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HipScopes.com

Why Patients Need Drug Rehab Centers

wnrcDrug addiction in a family brings a lot of misery to all the members. That is why when one member of the family is addicted, all the others too, feel the effects, sometimes even worse than the victim. But once the problem has been identified, the only solution is to deal with it one on one to inhibit its recurrence. That is why the only remedy remains to find drug rehab centers that will see to the full recovery of the patient. Each rehab center has its own treatment methods and it remains the duty of the family members to find out the one that will suit their patient well.

At the drug rehab centers, doctors strive not only to put an end to a patient’s use of drugs, but also to make sure the craving for the drugs do not strike at any time during or even after the full course of treatment. Since all the doctors that treat drug addicts are trained, they help the patients through their addiction while at the same time identifying reasons for resorting to the drugs in the first case. When patients have opened up to tell the truth, the next session for them is counseling to let them adopt positive attitude towards life. Different drug rehab centers offer varying services. There are some that give five star client care services, complete with luxury and exclusivity, and as such, are expensive. The programs vary from treatment of illegal drug addiction to prescription drug addiction.

Teen Drug Rehab Centers

Drug rehab centers are divided into many sections. These include the teen rehab centers, women rehab centers and men drug rehab centers. In some occasions, there is one for the old people in the society who are beyond the retirement age. Lately, it has become so difficult for parents to place a close watch on their teenagers. This is due to the fact that they now have access to information everywhere. With just a simple mobile phone, a teenager can access the internet where he or she can get exposed to a lot of information about drugs and drug addiction. Your children can even be influenced into drugs and substance abuse through the different sites by their fellow teenagers.

There are quite a number of signs and symptoms which will clearly show that you need to consult the services of teen drug rehab centers. One, a child who has a drug problem will show signs of messy and ugly appearance and poor hygiene. Their appetite is greatly affected and some of them end up avoiding meal times. A teenager who avoids eye contact with you could also be influenced into drug addiction and urgently needs help to overcome it. Many of them become very wreck less especially on the road causing accidents.


Your November HipScope!

CAPRICORN

DECEMBER 22 – JANUARY 20. You may find it difficult to muster your patience this month–but try. Since numerous planets are in retrograde motion, any attempt at forward motion is very much against the grain, but not impossible. The most productive thing you can do is to channel your considerable energies into your work while steering clear of arguments and conflicts. You are certainly making more progress than you have for several years, and the planets promise even more spectacular success just a bit further down the road. In fact, what transpires around the 21st will bring welcome news or an opportunity to show how talented and capable you really are.

TAURUS

APRIL 21 – MAY 21. Until the 22nd, the Sun is passing through your opposite sign of Scorpio, which tends to make you more dependent, anxious to please and uncertain of your own strength. But even though you may need others’ input or participation to achieve your aims, you probably don’t need it as much as you think. The New Moon of the 8th marks a pivotal time where close relationships and partnerships are concerned, and you must remind yourself that true balance and reciprocity can only be achieved by equals. Additionally, developments at work this month will convince you once and for all that it’s time to become more assertive and self-assured about your abilities.

VIRGO

AUGUST 24 – SEPTEMBER 23. Mercury’s retrograde motion between the 5th and the 24th will force you to probe and analyze your situation rather than breeze along and follow your hunches. And you’ll certainly have a great deal to consider, especially on the financial front. It will be important–even essential–to pin down details and clarify information by going to the source and meeting others face-to-face. You may feel that your talents are wasted or unappreciated where you are, and that the time has come to look in a new direction and take a chance on change. In fact, the Full Moon of the 23rd marks a turning point that will launch you into a brilliant new career cycle.

AQUARIUS

JANUARY 21 – FEBRUARY 19. Being true to yourself may exact a heavy toll, but the long-term rewards will always outweigh the negatives. This month, the Sun in Scorpio until the 22nd will connect you to those who can further your career–but first you must decide what is right for you. With Mars in an obscure, hidden-away angle of your chart, you must take care not to jeopardize your plans by revealing them prematurely or to the wrong person. Also, you should avoid spending too much time trying to analyze situations and should instead concentrate on new opportunities. After Mars changes signs on the 26th, you will gain a much better sense of exactly how things will unfold.

