Dates: October 23 –November 22 (It may vary. In 2021 it will be Sunday Nov 21)
Ruling planets: Ruled by Mars and after Pluto’s discovery in 1930, considered by many modern astrologers to be co-ruled by Pluto
Symbol: Scorpion, Serpent, Eagle, Phoenix (nearby constellation, Aquila, the Eagle)
Zodiac element: Water
Zodiac quality: Fixed
Keywords: I desire. I transform
Colour: Dark red
Birthstone: Yellow Topaz, Opal, Aquamarine, Tourmaline.
Tree: Walnut. Hawthorn. Blackthorn
Tarot Card: Death
Note the Biblical ‘pale horse’ and the white rose. The rose signifies beauty and immortality. What has ever once been, lives somewhere, somehow, forever.
Scorpius from which the zodiac sign gets its name, is a massive, spectacular j- shaped constellation located in the skies over the southern hemisphere near the centre of the Milky Way. In the Northern hemisphere it can be seen in July and August, but is most visible in July at 9.00 PM. In the Southern hemisphere it is visible from March to October, like a faint band in the Milky Way overhead.
Its name, no prizes for guessing, is Latin for scorpion and it is one of the 48 constellations identified by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the second century AD. Like Aries, Taurus and Leo, it is an ancient constellation, meaning it has been recognised as a constellation pre-dating the Greeks.
Scorpius is the southernmost constellation in the zodiac between Libra to the west and Sagittarius to the east. Its claws do double duty and also represent the scales of Libra.
Its unbelievably huge brightest star- our sun is barely more than a dot in comparison- is one of the brightest in the night sky, the ‘heart of the scorpion’, Antares, meaning ‘rival of Ares’ (the Greek name for the Roman god of war, Mars) So-named because it is bright reddish in colour, like Mars, and because Scorpio’s traditional ruling planet is Mars.
Modern astrologers may argue that Scorpio is ruled by Pluto instead (Death, The Transformer) depending on whether the astrologer is working with a traditional or modern interpretation after the discovery of Pluto 1930.
Scorpius contains exo-planets, some extremely old, and others considered potentially habitable. The planet PSR B1620-26 b, nicknamed “Methuselah” is estimated at 12.7 billion years old (The universe is about 13.7 billion years old.) Methuselah has a mass about twice that of Jupiter and it orbits around not one, but two stars.
Cue potential existential angst.
Gliese 667Cc is a “super-Earth” about four times as massive as Earth, part of a three-star system only 22 light-years away from Earth. It’s considered potentially habitable and the same system contains two other potentially habitable planets: Gliese 667Ce and Gliese 667Cf – both about 2.7 times the mass of Earth.
“Habitability” is defined as a rocky world close enough to its parent star for liquid water to exist on the surface. Other factors may rule it out, though, such as the variability of its star or the composition of the planet’s atmosphere.
Mythology and History
Nature, Religion and astrology were intertwined in the ancient world. The ancient world was wiser and knew better than we do in this respect.
The scorpion has been here far longer than we have – hundreds of millions of years, more than 450 million, compared with our six million or so.
Sometime around four thousand years ago the Babylonians looked up, discerned the brightly leaning J- shape in the summer stars and called this constellation MUL.GIR.TAB – the ‘Scorpion’, literally read as ‘the (creature with) a burning sting’.
The movements and relative positions of Scorpius were mapped by Babylonian magicians and astrologers, who left written records of the omens they observed.
“When a halo surrounds the Moon and Scorpio stands in it, it will cause men to marry princesses, (or) lions will die, and the traffic of the land will be hindered.”
A comet appearing in Scorpius was read as a dire warning of a coming plague, but when the Sun rose in Scorpius, alchemists saw their one chance for the transmutation of lead into gold.
Orion and The Scorpion
Orion The Hunter was a friend of Artemis, Greek goddess of the Moon, of the Hunt, and patron of all wild creatures. One day he was overheard boasting to Artemis and her mother Leto, that there was not a single beast he could not, and would not hunt and kill.
