Getting to know Scorpio

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Happy birthday, Scorpios!

When we talk about astrology and say things like, "My boss is a Scorpio," we're talking about the position of the sun on that person's birthday. The Scorpio season in the astrological zodiac began Monday (Oct. 23) and will last through Nov. 22.

But it's worth noting that the sun's transit through the actual constellation of Scorpius is far shorter than its monthlong transit through the astrological sign of Scorpio.

The sun will pass in front of the constellation - one of 88 across the entire celestial sphere - for only one week, from about Nov. 23 to 29. The sun is moving through the Libra constellation for practically all of the astrological Scorpio season.

Though there are many versions, the mythology of Scorpio (Scorpius) could not be more relevant in today's world.

One story goes that Orion, the masculine and mortal hunter, had a lot of hubris - like lots of men. He boasted he could kill any animal in the world. Gaia, the personification of the earth, heard of his unsportsmanlike idea of "hunting," which hinged on wanton destruction of the natural world for his sense of power. She was not too amused, so she sent a scorpion to meet the hunter. The scorpion killed him in short order, and both were placed in the heavens, Orion forever running from his arachnid slayer.

Today, the unrestrained pillaging of the natural world and human communities is our boastful, ignorant Orion. Impacts of human-caused climate change so forcefully rip at the seams of society, from phenomenally destructive wildfires and hurricanes to the loss of land and communities to the rising ocean. And with the rising awareness of and drive to end gendered violence, the story of Scorpio is aspirational.

Its mythology - it seems from today's challenges - is one of intersectional feminism rooted in understanding, reverence and defense of the earth. And it's here to smash the patriarchy.

With more than 20 species of scorpions in New Mexico, a state rife with the legacy of colonialism and extractive industries, it's a story we can ecologically call our own.

As far as the constellation Scorpius is concerned, it's big, ancient and fabulous. It is one of the oldest recognized constellations. Sitting near the Milky Way, Scorpius is full of deep-space curiosities. According to the Massachusetts-based Chandra X-ray Center, the constellation contains a binary star system ("V745 Sco"), where the smaller of the two siphons off gas from the other, which occasionally causes huge explosions. Scientists got to look at one in 2014 and created the first 3-D model of interstellar explosions. The constellation also claims the fastest winds ever recorded around a stellar-mass black hole: "about 20 million miles per hour, or about 3 percent the speed of light."

In astrology, Scorpio is a fixed water sign, meaning those with strong Scorpio placements in their natal charts are deeply emotional and relatively stable and steady. But like the animal, Scorpio is piercing, fierce and unapologetic in its critique and actions. Scorpio will get what is due and keeps tabs on what literal and metaphorical bills are outstanding.

Jupiter, the planet of magnification and generosity, will spend the next year transiting through Scorpio. That means we'll all have to get in touch with our arachnid energy or, like Orion, be its victim.

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