4. Pisces & Aries

The Heavens Declare: constellations as prophecy


1. Virgo & Libra
2. Scorpio & Sagittarius

3. Capricorn & Aquarius
4. Pisces & Aries

5. Taurus & Gemini
6. Cancer & Leo


Simeon / Pisces (Gen 49:5-7)

The third "chapter" in the Book of the Redeemed is Pisces, or Dagim (H. "the fishes"), a word closely connected with "multi­tudes", as in Gen 48:26, which can be rendered "let them grow as fish­es do increase" (cf. Eze 47:9, Gen 1:28, Jn 21:6). The fish are depic­ted as joined by a band at the tail; one fish is facing the North Star, and the other swims against the path of the sun. The Egyp­tians called this sign Pi-cot Orion or Pisces Hori ("the fishes of Him that cometh"), and the Syriac name is Nuno ("the fish, leng­thened out", i.e., having a poster­ity) — as the chosen heirs of Abra­ham would rival the stars in number. One of the stars of this sign is Okda (H. "the united"), and another is Al Samaca (A. "the up­held", cf. Is 41:10, "I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righ­teous­ness"). This con­stel­lation was origi­nally composed of only 4 or so stars.

Myth would have these fish as the metamorphosed di­vinities, Venus and Cupid, who changed thus to escape from the rampaging Typhon. But bibli­cally, these "fish" are the heirs of the covenant of the faith of Abra­ham, and we have two fish because there are two groups who are saved: the Old and the New Testament saints, those for whom the Crucifixion was future, and those for whom it is past. Abarbanel, a 15th century Jewish explica­tor of Dan­iel, de­clares that Pisces always refers to Israel, al­though we must include all the ancient saints, from Adam and Enoch to John the baptizer; indeed, those saved during the years of the Trib­ula­tion should also be includ­ed here, but that is anoth­er topic entire­ly. We may con­sider one of the fish as a symbol for Israel proper, and the other fish as the justi­fied gentiles. To the pagans, Pisces was the most unfavorable of the signs, its influence reckoned as malig­nant, bringing violence and death. The Egyptian hieroglyph for hatred and odiousness was the picture of a fish. And this is just how the unrestrained world responds to the Church.

The first decan is the band which unites the fish, called Al Risha (A. "the band" or "brid­al"); it was called U-or ("He cometh") by the Egyptians. This bond is held, as it were, by the extended limb of Aries the Lamb. It is a leash as well, which collars the hideous Cetus, as we will see. In the sea which is the world, only those who are lost accept no restraint, following their own ungov­erned impulses; those who are chosen for salvation are con­strained — this is the meaning of the parable of the net (Mt 13:47). Remem­ber also Hos 11:4, “I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love; and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws. This decan origi­nally had about 5 dim stars.

The next sign is the woman An­dromeda. But here she is chained hand and foot, menaced at her feet by the serpents of Medusa. This is the woman sym­bolizing Isra­el in Rev 12:1. She is called Sirra (H. "the chained"). The Egyptians called her Set, in this case meaning "estab­lished" as queen. In her head shines Al Phi­ratz (A. "the broken down"); at the hip is Mirach (H. "the weak"); next in brightness is Al Maach (A. "struck down"), lo­cat­ed in the left foot. Other stars share names meaning "the af­flict­ed" and "the bound". In Isaiah 52:2‑3, we read “arise, and sit down, O Jeru­salem: loose thy­self from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion. For thus saith the Lord, Ye have sold yourself for nought, and ye shall be redeemed without mon­ey. Again, in Is 54:11,14, “O thou af­flict­ed, tossed with tempest, and not comforted . . . . in righ­teousness shalt thou be estab­lished . . . In mythology, Andromeda was the innocent victim of jealousy, chained to a rock near Joppa in Palestine, left to be devoured by a raging sea-monster; she was rescued and wed to the heroic Perseus, whom we shall learn to be a type of Christ. Andromeda means "man-ruler", and though she is in the Promised land, she is chained; the image foreshadows the time when saints will rule creation (cf. Mt 19:28, 1Cor 6:2, Rev 1:5,6). Only a little thought will reveal how well this pagan version describes the fate of mankind since Adam's Fall. This decan now contains 63 stars, but the ori­ginal had just 17.

