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Scorpio, the sign with the stinger, is adored and feared, desired and reviled. Why does this sign evoke such intense responses in many people, even those who know little about astrology? It is the season, I think. You know, Halloween, the Day of the Dead, falling leaves, shrinking days. Scorpio is a reminder that things must die so that others may be born. It is a remembrance of our mortality and the impossibility of cheating death. Sex and death, clinging lovers in the dance of life. The passion of connection that leads to conception. The urge to merge that brings babies. The natural rhythms blotted out by electric lights and medical technology.

Scorpio is seen darkly because it touches so much that we reject. We want sex, but have been told that it is impure. Death beckons us all, but is denied in cellophane-wrapped America, a culture of the young in permanent denial of the wisdom, degeneration and transformation of old age. Scorpio's also about power, oh yes, that too. It is about the exchange of emotions, feelings and dollars, of time for money that we call work. Yet we turn our eyes away from the exchange, wanting but not watching, desiring without understanding.

We're in denial, too independent, wanting open relationships, modern relationships, negotiable partnerships with reasonable limits. But, what are the limits of love, of passion, of the Soul. Why must we draw such clear lines of separation when that very separation is an illusion itself, the Cardinal Illusion that we are separate individuals, when we are truly bound together by our common humanness. Scorpio threatens us because we have forgotten that we are not apart, but connected to one another and everything else. Call it God, Goddess, Spirit, Nature, the All, whatever. It's Scorpio whose waters descend into our cracks and crevices separating us from the separations and reminding us that we are One.

Describing the ways in which Scorpio works in one's chart and life is not easy. The reason is that there seem to be two distinct ways in which Scorpio expresses itself. There is the introverted Scorpio energy, closed, repressed feelings and fear of self-expression and power. The extraverted Scorpio energy, however, is a powerful force for change, showing itself as passion and intensity. There are some astrological clues, of course, as to which is more likely in a given natal chart. (Although, we certainly can change patterns during the course of a life.) First, the overall tone of the chart is a useful guide. If there is a strong emphasis on outgoing signs (primarily fire and air) or planets (Mars, Sun, Jupiter), the extraverted side will probably dominate. If, though, the chart is characterized by water and earth or heavy Saturn and Pluto placements, Scorpio is probably going to withhold its secrets and feelings.

Other keys are the conditions of Scorpio's ruling planets, Mars and Pluto. Ruling planets, those most closely associated with a particular sign, provide rich detail about the most likely forms of its expression. For example, a Scorpio with Mars in Leo may take more chances than one with Mars in Cancer. If you have Scorpio on the cusp of the Second House of money and resources, Mars in exacting Virgo may indicate a more careful and self-critical approach to these matters. But, if Mars is in adventurous Sagittarius, an individual may take more risks with money and resources.

The influence of Pluto is also quite important here, but its slow movement through the zodiac (over 243 years) means that it can stay in a single sign for over 20 years! Pluto's sign, then, is a less personal (and reliable) guide to Scorpio's expression. Instead, note the aspects that Pluto forms, as well as its natal house placement. If someone has Pluto in a harmonious sextile to the natal Moon he or she may be confident in their ability to deal with crises and change. Pluto square the Moon, however, may require years of deep personal work (or just the grace of God) to overcome its fundamental distrust in the nurturance of life.

Astrology's rulership scheme helps us weave together seemingly disparate pieces of the chart. A person might have Scorpio on the cusp of the Fourth House. Intense, perhaps hidden, issues may have dominated family life. If the ruler Mars is in Capricorn in the Eighth House, then dominance, control, even sexuality may be key issues. If that Mars is harmoniously connected with Venus or the Moon, positive social skills, female influences or emotional awareness are tools that facilitate a more comfortable relationship with one's family. If Mars (or Pluto) is in primarily stressful relationships (hard aspects such as a square or opposition) with key planets, the early life challenges may be more difficult (but not impossible) to overcome.

