For a number of reasons, Johnny Cash was a typical Pisces. Artistic, empathetic, victimized and tortured (sometimes by his own actions), romantic, addicted and introverted. Most significantly, Cash was a musical storyteller and vividly expressed some of the core qualities of this sign in two songs, “The Man in Black” and “Hurt”.
With the “Man in Black”, Cash explains his identification with this image:
I wear the black for the poor and beaten down,
Livin on the hopeless, hungry side of town,
I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime,
But he’s there because he’s a victim of the times,
I wear it for the sick and lonely old,
For the reckless ones who’s bad trip left them cold,
I wear the black in mournin’ for the lives that could have been,
Each week we lose a hundred fine young men,
Pisces is the sign of empathy and it’s ability to feel the pain of others is effortless. Cash’s Pisces stellium (Sun, Mercury, and Mars) was placed in the 12th house. The 12th house represents areas of life involving victims, solitary, confinement, hospitals and prisons.
Of particular significance, Mercury’s conjunction to the Sun is within 17 minutes of exact. This type of conjunction is known as Cazimi and is unique because it represents scenarios where the Sun elevates the importance of whatever the tightly conjoining planet represents. Here, Mercury rules the 7th house of others. This confirms that Cash isn’t just handing out vague platitudes. The expression of the ego is intimately intertwined with the lives of others, so much so that the ego possibly puts their needs ahead of its own.
All of this strengthens the 12th house focus because it highlights another key Piscean archetype: the role of the martyr. As the man in black, he is their emissary, a symbol for “the poor and beaten down”.
Cash’s Stellium is also opposite Neptune. Neptune blurs the boundaries of whatever it touches. With its opposition to the Sun, it is blurring the boundaries of his core personality. His grieving and mourning for the pain of others is so strong that he, quite literally, becomes them.
Finally, Neptune also represents music so this song became the strongest expression of an awareness (opposition) of the victims in our society. It also became the most immediate and visible reflection of the Cash’s personality because Neptune is often viewed as the ruler of Pisces so it is also the ruler of his Pisces Ascendant.
But it was this connection to the Ascendant that reflects the only shortcoming of this song. While it may be a type of anthem for 12th house Piscean dynamics, it is not much more than an explanation of the image that Cash portrays to the rest of the world. Granted, the song accurately reflects the authenticity of that image, it still feels a bit superficial because it is ultimately just a song about an image. To dig deeper into the true essence and emotional power of these dynamics, “Hurt” was the song that more allowed him to own the archetypes more intimately.
Consider these lyrics:
I hurt myself today,
To see if I still feel,
I focus on the pain,
The only thing that’s real,
What have I become,
My sweetest friend,
Everyone I know goes away,
In the end,
If I could start again,
A million miles away,
I would keep myself,
I would find a way,
Using this song written by someone else, Cash found a way to not only express the loss of self immersed within the 12th’s prison of undoing and isolation, but also the pain of his Scorpio Moon struggling in the 8th to find healing from emotional turmoil and trauma.
Sometimes there can be so much pain in this existence that we almost become numb to existing. Over time, it can feel like staring into an abyss that is the judgment and finality of an entire life. All the hurt. All the regret. All the loss. And we sometimes mourn for who we were. What we’ve lost. Who we’ve lost. This song is about embracing and feeling all of it…so we can surrender, let go and move on. That is one of crucial lessons of Pisces. As the last sign of the zodiac, it represents the end of the cycle of energies that comprise existence.
Cash expressed this feeling of endings. Aware of the deterioration of his health (opposition to 6th house Neptune), he needed to confront his hurt (8th house Scorpio Moon) in a way that brought closure and peace (12th house Pisces Stellium). Within that solace and silence, the contradictions of regret, hurt and sorrow blended and balanced with empathy, acceptance and forgiveness to foster creativity in a way that nothing else can because everything was being released.
Cash died six months later, but left us with this work that offers a rare, intimate and honest portrait of some of the raw emotional power of Pisces.
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