To have Scorpio rising (i.e. on the Ascendant) in one’s birth chart is an essential dilemma. Why is that?
The Rising Sign, or Ascendant, represents how you present yourself to the world. If you were a house, your Ascendant would be the front door. It’s like skin, because it is at once superficial (describing only a surface layer of your personality) yet crucial, (holding you together). Because the Ascendant is your interface with the world, it shows not only how you let others in, but also how you shut them out, i.e. how you hold your boundaries and defend your perimeter. It shows how you maintain a sense of self in a world that is constantly presenting you with foreign influences.
Scorpio is a water sign, and as a water sign, it poses certain challenges when it appears as the Ascendant in an individual’s chart. Water signs do not by nature have very good boundaries. Water flows into and around things, water connects but does not defend strongly. Water is sensitive and feels powerfully, thus is prone to being taken advantage of—and taking advantage too.
If you have Scorpio rising, there’s something you should know which you won’t find in astrology books (at least, I’ve never seen it in one), but which I’ve discovered in my twenty-eight years of involvement with astrology, and it is this: Scorpio is not really the tough-as-nails, James-Bond-like, crusty and pushy sign it’s said to be. No. Scorpio is sensitive, tender and feeling. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that Scorpio is the most tender and vulnerable sign in the entire zodiac (yes, moreso than Cancer). But if this is so, why don’t the astrology books say that? Because they write about Scorpio as experienced from the outside, by people encountering Scorpio in others. I’m talking about Scorpio as experienced from the inside; I’m talking about what it feels like to be Scorpio.
How do you think Scorpios became so tough and crusty and cynical to begin with? Because once they were little baby Scorpios and they quickly discovered that the world was too much for them. They felt everything so intensely and were so passionately drawn into life and love and pleasure and pain that they had to build walls in order to become a person at all instead of a bundle of passions, tossed like a tiny boat at sea.
Every adult Scorpio should take a moment to congratulate himself for building those walls, for creating those boundaries, for becoming a person. Then, he needs to begin the work of dismantling them. Why? Because creating boundaries is only the beginning of the life-work of Scorpio, and because the Scorpionic crusty exterior repels the very thing Scorpio longs for the most. Scorpio’s fondest dream is to be intimately related to the world, to themselves, and to at least one special other. Intimacy is the most powerful need Scorpio has. But intimacy requires vulnerability. To really connect with another human being, you have to be willing to get hurt.
As a human being matures, she gains emotional skills and learns how to be vulnerable and open to life’s experiences, feeling them without being hurt by them and thus experiencing them more fully. A truly mature Scorpio rising person has learned to be soft and emotionally available without feeling raw and unprotected, and to connect without behaving like either a victim or a victimizer. With the development of emotionally intelligent, permeable boundaries, the crusty walls can come down without a loss of selfhood, making intimacy possible.
Intimacy is not the same as symbiosis, a state where one being has taken over and contains the other. Intimacy is a state of closeness between two independent individuals, a state entered into by choice. For Scorpio, life is empty without intimacy, but with intimacy, life is interesting, absorbing and compelling. Intimacy provides a fit stage upon which a Scorpio rising person’s rich inner life, with all its color and feeling, may unfold. To gain access to true intimacy, not symbiosis, you must learn to possess yourself and not others.
A self-possessed Scorpio rising individual is the most attractive person imaginable. Any Scorpio riser who does the work of forming healthy (not reactive) boundaries, will become positively irresistible. I guarantee it.
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