Scorpio New Moon: Transformation is Hell

Posted & filed under New Moon, Scorpio.

When astrologers speak of Scorpio, we’re obliged to use certain keywords—words like intensity, passion, sexuality, and above all, transformation. It’s the law. But here’s a secret: I’ve been practicing astrology since 1991, and I have never, not once, had a client ask me to tell them about transformation. Not even a Scorpio.

Yet transformation is what brings most people to an astrologer, because that is one painful process. And pain–painful romantic yearning, painful breakups, painful loss–gets your attention.

“I’m not afraid of being dead,” some people say, “But I’m afraid of dying. I don’t want to suffer.” Whether it’s dying, grieving, or just getting over some painful setbacks, we’d prefer to expedite the process of transformation. We like the idea of being stronger, wiser, and most of all, pain free. But the part where you actually have to go through the process that makes you that way? Not so much.

Presumably it was the same when you were being born. Being unceremoniously expelled from your dark, protective cocoon was not a comfortable experience. Suddenly there was a lot of squeezing and the next thing you knew, there were bright lights and screaming. There you were, in a new place. And I’ll bet you were afraid. So I can imagine our disembodied selves on the other side looking down at the process of birth and musing, “Well, I don’t mind being alive so much, but I’m really afraid of being born.”

Humans are wary of change, and we seldom embrace it with enthusiasm. Rather, transformation is usually the consolation prize for having survived some godawful trek across a barren, lifeless landscape. We may refer to these journeys as “opportunities for personal growth.” But most tales of rising like a phoenix from the ashes begin with a rather ghastly prelude, including unpleasantness like failed marriages, bankruptcy, or life-threatening illnesses. We may accept on some abstract level that we have to be tested in order to grow stronger, but in our heart of hearts, we’d rather let that cup pass away from us, thanks very much.

Years ago, at another Scorpio New Moon, I shared the story of a neighbor who’d recently lost his wife when the two were involved in a tragic accident. I’m glad to report that he eventually made it home after a lengthy rehabilitation, in a wheelchair and with some speech problems, but sharp as a tack and with an amazing spirit. His life was “transformed” all right; and while he’s clearly happy to be alive, and no doubt has achieved all kinds of amazing insights and strength, it seems inadequate–bordering on insulting–to refer to what happened to him as a “journey of personal growth.” The only way we can honor those who’ve survived something horrendous is to call it what it is: hell. And it’s okay to be afraid of journeys that include layovers in hell. Every single time I walk by my neighbor’s house, I feel the shadowy paw of fate trace a half-circle around the back of my neck. “Want some transformation, little girl?” fate croons.

No. No, I don’t. The truth is that like most people–like you, maybe–I’m afraid of death and loss and illness and suffering. I don’t want to lose my loved ones. I don’t want to be disabled or killed in an accident, assaulted or robbed, or any of the other dreadful things that happen to people every day. Frankly, I’d rather be weak forever than to face those things.

We don’t get much of a choice, though, do we? Not even nature itself is immune from death. In autumn, the world around us is a pastiche of leaves falling from trees, and the last sad remnants of summer produce withering in the garden. Like Persephone abducted and dragged, kicking and screaming, into the underworld, nature’s lush beauty moves underground for the winter. There will be new planting in early spring, and the rain will bring new life to our gardens. But meanwhile, nature calls a time out to replenish its resources. Worms make compost of summer’s leftovers. The soil rests.

Your life has seasons, too. Everyone welcomes life’s springs and summers, the weddings, births, and graduations. And all of us dread the autumns and winters—the seasons of pain and loss. They come to each of us, and there’s no way to adequately prepare for them. But each year, during the season of the Sun’s passage through Scorpio, we’re called to the ritual altar of transformation. We enact mock trials of horror, donning scary Halloween costumes and enduring the most gristly horror movies we can find. We think about death and remember the dead. We rehearse terror and fear.

These are the seasons, too, that remind us of life’s precious and temporal qualities. When we pass our neighbor’s house on our evening walk, my husband and I squeeze each other’s hands in gratitude for each other. When we’re ready to throttle family members, we remember how much it hurt to lose the ones that are no longer with us, and the urge passes. Just as Scorpio’s trials give way to the Sagittarius season of thanksgiving, our grief, sorrow, and loss till and enrich the soil of our hearts… and eventually, when the seasons change, let us transform autumn’s decay into spring’s bounty.

© 2010, 2017 April Elliott Kent

lunar-workbookWhen will the Moon change signs, become void-of-course, and go through its major phases this month? Sign up for my mailing list and receive my FREE workbook “Working with the Moon” – a new workbook at each New Moon!

