The Eighth Sign of the Zodiac probably has the worst reputation of all the Signs, even in modern astrology it is often thought of as deep and secretive Sign who finds itself at odds with others a good portion of the time due to steep competition. Modern astrology also dedicates the title of the most controlling Sign to Scorpio, who reportedly enjoys emotional control which can seem to lead into emotional manipulation in the hands of a degenerative soul. Scorpios are said to have a strong will and able to push it forward in a way that no other Sign can; persistence. The association of Scorpio with Pluto has given it further themes, echoing in the dark recesses of the mind such as deep personal transformations or the Scorpion’s supposed ability to transform others and a penetrating psychological insight. There is more to Scorpio than just this, of course, and so far we have only listed the more modern understandings of the sign. Where these significations came from is the real question.
In relation to the size take up on the ecliptic, Scorpio is the smallest as the Sun only takes a few days to get across the entirety of the Sign’s width. Its size, though, can be misleading in the fact that it holds several bright stars. Interestingly, the star once known as gamma Scorpii has now become known as sigma Librae. As was discussed in the Balancing the Dark article on Libra, these two Signs were considered the same (albeit different parts of that Sign), and it wasn’t until rather recently in history that they were differentiated from one another. Astrologically, that one star that switched over from a Scorpion star to a Libran star (gamma Scorpii) still retains the malevolent nature of Scorpio.
The myth of Scorpio is tied in with that of the myth of the hunter Orion who boasted that he was so strong that no beast on earth could best him. Ironically, Orion met his match against a small foe, the scorpion, who stung and killed him. This conflict still continues in the skies today, as Orion and Scorpio lie opposite one another in the sky, and Orion seems to flee below the horizon as his enemy, the scorpion, rises from the east.
In order to understand the philosophies concerning Scorpio, it is necessary to recall that Libra and Scorpio were once considered the same constellation until the Romans formalized their separate identities. Due to this, Scorpio (with the aid of his claws of Libra) was a very large constellation, and it would have been in the Sign of the Scorpion – not the balance – that the sun would begin to lose its time in the sky as night would begin to overtake the day time. It was because of this association that Scorpio and the scorpion would become symbols of the darkness and resilience. This creature would become a symbol of nocturnal power, as the time of its reign would take place during the sun’s weakening as well as the stormy weather patterns that were associated with the beginning of the Sign. Further malevolency is assigned to this Sign due to the full burst of cold that is associated with this time of year and the way it makes the body ache in response as the cold has not yet been adjusted to, not to mention the beginning of the death of the flora as the leaves begin to change and drop off.
In Christian Astrology, William Lilly writes that Scorpio is “cold, watery, nocturnal, phlegmatic, feminine sign of the watery triplicity, fixed and north, the house and joy of Mars; usually it does represent subtle, deceitful men.” What I first find interesting about this snippet is that it is one of the few Signs wherein Lilly writes anything pertaining to the type of men signified, and it speaks volumes as to the classical view of Scorpio in that the type of men signified are “subtle” and “deceitful”. Learn from Orion and watch for those scorpions.
As a feminine/nocturnal Sign, Scorpios are known for the passivity and patience. Much like their terrestrial creature, Scorpio is the queen of watching and waiting for a chance to strike. This can be positive and negative, as Scorpio can sit and wait out difficult situations and take advantage of the best time to do something, however, the negative implications are very real as well. Also, Scorpio is uncomfortable in direct expression of herself, so there is need and comfort in internalization where things get buried, bottled up, and kept inside to usually fester. After all, nothing can solve a Scorpio’s problem like a Scorpio, even if it means it all collects upon itself like sediment.
Scorpio is a water Sign, meaning that she finds her home in the depths of emotion and psyche. Scorpio has a horrible time with expressing herself, she’s nocturnal and feminine which shows introversion, she’s a water Sign which suggests emotional conditions, a fixed Sign that represents stubbornness, and a mute Sign that makes it even more impossible for her to express herself easily, which will most likely encourage her to forget her attempt at the difficultly in pinning emotional feelings with words. It’s no wonder why Scorpio has such a reputation of privacy. When related to its physical description of place, the fixed water Sign of Scorpio relates to places where water has become trapped, either by being blocked off by earth and mud, or by being partially frozen. These represent places where the water is not able to move freely, but can only be moved with great force and effort, the same can be said about Scorpio herself.
