We’re now in Scorpio season, and this zodiac sign is associated with the Death card in Tarot—how could it be otherwise? Here in the Northern Hemisphere, fall has arrived: the trees are shedding their leaves, the air is cool, harvest is collected or it rots. A fixed sign, Scorpio stabilizes the season of autumn that Libra establishes. We are solidly in fall, and fall to me means a lot of shedding.
As soon as the sun enters Scorpio, it will be ruled by Mars, which right now is retrograde in Aries. This even further emphasizes the Death energy that we’re moving through—the release, the cutting off, and the transformations. Mars (also Scorpios ruling planet) retrograde in Aries is a challenging transit.
In its diurnal home sign, Mars wants to move quickly, but alas, no planet that’s retrograde has that luxury. All retrogrades are about reviewing, reassessing, and eventually restarting. Often, retrogrades bring up issues that we think we’re over—people we “don’t have feelings for anymore” or old habits that we imagined we were done with for good—but unfortunately aren’t. There is still processing to be done.
The sun in Scorpio this season supports Mars’ overall mission, in its retrograde period, to help us see with clarity what needs to be released so that we can move forward.
And we don’t get to know what we’re moving forward to. We just don’t get to know.
The not-knowing is really the only thing that’s difficult about the Death card. In the Hanged Man, the Major Arcana card that precedes Death, we do the work of looking. We’re actively seeking to understand and analyze what’s working, what’s not working, what we’d like to take with us and what we’d like to leave behind.
By the time Death rolls around, we’re already seeing clearly, and from this place of clarity, everything that needs to go begins to fall away. That doesn’t mean that being in the energy of the Death card isn’t painful, because it is. Loss is inevitably painful, even loss of something that has harmed us. But there isn’t a lot of active work. It’s more of a passive release, and having the resilience to resist clinging, which itself is an action, to resist returning to circumstances that create conditions unfavorable to our growth, healing and truth.