Scorpio Animal Totems and Archetypes

While Leo only has one major animal totem, I have spotted numerous animals for Scorpio over the years I have been working with them, so am having to prune the list here.  The Sun enters Scorpio at 17.47 Hrs on Friday 23rd October.  This is the sixth in the series where I look at some of the animal totems and Archetypes for the various signs. Despite the fact that many of the following veer towards the shadow side of (human) nature, Scorpio remains my favourite Sun sign! Do you, or someone close to you, have Sun, Ascendant or Moon in Scorpio?


Scorpions throughout various ancient cultures have had a reputation for death and destruction, let alone the sting.  I have known evolved Scorpios who were born without the sting, so look out for this new breed!

I offer you my story for the Scorpio Inner Child:

Once upon a time there was a baby Scorpion in the desert searching for water.  She had a very magnetic, deep-set, penetrating gaze and a capacity for intense concentration.  For this task, she also had a great deal of energy and an extremely strong will, capable of taking on great challenges.  She was also powerfully in tune with the guiding forces and angels of the desert, not to mention the angels of the water element (the undines), and there was a sure sense of knowing, within her being, that one day she would find water.  She climbed pyramids, she burrowed down into ravines, but still she had not reached the end of her quest.  Just as she was getting to the end of her tether, she managed to borrow some water from a passing camel to refresh herself.  But being a profound thinker, she realized that this was only a temporary solution.  One winter, she saw three wise men passing on their way to Bethlehem.  She asked them their names, making casual conversation, concealing the true nature of her quest.  One of them, named Melchior, was very astute, and gave her a present, asking her not to unwrap it until Christmas Day.  As it was a few days off, the anticipation was almost unbearable, but she’d waited this long for a breakthrough, and the Scorpion had a long fuse…at last the great day came, and she unwrapped a beautiful amethyst-studded water-divining rod…From that day, the fortunes of the Scorpion went from strength to strength as she realized that she would always have everything or be given everything that she needed.


The snake also does not have a good press!  In Christianity of course it symbolizes the cunning evil lurking in the Garden of Eden.  It is associated with stealth, and like the Scorpion, with poison.  Like Pluto, the ruling planet of Scorpio, there is a potential with this animal totem for transformation, and the cycle of death and rebirth.  Even the shedding of its skin has symbolic meaning.


Cobra takes the snake wisdom to a powerful new level, adding extra danger, and the strength of the life force or kundalini.  It represents the actual process of spiritual awakening.


That staple totem of Halloween, the Bat, is another “dark” animal.  Here is a poem by Jamie Sams and David Carson from their “Medicine Cards”:

“Sacred Bat…flew to me,

From the darkness of the cave.

Womb-like reflections,

Answers it gave.

Birth, death, rebirth,

Cycles of the whole…


Just eclipsed,

The journey of the soul.”

As you can see, similar themes arise.  Nicholas J. Saunders in “Animal Spirits” brings out another skill: “They ‘see’ by echo location, sending out high-frequency clicks in a form of pulsed sonar which evolved millions of years before 1930s scientists hit upon the secrets of radar.”  I wonder if humans can develop this.

Big Cats


These large cats with black pigmentation seem to carry Scorpio associations, with different qualities according to different sources.  If Puma comes up in your meditations or dreams, it is about owning your own power.

Ted Andrews in “Animal Speak” advises: “The cougar can teach you how to bring out your power and fill your heart with it in a manner that will enable you to take charge of your life.”

Secretiveness, stealth and courage are also represented by these animals.  Of Panther, Ted Andrews writes: “Those who have a panther as a totem will find their greatest power in silence as goals are pursued.  Revealing too much or speaking too much about pursuits can counteract some of the effectiveness.”  Scorpios, more than other signs, tend to reserve their power.

Bird Totems


The jet black Raven has long represented a messenger of difficult news.  As with many deep psychological processes, there is enlightenment at the end of the tunnel.

Nicky Scully in “The Golden Cauldron” points out a constructive path with this bird totem:

“As an ally, Raven is especially beneficial for those who have had difficult childhoods, for he is able to get into the dark places where fear and tension lurk, break them down, and help to get rid of them.  He can find the hidden places of physical and emotional abuse, and lighten things up to prepare the way for healing.  Raven helps people reclaim the joy that was once theirs or that they missed.”


The vulture is important in certain ancient cultures in association with burial customs, e.g. the sky burial in Tibetan culture, and in Zoroastrianism the “tower of silence”.

Ted Andrews informs us of an unusual phenomenon associated with the Vulture totem:

“It is not unusual for those with a vulture totem to have changes in their own digestive system occur.  Foods that used to be enjoyed and have no side effects may become less compatible.  On the other hand foods always thought of as incompatible may become compatible.”


The black widow spider, the death watch beetle, and the indestructible cockroach all have resonance to Scorpio.

Mythological Figures


The bird of Greek Mythology, the Phoenix, rises from the ashes in an act of transformation.  This is also the process associated with Pluto, the ruler of Scorpio. When people have Pluto on the Ascendant, there can be many occasions in their life when they reinvent themselves.  A transit of Pluto to the Ascendant or a personal planet can have a similar result.  Like a tree that is cut down, a person can re-emerge with greater strength than ever.


