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Musings on the Zodiac

Libra: The Archetype of the Romantic and the Claws of the Scorpion


Beautiful and courteous Libra ruled by compelling Venus with controlling Saturn as the exalted ruler. You are in love with the ideal of love. Perhaps you and your lover enjoy reading poetry aloud together or sitting on a hillside watching the sunset. All things beautiful attract you. A gracious host or hostess, your home is artfully and tastefully decorated, your garden bright with flowers of all colors and sweet-smelling delights. Adept at all the social graces, you are the perfect gentleman or lady. The style of the day attracts you and you usually try to dress accordingly. You strive for harmony and peace. You expect others to function in fair-minded ways. But when justice and harmony do not prevail, you might find yourself in an emotional tangle.


Sometimes known as the diplomat of the zodiac, you know how to listen well, to get in there with what people are feeling and thinking, and to perceive all sides of a story or issue. As a mediator you are able to refrain from judgement, merely observing and then reflecting back what you hear and observe. Using your negotiation expertise combined with your gentle nature, you guide others into satisfying compromises. Your skillful counsel allows individuals to feel good about themselves, and the process of giving a little and taking a little, ending up with a positive outcome.


Sweet and beautiful Venus combined with strict Saturn might seem like an odd combination, an oil and water sort of mix. Is it possible for love and discipline to function well together? Yes, if justice is the primary goal. Hard-minded Saturn and gracious Venus work together perfectly for a benevolent judge in a court of law or for a humane CEO. Call it disciplined love, or tough love. Yet, even with the help of hard-nosed Saturn, your soft-hearted Venusian nature tends to suffer over the ways your decisions might hurt or offend others.


If you are working under a boss who gets down on you on a regular basis with no apparent good reason, you will seek to change jobs rather than confront the issue. In the face of personal disharmony of any sort you become deeply distraught. You tend to get derailed when you fail in the attempt to maintain control and good will with those close to you. In controversy you would rather gently and gracefully move aside rather than confront a problem face to face. On the other hand, you might end up in endless verbal battles with your beloved or your children. Those dreadful "he said" "she said" arguments that never lead anywhere.


Perhaps further investigation of the image of Libra's balance scales will shed light on your on-going inner stability dilemma. Libra is the only sign in the zodiac with a mechanical instrument as symbol. All the other zodiac images are humans, half-animals, or animals. All the signs have upsides and downsides, difficulties and gifts, light and shadowy natures, as does all of creation. Yet somehow Libra escapes, appearing to be the only sign in the zodiac that lacks a darker side. Yet, if you ponder it, it's simply not possible for a person to always be sweet.


As it turns out, there is a sinister element involved with Libra's mechanical balance scales image. Libra's scales of justice evolved out of the claws of Libra's next-door neighbor Scorpio. Though it might come as a huge surprise, the claws of the Scorpion was the original symbol for Libra. What does this mean for you and your essential nature? You who live with your Libra-ness know more than anyone that you are far more than a mechanical balance scale with an easy-going loveable nature.


Let's take a deeper look at this seeming conundrum. Somewhere along the line the Scorpion's claws idea for Libra was left behind in favor of a man-made balance scale. (I don't believe anyone knows for sure how that happened, but it could have been accomplished in the name of progress and civilization). But let's bring those claws back into the Libra picture as a way get at the root of your more difficult nature. What is it that you are hiding under your usual comportment of beauty and grace? A story might help illuminate at least part of the picture. In Greek mythology Orion is known as a talented hunter. One day he boasts that he can kill all the wild animals on Earth—no problem. When Earth Goddess Gaia gets wind of his plan, she rises up in fury. She's in a rage over Orion standing there all puffed up, intending violence to Earth's creatures. Gaia calls upon the Scorpion to stop Orion. With his mighty claws the Scorpion takes care of Orion—for good.


In the face of Orion's ill-conceived plan, we could say that the claws of Scorpio were used to mete out a Libra-style justice in whole other way. Definitely not through gentle negotiation. And the Scorpion forever watches over the potentially destructive deeds of Orion, as those two constellations can be seen with the Scorpion always following Orion around the heavens. Out of fear of another attack from the hidden realms of Scorpio, Orion watches his p's and q's. He'd probably rather deal with the mechanical balance scales.


So, you see you do have a dark side in your beautiful Libra essence. It's always valuable to remember that out of darkness comes the light. Dark is beneficial (not easy for Libra to accept). Dark usually precedes regeneration or rebirth. The claws of the Scorpion hides in the shadows, lying in wait underneath your civilized man-made scales of justice. When you are deeply out of balance, most probably the claws of Scorpio are calling on you to look within, way down inside, and to see what needs changing. Most probably your fury which you usually vent in private, or else it rattles around inside your mind, arises out of feelings of injustice. No doubt. Perhaps out of this underworld aspect of your nature—the no-nonsense claws of the Scorpion—you might come to terms with what it is that causes you to become so very unbalanced. Through the underworld powers of the dreaded and beautifully transformational Scorpion, you might find the strength to look inside yourself, and come to know what is really troubling you. To see well what aspect of yourself is trying to transform. Your saturnine inner wisdom coupled with your gracious Venusian nature gives you the same kind of clarity as a benevolent judge in a court of law. Now you can use this gift to stand outside yourself and view well and act upon the message the claws of Scorpion delivers.


We seem to have left behind the Archetype of the Romantic. But any true romantic will love to see justice prevail. During the Romantic era, justice was often sorted out by means of a sword fight or joust. And any good story has a dark and a light side. The story of Tristan and Isolde lives deeply in the hearts of all romantics. (Over the centuries many versions of the tale have been told and retold.) During the time of Tristan and Isolde, about the same time as King Arthur and his knights, all manner of feuds broke out in Medieval England, battles between the lords and kings of the various territories and islands, each one seeking dominance over the other. Each one fighting for alliances, too. All of the nuances of Libra discussed above are vividly remembered in the tragic story of Tristan and his Isolde (to be continued). 

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