“There are two ways of spreading light, to be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it.”
— Edith Wharton
Scorpio is the eighth zodiac sign and is described as a fixed water sign. British astrologer Ronald Davison has said, “Each water sign prepares the way for a new kind of manifestation, and every fixed sign represents a particular gathering of power.” The zodiac includes three water signs: Cancer’s cardinal water energy can be seen like the ocean and constantly shifting tides. The mutable water of Pisces can be described as water in motion from streams to waterfalls, and Scorpio’s fixed energy is like a tsunami, a waterspout in the ocean, or the unrelenting march of a glacier.
Scorpio embodies tremendous emotional power that can be used constructively or destructively. Scorpions crawl on the ground, hiding in secret places, and their human counterparts are not reluctant to explore and experience what is hidden or concealed. This includes everything from sexuality to the most sacred of mysteries. Scorpio energy can express as course vibrations, ruled only by the lower senses, which can be selfish and even cruel. The force of their own ruling passions often stings unconscious Scorpios. Scorpio is co-ruled by Mars, and when Scorpios are backed into a corner the equivalent of a formidable stinger is raised, and they can eject their venom with “Martian” force. There is a need to master speech, for the tongue of Scorpio can be as venomous as the sting of its eight-legged namesake.
Scorpio is a complex sign with a range of symbolic emblems. The eight-legged scorpion symbolizes the lower level of Scorpio. An eagle, said to be the highest-flying bird, soaring above earthly concerns and possessing far-seeing vision, represents the second level. Eagles symbolically even enter into another sphere, the element of air. In indigenous traditions the eagle is said to be first to greet the rising Sun, suggesting that lofty insight is possible when we rise high enough to gain perspective. Regeneration is the highest expression of Scorpio energy, and this complex sign has a third symbolic emblem, the phoenix. Mythically, this legendary creature that submits to a period of self-immolation and then rises reborn from the ashes of its former self embodies the imagery of regeneration. This symbolism contains the idea of degeneration and regeneration, death and resurrection, and the ultimate attainment of immortality through right use of will.
In myth Pluto (Hades), the ruler of Scorpio, is lord of the underworld. Psychologically, this domain contains all that is hidden or buried. This could be treasures, talents, skeletons, or “monsters.” Hermes/Mercury was the only Olympian who could travel between Mount Olympus and the Underworld, which he did by virtue of his Caduceus wand. As Messenger of the Gods he carried information back and forth between Hades (Pluto), and Zeus (Jupiter). This suggests the importance of our consciousness and mental nature in traversing and mastering the heights and depths of human experience.
Hades’ name meant “the Invisible,” and was not spoken aloud for fear of arousing his anger. Instead, he was most commonly called Pluton, “the Rich,” signifying the wealth of gems and minerals that could be mined from the earth. Pluton was often depicted with a horn of plenty. According to myth, the infant Jupiter was raised on the milk of a goat whose horns continually overflowed with food and drink, encoding the abundance of Jupiter. This combined symbolism powerfully links Jupiter’s sustenance with the bounty that can lie unclaimed or unrecognized in the underworld of our psyches.
Jupiter’s positive qualities include a jovial expansiveness, a sporting approach to life, and an unquenchable optimism. His influence is generally fortunate, benevolent, and generous. Astrologically, Jupiter acts to expand, and hopefully enlighten, the signs he visits. His natural energy is nearly boundless, and he soars around heaven bestowing bounty and largess when he isn’t hurling thunderbolts. Used unwisely these same characteristics can become extreme in viewpoint, wasteful, and disregarding of resources. Jupiter can trust too much to luck, which brings misfortune. His expansive nature can be difficult to contain, and because he always wants to take the larger view, there is also a risk of dismissing details as insignificant, leading to misfortune.
Jupiter was considered to be a god of light, and therefore wisdom, and was said to deal with the realm of super-consciousness. He is therefore a widener of horizons, although his mythical dalliances don’t always reveal his higher attributes. Being confined to the focused, dark, and intense energy of Scorpio, or by association the unseen realms of the underworld, is not Jupiter’s natural habitat but used wisely, it’s like seeing in the dark.
Emotions will run both deep and wide with increasing intensity and expansion. This combination is akin to focusing sunlight through a magnifying glass and has the potential to make light “coherent” through Scorpio’s ability to focus like a laser. Like the caduceus, Jupiter in Scorpio connects the heights of Mount Olympus to the deep realm of the Underworld that exists in the microcosm within each of us. Understood this way, Jupiter in Scorpio can bring the “light of heaven” to the darkness of the deep, revealing many things that are normally unseen. Treasures and unhealed wounds lie buried in the darkness.