The final decan of Pisces is Cepheus, from a Hebrew word for "branch". In Egypt he was called Pe-ku-hor ("this one cometh to rule"), and in Ethio­pia, simply Hyk ("a king"). He sits in royal robes, offering a scepter to Cassiopeia and wearing a crown of stars, with the Pole Star as his footstool. He waits to break the chains of the woman. The Greeks called Cepheus the father of Andromeda — a pagan­ized version of God's being the father of Israel (cf. Jer 31:9). From Dendera, we have the image of a small sheep mirroring the repose of Aries, but with a huge front leg; we may interpret this as signifying the "mighty arm of the Lord": “Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, 'Thou art my servant'; fear not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. The chief star, in the right shoulder, as Al Deramin (once more, a name meaning "coming quick­ly"). At the waist, the next star in bright­ness is called Al Phirk ("the Redeem­er"). In the left knee shines Al Rai ("who bruises"). Of its 35 visible stars, 10 were originally visible.

The story of Pisces, then, is of a multi­tude, bound yet sustained (Band), promised a heritage by Him who comes. We find the chained woman, broken, weak, smitten (An­drome­da) — awaiting the coming king (Cepheus). The link with Simeon ("hearing and obeying") is found in the binding of the two fish, compared with the binding together in cruelty, fierce anger, will­fulness and wrath of Simeon and Levi (Gen 49:5-7); just as God will "divide" them (v. 7), so the restraints of the fish will be severed when they have learned mercy.

Gad / Aries (Deut 33:20-21)

The final ‘chapter’ deals with Taleh (H. "the lamb), Al Hamal (A. "the sheep" or "gentle, merci­ful"), or Amroo, Syriac for "lamb"; this is the root found in Jn 1:29, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. We know it as Aries, the Ram, but Aryan means "the Chief". The most ancient language of Babylon knew it as Bara­zigar ("sacrifice which jus­ti­fies"), and the Egyp­tian name was Tame­touris Ammon, mean­ing "the government of Ammon", where it was repre­sented not with horns, but rather a cir­cular crown — not dy­ing, like the Goat, but full of vigor. It is this gentle ruling victim of Whom it is said (Rev 5:12), “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. In the Lamb's head, the major star is El Nath ("wound­ed"), in the left horn is Al Sheratan ("the bruised"), and near­by is Mesartim (H. "the bound"); above its head was a stellar triangle, the princi­pal star of which means "the Head, uplift­ed". Gad ("seer") is linked to the Ram (the Lamb with seven eyes) when it is shown with either horns or with a crown, by the bless­ing of Mo­ses: the horns are fig­ures of stretched-out arms[1] (Deut 33:20‑21). Of its 66 stars, a mere 3 were for­mer­ly visible.

In Greek myth, this lamb rescued on its back two children from divine wrath; their mother was Nephele ("cloud"), ruler of Thebes ("house of God") — thus, the Cloud which leads God's people, as God in the Wilderness lead the Chosen People. However, just as many were lost in the Wilderness, and many were lost in the Flood, so one of the chil­dren on the Lamb's back, bright Helle, let loose its hold and plunged into the waters which became known as the Hellespont; but the other child, Phrixus ("watch­ful", "wary", "horri­fied"), more dili­gent, persevered and was car­ried to Colchis, the "refuge" and "conciliation". Final­ly, the Lamb itself was sacrificed, yielding that most prized of ancient treasures, the Golden Fleece; likewise, all those who are redeemed may be said to be covered in the blood of the Lamb, and are in Christ Jesus.

