and God in the Lyrics of Reed and Corgan
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.
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
Smashing Pumpkins: Pisces Iscariot
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."
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.
profoundly about another Pisces theme, possessing the jaded burden of
wisdom, yet being close to the innocence of rebirth, on "Stand Inside
the first time I feel as though I am reborn in my mind. Recast as a child
and mystic sage.
Reed: The Agony of Ecstasy
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.
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:
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
think of a time and what I couldn't do. I couldn't hold you close. I couldn't
signifies the most Piscean of desires: to drown in and become what he
touches on the Piscean themes of escapism and emotionally paralyzing fear
in the brilliant and melancholy "Modern Dance":
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.
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.
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.
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.