Gaia, goddess of the Earth, heard this and did not like it one bit. Artemis was a great hunter herself, but Artemis did not kill for the sake of killing, and offered protection to all creatures. Gaia sent a giant scorpion to deal with Orion. He fought back, and sure enough, he killed the scorpion, but the scorpion also killed Orion.
Zeus, much impressed by the scorpion’s battle spirit, and at Gaia’s request, raised the scorpion to the heavens, and at the request of the heartbroken Artemis; he did the same for Orion.
But see them back to back? Still, they avoid each one another, these ancient deadly foes, one rising as the other sets.
In other cultures this constellation is not seen as a scorpion. In Indonesia it’s the “the brooded swan” or the “the leaning coconut tree.” In Hawaii, it is “The Fishhook” of the demi-god Maui.
In Chinese mythology, the constellation is part of the Azure Dragon a deity of the underworld ( a cthonic deity = subterranean) and in Japan the guardian spirit of the city of Kyoto. presumably for magical protection against earthquakes.
But about the scorpion, there is consensus across hemispheres, not only continents. Thousands of years before the Greeks and Romans established their societies, the Australian Aboriginal peoples also looked up and saw the stars of Scorpius in terms of a cosmic scorpion, as did the Aztecs of Central Mexico.
The Lowland Mayans had scorpion constellations. These may have matched up with THE Scorpion of the zodiac, but there no clear proof. It is thought that the Mayans viewed the celestial scorpion as an eclipse-causing agent.
The arrival of Scorpio’s sign in the northern hemisphere coincides with the advent of mystery, the fast fading autumn light, and the ghosts, myths and superstitions of Halloween, or All Hallows Eve.
Facts about scorpions
- As mentioned previously, they are a staggeringly ancient creature. The earliest evidence dates from the Silurian period 450 million years ago, when the first scorpion ancestors left the seas for the land. Fossils from the Carboniferous 300 million years ago indicate little change since then. Early scorpions may have had compound eyes.
- They are arachnids: arachnida scorpiones, with a body in two sections, 2 pincers or pedi-palps, 8 legs like a spider, and an exo-skeleton made of chitin. They are more closely related to Harvestmen than spiders.
- They dance before mating, a stately promenade. They give birth to live young and carry them on their backs until the babies have their first moult and disperse. The mothers may eat the young if resources are desperately scarce.
- They have a long life span compared with other arachnids, 2-3 years in the wild but they have lived up to 25 years in captivity. They can live a year without food and eat insects, spiders, other scorpions and lizards. They also eat small mammals, such as mice.
- They glow in the dark except when newly moulted. Scorpion fossils still fluoresce, despite spending hundreds of millions of years embedded in rock.
- They are famously venomous. However of the nearly 2,000 known species of scorpions, only 25 have venom powerful enough to be dangerous to an adult human. In the U.S., the Arizona bark scorpion, Centruroides sculpturatus, produces venom strong enough to kill a small child, but anti-venom means deaths are rare.
The Scorpio Personality -planetary aspects
Scorpio is known as The Sorceror, The Detective, The Hypnotist, and The Alchemist
Scorpio is an extreme sign, at the same time fiery hot and icy cold, symbolically reflecting its contradictory planetary rulers. Scorpio is traditionally ruled by the red planet Mars, planet of action, named after the Classical Greco- Roman god of war. But its modern ruler is the icy dwarf planet Pluto, not discovered until 1930 and named after the Greco-Roman god of the underworld.
Pluto, although small, and though its status as a planet is an ongoing debate, is large enough, with a gravitational pull sufficiently powerful to make it spherical, like a planet. And it is symbolically powerful in modern astrology, by virtue of the very fact that it is so far away from the sun. Its orbit takes 248 years, so that its symbolic effects are deep, far reaching and long lasting.
Like the other water signs, Cancer and Pisces, Scorpio is considered clairvoyant, or at least, keenly intuitive. (All signs are of course,potentially psychic in their own way) But Scorpio has far greater intensity. This is water behaving as steam like an underwater volcanic eruption or a bubbling hot spring.
