Piscean Animal Totems and Archetypes

The Sun entered Pisces on Friday morning, 19th February 2016 at 5.34 a.m. in the U.K.  This is the tenth in the series where I look at some of the animal totems and Archetypes for the various signs. Do you, or someone close to you, have Sun, Ascendant or Moon in Pisces?

You’ll find a preponderance of sea creatures here, with which to immerse yourself.  If,  like me, you have one planet or less in the water element, you may need to take regular breaks as you read it!  I once met someone who had so many planets in water that I felt I was drowning, and could not hold a conversation with them until another two years had passed.  This blog promises to be as convoluted as the Piscean psyche and the currents of the ocean…


The traditional symbol for Pisces is that of two fish swimming in opposite directions, connected by a cord.  This symbol has, over the centuries, given rise to an overwhelming number of interpretations.  Without wishing to sound overly sentimental or romantic, I see the fish as eternally searching for each other.  But there are so many spiritual meanings, layers and levels of meaning available.  A sensible option is that of Alice Bailey, as expounded in “Esoteric Astrology”: “One fish stands for the soul and the other for the personality or form nature, and between them is to be found the ‘thread or sutratma,’ the silver cord which keeps them bound to each other throughout the cycle of manifested life.” ~ a good, solid, dependable definition!

The fish of course is a symbol for Christ, who is associated with this sign, through for instance fostering the fishers of men, the miracle of the loaves and fishes.


Chris Griscom in her book makes much of the human potential to evolve along the lines of the Whale: “Whales have exactly the same brain as we, except seven times larger.  They have made the catapultic leap into holographic thought.  Whereas we are caught in our linearity, they use sound as the medium of holographic consciousness and are thus able to digest immense quantities of information simultaneously.”  Her book “Ecstasy is a New Frequency” implies that we have the potential to use our whole brain.

Nicky Scully refers to the Whale in the context of a journey to “Sonic Initiation”, while Jamie Sams and David Carson inform us that: “Whale medicine people are coded in their DNA to understand that sound frequencies can bring up records in the memories of  ancient knowledge.”


Olivia de Bergerac

Without apology, I would like to draw heavily on a book by Olivia de Bergerac, a lady who has worked intensively with dolphins.  She was brought up in France, but has made her home in Australia, where she runs dolphin workshops.  Her book “The Dolphin Within” describes “a new psychology of human potential based on a dolphin model”.  Her birth chart shows the South Node (past life patterns) in Pisces trine exactly Neptune (god of the Sea).

Together with her partner William and colleague Constant Behrens, Olivia developed a model or matrix of human potential.  This is based on four personality types: the Turtle, the Shark, the Seahorse and the Dolphin.


 In aborigine legend and other ancient cultures, Turtle holds a fundamental role basically as Mother Earth.  In the very first regression I carried out with my friend Sandy Colyer in Watford in 1990, the Turtle came up for our Piscean client.  The turtle is a sea creature, but lays its eggs on the sand, so Turtle can be a totem for someone who is predominantly Piscean but has the polarity with Virgo, or has features such as the Ascendant or Moon in Taurus.

Ted Andrews writes of the turtle: “Turtles have amazing survival skills and strategies.  They hear well.  Actually, they sense vibrations in the water through their skin and shell.  Turtles are also able to distinguish some colours, and they do have a sense of smell.”

In Olivia de Bergerac’s system what she calls Human Turtles: “look for stability and security.  Physical and emotional comfort is important to them.  In return for security and comfort, they give application, obedience, conformity, adherence and compliance.  They follow with approval rather than pursue with passion.  They also have the capacity for knowing how to truly serve, in the devotional sense.”


You may not feel Shark belongs here in Pisces, at least not without a touch of Scorpio or Capricorn, or even Leo.  But Shark is nevertheless a sea creature, and according to Olivia de Bergerac, much maligned, e.g. from the film “Jaws”.  According to Nicholas J. Saunders “Traditional societies living near shark-infested waters show less hysterical, better informed attitudes than inlanders, but still call on supernatural powers for protection.”

Olivia de Bergerac paints a competitive picture of the Human Shark: “A permanent hunger haunts human sharks, and drives their behaviour. Their self-interest, based on the fundamental mechanisms of survival, leads them to a drive for consumption, materialism and competitiveness.  Human sharks want to be number one. They bed to succeed, and they believe they can succeed. They like to be in control, to conquer. They have a ‘just do it’ philosophy’. They want action, and they want it now.”  I recommend reading her book for a fuller and more intricate picture of Shark.


