OCTOBER/NOVEMBER - As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, the middle of autumn is marked by the sun passing into Scorpio. The air smells different. Frost thickens as nights grow colder, covering the forest floors in white velvet that glows in the twilight hours. This quickening cold sends a shiver through the heart of every tree, turning leaves brilliant shades of red, orange and gold. The knocking and crashing of antlers can be heard further up in the bush, as deer and other short-day breeders rut and mate. The world is dying, it is falling asleep, but in its wombs lie the babes that will be born again next year. Death and rebirth, two common Scorpio themes, are happening now.
After the fall harvests was finally finished, so the farm work turned to the trading, selling, and butchering of livestock. Cattle, lambs, and pigs were slaughtered and their meat preserved through smoking and salting. It was difficult work, not only for the effort involved but for the emotional toll it took to kill the animals you spent so long raising on the farm. But it had to be done, and it was worth it. This became of time of great personal wealth, as everybody had an abundance of stored food, fire wood, cloth, feed, fodder, money, and supplies. Anything not had could be bought or traded for until mountain passes became too difficult to cross. Then, instead of working outside in the cold, they lit the hearth and spun yarn and thread with the family.
Many Germanic cultures associated this time of year with frost, winter, and fog. And the West Frisian Calendar called this “Slaughter Month”. Pagans celebrated Samhain, the Festival of Darkness; a holiday which marked the time where the veil between this world and the spirit world was especially thin. They honouring the deceased with lanterns and rituals to communicate with spirits of the dead. Christians followed this tradition with All Soul’s Day; our modern day Halloween and Day of the Dead are remnants of these holidays.
In both Babylonian and Egyptian astrology this Sign was referred to as The Scorpion. Egyptian mythology bears Seket, a goddess depicted as both woman and scorpion, who was feared and revered as a bringer of death to the unrighteous, guardian against venom, and a protector of the dead. Babylonian mythology has figures that were half scorpion and half man; they were created to carry out a plan of vengeance against a betrayer, and then continued to guard the entrance to the underworld long afterward. In Greek mythology the earth goddess Gaia sent a giant scorpion to kill Orion when he threatened to slaughter all beasts in the world. The two constellations are positioned opposite one another, as if Orion is running away from the scorpion that killed him. Meanwhile, in Rome and in several biblical passages, the image of Scorpio was changed from a scorpion (then a symbol of Egypt) to an eagle (the symbol of Rome). This is why some authors, such as Linda Goodman, refer to this Sign as the Eagle.
It is in these myths that the scorpion symbolized not only death, but a wrathful death wielded by an angry guardian or protector. Cultures associated the creature with an unexpected and fatal sting, as people feared the small animal would hide underfoot and not be seen until it was too late. It was not large enough to inspire awe. But the power it possessed to kill creatures many times its size was worthy of fear and respect. In ancient times people wore amulets of the creature to ward off evil, even though scorpion itself was an omen of death. Other ancients drew lines between the erect tail and erect genitalia, creating a sexual symbol as well as an ominous one. Symbolically, the hiding anger of the scorpion became associated with those deadly hidden emotions (jealousy, vengeance, sadism) and all sources of power extended beyond our physical means (money, seduction, fame, politics).
The glyph for Scorpio is an “M” that ends in an upturned, barbed tail. The “M” shape that Scorpio shares with Virgo is said to be an ancient medical symbol. Some say that the Scorpio symbol may be the male equivalent to the female Virgo symbol; a healing that is done not through compassion and caregiving, but through force and transformation. Furthermore, while the barbed tail may be that of the scorpion, it is also an erect phallic image. So the glyph ties together the healing/dying duality found within the sign, as well as the sexual themes it cues into. In medieval medical astrology Scorpio was also said to rule the genitals - which, given the rest of the symbolism here, is unsurprising.
Scorpio is formed by marrying the Fixed Quality with the Water Element. Yet despite being a Water Sign, Scorpio is much more masculine than feminine in its make-up. As with Aries, this creates a stark divide between men and women of this Sign. Both are equally driven, aggressive, passionate, sexual, and intense, seeking power and money and fame in this lifetime. But the men have an easier time expressing themselves in this way than the women do. Scorpio women are taught from a very young age to hold their emotions inside so as not to upset the people around them, as well as to repress their sexuality to keep their honour intact. Alternatively, the women have an easier time feeling and understanding their emotions than the men do, being more aware of their psychic gifts, spirituality, and intuitive knowledge. Usually they find some belief or spirituality which better allows for a woman's mysticism, sexuality, and strength of character. No Scorpio man or woman will stay subverted for very long.