GEMINI

MAY 22 – JUNE 21. This month, Saturn will form a difficult aspect to the Sun, and you will wonder why so many burdens, chores and responsibilities are landing in your lap. Mercury’s retrograde motion from the 5th to the 24th will focus your attention on practical and work-related matters as well as on the need to verify all information, however trivial. It might be wise to seek expert advice before finalizing any financial transactions or agreements. After the 22nd, the Sun will enter your relationship angle, emphasizing partnership and matrimonial affairs. Your emotions will rise to the surface around the Full Moon of the 23rd, enabling you to make a life-altering choice.

LIBRA

SEPTEMBER 24 – OCTOBER 23. October was unquestionably a challenging and important month that brought certain personal matters to a head. You’ve acted decisively, and now you must take the next step by asserting your right to more power and authority in your professional life. Fortunately, Venus’ presence in your sign after the 8th indicates that you’ll be able to use your charm, diplomacy and tact even more effectively than usual. It is no coincidence that many famous generals have been born under the sign of Libra. You are a master strategist, and the periods around the 9th and the 20th are the times to make your move and give your all.

PISCES

FEBRUARY 20 – MARCH 20. As November begins, the plans you made last month may turn out to be more complex and tedious to pursue than you’d expected. November does hold many positive aspects, though, particularly regarding travel plans and making connections with foreigners. Mars in Capricorn also indicates that you’ll be active on the social scene and in group undertakings that thrust you into a leadership role. You also have much to gain by finalizing financial transactions or agreements around the 10th and the 21st. Professionally, you’re nearing a crucial crossroads in your life, and after the Sun changes signs on the 22nd, you’ll be ready to decide and act.

CANCER

JUNE 22 – JULY 22. With Saturn forming a harsh aspect to the Sun on the 6th of this month, you’ll be hard-put to keep a pet project or professional venture afloat. By all means, agree to modify your arrangements and accommodate others’ suggestions and plans, but, at the same time, be careful not to give away the store. Partners and associates will pursue their own agendas, and you must stand your ground and maintain your equanimity in the face of openly competitive and aggressive tactics. Fortunately, developments in your romantic life are bound to inspire you this month, and the 10th and the 21st are perfect times to finalize advantageous property transactions.

hsOCTOBER 24 – NOVEMBER 22. Ever since Saturn entered Taurus last March you’ve felt like an outsider, misunderstood by those you count on and battling your way alone through a minefield of potential problems. In fact, November marks the beginning of a new and different phase that will enable you to let go of past negative situations and emotions and focus your gaze on a happier future. You must, however, be willing to question your own behavior and relinquish some fixed ideas about the way things should be done. A more flexible attitude toward financial affairs will yield spectacular results–especially if you look in an unexpected direction and try your hand at something new.

ARIES

MARCH 21 – APRIL 20. October was a trying and demanding period, and, with the Sun forming a harsh aspect to Saturn on the 6th of this month, you’re not likely to feel happy about the outcome of a joint project or financial decision. Still, you’ll have little choice but to accept others’ terms and make the best of it. In fact, letting go of this struggle will enable you to turn your attention to more rewarding endeavors. The best planetary aspects this November involve bold schemes and opportunities to capitalize on your creative abilities. And, because Venus will trine Uranus on the 21st, you’ll be connecting with trustworthy people whose support will enable you to pursue a long-held dream.

LEO

JULY 23 – AUGUST 23. Because the Sun, your ruler, is at odds with Saturn, it would be unwise to rock the boat over family or domestic matters, or to expect others to recognize how many sacrifices you’ve made. In fact, you appear to be suffering from a case of tunnel vision–especially about an intensely personal matter. No one can be more kind or generous than a typical Leo, but, as with your astrological cousins Scorpio, Aquarius and Taurus, your stubbornness and inflexibility frequently trap you in no-win situations. For that reason, try to leave well enough alone this November and instead channel your energies into your professional interests, especially around the 23rd.

SAGITTARIUS

NOVEMBER 23 – DECEMBER 21. You appear to be on the defensive over a work matter and feeling let down by someone you’d counted on. In fact, a complete reorganization of your situation and day-to-day routine will enable you to rid yourself of a draining association and turn over a new leaf. The Sun’s placement in the perceptive sign of Scorpio enables you to delve into your subconscious and find the perfect solutions to long-range problems. You’ll now zero in on a strategy that guarantees new success. You will also benefit by getting out socially, especially around the 20th, when unexpected encounters promise to lead you down new and exciting paths.


