The Scorpion

What have you longed for, and been denied? What have you denied yourself–and who inside you sets itself against you? Is your longing entirely illuminated, or are there parts of its form that fall into shadow?

If are denied something we want, or even better, something we believe we need, we have some choices. They may be only available to us unconsciously, but they are there. We can return the desire to the darkness of the earth: we can bury it, and hope it doesn’t sprout somewhere else. We can try to transmute the desire into something else, something that will get around the prohibition, and hopefully satisfy our want or need sideways. We can hold the desire inside, perhaps in some kind of temporary detention center in our heart, and reassert it at another time, hoping that the agency responsible for the prohibition has changed somehow. We can hold that desire inside, buried or uncovered, and hope it dies. It certainly might.

What if none of those seem reasonable? Or better–what if none of those appeal? Well then. We might consider theft.

Theft, the dark delight; secret rebellion, and secret pleasures. The realm of the Scorpion.

Some things we can learn to live without. Some things we can shed. But some desires, no matter how irrational they seem, just won’t go away. What if, in these hidden, forbidden needs, there was a path towards growth? What do we do? When we yearn for an experience hidden beneath the waves of years, such as an attachment experience different than that which we were given, we may just find ourselves at the entrance to the dark wood, contemplating the dangers of the path of the thief.  If it is a desire that has burrowed into our heart, burning, we will have to step into the darkness to move towards it.

Isn’t it exciting? We risk drawing the attention of dark guardians in here, things who, like the Scorpion, “are nocturnal hungers and fierce opponents,” a creature who “seizes and tears apart or crushes its prey, and then sucks the body juices.” Should we be here, shadowstepping towards our forbidden desires? Probably not. Certainly not. But now that we are… imagine the treasure we might find. Flecks of gold glittering in velvet folds of black. This Scorpion’s desert may be sharp, and poised to pounce, but we might just be able to think and feel as it does, and make our way around it as it sleeps.

As parents, if we can recognize the Scorpion in ourselves, we might be a little more understanding of our adolescent children as they try out its costume for themselves when confronted by a barrier to their new and secret desires. And with that understanding, we might be a little more successful in our attempts to guard and guide them. As individuating adults, we must develop respect for the Scorpion, for it is “essential to the mysteries of death and rebirth, letting go and becoming,” to the ongoing work of becoming more and more fully ourselves.

Where do you see the Scorpion in your life, or in life around you?

* * * * *

quotes from The book of symbols, reflections on archetypal images. Editor in chief Ami Ronnberg. New York: Taschen GMbh, 2010.


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