The Seahorse makes especial sense for Pisces, if you regard it as linked with Jupiter, the old ruler of Pisces, which is associated with the sign of Sagittarius the Centaur.

Olivia de Bergerac explains the nature of the Human Seahorse thus:

 “Human seahorses have a deep need to express themselves, to preserve their individuality, to stand out, to differentiate themselves from the norm to the extent of appearing eccentric.  They have the capacity to receive higher inspiration.  Thus they are often creative, and they like to play with myths and legends.  They create their own world in order to live their own fantasies.  They have a strong sense of show.  They like to surprise, to amaze, to inspire awe and wonder.”


The dolphin is always seen as a positive sign, whether as an animal totem, a spiritual symbol, or a dream feature.  It is usually associated with the quality of Joy.  Nicky Scully ascribes the dolphin to Communication and Atlantis.  She writes: “because of the growing problems of pollution, many forms of marine life are endangered.  For your gift or exchange with Dolphin, you might find a personal way of contributing in the ongoing struggle to sustain life in our oceans.”

De Bergerac elucidates the various brain functions: “Human dolphins can self-regulate their brains.  They can have full access to their left (logical) brains and their right (intuitive) brains, and they can integrate the two.  They know how to produce at will beta (for action), alpha (for  relaxation) or theta (for creativity) and delta (for healing) brainwaves.  They do consciously what most people do unconsciously and automatically.  They therefore have more choices in life.”

For more information about how these four sea creatures interlock, read her book.



Last but not least, the Swan is a symbol I have always associated with Pisces, because of the potential for serenely gliding across a clear lake, as in profound meditation.  The vastness of Piscean emotion does not always allow for this state, and swans are not always calm, but when it is attained, the image is perfect.

Ted Andrews writes: “For those with this totem, the emotions will become more sensitive, and you will find yourself becoming more sensitive to the emotions of others as well…The swan is the totem of the child, the poet, the mystic, and the dreamer.”

Nicky Scully emphasizes the concept of the “Inner Mate” with Swan, which echoes the romantic element of the two fishes searching for each other, and the inner union: “The true alchemical marriage is the merging of the masculine and feminine inside ourselves, and this journey instigates the courtship within which that marriage can occur.”

Ann Napier, founder of Cygnus [Swan] Books, providing spiritual nourishment, had Sun, Mercury and Venus in Pisces.

Bird Totems


Seabirds, such as seagulls, would naturally be associated with Pisces.

Andrea Wansbury refers to Gulls as representing the search: “A gull  is asking what are you searching for in life? Is it happiness, success, wealth, love? What fears and negative beliefs have stopped you from finding what you’re searching for?”

Echoes of the searching fishes we started out with, but the essence of the search for her is information.


Gannet is a rather random bird to pick out of the vast array of sea birds.  It probably combines Pisces with another sign, such as Taurus, to emerge as a totem.  But for one Piscean who died recently, it was his specialism and passion.

Bryan Nelson, who was a “biographer” of the gannet species, died last August (I scan the obituaries, you know).  His karmic mission was clear, from Sun conjunct North Node in Pisces. The Guardian obituary informed us “His passion for such birds found its outlet in several books, which ranged from a detailed and authoritative monograph on the gannet (The Gannet, 1978) to a concise introduction to the same species in the popular Shire Natural History series (1979).”  His birthday was 14th March: that may be a special birthday for Gannet lovers, though he was also an expert on seabirds generally.



This beautifully delicate insect has endured since the dawn of time, and I associate it with Pisces.  Sandy Colyer, with whom I originally developed my animal totem work in the 1990s, had dragonfly as a totem, together with a Pisces Ascendant.

Ted Andrews explains: “Just as light can bend and shift and be adapted in a variety of ways, so can the archetypal forces associated with the dragonfly.  It is one of the most adaptable of insects.  It is why it has been able to survive for so long.”  Pisces is a Mutable sign, which makes it adaptable, as well as fluid from the water element.

