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constellation: see ScorpiusScorpius
or Scorpio
[Lat.,=the scorpion], conspicuous southern constellation lying on the ecliptic (the sun's apparent path through the heavens) between Sagittarius and Libra; it is one of the constellations of the zodiac.
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An image of a dog howling at the moon is the symbol for the third decanate of Scorpio. Reproduced by permission of Fortean Picture Library.


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Scorpio, the eighth sign of the zodiac, is a fixed water sign. It is a negative (in the value-neutral sense of being negatively charged), feminine sign ruled by the planet Pluto (in traditional astrology it was ruled by Mars). The only sign with three symbols—the Scorpion, the Snake, and the Eagle—its symbology is complex. Its glyph is said to represent a serpent (some astrologers say a male member). It takes its name from the Latin word for scorpion. Scorpio is associated with the sexual organs, and individuals with a Scorpio sun sign are susceptible to kidney infections and venereal disease. Male Scorpios are prone to prostate problems; female Scorpios to female problems. The key phrase for Scorpio is “I desire.”

Scorpio is associated with the myth of the goddess Artemis calling an enormous scorpion out of the ground to slay Orion. The reasons given for this attack vary in different versions of the tale—some say jealousy, others that she was defending herself from rape, and yet others say that she feared Orion would kill all animals on Earth. In any event, she rewarded the scorpion by transforming it into a constellation. In ancient Mesopotamian mythology, scorpion men guarded the gates of the underworld, which is the original reason Scorpio became associated with death. In European folklore, both scorpions and snakes were associated with evil and treachery, but, outside the Jewish and Christian traditions, snakes were more usually associated with wisdom (they were believed to know the secret of immortality, because when they shed their skins, it appears that they are discarding an old body for a young one). Scorpio’s eagle, symbolizing an evolved soul that can soar aloft above earthly concerns, may also represent the Phoenix, a mythological bird that died only to be reborn from its own ashes. On a star map, two alternative symbols can be seen in two constellations above Scorpio: Aesculapius, who is pictured holding a serpent, and Aquila the Eagle, a constellation near the serpent’s tail.

All these various mythological associations enter into the sign Scorpio. The sign can be viewed as a form of Artemis herself, and the various versions of Artemis’s attack reflect the various ways in which the sign’s violent passion can manifest—as intense jealousy, as enraged self-defense, or in defense of others. Scorpios can be debauched, evil, treacherous people who always remember a slight and seek vengeance. They can also be healers and social reformers, manifesting the best traits of humanity. Scorpios are best known for their sexual intensity, although this intense drive can be channeled into other activities. They are also associated with death and, more than any other sign, have within themselves the capacity to “die” to their old selves and be transformed into new beings.

The sign that the Sun was in at birth is usually the single most important influence on a native’s personality. Thus, when people say they are a certain sign, they are almost always referring to their sun sign. There is a wealth of information available on the characteristics of the zodiacal signs—so much that one book would not be able to contain it all. Sun-sign astrology, which is the kind of astrology found in newspaper columns and popular magazines, has the advantage of simplicity. But this simplicity is purchased at the price of ignoring other astrological influences, such as one’s Moon sign, rising sign, etc. These other influences can substantially modify a person’s basic sun-sign traits. As a consequence, it is the rare individual who is completely typical of her or his sign. The reader should bear this caveat in mind when perusing the following series of sun sign interpretations.

One traditional way in which astrologers condense information is by summarizing sign and planet traits in lists of words and short phrases called key words or key phrases. The following Scorpio key words are drawn from Manly P. Hall’s Astrological Keywords:

Emotional key words: “Extremes of emotions; when highly evolved, the native is impersonal, unselfish, imaginative; when not highly evolved, is revengeful, secretive, quick-tempered, and self-indulgent; not domestic; suspicious”

Mental key words: “Scientific, altruistic, executive, penetrating, intellectual, prone to investigate the secret forces of nature, temperamental, sarcastic, vindictive.”

At present, there are various astrology report programs that contain interpretations of each of the 12 sun signs. A selection of these for Sun in Scorpio has been excerpted below:

Intense and complex by nature, you have extremely strong emotional reactions to most situations. Feelings are often difficult for you to verbalize. This gives you a tendency to be very quiet and to brood and think a lot. You seldom get overtly angry, but when you do, you are furious and unforgiving. When you make an emotional commitment, it is total, and so you are not attracted to superficial or casual relationships. If you are challenged, you take it as a personal affront and tend to lash out and fight back in a vengeful manner. You love mysteries and the supernatural. A good detective, you love getting to the root of problems and you enjoy finding out what makes other people tick. You are known to be very willful, powerful and tenacious. (From “Professional Natal Report.” Courtesy of Astrolabe [].)

