The astrological sign of Scorpio is often misrepresented and misunderstood. This confusion probably stems from its symbol, the scorpion. Scorpions have been around for about 445 million years and from earliest times have been prominent in mythology. Egyptians and Babylonians both had scorpion deities and guardians.
From the beginning scorpions have represented transformation. This may be because they are hatched looking like miniature versions of themselves and grow through the process of ecdysis, in which they periodically shed their hard exoskeleton and grow a larger one. Or they may symbolize transformation because their scavenger nature led them to hide out in carcasses, which led people to believe that they were mysteriously born from the dead bodies of crocodiles or crabs. But the most plausible reason is that their sting can be fatal to humans, causing their unwitting victim to go through the biggest transformation a human can experience, moving from life to death.
Whatever the reasoning, scorpions and the associated sign of Scorpio are all about transformation, the process of going from a denser, more material state to another, more refined one. This process has at least two stages – the unrefined and the evolved – and Scorpios, too, are known to have two prototypes. One type of Scorpio is weighted down by karma, reacting from old memories of being threatened and abused, with domineering, vengeful attitudes. The other either has released or is releasing these karmas, often through trials by fire, to become the phoenix, the bird of higher consciousness born from the ashes.
Karmically entangled, unrefined Scorpios tend to be difficult to live with. They are intense, passionate, paranoid, quick to take offense, and fond of revenge. They have an uncanny ability to see another person’s weakness and to use it against them. Like their animal symbols, they are photophobic and avoid the light of truth whenever possible. They are obsessed with secrets, with both keeping their own and uncovering everyone else’s. For these Scorpios, knowledge is power, and they love to have power over others.
Unrefined Scorpios are inclined to value sense pleasures above everything else, which often expresses as substance abuse and an intense interest in sex. But it is sex as power over another that interests them, which can lead to some dark pleasures when it comes to sexual expression.
Some Scorpios may begin their lives dealing with residual unrefined karma and go through the transformative process in this lifetime. They tend to have at least two distinct phases of life. Most think of it as having lived two lives in the space of one. In the first half of their life they may be dealing with the issues mentioned above. But then something dramatic happens to them, and they make extensive changes to their life. For others, this process began in previous lifetimes, and they exhibit refined characteristics from an early age.
They all still have the same bag of tricks associated with being a Scorpio, but they refine their tendencies and put them to good use, the very definition of transformation. Instead of digging out other people’s secrets, they turn their investigative skills inward and pursue self-knowledge. Instead of expressing their power over others, they practice power over themselves. They pursue spiritual evolution with all the passion and intensity with which they once chased after sense pleasures. When they are stung by someone’s remark, they take the opportunity to examine why that is a trigger for them. They take up the practice of forgiveness. They learn transparency, and they begin to use their ability to ferret out another’s weakness to protect and be of service to that person.
All of these changes are hard won. Refined Scorpios have been to hell and back. They have burned in the fire and risen from the ashes. Now, as birds of transformation, they soar in the highest reaches of consciousness and can help the rest of us to embrace the process of radical, evolutionary change. These are the Scorpios I am encountering more and more over the years, and they are a blessing to this world.