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The Book of Talismans, Amulets and Zodiacal Gems, by William Thomas and Kate Pavitt, [1922], at

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Period—Constellation—Precession of the Equinoxes—Icthyes, the Fishes—Mythology—Symbol—The Rulers of the House—Characteristics—Ailments of the Type—Professions—Friendship and Marriage—Harmonious and Inharmonious Types—The Gem of the House—The Amethyst—Virtues of the Stone—Talisman against Inebriety—Its Calming Influence—The Stone of St. Valentine—As a Lovers’ Talisman—The Effect of Purple Rays—The Amethyst Beneficent to all Types—Real and Artificial Gems and how to select them.

The Sun enters the Zodiacal House of Pisces, the Fishes, on February 19th, remaining in occupation until March 10th.

The constellation of Pisces is situated in the Southern Celestial Hemisphere between Aquarius and Aries, occupying a large space near the Equator which the Sun crosses at the Vernal Equinox when entering the Zodiacal House of Aries.

At one time the constellations marked the actual Zodiacal Houses of the same name, but owing to the precession of the Equinoxes the constellations have moved forward, and Pisces occupies the space originally allotted to Aries; and this forward movement applies to all the Zodiacal

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[paragraph continues] Houses previously dealt with. The constellation can be seen best during the latter part of October and through November between 8 and 10 p.m., but owing to the absence of any important stars it is not easily traced.

It was known to the Greeks as Ichthyes, the Fishes, and as illustrating the connection of the Zodiac with religious teachings, it is interesting to note that the early Christians chose the Fish as the symbol of their faith because the Greek word ΙΧΘΥΣ, Fish, formed the initials of five words meaning Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour. In Ancient Grecian Mythology it is recorded that the two fishes were placed in the heavens by the goddess Minerva to commemorate the escape of Venus and her son Cupid who, whilst walking on the banks of the Euphrates, were attacked by the demon Typhon, described by Homer and Virgil as having a hundred dragon heads upon his shoulders, with devouring flames belching from the mouths and eyes, and with snakes issuing from his fingers. To escape this monster, Venus and Cupid transformed themselves into fishes and plunged into the river which afforded them safety.

This House is generally symbolised by two fishes connected with a band, as illustrated in No. 12 of the Frontispiece. Jupiter is usually considered to be the ruling planet of this House, or in the case

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of highly developed subjects the planet Neptune takes the rule.

The symbol of the two fishes attached yet turning in contrary directions seems an apt symbol of the characteristics of this type who are the most dual-natured of all signs, being liable to act on the impressions of their surroundings, showing at one moment extreme persistence and at another a want of determination. Like the two fishes represented back to back, their thoughts and actions are frequently at variance, and, although outwardly placid and docile, this sensitive, changeable disposition is soon ruffled by sudden impulse, resembling the shimmering water which is the native element of the fishes. Being receptive to the conditions around them Pisces subjects adapt themselves readily to any change of environment or circumstances fate may bring, but have a great dislike to anything that tends to ruffle their calm and placid temperaments. Hating suspense, uncertainty, or anxiety, and many-sided in their failings and weaknesses, they often appear to be a mass of contradictions.

The general characteristic of those born under the influence of Pisces is a strongly emotional, contemplative, facile nature with much artistic appreciation for beautiful scenery and surroundings. The pleasures of life have a great attraction

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for them, but from an inherent consideration of the possible demands of the future their expenditure in this direction is coupled with much prudence. Being susceptible to outside influences they are apt to rely too much on the advice and experiences of those with whom they come into contact, and are by turns too apprehensive and too venturesome. The mind is imaginative, philosophical, and acquisitive, and as a rule mechanical and accurate, although liable to become indolent and self-centred unless spurred on by those they are fond of, when they will persevere in their efforts towards a desired end with astonishing persistency. In spite of this spasmodic determination they are often lacking in self-confidence and fail to make the best of opportunities for their own interests and benefit. Very much appreciating any confidence in their ability to carry out work entrusted to them by others, which they perform with the utmost punctuality and precision; and having a liking for positions of responsibility and management, they frequently run two occupations at the same time. As children they are of a very observant and enquiring nature, continually asking questions, so that every advantage as regards education should be given them, a wrong start in life being more serious in its results to this type than to any other. They seldom change the profession

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or occupation on their own initiative, and although easily persuaded become obstinate when driven. Hating discord and strife, the temper is slow to anger but rebellious when roused, and although naturally of a peace-loving disposition they do not easily recover from its effects.

