33. Scor’pi’o-the villain of the zodiac

Written by probationideadlyi on February 24th, 2013. Posted in Constellations Legends

There is a place above where Scorpio bent,
In tail and arms surrounds a vast extent.
In a wide circuit of the heavens he shines,
And fills the place of two celestial signs.
Ovid


The Scorpion

This is the famous Scorpion which sprang out of the earth at the command of Juno, and stung Orion, the mighty hunter, of which wound he died.
It has been suggested that the inventors of the constellations might have placed the Scorpion in this region of the zodiac to denote that when the sun enters this sign, the diseases incident to the fruit season would prevail, since autumn, which abounded in fruit, often brought with it a great variety of diseases, and might be thus fitly represented by that venomous creature the Scorpion, who, as he
recedes, wounds with a sting in his tail.

However, there seems a deeper significance for the name and position of this constellation, which Maunder points out. At midnight at the spring equinox, the Scorpion was for the ancients who designed the star groups on the meridian in the south, and the Dragon was in like manner on the meridian in the north, so they provided another hero, the Serpent Holder, to trample down the Scorpion in the south, just as Hercules treads on the Serpent in the north, the heads of the two heroes being represented by stars in the zenith. Both the unknown warriors therefore were pictured in those primitive ideas as erect, but for many generations Hercules has appeared to us hanging downwards in the sky.

There can be little doubt that these four figures are connected, and they are so arranged that whichever way we view the heavens, facing the meridian, we see a giant treading on a serpent.

The Serpent-Bearer presses down the head of the Scorpion at the point where the colure, the equator, and the ecliptic intersected. This is significant, and the arrangement of these constellations was unquestionably the result of a deliberate plan.

For some reason the equator, the colures, the zenith, and the Poles were all marked out by serpentine or draconic forms. In this case the Scorpion is clearly depicted as curling his sting upwards to wound the giant's heel.

We see again a seeming illustration of the Biblical utterances:
"I will put enmity between thee and the woman and between
thy seed and her seed. It shall bruise thy head and
thou shalt bruise his heel."

Scorpio is one of the most ancient of the constellations, originally much extended in the direction of Virgo, the claws of the Scorpion occupying the region of the sky where we now see the constellation Libra. In early times this sign was represented by various symbols, sometimes by a snake or crocodile, but most commonly as a Scorpion.

Brown tells us that the Scorpion, like the Crab, was originally a symbol of darkness, and the original strife between the Orion-Sun and the Scorpion Darkness. This is astronomically reduplicated in the constellations Orion and Scorpio, where the stars in the former group appear to be routed by the rising stars of the Scorpion. This symbolism seems to be the foundation for the Greek legends concerning the death of Orion occasioned by the Scorpion's sting.

As the Scorpion rises in the eastern sky, Orion, as if in fear, disappears from view in the west. The Scorpion had much to answer for, as, besides slaying the mighty hunter, he is said to have stung the horses Phaeton drove on his disastrous ride in the chariot of the sun.
On the early Euphratean monuments is found the figure of a lamp, below which and almost touching it appears a scorpion with large claws. The stars in the claws form a circular figure, and some authorities claim they represent the waning sun.
Aratos speaks of "the fiery sting of the huge portent Scorpio in the south wind's bosom."
Sir Wm. Drummond asserted that in the zodiac which the patriarch Abraham knew, Scorpio was the Eagle. 
There is a claim made, and it seems not improbable, that the figure of the Cherubim in its fourfold character appears in the constellations. It was described by Ezekiel as the likeness of four living creatures, the lion, the calf, the third creature having the face as of a man, the fourth like a flying eagle.

It is certainly significant and can hardly be a coincidence that we find such figures in the four most important positions in the sky. The constellations were originally so designed that the sun at the time of the summer solstice was in the middle of the constellation Leo, at the time of the spring equinox in the middle of Taurus, and at the time of the winter solstice in the middle of Aquarius.

The fourth point, that held by the sun at the autumnal equinox, would appear to have been already assigned to the foot of the Serpent-Bearer as he crushes down the serpent's head. Here we find the Scorpion, the very constellation that, according to Drummond, Abraham knew as the Eagle.
Some authorities claim that Aquila is the flying eagle, the semblance of the fourth face of the Cherubim, but in view of the fact that Antares, the brilliant first magnitude star in the Scorpion, is always known as one of the so-called four "Royal Stars," known as such from remote antiquity, there seems to be some ground for the argument that the constellation Scorpio was originally considered to represent the eagle.

Allen tells us that the Akkadians called this constellation "the Seizer" or "Stinger," and "the Place where One Bows Down." The Arabs, Persians, and Turks all regarded it as a Scorpion, while by the Mayas, an ancient race residing in Yucatan, it was regarded as "the sign of the Death god."

In the Hebrew zodiac, Scorpio is referred to the tribe of Dan, because it is written, "Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path." The Egyptians fixed the entrance of the sun into Scorpio as the commencement of the reign of Typhon, and when the sun was in this  sign the death of Osiris was lamented. Some commentators have located in this constellation the Biblical "Chambers of the South."
The Sccrpion is clearly indicated on the celebrated zodiac of Denderah, and the constellation has been likened to a cardinal's hat, and a kite. It certainly bears a striking resemblance to the latter.

Early Christians claimed that this figure represented the Apostle Bartholomew.
Scorpio was known to astrologers as "the accursed constellation," the baleful source of war and discord.