October HipScope Comin’ Atcha!

ARIES (March 21-April 20) A flame you thought was burned out rekindles after March 8. On Saint Patrick’s Day, you make a critical decision where your heart’s concerned. Go slow until April 19, when you’re back in smooch mode. Impulsive moves will only sprain your ego and hurt your batting average.

TAURUS (April 21-May 20) Try a new love recipe this March: equal parts tough-as-nails and vulnerably kittenish. This one is scheduled to come roaring into your life after the 8th. Keep a low profile in April until the 19th. A babe who’s gotten top ratings in the past finally goes bottoms-up. Your life span together is way over.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20) Are you ready? You’re entering the Romance Zone mid-March. You’ve been avoiding commitment, but no longer. A steadfast bud starts looking mighty cute. Chemistry doesn’t lie. In April, pump iron! You’re gonna wanna look your very best for someone who sends your lust-o-meter into the red. Prepare to get real messy … passion gives black marks for tidiness.

caCANCER (June 21-July 21) Ah, the eyes of March! Keep yours open for some dreamboat who’s sharing work space right around the 17th. You’ll want to sneak off together and find a hideaway — for trading secrets and smooches. April seems like nothing but one professional commitment after another until the 20th — then get ready to play romantic peek-a-boo. Don’t pull into your shell and hide.

LEO (July 22-Aug. 22) Tread softly in March, especially around the 18th and 19th, or you’ll get tripped up. Someone who’s been running interference with your heart is permanently banished to the sidelines. This April, unrequited love may re-illuminate in a brighter, hotter way than before. Don’t pout and nurse old battle scars. They make a good story.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) The full moon of March 9 tells the truth — and nothing but. What kinda girl makes your heart pitty-pat — or feel like lead? Maybe it’s time to upgrade. April writes another telling chapter in the Book of Love. Checks and balances start evening out — or not. Are you getting as much as you’re giving? Your love is above measure.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22) Venus turns tail and heads for old romantic turf on March 8. There’s something — or someone — you need to remember. Keep open spaces in your calendar for the next six weeks. It’s gonna be a pulse-racer. The full moon over the weekend of April 7 and 8 is in Libra — tailor-made just for you. Don’t fight the urge to merge. Cozy up and commit.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) Try just a little bit harder, darlin’ — loosen up your heartstrings in March and let that love-light shine in. Caution is as natural to you as breathing, but it’s time to share. Prepare for a passionate tussle from April 20 through the 22nd and show a feisty palomino who’s boss. She’ll be thrilled.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 20) Lady Venus scorches the Highway to Love this March. On the 9th, a devastating diva spells disaster. Move out of her range and off into a new direction. She’s just this side of dangerous. April has you yearning for a great romantic adventure, but wait until after the 19th for the biggest, best results.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 21-Jan. 20) What romantic secret are you hiding in a back pocket? Don’t kid yourself — it’s public information. Play your hand in March. You’ve got a royal flush. By April 20, let go of old resentments. You and an ex have nothing left but the memories. Let bygones be bygones and remember the good.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 21-Feb. 18) Flaunt what you’ve got on the full moon of March 6. And if you don’t make the Love Connection right away, there’ll be a surge of electrifying passion around the 18th or 19th. In April, your inner poet emerges. Even if your words don’t rhyme, your heart, and another’s, will, beat for beat. G’wan, get ridiculously romantic.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20) Go high-stylin’ in March. Shop, revise and revamp. New romance is on its way — and you want to catch the right pair of bedroom eyes. April is perfect for spring cleaning. Dust out the corners of your home and heart. Make sound investments in both after the 19th. Then you won’t have to stand in the “returns” line.


A Rebuttal To Astrological Thinking

Now why would a handful of stars, among all those thousands, behave that way? Night after night, as the canopy of stars moved majestically and predictably across the sky, there were always those few rebels who refused to go along with the rest. It was eerie.

And if you looked very closely, some of these rebels looked quite different from the rest of the vast array. For one thing, they didn’t seem to twinkle like the others. And one of them, on certain nights, actually looked as if it were red. Then there were those two brilliant rebel stars that were always so low on the horizon at sunrise and sunset, that were often more bright than any other star in the sky. These were deep mysteries indeed.