If you know anyone who is a collector of dragon figurines, you can bet they have Scorpio prominent in their chart!  The fiery dragon is one of the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac, and is the equivalent of Scorpio.  Some of the Chinese animals correlate, but the animal which comes after the dragon is the Snake, also a Scorpio totem, so exact parallels cannot be drawn.  The Tiger (correlating to Gemini) comes after the Ox (Taurus) so parts of the circle do flow together.  Then after the Snake (Scorpio) you have the Horse which is Sagittarius, and then the Goat which is Capricorn…

The character given for the dragon in China is described by Nicholas Saunders as follows: “Chinese beliefs held the dragon to be a symbol of supreme spirituality and the image of the divine power of transformation…the dragon is the first of the Four Auspicious Animals or animals of good omen.”  If you have the dragon as your Chinese sign, you are a born leader, powerful and lucky.  At last some good press!



The Detective Archetype is well suited to Scorpio because of its love of mysteries and crime fiction, and the forensic mind exemplified where someone has Mercury in Scorpio particularly.  Where someone has say several planets in Scorpio in the 12th House you may suspect they have the Detective Archetype, or even its relative the Spy Archetype.  It’s fun to conjecture…The Observer this morning has an interesting piece on our fascination with espionage in history and culture.

Femme Fatale

Whereas Libra is the Lover, the Scorpio magnetism and art of seduction can sometimes be misused.  Caroline Myss says of this Archetype: “Highlights the erotic energy of the feminine.  Opens your heart when your dependency is rejected”, for its Light Attribute.


Scorpio is traditionally able to use resources cast off by others, e.g. material resources and money (e.g. in banking and insurance) or literally energies.  It is associated with hypnotism, both in the positive and the negative applications.  It recycles energy, and therefore can be associated with psychic draining if it is not in balance or equal exchange.  There is also the association with the vampire bat, and its fangs (back to images of Halloween…).  Every Archetype has a positive side, remember!  In spiritual healing, one province of Scorpio, there is the capacity to remove unwanted energies.

On the positive side, I believe this ability to transform energy is often constructively used, for example in regression or hypnotherapy.  Two practitioners who spring to mind are Brian Weiss (born 6th November) a doctor who has written many books on regression and one on future life progression, and hypnotist Paul McKenna (born 8th November) whose best sellers include “I can make you Sleep”/lose weight etc.

Religious Figure


In the Hindu religion, Shiva is one of the trinity with Vishnu and Brahma.  It is the province of Shiva to destroy what is not needed, so that a sense of purity remains in what is left.  Visually, he is often portrayed slaying demons.  He is associated with limitlessness, and as the Destroyer he destroys what is limiting us.

Mantra: “Om Namaha Shivai”

In conclusion, I would like to salute the Scorpios.  It is good to build up our light quotient, but someone has to engage with the darkness in our society in order for humanity to evolve.  It is often the Scorpios that do not shy away from that; they rarely take the easy route.  The Virgos, Cancerians and Pisceans are the carers of our society, and often do encounter the sadness and grief of hospitals and hospices, or the therapy room.  But Scorpios are often right on the coal face of the struggle between darkness and light, working with the dregs of society and the disenfranchised, in social work and prisons.  Even when not engaged in such work, the Scorpio tends to confront life rather than to avoid it or rise above it.


“Medicine Cards” by Jamie Sams and David Carson

 “Archetype Cards” by Caroline Myss

 “Animal Speak” by Ted Andrews

“Animal Spirits” by Nicholas J. Saunders

The Golden Cauldron” by Nicky Scully


All the action takes place on Thursday and Friday this week.  If you are pushed for time today, you might like to revisit this blog on Thursday, and play it by ear early in the week.  Take time out to enjoy the lack of planetary pulls in any direction…

The first aspect, on the evening of Thursday (22nd), is a challenging one: that of Mercury square Pluto.  So the mental focus is on all those courageous qualities of Scorpio enumerated under the list of totems.  In fact, pick a totem from the above – you may be able to use one.

Conversations on Thursday may be mind-blowing, or give you such food for thought that mental digestion requires extra time and space.  Eat lightly.  Sleep may be elusive, so try not to have too much sensory input in the evening, e.g. cut down on your television viewing.  Question Time might be all right, but don’t bother watching This Week afterwards…Collect yourself, and find your sanity.

Clear the mental level on Thursday night, and Friday rewards us with a trine between Venus and Pluto.  Once the mental stuff has been digested, the rich feelings (Venus) can come through and find life’s meaning (Pluto).

Breakfast on Friday morning will be an entirely different scenario: appreciation of life, gratitude, and admiration.  Pile the blueberries on your porridge! You may feel the need to reach out to someone with an early morning text.  If you’ve got artistic or musical projects going on, tackle them with an early start and they should blossom.

During the day, Chiron opposes Mars and you may encounter an energy crisis of some sort, perhaps hampering your plans in the middle of the day.  Someone in the office may endure a paper cut, and make a fuss.  The resolution of any crisis may involve energy balancing, within oneself, or between people.  Perhaps you are meeting strangers for the first time and need time to adjust to their energies.

The Sun is leaving reasonable Libra, and in the late afternoon/early evening enters Scorpio, and you may feel the deepening challenges of the approach of winter.  What to do about Halloween?  What do I really think about fireworks? Such stress, as the Sun’s energy intensifies.

But we are coming of age…we have played in the Sun in August, knuckled down to work schedules in September, sought harmony in art and music in October, and now it is time to look at life as it truly is, without evasion and denial, grasp its meaning, and maybe make a stand on what you believe in.  Love the Scorpio you’re with.

The week in bullet points:

  • Thursday – challenging ideas
  • Friday – beautiful music, energy crisis, the meaning of life