Nearly everyone knows a little something about astrology — even if it’s only where to find the daily horoscope section in the local newspaper. Whether you truly believe the stars control your destiny, think it’s all bunk, or just like to have fun with it, the 12 signs of the zodiac are part of our cultural heritage. Over the next year, the Farmers’ Almanac will introduce you to the facts and mythology behind each constellation in the traditional Western zodiac. This month, Scorpio.
Scorpio, also known as Scorpius, is the eighth constellation of the zodiac. Its name is the Latin word meaning “scorpion.”
The astrological symbol for Scorpio is ♏, and the constellation sits in the sky between Libra to the west and Saggitarius to the east. Other nearby constellations include Ophiuchus, Lupus, Norma, Ara, and Corona Australis.
Scorpio is an exceptionally dramatic constellation containing several bright stars, including Antares, Graffias, Dschubba, Sargas, Shaula, Jabbah, Girtab, Iclil, Alniyat, Alniyat, and Lesath. Scorpio also contains several Messier Objects, bright deep sky objects identified primarily by French astronomer Charles Messier during the 18th Century, including M6, also known as the Butterfly Cluster, M7, the Ptolemy Cluster, and two globular clusters, M4 and M80.
Scorpio appears in many Greek myths, nearly always causing the downfall of Orion, the hunter. According to one of the most popular versions of the tale, Artemis, the goddess of the hunt, grew angry with Orion when he boasted that he could kill every animal on the Earth. Artemis sent a scorpion to punish Orion for his pride, and though Orion fought bravely, the scorpion eventually bested the hunter. In memory of their epic struggle, and as a caution to mortals against excessive pride, both Orion and the scorpion were immortalized in the heavens for all to see.
Astrologically, the Sun resides in the house of Scorpio from October 23 to November 21 each year. People born during this period have Scorpio as their Sun sign. Proponents of astrological determinism believe that people born under the same Sun sign share certain character traits. Scorpio people are most often described as intense, passionate, observant, dynamic, determined, intuitive, powerful, and magnetic.