The Full Moon yesterday, was the February Snow Moon, when it is coldest, in the Northern hemisphere and yet signs of Spring are gathering pace. Moving forwards and frozen cold, like the two fishes of Pisces swimming in opposite directions.
The dichotomy of Pisces, to be here and there simultaneously. Not in a frenetic fiery way but a yearning, watery longing, what Roberto Assagioli called divine homesickness.
Pisces natives often never quite engage with the world, they wish to be back in the womb of the Great Cosmic Mother: safe, nurtured, protected from all ugliness and discord. Of course, there is no going back, so oftentimes oblivion seems a great alternative: drink, drugs, sleep, overeating, religion, can all be temporary panaceas, with the emphasis on the temporary. Pisceans may also translate their gifts positively into spirituality, music, poetry and dance.
The dharma of Pisces is to be both here and there and to bring messages from Spirit into the world as a conduit or medium. Easier said than done, as Pisces’ connection to these deep, powerful spiritual energies can be overwhelming and hard to deal with along with everyday getting through life issues. Escape is another possibility.
Kerouac, who wrote On The Road epitomises the Pisces dilemma.
‘You can’t live in this world but there’s nowhere else to go.’
He famously went on a road trip with a friend.
‘I was surprised, as always, by how easy the act of leaving was, and how good it felt. The world was suddenly rich with possibility.’
His individual journey spoke to a generation who became beatniks rejecting mainstream America.
‘… and I shambled after as usual as I’ve been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”‘
Leaving ‘respectable life’ he embraced the life of a hobo, free and unencumbered.
‘There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.’
Kerouac was heavily influenced by music, especially the Bebop of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Theolonius Monk which was massively popular at the time. Bop was Black music, a mixture of blues, work songs, African and European beats, held up as a counter narrative to the Benny Goodman white style which was considered theft of Black music.
‘The only truth is music’
The book may have read like a drink, drug and sex fest, but according to Kerouac, the Road was not a waster adventure but a search for meaning,
‘was really a story about two Catholic buddies roaming the country in search of God. And we found him. I found him in the sky, in Market Street San Francisco (those 2 visions), and Dean (Neal) had God sweating out of his forehead all the way. THERE IS NO OTHER WAY OUT FOR THE HOLY MAN: HE MUST SWEAT FOR GOD. And once he has found Him, the Godhood of God is forever Established and really must not be spoken about.’
His writing has a dreamlike quality, inspired and a little crazy. The first draft of On The Road was written in three weeks, he survived on speed, pea soup, cigarettes and coffee provided by his wife, Joan. To ensure a free flow of inspiration he cut strips of tracing paper and, fastening them together made them into a 120 foot roll of paper onto which he typed without paragraphs or chapters.
‘no periods separating sentence-structures already arbitrarily riddled by false colons and timid usually needless commas-but the vigorous space dash separating rhetorical breathing (as jazz musician drawing breath between outblown phrases).’
His writing style was inspired by James Joyce, especially his book Ulysses with its stream of consciousness writing.
‘I prefer the new vision in terms of art–I believe, I smugly cling to the belief, that art is the potential ultimate. Out of the humankind materials of art, I tell myself, the new vision springs. Look at Finnegan’s Wake and Ulysses and The Magic Mountain.’
A third influence was Buddhism, especially the Diamond Sutra which he studied intensively and systematically while living on top of Desolation Peak working as a fire look-out. He said he hoped to,
‘come face to face with God or Tathagata and find out once and for all what is the meaning of all this existence. But instead I’d come face to face with myself … and many’s the time I thought I’d die of boredom or jump off the mountain.’
Kerouac influenced his own generation, the beatniks and later, the hippies and musicians including Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, The Beatles, Tom Waits, and especially The Doors.
When On the Road was finally published in 1957, with much of the drugtaking and sex removed, it made him a celebrity, both famous and notorious. The fame and the money were his ultimate undoing. His drinking increased, he moved to Florida and died in 1969 of haemorrhage brought on by alcoholic cirrhosis .
His astrology illustrates the Pisces-Virgo dilemma. Moon in Virgo on the Ascendant shows his craft of writing, opposed by Uranus in Pisces on the descendant, the need to reject and revolutionise the other. His Sun and Venus in Pisces shows his inspiration, creativity and poetry. In the seventh house, suggesting a longing for union, to dissolve into the other, and perhaps find god in a partner: a divine homesickness.
‘All of life is a foreign country.’
Sun, Venus also show a descent into alcoholism when his spiritual questing did not provide answers or solace. Uranus on the descendant describes how he revolutionised his friends and was attracted to outsiders and eccentrics. The Uranus also embodied the zeitgeist of his time, bringing messages of transformation from Spirit (Pisces). While Uranus opposite his Virgo Moon, suggests he cut himself off from his feeling nature. Finally, a spirited, wandering, endlessly curious, spiritual seeking Mars in Sagittarius conjunct his IC shows him leaving ‘home’ to find his new ‘tribe’ the beatniks.
‘So therefore I dedicate myself, to my art, my sleep, my dreams, my labours, my suffrances, my loneliness, my unique madness, my endless absorption and hunger because I cannot dedicate myself to any fellow being.’