When we "jump" around a chart with rulers we are going to come across contradictions. Ease and stress are not separate experiences, but two ends of the same spectrum. Most of us are strong sometimes and weak others, confident in some situations, shy in others. The astrologer's job is not to determine the absolute truth, but is, rather, to describe the ingredients of the personality in such a way as to show meaning, inspire hope and help in the release of the client's full potentials.

Releasing potential is an essential quality of Scorpio. However, most of us do not express the full force of our powers. The likely source is a distrust of power itself. This is another basic Scorpio theme. Many of us have been taught that power corrupts. We often have models of this kind of abuse of power. But, it is powerlessness that corrupts. It is the fearful and the weak who are cruel to others. When we truly feel powerful inside, there's no reason to belittle others. Scorpio, measuring the exchange of energy between people, has a great deal to do with power. If we do not trust ourselves with power, the Scorpio expression in our charts is likely to be indirect, covert and more damaging than helpful. But, if you have confidence in your judgment and are, therefore, allowed to influence others, power flows freely and safely.

One of the rules of nature is that energy is alive. The repression of it, as in hiding one's power, is costly. The first cost is loss of access. We can not use our influence for the good if our fear of its improper use is too strong. For example, with Scorpio on the cusp of the Third House of communications and perceptions, a fearful parent may have distorted your communication. She or he may have taught you how to use sarcasm to avoid direct expression of your feelings. You may have experienced fear that you would be punished for saying the wrong things. Scorpio's accountability may have been excessively harsh coming from a wounded parent or older sibling. So, you may not trust your own words. You do not communicate at your highest level of potential. You see so much that you are afraid to talk about.

Confident Scorpio on the Third consciously uses its power of speech to emotionally connect with others. Perceptions are profound, but not negative. It's the investigator who is interested in understanding, rather than the one who is looking in the dark corners for evidence of your crimes. If Scorpio is there to punish, power will be abused through dominance or turned inward. It's expensive to repress power. Not only do you and the world miss its positive potential to touch, help and heal, but forced inwardly and muzzled in the unconscious, power turns toxic. Pockets of desire, encapsulated in fear and swallowed in the darkness of the unconscious, can be breeding grounds of disease.

Scorpio needs something to chew on. It's quite paradoxical because it is a fixed sign of transformation. Scorpio's about death and rebirth, not one constant state. Maybe we're frozen like deer in the headlights when faced with desires beyond the level of reason. Beyond Reason, that's a good name for Scorpio. Libra, the previous sign, is about reason. It is the balanced mind, the cardinal air sharpened by the perfect equilibrium of detachment and connection. Libra's the first sign of partnership, the first to see others as equal. The journey of individualization that began in the spring with Aries is turning back towards its origins, the universal. We seek ourselves through others.

Libra lights the way. It is reasonable, clear in the mind. But, Scorpio takes us beyond the mind. We descend into the body, into our emotions and primal feelings, the lower chakras. If Libra is the sign of relationship, Scorpio is its consummation. The idea of union in one's mind is much different than the consequences of the act itself. Libra opens a door to connection by way of the mind. Scorpio takes that connection deeper and, somehow, below the level of reason. Libra is about being fair. Scorpio is about survival. It is the force that allows the lion to eat the zebra. Survival operates below the level of fairness in an intellectual sense. It is not an idea. Scorpio is not an idea. Its a state of being, the space between Libra's open door to sharing and Sagittarius' search for intimacy beyond the personal level.

Scorpio is the Sign Opposite Taurus

Sweet, simple Taurus child of mid-spring. Fat and round, contented in your garden of senses. This is your Earth. I, Scorpio, have to share it with others. You just eat. I count how much food is left to take us through the winter. Scorpio, traditionally, was the time when the flock was culled. After the last harvest the animals would be measured against the food stocks. If there wasn't enough food for the animals, some would be chosen for slaughter. Scorpio's the time for measuring collective resources and eliminating what is unessential.

