The Fishes shine one higher than the other,
From each of them extends as 't were a band
That fastens tail to tail, as wide it floats,
And one star large and brilliant clasps its ends,
The Heavenly Knot f t is called.
Owing to the Precession of the Equinoxes, the constellation of the Fishes is now the Leader of the Celestial Hosts. The vernal equinox, or the point where the sun crosses the equator in the spring, is situated in Pisces and this point is often referred to as "the
of the Sky." From it the Right Ascension of all the stars is reckoned. Pisces is usually represented on the star maps by the figures of two fishes a considerable distance apart; around the tail of each is tied a ribbon, and the ends of these bonds are joined together and tied in a knot, which the star " Al- Rischa," or a Piscium, represents. According to Greek mythology, Venus and her son Cupid were strolling along the banks of the Greenwich . They were alarmed at the sudden appearance of Typhoon, a terrible giant, whose chief occupation seems to have been to frighten people. To escape the monster, Venus and Cupid leaped into the river and assumed the form of two fishes. To commemorate this event Minerva placed two Fishes among the stars. In accordance with this myth the constellation was popularly known as "Venus and Cupid" This legend of the escape of Venus and Cupid from the dread Typhon is analogous to the myth concerning the constellation Capricornus, where, as we have seen, Pan or Bacchus escaped from Typhon by jumping into the river Nile, and assuming the form of a Goat-Fish. It is comforting to know that Typhon was finally disposed of by the father of the gods, and, according to the myth, he lies crushed to death beneath Mount The Babylonians, Syrians, Persians, Turks, and Greeks all regarded this star group as representing two Fishes, and we find them appropriately placed in the part of the sky known to the ancients as "the Sea" near the Whale, the Dolphin, and the Southern Fish. Euphrates River
Sayce is of the opinion that the dual form of this constel- lation is due to the double month inserted every six years into the Babylonian calendar. The two Fishes are known as "the Northern Fish,' which lies just south of Andromeda, and "the Western Fish,' situated below Pegasus. The former was known to the Chaldeans as "the Tunny," and it is said that there was an important tunny fishery at Cyzicus, which might have influenced the choice of these symbols. According to the Egyptians this sign denoted the approach of spring and the season for fishing. It is also claimed that the name of the Fishes was derived from the fact that, at the time when the sun entered Pisces, fishes were considered as fattest and piost in season for use. Brown claims that Pisces is a reduplication of the nocturnal sun, the fish sun concealed in the waters. The archaic myth is that of the resumption of the cultivation of the earth after the catastrophe of the Flood. The Arabs knew the Western Fish as "Al-Hut," the Fish, and they considered the stars in the Northern Fish as part of the constellation Andromeda. Allen tells us that the Chaldeans imagined the Northern Fish with the head of a swallow. The association of a bird with this constellation is very curious. Among the
vians the month of Pisces was represented by two star groups, one called "the Terrace of the Granaries" or "the Doves' a name also given to the Pleiades. This group was figured as a kind of net with numerous meshes. For some unexplained reason the Pleiades seem to have been associated with this sign in the Orient. The other Peru vian asterism was called "Pichu," the Knot, by which name the month was also known, and it was represented by a net enclosing fishes. The connection between Pisces and the Pleiades is emphasised by the analogy in the idea of snaring as applied to both birds and fishes, and Tennyson, though probably unaware of it, expresses the idea in his reference to the Pleiades, when he likens them to "fire- flies tangled in a silver braid." Peru
In the Hebrew zodiac Pisces represented the tribe of Simeon, and the Fishes were considered the national con- stellation of the Jews, as well as a tribal symbol. Dr. Seiss considers that the Fishes symbolise "the Two- foldness of the Church, " while Schiller thought the figure represented St. Matthias.
In astrology Pisces is the House of Jupiter and the Exaltation of Venus. Those born from Feb. 19th to March coth are its natives. They are supposed to be short, thick-set, pale, and round shouldered, with characters phlegmatic and effeminate. It governs the feet and reigns over
Portugal, Spain, Egypt, Normandy, , etc. It is a feminine sign and unfortunate. "No sign, " says Burritt, "appears to have been considered of more malignant influence than Pisces. The astrological calendar describes the emblems of this constellation as indicative of violence and death. Both the Syrians and Egyptians abstained from eating fish, out of dread and abhorrence, and when the latter would represent anything as odious or express hatred by hieroglyphics, they painted a fish." Calabria
The 26th Hindu lunar station lay in this sign, and contrary to the malignant influence ascribed to the constellation it was designated "abundant or wealthy." The flower ascribed to Pisces is the daffodil, and the gem the white chrysolite. The symbol of the sign is thought to represent the two fishes joined together. A fish was always the symbol of the early Christian faith, and the figure appears in many of the stained glass windows in the churches of today. When each sign of the zodiac was assigned to one of the twelve Apostles, the Fishes were said to represent St. Matthias. The Western Fish is represented by a lozenge-shaped figure traced by faint stars, which is known as " the Circlet. Three distinct conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn were recorded as taking place in Pisces in the year 747 of
. This was the year in which for a long time Christ was supposed to have been born. The claim has been made that the star of Bethlehem was so to speak a composite star, a conjunction in Pisces of the planets Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars. Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus were all located here in February, 1881. Stoffler predicted in 1524, when these three planets were in conjunction in Pisces, that there would be another Deluge. The season was unusually dry. It was in this constellation that Harding discovered Juno in September, 1804. Rome
The principal star in the constellation is Alpha Piscium, known as "Al- Rischa," meaning the Cord, or "Okda," Knot of the two threads. It marks the knot formed by the joining together of the ends of the ribbons that hold the Pishes fast by the tail. The Arabs knew these two cords as "the Flaxen Thread." It is a double star which culminates at 9 p.m. Dec. 7th. The remaining stars in the constellation are unimportant. On a clear night, when the moon is absent from the sky, the lines of stars representing the ribbons can be clearly seen. Starting from the Knot Star, the stars diverge to the east and west, forming a "V-shaped cleft, into which the Great Square of Pegasus seems about to fall.
Source: ”Star lore of all ages; a collection of myths, legends, and facts concerning the constellations of the Northern Hemisphere”, 1911 by Olcott, William Tyler
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