Scorpio follows Libra in the zodiac, which means that they have traces of the previous Sign in their own genetic make-up. Romance turns to sexuality, beauty turns to seduction, relationships of equality to relationships of dominance and submission. But where I see it most is in how they argue with you (sorry, passionately correct you) when you point out the parts of themselves they want to keep a secret. They deny they are there, they tell you they aren't like that. They insist there is more to the story that you don't see. They might even try to manipulate you into backing off or changing what it is you see. Their egos become inflamed, paranoid, panicky, as you scrape out evidence of their jealousy, their lust for power, the seedy ways get what they want, their borderline abusive behaviour, or the volatile emotions they bury inside their chest. There isn't really any length they won't go to to keep their secret selves safe from prying eyes. That's why you are so often warned not to back them into a corner or threaten them in any way. They will go off.
The thing is, Scorpio is private about their inner workings because they are complicated. Most people can't handle them. They take things to the extreme, and they provoke extreme reactions from the people around them. Sometimes that means that you fall in love with the sexual tension you have with them, reeling over every look, every touch. Other times it means hating them with every inch of your body, surging with hurt and anger whenever you think about what they did to destroy you. It's not always an intentional thing; Scorpios can't help provoking people. It's what they do, for better or worse.
So in keeping their true nature a secret, it feels natural for them to hold back the full force of their anger, their sexual potency, their obsession with the person they are in love with, their fascination with everything dark and disturbing and taboo. They are more comfortable repressing bad feelings, being self-destructive, and getting sick over it. But while it may seem alright for them to hold it all in and dwell on things that hurt them four years ago, they need to let it out and let it go so they can move on.
The hardest part is forming intimate relationships with people they trust enough to open up to. Hidden behind claws and a barbed tail, venom and scales and a bad reputation, is, as my Scorpio Moon friend called it, "a sweet little cinnamon roll heart that is so, so, so scared of getting hurt". While Scorpio hides behind high emotional walls, they live a lonely life away from people. Fear is their biggest obstacle in life. And it isn't until they let go of their fears and take an honest look at the light and the dark and all the seemingly unlovable parts of themselves, that they can grow and transform into a happier, more laid back person.
With their mother Scorpio has always been extremely close. But they cycle between undying loyalty and compassionate protection of her, and bitter resentment of her weakness in the face of more dominant family members. Their parents (and aunts, uncles, and grandparents) had tumultuous relationships with one another, peppered with fights over money, sex, and control of the family. Alcoholism is common in the family. So is divorce, addiction, sexual abuse, estranged relatives, secret affairs, untimely death; or rejection, abandonment, and betrayal from a trusted adult they looked to for love and protection. Often religion is was used to keep them in line, to make them feel shame for their sexual curiosity and powerful anger. Scorpios rarely talk about their childhood and teenage years for good reason. They are almost always tragic, wrought with imbalances of power, forced to become psychics and psychologists at a young age in order to recognize abusive behaviour and protect themselves. Don't expect them to open up about it.
Because of the chaos in their family home, Scorpio children learn to keep their guard up and their eyes open. They learn to look below the surface to find what is really going on inside another person's head. Since both of their parents are so consumed with their relationship and their own lives, Scorpios also grow up feeling vulnerable and alone. In many cases, Scorpios learn to dominate the people in their relationships in order to protect and control their own emotional security. In others, they become victims of abusive relationships themselves.
It is worth noting that in cases where Scorpios who do witness domestic violence in the home, they are at risk for things like depression, self-harm, anxiety, and to be conditioned to act out of guilt, shame, or fear. The first few relationships they have are bound to be toxic and unhealthy. And if they cannot grow and change from their traumatic experiences, they may become abusers and alcoholics themselves, stubbornly stuck in the past. But if they can learn and grow and change, there is a silver lining to their sadder younger years. Scorpios can become healers, therapists, kind and understanding forces of positive change in people's lives. They have a unique understanding of every human being's weaknesses and failings, and meet them not with judgement but with an open heart and the wisdom to guide them.
The first time you meet a Scorpio, you would never think they were the dark, brooding, deeply emotional Sign they are rumored to be. In a crowd of new people they are extraverts who are charismatic, friendly, and outgoing, giving you the business even though they hardly know you. People are drawn to their magnetism, their mystery, their irresistible laid-back charm. They never need to go too far out of their way to seduce a following of fans and lovers; it usually only takes one piercing gaze and a few subtle conversations to get somebody hooked on their vibes. People become obsessed with Scorpios. And they know it!