Scorpio is a fixed Sign due to autumn being in full swing when Sol is in transit here. The autumn season is steady here; it has not just begun cooling down from summer, and it has not yet started moistening into winter. Scorpio relates to this by her stubbornness and her patience. Even with Mars ruling this Sign, the passive water and patient fixed qualities could not be overpowered. As a water Sign, Scorpio is not one to start conflict, but it will end it where others have started it with an unrelenting fervor that few can match. Scorpio does not seek to compromise and becomes completely wrapped up in the action-oriented influence of her ruling planet and either aggressively attacks or strategically defends with little in between. The fighting style of Scorpio is best reflected in the scorpion itself. She sits and waits for you to come to her, then strikes when you’re least likely to get away. Scorpio is queen of the law of attraction, be it in times of war or love, they always come to her.
There is a modern myth surrounding Scorpio about her representing sexuality, when in fact all Signs represent their own sort of sexuality. Scorpio is “creative” in that she is a water Sign and thus is prolific and a judgment for pregnancy in such charts, however, being the house of Mars often implies fear and danger of affliction of the womb (especially if a malefic is involved), resulting in a possible miscarriage or accident. In traditional astrological texts, Scorpio is said to anatomically relate to the “privy parts” or the private parts we would refer to as genitalia and the like. However, there is a stern contrast between the organs of procreation and the organs of excretion as Scorpio typically applies to those organs of excretion representing its destructive nature, it would be more correct to assign the womb and other organs of creation to the preceding Sign Libra, though it is also to be remembered that Libra used to be a part of Scorpio, so the ancient associations with Scorpio and the scheme of life and death may still be applicable.
Now obviously, all modern associations of Scorpio that have been given to it via Pluto are not applicable in a traditional sense as Pluto was not around during the classical period. In fact, it is my belief that Pluto has no identity of its own but has instead absorbed the majority of the associations from its “ruling Sign” Scorpio. All the classical Scorpio themes of power, intensity, and transformation that are so commonly cited as Plutonian are in fact, not at all. All of these come from classical and ancient associations of Scorpio that are far older than Pluto and are mostly Egyptian in origin. So, it becomes very silly to claim that Pluto’s rule of Scorpio has influenced the Sign, when in fact the opposite happened and there are now two Scorpios in astrology.
As stated before, Scorpio is anatomically associated with the groin area and is also associated with all forms of diseases and afflictions to these areas. In pregnancies, Scorpio is a risky Sign as it can easily show difficulties and dangers in the process of gestation. Scorpio is also associated with viruses and illnesses that result from poisoning and all “unknown” sources. Scorpio also represents hostile or confined environments “where all sorts of creeping things use”. Scorpio also represents gardens, orchards, vineyards, ruinous houses, and in the spirit of fixed water, it relates to stagnant water or places where water is stored. Inside, Scorpio is associated with cool and dark places, sinks, and drains.
An often forgotten part of astrology, the fixed star lore of a constellation is also important in what eventually makes a Sign of the Zodiac. Remember, now that Libra was actually a part of Scorpio, and the separation of the two constellations was not formalized until Roman time, however, the difference in the temperament of the stars located in the different parts of the Scorpion are easily seen. According to Ptolemy, the stars in the forehead of the Scorpio act in the same way as Mars and Saturn, the three in the middle are in the nature of Mars and Jupiter, those in the joints of the way of Saturn and Venus, in the sting are of the nature of Mercury and Mars, and the nebulous cluster is of Mars and Luna. We’ll cover the individual stars in order of descending magnitude.
The chief star in the Scorpio constellation is the star Antares. This star served as a Royal Star, marking the autumn equinox point back in 3,000 BC. The name Antares means rival of Mars since they both appear to be so similar in the sky. This star was also known as Cor Scorpii, or the Heart of the Scorpion. As a royal star likened to Mars and Jupiter, it brings dangers from extremes. It can offer success, or take it all away in a moment of misfortune, a very intense “all or nothing” star. It indicates supreme potential, and the way the will of the person goes will indicate if they’ll reach the supreme heights or fall to the lowest lows. In Christian Astrology, Lilly writes that Antares “shows a rash, ravenous, and headstrong person, destructive to himself by his obstinacy.”
