Scorpio Sun 2015

Scorpio is a pretty awesome sign really, there isn’t much luke warm about it. The second half of the zodiac may have begun with Libra, but everything that could have hung onto the past, the blocks, the walled up self, seems to be coiled up in that space between the end of Virgo and somewhere in Scorpio, and Scorpio is the end of the road. Thus Scorpio’s association with death and rebirth (and birth, another uncoiling), and the soul compulsion of sexuality. On 23rd October (UT) the Sun enters this life saving sign, of ghouls and vampires and saints; of poisons and miracles, phoenixes and snakes.

You might remember that in the last zodiac month the Uranus-Pluto square was getting hit off quite a bit, it being a cardinal Sun sign month. We’re past that now, but as Mercury and Venus follow (or precede) the Sun around the chart, they will both do some engaging of the Uranus-Pluto square (especially at the beginning and end of the Sun sign month).

The other thing that really coloured the last month was a Jupiter-Neptune opposition, which has now disappeared. So with that brief recap, let’s see how the Scorpio month plays out, and if we can pick out any patterns in the movement.

Scorpio 1a

We begin much as we ended Libra of course, entering Scorpio on a wave of dream energy from that Sun-Neptune trine. The Sun going into Scorpio will help this, as both it and Neptune are now in water signs. There may be a slightly bitter undertaste provided by the square from Saturn, a need to take in colder realities, harsher meanings, but that is part of the challenge of the time. Venus in Virgo has an opposition from Neptune, and that sensitizes our need to find what we value and love at a certain level. There’s a bit of an inflationary quality to this aspect, infatuation with the unreachable, the unobtainable, the impractical, but Venus in Virgo is very resourceful, and triply so with a trine to Pluto in Capricorn. Venus is also conjunct Jupiter and Mars, so this is an exaggerating formation in terms of what we can desire, envision and want to go for. It’s a want big aspect. Saturn squaring Neptune is a good reminder here: you can’t always get what you want, but you could still get a great deal; it just might not turn out to be what you thought before you got it. No need to be heartless or disillusioned, but keep a level head for the sake of your big picture. You really can have cake and eat it, so long as you take care of what is important. With so many planets in Virgo, the detail holds quite a lot. With so much Neptune, just make sure you are honest with yourself. The whole triple conjunction in Virgo is all trine Pluto as well, so plenty of potential for gains if we are wise.

Another thing to note about the triple conjunction (Venus-Jupiter-Mars) is that it is all opposite Chiron. This is another clue for things to watch out for. If you find old wounds, old vulnerabilities and patterns cropping up in how you feel, it could be connected with this. There’s an opportunity for healing highlighted by Chiron, but it is up to you, and with an opposition it would tend to get presented as an external situation to be recognized in. With oppositions, remember that they partly act like mirrors. Don’t do, or react to things, just because you always have; or at least be aware of where you play out the same old problem, or open the same old wound. Chiron really does teach us about where we do it to ourselves. It’s ok to let go of that now, but of course you can only let go of something when you’re holding it consciously. That’s something that Chiron does, it shows you what you’re holding.

Mars is quincunx Uranus, so that could be a bit irritable, though individually a person could make something original of it. If anything, it says “stay individual“. It might not go anywhere of course, but it at least won’t go anywhere worse.

At the beginning of the Scorpio Sun month it is Mercury that engages Uranus-Pluto and makes a T square with them. As we said last month, this is a bit of a polarizing, projecting, potentially judgemental pattern, especially to do with groups we protect or exclude from our society, so take it easy and don’t be too quick to judge (information may have got a definite “spin” on it) – it might help you step outside of a bit of group thinking. The triple conjunction in Virgo helps this, so maybe dealing with our own business in the answer here, as there is quite a bit to work on and gain from, in potential, with Venus, Jupiter and Mars all piggy backing each other with a deeply resourceful aspect from Pluto in Capricorn.

Scorpio 2a

Week 2:

Hey that’s all a bit easier now, with Mercury having disengaged from the Uranus-Pluto square, we get a rest, and maybe a clearer picture. The Sun is now sextiling Pluto as well as trining Neptune, so there is a capacity for some deep-seated spiritual liberality and shifting of identity (or life) coming to light, if we work with it (sextile).