Like Aries it is the House of Mars and also his joy. Its natives, those born between the dates Oct. 23d and Nov.22d are said to be strong, corpulent, and robust, with large bones, dark curly hair, dark eyes, middle stature, dusky complexions.
They are usually reserved in speech. It governs the region of the groin, and reigns over Judcca, Norway, Barbary, Morocco, Messina, etc. It is a feminine sign and unfortunate.
The red carnation is the flower and the topaz the gem. 

The weather-wise thought that this constellation exerted a malignant influence, and was accompanied by storms, but the alchemists held Scorpio in high regard, for only when the sun was in this sign could the transmutation of iron into gold be performed.

Scorpio is in a region of the heavens famous for the appearance of Nova, the wonderful temporary stars that occasionally flash upon our view the light that spells a great conflagration or mighty cataclysm far out in space, the enormity of which is beyond our comprehension.
Alpha Scorpii is known as "Antares," from the Greek words ……. meaning "similar to" or "a rival of Mars," doubtless in reference to its reddish hue.

The ancient Hindus called the star "the ruddy."
The Arabs knew it as "the Scorpion's Heart," and even now it is often called "Cor Scorpii," the heart of the Scorpion.
The heart with lustre of amazing force Refulgent vibrates; faint the other parts, And ill-defined by stars of meaner note. Antares was one of the four "Royal Stars" of Persia, 3000 B.C. Chinese documents of great antiquity refer to Antares as "the Fire Star" or "Great Fire." It was also known as "the red or unlucky star." In central Asia it was known as "the Grave Digger of Caravans," because as long as the caravans observed its rising with Orion in the morning, robbers and death followed the stations.
Some of the ancient temples of Egypt were oriented to Antares, edifices that were built thousands of years before the Christian era, and Greek temples at Athens, Corinth, Delphi, and ^gina contain architectural features of a like nature, showing clearly that the star Antares played an important part in the temple worship.
On the Euphrates Antares was known as "the Lord of the Seed," "the Lusty King," "the Vermilion Star," and "the Day-Heaven-Bird." This latter title seems to confirm the idea that this constellation was originally intended to represent an eagle.
Jensen claims that Antares is the "Lance Star" referred to in the 38th chapter of the book of Job.
Mrs. Martin thus refers to the rising of this ruddy-hued sun: "Before one has really seen the star he becomes conscious of a ruddy glow low in the south-east that at once fastens the attention. It is the face of Antares whose red light shining through the heavy atmosphere is so diffused that it gives a rosy effect to the sky for a considerable distance around the star, like a miniature presentment of
the sun as it rises on a hazy morning."
Antares belongs to Secchi's third spectroscopic type of stars, the suns that are slowly growing cold as their fires burn low. Like huge embers they still glow with latent heat, like sullen demons doomed to death these flamescourged suns await the frigid touch that time bestows on life, be it on this mundane sphere or in the uttermost parts of the firmament.
Antares has a tiny emerald green companion which can be seen in a five-inch telesc'ope. Serviss, in his Pleasures of the Telescope, thus refers to it: "Antares carries concealed in its rays a green jewel which to the eye of the enthusiast in telescopic recreation appears more beautiful and inviting each time he penetrates to its hiding-place.
. . . When the air is steady and the companion can be well viewed, there is no finer sight among the double stars. The contrast in colours is beautifully distinct—firered and bright green. The little green star has been seen emerging from behind the moon ahead of its ruddy companion."
Two or three degrees north of Antares is the location of the discovery of Coddington's Comet C of 1898, the third comet to be discovered photographically.
Antares rises at sunset on the ist day of June, and culminates at 9 P.M. on July. 

The triple star … Scorpii is known as "Grafiaas," of unknown derivation. Allen points out that the Greek word Fpatl'aloi; signifies crab, and that the words for crab and scorpion were almost interchangeable in the early days.
This may possibly explain the origin of the title of this star. Timochares, it is said, observed an occultation of .. by the moon in the year 295 b.c.
The three stars in a line,….. Scorpii, seem to have attracted attention in all ages, much as the three stars in Orion's Belt are always associated together. The Hindus figured these stars as a Row or Ridge, and on the Euphrates this group represented the Tree of the Garden of Light, associated with the idea of the Tree of Life in the midst of the Garden of Eden, which has a special significance when it is recalled that Scorpio may be considered as representing one phase of the Cherubim which was set in the Garden of Eden.
X and u Scorpii are situated in the sting of the Scorpion, which appears to be raised and about to strike the heel of the Serpent-Bearer. The former was known as "Shaula," meaning the "Sting." This star was regarded as unlucky by the astrologers, u Scorpii was called "Lesuth." These stars were known as "the two releasers," their rising being supposed to bring relief to those suffering from lingering disease.
The row of stars from …to u Scorpii was known to the Polynesian islanders as "the Fishhook of Mani," with which that god drew up from the depths the great island Tongareva. They also regard……. as brother and sister, fleeing from home to the sky when ill treated by their parents, the stars X and u, who followed them, and are still in pursuit.
The Chinese knew X and u Scorpii as "the parts of a lock." Above these stars are two very fine star clusters visible to the naked eye, and beautiful objects even in an opera-glass. One of these was a great favourite with Sir Wm. Herschel, who discovered that it was a star cluster and not a circular nebula, as Messier had claimed. Herschel considered this cluster the richest mass of stars in the firmament.

How to remember Scorpius: In the northern midlatitudes, this constellation is on or near the southern horizon. However, it is a jewel and you will have no difficulties seeing the shape of the scorpion, from the lovely Antares in the head, to the tip of the stinger at the tail.


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