Dracula safely peers out his castle window as the last rays of sun drop beneath the horizon. He smiles in knowing his power is increasing as the days grow shorter. The veil between life and death is thinning and he can sense the spirits of the dead hungrily rustling for entry into this world. Smelling humanity's increasing fear on the chill evening air, his blood tingles with the unquenchable avarice of fire.
One of his mistresses enters the room and asks if he is ready to hunt for new prey.
"Soon, my sweet, soon. Stay with me a moment and savor the enveloping darkness."
She stands next to him, arm around his waist. Dracula looks at her as he feels her life force pulsing in anticipation of the night that is falling over the land like a blood drenched cloak.
After a moment of stillness he asks: "Do you know what the best kept secret of vampires is, my love?" The mistress smiles in anticipation as she looks at him seductively. "All of those scared humans run fleeing like rats when they get a mere whiff of a vampire's presence. They are too blind to realize it's their fear that heats their blood, making them not only more tasty, but lush with power for us to drink." Dracula closes his eyes with furrowed brow, inhaling with a hissing sound in rapturous memory of the sensuality of killing. "Humans make us powerful because they fear us. But if humans ever embraced us with the courage to drink our blood, our power would quickly diminish, and we would fade from time."
"But my lord," the mistress says in mischievous questioning, not actually believing such a thing could ever happen, "if humans drank us, wouldn't we just...become them?"
Less naive to the potential of human awakening, Dracula shivers in disgust, bearing his fangs. "Damnation burn you for such a ghastly thought! We must forever remain as we are — hidden, voracious and full of the power of dark desire!" Appearing to raise in height, Dracula grabs his mistress's arms, violently throws her onto a table, and pins her down. She gasps for air as his lips get close to her ear.
"True power," he whispers, "comes from being feared. Without fear, we are nothing. I will always live because I will always be feared. And I will never go back to the abyss."
The mistress feels Dracula's grip suddenly release. Not daring to open her eyes, she shudders as Dracula exclaims:
"Life must be devoured to be loved!"
She then hears the familiar sound of cracking bones and squishing muscle as Dracula transforms himself into a monstrous bat, flying out into the night like a black velvet angel, mercifully balancing the ignorance of light with the sweetly corporeal truth of death.
The Sun entered Scorpio on Wednesday October 23rd. So begins a month of exploring the expressions and purposes of life, death and power. Mercury Retrograde adds to the process by focusing our minds on the ways we push ourselves past our limitations, giving us a chance to adjust our points of view and make changes to our prior commitments. Saturn also continues his march through Scorpio, testing our will to not be taken down by our own fears and obsessions. And the North Node joins them all, reminding us that we are all doing this work for a collective purpose.
The Sun reflects the personal purpose and meaning we feel in our lives, and at this time of year is asking us to explore our deeper, darker natures for the power waiting for us to bring into consciousness. When the Sun enters Scorpio here in the northern hemisphere, seasonally we are experiencing the dying process before all gets frozen in winter. As we walk through this seasonal twilight, this doorway between the realms of life and death, we can more easily sense the power available to us when we are quiet and listening. Halloween and its pagan progenitor, Samhain, along with its celebratory sibling, Dia de los Muertos, are expressions of this awareness of the closeness of power and death. They remind us that what we are scared of has the potential to increase our power, when we ally with it. While Scorpio takes us to our deepest depths of fear and transformation, it is the necessary force that removes the blinders from our minds and opens us up to the sheer wonder of living.
Scorpio is the sign of the shaman. Like the Dracula myth, the shaman is a shapeshifter and traverser of hidden realms. The bat is the shaman's totem, showing that the shaman is able and willing, like the bat in its cave, to fly into underworld darkness to retrieve sustenance and power. And like the shaman, Dracula transforms fear into power, but as a vampire he does so by feeding on it, blood sucking his way through the ignorance of self righteous civilized society. While the shaman retrieves power for the strengthening of others, Dracula preys on their weakness, his own fear keeping him in the shadows. For he knows that if humanity were to awaken to its true nature, it would simply integrate Dracula and his kind, forever dissolving power taken through dominance. This is the abyss he is so intensely afraid of, that of total powerlessness, which is what any of us fears when we believe our power comes from outside us and erroneously fear death as the ultimate taker of our power. As the shaman readily knows, death is our greatest ally in discovering the true nature of power and its availability to us.
Scorpio demonstrates that fear and power tend to be sides of the same coin. Often what we fear has the potential to change us into something more powerful than we were. But real power is not the kind that dominates, despite what we see in our current world. The Zodiac wheel gives us a clue by placing Scorpio at a natural sextile and trine to Virgo and Pisces, and this shows us that truly lasting, fulfilling power is the kind that serves, that gives of oneself for the spiritual growth and awakening of one's environment. Willingness to change is willingness to die, and nothing is more powerful than losing one's fear of death.
That is not to say it is, or should be, easy. Grief can be a consequence of the Scorpio journey, and while we can certainly comfort ourselves with the prettier truths of grief leading to heart awareness that can catalyze greater happiness and freedom, Scorpio knows that sometimes life drags us through the mud, and sitting in the darkness, like Persephone sitting in hell munching on pomegranate seeds, must simply be endured.