We finally did figure out that the brilliant morning and evening stars were one and the same – Venus. And some of us ultimately realized that these rebels were not stars at all – they were gods, a logical deduction if ever there was one. Well, that turned out not to be the right answer. But once we concluded that these “wandering” stars were in fact planets, we set about the exciting business of interpreting their bizarre motions in the heavens, and how these meanderings might affect us. Thus, astrology was born. And we have been happily engaged in it ever since.

atlgytFor almost as long as astrology has existed, there have been cogent arguments put forward exposing its fatal flaws. Once the real distances to the planets had been fairly well calculated, and gravitation was more or less understood, these arguments carried even more weight. How could planets, hundreds of millions of miles away from us, have any effect on a newborn baby? Logically, they could not. But logic has never been our strongest suit. Consider:

According to statistics quoted in Life magazine (July 1997), 48 percent of Americans say that astrology is valid; in the last twenty years the number of astrologers has increased from around 1,000 to 5,000; and 20 million books on astrology are purchased annually in this country alone. Helping to feed this silliness, and very unsettling to a skeptical thinker, is the fact that the Life article author concluded with a ringing endorsement of astrology (see “Life Magazine’s Star Struck View of Astrology,” SKEPTICAL INQUIRER, November/December 1997).

We seem to be galloping backward. It’s as if we just can’t wait to return to the Middle Ages, when illnesses were often treated with exorcisms, witches really flew on broomsticks, and the stars unquestionably ruled our destinies with a firm hand. Christian fundamentalism is on the rise and comets are again being perceived as messengers from God, at least in certain sections of San Diego, California.

So what do we do, other than wring our hands and gloomily anticipate a real, widespread return to medieval thinking? On a personal level, there is much we can do, if we all jump in and give it a try. Undoubtedly you know at least one person who believes in astrology. And though you may not be able to disabuse your believing friend of that cherished belief, exchanges such as the following can be fruitful dialogues, especially if witnessed by several astrology adherents. These conversations will be far more successful if you avoid condescension and patronization. You can, instead, gently nudge your friend to examine his or her own beliefs.

This sort of amiable interaction can do more to encourage critical thinking than quoting all of the actuarial statistics and probability studies put together. You can argue probabilities, statistics, and the laws of universal gravitation until your believing friend begins to doze off, but in the end it’s always the same. I don’t care about statistics! I am a Libra, and that describes me to a “T”! So, there is another way to challenge astrology. In a light, conversational manner, you can ask some simple questions.

Almost no one understands “the precession of the equinoxes.” Almost everyone understands “the stars have moved.” Without sounding pretentious, you can ask your Libra, “Did you know that the stars have moved since astrology was invented? Yeah, the constellations have all moved, relative to us, quite a bit in the last 2,000 years. So, the planets no longer move in the constellations that way that astrologers say they do. Doesn’t that change everything?” The response will likely be a blank stare, followed by a defensive, “That doesn’t change the fact that my horoscope fits me absolutely perfectly!”

You can then ask about Hitler. Many people had to have been born at the precise moment that he was. Does that mean those people had more in common with Hitler than with their own friends and family? And then of course there is Stalin, Attila the Hun, Charles Manson, John Wayne Gacy, Ivan the Terrible… well, obviously this list will be very long. Will all those millions who were born at the same time somehow be soul-mates of these monsters? If not, why not?

Personalize it. Say to your female friend, for example, “Let’s assume you were born at precisely the same moment as a male, poverty-stricken, Venezuelan farmer/turned bank robber/turned state prisoner. Do you really believe that you have far more in common with him than you have with me, a female, your chosen and thus far unincarcerated friend, who works in the same office you do, and likes the same rock music?” The “yes” you receive to this one should be rather shaky.

Another rumination worth expressing is, “You say you’re a Libra. Since there are six billion people in the world, and only twelve signs of the Zodiac, that means there are about 500,000,000 Libras in the world alive today. And if you add the countless billions who have already lived and died, there have been billions of Libras. What could you possibly have in common with all those billions, who lived in wildly different climates, eras and cultures, that you don’t have in common with me?” This question is usually a stumper.

