Autumn advances--a time of impending hibernation. But even as the land is chilled, the seeds within it promise eventual reawakening. This is the season of Scorpio, one of the most complex of the zodiacal signs. Life, death, and resurrection are inextricably linked in Scorpio. Powerful, insticntual Scorpios sting and destroy, but as their natures evolve, they also rebuild and create. It is significant that this sign has not one symbol, but three: the Scorpion, the Eagle, and the Phoenix.

Profound perceptions and violent urges characterize Scorpios. They are often compelled by overwhelming, unconscious forces that can find no coherent manifestation. When this happens they may become bitter and depressed. Scorpio's essence is illumintated by contrast with Taurus, the opposite sign on the zodiac's wheel. Taurus represents life at its simplist. In complicated, multifaceted Scorpio, sexuality is expressed as eroticism, even agression, a union of love and death, or life and death. This formidable and sometimes perverse sexuality is a potential pitfall for Scorpios. Giving it free reign, they risk wreaking havoc on themselves and others. On the other hand, concealing it can give way to terrible anxiety and guilt. Scorpios both male and female are deeply seductive individuals, driven by their erotic needs. They tend toward fiery, emphemeral passionas and are prone to fierce jealousy and possessivness. They are not well suited to marriage, which, over time, they will find tiresome. In friendship, as in romance, Scorpios sometimes do not know their own power. They may sting others without meaning to, then turn their venom on themselves in remorse. They may incite more fear than affection, and they tend to have a few intense relationships, rather than a large circle of casual friends.

Unlike Taureans, Scorpions court danger and revel in risk. They have great courage and strength of will, but also a taste for conflict and a need to dominate. Whereas Taureans are tied to tradition, Scorpios are unorthodox, nonconforming, even revolutionary. They joyfully trample tradition and desecrate convention on their way to constructing somethinge new and altogether different.

Scorpio's fierceness, their passion and even their dark and mordant wit find sbulime expression in many fine writers and thinkers. These include Fyodor Dostoyevski, Albert Camus, Dylan Thomas, Evelyn Waugh, and Kurt Vonnegut. Passion, perception, and revolutionary creativity shine in the heart of Scorpio Pablo Picasso, and insight and unorthodoxy combine in the science of Marie Curie and Jonas Salk.

Each of Scorpio's three different emblems contributes distinctive qualities to the signs nature. Agression and instinct dominate the Scorpion guise: the deadly arachnid is destructive, viciously competitive, violent and cruel. The essence of the Eagle on the other hand, is the shrewd insight most Scorpios possess. With their Eagle's eyes, Scorpios see what others miss. They discern hidden motives; they ferret out secret flaws and vulnerabilities. And they are not above exploiting others' weaknesses to their own advantage. Among Scorpio's most important tasks, astrologers say, are ridding themselves of the tendancy to be judgmental and tempering their insight with compassion. Those who manage this difficult assignment manifest the virtues of the Phoenix, the redemptive third aspect of the sign.

According to Herodotus, the Phoenix was a beautiful bird seen in Heliopolis, Egypt, where it was a sacred emblem of the Sun. Just as the sun dies in its own fires every night and is reborn each morning, so the Phoenix was believed to undergo continual regeneration, consumed in flames on a pyre, only to rise again from the ashes. Like the Phoenix, Scorpios are survivors. Emotionally they may perish in the ashes of their own destructive nature. But they can also transcend and transform; they can bring forth from the ashes new and shining life. During this phase their intense perceptions will bend toward compassion understanding, rather than judgment. Their eroticism will reach beyond passion, toward love.

Scorpios have the capacity for high spiritual development, but, astrologers say, their path toward it is the most difficult in the zodiac. They must be alchemists, transmuting dark nature and selfish impulse into purified desire, striving to discipline themselves and to curb and channel their great destructive power toward constructive ends.

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