Remember, remember the fifth of November/Gunpowder, treason and plot.
What does Scorpio have to do with Guy Fawkes? Everything. Nov. 5, when people commemorate his famous attempt to blow up the British Parliament is, in fact, the same day on which the ancient Celtic people burned "the old Guy" in effigy each year. As he and other tokens of the trials and sufferings of the old year went up in flames, the way was opened for the year’s greatest feast. Samhain, on Nov. 1, begins the New Year with the grand rite of the death goddess Cerridwen, whose power waxes now as the Holly King, symbol of the waning sun, grows decrepit with the approach of winter.
Welcome to Scorpio month, Oct. 22 – Nov. 21. Scorpio is the eighth sign of the zodiac, and so corresponds in an astrology chart to the eighth house of death and renewal. It is no accident that witches have always ruled this season, and of all months in the year, it is the Scorpio moon that consumes that which is due to pass away, when the ghosts of the dead roam the Earth, wild, hungry and black for mischief.
The great feasts of the Scorpio season, Hallowe’en on Oct. 31 and All Hallows on the next day, are opposite on the year wheel from the life-affirming festivals of May Day, held when the trees leaf out and the flowers bloom. So Scorpio month is 180° away from life. In the Druidic calendar, the November New Moon is Dead Moon, beginning Reed Month, said to be most favorable for communication with ancestral spirits. Mexico celebrates its raucous Dia de los Muertos, and Hindus placate Kali the destroyer. In ancient Egypt, festivals of Ra, the cat goddess Bastet and the lioness Sekhmet were all celebrated now. Sekhmet, in her dire aspect as goddess of magic, Lady of Fire and punitive destroyer of evil, is protector of women against rape and all sexual violence. Her feast, and Bastet’s, are the ancient basis of links among Hallowe'en, medicine women and their feline familiars.
What does this have to do with Scorpio people? We’re getting there. The Scorpion is one of the zodiac’s most recognizable star pictures, along with Taurus, Leo and Aquarius, the famous quartet symbolized respectively by the Eagle, the Bull, the Lion and the Angel, the signs that represent the four beasts of Ezekiel, the Christian evangelists, and other emblems of the fixed and secure orientation of human beings in mythic space.
The fixity of these four signs is one key to Scorpio natives, as they tend to be set in their ways and true to their convictions, persistent in seeking what they want, devoted to the people and things, and the causes and ideas that they cherish. Having a Scorpio on your team is a good way to stay on focus, and keep stamina and continuity for the long run. Scorpios defend their principles fearlessly. Two examples are Martin Luther and Paracelsus, both born Nov.10. Both were bold in challenging established religion and conventional medicine, and both achieved radical, 8th-house results in regenerating beliefs and institutions that were overdue for change.
While Scorpio’s opposite sign of Taurus is fixed in the earth element, and is a master of gaining and keeping tangible things – this helps makes Taurus an excellent sign for building wealth – Scorpio is fixed in water, the emotional element. This helps explain why Scorpios are among the most loyal people in the zodiac, often sustaining long marriages and keeping friends for a lifetime. It also suggests why they seem to hold on to suspicion, resentment, jealousy and grudges longer than anyone else. Othello and his green-eyed monster could both have been Scorpios. So could the determined Iago.
In classical astrology, Scorpio was one of the two houses, along with Aries, that were said to be ruled by Mars. Modern astrologers agree that Pluto, lord of the underworld, is Scorpio’s true ruler. Pluto is the spymaster who rules mass consciousness, espionage and encryptation, including computer codes, and all efforts to protect and break secrets. Pluto also rules nuclear physics and unstable radioactive elements, so it’s no surprise that Bill Gates (Oct. 28) and Madame Curie (Nov. 7) were both Scorpios.
When provoked, Scorpios are apt to deliver what a Scorpio acquaintance once called “that stinging sensation.” This is why Scorpios can make deadly, implacable enemies as well as loyal friends; and it makes sense that some of the world’s great satirists, among them Voltaire (Nov. 21) and Kurt Vonnegut (Nov. 11) were born under Scorpio.
Natives of this sign tend to live at the extreme edge of experience, and will risk ruin rather than play anything halfway. Emma Bovary is a Scorpio type, as is the crash-burn-and-die figure of Dmitri Karamazov, created by the Scorpio Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Nov. 11), who understood well the process by which suffering purifies the soul, refining it from a serpent into an eagle, and ultimately to a phoenix. Scorpio is passionate in all things. While other signs find their ways of denying, resisting and bargaining with death, Scorpios like Dylan Thomas (Oct. 27) are the ones who “rage against the dying of the light.”
Want to know how the year ahead affects people born in your sign? Dan Furst has been a professional astrologer for thirty-three years. He is the author of Dance of the Moon, and his new book Surfing Aquarius will be published by Red Wheel Weiser in September. He lives in Peru, and does astrology and astrocartography readings for people all over the world by phone and Skype. You can reach him at 51 – 984 – 155622, email firstname.lastname@example.org. His astrology web page is Dan Furst Astrology Web Page.