Jupiter is hanging on to that trine to Pluto, so there’s still a nice, stable bed rock of gain there if we have the right perspective and vision. Jupiter and Pluto together have definite interest in power and wealth, but there is also an interest in the kind of philosophy and “wisdom” that can survive real life, and the trine makes the latter more accessible.  Venus and Mars are even more closely conjunct (plus still conjunct Jupiter), so still nice for romance and passion (just get the details right – Virgo), and the Venus opposition to Neptune has disappeared, so things might be a bit more realistic now also. The trines from Mars and Venus to Pluto have disappeared also, so if you want the big money or the big kicks, Jupiter is your man here, with his visionary work and cataloguing in Virgo, his little-big picture, but Mars and Venus in combo are passionate enough without that addition of the Lord of the Underworld wearing goat horns. It was kinky, it was fun, but we’re ok as we are.

Uranus has switched his quincunx from Mars to Jupiter by now, a bit of an easier combination, maybe a bit distracting for Jupiter’s work, with that irresistible vanishing point horizon he sees with Uranus, but as ever, an individual can turn a quincunx into something that works.

The only other thing to note is that Chiron’s opposition to the triple conjunction in Virgo is still in place, so the aforementioned healing work may still present itself.

 Scorpio 3a

Week 3:

The pattern of harmonies enriches, without an increase in tensions, though a yod is added to the picture, and the North Node is more involved.

Mercury has joined the Sun in the trine to Neptune and the sextile to Pluto, so the mystical, liberal combination of Pluto and Neptune is made even more conscious as an overall “vibe” (incidentally, Neptune and Pluto are themselves uncharacteristically out of sextile for most of this month, and a few months to come). Jupiter maintains its productive trine to Pluto, and adds a sextile to the Sun, making a charmed little triangle from Virgo to  Capricorn, with the Sun in the middle in Scorpio. This pattern rings with an energy which is melodious, deep and rich, so see if you can pick it up this week and use it (making the work of Jupiter-Pluto conscious for yourself). Chiron has maintained an opposition to Jupiter so have your feelers out for healing issues, or at least a remembering ear. Mars and Venus are now free of Chiron, so it might not feel quite as personal, but Jupiter’s healing work in Virgo stays highlighted.

The yod I mentioned is between the Sun in Scorpio, Jupiter in Virgo and Uranus in Aries. Uranus is the focus, and the enlightening irritation here. Both Sun and Jupiter are being affected by the liberating influence of Uranus, but in Aries his power is very focussed on the individual, and unrestrained, impulsive freedom. That isn’t where the Sun or Jupiter are at right now, in deeply involved Scorpio and detailed, service oriented Virgo. It’s a conundrum in terms of the energy, one which a person could figure out for themselves eventually, but socially it will tend to have the quality of mis-match and tension. Remember the lowest common denominator. You might want to reflect on those energies if you feel able, but don’t get caught up in social tensions around individual freedom and service, or individual freedom and commitment to transformation. The square to Pluto from Uranus just points out how much impersonal issues are caught up in this. If you ain’t the person with the answer, you ain’t the person to be involved.

The only other thing to note here is that Venus and Mars, as they travel towards the end of Virgo, have become technically conjunct the North Node, which is now right at the beginning of Libra. Venus and Mars fused here are highlighted as being around the areas we could do with working on; relationship and others, which in this case should come a bit more naturally. What’s good for us actually looks quite charming for once. Take the hint.

Scorpio 4a

Week 4:

The Sun has lost its trine to Neptune, so that dreamy energy will be dissipating now, leaving the Sun to rely on the sextile to Jupiter to buoy it up. Jupiter actually carries the harmony of the chart at this point, so give the wandering herbalist/wise man of Jupiter in Virgo a thought. This is the “morning after” of the Neptune trine, and Jupiter has the medicine.

That yod now transfers its base to Mercury and Jupiter, which maybe makes the tension a bit more conscious, or played out in communication and movement. I think it’s quite possible to get distortion of information with this kind of combination, so test for reality (which is what the square from Pluto is asking for), but try not to get identified with issues. The chart as a  whole is locking into a somewhat more tense arrangement in fact. Venus particularly is feeling it a bit more, with a somewhat undermining quincunx to Neptune in Pisces, and another square to hard bargaining Pluto in Capricorn. Venus and Mars have both jumped over to Libra here, so we’re up for a bit of the “cardinal effect” that draws in the Uranus-Pluto square at some point.

Venus quincunx Neptune sounds uneasy, troubled by doubts or fears, or maybe just the taste of some kind of disillusion. As with any quincunx, it’s an individual who can make it work (even though it “shouldn’t”). Forget the rules, don’t be afraid of doubts or uneasiness where it comes to what we personally love and value for our lives. The ingredients are two kinds of “love” that don’t usually mix. Two kinds of experience of value that are out of phase. If in doubt, you don’t have to do anything. The modes of operation are Pisces and Libra, surrender and reclamation, and on the other hand etiquette, order, mutuality, diplomacy. Venus is also conjunct Mars, which is conjunct the North Node, so I think that is saying to focus on relationship, but to keep centred on the self. Mars will understand this better than Venus, but Venus exemplifies part of the method, as ruler of Libra.

