By Tiphaine de Montaigne

Picking a name and device to play in the SCA is all well and good, but what do you know about the time your name may have been picked from? Most of us follow the fashion step after picking the name and age, but what follows next depends on your love of things historical.

In the Medieval Age in Europe, astrology - especially predictive - was all the rage and reached its peak usage in the 12th and 13th centuries. While there are esteemed Medieval astrology instructors online who can teach you how to recapture this science, this article will help you explore in depth who you think you were.

Reviewing the astrological influences of the times, we find that the world is precessing through the sign of Pisces. Precessing is a word that indicates passing through in a clockwise fashion what we normally pass through in a counterclockwise fashion. Take a moment to examine a basic chart set-up: it's divided into 12 equal parts of 30 degrees each, and on the line of each part sits a sign and a house. On your left as you view the chart, will be the first house and sign, midway down the circle. It's Aries, and it follows that the other signs will have their own dominion too. Cancer is the 4th house and sign, Libra the 7th, Capricorn the 10th, and so on. Pisces is on the 12th line, or cusp, in astro-jingo, and it is through the elements particular to the 12th house and sign that we can identify in a global way what was going through the heads and hearts of people in the medieval age.

Using astrology we can figure out why religion and spirituality was such a big deal, why people were more attuned to nature, intuition, creation of superstitious ideas and the appalling lack of logic, emphasis on the arts, music, literature, and not science, and how all this affected our ancestors.

An approach to the Middle Ages studied by the 12th house and sign can reveal much. Pisces is represented by the symbol of the fish, the same symbol that Christianity uses to represent itself. The age of Pisces did not start with Jesus, however, it started with the Prophet Mohammed.

There is a reason why Jesus is called the Lamb of God, in case anyone should wonder. He was born in the latter days of the age of Aries, which is symbolized by a ram. He came to sow the seeds of fulfilling laws, which would come in the Age of Pisces, since it is the "last" of the signs, the quintessence of all that has gone before.

It takes about 2,150 years for our sun to traverse one zodiacal constellation. It takes one revolution of the Earth around the sun to traverse all 12 constellations. It goes through Aries, Taurus, Gemini, etc. The sun, on the other hand, goes the opposite direction: Aries, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, etc. When it crosses that imaginary cusp, astro-jargon calls it a Precession of the Equinox, the place where for a moment, everything is null and equal. The age of Pisces began with the Prophet Mohammad, the final fall of Rome, the commencement of the Dark Ages and loss of previous knowledge. Here is where the Medieval times truly begin.

So, yes, we are still in the Age of Pisces, but as we approach Aquarius, we feel more and more its rays of influence and its key elements. And Aquarius likes to KNOW things, which engenders societies, like the SCA, which like to understand what went on, and recapture the earlier stories of the Piscean age.

Pisces is the will to renounce that which knows, the supermental power which is capable of contemplating the face of Cause. Pisces is the Age of Faith, the knowing without learning, the emphasis of the psychic, and major concerns with other-worldly affairs. Old-wives' tales, people who can find their way in nearabsolute dark, sifting through visions and dreams for The Truth - these are hallmarks of the Age of Pisces. Keeping the Truth pure, once it is uttered, whether by prophet, savior, or world teacher, requires Herculean effort - one truth for all. Much is made of people who can see or sense beyond the limitations of earthly affairs, and miracles are in demand as proof of that sensibility.

On a more mundane basis, Pisces deals with places where fluids are kept or sold, hermitages, fish ponds, fountains, seas, mills, rivers, cisterns, places where water fowl are bred, pumps, that sort of thing. Let's look at hermitages for a moment. These are places where solitude and reflection are prized. This implies some kind of retreat, some kind of privacy. Privacy wasn't much of a catchword during the Age of Aries. What kind of changes came about to induce privacy as an essential element in our lives? Let's consider the Little Ice Age, from which came the chimney - an evolution of an earth vent for geothermal warming - which created rooms for warming, and eventually the rooms evolved into private areas for individuals as a group and as themselves. This has come during the Age of Pisces.

The rise of swans as mystical birds, something princesses are turned into, and toads, something princes are turned into by spells, enchantments, curses - all water based. Things of the Earth are seen as inimical - for Pisces is opposed by Virgo, an earth sign, and that of a female orientation as well. Pisces, ruled by male Neptune, opposed the Earth goddess. When our world's sun goes through Virgo roughly 12 thousand years from now, Pisces will be opposed, and watery things will inimical. Women are put down in the Age of Pisces because they represent the opposing sign. Priestesses are turned into witches; goddesses become evil seductresses; even Satan is male. In the Age of Aquarius, faith will be supported by knowing, and will oppose the sign of Leo, ruled by the Sun. Women in the Age of Pisces should have been equal in faith, but the mundane effects of the planets overruled the Faith that was to be for all, not just for some. Even in the Buddhist and Islamic faiths, women were at best, 'kept at bay.' In so many ways, we have not lived UP to the expectations of the Piscean Age.

