Written by 9:29 am Astrology, Glyphs and Myths, The Zodiac

The Scorpio themes in John Milton’s Paradise Lost

How the antagonist in John Milton’s epic poem aligns with the astrological archetype of water sign …

Characters from literature can reveal insights about the astrological planets and signs.

John Milton’s Paradise Lost, which reimagines the story of Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden, and the concept of humanity’s fall, is laden with religious, mythological, and yes, astrological symbolism. The epic poem’s main antagonist, Satan, is a character who typifies the astrological archetype of Scorpio. 

Proud, Vengeful, Deceptive, Transformative, and Manipulative, Satan was a heavenly being who sought the highest seat in heaven, but was eventually cast down to the underworld. He is likewise an example of the negative expression of Scorpionic energies. (The famous line, “I’d rather reign in hell than serve in heaven,” is very Scorpio, as it is alive with pride, which is a basic characteristic of the fixed water sign.) In many ways, Satan is Scorpio’s shadow.

Pluto, the heavy-hitting outer planet of destruction, annihilation, and regeneration, is Scorpio’s ruler. In Roman mythology, Pluto ruled Hell, the subterranean hot spot for all the dead, sorrowful, sinful, dark, and spiritually lost. (Sounds like the Scorpio-ruled 8th House, doesn’t it?) 

Similarly, Satan, who is cast out of heaven for his disobedience, falls to Hell (Pluto’s domain), where he encounters the baddest, creepiest, and crawliest monsters of the dark who quickly join his ranks to interfere with humanity. But why does Satan hate humanity so much? Because they’re blissfully ignorant and blissfully happy, and God loves them more than him. 

Sadly, this is an aspect of the fixed water sign we read about all too often. Scorpio is often prone to jealousies, envy, fury, wrath, and all other intense — and negative — emotions, which are often provoked by feelings of lack. As a water sign (water being the astrological element of emotions), Scorpio feels — a lot — but they also seek emotional security, the equal exchange of psychological and spiritual resources between themselves and others they trust.

Still, the water sign’s fixed modality can sometimes interfere with Scorpio’s ability to let things go. These are traits we see in Paradise Lost, as Satan stops at nothing to bring ruin to Adam & Eve. 

Still, Paradise Lost also reveals to us the potential of fixed water sign Scorpio. Remember: before he fell, Satan was God’s favorite, most luminescent, and promising angel. Before he was Satan, he was Lucifer, the “light bringer”. Like all the other signs, Scorpio has a choice between good (lightness) and evil (darkness).

Indeed, “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven…” (Milton, Paradise Lost).

Featured Image: Paradise Lost illustration by Gustav Dore.