The astrological sign of Scorpio is much maligned in our culture, and in my opinion this says much more about our culture than it does about Scorpio. It says more about the general failure in modern, western culture to embrace death as a part of life, to embrace our own shadow nature, accept responsibility for our sexual intensity, and own most destructive desires and obsessions. In failing to integrate these essential aspects of life into our self-understanding, we become increasingly unable to life fully from a perspective of truth. Instead we live superficially, protecting our own insular perspectives and projecting our fears outwards onto an apparently ever-more dangerous world. We think it will be enough just to think positively and smile our way through our inner turmoil. As Jung said, though, it is no use merely imagining figures of light, rather we must make the darkness visible.
One of the most profound teachings that astrology, and especially the Zodiac, offers us is that life is cyclical (or spiral if you prefer) and nature reflects this perfectly through its annual seasonal round. The Scorpio part of the annual cycle (when the Sun is in that sign) corresponds with the time of year when nature’s green mantle decays and rots down into the ground. The season confronts us with the process of death and dying, and we meet that life/death threshold more starkly than at any other time of the year.
The symbols associated with the twelve signs reflect the seasonal transformations, and on The Alchemical Journey, we take our cue from Mother Nature’s process and engage with these stages of transformation, and realise how they are mirrored in our own life experience. So on our Scorpio Workshop we explore our relationship to death, to our intensity, to our own shadows, and to deepest desires and commitments. The beauty that we encounter in Scorpio is deep, dark and utterly compelling Scorpio puts us on that edge in a way that no other sign does. For this reason many fear it. But here nature can be a great teacher. For we know that life force doesn’t actually die in Autumn, for life never dies, it simply recedes and its seed is sown under the ground, from where it will be reborn anew in the Spring.
In Sagittarius, our spirit will rise and we will encounter a spiritual truth beyond that of our incarnate experience. So on our alchemical adventure around the year, this Scorpionic phase offers us the opportunity to journey metaphorically into the “underworld”, beneath the ground of our physical being, where we may meet our shadows and discover a deeper truth. And in that deeply buried place lies our true gold. As Jung said, “the shadow is true gold”. It takes courage of course – Scorpio is traditionally ruled by Mars, after all. But the healing and transformational potential of this sign is profound, so rather than demonise this sign, we must embrace it if we are achieve any form of meaningful self-knowledge.
Here is a beautiful muse on this time of the year by Valerie Easton:
“I’ve been trying to figure out why I love my garden most right now, when it’s so not at its best. And finally I think I understand: I find the garden’s quiet decline comforting, the mellow colors of autumn soothing. Only this late in the season is it possible to see the garden without a scrim of ambition and hope between me and reality.
It’s not that I didn’t appreciate it…But it’s now, during the garden’s waning weeks, that I relax into its pleasures and see every flower, falling leaf and remaining pumpkin most clearly. And it isn’t just the clarity of the low-lying sun slanting across the horizon; it’s the clarity in my head, where I’ve stopped anticipating, plotting and planning the ideal garden. Maybe this is the only time of year that most of us can get beyond our projections of gardens future and remembrances of gardens past. By this point in autumn, the garden is what it is.
As the weather cools and the days shorten so dramatically, we’re no longer aspiring. It’s not that fall dashes our dreams, but rather that it diminishes them enough so we can accept fall’s decrepitude as beautiful in its own right.”