Quiet, deep, emotionally complex and intensely private, you are not a person who is easy to get to know and understand. You are extremely sensitive but disinclined to show it, and you allow only a special few into your inner world. Like a wary animal, you are cautious and mistrustful of those you do not know until you “sniff them out.” You are very, very instinctive and intuitive. You usually have a strong, immediate gut reaction to people, even though you may be unable to clearly articulate why you feel as you do. Your feelings and perceptions go deeper than words.

You also have a powerful need for deep emotional involvement and you form very intense love bonds and attachments. You are possessive and often jealous of anyone or anything that you perceive as a threat to your bond with someone you love. When you commit yourself to someone or something, you are wholeheartedly devoted and expect complete loyalty in return. You merge with or “marry” the person you love at a very deep level and therefore separations are extremely painful for you, and often stormy and nasty. When you have been wounded, you are not inclined to turn the other cheek and will retaliate if at all possible. Certainly you will never forget the injury and often you harbor grievances and resentments for a long, long time. Forgiveness doesn’t come easily to you.

Whatever you do, you do with passion and fervor, and you often go to extremes. You are either hot or cold, never lukewarm about anything. You can also be very narrow: either you are 100% involved in something or else it doesn’t exist for you at all. Rarely are you emotionally detached and objective. You definitely have a fanatical streak. You are also immensely strong-willed and your tenacity in pursuing your objectives often borders on being obsessive. Fierce pride, courage, and emotional strength are yours in abundance.

You love mysteries and are deeply attracted to the hidden, dark, secret side of life. You never take things at face value and are always probing beneath the surface of people and situations to discover what is REALLY going on. You tend to be more of a cynic than an idealist. (From “Merlin,” by Gina Ronco and Agnes Nightingale. Courtesy of Cosmic Patterns [].)

The Scorpion! A spooky image for a spooky sign. There’s a scary side to life. People get terrible diseases. Kids get damaged. Old people are forgotten. Everybody dies. Socially we’re conditioned to avoid mentioning those things, or to mention them only in ritual contexts—like jokes or political speeches. For Scorpio, the evolutionary aim is to face those shadowy places. To make the unconscious conscious. To break taboos.

The Scorpio part of you is deep and penetrating. It has little patience with phoniness or hypocrisy. Trouble is, a little phoniness or hypocrisy often make life a lot easier for everyone! Be careful of becoming so “deep” that you lose perspective. In the Scorpion part of your life, you could slip into brooding and heaviness. So laugh a little! And find a few friends you can talk to. Do that, and you’ll keep you balance well enough to find wisdom.

With the Sun in Scorpio, Spirit’s question to you is not “Can you be deep?” You’re deep! That’s how Spirit made you, and there’s not much you can do to alter it. The question is, “Now that you have this depth, can you handle it?” That is, can you avoid being hypnotized by your own depths, slipping into a heavy, tragic feeling in which all the sparkle is drained from life. In avoiding that pitfall, you need to cultivate two allies: a sense of humor and two or three truly intimate friends—people with whom you can discuss anything, however dark or taboo. Make friends with those allies and you’ll add the one ingredient that makes it safe to work with this penetrating zodiacal power: a sense of perspective. (From “The Sky Within,” by Steven Forrest. Courtesy of Matrix Software [] and Steven Forrest [].)

Among its several natal programs, Matrix Software created a unique report based on the published works of the early twentieth century astrologer, Grant Lewi (1901–1952). Lewi’s highly original delineations were recognized as creative and insightful by his contemporaries. One measure of the appeal of his work is that his books Astrology for the Millions and Heaven Knows What are still in print. The following is excerpted from the report program “Heaven Knows What”:

I wish to preach not the doctrine of ignoble case, but the doctrine of the strenuous life …. Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory or defeat. (Theodore Roosevelt, born in Scorpio, October 27, 1858.)

The dualism of Scorpio makes it a baffling sign, for the Scorpion combines materialism with spirituality. He is “the world, the flesh and the devil” and also the spirit that renounces them. He is full of the zest of life, which, however, is meaningful only after he has added a unique, almost mystic, significance. The search for inner values, for the key to the riddle of self, of world, of life itself, is Scorpio’s basic motivation, and his search, whether it takes him to spiritual heights or into the darkest of subconscious depths, is always intense. To him, “Life is real, life is earnest, and the grave is not its goal.” Scorpio takes himself, his work, his ideals, his love seriously and insists that others do the same; yet at the same time he is aware of the fleetingness of it, the futility of it, the smallness of it. Not usually religious in any orthodox sense, he has his own personal religion, which is more mystic than philosophic, and which is part of the depths of his profound nature.

