Scorpio – The Accursed Sign

Scorpio: Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi. Liber Locis Stellarum Fixarum (964 AD).

Presenting Scorpio in a solidly good light is an infamously rare event.  Dane Rudyhar attempted to do the sign justice in his humanistic astrology. He writes in”The Pulse of Life: “The condemnation heaped upon Scorpio, “the accursed Sign,” has paralleled the identification of sex and sin, which has conditioned so much of our Christian Western civilization. The subject, therefore, has become invaded by “complexes” and set attitudes, not easily transformed even by the most acute analysis.”

I find this deeply ingenuous as well as tendentious. The is no doubt a great deal of truth regarding cultural views of sexuality in relation to particularly monotheistic religions. They are in fact mostly negative and undeniable. It is however rather cliche to ‘blame it all on the system.’ There are two glaring problems with Rudyhar’s position, First of all, it tells us virtually nothing about Scorpio itself. The ensuing paragraphs are highly abstract and so laboured that one has to ask if he believes it himself. Secondly, he doesn’t adequately explain why it was known as the accursed sign in the first place and this beyond the realms of Christendom

The majority of classical texts put far more emphasis on planets than signs, However, here is the testimony of Avraham Ibn Ezra on Scorpio who is not Christian, but Jewish:“he is ugly and has no voice nor pleasant speech, and he has many children, He is destructive, treacherous, irascible, liar a gossip, depressed and intelligent, cunning and deceitful.`(Beginning of Wisdom p. 57,)

I want to make it very clear that Ibn Ezra breaks the sign down into several subcategories such as Face and Sect, the worst reports are from a diurnal nativity because the cholera of Mars is magnified during the day and is cooled by night,  Still, there isn’t anything particularly savoury under any conditions. For all intents and purposes, we are confronted with an accursed sign. Notably, there is no specific mention of sex, in spite of the fact that the sign of Scorpio is assigned to the genitals.


Day of the Dead – Mexico

This is actually more useful in medical astrology. We would not say that Taurus is explained by its association with the neck or Capricorn with the knees. The information is relevant and helpful but doesn’t pretend to define the sign as is usually the case with Scorpio.

Seasonally it is getting ever darker and light will not wax again until the Solstice. Festivals such as Samhain, All Soul`s Night. Day of the Dead and many others are celebrated during this time. It is said that the veil between the worlds is at it`s thinnest at Samhain, What emerges is not predominately sex, but death and our ancestral relations.

We live in what must be the greatest death denying culture ever imagined. Many people don`t want to talk even about what might lie in the hereafter.  We could say that death is the substratum of all fears. The irony is that in modern astrology it is sex, not death that defines Scorpio. Traditional astrologers have actually not been much better in `giving the Devil his due.“

The implications for the misunderstanding of Scorpio are deep and widespread. Modern astrology has given the Eighth, not the Fifth House as concerned with sex. Death is mentioned, but the french term *petite mort* for the orgasm is weakly held up as the great connection between sex and death

This is where a revisiting of the works of Traditional Astrologers might be very useful. Scorpio stares down mortality. It beings reverence to our ancestors and allays many of our fears. Some Hispanic cultures, notably Mexican. have made an art out of celebrating the close relationship between life and death. Lanterns and candles are lit to guide the ancestors home. This, it seems to me is at the heart of Scorpio, yet the sign has been maligned for centuries. 


In light of comments made on Facebook and elsewhere, I would like to clarify what I mean by Scorpio. I’m referring to the sign itself and not to Sun sign Scorpios per se. When discussing personal traits, traditional astrology is primarily referring to the Ascendant. It should be needless to say however that the qualities and nature of Scorpio may be applied to any of the planets, luminaries and more, It may seem a fine point, but traditional astrology doesn’t refer to people by sign itself. For example, there is Aries, but we wouldn’t say that person over there is *an Aries* at least nor exclusively Again, this may seem subtle but is a very significant change in meaning that allowed for the blight of newspaper Sun Sign Horoscopes,