The first decan of this Lamb depicts Cas­siopeia ("the en­throned" or "the beauti­ful"), a woman not bound like Andro­meda, but ruling; she is offered the scepter by her husband, Cepheus, en­throned immediately to her right. The Arabic name is El Seder ("the freed"), and also Ruchba ("the en­throned"); this is also the mean­ing of her Egyp­tian name — the same as that of Androm­eda — Set; the Chal­dean name, Dat al Cursa, had the same meaning. The an­cients some­times called this sign "the daugh­ter of splendor", and, indeed, she as­sures her beauty with one hand tending to her robe and the other arrang­es her hair while holding a cluster of branches. We read direct­ly of her in Is 62:2-4: “You shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord will name. You shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal dia­dem in the hand of your god. You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, nor shall your land any more be termed Deso­late; but you shall be called Heph­zibah ["my de­light is in her"], and your land Beulah ["mar­ried"] . . . In Ezekiel (16:14) we read “'Thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty; for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I put upon thee,' saith the Lord. Its primary star, in the left breast, is Shedar ("the liber­at­ed"), also called Ruchbah and Dat al Cursa, both meaning "the enthroned". At the top of the chair is Caph ("the branch"). Of its 55 mod­ern stars, only 10 were origi­nally seen.

The largest of all the constel­lations comes next: Cetus, the scaly-headed, whale-bodied mon­ster of the sea, the enemy of fish­es, crou­ching at the hori­zon, hovering over the bottom­less pit which is its destiny (Rev 20:1-3); it is also called Knem, Egyp­tian for "subdued". The crea­ture is shown bound with that same band which binds the Fishes. This is that Levia­than of Job 41:1-10: “Canst thou draw out Leviathan with a fish hook? Or press down his tongue with a cord? Canst thou put a rope into his nose? . . . While Job cannot do any­thing at all, yet God, “with His sore and great and strong sword, shall punish Levia­than, the piercing serpent . . . ; and He shall slay the dragon that is in the sea” — (Is 27:1). Its tremen­dous head is trodden upon by the charg­ing Bull, Taurus; this is a symbol for that event in the Bible (Ps 74:14): “Thou brakest the head of the drag­ons in the waters. Thou bra­kest the heads of Levia­than in pieces.” Its major star is located in the upper jaw, called Menkar, "the bound enemy", and in the tail is Diphda, "thrust down". Most evoca­tively, in the neck shines Mira "the rebel": a bril­liant, vari­able — that is, inconstant — star which disappears one about every 300 days (7 times every 6 years); how appro­priate a symbol of the enemy, whether subtle serpent (Gen 3:8) or roaring lion (1P 5:8) or angel of light (2Cor 11:14) — changing from form to form, to poi­son, pounce and pervert. Of this constella­tion's 97 stars, only 19 were seen in the original pattern.

Finally, the third decan of Aries is Peretz ("the breaker", cf. Micah 2:13 “The Breaker is gone up before them . . . the Lord is at the head of them”). In Egypt he was called Kar Knem ("he who fights and sub­dues"). We know this sign as Perseus. He stands helmetted, with one foot on the brightest part of the Milky Way, carrying the severed head of the gorgon Medusa, hurrying on winged feet from his task, still raising the "sore and great and strong" sword in his right hand. From the myth, we learn that he will shortly slay another monster, and liberate his bride, oppressed Andromeda. The most prominent star in this decan was called Mirfak ("who helps"); in the shoul­der, we find Al Genib ("who carries away") or Girfak ("who helps"); the left foot contains Atik ("who breaks"). The main star in the severed head of Medusa ("trodden under foot") in Arabic is Al Ghoul ("the evil spirit") or Al Gol ("roll­ing around"); strangely, as in the neck of Cetus, this star too is variable. In Hebrew, stars in the head are called Rosh Satan, "head of the adver­sary" and Al Oneh ("the subdued"). Eighteen of the now 59 stars were part of the original outline.

In the final chapter of the Book of the Re­deemed, then, we find the merciful, harm­less sheep, wounded but vital (Aries). We find the wom­an freed from bondage and raised to glory (Cassio­peia), the enemy cast low and sub­dued (Cetus), and its con­queror shown in victory (Perseus).

And so ends this middle "book" itself, which opened with the goat and ends with the ram, with the cen­ter images con­nected with fishes. In it we find the "chap­ters" of the sacri­ficed Goat (Capri­corn), the life-giving Man (Aquarius), the Mul­titudes who are blessed (Pisces), and the fa­vored ones who rule with the Lamb (Ares). We find the bless­ing pro­cured by the sacri­fice, en­sured by the provid­er, awaiting the inheri­tance, and enjoyed by the blessed.

[1].Arm is "stretched out" in 6 of the 8 times the word is used in Deuter­ono­my.


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