Scorpio is Square Leo

The Lion has only to think of itself. The rest of us are audience. Fire creates of itself. Water, however, remembers. It has the feeling of history. Apres-Libra, relationship sensitive Scorpio can not put on its show without carefully measuring the audience. Consequences are big for Scorpio. It can not ignore its effects on others. It doesn't have the luxury to be naïve like Taurus and Leo. It is in the second half of the zodiac that others exist. We are accountable to one another. Scorpio is the wet spot where Libra ideas descend into physical contact, ground zero of relationships.

Scorpio is Square Aquarius

Values have shifted from survival to possibility. We have survived Scorpio's cauldron, flown high with Sagittarian ideas, agreed on rules in Capricorn and now create together in Aquarius. Firey Leo's individuality is defracted through the lens of millions. The network of minds meets at common frequencies and paints images of the future. Aquarius' brilliant city in the sky, though, is fueled with Scorpio's desires. The electronic web in which we live seems so far from the primal savanna. But, survival is always there for all of us. If the lights go out we'll be looking for food and shelter, not the mouse and keyboard.

In the fixed quartet of Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius it's Scorp who has to keep score. The others are not accountable in the same way. They are not about the meeting at the crossroads of life and death, sex and money, healing and hurting which is Scorpio. Emotions are where ideas and matter meet, cooking in the stew of personality. The power of this place is compelling…and frightening. Emotions aren't necessarily reasonable or comfortable. Desire makes us vulnerable.

Remembering one's innocence is helpful. We are all simple somewhere. We are all naïve some place. This means that we are not manipulating there. We do not, can not, harm others or ourselves with rampant desires and power trips.

Scorpio needs to remember its innocence. If you have Scorpio on the Eleventh House cusp it is possible for you to be in a group without trying to manipulate it. In a state of self trust you can have an open, but powerful connection with others. Your desires and fears are not yours alone, but are one part of the human symphony. If you are innocent the channel can open with less distortion. Your personal story doesn't muck up the potential good that comes out of this dynamic within groups. The emotion is there, but it's not distorted through fear of one's desires and power. The door is open.

A key to using Scorpio energy, then, is trust…trust of oneself, trust of the world, trust of the process of change. It is about trusting that life grows from death, that there is movement in the universe. Without this we get the withholding model. Scorpio becomes a place of shameful secrets, not magical ones. It is about emotions that are compacted, turned inward and frozen with fear. Trusting Scorpio is passionate, engaging, healing and erotic.

Scorpio by House

The seasonal matrix of the signs is laid upon the turning top of the days on Earth. Signs occupy houses. These describe how doors open, how cosmic energy is lived on planet Earth. But, the structure of the chart is not that simple. Signs appear to stretch, enlarging and contracting when laid upon the houses. In the most common house systems two signs are generally found in a given house. Sometimes, an entire sign is contained within a house. These intercepted signs are considered to be less powerful because they don't occupy the cusp or border of a house. For example, someone might have 28 degrees of Aries rising in his chart. The cusp of the Second House is 1 Gemini. Therefore, the sign Taurus does not occupy a cusp. Now, the intercepted sign is still present, it just doesn't occupy the apparently important house cusp. I think that it is still a very important factor.

I strongly recommend that you consider all of the signs present in a house to fully understand its meaning. If Leo is on the cusp of the Fourth House the door to family is through this sign. But, if the entire body of Virgo is present, an understanding of its meaning will considerably broaden the description of home and family. There are many house systems, astrologers who interpret house cusps with orbs and those who don't. Relatively small errors in birth times will change cusps (one degree every four minutes, on average). This gives you additional ruling planets to consider. If you have Sagittarius on the Sixth cusp, its ruler Jupiter will be examined. But, Capricorn is also present, so a look at its ruler Saturn will add more meaning. It's worthwhile to explore different house systems and approaches to reading houses to get the most information possible from a chart.

First House

You may look upon the world with suspicion. Measurement means being guarded until you are ready to plunge. You watch and gather emotional information below the level of consciousness. Your job is not to be sweet (although you can be), but to swim through the nether waters that connect us all. You may have been taught to tame your emotions, but tiny bubbles gather and turn to lava, followed by an eruption. You may be tough on yourself, acutely aware of the shadow forces lying just below the surface. It can be helpful to welcome your dark side, the discontentment, jealousy and doubt that can propel you forward if you accept its purpose. Psychology is a natural here. Exploring yourself and your motivations is more helpful than judging and rejecting them.