On the other hand, the North Node itself has switched from Libra to Virgo, which is a sea change in the growth-retrogression axis of the time, and it will be there till the Spring of 2017. You could look at this in a number of ways, but the potential for growth is getting focussed in the area of service, practical work, integrity, wholeness, while the area that holds a developed potential to be used (but not simply indulged or further developed, as that would lead to stagnation) is characterized more by faith, surrender, escape, imagination, and loss in the mass (Virgo versus Pisces). Given that Neptune is going through its long haul in its home sign, there is a pretty powerful shift going on through this, though I’m uncertain how that works out. It is also during this week that Neptune stations and then turns direct (17th – 19th November).

Venus meanwhile has to also contend with that square to Pluto, which is a bit like the conflict between money and MONEY, value and hard currency, art and porn (or the art world for that matter), romance and what people want from it as the end game. They’re honestly not so unrelated as energies (even if different in quality), but it’s a combination that tends to light upon the shadow in what we want, and nothing wrong with that in principle. But it takes a broad and honest mind, with lots of space, to cope with Venus-Pluto, because space and distance is just what this combination doesn’t have by nature. With a square, it is potentially very compulsive. It makes people hungry, because Pluto highlights blocks, and Venus’ blocks hit people right in the gut. Libra to Capricorn – elegant front, high stakes. This of course plays into the Uranus-Pluto square also. Socially I could see this playing out as compulsive mass desires or drives, and discontent. If you can use that energy, go ahead. Otherwise step back and watch the show, because if anything is visible, it will be a show. With Pluto as secretive as he is, I doubt anything comes to light before next week though.

Saturn does come to the rescue though. A soothing, conserving, more cautious hand from The Reaper sobers up the Mars-Venus conjunction, which sobers up the above as well. Remember that things need to make sense, and some common sense, and have some long-term meaning. It’s Neptune that squares Saturn and quincunxes Venus, so again; honesty, clarity and reality checking are watchwords (guarding against the bottom line of a potentially negative Neptune here).

Scorpio 5a

Week 5:

And so we come to the last week. What has changed?

It’s mainly more challenging stuff, and things coming to a head, though it may also look a bit foggy. The Sun is now nearing the end of Scorpio, while Mercury has crossed over into zappy Sagittarius, but straight into a conjunction with Saturn. That slows things down somewhat, puts a more serious tone on things, which is doubled by the Sun joining in on the conjunction with Saturn. A bit low energy. Add to that the triple squares from Neptune (to Sun, Mercury and Saturn), and the withdrawal of Jupiter’s influence, and there is a bit of a lost, low energy theme going on. But there is some help from Mars, who sextiles Mercury and Saturn. Saturn’s touch tones down Mars even through a sextile, but we have some motive power pushing from Mars in Libra all the same, and being in Libra, it could be tuned to concern with others, or possibly issues of justice say, but it is concerned with relationship, though with a bit of an executive edge. So the push of Mars here goes well with the cautious skepticism of Saturn in Sagittarius. The quincunx to Neptune doesn’t help, it may be a sense of subtly undermined goals, the clarity and distinctness of Libra not getting the amorphous unmappability of Pisces, but Mars will depend upon Sagittarian map-making and Saturnian caution to allay that.

Mars has also separated from Venus here, so passion may be a little on the wane. But Venus has now taken on the mantle of the cardinal effect, and forms a T square with Pluto and Uranus. Same Pluto square we saw last week, but with an opposition to Uranus added. So if Venus-Pluto needed a broad and honest mind, and space to cope with its needs, well Uranus in Aries might just provide that, if we can pull off that T square and avoid it all being externalized. Aries certainly gives the capacity for honesty (better than Libra in fact), and more free space than Capricorn, but we have the whole deal of the Uranus-Pluto square and it’s very political vibe (as in body politic, and what’s bullshit and what isn’t), locked onto ravenousbut-don’t-break-a-sweat Venus in Libra (square Pluto), opposed by the Freak Liberation Front in Aries. It could be just what Venus needs here, but it’s not likely to be what she thinks is appropriate, or at an appropriate price. If I could see the Venus-Pluto square playing out socially as compulsive mass desires and discontent, well with added Uranus there is added potential for projection here, which is of course not what one should do, if you want to remain relatively conscious about it. Individually that could be quite transformative (hell, it could be very transformative). Collectively it is more likely to be a bit chewy, and maybe a touch volatile. Don’t underestimate Venus in Libra’s capacity for trouble making, Libra is the sign of diplomacy, politics and well, you can imagine how that ends up. In any event, you don’t have to join in.

