You lie in a sleeping bag stiff as a corpse. The desert sun swelters down on you, threatening to dry you to the bone. To keep you there. Yet you can't move. A scorpion, posed still on your stomach: one move and you die. Tension in your relationships. Grudges against coworkers. Yesterday those thoughts crowded your mind, but today, with that scorpion there, they seem as irrelevant as a faint star somewhere in a distant galaxy. With that scorpion, only the intensity of the present moment remains. Everything else— all pretense, all vanity, all ambition— is ripped away. The mind, bare, stands ready to live or die.

Should that scorpion crawl back off into the desert, maybe we can carry some of that intensity, that raw honesty, forward into our lives. Maybe we are less likely to get strung out over an irredeemable past and a chimerical future. Mars' endpoint here is to live with that kind of intensity. To burn away all pretense. To let nothing be hidden behind walls of fear: to make the unconscious conscious. The aim of the Scorpio Mars is to live every minute as if it were the last. Accepting one's sexuality, feeling one's own feelings, are elemental Scorpio strategies. To get past all the glamour girls and Marlboro men telling us to "do it." To silence all the preachers telling us "not to do it." To gracefully let one's sexuality be what it is. But sex is not the point. Feelings are the point: feelings that are often twisted by the alternately moralistic and hypersexualized conditioning we receive. Feelings that we must uncover if we are to live decisively in a world where everyone dies.

This placement of Mars is dignified: one's actions and decisions are well supported. That doesn't mean things are always easy, but in this Fixed sign, Mars gains the determination and persistence that is usually absent when Mars is in the other sign of its dignity, Aries. These natives hold an unrelenting drive. They are extremely self reliant, efficient, resourceful and self disciplined, but they are extremely uncompromising. They tend to go for all or nothing. Due to the aversion (lack of aspect - seeing) this Mars sign has to Aries, actions take on a secret and hidden quality. As a result, it is difficult to fathom their motives. And this placing, therefore, makes for those who are most formidable as enemies.

A guardian stands on the border separating the conscious mind from the unconscious. His function is to hold out of awareness any realization that might upset us or undercut our self-image. He is prudent. In the language of psychology that guard is labeled the "repressive mechanism." In Scorpio, this mechanism is defective. It works, but not well. Overwhelming emotions, disruptive thoughts, shocking interpretations of circumstance erupt into the mind. Strange as it may seem, that defective repressive mechanism is this sign's prime resource. Without it, the brutally clear self-analysis so essential to the Scorpion's work would be impossible. An awareness of those shattering, sometimes life-warping feelings simply could not arise. Failure of the repressive mechanism fills the mind with emotion, turns it inward. Consciousness becomes unrelentingly honest with itself. Endlessly, it maps its own interior terrain, searching for lost nuances of awareness, seeking to pull away the veils behind which we hide the unthinkable.

No sign is so mercilessly introspective. The Scorpion's resource? A mind as sharp and silent as a stiletto, bent on tearing away every comforting lie, every soothing half-truth, every idyllic description of our phony lives. A mind utterly committed to knowing itself. Yet it cannot tear itself away from its depths. It broods. It mentally tape-records descriptions of impossible, irresolvable situations—and plays those tapes over and over again until awareness is devitalized and exhausted into a state of despair. Dark, brooding, treacherous, the Scorpio Mars who has taken that road lurks glumly in their own shadow, gnawed by devils they can never see, until death draws the curtains on their self absorption and despair.