The History of Scorpio the Scorpion
In Greek mythology, Scorpio was responsible for killing Orion. The two constellations were then placed almost 180° from each other to avoid further trouble. Scorpio is a true winter constellation for its southern hemisphere observers and contains some of the most spectacular deep sky objects like star clusters and nebulae, many of them easily visible through binoculars.
At the heart of the Scorpion lies the star Antares – meaning “anti-Mars”, so called because you can easily confuse this reddish star with the planet Mars which is currently situated just beneath the constellation, fortunately shining much brighter than Antares. Antares, a red supergiant, is 520 light-years away from us and is 9,000 times more luminous than our Sun! It is not very dense however and has a mass of only 10 to 15 times that of the Sun.
This scorpion figure appeared in Babylon at least 1,000 years before he finally took his place in the Egyptian Zodiacs, which were created in the ancient cities of Denderah and Esna, as the image we know today. In the first century BC, several astrological myths suggested that the original scorpion be connected with Orion. A Greek giant, hunter and the handsomest man alive, he was by no means impervious to female charms. It was said that his stature was so enormous that he could walk on the bottom of the sea without getting his head wet.
Eos, the goddess of dawn, an inveterate collector of handsome young men, invited him to bed; he happily accepted the invitation. However, Orion bragged of the conquest and boasted that he was so great a hunter that he would exterminate all of the wild beasts. The God Apollo, responsible for guarding herds, therefore persuaded Gaia, the Earth goddess, to send a giant scorpion with impenetrable armour to sting him to death.
Some variations of this myth say that it succeeded, others say that Orion tried to escape by swimming out to sea only to be accidentally shot by Artemis, the goddess of the hunt and Apollo’s sister. Artemis, who unsurprisingly, was very attracted to Orion, had fired her arrow in an attempt to kill the scorpion that was attacking Orion. Being a magnificent shot, she struck the black head that she saw bobbing in the water with her first arrow.
Tragically, however, her target turned out to be Orion’s head rather than the scorpion and the hunter died instantly.
According to this later version of the story, the grief stricken Artemis then placed Orion as a constellation among the stars where he is eternally pursued by the giant scorpion. The constellation of Orion incidentally, sets in the sky just as the constellation of Scorpio rises. Scorpio is a zodiac constellation playing important role in European and Chinese astrology.
- Personality Traits – Do you have the classic personality of a Scorpio?
- Compatibility – Which other star signs have the personality to make the perfect match to Scorpio?
- Relationships – Do you suffer the emotional complexities and compatibility issues of love relationships that are typical among Scorpios?