Thankfully we have a stabilizing, soothing influence from Jupiter in Virgo to Pluto in Capricorn. Potentially wise, compassionate, and very practical. Still connected to that Chiron opposition, and to the healing work, which in Pisces is very collective in flavour, very concerned with suffering, and who we consider worth saving, reclaiming, redeeming (and there are always people and things that our collective way of life calculates on disposing of, and there always have been). But the Jupiter-Pluto trine runs through this whole month, just as it did through the last, and will do so till the end of November. Patient, deep, oddly unglamorous, the vein of ore wending its way through the season, dependable, rich.

What comes next is the Sun’s story in Sagittarius.

Summary

We enter Scorpio on a wave of dream energy which should be softening things for us at the beginning. Saturn requires that we take in colder realities and harsher meanings though, which is part of the challenge of the time longer term.

Venus is conjunct Jupiter and Mars, so this expands what we can desire, envision and aim for. Saturn reminds us that we can get real results, but not real fantasies.  Keep a level head for the sake of your big picture. Take care of what is important, pay attention to the details, and be honest with yourself. There is plenty of potential for gains if we are wise.

Be aware of where you play out the same old problem, or open the same old wound. You could do things differently then.

Mercury engages Uranus-Pluto and makes a T square with them, which is a polarizing, projecting, and potentially judgemental pattern, especially re groups we protect or exclude. Take it easy and don’t be too quick to judge. Information could have a “spin” on it. It pays better to deal with our own business, and there is quite a bit to gain from doing so.

The second week eases up, and there is a more liberal permissive vibe collectively, which we can work with to shift some things positively. Jupiter hangs on to its trine to Pluto for the whole month, and continues to give a stable bed rock of gain, if we have the right perspective and vision. They point to the potential of a working philosophy and “wisdom” that can survive real life.

Venus and Mars move more closely into conjunction, which is nice for romance and passion (just pay attention to the details). Things might also be more realistic with the opposition to Neptune now gone. With the trine to Pluto, Jupiter now carries the Pluto payload with his detailed, careful, Virgoan philosophy.

The potential for healing of patterns continues all this month due to the Chiron oppositions, though it might come through external challenges.

At week 3 the pattern of harmonies enriches, we get a yod formation, and the North Node becomes more involved.

The liberal combination of Pluto and Neptune is made even more conscious as an overall “vibe” through Mercury, while Jupiter makes a charmed pattern with Pluto and the Sun that carries a melodious, deep and rich note. This week focusses the positive energy of the Pluto-Jupiter trine most consciously, in the transformative sign of Scorpio, probably most strongly on 6th November. This could be a time to make the work of Jupiter-Pluto conscious for yourself.

The yod – socially it will tend to have the quality of mis-match and tension. Don’t get caught up in social tensions around individual freedom and service, or individual freedom and commitment to transformation.

Venus and Mars fused with the North Node are highlighting relationship and others, which in this case could feel personal or romantic. Potential for growth through relationships.

By week 4 the Sun-Neptune dreamy energy will be dissipating, leaving the Sun to rely on Jupiter for support. Jupiter carries the harmony of the chart at this point – the wandering herbalist/wise man of Jupiter in Virgo. The chart as whole is locking into a more tense arrangement.

The yod has now transferred its base to Mercury and Jupiter, so the tension may be a bit more conscious – quite possible to get distortion of information, so test for reality, try not to get identified with issues.

Venus and Mars have both jumped over to Libra here, so the “cardinal effect” that draws in the Uranus-Pluto square will apply at some point (week 5).

Venus quincunx Neptune – forget the rules, don’t be afraid of doubts or uneasiness where it comes to what we personally love and value for our lives. Venus is also conjunct Mars, which is conjunct the North Node, so it is saying to focus on relationship, but to keep centred on what we want.

The North Node itself has switched from Libra to Virgo, which is a sea change in the growth-retrogression axis of the time. Potential for growth is now focussed in the area of service, practical work, integrity, wholeness.

Venus squaring Pluto – tends to light upon the shadow in what we want and value. This needs a broad and honest mind, with lots of space, to cope with. Potentially it’s very compulsive, and socially mass desires and discontent could be highlighted. If you can use that energy, go ahead. Otherwise step back.

Saturn provides a soothing, conserving, cautious hand that helps with the above though. Saturn reminds us that things need to make common sense, and have some long-term meaning. Honesty, clarity and reality checking are watchwords (guarding against a potentially negative Neptune here).

