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People with little familiarity with Tarot symbolism have a visceral reaction when they see the Death card in a reading.

Their fear is understandable. The sight of an armor-clad skeleton on horseback accompanied by the word 'Death' is fearsome and intended to grab attention. Death is definite and he takes no prisoners.

But our armor-clad horseman carries a flag. The flag sports the image of a flower in full bloom. Its seeds lie at the center. Death is the bringer of seeds. Death is the bringer of life. And, in the distance, the sun rises to herald a new day.

All life comes to an end eventually. But dead plants fertilize soil that enables new growth.

This is the power and the process of Scorpio.

Throughout our lives we continually die and regenerate. We discard old habits and behavior patterns that outlive their usefulness. Rarely is this done without a struggle. The status quo, even an uncomfortable status quo, is usually less unpleasant than our fear of change. So it may take the actions of another or an external event to compel us to move forward.

Scorpio's transformations are rarely easy. But if we did transforms, we would remain children in decaying adult bodies, never growing, never taking responsibility, never experiencing life.

So think of Scorpio as the 'roto-rooter' of the psyche, cleaning out our psychic gunk so we can move forward.

Nonetheless, some deaths are physical. Along the way we lose people dear to us. And eventually we, too, will meet our own physical death.

And therein lies the basis of our fear.

But the reward for facing down our fear is transformation and rebirth. We are transformed and creative vitality becomes ours.

In myth, the god Pluto is the associated with wealth and power. When we successfully transform we are enriched and we receive the gift of our power.

Many people with an emphasis of Scorpio or Pluto energy in their charts experience life as a succession of high highs and low lows. They instinctively know how to use and amass power. Many such people also attract wealth.

The question is whether they will use it for good or ill. Drug lords and organized crime families exemplify the negative use of Scorpio's energy that gives the sign such a poor reputation. But a skilled therapist uses the energy for healing.

Bill Gates, a Scorpio, exemplifies both extremes. His company, Microsoft, is widely known for its rough business practices. As a result, it rose to dominate and transforms the computer industry. He has since left his day-to-day responsibilities to use his vast wealth and knowledge to alleviate the impact of AIDS and other illnesses in the third world.

Banks, credit card issuers, mortgage and insurance companies are types of businesses associated with Scorpio. They amass vast sums of money and serve to transform and empower their customers – for a price. A mortgage can empower you and transforms your life by enabling you to buy a home. In return you are yoked to a monthly payment for many years.

Scorpio is a fixed water sign. On the surface it is very calm and still. Underneath, it roils with passion.

Scorpio's energy pulls us inward, so we may feel more introspective when planets travel through the sign. And because its its action is below the surface we may feel moody and intense.

Because it is intimately involved with death and procreation it is able to look at ugliness and decay and not flinch. Scorpio is amoral. Not blinded by idealism or illusion, it knows all of us are capable of both good and evil, kindness and cruelty. Using its watery intelligence it is able to sniff out agendas others might wish to keep conceal.

We receive Scorpio's knowledge in the gut – not the head.

Scorpio is patient. It will quietly watch and wait until its prey falls into its trap. And so Scorpio people (anyone with many planets in Scorpio or a strong Pluto) are first-rate investigators. They are often found in fields like law enforcement, investigative reporting, intelligence, and research.

It takes its time before it fully trusts. But when it does it is very loyal. However, if Scorpio is betrayed, it will probably say nothing – but it will remember, forever.

Scorpio is a difficult and generally misunderstood energy. But its transformative function is necessary to our evolution and survival. It can drag us to the lowest depths, but if we work with its energies in a mature, grounded way, it can take us to the highest heights. And ready us for the ride of our life: Sagittarius.

Ā© 2006 Ellen M. Zucker

Scorpio – Roto-Rooter of the Psyche

Scorpio - Roto-Rooter of the Psyche