Scorpio 1: First decan of Scorpio, Five of Cups

Now we have entered spooky Scorpio season, the days growing shorter and darker here in the Northern hemisphere. For me, the first frost that occurs here in this decan is always a bit of a disappointment, but so it goes. The tarot Five of Cups is called the Lord of Disappointment, also known as Loss in Pleasure – retitled simply “Disappointment” in the Thoth deck.

Magical image of the decan per 777: A man with a lance in his right hand, in his left a human head

Eek! But I get it – the lance is one of the magical weapons of Mars, and the head is the part of the body ruled by Aries, the other Mars-ruled sign. (Mars rules Aries diurnally and Scorpio nocturnally). This card is TRIPLY Mars influenced, for the ruler of Scorpio is Mars, the ruler of this particular decan is also Mars, and the Fives correspond to the fifth sephira Geburah, also Mars ruled. Mars is hot and fiery, yet Scorpio is watery and dark. Thus the figure here is shown drifting down a river very reminiscent of one of the five (yes, five!) rivers of Hades, a very Scorpionic place!

The five rivers of the Greek Underworld realm of Hades are:

  • Styx, sometimes called the River of Hatred, is the well known river that Charon ferries the souls of the dead across, and the “dread river” upon which oaths are sworn
  • Acheron, the River of Woe/Misery, (whose name means “lacking in joy”)
  • Cocytus, the River of Wailing/Lamentation
  • Lethe, the River of Forgetfulness/Oblivion
  • Phlegethon, the River of Fire/Burning

Probably not where you want to vacation! Pretty sure the river in this card is Phlegethon, with all that fiery Mars stuff going on. I’ve made the head a skull, appropriate for the decan that contains All Hallows Eve. Austin Coppock calls this decan “the jawbone”, for the hungry nature of the martial influence. Both Scorpio and Mars are all about desire. This unfulfilled desire is echoed by the deity assigned in 36 Airs of the Zodiac, the Nymphai, sirens known to lure men to destruction.

In this case, the man laments the three spilled cups before him, though he still retains two.

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