Pisces New Moon Mandala painted by Sarah Berry
Line Mandala from Mandala Colouring Book by Barry Stevens
available at http://www.mandalas.freeserve.co.uk/colouringinbook.html

This is one of the culminating articles in an occasional series written about the expertise of each Sun Sign. The articles will be found under the category “Zodiac Masterclass” and eventually there will be 12 such articles, e.g. “The Gemini Guide to Communication”, “The Leo Guide to Leadership”etc. each by someone who has the Sun Sign in question and published in their season. I am still looking for the final piece in the puzzle, the person who can write “The Capricorn Guide to Ambition”…

Here guest blogger and Yoga teacher Alison Charles writes her own story of the Piscean guide to Compassion, which is an archetype for both the sign and its quality, as it interweaves dimensions of truth and poetry and the wisdom of life. Alison is a family member!

This component of the  Zodiac Masterclass has an interesting history: it just missed the deadline for last year, but I am sure you are reading it exactly when it is meant to be read.

A word about the mandala: I often give dusky pink as a colour for Pisces because comes between the Magenta of Aquarius, and softly links the colour spectrum with the Red of Aries.

The Pisces Guide to Compassion

by Alison Charles

‘Seek to know the universe and you will know nothing at all……..seek
to know yourself, and you will know the universe’

‘Seek to know the universe and you will know nothing at all……..seek to know yourself, and you will know the universe’. I first saw this probably ten years ago, and it has resonated more and more as the years have progressed.

For some reason I come with a harsh inner monologue – a lifetime of constant ‘that’s not good enough’, ‘one day you will exposed and humiliated’, ‘you are selfish’ etc, etc. Baffling. Whilst I heard this voice and reacted to it, on one level I had no conscious idea that perhaps it could change and that perhaps there was another way.

I struggled. Life was a puzzle that had to be solved, put right and perfected, and I experienced the world as hostile.

My inner world reflected the outer world and for a long time I was filled with righteous indignation and anger at others. I was an angry child and a very angry teenager. Although this was also coupled with a deep desire to change others, the way they thought, talked, behaved and to relieve their suffering, but really that was only because I found other’s suffering unbearable, I would see another suffer and I genuinely felt that I was suffering too (sometimes even more so!). My desire to help them stop suffering was in order to relieve my pain. Years and years of self-help books and constant frustration ensued.

I had no compassion for myself and I certainly had none for anyone else. I lived a fearful existence, and an ambivalence at my existence at all, almost as if my place on this earth was not secure and really, if I chose to I could leave at any time, if it really became that painful.

The difference today is that I have tools to soothe this anxiety with which I meet the world, and I know that I am not alone; every day I endeavour to tell myself that it is one foot in front of the other and that it’s important that I turn up, and that usually works.

It’s knowing these things about myself, the way my mind works, hearing the now audible inner monologue, that there are days when I can feel devastatingly vulnerable, that make me the human being that I am. The knowledge and experience of my own humanity opens my eyes and my heart
to others.

In 1996 I started the practice of Yoga and soon trained to teach it. Physically able, I grew physically strong, and I associated myself with my physical strength. At the time, my desire was to teach people to bring them to the place where I was. I was not really taking into account anything about them, reluctantly modifying the practice for those less able. It took time, a broken ankle, various back problems and neck problems to cut myself a bit of slack. Through learning to teach people yoga who were debilitated by cancer and the treatment for cancer, I realized that the most powerful thing I could do was to meet someone exactly where they were. That sometimes people cannot be brought back to full health, and that the practice for them was to work on acceptance for where they are, and even more so, that this practice is actually universal. That there as a respect in that, love in that, and with love so very much more is possible.

I began to practice a type of meditation called Antar Mouna – for so long the meditation I would practice would take me to a faraway place, an escape. I was shown that through the practice of Antar Mouna I simply sat and watched, my anger, disappointment, joy, frustration, avoidance and of course the spectrum of all human experience.

In February of 1999 my father died suddenly, from pneumonia, as a result of lung cancer, and just a few weeks later my brother Andrew began to show symptoms of the development of a disease that would lead to his degeneration over the next few months and subsequent death in October 1999. I struggled with accepting Andrew was dying, more so, it would seem, than he did. I read the book “The Tibetan book of Dying” by Sogyal Rimpoche. In it one image stuck with me, that if I were to clutch something tightly in my hand, my fingers would be broken if I was forced to release it. The most loving thing to do was to open my hand and release it. It wasn’t just what I wanted. Again I had to work on my acceptance.

My journey feels like it’s been slow, however I realize that there is a divine timing, and compassion for me today is in action. A realization that every thought, word and deed has a consequence, ripples and repercussions. It really is my desire to make those ripples loving. Being human I will stumble . These days, mostly, the world is a beautiful place. I am surrounded by love.