By week 5 the pattern is both more nebulous and more locked in.

Things slows down, with a more serious tone. The triple squares from Neptune (to Sun, Mercury and Saturn), plus the withdrawal of Jupiter’s influence, give a bit of a lost, low energy feel. Help comes from Mars though, providing some motive power pushing from Libra, which could be tuned to concern with others, or possibly issues of justice, but though it is cautious, it does gives a push. Use Sagittarian map making and Saturnian caution to dispel negative Neptune.

Mars separates from Venus, so passion may be on the wane. But Venus has now taken on the cardinal effect, and forms a T square with Pluto and Uranus. It could be just what Venus-Pluto needs here, but it’s not likely to come easily. Socially it could be volatile, but remember you don’t have to join in or get identified.

A stabilizing, soothing influence comes from Jupiter trine Pluto throughout. Potentially wise, compassionate, and very practical. Still connected to healing work, which here is very collective in flavour, very concerned with suffering, and the value we place on lives. The Jupiter-Pluto trine will last till the end of November.

Patient, deep, dependable, rich. This is one thing to focus on as a stabilizing thread, if you feel turbulence during this month. It will be most consciously focussed on the 6th November.

Dates*

23rd October Sun enters Scorpio

25th October Venus conjoins Jupiter

Mercury opposes Uranus

27th October Venus opposes Chiron

30th  October Sun trines Neptune

2nd November Mercury enters Scorpio

3rd November Venus conjoins Mars

Jupiter opposes Chiron

6th November Sun sextile Pluto

Mercury trines Neptune

7th November Venus conjoins North Node

8th November Venus enters Libra

9th November Sun trines Chiron

10th November Mars conjoins North Node

Mercury sextiles Pluto

11th November Sun sextiles Jupiter

12th November True North Node moves into Virgo

Mercury trines Chiron

Mars conjoins True North Node

Mars enters Libra

13th November Venus sextiles Saturn

Mercury sextiles Jupiter

17th November Sun conjoins Mercury

19th November Mercury sextiles North Node

Neptune turns direct (stationed 17th November)

20th November Sun sextiles North Node

Mercury enters Sagittarius

21st November Venus squares Pluto

Sun sextiles True North Node

22nd November Sun leaves Scorpio.

*  dates of exact events by UT.

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childhood can begin again

This is my second attempt to write about the last week or so. The first attempt was too much “business as it used to be”.

We’ve had a Saturn-Sun conjunction is Scorpio (just as we did last year), but this time we also had a Mars-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn. Those that know some astrology might see from that a resonance, for Saturn rules Capricorn (where Mars and Pluto are), and Mars and Pluto rule Scorpio (where Saturn is, accompanied by the Sun at the moment). That’s called “mutual reception” in astrology, and it’s rather like sympathetically tuned strings vibrating with each other. There is a hum or drone in the background, like a low hurdy gurdy, or the deep end of a harmonium. How that affects you depends on where your planets were at the time of your birth, according to astrological theory, and here it was affecting mid cardinal signs, and late fixed signs especially.

For me it was a trial and a purging, and psychologically very stressful, hitting as it did my Venus in Cancer (my chart ruler) down near the bottom of the chart.

The Sun and Saturn have a quite wondrous relationship, seeming so opposite, yet so intimately related. Mars and Pluto both deal in the raw of life and energy.

Astrology deals with the meaning of events and characteristics for us, not the events themselves (this is one  reason why it is fruitless to try and correlate specific aspects with specific events or characteristics too dogmatically, for meaning and context alter, while aspects repeat). I experienced quite an array of astonishing (I use that word euphemistically) and deeply undermining things this last week, and came through them released, delivered, and psychologically reborn in terms of what I had just been through.

Maybe it is because my Venus in Cancer, so near the 4th house cusp, was involved; secluded, sensitive, and quite Alice in Wonderland, and maybe it is the involvement of the Sun (the eternal child consciousness) in the whole configuration, but what I come to now is a sense that childhood can begin again. Washed clean, the child can emerge anew, but this time with a new story, our original story. And whatever happened in the past, through a kind of rebirthing, a new child and a new world come into being. And that child is so important to all of us.

photo of card from The Enchanted Tarot by Giacinto Gaudenzi

photo of card from The Enchanted Tarot by Giacinto Gaudenzi

hell and peace

I am grateful things are moving at last, and grateful for many things, being warm at home in the already darkening afternoon. The storm winds have gone, it is dry and grey, and it feels a bit like being inside a tarot card picture.

