“ And now the end is near, and so I face the final curtain….”
– Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way’
Deep into the sun’s sojourn through Scorpio is a day honored in many cultures known as ‘Dia de Los Muertos’ or ‘Day of the Dead’. The scales of the zodiac have now shifted toward descent, as autumn when the leaves but begin to fall signaling the fading of light and life – harbingers of the inevitable final destination we’d rather not discuss. It is a day of remembrance for our dearly beloveds who have crossed over to that ultimate unknown. Many would find the concept macabre or at least sad, but few holidays are filled with more color and life than these celebrations. Short of politics and religion, death is a topic frequently avoided despite the stark certainty as our final destination. But not Scorpio, the one sign to welcome the dark scythe carrying companion and follow the path of the flying monkeys. That looks way more exciting than a silly yellow brick road.
Scorpios can be spotted upon sight. Like Leos, they have an undeniable magnetism, though it’s far more subdued. As opposed to the radiating energy of a sun, this is the gravitational draw of a black hole with a draw so powerful not even light can escape. Theirs is a tantalizing allure, a walking labyrinth of mystery wrapped up in a dark and dangerous package – you know, the kind your mother warned you about. How can you resist when they’re practically a walking hazard sign and tantalizing invitation wrapped in one? But don’t sell them short. They’re more than just a sexy package wrapped in black leather. What appears to be a quiet exterior hints at a powerful reserve of depth and fortitude. Remember this is the fixed water sign, which combines the strength and persistence of earth with the emotional sensitivity of water. Scorpios are capable of great accomplishments, being willing to delve into the well of human emotions to reach peak experiences. They’re motivated by self-mastery, probing into their unconscious to reach a fearlessly thorough level of understanding, willing to ferret out internal blockages, resistances or lingering fears. You can call them intense, but even in describing them that word seems impotent, and yet it’s the best we can do. I believe that astrologers frequently use the word fearless to describe Aries, when this is the sign that takes it to a whole new level. The truth is Scorpio is what Aries want to be when it grows up. It’s a whole different mentality when you’ve been around the zodiac long enough to know there are things deserving of fear, and be willing to stare them down. Like their scruffy Aries cousins, Scorpios are known to be direct and brutally honest, though again with age, they’ve learned there is a strategic wisdom in silence. Rest assured, you’ll get as much information as they want you to have – no more. They’re frequently called controlling, vindictive and vengeful – all hard to deny for those on the receiving end of their sting. But let he who has not had those urges cast the first stone. The difference between the rest of us and Scorpios is they’re honest –open with all their motivations, even those that terrify us. It may seem shocking, considering we’ve barely left the cordial and socially proper Libra. Scorpios are compelled to strip away the masks of social etiquette to discover the truth, our authentic selves. Who we think we are can no longer survive the light of truth. What no longer serves us festers, and dies, nourishing the soil so that it may be rich enough to build new life – something real.
It’s hard to imagine that the robust American President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt (October 27th) ever suffered from a ‘weak constitution’. Childhood asthma made him committed to overcoming his limitations through living a strenuous life. But a year after graduating from Harvard, he was elected to his first political office. At the tender age of 42 he was the youngest man to ascend to the Oval Office (though not by election, but upon the assassination of President McKinley). His administration was characterized by his slogan, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” His forceful and direct personality made it clear the United States was emerging as a world power. Yet his political career was but a slice of his life, as he also excelled as explorer, hunter, author and soldier. He was a huge force behind the completion of the Panama Canal, laid a monumental foundation for the conservation movement and was the first American to win the Nobel Prize in any field when he negotiated an end to the Russo-Japanese War in 1905.
One of the most serious health problems to face the United States during the 20th Century was the polio epidemic. The crippling disease took thousands in fatalities, but left tens of thousands in various states of paralysis, not to mention a nation paralyzed in fear. Jonas Salk (October 28th) decided to forgo becoming a physician opting for medical research when he undertook the task of finding a cure. After seven relentless years of development, the vaccine was made public in 1955 and Salk was hailed a “miracle worker.” Harnessing the Scorpionic intensity of purpose, he would not rest until he found a safe, effective vaccine as quickly as possible, without the motivation of personal profit. When an interviewer asked who held the patent, he replied, “There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?” You mean there was a time when helping people took precedent over astronomical pharmaceutical profits? Before my time, I guess…
Akin to Roosevelt, American film director Martin Scorsese (November 17th) was also deeply affected by asthma. Unable to participate in sports, he spent the majority of his childhood in movie theatres, where he developed a passion for the cinema. Many of his films address such themes as guilt and redemption, crime and violence with an almost operatic eloquence. His 1976 film Taxi Driver is considered a landmark for its dark and shockingly, unapologetic honesty as it follows one man’s descent into insanity. Even one of his ‘lighter’ films, The Age of Innocence, dealt with issues of morality, scandal, and passionate longing repressed in the proper Victorian Age. Few artists have made such an imprint on their field, so much to have necessitated their own adjective to describe their films – ‘Scorsesian’, which come to think of it, sounds an awful lot like the sign his work so searingly represents.
I’ll be honest — Scorpios have always scared me. It’s not like I don’t have good reason, as they are the perpetually undefeated champion of the title Most Likely To Hunt You Down And Kill You In Your Sleep. They wear the belt proudly. I’m always afraid I’ll do or say something to piss them off, and I may not even know what it was. Years will pass, but they’ll remember. Not to mention if anyone is capable of quick and mortal wounding, it’s these stealth assassins. They don’t take prisoners. In fact, chances are you won’t even find the body. Given the choice, I would avoid them, like that foreboding figure in the wrong part of town. If Leos are my kryptonite, then Scorpios are my mace. And yet I’ve found them peppered throughout my life through some very influential experiences. (So I guess that would make them pepper spray. Sorry, bad joke..) But I can say this, of all the signs there are few I respect, and possibly envy, more than Scorpios. Yes, the effortless dark and sexy vibe does make them instantly cool, but deep down I know they’re living more than perhaps all of us. Their intense drive, their complete intolerance for superficiality may be due to their understanding of our gross mortality; that we’re all living on borrowed time. Great debate exists about what lies beyond in the afterlife, but it’s impossible to truly know. I’ve never understood the obsession with what will happen after we pass at the expense of all the living to be done now. Every day more sands slip through our hourglass, yet Scorpio gives us our wake-up call with a not so gentle warning not to squander the luxurious currency of time. It is still early, with a great deal of preparation to be done, but more importantly, for an unflinching life evaluation. Now it is time to get real. It’s time to make some clear and deliberate decisions. How many of us are willing to face our demons, to call them out in the light and shake hands with them? Our fears can be our jailors or the very weapons we use to free ourselves. Like the strings of a marionette, they’ll silently manipulate us until we are willing to unflinchingly root them out, dredged up from the muck, if need be. Are you living the life you truly want to live? Now is the time for searing clarity, for regret is a terrible bed-mate when you’re taking your last breath. Scorpio carries a life and death intensity to remind us to take a good look while you still have time, time to make whatever changes need to be made and let lifeless dross fall away. It may not be pretty, but the cold, hard facts of life rarely are. We may think they’re dark or morose to so openly embrace death, and yet death is what makes them so alive. It drives them to take chances, to flood every sensation in this grand experience, but especially to drain the tank. It ignites a fire that propels them to live fully in each day. And I can’t help but watch them in awe, as if they’re tapping into the very bone marrow of existence – that soft tissue at the core of our structure that generates our lifeblood by the trillions. And without question when they’re finally laid to rest their epitaph can read They Lived. No doubt of that. Good to the last drop.