Mythological Creatures

 Creatures of the deep include the Leviathan (mentioned in the bible, and immortalized as a book title by Hobbes) and the more modern day phenomenon of the Loch Ness Monster.  There is a power and a mystery, and a link with the unconscious, with these animals.  Nicholas J. Saunders covers both, noting that Leviathan was the Hebrew version of the Mesopotamian monster Tiamat, and he dates the Loch Ness monster to an account of the 6th Century Saint Columbus.  So these forms have been occupying our minds for many incarnations!



Famous Example: Albert Einstein

Other signs can lay claim to science, but Pisces lays claim to talent and genius by virtue of employing the whole brain.  The theory of relativity came to Albert Einstein in a dream.

I wonder what Einstein was thinking about when he said  What does a fish know about the water in which he swims all his life?”  He too was born on 14th March.


The genius, due to the receptivity of the brain and imagination, is able to access information.  The Mystic unites more specifically with the divine, in the spiritual or religious sense, and can unite religions from that level, sensing the underlying truths they have in common at source.  Caroline Myss describes the Mystic Archetype thus:

“Follows selfless path of practice to achieve union with the divine or a state of enlightenment that manifests as service to others”.  Those with strongly Piscean charts have often had significant lives as monks, priests or nuns, in cloistered conditions.


Pisces, and its ruling planet Neptune, often show according to their condition in the birthchart, how strongly addicted we are.  It is related psychologically, to their capacity for surrender.  The seed of addiction is of course present in all of us, but more so with Pisces and Neptune.

There is a star of the far southern sky named Fomalhaut (Alpha Pisces Austrini) which according to “Star Elixirs” by Michael Smulkis and Fred Rubenfeld can help with addiction: “The awareness of past-life connections that create the necessity for such addictions also comes to one’s consciousness with repeated use of this star.” As synchronicity would have it, our Sun aligns with the star this week, on Tuesday 23rd, so that is your chance to tune in to or meditate with this concept if it appeals to you or if you need to.

Caroline Myss says of the Addict Archetype:  “Helps you recognise when any external force has more authority over your willpower than your inner spirit does”.


“The Dolphin Within” by Olivia de Bergerac

“Ecstasy is a New Frequency” by Chris Griscom

“Esoteric Astrology” by Alice Bailey

“The Golden Cauldron” by Nicky Scully

“Medicine Cards” by Jamie Sams and David

 “Animal Speak” by Ted Andrews

 “Archetype Cards” by Caroline Myss

“Animal Spirits” by Nicholas J. Saunders

“Birds Divine Messengers” by Andrea Wansbury

“Starlight Elixirs” by Michael Smulkis and Fred Rubenfeld

This blog is dedicated to the pod of  Sperm Whales who recently tragically perished in the North Sea area, among them those who were beached in Norfolk and Lincolnshire, a mystery and message we still ponder.  Climate change is one of the theories.


We have a Full Moon in Virgo tomorrow at tea time [pause…while you contemplate tea and scones…]

The effects may be with you already, in a sense of anticipation or accumulating tension.  Perhaps there is a work project which deadlines at the beginning of the week, or some kind of calling to account.  One of our cats is going to the local weigh in club at the vet’s, as we have been trying to tackle his obesity (despite the fact that he hardly eats).  Perhaps you have a similar appointment for a reckoning!

Fixed Star Fomalhaut looks after us on Tuesday (23rd), and may help with addiction, to food or other substances.  Take a cue from “Starlight Elixirs”: “There is an enhancement of inner quiet as the addiction to the thinking state is reduced.” ~ a suitable seed thought for meditation.

Thursday (25th) brings the first of two sextiles this week (mildly harmonious in force): Mercury sextile Saturn.  The end of the week favours Geminis and Virgos, who are Mercury-ruled, because both sextiles involve Saturn.  This first one involves looking at the benefits of the status quo (such as staying in Europe), and what it is good to preserve.  It is good for theoretical planning, sketching out a matrix of thought.

By contrast, Friday (26th) is good for looking at new mental schemes and ideas, and ways of liberation (such as shall we leave Europe?)  It looks to the future, and connects your mind to future vision.  So, over the two days, you may gain a perfectly balanced perspective on whether to stay or go, whether applied to Europe or any other dilemma.  It looks as though I may have to blog on the subject next week, unless something more pressing intervenes.

The week in bullet points:

  • Tomorrow – tension regarding work, health or climate issues
  • Tuesday – calming and getting to the roots of addiction
  • Thursday – balanced and constructive thought
  • Friday – new ideas and mental vistas