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Ecstasy and God in the Lyrics of Reed and Corgan

Pisces is the last sign of the zodiac, and is closely associated with metaphorical and metaphysical themes of death and spirituality. If each of the twelve signs was a person, Aries, the first sign, would be the infant, and Pisces, the last sign, would be the wise old man. Pisces people are known to have an endless capacity for empathy, perhaps because they've intuitively swallowed the pains and longings that the previous eleven signs have experienced.

Pisces is known as the most spiritual of the signs (think of an old, old woman of 100—she no longer has the strength and protection of her body, but she does have her spirit, which might just be 100 times more powerful) and the most prone to escapism! Perhaps because these fish are so in tune with their own pain and sadness and that of their fellow humans, they sometimes go too far toward excess and drown their sorrows in drugs or sex.

The Smashing Pumpkins: Pisces Iscariot

The Smashing Pumpkins' front man Billy Corgan has publicly stated that he strongly identifies with his sign. He even named an early album Pisces Iscariot. The latest Pumpkins CD, MACHINA/The Machines of God, almost feels like a 70s "concept album." It explores the theme of how to personally and intimately access the love and power of God, in a modern technological age. Piscean themes spring forth throughout all the songs from "The Sacred and the Profane" to "Of the Mourning." On the first cut, "The Everlasting Gaze," Corgan (who writes all songs) sings of being "enchanted in the rapture of his sentimental sway," and repeatedly cries "You know I'm not dead. I'm just living in my head."

This last line speaks to a common predicament of Moon in Gemini people such as Corgan. Although he longs for spiritual clarity and to experience the joy of life, in an unconscious way his cerebral side creates an obstacle. He has too many conflicting thoughts getting in the way of his intuition. The Smashing Pumpkins have survived and thrived way past the death of the "grunge" era that they, and other artists like Nirvana and Pearl Jam, ushered in during the early '90s. They still sell millions because their music speaks to kids who can access a myriad of facts with the click of a mouse but who are having trouble accessing what's in their own hearts.

Corgan sings profoundly about another Pisces theme, possessing the jaded burden of wisdom, yet being close to the innocence of rebirth, on "Stand Inside Your Love":

And for the first time I feel as though I am reborn in my mind. Recast as a child and mystic sage.

Lou Reed: The Agony of Ecstasy

If Corgan is an old soul, Lou Reed is much older! He came of age in the 60s and 'early 70s and made a name for himself as front man for the intelligent and innovative band The Velvet Underground, and as a member of Andy Warhol's Factory entourage. Reed's drug abuse during his early years is well documented (in songs like "Heroin") and continues to be a subject that brings out his angst and inspiration.

Reed's latest CD, Ecstasy, is as powerful and moving as any of his classic albums, such as New York and Transformer. It's just a little older, sadder and wiser, as is Reed, who marked his second Saturn return in June, 2000 (a turning point in a person's maturation). On the title track of the new record, he sings about ecstasy, in a way that conjures up images not so much of the literal drug, but of the close relationship between passionate love and terrible pain:

If we have to part I'll have a new scar right over my heart. I'll call it ecstasy.

On the same track, Reed mourns the fact that he cannot become one completely with his love:

And I think of a time and what I couldn't do. I couldn't hold you close. I couldn't become you.

This line signifies the most Piscean of desires: to drown in and become what he loves.

Reed also touches on the Piscean themes of escapism and emotionally paralyzing fear in the brilliant and melancholy "Modern Dance":

Or maybe I should get a farm in southern France where the winds are wispy and the villagers dance. And you and I we'd sleep beneath a Moon. Moon in June and sleep till noon. And maybe you and I could fall in love. Regain the spirit that we once had. You'd let me hold you and touch the night that shines so bright so bright with fright.

Within "Modern Dance," we hear hints of a man trying his damnedest to work through the realities and difficulties of a long-term relationship. Reed's ability to acknowledge these deep and sometimes depressing challenges, and give love a shot at lasting (rather than escaping) can probably be attributed to his many Taurus planets.

