Full Moon in Virgo, Sun in Pisces 11˚23’, 4:51 PM PST, Neptune in Pisces 13˚50’, Venus in Pisces 23˚50’, Mercury in Pisces 22˚12’
Here we are at a Full Moon in Virgo. Even though it is a rainy day where I write and the sound of the rain helps me let go and type, I find myself doubting and taking a critical eye to what I have been exploring, and also to what I have been trying to say for several weeks. Virgo Moons tend to bring about self-doubt, a criticism seeking perfection, that makes putting the final touches on a writing all that more difficult. I started writing this post at the New Moon in Pisces. I wanted to write about what I thought were good insights into the sign of the fishes, two intertwining fish, that I thought might be helpful to friends who might read and reflect upon the sign’s placement in their own birth chart. I was drawn to the connections, what I wanted to discuss, in the birth chart of a writer. Yet I found myself struggling with the biographical details of the life of the woman I chose. She lived through her fantasies and deception seemed fundamental to her story and, eventually, to her declining health and her death.
A few weeks ago, around Valentine’s Day, I picked up Delta of Venus, a book of erotica, written by Anaïs Nin. I never really enjoyed Nin’s writing, but I thought why not give it another try. She strikes me as such an odd bird, living a life half real, half fantasy, and putting it all into diaries she wrote year in and year out for literally decades. And Anaïs’ natal chart is so strongly colored by Pisces. Her chart is useful to better comprehend our current Piscean moment at this Full Moon: now we have Sun, Mercury, Venus and Neptune all in the sign. In the context of today’s #metoo movement, Anaïs’ stories of sexual intrigue, desire, and bold erotic play seem like some kind of odd anachronism, taboo perversion accepted for what it is; no blame, but plenty of secrets. At times, her work smacks of misogyny, her characters revel in what pleasures they want, often with little care or concern for others or for societal norms. I wrestle with how she responded to her natal chart, the planetary and Sun placements in Pisces, and how she willing deceived those she loved (in her “real” life). I suppose we might accept and learn from her choices and acknowledge her free will. March is Women’s History Month after all, and with the Full Moon falling on the first of the month, how best to address Pisces than to take on a woman who had Sun, Jupiter, Venus and Eris all in Pisces. The Moon moves quickly; the Moon enters Libra by the start of this weekend. What is more useful than focusing upon a Virgo Moon is to ponder Pisces as a feeling and a motivator in life’s longer journey. Looking at Pisces in the natal chart of an artist of the past gives us a chance to better understand Pisces manifesting in our own lives and offers us guidance in our own evolutionary path.
I’d like to use the natal chart of Anaïs Nin, born February 21, 1903, at 8:25 PM, Paris, France, to explore the high and low expressions of Pisces. Known today for her diaries, many essays, novels and books of erotica, Anaïs wrote in a time when sexually explicit writing by a woman was simultaneously alluring and taboo. The popularity of her books, especially those of an erotic nature, have waxed and waned through larger collective shifts in acceptance of women’s sexuality and pleasure, feminine power and eventually the rise of feminism. Yet, not all of Anaïs Nin’s writing is erotica. She also kept a daily diary, starting when she was 11, and continuing for over sixty years until her death at 73 in 1977.
There are many signifiers suggesting a writer, and one of unorthodox subjects, in Anaïs’ birth chart. Others have written at length about her natal chart. In the limited space here, I want to work with Pisces, the strengths and pitfalls of the sign, at play in her life. Then connect aspects of Anaïs’ Nin’s biography with how we might best use this month’s passage of planets and the Sun through Pisces when reflecting upon our own natal charts.
In Anaïs Nin’s birth chart, the Sun is in early Pisces, 2°02’, conjunct Jupiter at 0°21’ Pisces, both in the 5th House – house of self-expression and creativity, traditionally associated with romance, affairs, children, and entertainment. Jupiter, our solar system’s “second Sun, “a frustrated star and a gaseous giant, brings exuberance, expansion, opportunity and optimism to the area of our birth chart the planet lies. Together with Anaïs’ Sun, Jupiter blessed Anaïs with a charm and charisma she carried throughout her life, especially in the realm of love and romance. If not a Femme Fatale, certainly she was a master seductress. Pisces, the last sign in the Zodiac, is a dissolution of the ego, but in Anaïs’ case, her loss of self became a core reflection of her solar self writ LARGE by jovial Jupiter. Numerous lines from her writings point to her sexual merging and literally becoming one with another. At one public lecture, she even wore a metal mask to underscore the masks of identity women have worn through history and how they have abandoned the self to societal expectations, a challenge taken on by Eris conjunct Venus in Anaïs’ chart. It is in her writing, where Anaïs Nin wears the masks of others and then is able to most fully release and express herself.
