Scorpions - Animals

The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z for the Entire Magical World - Judika Illes 2005


Scorpions’ profound association with witchcraft and magic is reflected in the astrological sign of Scorpio, the sign with dominion over magic, death, and sex. Scorpio rules the reproductive organs.

Astrological associations of scorpions with sex, death, birth, and rebirth derive from ancient Egyptian mythology. The Egyptians both feared and venerated scorpions. The power to harm is the power to heal and vice versa. Scorpions were potentially deadly, as were scorpion deities, who were worthy of fear and respect but also invoked for protection against scorpions and other deadly dangers. Scorpion-power may be understood as witchcraft; the ability to channel potentially dangerous energy positively or negatively as desired, and especially the ability to heal and over-ride damage caused by others—spiritual and magical poisons as well as physical ones.

Scorpion goddess Serket (also spelled Selket or Serqet) is among the Egyptian deities most associated with magic and witchcraft. Serket is usually depicted as a beautiful woman wearing a scorpion on her head (she also manifests in crocodile, cobra, and lion form). Serket travels in Isis’ entourage. She is a protective spirit who is among the four primary deities (alongside Neith, Isis and her sister Nephthys) guarding entombed coffins. Serket’s title “Mistress of the Beautiful House” is a euphemistic expression for that ancient funeral parlor, the embalming pavilion. Serket is invoked in many spells to protect and heal poisonous bites. She served as matron of those practitioners of magical medicine who specialized in such cases.

The scorpion-girls who serve as Isis’ escorts when she is in hiding with baby Horus may be understood as witches. When the Egyptian culture-hero Horus grows up, he married one of them.

Scorpions in Chinese magic are symbolic of great harm and danger, as well as of the power and ability to counteract them.

The mating habits of scorpions are similar to those of spiders, their relatives. The male scorpion is smaller than the female. Sex begins with a copulation dance, tails entwined. At the conclusion of the act, the male, who apparently knows what’s coming, usually tries to escape; the female, for her part, tries to devour him as her post-coital snack. (She’s allegedly successful only 10 percent of the time.)

Scorpions have a long pregnancy even by human standards: a year and a half before delivery. A long-lived species (15—25 years) scorpions don’t reach sexual maturity until they hit the magic number seven. Scorpions are fierce, devoted mothers; after the birth, baby scorpions stay safe by riding on their mother’s back for two to six weeks.