The Sun went into Scorpio today and I was glad. Coincidentally I saw a Doors video at almost exactly the same time, and that led to me writing this poem about “ancestors”

when people talk of “ancestors” and haul out their relatives
their biological cargo
I instead find myself thinking of Jim Morrison

People say they are our blood past
as if there were this mafia of mothers and uncles and aunts
as if that no-choice tyranny were never to end

I say they are the future, that we will one day run away to join
Out West

Yesterday, in a casual exchange, I found myself reminded of my Norse patroness deity, something I don’t talk of often, because my work has taken me to focus on others, as she also knows. But the bond is delicate and strong as friendship, and familiar as my own nature. It is a great comfort to remember.

From that I was also reminded of another god, one I have not had any formal connection to, but who reflects something of what I have learnt to bear and come to terms with, in my own way. Maybe just a resonance, a nuance, a universal kinship faintly reflected on water, and an inexplicable sense of relief.

As we walk into Winter (as we do now), there is such a quality to it. More than beautiful, it is speechless, old and honest. I love Summer, but Summer’s flesh and juice has its origin equally in this uncanny and wild time of barrenness and fertile decay, of ghosts and monsters beyond the bounds.

From there we come also. A drop of inhuman blood, to make us bright.

St John the Baptist in the Wilderness by Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1450–1516) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons – cropped and digitally solarized

St John the Baptist in the Wilderness by Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1450–1516) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons – cropped and digitally solarized

scorpion moon

Today is a new Moon in Scorpio, and a solar eclipse, conjunct Saturn, and it’s all pretty much square my Sun astrologically. Lawd does this feel heavy. I couldn’t sleep last night, and had nightmares when I did. But that’s ok, it’s just time for something, so I calm myself, pull myself gently together, and say it’s time to let go.

According to one story Scorpio is linked to the death of Orion, and Scorpius was a giant scorpion sent by Gaia to slay the mythical hunter and companion of Artemis when he claimed that he could kill anything that the earth produced. In the night sky, as Scorpio rises Orion sets. Scorpio here is the irreducible beast that the hero can finally not fight or eradicate.

It appears the ancient Egyptians associated the constellation of Orion with the god Osiris, and I can find reference to a link between the constellation of Orion and a figure the Egyptians called “Sah”.

“The god Sah personified the constellation of Orion – the most distinctive of all the constellations in the night sky. While not part of the ‘imperishable’ circumpolar stars, the constellation became important in Egyptian mythology especially as it rose directly before the adjacent star Sirius (the Egyptian Sothis) – the brightest fixed star which was utilized in the calculation of the Egyptian calendar. The constellation god was thus connected with the star Sothis from an early date and the two came to be viewed as manifestations of Osiris and Isis respectively”

Egyptian Gods

Finding an ancient Egyptian fit for Scorpio I have not found as easy, but in 1985 the Egyptologist Virginia Davis tentatively suggested the identifying the Egyptian zodiac figure of a Hippopotamus with a crocodile on its back with Ophiuchus, Libra and Scorpio (as per Studies of Occidental Constellations and Star Names to the Classical period:An Annotated Bibliography), though there is also mention of the hippo-crocodile constellation being associated with the stars of Draco the dragon, who is sometimes equated with Typhon, the monstrous son of Gaia, which might seem poetically reflective of Scorpius, but the constellations are not that near each other at all. The hippo figure is really interesting in itself, associated with the goddess Tawaret, being such a powerful, ambivalent but respected figure, both ferocious and protective. Follow the link if you’re interested.

The Sumerians and Babylonians did however recognized a constellation of the scorpion (Babylonian Gir Tab).

One tale I found (which I have been unable to verify or trace references for, but it would be intriguing if there were something to it) says of Scorpio’s origin:

At that time Scorpio and Virgo were one . Libra did not exist. The duality of humanity , feminine and masculine, was not separated. As spirits, all of humanity was complete. When we were separated into genders the signs were separated as well. The female side became Virgo the Virgin (similar to Eve in Christianity) and the masculine half became Scorpio(similar to Adam in Christianity). Libra, the sign of marriage and partnership, was placed as a bridge between the two.

scorpion’s aerie

It sounds like old fashioned esoteric myth making, but it is interesting, and actually fits with the similarity of the symbols for Virgo and Scorpio, and the old overlap of the scales’ pans and the scorpion’s claws.

In Babylonian mythology the scorpion men are the offspring of Tiamat (primordial goddess of salt water) created to fight the younger gods for betraying her mate Apsu, god of fresh water. They turn up again in the Epic of Gilgamesh as guardians of the gates of the Sun god Shamash. They open the doors for the Sun and close them behind him when he travels out from and returns to the underworld each day. The Epic of Gilgamesh is an extraordinary tale, and there are interesting resonances between Gilgamesh and Enkidu’s hunting exploits and their killing of the Bull of Heaven (with dire consequences for the deeply bonded pair) and Orion’s fatal hunting challenge.