Scorpio rules the eighth sign of the zodiac, to do with Birth, Sex and Death. It is both destruction and regeneration.
No wonder these subjects can be intense, and they are often possessed of great personal charisma. They are watchful but keep their feelings hidden. Born executives, investigators, spies or secret agents, they are shrewd judges of human nature, while less conscientious Scorpio subjects make use of this to their advantage, and drop friends whom they no longer see as useful. But combined with their intense determination, and loyalty-where they decide to accord it, Scorpios can make great leaders, scientists, and devoted doctors. They are quick learners, instinctive, analytical, adaptable, often ‘moulting’ (changing careers) going down new paths.
Scorpio is vengeful…and patient. But they never forget a kindness.
The major arcana card in the Tarot representing Scorpio is the Death card, one of the most famous and most feared cards in the Tarot deck.
The prospect of Death is frightening, hard to comprehend even though we understand it full well. And often desperately upsetting, though we understand full well Death is part of Life. Without Death, there would be no space for new life. We are getting our turn at life right now. Others are waiting their turn. Others before us have had theirs, and who knows, maybe they will get another turn one day.
When we leave, I feel we really do go through ‘the Valley’. Some intermediate state. Some zip through double quick. Others take longer, a few take much much longer. This much has been my observation through work with clients and a small number of unforgettable personal experiences.
What it is like to find ourselves there, in ‘the valley’ to find ourselves evicted and locked out of our earthly home for so long, our abode in the familiar city of our body? It is easy to imagine that some could panic at first. Whether we forget, or dream, or are utterly subsumed again into wherever we came from before, when maybe we were frightened to get born, not knowing what we were coming to this time round.
This card is the annual collective zodiacal reminder that, just as the daylight is dying; so Death comes for everyone alike, old or young, man or woman, the archbishop and the child as shown in the Death card.
There are no guarantees we will make it to the age of ‘three score and ten,’- that any of us will see the age of seventy. Old age is not a right. In the natural world, few animals in the wild live into old age. Life is for living now, says Scorpio, and it is this awareness that gives Scorpio its drive, intensity, its passion, and sometimes its preoccupation with the dark side of life, and with the occult and the mysterious.
The court card of Scorpio is the King of Cups, the man of Scorpio, Cancer and Pisces. In a reading The Queen of Cups may also be used.
Meanings: Water, the sea, sailor, fisherman, mature Male, husband, friend, grandpa, advisor, priest, doctor, counsellor, teacher, academic, artist, poet, musician, deep wisdom, calm, considerate, sensitive, supportive, protective, disciplined, intuitive, psychic, reserved, secretive
Scorpio needs a challenge. They like to unlock puzzles and mysteries and they need to feel that their work is important or meaningful. Hence they will often be found in high pressure situations, handling urgent, even life or death issues; in the emergency services, or in the police, detection, crime & prisons, or working in psychotherapy. They often have a talent for management, including financial management, and research and resource management within the financial sector and power production industries
This is the archetype. But of course there is no such thing in reality as THE Scorpio personality. We are unique individuals. Our zodiac sign (sun sign) is a major keynote, but it is nothing like the full picture in real life – or even in astrology.
If you don’t feel like a ‘typical’ Scorpio, perhaps you are a second or third decan Scorpio, rather than a ‘most typical’ first decan Scorpio.
The Zodiac is the belt of sky we see from earth, tracking the path of the sun across the sky from dawn till dusk and throughout the year. We call this pathway of the sun ‘the ecliptic,’ and the zodiac belt shares this same pathway.
The zodiac belt is 16 degrees deep or across; 8 degrees above the sun’s pathway, the ecliptic, and 8 degrees below.
The Greeks divided this belt into twelve sections, choosing twelve for ease of arithmetic and named them after some of the constellations found along this same pathway. There are more than twelve constellations, both above the ecliptic and below it, but the zodiac signs, as formalised by Eudoxus of Cnidus and Ptolemy of Alexandria get their name from just twelve.