The star Graffias (on the picture above it’s shown as Acrab, on the far right, kind of cut off) is likened to the nature of Mars and Saturn. The name comes from the word for crab (hence the different term in the program the picture is from), as the words for “crab” and “scorpion” were fairly interchangeable in early cultures. This star is similar to Antares in that it gives great opportunity for power, but great opportunity to abuse it as well, it seems that the power of the stars in Scorpio have an all too easy ability to corrupt its natives.
Isidis (on the picture above is called Dschubba) follows a similar pattern as the two aforementioned stars, but now the possible rewards start to dwindle. This star focuses more on the destructive power and is a direct threat to the native in the form of physical assaults and imprisonment. Finally, the star Lesath located in the sting of the scorpion is positively associated with people of great mind and intellect, but has a traditionally unfortunate reputation causing danger and violence.
Currently, the Zodiacal longitude positions for the major stars of Scorpio are: Antares: 9° Sagittarius 46′, Graffias: 3° Sagittarius 11′, Isidis: 2° Sagittarius 34′, and Lesath: 24° Sagittarius 01′.
It may also be interesting to note that the lunar mansion Al Jubana (which starts at the beginning of the Sign) is reportedly unfavorable for everything but the freeing of prisoners. This is interesting because this Lunar Mansion corresponds with the second half of Via Combustia in the first half of Scorpio and perfectly reflects its hostile nature. The second lunar mansion in Scorpio is good for love affairs, building, buying animals, and general business, but is bad for voyages, while the final mansion at the tail end of Scorpio is bad for marriage, but good for secret operations.
Dignities and Degree Influences
Scorpio is governed by Mars due to the hostile Square aspect that its cusp performs towards the Cancer/Leo cusp, the houses of the luminaries. This embodies Mars’s hostile and unfriendly nature, and is often seen as an enemy to these two bodies. No planet is exalted in Scorpio. Personally, I prefer Dorotheus’s scheme which places Venus as the day-time ruler of the water triplicity and Mars as the nighttime ruler. Luna is in her Depression in Scorpio, as it opposes her exaltation of Taurus, and Venus is heavily debilitated here in her Sign of detriment, as Scorpio opposes her domicile of Taurus.
0° Scorpio – Face of Mars, Term of Mars, Masculine
1° Scorpio – Face of Mars, Term of Mars, Masculine
2° Scorpio – Face of Mars, Term of Mars, Masculine, Dark
3° Scorpio – Face of Mars, Term of Mars, Masculine
4° Scorpio – Face of Mars, Term of Mars, Feminine
5° Scorpio – Face of Mars, Term of Mars, Feminine
6° Scorpio – Face of Mars, Term of Mars, Feminine, Increasing Fortune
7° Scorpio – Face of Mars, Term of Venus, Feminine, Light
8° Scorpio – Face of Mars, Term of Venus, Feminine, Deep
9° Scorpio – Face of Mars, Term of Venus, Feminine, Deep
10° Scorpio – Face of Sol, Term of Venus, Feminine
11° Scorpio – Face of Sol, Term of Mercury, Feminine
12° Scorpio – Face of Sol, Term of Mercury, Feminine
13° Scorpio – Face of Sol, Term of Mercury, Feminine, Void
14° Scorpio – Face of Sol, Term of Mercury, Masculine
15° Scorpio – Face of Sol, Term of Mercury, Masculine
16° Scorpio – Face of Sol, Term of Mercury, Masculine
17° Scorpio – Face of Sol, Term of Mercury, Feminine, Increasing Fortune
18° Scorpio – Face of Sol, Term of Mercury, Feminine, Lame
19° Scorpio – Face of Sol, Term of Jupiter, Feminine, Increasing Fortune
20° Scorpio – Face of Venus, Term of Jupiter, Feminine
21° Scorpio – Face of Venus, Term of Jupiter, Feminine, Light, Deep
22° Scorpio – Face of Venus, Term of Jupiter, Femininie, Deep
23° Scorpio – Face of Venus, Term of Jupiter, Feminine Smoky
24° Scorpio – Face of Venus, Term of Saturn, Feminine
25° Scorpio – Face of Venus, Term of Saturn, Masculine
26° Scorpio – Face of Venus, Term of Saturn, Masculine, Deep
27° Scorpio – Face of Venus, Term of Saturn, Masculine, Lame
28° Scorpio – Face of Venus, Term of Saturn, Masculine, Void
29° Scorpio – Face of Venus, Term of Saturn, Masculine, Dark
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