There is something about Scorpio which chimes with irreducible Nature, and the place where the heroic buck stops. Chaotic and monstrous to the vision of unfettered human “civilization” and mastery, but retaining the origin that remains in all things, it is the sting in the tail of a story that goes beyond its own limits. Finely balanced scales, black claws. As they stereotypically say of Scorpio: life, sex and death.

I was always moved by the story of Gilgamesh though. Because he loses, and his grief cannot be righted, and he cannot save what he longs for, and he must live with mortality (as well as the reality of his love). He becomes a “good king” instead of a hero.

In the northern hemisphere, this is where Winter really starts, and the Sun sails south. But we can remember: balance, and the sting in the tail, the necessary sting, which a scorpion will use against itself rather than be cornered and defeated. That is how determined life is.  That’s how black and white the impetus to truly live is. And what’s wrong or right here is almost irrelevant, compared to the coiled impetus to truly live and love.

So with a candle and some honey, we made an offering at our south altar. And we get on with our day, and I let go.

Onwards.

Anuroctonus pococki (California swollenstinger scorpion) under blacklight – by Davefoc (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Scorpio, Halloween and Spirit Intent

I’m fond of saying that the key to a good full Moon is pure spiritual intent. Full Moon is a time when “the gates are open” so to speak, and psychic high tide has arrived. People react to this differently; it can be a very beautiful time, but it can also be a stressful and trying time for people, as the high level of energy seems to energize unresolved things in the psyche and bring them nearer the surface, putting people under internal pressure. We see this reflected in popular culture in the association of full Moon on the one hand with romance and natural beauty, and on the other hand with fantastical tales of vampires, werewolves and supernatural horror. But it is a time of good potential, and one of the times when Witches are particularly invited to do magical work for good:

“Whenever you have need of anything, once in the month, and better it be when the Moon is full ……”

The Charge of The Goddess

This time when the psychic  gates are open seems to be waiting for us to make the conscious choice for the positive, to make positive intention.

In the solar year too, there are times when the “gates are open”, and the “veil between the worlds” is thin, between this world we are familiar with, and the otherworld of spirits, faeries and angels, ghosts and devas, the shadowy and the luminous. Halloween is certainly considered to be such a time, and is known to Witches by its older name of Samhain (roughly pronounced “sowen”), a Celtic fire festival accompanying the end of Summer and the beginning of Winter. Sure enough, the ghastly associations spring forth into popular culture again, along with the prankster merry making of modern times. The older festival has associations both more practical and more spiritual, as Winter draws near and communication between us and the spirit world is traditionally easier, while the community gathers around the fire. Astrologically it is the time of Scorpio, the sign of death, rebirth, sex and unquenchable life, the sign of the scorpion, the eagle and the phoenix or dove¹. In one last flourish the life of Nature seems to withdraw, as if into sleep or meditation, though life never really leaves, and Winter has its ecological attendants in life forms, and a beauty all its own. The Sun sinks lower in the sky (even as the Moon arches higher in the Winter nights) and the worlds of wilderness and cultivation draw in on themselves.

At this time of open gates, different tides and winter fires, again I say that we are invited to pure spiritual intention, and the special blessings of a time.

Happy Halloween.

¹ According to the astrologer Alan Oken, one of Scorpio’s symbols is the dove, relating to its purest spiritual form. He also recognizes the phoenix as one of its symbols, relating to its capacity for transformations, regeneration and rebirth. The eagle and the scorpion are better known symbols for the sign.

Esotericism – how we laughed and cried

I had quite a nice time yesterday and today, reading through online writings of the astrologer Dane Rudhyar, and indeed I had picked up an old book recently on the Sabian Symbols by him. Dane Rudhyar produced some very interesting writings and was himself a Theosophist with many interests, and a long and active life.

I enjoyed reading through some of his stuff and may well return to it, there are real insights in his work, but eventually I just had to come to a halt and sit outside and shake it off. It wasn’t the man or his obvious talents, but the spiritual edifice of early twentieth century esotericism that did it. It recalled for me what it used to be like reading occult literature at one time, with its spiritual hierarchies and avatars, it’s immutable laws and ineffable planes, and its sour moral undertone (though Dane is more sweet than sour, I have to add). Madame Blavatsky rattled her chains, Alice Bailey and Dion Fortune put on their rubber gloves to barely mention homosexuality and similar “vices” that would soil your evolution (not to mention Bishop Leadbeater). Dane Rudhyar was a modernising and open-minded saint compared to this, but the terminology and the inherited structure just brought it all back somehow. It just leaves a kind of chill. A gay youngster reading through any of the old stuff had to take a deep breath and be ready for the standard objectified condemnation, pathologizing, or complete silence on anything beyond the holy heterosexual couple in occult teaching. It’s a good thing that youth is resilient.