Another good question: Who decided which birthdates corresponded with which characteristics? You will no doubt get a response such as, It was slowly accumulated, ancient knowledge. So then ask how the ancients who created astrology could categorize all humans, when they weren’t even aware of the existence of humans on the other side of the planet – the Americas, for example. How could they be sure their horoscopes would apply to those unknown humans? All humans have similar human traits. Well, if that’s true, then there really aren’t any zodiacal differences between any of us, are there? Yes there are. No matter how big the numbers, the differences are there. Hmmm. Well, then, whoever it was who determined what these differences are – was he inspired by God? If you don’t know who determined these things, or when, or how, then how can you be expected to believe it?

The useful tactic of pointing out the unambiguously conflicting horoscopes offered by different astrologers for the same individual will probably elicit the statement that some astrologers are just not good at their trade – as happens in all vocations. You then might want to cite the 1985 University of California test conducted by physicist Shawn Carlson . He tested thirty astrologers who had been represented by the American Astrological Association to be the “best” in the trade. Their task was to match horoscopes with people, and they got it right in only 33 percent of the 116 horoscopes. Pure chance would produce equal results, as would tossing a coin. Does your friend have an explanation for such a surprising outcome? And just how do we find out which astrologers are “good?” What is the litmus test? Is astrology a talent that is magically acquired by unknown means? Believers in astrology are reluctant to associate the word “magic” with astrology, but if they can’t offer a better explanation, they’re stuck with it.

Identical twins have been known to be very different. How can this be, you ask? The response is usually a vague shrug, but you can gently press for an answer. The answer should sound hollow even to the person offering it.

These sort of exchanges are almost always worth the effort. In striking a blow for rationalism, you never know when you might plant that one seed of doubt that may someday blossom into the intellectual flower known as critical thinking. It’s certainly worth a try.

However, if, even after all of this, your friendly attempts come to nothing, with no minds changed and no seeds planted, don’t be too discouraged. It’s probably just the way things were meant to be. Perhaps it was written in the stars.


How Astrology Can Work Best For You

Astrology is based on the belief that the heavenly bodies physically and mentally influence us and that the disposition of the planets at the time of ones birth dictates ones destiny. Astrologers argue that as the moon exerts its influence over the oceans of the world and because humans are constituted of seventy per cent water it is logical to suggest that we must also respond to such influences. Further, it is claimed in recent times cosmic energy, in the form of invisible radiations, such as X-rays, ultraviolet rays and many others throughout the electromagnetic spectrum, have served to support the argument for influences on the astrological level. Evidence for these assertions, however, is tenuous to say the least.

A principal argument by astrologers is that it has survived the centuries as a science and an art and that in recent years its credibility has been enhanced by scientific discoveries in the areas of biorhythms, cycles and magnetic impulses, which have shown a correlation between the planets and events on Earth. However, longevity is no criterion by which to judge the validity of a hypothesis. For most of human history, most people believed the world to be flat and that the sun revolved around the earth.

Despite the technological advances made in every scientific endeavour this century, astrology has yet to struggle out of the mire of magic: and superstition.

atlgyPreparing charts or horoscopes is probably the single most important aspect of the astrologer’s profession. By “progressing” the birth chart, that is, calculating the positions of the planets for a particular period in the future, astrologers claim that the trends in the life of a subject can be seen. Interpreting a chart is simply a matter of consulting astrology manuals giving standard interpretations; the influences ascribed to the planetary aspects, and using a great deal of intuition, guesswork and imagination.

The main sources of alleged influence commonly invoked in support of astrology are gravity, air ions and energies unknown to science.

Gravity. The argument that “if the moon can move oceans, imagine what it can do to us” is quite specious. The moon causes tides only in large unbounded bodies of water such as the world’s oceans; even lakes, unless they are exceptionally large, are negligibly influenced. Newton’s law states: “Objects in the universe attract each other with a force that varies directly as the product of their masses and the distance between them and inversely as the square of their respective distances from each other.” The attraction therefore, say between an obstetrician and a baby being delivered, is tens of millions of times greater than that of the moon on a single person.

Air ions. Because the moon modulates the earth’s magnetic field, the entering ions follow a lunar cycle. The abundance of positive ions coming down to earth during the full-moon phase are believed to create depression and irritability by increasing levels of serotonin in the nervous system. However, the positive ion concentrations related to the lunar variations are negligible when compared to those related to air-conditioning units and air pollution generally. The ion levels related to the full moon are not high enough to produce any effect.