Each zodiac sign represents a 30 degree section of this 360 degree belt. Each sign is then sub-divided into three blocks of ten degrees, about ten days in length.
This gives us the decans, nicknamed ‘the thirty six faces of astrology,’ breaking down each sign into three chapters that shine a little extra light on the story of that sign.
First Decan Scorpio
Birth Dates: 23 -31 October (0-10 degrees)
Planetary rulers: Mars and Pluto
Tarot card: Five of Cups
Card Meanings: Grief, disappointment, recovery from loss. Taking stock,counting our blessings, and what still remains
Here is the most ‘typical’ Scorpio subject. Mars, the ruling planet of Scorpio is doubly powerful in this first decan. This is an active, determined, dominant individual. When the going gets tough, so do they.
Scorpio/Scorpio individuals are incredibly driven, and more prone than other people to extreme behaviours, matched by courage, tenacity, and the willpower to bounce back after a setback, and start again.
Famous first decans
Hillary Clinton, politician, 26 Oct 1947
Dylan Thomas, poet, 27 Oct 1914
Second Decan Scorpio
Dates: 1 -11 November (10-20 degrees)
Planetary rulers: Jupiter and Neptune
Tarot card: Six of Cups
Card Meanings: happy memories, nostalgia, home, childhood, children, childhood, old friends, and old haunts
This Scorpio decan is also intense and driven, but is cooled and moderated by Pisces and its rulers, Neptune and Jupiter. This is a changeable nature, unpredictable or at times explosive, but at other times slow or even sluggish. There is an element of contradiction here.
Jupiter is the planetary symbol of good luck is the ultimate extrovert, and Neptune ‘The Dreamer’ is the ultimate introvert.
This individual’s greatest battles may be with themselves, starting at an early age. The influence of Neptune may be an inspiration, or could become their downfall, should they once start indulging in escapism via drugs, alcohol, gambling or other addictive, risk-taking behaviours.
These people are often interested in esoteric subjects; religion, the mystical, and the occult. They need s stable home, a reliable partner and they need to be careful in their friendships and choice of company. They usually have a natural talent for medicine or the healing arts, and are searching for some sense of a greater purpose.
Famous Second Decans
Billy Graham, evangelist, 7 Nov 1918,
Carl Sagan, astronomer, 9 Nov 1934
Third Decan Scorpio
Dates: 12-21 November
Planetary rulers: Moon and Venus
Tarot card- Seven of Cups
Card Meanings: visions, possibilities, options, choices, daydreams
This decan is as visionary as this card illustration suggests; imaginative, creative and dramatic. Moon and Venus cool and soften the energy of Mars. This is a magnetic personality, a natural artist or performer.
The Decan 3 Scorpio often has a particularly close relationship with his or her mother; generally a healthy thing, so long as it isn’t given more importance than their relationships with their chosen life partner.
This is the Scorpio decan most likely to curate a legacy to loved ones or leave money to favourite causes. Money, privacy, loyalty and property are of supreme importance. A keeper of secrets, they carry mysteries or grudges to their graves.
They are more domestic at heart than other Scorpio natives, but still, very brave and tough in their own way. They may be activists of some kind, and their charm and eloquence can make them very effective when working with a group for a common cause.
Famous Third Decans
Robert Kennedy, 20 Nov 1925
Prince Charles, 14 Nov 1948
Born on the cusp?
First decan Scorpio born on the cusp is a more airy Libran Scorpio with marked Libra qualities. Third decan Scorpio born on the cusp is a less fiery Sagittarian Scorpio with marked Sagittarius qualities.
Fixed water Scorpio, the opposite number of Fixed Earth Taurus is a hidden face of The Bull, just as The Bull is a hidden face of the Scorpion. The Bull from The Sea was sent to Crete by Poseidon. Steamy depths indeed. Only Pisces goes as deep or deeper.
Back again soon for Halloween!
Till next time 🙂