scorpioThe Scorpio season – October 22 to November 21 – calls us into the darkness and depths, for the purpose of regeneration, healing and magic. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, the days are growing noticeably shorter, leaves are falling from the trees, and our bodies want to slow down, contract and settle in for the winter ahead.

Scorpio is one of the most misunderstood and maligned signs of the zodiac, accused of being secretive, manipulative, destructive and sex-obsessed. The modern version of Scorpio is a twisted and toxic rendering of its original function – to facilitate the Dark Feminine mysteries of sacred sexuality, witchcraft, and the rites of birth and death. Daniel Giamario writes:

The reality is Scorpio became secretive to survive. This was especially evident in the burning times when a lot of women and even some men were burned at the stake as a way to intimidate and gain control over anything that looked like sorcery or witchcraft (or pretty much any other women’s mysteries). This created an atmosphere of fear that persists to this day and why Scorpio has often had to learn denial, repression, and suppression to survive.” (The Shamanic Astrology Handbook)

With this legacy of the “burning times” encoded in our cultural memory, it’s no wonder that Scorpio season – a time for meeting the Mystery within our own emotional depths, through intimacy with a trusted partner, and by connecting with the invisible realm of ancestors and spirit guides – often stirs up feelings of fear. Instead of welcoming communion with the unseen, and softening our egos to allow for healing and transformation, we can instead shut down and strengthen our defenses.

saturnThese Scorpio themes and lessons are particularly acute this week, as the Sun meets up with Saturn in Scorpio early Thursday morning (1:32 am PDT). The Sun and Saturn conjoin annually, but this will be their first conjunction in Scorpio since 1984. The Sun-Saturn conjunction manifests results of past actions, offering clear feedback as to what’s working, what’s not, and how we might move forward more effectively.

Pulling back your energy, taking time for solitude and reflection, and making a strategic plan for realizing your long-term goals are some helpful ways to work with Saturn. Not so helpful — beating yourself up for what you “should have” done and wallowing in regret. (FYI, I’m quoting myself from my post about the previous Sun-Saturn conjunction on October 13, 2011.)

Saturn works through pressure and can feel like a “heavy” energy, intensifying the seasonal darkness. The Sun, the center around which we revolve and the source of light on Earth, signifies the human heart. The Sun-Saturn conjunction presents us with a choice – to close down a little more and add another layer of protection around our heart, thereby cutting us off from our light and vitality, or to take the risk of opening a little more, allowing more of our life force to flow.

Last weekend I had the great pleasure of hearing astrologer Adam Gainsburg at the Oregon Astrology Association. In his talk, From Wound to Medicine: Chiron and the Human Heart, he made a suggestion that I found very useful (especially useful when I actually remember to practice it) – to “receive our reactions.” When we get triggered and go into reaction, we leave the present moment, and forfeit the opportunity for healing, since healing can only happen in the moment. But, says Adam, “If we choose to receive our reactions, past and future start coming toward us. Our job is to stay here and be the guardian of our own heart space and let the feelings and emotions come in.

chironWhile he was talking about Chiron in Pisces specifically, I think his advice applies more broadly to working with the Water element, the realm of feelings and emotions. While we’ve got three slow-moving planets in Water – Saturn in Scorpio, and Chiron and Neptune in Pisces – developing emotional intelligence is a strong theme. And, helpfully, the Sun-Saturn conjunction forms a supportive trine (120-degree angle) to both Neptune and Chiron, increasing our capacity for softening defenses, feeling our feelings, and being gentle and compassionate toward ourselves and others.

Further support is available from Mercury’s conjunction with the North Node, also in Scorpio (in the later degrees) and also exact on Thursday. Mercury is the planet of perception and communication, and his conjunction with the North Node – which points to the best way forward – supports us in tuning into deeper levels of reality, and giving voice to our feelings. Because of Mercury’s upcoming Retrograde (November 6-26), Mercury will meet up with the North Node two more times, on November 17 and December 7. (And yes, we are already under the influence of Mercury Retro!)

To get more specific about what the Sun-Saturn conjunction means for YOU, find the house in your birth chart that contains 2 degrees Scorpio. The areas of life signified by that house are where you’re being called to: reassess your priorities, commitments and long-term goals; soften your defenses and open to support; get in touch with deep feelings; and release what’s stagnant and blocking your life force and power. A conjunction of two planets signifies both an ending and a beginning – consider what’s been developing since October 13 of last year and is now coming to a close, and plant a seed of intention for what you want to grow over the coming year.

– Emily Trinkaus

Two upcoming events:

Calling all priestesses – the next Lunar Galactic Activation will be on Monday, October 29 for the Taurus Full Moon – sex, pleasure, money, power… oh my! All women are welcome and this is a teleclass, so you can participate from anywhere on the planet. Find out more and register here.

Portlandia friends – Join me to explore the meaning and purpose of the upcoming Eclipses in this 4-hour workshop, Into the Dark, on Saturday, November 17. All students of astrology are welcome, including beginners. Find out more and register here.