Scorpio is the only sign that never produces a shallow person. The best of the rest dip into nonentities from time to time, but a Scorpion is always consequential. You must reckon with him even if you dislike or despise him. He can sink to the lowest level of them all if the sense of futility turns his great energies inward instead of outward; but to whatever level he may sink, he carries with him an essential dignity, as if to represent the greatness of Lucifer in fall as well as in glory. At its best, Scorpio is a mechanical, spiritual or legal genius, though rarely an executive. Luxurious and extravagant in his tastes, he lacks interest in making money because, when he calls on his maximum powers, they lead him to noncommercial fields. So great is his magnetism that he will generally be found in a position where he can get all he wants without giving his all, which is reserved for private, perhaps secret, pursuits.

Scorpio is careful of appearances, generally a conformist in all that meets the eye, and would not willingly let you into the private details of his life, thoughts and philosophies. Yet these are very clear to him and provide him with an unexpressed viewpoint that gives him great poise. He looks at the world with aware, perhaps accusing, eyes; he does not betray the secret he has with himself, which gives him reserve and self-assurance and an uncanny knack of making the other fellow feel that he knows more than he is expressing. Part of the secret of Scorpio (no one can tell you all of the secret except the individual Scorpion himself, and he won’t) is the simplicity with which he accepts the merger of the material and the spiritual. He relates all problems of life to a standard of intangibles that is unknown to other men, achieves a practical answer in terms of his secret, perhaps unconscious, doctrine of the worlds, and thus adds to his personality the sort of magic one would have who consulted with an invisible, but ever-present, guardian angel. (Courtesy of Matrix Software [].)

The following excerpt comes not from a natal report program, but from David Cochrane’s recent book, Astrology for the 21st Century. Based on lessons for astrology students, it approaches the signs of the zodiac from a somewhat different perspective than the other short delineations cited here:

Scorpio is often described as being charismatic, magnetic, sexy, intense, and inclined to intense activities like surgery or the occult. I see Scorpio as an instinctive energy that involves itself directly in life rather than vicariously watching life in a detached fashion. Scorpio immerses itself into the experience. When viewing a good movie we become totally engrossed and lose sense of time and in fact are aware of little else; this is the Scorpio experience. Surgery, which is associated with Scorpio, is another good example of a Scorpio experience; the surgeon is completely engrossed in the process; great concentration is required. Intense experiences such as matters of life and death on the operating table absorb our full attention and the Scorpio nature thrives in this environment. Scorpio bonds intensely, and once bonded will not easily let go. Scorpio marries for life and a divorce is almost excruciatingly painful for Scorpio.

My view of Scorpio given above is similar to the traditional view of Scorpio but with a different slant and emphasis. I see complete immersion into experiences as the essence of Scorpio. Bonding is so strong that the person is, in a way, one with the experience. I remember once when teaching a class many years ago, the class was analyzing the chart of a lady who had several planets in Scorpio, including her Sun. One of the students mentioned that the lady did not seem particularly intense or charismatic, and I also did not detect these traits, although they are common, but not necessary, symptoms of the intense bonding that Scorpio seeks. I shared my views on Scorpio and the lady said that during a difficult period in her marriage her husband wanted a divorce, and she said that she would never let him leave her, and now their marriage was strong again and she felt very happy. To me this revealed that the dynamics of Scorpio were operating in the person, even though the traits that are often attributed to Scorpio were not evident. (Courtesy of Cosmic Patterns [] and David Cochrane [].)

Many specialized report programs have been developed that offer useful supplements to the generic delineations of general reports. The following sun sign interpretation has been drawn from a program by Gloria Scott (originally part of her book, Astrology: Woman to Woman) written by Gloria Star that generates a specialized report for women:

With your Sun in Scorpio your ego is driven by a need to be almost enigmatic. You’re more comfortable when at least a little mystery surrounds you, and you can exude a strong level of sensual charm. You’re rarely halfway about anything, and your intensity can be daunting to those who are uncomfortable with confrontation. Since your Sun speaks of “who you think you are,” you may think that you’re more mysterious than you are in actuality! No bother—you’re still a mystery to most, so you’re safe!

