Pluto (called Hades by the ancient Greeks) and Mars co-rule the astrological sign Scorpio (October 23 – November 22) though most astrologers feel that Pluto’s influence corresponds more closely to the Scorpio nature. The god Pluto (which means wealth) is the Lord of the Underworld and his name suggests an important element ruled by Scorpio – wealth held in common. The wealth of Pluto is related to the riches produced by the transformative powers of the Earth. Pluto’s riches are created by those processes that change seeds buried in the dark into life-sustaining crops, convert dead vegetation into energy-rich fuels like coal and oil, and turn carbon into diamonds. These hidden activities are often accompanied by extremes in heat and pressure that parallel the intense passion and the extreme use of force exhibited by Pluto in myth and by those born with Sun in Scorpio.
The domain of Scorpio is the Eighth House of the natural astrological chart* and its sphere of influence includes other people’s wealth, joint ownership, legacy and inheritance. And though the Eighth House is related to the circumstances surrounding one’s death it is also called The House of Healing. This is appropriate because Scorpio rules surgery and medicine as well. Scorpio’s influence also embraces the passionate aspects of sex and the transformation mysteries of birth (male and female germ cells uniting to form new life) and death.
The dwarf-planet Pluto lies in darkness at the outer edge of our solar system. The path of its orbit around the Sun is not the same as the orbits of the other planets. Pluto has a highly inclined orbit that causes it to cross the plane of the solar system, periodically coming closer to the Sun than Neptune, the next farthest planet from the Sun. These astronomical facts echo mythological details about the god of the Underworld. Pluto is portrayed as a reclusive, morose power who does not live on Mount Olympus among his peers and rarely leaves his dark kingdom. He appears on Mount Olympus (the plane of the solar system) only occasionally for gatherings of the Council of Gods. The mythological description of Pluto’s character seems to correspond to the inward-focused and somewhat dark nature of those born under his rule.
The eighth sign of the zodiac is associated with the constellation Scorpius (with its scorpion form). This is an intentional design choice – as scorpions are well known for their reclusive nature which perfectly corresponds to the private (and sometimes secretive) character of Scorpio people. In true astromythological style (individuals behaving like the ruler of their sign), Scorpios tend to pursue their interests without an announcement and to let others know only when the results are finalized … a fait accompli. Like their ruler, Pluto, who in myth possesses the Helm of Darkness (a helmet of invisibility), Scorpios carry out their plans secretly, which gives them the best defensive position when the results become public. The scorpion is also known for the intensity of its drive to survive in extreme environments (e.g. desert) and like the scorpion, Scorpio people are survivors. Though they are quite sensitive inside, when necessary, they can be tough and self-protective (like the scorpion, with its body covered by a hard exoskeleton) and fight fiercely (poisonous sting and pinching claws) when threatened.
Because of their flair for delving into the unknown and their analytic abilities Scorpios make excellent detectives and researchers. They can also be quite generous with the riches that flow from their discoveries. But when an ‘enemy’ is identified in their social sphere – Scorpios react strongly; they can be merciless toward those who challenge them and vengeful when they are hurt. Though it may seem inconsistent, those born under the sign Scorpio have a weakness for flattery. And perhaps it is this vulnerability, wishing to be seen, wishing to be approved of and appreciated, that causes Scorpios’ violent reaction to emotional wounding. Perhaps this is the underlying reason why all must beware the poisonous sting of the scorpion’s tail and a lashing from the vengeful Scorpio tongue (Pluto’s whip).
Despite the dark-side persona, Scorpio is a formidable, energetic sign, possessing a great deal of personal magnetism. Scorpios have a sensitive intellect and are attracted to exploration of the mysterious. They are frequently mediumistic (appropriate, given that Pluto is the ruler of the Dead) and drawn to the occult. Their personal power, focused intensity, and expanded perspective helps them to succeed at the monumental task of bringing the hidden to light.
Though the scorpion is the traditional symbol for Scorpio, the eagle and phoenix are also associated with the sign. The scorpion acts as a metaphor for the sign’s earth-bound passions. The eagle symbolizes a stage of greater development suggesting an ability to view the world from a broader perspective – the “eagle-eye” view or “look from above”. This more inclusive perspective is echoed by Pluto’s position at the furthest outpost of our world, allowing a view of (and therefore a potential knowledge of) the entire solar system. And the phoenix (a mythological bird which, at death, bursts into flame and is then reborn from its own ashes) represents both completed development and its goal – eternal life.
Evolved Scorpios are powerful, dedicated and fiercely protective. Freed from the gloomy energy of the underworld (depression and sorrow) Scorpios are able to transform their destructive potential into fruitful industry and a deep understanding.
*See the Eighth House in recent AstroMythology post: “At Home in the Seventh House – Libra”.