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The Eagle and Scorpio

Hopi Eagle Kachina, carver Rousseau Roy

One of several traditional symbolic associations surrounding the Zodiac sign of Scorpio is that of the majestic and powerful eagle. Why Scorpio is the only Zodiac sign traditionally associated with more than one symbol, I'm clueless.

A Symbolic Look at the Eagle
(some of the following is based on information gleened from descriptions on by the Native American "Medicine Cards Deck")

For many Native American Indians, the majestic eagle reflects the power of their all powerful Great Spirit and that of humanity's connection to the Divine. She reflects the unique ability to live within the realm of the spirit, and yet remain connected and balanced within realm of the earth.

The Native American Indian concept of balancing spirit with matter (holding the tension of the opposites) is an archetypal (universal) theme that has repeatedly reverberated throughout the vast halls of human history.

Experiencing The Fullness Of Life
Among virtually all of the many Native American Indian tribes, the feathers of the eagle are considered to be among the most sacred of all healing tools. It's said that the eagle represents a state of wholeness achieved through hard work, understanding, and a completion of the tests of initiation.

Applying this to Scorpio, it's only through the trial of experiencing the extreme lows in life, as well as the extreme highs, and through the trial of trusting one's connection to the Great Spirit, that the right to use the essence of Eagle medicine is earned.

The eagle is able to soar high above the earth and, thereby, sees the broader tapestry of life.

As a living and powerful archetypal symbol of Scorpio, the eagle is a vivid reminder for Scorpio to take heart and gather courage in their fierce battle of personal fears. The image of the eagle teaches Scorpio to broaden their personal sense of self, and the eagle encourages Scorpio to go beyond the limited horizon of what is visible from the ground.

What Are the Odds
Need I say - that not all (or many) Sun Sign Scorpios are able to fully, faithfully, and consistently access this noble and healing energy of the archetypal eagle?

In fact, having my own Sun in the sign of Scorpio, I suppose I have to grudgingly admit that if you've ever been on the receiving end of a typically Eagle type Scorpio during a brief and/or momentary "lapse"... then it's probably easy to feel that the archetypal concept of a healing Eagle Scorpio is little more than wishful thinking...

It's not...

Interjecting a Short Mind Numbing History Lesson
Yep! Regarding Scorpio's historical associations with the symbolism of the eagle, it's virtually impossible to authoritatively say how far back in time this connection between Scorpio and the eagle goes... those writing about the association tend to glibly state that it goes back to "antiquity" and then quickly move on to greener pastures...

For example, Rabbi Joel C Dobin, DD in his otherwise fascinating, scintillating, and wonderful book, Kabblistic Astrology, simply informs the reader that in ancient times, Scorpios were (personality-wise) depicted as being either eagles or serpents.

If I had any good sense at all, I'd simply quote the esteemed Rabbi and then quickly move on.

Chances are that you'd happily "buy it" and be more than satisfied.

Ezekiel's Wheel Within the Middle of the Wheel (circa 593 BC)
Granted, this is just my best (wild) guess... but Rabbi Dobin was likely in part referring to the well known vision of 6th century BC Old Testament prophet Ezekiel - the "wheel within the wheel":

"As I looked, a stormy wind came out of the north: a great cloud with brightness around it and fire flashing forth continually, and in the middle of the fire, something like gleaming amber. In the middle of it was something like four living creatures. This was their appearance: they were of human form. Each had four faces, and each of them had four wings... As for the appearance of their faces: the four had the face of a human being, the face of a lion on the right side, the face of an ox on the left side, and the face of an eagle...

As I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the earth beside the living creatures, one for each of the four of them. As for the appearance of the wheels and their construction: their appearance was like the gleaming of beryl; and the four had the same form, their construction being something like a wheel within a wheel. When they moved, they moved in any of the four directions without veering as they moved.

Their rims were tall and awesome, for the rims of all four were full of eyes all round. When the living creatures moved, the wheels moved beside them; and when the living creatures rose from the earth, the wheels rose. Wherever the spirit would go, they went, and the wheels rose along with them; for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. When they moved, the others moved; when they stopped, the others stopped; and when they rose from the earth, the wheels rose along with them; for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. (Ezekiel 1:4-10, 15-21)

Jewish rabbinical scholars have historically tended to interpret Ezekiel's wheels in a grand cosmological sense, with certain rabbinical traditions teaching that Ezekiel was referring to the wheel of the Zodiac.