Second House

Your greatest talent is the ability to get to the source. You needn't hold the obvious reigns of power. Your gift is knowing how to combine disparate forces, to turn lead into gold. Where others see loss, you can see opportunity. Value your complexity. It's not just a barrier against unwanted intrusion, but the key to your magical powers. You can be objective about what others have to offer. This enables you to help them make the best of what they are. Measure your talents without cruel judgment. What you need is a good obsession to find the path to self-worth. You can extract all there is to get from your field of interest.

Third House

Where others see the obvious you see the hidden undercurrents. Your skills of observation may have been honed in a childhood where you were not encouraged to talk. So you watched and learned more than other children your age. Your words are not mere decorations, space filling or ear candy. You want to be heard as attentively as you listen. Communication is about change, about moving others to feel or see what has been hidden. Finding potency in the sounds, the silence and the nuance empowers your message. The depth of the connection is more important than facts. But, it is useful to remember that sometimes the simple truth is truly simple.

Fourth House

The mysteries of adult issues like sex, power and death were close to you during childhood. Innate awareness of the shadow side may have put an early end to feelings of innocence. Ideally, your family was rooted in psychological inquiry and bonding based on healthy feelings. However, sometimes this position is about unhealthy matters of control and secrecy at home. The Fourth is the foundation of the chart. Scorpio here reminds us that you do, indeed, take yourself seriously. Beyond appearances lies a person with a pipeline to the center of the earth. The passions are beyond measurement, but perhaps rarely seen by others. A public calm belies the wariness you have. But, this can also be your protection, the ability to deal with crises without making a scene.

Fifth House

Play is serious business for you. No distractions when you're in the game. Your intensity may make it difficult to compete without trying to crush the opposition. Ideally, though, you give it your all. Passion for action can take you beyond the bounds of reason, but that's what Scorpio's all about anyway. Affairs of the heart are not taken lightly either. Your heart's not feeble, nor are your desires. This can be about the erotically charged child. But, personal expression may be seen as shameful so that hiding one's desires is not uncommon here. The power can feel so strong that you are resistant to show it. Carefully directing your force enables you to make a creative impact here. You're able to turn discarded materials and ideas into new creations.

Sixth House

Tasks are taken on with passion. The work that works best is that which you find compelling, as if you can't live without doing it. Sometimes this position indicates someone who feels forced to do her work. It can be about external pressure and repression. But, in the best situation it is about work that has to do with digging in deeply to facilitate change or deal with crisis. Management issues may arise here, as the appropriate use of power on the job can become an issue. Concentration can be a strength, as there is often an ability to deal with considerable discomfort to get the job done. Health and hobbies are also Sixth House matters. A regular routine of cleansing and regeneration is ideal. Resentment can be a cause of illness, if not addressed openly.

Seventh House

The desire, conscious or not, is to have a powerful partner, one who helps you overcome your natural resistance to change. You may attract strong individuals who try to remold you. The paradox is that the other can be a person of strong desire, but who is also withholding. The issue for you is to take back the power and recognize that you're here to help change others. Relationships touch fundamental issues of trust and control. A willingness to share your fears with someone able to do the same can be helpful, as long as that's a stepping stone on the path of change. Relationship is not about making you safe. It's about taking you further into yourself with the help of someone whose force is equal to your own.

Eighth House

This is Scorpio's natural house, so the core issues of sex, death and transformation may be more familiar to you. You are a guide to body, mind and spirit. You are here to take others beyond their boundaries to reveal all of their resources. It's possible that this house will be projected and you'll seek others to fill you with their desire and lead you to change. But, it is for you to penetrate the fears and go beyond the known world of comfort and familiarity. Intimacy is about rediscovering your Soul through intense union. Dispassionate partners need not apply. You may be at your best when others are in crisis. This can be very useful for healers and helpers of all kinds. Getting and giving the most without any negative exploitation is one of the challenges here.

