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Astrological Archetypes with Avalon100
Mythology of Scorpio
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A Brief History of Astrology
 

Scorpio ushers in the advent of winter, when Gaia closes down the reproductive process and covers herself in a blanket of purifying snow or descends into the depths of purifying frozen water.  This is the season when the Persephone joins Hades in the Underworld and Demeter, her mother, goes into mourning which lasts until the Winter Solstice, the sign signaling renewal and the process of resurrection.  Scorpio is the eighth sign of the Zodiac, fixed water (ice), feminine, and ruled by Pluto, with a lesser, but strong supporting influence from Mars.  Scorpio is the sign of transformation and occult wisdom and marks the present calendar between October 23 and November 21.

 

From the very beginning Scorpio has been associated with the Underworld.  It is referred to in the Epic of Gilgamesh when, on his journey, Gilgamesh must travel through the land of the Scorpion Men who guard the mountains he must cross to enter the Other World.  The Babylonians also associated Scorpio with the eagle and this is demonstrated in the Scriptures, in the Book of Ezekiel. This will be dealt with in depth in the future column explaining fixed modalities.  Today the scorpion is evident in the stinging tongue that Scorpio's use to assert themselves in difficult situations.

 

In Egypt, Scorpio rose in the current month of May, the month when the khamseen, the hot dry desert winds began blowing.  The heat blazed and dried out the land and scorpions swept out into populated areas, becoming a pestilence.  It was a time of the scorching sun, which is destructive to most life as we know it.  At least one of the ancient kings was named Scorpion and the scorpion head is considered one of the original hieroglyphs. In earthly form Selket appeared as a scorpion.  She was a protector of the dead; she was the head of an ancient group of healers and was basically a beneficent goddess.  They were also associated with Ishtar.  Scepters of the kings and spears of the palace guards were often dipped in scorpion venom. 

 

 

 

 

This destructive aspect was represented in Babylon by Nergal, the god of war and pestilence.  Nergal usurped the throne of the Underworld from the Goddess and took over the realm of the dead.  Nergal was also the planet Mars, which shows the link between the fiery nature of Mars and the Sun.  Mars energizes the solar qualities in the horoscope and can work in either a negative or a positive way.  Until the discovery of Pluto, Mars had ruled Scorpio.  Discovered at the time in mans collective history when it would have the most meaning, Pluto better fit the symbolism of Scorpio and following much consideration after its discovery it was given rulership over it.

 

There is a major difference in the mythology of Babylon and that of the Greeks.  In the story of Persephone, it is Hades who comes up from the Underworld and takes a female into the Underworld to rule, which is almost the reverse of the Babylonian myth.  Hades actually restores the balance of the male and female presence. 

 

When Apollo claimed Delphi he slew the Python Goddess, who was associated with Gaia, and Goddess worship.  Through her death the Python was transformed and became the voice that spoke through the priestess, who was called the Pythoness, uttering prophecies and warnings.  This represents the inner knowledge that has always been part of the feminine mystique.  The Greeks always associated the deep, dark, unknown world of the unconscious or subconscious as being feminine in nature.  The serpent is intertwined with Scorpio and sometimes used to represent the sign.

 

There are a couple of variations on the Greek mythology surrounding Scorpio or Scorpius, as the constellation is called.   They all involve the central character or Orion, the Hunter, a giant who was the son of Poseidon.  Normally the giants were sons of Gaia and one legend is that Orion was a son of these two gods, however, the fact that he was not a god himself, but only half god probably means his mother was mortal, and when referring to this legend, his mother is commonly thought to be Euryale.  Orion was extremely handsome, quite possibly the most handsome man on Earth, and he was a hunting companion to Artemis.  The actual legend that led to his being placed in the stars is also not clear.  The legends hold that either Orion tried to force himself on one of Artemiss servants, or on the goddess herself. Another legend has it that he boasted that he was a better hunter than she and his boasting angered her. The result of all of them being that she sent a scorpion that stung him to death, however, since he could not stay dead, due to his being an immortal, he and the scorpion were placed in the heavens. Another myth has it that Artemiss brother Apollo became jealous of Artemiss relationship with Orion and Apollo summoned the scorpion that killed Orion, after which Zeus placed Orion and the scorpion in the heavens.  At any rate, all of the legends live on as Scorpius, poised and ready to strike, pursues Orion across the night sky.  

 

Various South American and African tribes also used scorpion symbols, which were generally associated with surgical procedures and repentance.  One African tribe ascribed it to the clitoris, which was surgically removed.  The reader may remember that there is a current human rights issue concerning this procedure and that many throughout the world are looking to have this custom stopped as it condemns a woman to live out her live in an altered state that eliminates her ability to achieve sexual orgasm.  This is not a corporal punishment, but a tribal custom committed against all females at a very young age.  It cannot be compared to circumcision as that procedure does not diminish or remove the ability to achieve orgasm.

 

In India, the serpent is associated with Shakti, the feminine aspect of God.  This is in line with other cultures that see the Goddess, Shekinah or Creative Force as associated with the Serpent called Wisdom.  In Oriental cultures it is associated with the feminine quality, yin, and is normally regarded as passive, however it is regarded as a force that is in positive, forward motion. 