Taurus is the sign of solidity, and long-term romance (it's ruled by Venus) and Reed has his Mars (sexuality and anger), Saturn (work ethic) and Uranus  (his innovative streak) conjunct (close together) in reliable Taurus.

However, judging by the depth of Piscean misery and sadness on this album, his long-term lover, performance artist (and Gemini) Laurie Anderson, may have reason to worry. If ever there was a break-up album, this one sure sounds like it.

One of the most difficult challenges all Pisces people face is determining what is real and what is an illusion, which is the theme of their ruling planet, Neptune. Ecstasy, the album, speaks to the universal challenge we all face between seeing the ones we love as they are and as we want them to be.



Jill Dearman is the author of the gay best sellers Queer Astrology For Men and Queer Astrology For Women (St. Martins Griffin/1999). She has been professionally practicing astrology for twelve years and currently writes horoscopes for the national magazines Twist and Girlfriends as well as numerous papers syndicated via Q Syndicate. She has written about subjects from astrology to literature to film and theater in Mademoiselle, Publishers Weekly and HX. An excerpt from her upcoming novel, The Great Bravura, was featured in Best Lesbian Erotica 2000(Cleis Press). She also writes and produces films. The Village Voice called Dearman a "risk surfing playwright" whose work "shocks and rocks." She is a 1999/2000 artist in residence at HERE in New York City.

Jill is also the author of LoveCycles, an email-delivered guide to love and relationships based on individual birth data, available in the Shop@StarIQ.

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For more information about Jill Dearman, click here.

Other StarIQ articles by Jill Dearman:

  • Brendan Fraser: More Than Just a Pretty Face   4/27/2001
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar: Every Girl's Heroine   4/25/2001
  • Geoffrey Rush: The Moody Marquis   3/23/2001
  • Julia Roberts and Benjamin Bratt: Still Peaking   1/30/2001
  • Kate Winslet's Passionate Choices   12/29/2000
  • Helen Hunt and Hank Azaria: What Does This Woman Want?   12/5/2000
  • Bounce Star Ben Affleck: The Ball is in His Court   12/1/2000
  • Charlie's Angels: Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu   11/25/2000
  • Jim Carrey and Renee Zellweger: Dr. Seuss Meets Nurse Betty   11/17/2000
  • The Bedroom Astrologer 11-15-00   11/15/2000
  • Dylan on Dylan   11/10/2000
  • Bono's Return to Roots of Rock   11/4/2000
  • The Bedroom Astrologer 11-1-00   11/1/2000
  • Geena Davis and Bette Midler: Big Stars on the Small Screen   10/27/2000
  • Janet Jackson's Down-to-Earth Planets   10/21/2000
  • Gloria Steinem: Happy At Last   10/14/2000
  • The Strange Musical Path of Bjork   9/26/2000
  • Picture Perfect Couple: Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston   9/15/2000
  • Harrison and Michelle: A Return to Classic Hollywood   9/8/2000
  • Drew Barrymore: Happily Ever After At Last?   9/1/2000
  • Meg Ryan in the Middle   8/18/2000
  • Mark Wahlberg: Marky Mark is Back   8/12/2000
  • The Return of Cat Stevens   8/4/2000
  • Patti Smith: Her Gung Ho Comeback   7/21/2000
  • Rupert Everett: The Ultimate Gemini   7/7/2000
  • Angelina and Billy Bob: Hollywood's Mod, Odd Couple   6/30/2000
  • The Virgin Suicides: New Hollywood Meets Old Hollywood   6/2/2000
  • Opposites Attract On Screen   5/26/2000
  • Beatty and Bening's New Baby   5/19/2000
  • Aquarian Psycho   5/12/2000
  • Puff Daddy and Jennifer Lopez   5/5/2000
  • Chloe Sevigny's Scorpionic Exploration of Sexuality   3/25/2000
  • Water Signs Rule the Cider House   3/23/2000
  • These Men are from Venus   3/10/2000
  • The Tangled Web of Ripley   3/2/2000
  • Aries Grrrl Warriors: Where Will They Go From Here?   2/18/2000

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