Scorpio - oil on canvas - 90 x 70 cm - 2014
Scorpio (October 23 - November 21)
In classical myth the Scorpion was the revered slayer of Orion, the powerful warrior who had boasted that his strength was so great he was invincible to the mightiest creatures of the earth. Orion’s vulnerability was proven by the lowly but deadly Scorpion. The two constellations remain linked in combat in the heavens, directly opposing each other across the sky, so that Orion is said to flee in the west whenever his murderer rises in the east.
For many centuries prior to the Christian Era, Scorpio was the largest of the zodiacal figures, with its claws extending over the area now attributed to Libra, making Libra a fairly modern constellation. This has been offered as an argument that the earliest zodiac contained only six great constellations, of which Scorpio was one.
The Scorpion, as a constellation figure, has a great antiquity in Mesopotamia where it was viewed as a symbol of darkness and resilience. An emblem of autumn, it is found on Babylonian boundary stones dating to the 12th century BC and for later dwellers on the Euphrates it became symbolic of the decline of the Sun’s power after the autumnal equinox, then located within its stars. Its malignant influence was most readily seen in the stormy weather and early darkness that accompanied its rising, as witnessed in this passage from Aratus: “ storm-tossed at sea, when the Sun scorches the Bow, trust no longer in the night but put to shore in the evening. Of that season and that month let the rising of the Scorpion at the close of night be a sign to thee”.
Scorpio’s fundamental dynamics are then the essence of darkness. They are feminine, nocturnal, autumnal. They are also the essence of the scorpion. Dangerous, predatory and cunning.