Scorpio often gets a bad rap in modern astrology for being particularly lustful. To be fair, connections between Venus and Mars in ancient astrology were associated with abundant lust, so from Venus in a sign of Mars, such as Scorpio, a case might be made for an augmented sex drive. However, it is worth noting that in Hellenistic astrology there was a particular set of signs identified as being more lustful than others, and Scorpio was not one of them. In this post, I’ll be briefly discussing which signs these were and how they were used to indicate “wanton” or “deviant” sexual behavior.
The Lustful Signs
Aries, Taurus, and Capricorn appear consistently in the lists of such signs, and together with Pisces in the early list of Dorotheus (1st Century CE). Leo pops up in the list of Rhetorius (6th-7th Century CE), as well as Libra noted to a lesser extent, due to its strong relationship with Capricorn. This is summarized in the table below, which also includes the list of al-Qabisi (the Persians appear to have been heavily influenced by Dorotheus and Rhetorius).
First, it should be noted that many ancient authors delineate sexuality and discuss wanton sexuality without any reference to this set of signs. Even in those authors that use these signs, they are discussed among many other indicators. In short, you cannot delineate the extent of a person’s lust or how wanton their sexual behavior is from placements in these signs alone. However, these would be the signs that are traditionally more intense or at variance from the norm in their sexual expression.
The placement of Venus in one of these signs is particularly important. Dorotheus looked specifically at the placement of Venus in one of these signs (as it would indicate scandal if she were also under the beams and with or dominated by malefics, i.e. a more lustful Venus + hidden + strongly influenced toward difficulties = sexual scandal).
Rhetorius gave two different lists of such signs but did not delineate their use at that place in his work. In preceding chapters pertaining to lechery he seemed most interested in placements of the Ascendant and Venus though (in certain degrees and decans respectively). In Chapter 116 on “Lechery”, Rhetorius did use the lecherous signs explicitly though. He directed us to look at placement in such signs of the ruler of the Ascendant, ruler of the Lot of Fortune (Lot of the Moon), and ruler of the Lot of Daemon/Spirit (Lot of the Sun) – apparently all three in lecherous signs indicates a lecherous person. In a sense this pertains to the rulers of the most personal point (the Ascendant) and the most personal Lots (those of the Lights), so we get the sense that Rhetorius finds it important when the person (personal points) is directed (ruler) toward signs indicative of lustful behavior.
Umar al-Tabari (8th Century CE) also used the signs abounding in lust in his discussion of sexuality (Three Books on Nativities, II, Ch. 5). He seems to think Venus is important, personal significators are important, and points pertaining to relationships are all important in this. For instance, he directed that if signs abounding in lust hold many of the following: Venus, the Sun, Lot of Marriage (Saturn to Venus from Asc for men, Venus to Saturn from Asc for women), many personal significators, and Lord of the 7th, then the person will be very sexually active and along particularly unsavory dimensions.