Ninth House

While interested in the meaning of all things, a little skepticism may be natural to you. If the teacher is charismatic enough, or passes your tests, you can become a totally committed devotee. Your beliefs are not casual, nor disconnected from the real choices that you make in your life. You may have encountered religious extremism or punishing judgment when younger. This position is often of someone who rejects religion only to rediscover faith in a new and more powerful form later. You're not likely to be playful about your beliefs. These are not mere ideas or acts of faith, but concepts held in the very cells of your body. When you teach it is with the fullness of your being.
When you travel it is not as a tourist, but as someone who enters into the very marrow of the place visited.

Tenth House

There are really two possible positions for you professionally: either you're in control of your career or are under the thumb of the oppressor. Scorpionic passion works for you when channeled into socially acceptable forms here. You have the intensity that allows you to be a force for change in your chosen field. Without focus, however, feelings are repressed and resentment is a possible outcome. Professions that deal with healing, crisis (physical, emotional or financial) and reform are appropriate. It is vital that you feel you have the right to your place in the world. Without this permission it's unlikely that your energies will be channeled effectively. Although cool on the outside, you are going to measure the public's responses to your actions. You can be a great leader when the pressure is strong. Create your kind of pressure by choosing the challenges that will move you. Without this focus lesser issues can bog you down.

Eleventh House

This can be the position of the social or political zealot. You may be the loyal friend, the passionate comrade, the revolutionary. You don't need a large circle of friends as trust is more important than sheer numbers. Popularity, when it comes your way, is often due to the intensity you bring to group settings. You're not usually out to impress people, it's the cause that counts. You could find yourself attracted to groups that aren't in the mainstream. It's not your job to support the status quo, but to question it. You may have the ability to see your cause take a terrible defeat, then rise again from the ashes. It's typically Scorpionic to be strongest with one's back against the wall. In any case, your respect is likely to go to those willing to invest all that they've got. Teammates who hold back are likely to earn your criticism.

Twelfth House

Identification with society's outcasts is a quality of the Twelfth House. When Scorpio is here this may be even more evident. You have the ability to find strength in terrible circumstances and, thus, are a powerful ally of the weak. But, you may find it less easy to show your strengths openly, saving your force for the most desperate moments. This can sometimes make it uncomfortable for you to see yourself as the one with power. You can feel like the underdog even when you hold all the cards. Another element here can be a deep mysticism and attraction to the occult, healing and metaphysics. You're not going to hold conventional views about reality, but are rather a person who can be a guide between the worlds.

This article originally appeared in The Mountain Astrologer.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Jawer is a founder of StarIQ.com. He has been a professional astrologer since 1973 and is well-known as a writer, counselor and lecturer in North and South America, Europe and Australia.

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For more information about Jeff Jawer, click here.

Other StarIQ articles by Jeff Jawer:

  • AstroNews April 7, 2009   4/7/2009
  • House Cusps and Systems   8/27/2004
  • The Astrology of Intimacy   6/4/2004
  • Saturn in Cancer: Security and Insecurity   4/22/2004
  • The State of Astrology   10/12/2003
  • Being and Becoming   9/29/2003
  • Jupiter Opposite Neptune   2/10/2003
  • The Astrology of Intimacy   12/1/2002
  • Saturn-Pluto Revisited   9/20/2002
  • Astrology's Archaic Truths   6/27/2002
  • We Are The Transits   6/20/2002
  • Astro-Ecology   6/13/2002
  • Creative Prediction   6/6/2002
  • Pisces to Aquarius   11/10/2001
  • Caring Curious Carlos   2/25/2000
  • Doug Henning's Final Act   2/8/2000
  • WTO: Shaping the World's Economic Future   12/1/1999
  • The Deconstructed Horoscope   11/28/1999
  • House Cusps and Systems   11/20/1999
  • The Art of (Non) Communication   10/20/1999

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