The four astrological elements of the Zodiac form a cross represented by the four creatures: Lion (Leo - fire), Eagle (Scorpio - water), Man (Aquarius - air), and Ox (Taurus - earth).

Several modern Old Testament scholars having a Christian orientation however believe that the referrals to the Ezekiel wheels were much later insertion into the text. This (mistaken) conjecture is in part because the wheels appeared to smack of the much later cosmology of the Greeks.

However, what these modern Old Testament Christian scholars didn't appear to take into consideration was that Ezekiel had his vision while living in Babylonian exile. The Babylonians (and the Hebrews' cosmology influenced by the Babylonians) already, by the time of Ezekiel, had a fairly well developed Zodiacal cosmology. It was in no way necessary that the writer be influenced by later Greek thought.

I should note that many UFO fans believe that Ezekiel's "wheel within a wheel" vision was actually a UFO sighting. I'm not a pro-UFOer for explaining way supernatural events and/or experiences... but even if it were a UFO sighting, then Ezekiel would have been using images to describe it with which he was familiar.

You say you can't buy into that 6th century BC connection?

St. Irenaeus
If you can't buy into that version, then the connection of Scorpio with the eagle at least has roots going back to the late 2nd century AD when St. Irenaeus (circa 120-202 AD) first associated the four living creatures found in Ezekiel (see above) and the Book of Revelation — a man, a lion, an ox and an eagle — to the fourfold Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

"Around the throne, and on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with a face like a human face, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and inside. Day and night without ceasing they sing, 'Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God the Almighty, who was and is and is to come.'" (Revelation 4:6-8)

As pointed out at Sacred Destinations (great catch on their part): Other early Christian theologians making this early association included St Jerome (circa 347-420 AD) and St Augustine of Hippo (circa 354-430 AD). However, all three writers applied the symbols to different evangelists, based on their various interpretations and rationales.

St Jerome's version, however, was the version to finally stick: Matthew (man), Mark (lion), Luke (ox), and John (eagle).

Very early Christian art (9th century AD depicted here) shows this continuing association of St John and his unique Gospel with the eagle, symbolizing the spiritual heights to which St John rises in his Gospel. St Matthew (man - top left), St Mark (lion - top right), St Luke (ox - bottom left), and St John (eagle - bottom right).

A man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle... do you perhaps perceive a potential pattern appearing at this point?

 

Best Educated Guess
This is just my best educated guess... but it's likely that, at some point in time, astrologers (many of which throughout the past 2,000 years have themselves been Christian and Christian priests) naturally appropriated the rich symbolism of Ezekiel, John's Book of Revelation, and early New Testament teachings.

Notice here in this traditional Renaissance Tarot of Marseilles Trump card of "The World" that the four astrological elements are depicted. They are represented by the four fixed Zodiac signs: Leo - fire (bottom right), Scorpio - water (top right), Aquarius - air (top left), and Taurus - earth (bottom left).

All of my talk about Ezekiel, subsequent rabbinical traditions within Judaism, and the early New Testament writers makes more than a few folks a wee bit nervous.

I suppose it's in part because so much of modern day fundamentalist evangelical Christianity's stance is (putting it mildly) deeply critical of astrology.

Frankly, as a lifelong Christian... I refuse to give Jesus and Christianity over to the inbred ignorant beliefs of modern day "johnny-come-lately" fundamentalist evangelical Christian adherents. (Did I just come out sounding a wee bit bitter and angry?)

End of the boring history lesson...

Footnote: Being as I do receive the occasional testy email on this subject... and due to my apparently being the only game in town, I in 20/20 hindsight profusely apologize and beg your forbearance for not having done a more proficent job of keeping up with and documenting the sparse and scattered sources of my long ago studies on this matter.

At the time of my own personal research, I didn't anticipate attempting to educate anyone, other than myself, on the subject. If I could have pointed to a better documented source on the relatively obscure matter, I would have gladly done so in the article. There is none. And so you're stuck with me...

Eagle in Flight Drum - Taos Pueblo Medicine Man and drum maker Vernon Brown and Dr Z

The Eagle

"He clasps the crag with crooked hands; Close to the sun in lonely lands, Ringed with the azure world, he stands.

"The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls; He watches from his mountain walls, And like a thunderbolt he falls."

Tennyson (Mars, Uranus, Vertex conjunction in Scorpio in the 5th house)

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