 

The Celts celebrated the Feast of Sanhain during this month, a day when the doors between the two worlds were opened and the spirits could come back to this world.  This day was incorporated into the Church celebrations as All Souls Day and we recognize currently as Halloween.

 

Mars and Pluto are both strongly related to the conscious ego, that part of us which is destroyed and then transformed psychically.  It is not uncommon for Scorpios to do such daredevil things as rock climbing, or sky diving to fill the inner compulsion to transform.  However, the transformation is one of ego, not one that can be accomplished by activities.  This transformation happens only though experiencing feelings.  As a fixed water sign, Scorpios do not take to change easily.  They generally need to experience the feelings associated with a near death experience to bring about the required change.  Essentially they need to have a shock to their systems where their natural defenses rise up to do battle, spewing venom. If these feelings generate a strong enough reaction, they are a catalyst into the process of transformation, resulting in wisdom for the native.  The constellation Serpents is part of Scorpio, representing in a heavenly way the intertwining of wisdom in the deep subconscious with the conscious mind. 

 

Scorpios have a stronger ability than most to go into a trance state.  I can attest to this.  When my daughter was very little, she could go into trances at will.  Back then, I didn't know about this wonderful little Scorpion ability and it scared the daylights out of me.  I thought she was having brain-wave problems.  As she grew this "problem" disappeared, except for when I was having words with her that she didn't want to hear.

 

Snake worship has been with us since the time of Goddess worship and has been a part of the mythologies of very existing culture.  On land, the snake has the power to paralyze a person on sight.  Our fear of snakes seems inborn.  Scorpios have less of a fear and some have no fear of them at all.  It was commonly thought that the snake possessed the knowledge of life, death and transformation and has always represented the life giving aspect of the Goddess.  The caduceus, the symbol of the medical profession, has two snakes intertwined on a staff, representing this life-giving quality.

 

We learned early on that snake venom had the capacity to alter the state of consciousness, taking the mind into a trance state, allowing visions and insight into the world behind the veil of the subconscious.  Venom causes a chemical change in the brain the same way mind-altering drugs do.  Venom was used to induce an altered state in much the same way shamans entered a trance to locate the demons affecting a patient.  The more recent and well known healer Edgar Cayce entered a trance state as he consulted with beyond this world healers and the Akashic Record to help hundreds effect cures for diseases and states of dis-ease. 

 

Cancer, the fist of the appearing water signs, supports a main emphasis on the relationship with the mother or caregiver.  There is a covering aspect of the "mother protecting the child".  In Scorpio, the second water sign, the individual is throwing off the protection and rising to relationship with the self.  Often there is a struggle against parents and those in authority as they seek to gain self-empowerment.  Turbulent energies are in constant motion for the Scorpio, leading from one crisis to another until the transformation is inevitable.

 

The process of transformation is represented by the stories of Persephone and Hades, Ishtar and her decent into the Underworld in search of her love, Tammuz and in the story of Orpheus and his descent into the Underworld to reclaim his beloved, Eurydice, who died as a result of a snake bite. The process of descent for a transforming Scorpio always involves a partner.  This partner could be a lover, a parent, or a friend.

 

The eighth house, the house of death, transformation, regeneration, and taxes and debts (both financial and karmic), is the natural house ruled by Scorpio. My Sun, Mercury and Pluto are in my 8th house.  Though I am a Leo, I feel, that at many times in my life Ive been in a state of minor problems and crises.  Because my Mercury is one degree in front of my Sun, it doesn't take much for one of these problems to get me in a state of "combustion".  Of course, having Pluto right there behind my Sun indicates figuratively to me that transformation is the cause behind my life of problems, but then Saturn up there near my Mid-heaven leaves no room for doubt that I'll have to work hard through the problems to get to that transformation.  Scorpio, eighth house placement, and Saturn all have to do with the process and the path traveled to an end that will eventually justify the means by eventual transformation.  Emotional and physical survival can be an issue at times.

 

It is important to note the connection between Scorpio and the Kundalini life force.  Kundalini translates to Serpent Power in Sanskrit.  It is regarded mostly as sexual energy, however its a much more than that.  It is the life force that controls the entire body.  The natural path of the Kundalini fire begins at the base of the spine, travels upward, ending at the third eye, which is located in the center of the forehead.    When the Kundalini fire is interfered with it causes the body to break down and illness and disease result.  The flow of the Kundalini fire is a singular flow.  It seeks to maintain the perfect unity of the yin and yang polarities.  Ego, on the other hand, is based in the duality existing with the separation of yin and yang.  Since Kundalini is normally associated with sex, an imbalance in the fire can cause sexual problems and deviant behavior, something also associated with and afflicted Scorpio.

 

 

Resources:

 

1.      Mythic Astrology: Archetypal Powers in the Horoscope  by Airel Guttman & Kenneth Johnson

2.      Mythology  by  Edith Hamilton

3.      Dictionary of Astrology  by  Fred Gettings

4.      Archetypes of the Zodiac  by  Kathleen Burt

5.  Asteroid Goddesses, The Mythology, Psychology and Astrology of the Reemerging Feminie  by  Demetra George with Douglas Bloch

6.  Bulfinch's Mythology: Age of Fable  by  Thomas Bulfinch

 

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