Scorpio is a very mysterious and often misunderstood sign. It has more symbols than any other.
These are: the scorpion, the serpent or dragon, the hawk or eagle and the phoenix bird which rises renewed from the ashes of its own funeral pyre.
The caterpillar with its three phases of metamorphosis, worm, chrysalis and butterfly is symbolic of the transformation process which includes the natural or lowest level of life and consciousness, followed by apparent death and entombment, and ends with rebirth in a new, freer, more refined form.
The initiation process of Scorpio takes one from the “herd consciousness” of the peer group and culture to rebirth as an individualized, free thinking being who is at home in the universe. No longer is he a stranger or foreigner anywhere because he no longer defines self in terms of nationality, ethnicity, current customs of a specific culture or religious faith.
A person who remains mindlessly tied by a psychological “umbilical cord” to the security of the social group, the nation, the culture, or a particular religious faith fails the initiation process. Instead of the birth of an individual possessed of autonomous consciousness, we get the fanatic, the one who insists he is “born again” or has the “One Truth” which you must believe also! In reality, such a person represents is a tragic miscarriage, for he is a soul aborted.
Scorpio is the archetype of enormous courage, of willingness to die (literally as well as figuratively), to surrender and let go. Other vital qualities and attributes of this sign are: power issues, risk taking, interpersonal crisis, change, breaking taboos, erotic love, consummation (sometimes devouring the other psychologically), catharsis, and communion.
The “urge to merge”‘ is expressed through erotic love which is the desire to connect on the psychic level, not just the physical. Personal and spiritual power and risk come into play when there is consummation at that level. One astrologer said, “Scorpios are not really the sex fiends of the zodiac; that’s Taurus!
Scorpio likes the power of giving pleasure to another. Having someone else addicted to you is a real rush.” Money is also power, and it is rarely, if ever, possible to become involved in a close relationship with a Scorpio type and not have money as one of the main issues. They like to use, or have access to, “other peoples’ money,” and they give some service or “treasure” in exchange; that also is erotic. Scorpio is the “socialist” of the zodiac as well as the “mutual fund.”
Richard Idemon defined an erotic relationship as one in which two or more people come together in such a way that all parties are transformed by the experience. The movie, “Fearless,” starring Jeff Bridges, provides a good example of non-sexual erotic relationships that develop among survivors of an air crash.
Another example is the doctor-patient relationship. In the process of healing, both the healer and the patient are empowered or re-empowered.
Taboos represent society’s way of imposing its collective psychic power on and over individuals. Those courageous enough to break taboos risk exile and excommunication. Taboos are controls placed on the Taurean areas of basic survival and comfort. There are taboos around FOOD (what you can and can’t eat and when – we are not supposed to eat other humans, Hindus are not supposed to eat any animals, Jews are not supposed to eat dairy at the same meal with animal flesh), and SEX (who you can and can’t have, when and in what position – “missionary” with him on top). The mysteries of birth and death also come under taboo controls. For instance, it’s not O.K. to talk about death openly; we as a culture pretend it doesn’t exists, or at least won’t happen to us and we try to “protect” the children from exposure to it.
Jesus was frequently criticized by the priests for breaking his culture’s taboos. Working on the Sabbath was a “no-no.” Performing any kind of healing, even spontaneous hands-on healing, counted as work. This rebel rabbi, a Solar-Uranian type, was executed because his radical ideas where a threat to the status quo of his culture and time. Scorpio is square the signs Leo and Aquarius, ruled by Sun and Uranus; so it comes as no surprise that a Scorpio (a water/emotional sign) culture forced a death initiation on a Leo-Aquarius (creative, individuated and progressive) type of person.
Scorpio is the archetypal extremist, all or nothing at all. It is the sign of the psyche, the deepest, most powerfully compelling levels of emotion, and of the orgasm, the nearest thing to final death we can experience, because it involves surrender and release of control. One can willingly let go only when possessed of a profoundly intuitive confidence in the process of rebirth.
About the author:
Eleanor Buckwalter has studied, practiced and taught astrology in Los Altos, CA for more than twenty-five years, including three years with the late Richard Idemon, a psychological astrologer. Her primary astrological focus of interest is parent-child relationships and family dynamics.