This is reflected in the first 600 years of the Piscean Age, from 600 A.D./CE to 1200. During those years were terrible wars and rumors of wars everywhere, sometimes entire groups extermi-nated. Knowledge prized during the Arian age was lost, buried, destroyed, copied over. The new Way was all that mattered; the old way held no meaning any more. And the Savior of the World (or known world at that point) was the only way. Didn't he say so? Who else could have mattered?

And so thought most of our ancestors. The Irish preserved what they could. The European northeast virtually destroyed itself, and the southeastern nations (Anatolia, Thrace, Greece, Turkey, et al) managed to hold on to what they could. The caves of the Essenes held many documents of great import to us today - they understood what was coming and hid them quite well, only to be discovered when civilization began to feel the rays of Aquarius starting to blend with Pisces - our 20th century.

Our link with the Medieval Age is still strong enough to be identified with today. Knowing who you might have wanted to be like, is who you are today, only with less physical tools to work with. In re-experiencing the Medieval Age, we can recapture its essence - the best of it, as we say - and continue to go to fulfill "the law" as we should have, not as has been done. We are still at it, but kicked up a level.

Some nations that are/were strongly Piscean are Portugal, Normandy, Nubia, the Sahara Desert; some cities are Alexandria, Worms, Seville, Lancaster, and Ratisbon. Opposing cities are Paris, Lyons, Toulouse, Heidelberg. These latter are places where the Feminine was raised, in opposition to the Pisces influence. Some of these also were where the Cathar Heresy was strongest, another element that had some influence by women, although a mixed one.

Are you a warrior? Defending the Way and the Truth was your greatest calling. Are you a poet, a troubador? Putting women somewhere beyond the experiences of every-day living was where you put the lady. Praising noble warriors or damning bad ones were your meal ticket. Beowulf and some of the greatest sagas were written in the first 600 years of the Piscean age.

Are you a tradesman? You made brews, you did millwork, you cobbled footwear, feast gear, tailoring, agriculture - you know them all. You paid the biggest "street tax" in all history to the royalty to protect you - and sometimes they were not much more than overdressed bullies and horrible to you in return. You were not supposed to reason, you were supposed to have faith.

You performed mummery on certain nights of the year. Doing right was what you aimed for, and you had to have faith in your religious leaders to lead you into a good life based on The Teachings. Sides changed quickly and if you didn't know it, you found out rudely and often fatally.

For Pisces is about no direction. It's about going so deep you might get lost. It's not about moving anywhere, it's about going within yourself. Does this sound familiar? It's still what we do today but they just have different names: new age, neo-druidism, scientology, the new Wicca, and the influence of the Middle East and India to meditate, meditate, meditate, and go within. It is still the Piscean Age, and we are still doing what our ancestors did. Things like spelling correctly, education, and philosophy were for the few, not the many. Faith was important - what need then for education for all?

Look up any ephemeris for the Medieval Ages on the Internet. I copied off 1207 and 1404. Any year will do. Who you are/were wasn't as important as "where you were going when you died." Focusing on things of the 12 house/sign will describe your chart, and tell you how bad you might be, or how good. It will tell you what can happen to you and when - perhaps even why.

The SCA, among other historical hobby societies, is as much a part of the real Medieval Age as the times were to those who lived through them. The rays coming from Aquarius help us now know why we were the way we were. But we are still in the middle of the Piscean Age. Calculations from modern astrologers put the beginning of the Aquarian age at least 500 more years into the future(so we are two-thirds of the way through!)

And maybe through the efforts of historical re-creation societies, role-playing gamers, fantasy authors, by that time, we'll finally have gotten the whole premise of the Piscean Age and be the best we were meant to be. I urge you to apply yourself to this science as they did 700 years ago, and then kick it up to the next notch. Astrology has developed a way of showing what you may have been through your planetary placements in the houses of your chart. And your previous life or lives is.... The 12th house. Isn't that SO Piscean?


Astrological Keywords, by Manly P. Hall, 1958, The Philosophi-
    cal Research Society.
The Lives You Live: as revealed in the heavens, by Ted George,
    1976, Arthur Publications
The 12th House, by Tracy Marks, 1977, published by Sagit-
    tarius Rising, Arlington, MA and Aldebaran Press, MA.

Reprinted from the Fall, 2005, issue of Arts and Sciences, a special issue of the Pikestaff,
the official newsletter of the Kingdom of the East. Used by permission.