As I wrote the Scorpio edition of my monthly astrology column for Brooklyn Magazine I naturally found myself reflecting upon and researching more deeply the archetypes and themes which have been associated with the 8th sign of the Zodiac for over 2000 years that we know of thanks to the work of scholars who have translated and interpreted ancient texts in the Hellenistic, Vedic and Babylonian astrology traditions. By the time I came to begin studying astrology at the turn of the last century, what I learned about Scorpio was that in a nutshell, this is the sign associated with sexuality, death, rebirth, "other people's money" (especially inheritance - the way I hear this referred to more recently is "shared resources"), the underworld, ghosts and the spirit world in general as it surrounds and interacts with us, the living here in the mortal coil of every day life on earth. Witches, immortals, practitioners of magick and explorers of the occult are also said to come under the governance of Scorpio. Modern astrologers bring detectives and psychotherapists into the mix, in that both are concerned with getting to the bottom of things, discovering what lurks beneath the surface. Psychological astrologers bring in the idea of "the shadow", and when we consider the traditional and planetary rulers of Scorpio, we are presented with Mars, the god of war, and Pluto, the lord of the underworld. Crime, violence, fear and obsession are also the domain of Scorpio. And considering all this, I thought of all the wonderful Scorpio friends I love and lovers I've endured, and what I actually love about these people. I also thought how annoyed I might be if I had a Scorpio sun and was bombarded with what could generally be considered a bad rap. In the boiled down astrology which is currently enjoying a widespread boom in popularity, it seems the only nice thing anyone has to say about Scorpios is that they're sexy. And while Scorpios may be pleased about that, what if they're not in the mood or feel misunderstood as a result of this cliche?
Aside from the ubiquity of crash courses in astrology available on all social media in the form of memes and quickly cobbled together posts which drive home the stereotypical analysis which is offered in a handful of "keywords" that are the fundamental building blocks to an astrology education (and is a great tantalization to further study), I think the main way we learn about astrology as it plays out as a personal typology tool is by observing people we know, our teachers.
The first person I met who I thought was teaching me about Scorpio was an early boyfriend, the first with whom I moved in and played house. To say the relationship was turbulent would be putting it mildly -- unfortunately it was properly abusive and a hotpot of domestic violence. This was over 40 years ago and I'm happy to say I rarely recall it, I broke free after a couple of years and haven't repeated that experiment in drastic passion since. I also have the luxury of saying I'm grateful for what I learned from that relationship about myself, about life ... I certainly never dreamed such a thing could happen to me and through the experience I gained the important insight that this can happen to anybody. My Scorpio boyfriend was charming and hilarious, beloved in the (punk rock) circle we ran in and a cruel and violent person, possessive but unfaithful, and also the most romantic person and the greatest lover I'd ever met by the time I turned 19. I fell hard for him and learned hard lessons, and little by little I started to attribute some of his more terrible qualities to him being Scorpio. Even back then before the internet, the information was there, of course, to those who were looking, and I'd been dipping into 70s astrology books since my early teens. And then I found out Ike Turner was Scorpio and that was just the proof I needed to double down on this cartoonish take on what could be expected from Scorpio men. I became afraid of Scorpios, swore off them, not wanting to be hurt, and I probably actually steered clear for another decade -- cheating myself of all the gold Scorpio people have to offer.
Of course erotic and romantic entanglements are a minefield in which to discover the best and worst of our newfound or long time loved ones, usually with a delicious sense of exclusivity, which is at times illusory, in which case we feel betrayed and disappointed, quite possibly broken hearted. Scorpios are lauded for their sexuality, which may or may not feel good to them, but the true mastery of Scorpio is intimacy, whether as a friend, a lover, your therapist or a casual acquaintance who can seem to psychically zero in on the very truth of your being, at times more than your nearest and dearest. Scorpios have a a deep need for intimate connection which can feel magnetic and incomprehensible to others and is at times misunderstood. Many will channel this tendency and energy into becoming gifted healers; still others into creating the most visceral art.
Other Scorpios will have a chart full of planets in other signs tempering the intensity of the Scorpio Sun. As friends, Scorpios, like natives of all the fixed signs, are loyal, steadfast and true. You just don't want to piss them off.
The danger of fearing Scorpios, or Scorpio season is that the function of this part of the Zodiac, this time of the year, is to help us all learn and be confronted by the inevitable facts of life - death and the so called dark side of the human condition. We all have Scorpio in our charts, and whether or not we have planets in the sign, without exception we will experience death, grief, the naked intimacy of sex or what it may feel like to not have that .... Scorpios, potentially the most comfortable with the taboo side of life, are our natural teachers and guides, as we must all inevitably equip ourselves to face that which seems scary. Fearing and avoiding Scorpios will leave us with a weakened defense system.
So this Scorpio season, tap into the widely celebrated themes of Halloween, Did De Los Muertos, All Saints Day ... try to use these built in customs to celebrate that which is a little scary and of course celebrate your Scorpio friends and loved ones, including those who've already crossed over. We all have some.
Here's my Scorpio Season Zodiac Soundtrack -- Scorpio Days, Plutonian Nights. I actually love this music year round - maybe it's my Neptune in Scorpio, maybe it's my Mars Pluto conjunction, or maybe I just wouldn't want to miss the intense themes which are especially in the air at this time of the year.