Your deep craving for power which you feel but others may not see accompanies the energy of your Sun in Scorpio. Your father may have seemed somewhat omnipotent when you were young, and he may also have been difficult to understand at times. You have a greater respect for men who can stand up to their own power, and who can respect the unique power of women, too. There is a part of you that will always be fascinated by super heroes and super heroines which stems from your fascination with alterations in energy and transformational change. Throughout your life you may be drawn into situations which need to change and in which you provide the catalyst for these transformations. In many ways you are a natural healer, and you can bring this quality of regeneration into your relationships, your work and your creativity. Embrace the fact that you are a Goddess! Live to create, and own your ability to use the magical ingredients which bring power into your own life, and which effects dynamic shifts in the world around you.

Even though you can be somewhat enigmatic with the Sun in Scorpio, you are also driven to attain the realization of your desires. For anything to be successful in your life, it must be personally meaningful to you, and you must have a strong feeling about it. You simply do not care to waste your energy. But you have to know when to back off because with your intensity, you can set the world on fire. Be gentle. Just remember that after all, as long as you know how to function in a crisis, there’s no problem. (From “Woman to Woman,” by Gloria Star. Courtesy of Matrix Software [].)

Responding to the revival of interest in pre-twentieth-century astrology, J. Lee Lehman developed a report program embodying the interpretive approach of traditional astrology. The following is excerpted from her book Classical Astrology for Modern Living and her computer program “Classical Report”:

You are brazen, arrogant, impudent, indecent, ireful, lewd, covetous, cunning, quick and strong in action, and discriminating, deceitful. You can be vicious or violent if angered (anger or sexual arousal?) Your nature is rugged and ambitious. You are fortunate in matters maritime and surgical.

It is particularly important for you to take care of your health when you are in stressful situations. This is because there is a general sluggishness to your energy which is prone to disease when you are under physical and emotional pressure.

You are a Water Sign, which means that you are “cold” and “wet.” The “wet” component means, among other things, that you blur distinctions, and that you are more swayed by passion than by intellectual argument. At your worst, you see too many connections, becoming lost in conspiracies. At your best, you spot the connection that everyone else missed. You are perceived as being “cold,” which in your case simply means you may not be quickly reacting on a surface level. In the modern parlance, it fits better with “cold and dry” than with simply “cold.” However, a “cold” type is basically lethargic, or slow to react. Here we have an interesting apparent contradiction: your emotions run deep, but that doesn’t mean you’re talking about them all the time! The quiet quality of “cold” may mislead others about what you’re feeling. The “problem” with “cold” is that it makes it hard for you to forget slights. Because you don’t tend to lash out immediately, it’s hard for you not to allow your anger to build up.

You are fixed, which means you are strong-willed and stubborn. You will want to hang onto people and things long after they have ceased to be useful to you. (Courtesy of J. Lee Lehman, Ph.D., copyright 1998 [].)

Readers interested in examining interpretations for their Chinese astrological sign should refer to the relevant entry. A guide for determining one’s sign in the Chinese system is provided in the entry on the Chinese zodiac.


Cochrane, David. Astrology for the 21st Century. Gainesville, FL: Cosmic Patterns, 2002.
Forrest, Steven. The Inner Sky: How to Make Wiser Choices for a More Fulfilling Life. 4th ed. San Diego: ACS Publications, 1989.
Green, Landis Knight. The Astrologer’s Manual: Modern Insights into an Ancient Art. Sebastopol, CA: CRCS Publications, 1975.
Hall, Manly P. Astrological Keywords. New York: Philosophical Library, 1958. Reprint, Savage, MD: Littlefield Adams Quality Paperbacks, 1975.
Lehman, J. Lee. Classical Astrology for Modern Living: From Ptolemy to Psychology & Back Again. Atglen, PA: Whitford Press, 1996.
Lewi, Grant. Astrology for the Millions. 5th ed. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn, 1978.
Lewi. Heaven Knows What. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn, 1969.
Star, Gloria. Astrology & Your Child: A Handbook for Parents. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn, 2001.
Star. Astrology: Woman to Woman. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn, 1999.
The Astrology Book, Second Edition © 2003 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(also Scorpius), a constellation in the zodiac. Scorpio’s brightest stars have visual stellar magnitudes of 0.8–1.2 (Antares), 1.6, and 1.9. The best conditions for viewing Scorpio are in May and June, when the constellation is completely visible in the southern regions of the USSR and partially visible in the central regions.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


scorpion (Oct. 23–Nov. 21). [Astrology: Hall, 315]
See: Zodiac
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. Astrology
a. the eighth sign of the zodiac, symbol ♏, having a fixed water classification and ruled by the planets Mars and Pluto. The sun is in this sign between about Oct. 23 and Nov. 21
b. a person born during a period when the sun is in this sign
2. Astronomy another name for Scorpius
3. Astrology born under or characteristic of Scorpio
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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