But just to show a little of what Dane Rudhyar was capable of, see this quote:

“Scorpio is usually considered to be related to sexual activity and to all passions connected with sex (for instance, jealousy). But actually we must differentiate clearly between two aspects of sex. Sex as a strictly biological and procreative function of the human animal is expressed in the zodiacal sign, Taurus — the sign of fertility. The sign, Scorpio (its opposite in the zodiac) refers, on the other hand, to what I might call ‘personalized’ sex. And it is with this latter that Freudian theories and the Kinsey Report deal primarily.

“Psychological problems related to sex, sexual behavior as an indication of psychological attitudes and of inner pressures, fear or desires — and all sexual abnormalities, sex rituals, and religion induced frustrations — should be referred to the sign, Scorpio. The intentional prevention of birth, either as a social measure, or for personal reasons, comes also under Scorpio. Scorpio opposes Taurus; the more “personalized” the approach to sex, the less it tends to result in fertility”.

Astrology and the Kinsey Report

January 1954

Elsewhere he goes a little into the needlessly negative associations attached to Scorpio on account of this, associations which ought to be changing with a changing world (which indeed they have in a lot of quarters). It’s interesting stuff worth reflecting on.

You can see from this how gay sexuality would feed straight into this Scorpionic association, for it truly fits the bill as non-procreative sexuality. It is also apparent from this how the linkage with the “personalization” of sex would lead an outdated culture to completely misjudge gayness as a “lifestyle choice” (which it is not, any more than heterosexuality is). Yet the central thing that this spiritual ideology fails to address is that non-procreative sexuality is entirely natural. It’s right there in the “Taurean” realm in that sense.

The transpersonal aspects of Taurean sexuality relate to different realms than Scorpio, realms which are readily visible and apparent. The transpersonal aspects of Scorpio relate more to the invisible undercurrents of life. Maybe this is also why Scorpionic sexuality was seen as more personalized, as the collectivity of Taurus is more physically obvious. But it is also a question of what we see as normative – that sex has an almost ordained function as reproduction, or that this is not necessarily so. Nature would seem to indicate the latter, as I think did many cultures older than Victorian and Edwardian Christianity.

Gay folks might fit the Scorpio model in this discourse (though gay people are found in all types in fact), and Dane Rudhyar’s characterisation of the sign by the zoomorphic image of the Phoenix rather than the Scorpion fits the experience of the modern gay movement rising from the ashes of patriarchal, monotheistic culture (the bisexual D H Lawrence also identified with this symbol) quite poetically. From my early teenage years my sense of sex and sexuality as something sacred was overpowering. But the association can become something of an imprisoning cliché.

A gay person is not born opposed to Nature, but as a less common manifestation of its diversity. We experience sexuality maybe in a more Scorpionic way on balance, by virtue of where society puts us in its scheme of things, but there’s a great deal which is the same, both ways. Take away the imposition of social values, and would a “barren” heterosexual couple’s sex be seen as “personalised”? There seems to be a whole battery of value judgements surrounding this scheme.

Separating nature and nurture, and data and social judgement, is not always simple, but at times the old esotericism appeared to have a great investment in the separation and the question not even being looked at. This is one of the problems of unexamined tradition, and of sacrosanct “teachings”. This very attitude seemed to feed into the popular approach to Jungian psychology as well.

The occult and the esoteric are immensely rich areas, with deep roots and multiple flowerings. The output of the Victorian and Edwardian eras are not necessarily characteristic of these things as a whole either, and imposed their own blue print of values and selective perception upon the occult, as I’m sure all eras do. I think it was only during the 20th century that a freer and more self reflective perception slowly grew, though who knows what the distant past sheltered in obscurity? For now though, it is neither relativism nor dogmatism, but a more flexible open-mindedness in this area that is most interestingly offered.

For LGBT people vis-a-vis the occult interpretation of sexuality, I think there is little doubt that we are still stationed in the realm of Scorpionic experience by society and our history. The question is how do we get out, and how do others come in to find what is theirs too. Or put another way, how do we realise that when it comes down to it, we are all pretty much the same.

Our commonality is the gift we all receive, and the means by which we may give back our little bit of transformation to the world, that in the mirror of each others experience and loves, we see that we are each other.