprisingly, this is not easy. It requires a deliberate, innovative approach to see that, for which so many, remains forever hidden from view.
Little wonder the tarot card associated with this decan is the 8 of Cup (the Lord of Success Abandoned). It often depicts a man turned from the viewer’s glance, walking resolutely away from all he has materially achieved (the eight full cups). This, however, does not suggest that the man is throwing in the towel. Nor does it mean he’s embracing the life of a pauper. Instead, he is readjusting his priorities to grasp a more profound understanding of the ways of the world and, in doing so, gains riches beyond the more prosaic man’s wildest dreams.
Never forget that Jupiter, one of the co-rulers of this decan, is exalted here. Doubtless, that is why many of the images associated with this decan depict men and women richly dressed and in possession of jewels and pearls.
2nd decan – whilst in the 1st decan, the mission involved turning away from one’s material success to gain riches of a more ethereal nature, in the 2nd decan, ruled by Jupiter and the Moon, it is all about returning from those wanderings a more affluent man or woman, and in being thus, displaying a deeper, more sustainable level of happiness.
Perhaps this is why the tarot card associated with this decan is the 9 of Cups (the Lord of Happiness). It is often depicted as a well-fed, self-satisfied man enjoying the fruits of his nine full cups. This man in this picture has found a secure place to stand in his world.
Natives with planets and meaningful placements in this decan are challenged to find meaning in their lives through otherworldly pursuits and achieve a splendid harmony between the material and spiritual realms. Naturally, this process may be disrupted with difficult planetary placements in this decan, perhaps achieving material success from undertakings with little or no personal value.
Sadly, the challenges and rewards represented by this decan are not as well respected in the Western world today as they might have been in centuries past.
3rd decan – whilst in the first two decans of Pisces, the challenge is to gain otherworldly riches and once achieved, utilise them to find the ultimate of human happiness, in the final decan of Pisces, we are challenged to accept that such gains and satisfaction ultimately must be lost, and thus find a way to let them go through personal sacrifice.
With Mars as the sole planetary ruler of this decan, images of bloodletting and cutting away are appropriate.
Surprisingly, the tarot card associated with this decan is the 10 of Cups (the Lord of Satiety). At first glance, it is a lovely card. It suggests that the marriage of opposing forces (male and female) has achieved ultimate bliss. Yet as is the case with the 10th card in any of the tarot suits, we’ve reached the end of the line. The only way forward is dissolution and starting over.
Key to this theme is remembering that in Aries, we commenced our journey toward individualised consciousness, and now, at the end of Pisces, we have come full circle. In doing so, we have seen all the best and worst that the world can offer. From this world-weary position, we can only hope for the best.