17 Responses to “Scorpio New Moon: Transformation is Hell”

  1. Jackie

    Really appreciate this post. The last two years have been filled with losses and just the day before yesterday I held my old cat Rosy in my arms as she passed away. Her body will enrich the soil, her memory enriches my heart as does the memory of others. But it is good to look at the blue sky and feel the sun and yes feel the gratitude for the life that remains. I try to hold them in balance, the memories of the past and the life I am living which vie for my attention but currently memory wins. I guess this is like Persephone while she sits in the underworld surrounded by the dead. We perhaps need this time of remembrance before we can re-emerge into the sunshine again.

  2. Mary

    Thank you so much. I needed this! A recent cross-country move for my husband’s job plunged me into the whirlpool of transformation as Saturn conjoined my IC and Chiron returned to its spot on my natal Descendant. I often referred to Kubler-Ross’s process of grieving as I worked my way through the past five months. When Jupiter entered Scorpio recently, I had a distinct moment of clarity in which I realized “I am not who I was before.” I don’t know if I will even like who I am now, but dang it I am still here.

  3. Lynne

    Just when I was about to stop receiving your emails, I read this one and totally connected with it. A very clever piece of lovely comforting writing in a shitty world. Thank you and glad to feel you back in our world again. I reckon you have been working too hard young lady.! Best Wishes to you, as always.

  4. Stella

    Excellent writing and daring to go there bare face and all!
    Very Scorpionic thank you April for capturing this so well.

  5. Kathleen A Crochet-Stursa

    This was very insightful and useful for me. Thanks
    PS the art is lovely! where did you find it? Or is it yours?

  6. Sarah

    I have had four deaths in a little over a month and half three in one week
    Fall this year has been hard two friends two family being a Virgo with Aquarius
    It drain the crap out of you the need to help kicks in and you move forward and do but then when it over is the time you have nothing left to give I try and remember that its a gift to have been with them when the passed and you pull from the inside that you know they are in a much better place then we are and then you understand more .
    does that make scence

    • Stella

      Sarah, Deepest commiserations for this painful period. Our loved ones pass
      into spirit and are ever near to us as the strong bond of love never dies!
      Sending you healing and big hugs💜💜

  7. Sara

    Dear April,
    That was a great essay – I snorted when I read the line: “Frankly, I’d rather be weak forever than to face those things.” Indeed I am feeling very scorpionic this new moon, with dark thoughts, and realisations re an issue of boundaries in a long term relationship. My tactic of giving plenty of space and time to sort out your shit has waned to pondering much more heavy handed options. I don’t think of myself as scorpionic – I have a Taurus heavy chart – but my north node and Uranus is in Scorpio, and they feel totally activated.

  8. Ieneke van Houten

    Thank you, that was lovely. I am totally fed up with New Age Panglossian platitudes. Even in a gentle, mainly drama-free life like mine the sheer passage of time creates plenty of painful opportunity for growth. Beloved parents die. Time rips the babies out of our arms as cruelly as a kidnapper. Age turns the husband into a shell of himself in extended care. Beloved places have to be let go, and that is before we become totally decrepit ourselves. Ef you, Scorpio.

  9. Heidi

    Once again, an honest and well written essay. I also love the line Sarah referred to above. Couldn’t have said it better myself. After I had lost my father and had been going through some other family trauma, I spoke to an older friend who is in her 60’s and involved in the church and various other spiritual pursuits. She had lost both of her parents within a year in her 30’s and it sent her into a depression. She found her way out through god and therapy. In one of our conversations, I said “I guess into each life some rain must fall.” She said, “Oh please, I don’t want to hear that s**t.” Gotta love it.

  10. Jo

    Scorpio is on the cusp of my tenth house and all my tenth house is ruled by Scorpio. I have been trying and challenged deeply for the past seven years in this area of my life. Despite knowing about Scorpio and that Pluto rules this house the penny just didnt drop until I read ‘When astrologers speak of Scorpio, we’re obliged to use certain keywords—words like intensity, passion, sexuality, and above all, transformation’. Its been a huge transformative process. Im suddenly starting to have realisations and understanding about this.Thank you April. Patience is an effing virtue!!

  11. Karen

    April, this essay was so meaningful to me. I am,have been and will be in an enormous transit of Pluto to the majority of planets ,in a T square in my natal chart. This feels like Hell for sure! I will be grateful when I reach the waning side of this transit! Happy Thanksgiving

  12. Ieneke van Houten

    I always try to wring the greatest amount of learning out of the smallest amount of pain possible. In bodywork too, the motto is “no pain, no pain!” It just occurred to me that astrologically the conjunction of Mercury, Jupiter and Pluto in Leo might have something to do with that. Isn’t it fascinating that we keep finding new correlations between stars and self, after living with the chart in our head for a Saturn cycle and a half?


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)

You can use these tags in your comment: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>