When adversely aspected they become selfish, secretive, discontented, and extravagant, and in business tricky and dishonest, and with a general want of balance and a tendency to intemperance.

This House ruling the feet, those born during the Pisces period are subject to ailments and injuries affecting these members, and are also liable to contract colds and serious illnesses from damp feet; they are also inclined to weakness of the back, abscesses and disorders of the blood, and irregularities of the general system, torpidity of the liver, and nervous breakdown, but they should never be encouraged to make much of any illness; being so susceptible, that suggestion alone will frequently cause its development.

In professions and occupations they are successful as actors, novelists, artists, teachers, travellers, musicians, examiners, and make good disciplinarians, also, being very resourceful in emergencies, they are extremely successful in the care and management of young people, interesting them and gaining their confidence and enthusiasm by

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original methods, yet exacting obedience without harshness or fault-finding. Illustrating the possibilities of this type when well developed, we may cite General Baden-Powell.

Being naturally fond of the water, they are successful as Captains, Sailors, and Fishermen; also in all businesses connected with liquids, such as hotel-keepers and caterers.

In friendship and marriage they are overcautious in some respects whilst imprudent in others, and being apprehensive of consequences they frequently weigh and consider before making any voluntary change in their lives and habits; so that although impressionable and affectionate, they are apt to drift aimlessly into circumstances, and, in many instances, marry late, although naturally inclined and fitted for home and family life. They will be found most in harmony with those born during the Cancer, Scorpio, Taurus, and Capricorn periods, and least in sympathy with those of the Gemini and Sagittarius periods.

The gem of this House is the Amethyst, a semiprecious stone in varying shades of purple which belongs to the quartz family and owes its colour to oxide of manganese and iron which forms part of its composition. The best variety comes from Siberia, Ceylon, Brazil, and Persia, and the

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[paragraph continues] Amethyst was originally regarded as a very precious stone, until the immense quantities received from Brazil reduced its value generally.

From the earliest dawn of history the occult properties of this stone as an antidote to inebriety have been recognised, by all writers, the name originating from a Greek word meaning "without intoxication," and according to Aristotle it was also the name of a beautiful nymph who invoked the aid of Diana to protect her from the attentions of Bacchus, which the goddess did by converting her into a precious gem, upon which Bacchus, in remembrance of his love, gave the stone its colour and the quality of preserving its wearers from the noxious influence of wine.

The Egyptians used these stones freely for Talismans, their soldiers wearing them as Amulets for success in their exploits and calmness in danger. Pliny says the Magi believed that if the symbols of the Sun and Moon were engraved upon the Amethyst it made a powerful charm against witchcraft, and procured for its wearers success to their petitions, good luck, and the favour of those in authority. Camillus Leonardus, confirming its efficacy in restraining intoxication, says:

"It also represses evil thoughts and all excesses, prevents contagion, and gives good understanding

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of hidden things, making a man vigilant and expert in business."

The Amethyst has always been associated with ecclesiastical decorations, its frequent use in episcopal rings giving rise to its description as "the Bishop's Stone," and rosaries of Amethyst beads were much in request in olden times to attract soothing influences in times of stress and to confer a pious calm on their wearers.

In religious art it was regarded as emblematic of resignation under earthly sufferings, patience in sorrow, and trust unto death, which Marbodus (translated by the Rev. C. W. King) expresses in verse:

"On high the Amethyst is set
 In colour like the violet,
 With flames as if of gold it glows
 And far its purple radiance throws;
 The humble heart it signifies
 Of him who in the Saviour dies."

During the Middle Ages the qualities attributed to it were many: it indicated the presence of poison by becoming dim, also personal danger and ill-health by changing colour; it was, moreover, considered to give vigilance to business men, and to sportsmen and soldiers calmness in danger.

The Amethyst is the stone of St. Valentine, who is said to have always worn it; and in the days

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of romance and chivalry, if presented by a lady to her knight, or a bride to her husband in the shape of a heart set in silver, it was said to confer the greatest possible earthly happiness on the pair who would be blessed with good fortune for the remainder of their lives.

In connection with the soothing influence of this gem, it is interesting to note that according to modern research purple light rays have been found to exercise a calming effect upon nervous and hysterical patients and a consequent improvement in the vitality. Cases of neuralgia and sleeplessness have been relieved by an Amethyst rubbed gently over the temples. It is one of the very few gems that may universally be worn without adverse results.

Next: Real and Artificial Gems and How to Test and Select Them