The Saurian Tail


April 29, 2018 at 5:29pm PDT / 11:29pm UT

Moon and Sun opposed at 09°38' Scorpio/Taurus

picIn just a few day's time, we'll arrive at the Scorpio Full Moon, the culmination/illumination point of the current lunar month. At the Scorpio Full Moon every year, we are meant to embark on a special sort of hero's journey: to dive down into the realm of darkness in order to retrieve some very odd riches, riches of a Scorpionic variety.

Vastly different from what we usually think of as treasure, Scorpio riches stem from the darker aspects of life that are very difficult to face. Taboo curiosities and desires, unexpressed anger, rage, and greed, and the many temptations and inclinations we don't want to admit, not even privately to ourselves, that lurk in our hearts — all of this belongs to Scorpio's dark, inner sanctum. No wonder the sign attracts such negative sentiment, for Scorpio does seem to carry this burden, this collective shadow material, and it permeates their very being, whether they are monsters or angels.

Unless Scorpio, its ruler Pluto, or Scorpio's Eighth house are prominent in your natal chart, it may be hard for you to understand why this entirely unpleasant process of facing darkness in ourselves and in the world we inhabit is so critical. Scorpio represents what is often considered distasteful, the almost universally unpopular act of NOT TURNING AWAY from life's ugly realities, refusing to participate in the quasi-mystical charade that some of us have evolved, risen above such darkness. Here on Planet Earth, on this plane of duality where dark is married to light, we are all grappling with what Jung famously called the "shadow." Denying darkness is the true source of evil, turning your face away from wickedness, in the world, in yourself, feeds, nurtures, and enables it. This, Scorpio knows instinctively down to her bones.


Taking it in its deepest sense, the shadow is the invisible saurian tail that man still drags behind him. Carefully amputated, it becomes the healing serpent of the mysteries.

— Jung, The Integration of the Personality (1939)

THIS HAS BEEN a particularly Plutonic cycle. Pluto squared the New Moon two weeks ago and set the tone for the entire lunar month, now culminating in a Pluto-ruled, Scorpio Full Moon with Pluto at station standstill. Turning retrograde four days ago, Pluto will still be fixed on the station degree, down to the minute of arc, 21°17' Capricorn, when the Moon is perfectly full this Sunday. Planets are especially powerful at station.

Adding to the unsettled undercurrents right now, Mars, Scorpio's traditional ruler — and potent planetary trigger — will be tightly conjoined Pluto, BOTH smack dab on Pluto's station degree, with the conjunction perfecting three days prior to the Full Moon (earlier today, as I post this). Not to mention, insurrectionist Uranus is within range of a combative square to this already volatile Mars-Pluto conjunction. One stiff planetary cocktail, my friends.

WHEN PLUTO IS ACTIVE, dark "stuff" is often churned up: struggles we would prefer to forget, or have forgotten, aspects of ourselves we deny, qualities we only see in others and tend to find repulsive and unacceptable. When the Lord of the Underworld, God of the Realm of the picDead is an active force as it is now, ancient wounds from the far murky past can re-emerge. Problems we thought we had resolved long ago can spring back, difficulties that tend to "snag us" return. Ancient struggles wind their way back through the long, dark labyrinth of our memory banks by intense, "reverse gravity" Pluto and break the surface of our lives.

Strange dreams may be intruding, disturbing your personal universe, revealing imbalances you need to address more honestly. With Pluto, the truth shall set you free, but first it will irritate, repulse, or scare the living daylights out of you. But Pluto is also, ironically, the God of Riches, and it is just this Plutonian raw material, if we are strong enough to mine it, that provides the very juices — vital energy and power — we need to propel us further and more deeply INTO life. Now's not the time to ignore what's coming up in life, especially the darker, more disturbing "stuff."

Pluto is the sleuth, the researcher, the Private Eye, and when in reflective, retrograde motion, the mystery of our own selves becomes the key area of investigation.Retrograde Pluto allows us to peer into our own depths so that we can achieve better self-control, better mastery over ourselves by releasing the "old ways" — bad attitudes, faulty thinking, defensiveness, and other counterproductive qualities. Pluto is the sleuth, the researcher, the Private Eye, and when in reflective, retrograde motion, the mystery of our own selves becomes the key area of investigation.

So emotionally-intense Scorpio, along with her modern ruler Pluto, represents an heroic journey into the realm of the shadow, the land of the dead, the dark halls of Hades; and each of us journeys here to retrieve something we cannot live a fully vital human life without — our soul in its entirety. This process is well represented in Scorpio's two rulers, whose purposes are conjoined in this sign: passionate, headstrong Mars and intense, chthonic, obsessive Pluto. For it takes courage to face your inner demons and dark urges, and to understand that you have something in common with that serial killer or rapist in the news, the American soldiers who participated in the torture of human beings at Abu Ghraib, or yes, even Donald Trump.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

3rd Century Ouroboros with the words: "The All is One."

Jung considered the ouroboros a basic mandala of alchemy and an archetype in its own right. In his Collected Works, he defined the relationship of the ouroboros to alchemy:

The alchemists, who in their own way knew more about the nature of the individuation process than we moderns do, expressed this paradox through the symbol of the Ouroboros, the snake that eats its own tail. The Ouroboros has been said to have a meaning of infinity or wholeness. In the age-old image of the Ouroboros lies the thought of devouring oneself and turning oneself into a circulatory process, for it was clear to the more astute alchemists that the prima materia of the art was man himself.

The Ouroboros, Jung goes on to say, symbolizes the integration and assimilation of the opposite, the shadow and a symbol of the never-ending cycles of life, death and transformation, thus also representing immortality. The Ouroboros consumes, fertilizes and gives birth to itself, and therefore it symbolizes the One, born from the clash of opposites.

The All is One.

The archetypal process the ouroboros represents — the integration of that "saurian tail" — is the Scorpio/Pluto process: so often misunderstood, it is so critical to understand. For this "integration of opposites" is not about condoning and tolerating negative actions, but owning and accepting that darkness exists, and in fact is nestled within our own hearts. The less we honestly face that, the more IT has US in its grip. As John Ruskin, Victorian-era (a time in human history when the shadow was dark and deep) art critic and social thinker noted: "All great and beautiful work comes from gazing without shrinking into darkness."

EVER VIGILANT, EAGLE-EYED SCORPIO functioning at its highest level helps us face this universal human weakness, dragging it out from the murky depths into the healing light of day for release and metamorphosis from malevolent to benevolent power.



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"The Industrialist" by illustrator Bill Mayer — is the artist's version of Eustace Tilley's famous New Yorker cover. Mayer writes, "I thought it would be funny to do a kind of dark industrialist." How perfect an image for Mars-Pluto (co-rulers of the Full Moon) conjunct in Capricorn?

Ouroboros painting, "Serpient Alquimica," is the work of Theodoros Pelecanos of Corfu, a 15th-century scribe; the ouroboros shown below this one is even older, the work of Cleopatra the Alchemist, 3rd century Egypt.

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