Everyone is working with the Scorpio archetype in some area of their life, some more intensely so than others. Many young folks born in the 80s and 90s have Pluto in Scorpio, which is Pluto in its home sign. These souls have desire for transformation wired into them at the deepest levels, and are coming of age just in time to usher in profound change for the planet. But they, like all of us at some level, are seeking to embrace the qualities of Scorpio's opposite, Taurus, in order to put that transformational work into some context, to give it a purpose in the real world. Taurus brings in the qualities of safety, comfort and self reliance, qualities required for a sustainable world and that emerge as a natural result of doing our transformational Scorpio work. When we've walked our leading edge and integrated that which we fear, even if we are destroyed and rebuilt in the process, we are given the chance to relax into physical comfort, able to receive and appreciate the pleasures of earthly living. Then we are called on to work through another fear, or to deeply transform again, reaching newer evolutionary levels, and rising again to the sweetly sensual embrace of the Taurus archetype. An overly Scorpio focused person tends to restlessly seek out the most intense experiences life has to offer, never taking a moment to relax, and potentially dying in the process, or at least fraying their own nerves. An overly Taurus focused person tends to be lazy, clinging to physical possessions for security and never daring to ride the wave of transformative risk. But through the balance of these archetypes — a willingness to take risks combined with the enjoyment of life's simpler pleasures — we can create a gentler flow of change and rest, of death and rebirth that is uniform rather than cataclysmic.
Evolution is a prime Scorpio keyword, but so are obsession and attachment. What Dracula represents inside us — our tendency to obsessive craving when we refuse to bond with others for growth — is the inverse of the evolutionary process, that which is devolutionary. As we further separate from life, hiding out in darker caves within ourselves, we cling to our attachments like a vampire clings to blood. We can even become violent when we have staked our existence on the persistence of our obsessions, taking us even further down into the rabbit hole of devolutionary rot. But given that evolution is ultimately unstoppable, our staked obsessions become the stake that is driven into our heart, forcing us to feel the pain of our separation until we are willing to commit to the work of evolving through unification with life. That is what the death of the staked vampire symbolizes — the rejuvenation of inner life through the pain of our heart's redemption.
Sex enters the picture when we consider the evolutionary function of reproduction coupled with the desire to evolve oneself through the deep meeting of another. The desire to create life is not just for species survival but also for the sake of evolving consciousness, for the more souls are brought in to the world the more chance there is for evolution to be effected. More personally, the intense desire to have sex with another can arise out of a sense that the other has some quality we desire in ourselves, be it beauty, creativity, a sense of adventure, confidence, wisdom, peacefulness. By uniting with them sexually, we effect an energetic osmosis that brings us to our deepest sense of ourselves, wrapped in the warmth of another, able to experience our limitations and thus awakening what we need to grow beyond them. While Taurus enjoys sex simply for the pure pleasure of it, sex from a Scorpio perspective represents evolution at both collective and individual levels.
As Scorpio rules commitments, having come after Libra where we were exploring relationships to decide when, where and who to commit to, it also shows us that for every commitment there comes a sacrifice. Something must die for the larger purpose that is the thing being committed to, be it a marriage, a child, a business, a diet, and so on. With sacrifice comes potentially profound change to the core of our being. But what is interesting about Scorpio (among many other things) is that no matter what we have to sacrifice, no matter how much transformation we undergo, there is still a core that remains more or less constant. This is the perceptive energy of the soul, the consciousness within us that persists through every change, through countless lifetimes. It is this core consciousness that is seeking its expression through the ego, desiring to experience all there is to experience in life until there is nothing to do but surrender to it all. While we may explore life's facets for a multitude of reasons, it is to the evolution of our soul that we owe our deepest commitment.
Most essentially, Scorpio represents desire, and with desire comes growth. Our desires are going to drive us one way or another, and no matter how hard we try to prevent change, Scorpio (and it's ruling planet, Pluto) is going to see to it that we change anyway. It is the bottom line demand of every soul to evolve, sometimes to the point of needing to utterly shatter the ego. Scorpio shows us that the way to wholeness is to go through the pain, not through escape or turning back around. As Dante said, the way in is the way out, and through our traversal of the levels of hell we find ourselves move through the three animal totems of Scorpio: From our Dracula state of being the scorpion, killing for power out of possessive passion, we evolve to the eagle, able to take in a broader point of view as we begin to awaken our heart, and finally to the dove, having unified our soul with universal consciousness, able to experience all of life's conditions as expressions of unconditional love.
Postscript: While writing this article I received word that my sister-in-law's sister passed away suddenly at the age of 49. This has obviously brought the subjects of death and grief very close to home, making the experience of Scorpio a very personal one. While giving counsel and comfort to my sister-in-law, I was able to see in her chart the purpose that the loss of her sister serves in her life's mission. It reminded me that death has its place in service to us, helping us grow into greater self realization through an awakening of the heart that cannot be achieved any other way. It's a fierce lesson to be sure, but we do get through it, and we do grow. Death is as beautiful and tender as life, and we are the epitome of grace for living it.