Get them alone, however, and suddenly they switch and become a guarded introvert. They detach and play it cool, relaxed, chilled out, distant. They don't give an inch or an ounce of information. All they do is ask you questions. Quietly penetrating your past, they draw out information slowly, like a needle drawing blood. Something about them makes you want to open up, and so you do. They appreciate your honesty. Never lie or try to skirt around the truth with a Scorpio - they are natural detectives, and they know when a story doesn't add up. But don't expect them to open up to you and spill their secrets like they expect you to do. Just like how Libra is never quite sure of they want to be with you, and so has repeated flare-ups throughout the relationship, Scorpios are never quite sure they can trust you. Trust takes a long time to form, and only after many trials and tests of loyalty. They will not open up to you about their life and feelings until they are certain you can handle it... and keep it all a secret.
A romantic or sexual relationship with a Scorpio always moves forward on their terms. Slowly, cautiously, in stages. Scorpios always make sure to shift the balence of power in their favor to keep themselves from getting hurt. It is not true equality that they are after - it is power and control. They use sex to gain power over their partner. They use money. They pull away when you make demands or invade their private emotional spaces. They use any assortment of subtle, manipulative, techniques they know, and they use them well. In business and politics these mind games are entirely appropriate. It is how to get ahead in life. But in romantic and sexual relationships, the lack of trust and communication and the imbalance of power is why so many Scorpio relationships end with both partners resenting the other.
The one Scorpio issue that drives all the others is paranoia. The paranoid person is never satisfied with the information they have. They are compelled to look deeper into things, suspecting there is more to the story than is being told, because fear is nagging in the back of their minds. They don't trust you. And that lack of trust gives them emotional insecurity, which furthers their jealousy and possessiveness. They dig out the skeletons in your closet, the traumatic events of your childhood, the problems in your past relationships. But when they start to open up about their own life, they suddenly withdraw and turn cold. Couple that with an inability to forgive and move on with their life, and their obsession with exacting revenge on the people who pissed them off, and you have a recipie for disaster.
Scorpios are catalysts for transformation. Any relationship with them is going to demand that you face your fears, change as a person, and mature into who you are supposed to become. Sometimes they change you by destroying you with abuse, trauma, or with secret affairs of their own, skinning you in your weak spot until it calluses over. But more positively (and this is true of the more mature Scorpios) they will change you through healing, spirituality, emotional support and understanding, gently pushing you to overcome challenges they know you have the potential to overcome. If you have a former Scorpio friend or ex lover, while the relationship may have dealt quite a bit of damage and left you bitter, you are stronger because of what happened. And if you have a close Scorpio friend or spouse that you have been with for years, they have seen you through difficult periods of your life and loyally stayed by your side through everything you've gone through.
Scorpios need a partner who is strong-willed, who possesses enormous self-respect, and who can match them with sexual desire. As with Aries, Scorpio's lover should not be easily pushed around or manipulated, and should stand up for themselves when Scorpio tries to control them and the relationship. They need to be empathetic enough to know when Scorpio is upset, and wise enough to get them to open up and blow of steam in little increments, rather than letting them stew in anger. And when they do blow up in a fit of rage, their partner needs to not only be strong enough to endure it, but kind and forgiving as well. Optimism, positivity, and good humour will do wonders for a Scorpio's love life. They need the sunshine.
Scorpios have a passion. And when you meet them for the first time, it will usually be while they are pulling 14-hour shifts and slaving away on the weekends in order to accomplish their goals. This Sign is insanely driven, stubborn, obsessive, and intense, and their work ethic is unreal. It might be their job, or a club they belong to, or an artistic/creative pursuit, or religion, or their family, but they always have some major obligation in their life that sucks up all their time and energy. It can get unhealthy. Stress can eat them alive, and burnout can finally send them into a three-week coma of exhaustion. But they keep going anyway! Famous celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey has a Scorpio stellium, and is quoted as saying, "If I relaxed, if I took my foot off the gas, I would probably die." That's just the way all-or-nothing Scorpio is. Either they go hard at something with every last drop of sweat they have left in their body, or they do not have a single fuck to give.
Money is always important. But what Scorpio needs from their career is the same thing they need everywhere in life: power and control. Often they end up in their own business or with their own private practice, and once there they can never go back to working for someone else.
Scorpio coworkers and employees, therefore, can't be shoved around with demands or sudden changes. You can't pry into their lives or demand that they tell you things. Sure, Scorpios will endure a ton of bullshit on their way to the top. Nothing can distract their mind from their ultimate goal, after-all. But don't let their silence and fake smiles fool you into thinking they are submitting. They are only biding their time, waiting for their chance to strike. And once they don't need you anymore, or once they ascend to more powerful position, watch them cut you out. The key is to give them respect along the way and to solve disputes with sincere apologies. Respect their work ethic, intelligence, and potent creativity, and they will give you loyalty and hard work in return.