Piscean energy is in tune with the collective. Visionary and creative, Pisces taps into fantasy and the imagination. Jupiter in Pisces (the planet is the sign’s classical ruler) gifted Anaïs with a rich fantasy life and the ability to tap into collective desires through her 5th House artistic play. Venus, the ruler of her chart (Libra ascendant), is also in Pisces, 22°12’ conjunct Eris at 23° 03’, Vesta at 18°48’ in the 6th House, house of daily routines, service, work, and mentorship. Vesta, the priestess, the lighter of the temple flame, works together with Venus, aesthetic pulse of her everyday life, her diary writing, where she is able to touch and serve a larger audience. Venus together with Eris in her natal chart, her most private, passionate sexual thoughts became creative expression through daily routine, one radically feminine and one radically assertive. Delta of Venus, erotica written for a private patron, eventually was published posthumously in 1977, touching the larger collective at a time when both women and men were embracing sexual independence and liberation, transforming collective attitudes (Pluto transiting through Libra conjunct Nin’s 1st House natal Mars and north node). Pisces, the last of the Zodiacal signs and associated with the 12th House, has a collective dimension, allowing the individual to merge through the senses and through the heart with all outside the oneself and, in turn, can impact and shift, contributing to a collective change.
There is a heightened sensitivity with Pisces. Venus in Pisces is a good placement for a musician or artist because the sign of Pisces gives the artistic expression of Venus an ability to reach into the collective psychic realm of what moves us spiritually through art. Jerry Garcia, lead guitarist of the Grateful Dead and master of improvisation through music, had his south node of the Moon, the path and skills his soul carried into this life, in Pisces. His music became an aesthetic conduit for spiritual play through music and dance. Venus in Pisces in a natal chart is a soul seeking spiritual love in the highest form, whether through creative expression or loving another, yet can be caught in the illusion or dream of what that love can be. Sensitive and psychic, Venus in Pisces has to be careful of sacrificing boundaries, letting go of self or personal needs, because one feels the other profoundly. There is also an intuitive connection with the other, sometimes made difficult through delusion or deception because of fantasy and dream. Conjunct Eris and Vesta, Venus in Anaïs’ chart underscored not only the acceptance, but power, free rein and, at times, domination, of women’s sexual desires embodying the ultimate “letting go” of self-doubt and inhibition Pisces allows.
Pisces has trouble with boundaries, with saying ‘no.’ Anaïs Nin obviously suffered from her lying and had trouble hurting others and perhaps more telling, creating boundaries. Marrying Hugh Parker Guiler at a young age, Nin stayed married to him while juggling affairs with countless other men, most famously her affairs with writer Henry Miller and psychoanalyst Otto Rank. In her forties, Anaïs entered a passionate, long-lasting love affair with a man much younger than her, Rupert Pole, whom she married despite still being legally married to Guiler. Eventually, she told Rupert of her other husband but Hugh Guiler only learned of her dual life at the time of her death. Legally married to two men, living months at a time in New York and then California, Anaïs allowed herself to suffer physically, mentally and psychically from the effort of being two people, two wives, living two worlds to maintain the connections she so deeply felt with both Hugh and Rupert, not to mention the shared love she gave to the many close relationships she held onto throughout the years of her life. Critics have called attention to her narcissism, the self-absorbed attitude and tone of some of her writing, so much a reflection of that Jupiter Sun conjunction. Yet one wonders how much of herself did she sacrifice to keep up appearances? Saying ‘yes’ to it all had its toll, particularly on her health. Lies and deception must certainly have weighed down upon her soul.