Characteristics of this combination include heightened passion with fuel to burn to achieve our desires. But a consuming passion, which ignites under this influence could grow to become an obsession if the energies remain unchecked. Jupiter in Scorpio can either intensify the desire to know the truth or increase the will to have power and control over others. The energy may express as great strength and courage or degenerate into woven webs of deceit. There can be risk of overly strong feelings, pushing toward excess of expression and even violence in search of release. Another lesson of Jupiter in Scorpio is the value of silence and the power of keen observation—we should observe and listen more than we speak.
Jupiter in Scorpio can engender a magnetism that can bring success in the outer world, potentially in the realm of finance, as the planet of abundance in Scorpio highlights economics. This could bring major motivators of money and power to center stage. Keen insight and disciplined minds combined with well-chosen investments and careful timing could yield positive results. This energy is also helpful in detective and police work as well as aiding efforts in engineering, chemistry, or medicine. Investments in healing technologies could be beneficial as Scorpio’s penetrating nature and capacity for research could result in new forms of healing.
If we’re paying attention this archetypal combination can bring heaven’s light into a realm, which is ordinarily cloaked in darkness and secrecy, like shining a floodlight into a cave or parting the veil that conceals the deeper aspects of reality. We have to be willing to explore what’s hidden to heal as well as to unearth treasure. Taking advantage of the energy of Jupiter in Scorpio is an optimum astrological mix to delve deeply into the underworld of our own consciousness as well as exploring sacred mysteries. Matters that have been hidden may come to light, bringing a potentially vital transformation or a rude awakening. We might choose to leave a dead-end job or end a painful relationship as we “see the light.” The key is turning insight and vision into appropriate action. By benefit of the transit we can potentially access depths of our own underworlds, gaining access to secret knowledge, hidden wisdom, buried treasure, or whatever is normally concealed from us. At the level of highest potential Jupiter in Scorpio directs these energies, through right focus of force or will, toward a sort of immortality that is sought not through procreation or lineage but through a great work or discovery that lives on.
Because Scorpio has three symbols, three levels of interpretation are possible. At the level of the scorpion light shines in dark places and illuminates matters that have been hidden. This energy could reveal something that was purposely hidden and back someone into a corner, provoking an attack of venomous thunderbolts. When Jupiter combines with the symbolism of the eagle, the king of heaven gains the keen bird’s-eye view of the soaring king of birds. When these two monarchs join forces, insight can be raised from basic instinct to a broad view of the horizon, offering vision to make a better choice. At the highest potential for expression, the archetypal god of light undergoes a metamorphosis in the flames of the phoenix. Jupiter can now be reborn from the ashes of prior choices and karma into a wiser and transformed expression. If we set our intention to reach the highest expression of these energies, we are bound to gain higher ground.
Those who were born with Jupiter in Scorpio will experience the benefits and challenges of this transit. Jupiter circles the Sun about every twelve years, so looking back to events and circumstances in our individual lives twelve, twenty-four, or thirty-six years ago, may shed light on what to expect personally in the next thirteen months. Understanding how the twelve-year cycle plays out in our own lives can reveal how the planet’s current transit will affect us. Similarly, at roughly twelve-year intervals from our birth, Jupiter returns to the degree and sign he occupied at that moment, providing an infusion of growth and energy we can optimize. This “Jupiter return” offers blessings and expansion in the specific area of life. Or, it can seem to be too much of a good thing.
The French occultist Eliphas Levi, born Alphonse Louis Constant, wrote of a maxim he called the “powers of the sphinx,” which comes from his most famous work Transcendental Magic. Levi says, “To attain the sanctum regnum, ‘holy kingdom,’ the knowledge and power of the Magi, four conditions are required: an intelligence illuminated by study, an intrepid nature that nothing can check, a will that cannot be broken, and a prudence that nothing can corrupt. To know, to dare, to will, and to keep silence—such are the four words of the Magus that are inscribed upon the four symbolical forms of the sphinx.”
The origin of the “powers of the sphinx” is unknown, but Levi ties these qualities to the mythical creature, the Great Enigma, that is a composite of the four fixed signs of the zodiac. In occult symbolism a sphinx has a human head-Aquarius (to know), the torso and paws of a lion-Leo (to dare), the back side of a bull-Taurus (to will), and the wings of an eagle-Scorpio (to keep silence). The creature is therefore also said to be a symbol of the Macrocosm, and the work of the spiritual disciple is to master the elements, bringing them into balance and equilibrium.