Energies unknown to science. Astrologers argue that energies exist that are unknown to science. They point to electricity and magnetism as two examples which remained undiscovered until the last century. Although this may be true, for a causal relationship to exist, some facts are necessary to support the hypothesis, yet after 4000 years astrologers are still seeking them. The principal tenet of astrology is based on a belief in an immutable future, that is, the future is ordained. However, this tenet is negated when an astrologer prepares a natal horoscope, claimed to be a “blueprint” of a subject’s life, by adding that any negative aspects can be ameliorated by the exercise of free will.

Zodiac columns. Even a cursory examination of the predictions made on the same date and for the same star sign in two or more different newspapers and magazines show their inaccuracy to be self-evident. If these astrological predictions are supposedly arrived at by using universally accepted standard methods of calculation, the predictions should be substantially in agreement, the only deviation being the astrologers’ way of expressing themselves. Ironically, astrologers themselves admit that these forecasts have no validity, they are simply for entertainment only. However, this denial does not deter many people from taking them as gospel.

Star sign assessments. According to astrologers, most people born under same zodiac sign will have the same physical characteristics. One only needs to look at a few people born under the same sign to see just how ridiculous is this claim.

Character assessments. Astrologers claim that they can use a natal chart to determine a person’s characteristics. Controlled studies however, present an entirely different picture. One such study conducted in 1979 by Michel Gauquelin, a French statistician, made the point by placing an advertisement in Ici-Paris offering a free personal horoscope. The applicants were requested to reply saying whether they recognised themselves in the horoscope and to have their friends confirm the accuracy. Of the first 150 replies, 94 per cent claimed that the horoscope accurately described their character and the accuracy was confirmed by 90 per cent of their families and friends. Everyone had been sent the same horoscope, that of Dr Petiot, a notorious mass murderer who was executed in 1946 for murdering twenty-seven people and disposing of their bodies in a tub of quicklime!

So why does astrology appear to work? The answer is that it doesn’t. Although those who have had a natal chart drawn up will point to the accuracy of the predictions, the sound advice and the guidance they have been given, how many will take the time to examine it critically and objectively? The truth is that all they receive in return for their money is an all-purpose generic character assessment and a mixture of self-evident propositions, simple homilies, platitudes, vague and ambiguous statements, and above all, they are told what they would like to be told. Studies have shown that most people will self-validate — they will see or read into the assessment what they perceive to be their own personality and will agree that the assessment describes them perfectly — as in the Gauquelin example. Why? Because it is based on the same assumptions that guide psychologists — that we are all basically more alike than different; that our problems are generated by the same major transitions of birth, puberty, work, marriage, children, old age and death. Many people go to astrologers simply because they need someone to listen to their conflicts, troubles and indecisions involving love, money and health. The prognostications, together with much that is implied, are sufficient to convince the average person of the validity of this type of service.


“Fishing” For Constellations

We know how Volans and Dorado angled their berths in the celestial aquarium, but we still have those other fish to fry. The stories that explain Pisces and Piscis Austrinus sound half-baked, however. From the Catasterismi, the oldest collection of Greek constellation myths, we learn only that the two fish that comprise Pisces are descendants of Piscis Austrinus. Informing us that the Southern Fish once saved the goddess Derceto from drowning, the Catasterismi’s entry for Piscis Austrinus adds a little, but our catch is still way below the limit.

Derceto is the ancient Greek name for Atargatis, Syria’s Great Mother Goddess, the fertile spirit of cyclical renewal. According to the Catasterismi, she needed help from Piscis Austrinus when she fell into a lake near Bambyke, an ancient city in northern Syria. Nothing in the story sounds Greek, and the location of the accident tells us we should fish farther east for an explanation. In fact, Chaldaean cuneiform texts from perhaps the fifth century B.C. name some of the stars around the brightest star in Pisces the “Band of the Fishes,” and other ones in the neighborhood were called “the Tails.” Chaldaean use of a Sumerian name that just means “fish” for Piscis Austrinus – or at least its brightest star, Fomalhaut – suggests it might have been tagged as early as the middle of the third millennium B.C. But no part of the constellation Pisces was marketed as fish until three thousand years later.

afWhen we troll deeper for fish in the sky the Southern Fish takes the bait, but Pisces leaves us with an empty hook. Those Mesopotamians must have been playing catch-and-release with Pisces, for prior to the fifth century B.C. its part of the zodiac was fish-free. Instead, the earlier Chaldaean star catalogs split the stars we now know as Pisces and combined them with parts of other constellations to put a bird (the Great Swallow) and a goddess (Lady of the Heavens) where the zodiac would eventually be stocked with fish. Like Piscis Austrinus, these two constellations are much older than Pisces.