Working for a Scorpio boss is not easy either. They are not exactly the softest and sweetest of individuals. They are ruthless, and powerful, and begrudge weakness and incompetence. Every manager worries about their employees slacking off or not getting along, or about work being done right, customers staying happy, and what the bottom line looks like at the end of the day. But a Scorpio boss takes worrying to an unsettling extreme, where they turn into paranoid micromanagers to keep everything under control. On the other hand, they will push you to achieve things greater than you ever could on your own, simply because they believe in your potential for greatness. Hazel Dixon-Cooper's advice: keep your head down, get your work done, and play by his rules. "Once you earn his trust, you earn his protection," she says. "When you are protected by a Scorpion, nothing much can stand in the way, either."
Scorpios do very well in industries which make use of their detective skills. They love to dig deeper into things to unravel the truth, exposing what is hidden in order to benefit other people. They are the therapist who gets into their client's mind and shows them what is really going on. The journalist who exposes politicians and corporations for what they really are. The rebellious activist who is obsessed with overturning the imbalance of power by uncovering the truth. The pious priest or priestess, who use magic or spiritual teachings to guide people into a more enlightened life. The writer, the artist, the musician, the actor, who knows how to give and withhold to make an audience quiver. All are Scorpios making use of their best qualities, and putting them to constructive (and positively destructive!) means.
I mentioned how I have a ton of Libra in my family in my last article. I also have a ton of Scorpio. When I actually look into it, almost everybody has either their Sun, Moon, or a stellium of planets in Scorpio. It's pretty intense.
My mother has her Sun, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, and Neptune all in Scorpio in the 1st House. Nobody ever thinks she's a dark and mysterious Scorpio woman. Nobody knows she is a witch with a black cat and a bedroom full of crystals. They all think she is a Leo, or a Sagittarius, because she is always so outgoing and bubbly all the time. People become infatuated with her, follow her around, get clingy and needy, but then the friendship ends abruptly when they take a few steps too far. What they don't find out until it is too late is that, deep down, she is intensely emotional, fiercely strong willed, and a fully independant woman. People frequently try to make her their nurse, their best friend, or their business partner, and take advantage of her kindness in the process. She won't cause a scene or snap at you in little increments. When she gets pushed around, she quietly builds a wall of resentment, and then pushes you out of her life. She only cares about a few people, all of them in the family. And while others might try to wiggle into her life, it always ends up with her leaving them and coming home to the people who love her the most.
My maternal grandmother was the same way, so maybe she got it from her. She had her Midheaven, Sun, Moon, and Chiron all in Scorpio across her 9th and 10th Houses. All my life she was a hard-working woman with a huge group of friends, but who only really cared for her family, nobody else. She baked her Taurus son's favourite Christmas cookies, went to the greenery every Mother's Day with my mom, made holiday dinners for everyone three times a year. She gardened with my Aries grandfather and canned what they grew. She went to the pub, camped, hunted, and fished, always with rum in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Every thunderstorm she and I would sit on her covered patio and watch lightning flash across the sky. She was fierce and wild, protective of her heart and the people she loved. My grandad told her every day that he loved her. And she never once said it back to him (or anyone for that matter). But after he passed away, she drank herself to tears every night and howled about how much she loved that man. And then she passed away, only a few short months after he did. She couldn't live without him.
THE scorpio TRANSFORMATION
Scorpios go through many changes and transformations in their life. With each new phase they turn into a completely different person - one who is kinder, happier, less afraid, and healthier emotionally. But Scorpio's ultimate transformation happens when they become the next Sign, Sagittarius. A Sign that was once secretive and deeply private comes out of its shell with openness and honesty. Thoughts that plagued them with paranoia, depression, anxiety, jealousy, and issues over control, become positive affirmations of love, excitement, optimism, indulgence, and good luck. What stays the same is their incredible sex drive, their love of adventure, and their single-minded determination that leads them chasing after goals. Nobody runs their life; they live freely and without consequence, and by their own rules. Once Scorpio changes their life from a negative force of destruction and abuse into one of carefree joy and support of other people, they have finally turned into Sagittarius.
Author's Note: I was contacted recently by a woman who had read this article, who asked if I could link to this one here about how to get out of a domestic situation where a partner has financial control of the spouse. I thought it might be worth a share for anybody in a difficult situation.