We're continuing our exploration of Scorpio, the 'season' of year which we now find ourselves finishing up this week. Scorpio represents the period during which the life force in nature moves underground to prepare for the coming winter. The sap in the trees drops to the roots, the squirrels have gathered their nuts, the serpents and rodents burrow into the ground below the frost line in preparation for the long, cold months which lie ahead. Astrologically, Scorpio is said to deal with sex, death and the occult; it's those things which are hidden away which we can no longer see. In the body, it represents the 'organs of reproduction' which are hidden from public display, while on the spiritual side, it is when spirit sheds the body and returns to the source from whence we all derive.
As a fixed water sign, Scorpio deals with intense and powerful emotions. Death, loss and destruction can be embodied in its manifestations. The anguish, pain and grief which run in this dark signs' wake sweeps those to depths they have never before experienced. These dark waters are primordial. As human emotions, Scorpio either commands respect through the sheer force of their power, or sulks away in bitterness and scorn.
If our hypothesis that the Iliad was a working text describing astrological content is correct, then Chapter VIII of this work should correspond to the eighth sign of the zodiac, Scorpio.
One interesting construct in the Iliad is the way Homer depicts the astrological theme at the start of each of the chapters. The Underworld, known to the Greeks as Tartaros, is conjured and the stage is set. In this mode, it is Zeus who commands obedience from the sometimes unruly gods.
"'Listen to me immortals, every one,
Scorpio does not fool around. In an image that derives at least as far back as the Egyptians, the scales of death are called upon to see what fate decrees for the waring troops, Zeus lifts the balance:
"Therein two destinies of death's long gain he set
The images of death abound throughout the chapter. Naturally, there is the fighting:
"When the two masses met on the battle line
Even Athena is swept up in the mood of vengence and revenge, emphasizing this Scorpionic theme by doubling it. Referring to Hektor, she spits out this threat:
"Death twice over to this Trojan!
One of the chief themes described in this chapter is the mood of Scorpio. As our opening example showed, these folk can be emotionally forceful, shoving their point home so that none can miss their meaning. It can leave nothing to say. Replaying the lines,
"They were all awed and silent
The Scorpionic reaction to this raw expression of force is often a stunned silence. What can you say? Without having your head taken off, that is. This theme is played out again later in the chapter as we witness the mood of the two goddesses, Hera and Athena, who are not at all happy with what Zeus has decreed:
"Alone, apart, sat Hera and Athena
Finally, the taunts which Diomedes and Hektor throw back and forth at each other round out the chapter, with death threats being liberally applied, as one would expect in the heat of battle, but which permeates this eighth chapter of Homer's epic poem.