By the time the Latin poet Hyginus was documenting sky lore in the second century A.D., he had to include a fish story for Pisces. He linked the Fishes with Venus, the goddess of love, beauty, and erotic attraction. She was the Roman version of the Greek goddess Aphrodite. She and her son Cupid were surprised on the banks of the Euphrates by the monster Typhon. To elude him they dived into the river and changed into the same duo of fish now commemorated overhead. According to Hyginus the divinity of this pair prompted the Syrians to banish fish from their menu.

In his discussion of Piscis Austrinus, Hyginus tells us that this fish rescued the goddess Isis. Although Isis originated in Egypt, by the Roman era she had become a cosmopolitan Mediterranean fertility goddess with many of the same attributes as Venus. Both tales, then, associate a goddess responsible for procreative energy with fish. The stories are also essentially consistent with the Catasterismi, for Derceto was said to be the daughter of Aphrodite. In fact, all of these goddesses and several others from the Near East, including Astarte and Kybele, shared the same attributes and fulfilled a similar function. Lucian of Samosata wrote the definitive study of the cult of the Syrian goddess in the second century A.D. and verified that Atargatis was Aphrodite with a Syrian accent.

Symbols and mythology confirm that the constellation Pisces was devised with these goddesses in mind. In Mediterranean astrology, the planet Venus is judged to be in exaltation – or particularly influential – when it occupies Pisces, the Fishes, and that is where it is depicted on the Dendera Zodiac, the famous astronomical ceiling relief from Greco-Roman Egypt now displayed in the Louvre, In the first century A.D. the Latin poet Manilius placed Venus by “the waters of Babylon” when she turned into a fish to escape Typhon and affiliated Pisces with the Euphrates River for the helping fins its fish furnished.

The Fasti, Ovid’s treatise on the Roman calendar, probably written very early in the first century A.D., also compliments the celestial Fishes for supporting Venus and Cupid on their backs when they were trawling for safety in the Euphrates. Like Hyginus, Ovid documented the sanctity of Syrian fish. Hyginus collected a variation of the Venus fish tale in the Fabulae, where he explained that the goddess hatched from an egg that had fallen into the Euphrates. He, too, equated Venus with the Syrian goddess and credited the fish for rolling the egg out of the current and onto the bank.

At Askalon, a center of Philistine power on the coast of what is now southern Israel, Atargatis turned into a mermaid when she threw herself into a pool in remorse for an erotic adventure. Such pools and lakes and the fish they contained were usually enshrined at fertility goddess sanctuaries. The Greek historian Diodorus Siculus mentioned Askalon’s “large and deep lake full of fish.” Bambyke (also known as Hierapolis) was a major center of Atargatis worship and was mythologically mated with Pisces. According to Lucian, it hosted a sacred pond full of sacred fish protected by Atargatis.

At least one of the sacred pools still exists at Sanli Urfa, in southeastern Turkey, though Islam has transformed it into the Pool of Ibrahim, or Abraham. It provided the biblical patriarch a miraculous soft landing from the top of the citadel, where King Nimrod planned to burn him alive. Water burst from a spring as Abraham descended, and the embers and ashes that fell into the pool turned into sacred carp.

In pagan antiquity, Sanli Urfa was known as Edessa, an influential and wealthy Sabian city. Ancient authorities confirm Atargatis was worshiped at Edessa. Aetheria of Aquitania, a nun who visited there in the fifth century A.D., saw Atargatis’s pool of sacred carp. A network of ponds and canals in the park south of the Pool of Ibrahim is closer to the old spring of Rohas and is probably where the temple of Atargatis was located.

Additional evidence reels Pisces into the rites of Atargatis. Fish, we know, symbolized her womb and her lavish fecundity. A relief from Hatra portrays her with fish at her feet, and a fish accompanies her image in a sculpture from Palmyra. At Khirbet Tannur, in Jordan, her bust wore a veil topped with a pair of fish.

All of this Atargatis liturgy lures the origin and meaning of Pisces closer to the surface, but the details are still missing. Holes in the net of history turn the Fishes into a story of the ones that got away.