Pisces is renowned for the sign’s tendency to escapism – whether through alcohol, drugs, sex or any other number of indulgences. One way to move beyond such avenues of escape is to seek a higher consciousness through spiritual practice, meditation, or, especially with Venus in Pisces, spiritual union with one’s partner or through artistic creation. Did Anaïs have such a union with Rupert Pole or with her first husband, Hugh Parker Guiler? Impossible to know. But the lack of authenticity and her failure to acknowledge both men, both marriages, must have deterred true intimacy. One marriage became an escape from the other, but I doubt either could go into authentic deep spiritual union. Anaïs’ natal chart has Mercury conjunct Saturn in Aquarius in the 4th House, House of roots, family, home. Chiron also resides in the 4th. She faced a blockage and wound to achieving true intimacy in her closest relationships (in part because of her incestuous relationship with her father), though Saturn gave the structure and commitment she needed to write (Mercury) about her most inner world. Partly this failure came through her response to her natal planets and Sun in Pisces, the dissolving of boundaries, and the escapism from the reality of truth. A Pisces pitfall is responding to the tendency to feel intuitively and innately the reactions of others by shifting one’s own needs, identity, and truth to avoid the pain.
How would we counsel Anaïs? Anaïs, you want most of all to embrace self-expression rich in imagination and visions of love not readily experienced in the everyday world. What advice could we offer? Write daily and let your passions and flights of imagination have a voice. Check. Done. Make daily living and routine a work of art and a theatrical performance. Check. Done. But how about allowing yourself to love LARGE, feel and take in all the passion and lust your soul craves? Be open and honest about it. Be accepting of your polyamorous soul. Anaïs Nin lived at a time when marriage was the societal path to acceptance. Did she fall into the trap of deception because being married to one person was not enough for her passionate soul? Or, lacking boundaries, did she allow herself to juggle both men because she could not bring herself to hurt another? The expression “tough love” might sound a bit cliché, but for a person navigating a strong Pisces chart, it is the hardest of concepts to grasp. Better to shift oneself than to feel the discomfort in shifting another, even if the other sorely needs to hear the truth. What about holding onto fantasy as a Piscean strategy? If we imagine the fantasy element removed, if she told both men about the existence of her dual life, Nin would have been free from balancing a crazy, two-fold life of deceit. Then, we can only speculate, she would have been able to access so much more of the creative energy so present in her life. Was the fantasy, the delusion, something Anaïs Nin needed?
It is easy to take an historical figure, trace the life of him or her, and see astrological archetypes within their life unfold. But what gives such a reflection value is how we can counsel with it, help ourselves and maybe perhaps others, as we journey through the current moment. By looking back at individual lives in history, we see, perhaps, something of our own life. Then, who knows, maybe we create a better future; we make collective change. The Sun now is in Pisces until Vernal Equinox on March 20th. Mercury is currently in Pisces until March 5th , Venus until March 6th. For those of us with planets or critical degrees in our natal charts falling in Pisces, we will feel a quick fleeting time of life’s pleasures and joys. However, here, too, and more lasting in impact, we feel the slow-moving planet of Neptune, currently at 13° Pisces and remaining in the sign until 2025. The Sun will trigger Neptune’s transit (at 13°56’ Pisces) on March 4th.
As always, most meaningful for you is to reflect upon where Pisces falls in your own natal chart to grasp what Neptune’s passage, and these other much faster moving planets and the Sun, through the sign, might mean for you. I see the life and art of Anaïs Nin as a creative, visionary voice and a Piscean gift she offered us through her many writings. We, too, can all reach into our imaginations and creativity Pisces grants us (look to see what House is touched by Pisces in your chart to understand the arena where this creative expression can best manifest).
Neptune, as the modern ruler of Pisces, moves us from Venusian love into higher spiritual, compassionate love, and gives us glimpses into the Divine. Anaïs was challenged by the escapism, lack of boundaries and delusion of Pisces. One could argue she also struggled with the strong, often overwhelming, sensitivity, so characteristic of the sign, to all that surrounded her. Be careful of sacrificing your own needs because of what you see or feel to be the needs of your partner or other one-on-one relationships in your life, watch out where in our lives we become the “shapeshifter” to please another. Use this time to meditate upon bringing peace into our hearts and acceptance of our true self and the self of others. Two Piscean fishes attached by a cord; one pulls to open our inner fantasy and vision, the other seeks a greater union. Perhaps it is time to just let our partners, and ourselves, be who we are, open our hearts not through delusion or lie, but through acceptance and love. Acceptance and courage to be ourselves and let others be, tap into our own creative visions, and let that inspiration flow.
Wishing you all a joyful Full Moon in our season of Pisces!