Scorpius (♏, and Latin for scorpion) is one of the constellations of the zodiac. In western astrology it is known as "Scorpio". It lies between Libra to the west and Sagittarius to the east. It is a large constellation located in the southern hemisphere near the center of the Milky Way.
Scorpio resembles quite noticeably a scorpion's tail, and a vague body. According to Greek mythology, it corresponds to the scorpion which was sent by Gaia (or possibly the goddess Hera) to kill the hunter Orion, the scorpion rising out of the ground at the goddess' command to attack. Although the scorpion and Orion appear together in this myth, the constellation of Orion is almost opposite to Scorpius in the night sky. It has been suggested that this was a divine precaution to forestall the heavenly continuation of the feud.
In many versions, however, Apollo sent the scorpion after Orion, having grown jealous of Artemis' attentions to the man. Later, to apologize for killing her friend, Apollo then helped Artemis hang Orion's image in the night sky. However, the scorpion was also placed up there, and every time it appears on the horizon, Orion starts to sink into the other side of the sky, still running from the attacker.
Scorpius also appears in one version of the fable of Phaethon, a foolish mortal who obtained permission to drive the Apollo's sun-chariot for a day. The horses, already out of control in their sky journey became scared when they encountered the great celestial scorpion with its sting raised to strike, and the inexperienced boy lost control of the chariot, as the sun wildly went about the sky (this is said to have formed the constellation Eridanus). Finally, Jupiter struck him down with a thunderbolt to stop the rampage.
The Chinese included these stars in the Azure Dragon, a powerful but benevolent creature whose rising heralded spring.
The astrological sign Scorpio (October 23 - November 21) is associated with the constellation. In some cosmologies, Scorpio is associated with the classical element Water, and thus called a Water Sign (with Cancer and Pisces). It is also one of the four Fixed signs (along with Taurus, Leo, and Aquarius). Its polar opposite is Taurus. Its ruling planet is Pluto (prior to Pluto's discovery, Mars was considered Scorpio's ruling planet). Each astrological sign is assigned a part of the body, viewed as the seat of its power. Scorpio rules the genitals. The symbol for Scorpio is the scorpion. The qualities of Scorpio include: a lifelong fascination with sex, birth, and death, an extremely focused nature, penetrative insight, a strong sense of privacy, and an ability to subtly affect others in profound (often sexual) ways.
- Wikipedia (2005). Scorpio (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scorpio). Retrieved March 1, 2005