Scorpion Symbolism & Spiritual Meanings Of Seeing A Scorpion

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scorpion meaning and symbolism

Due to the powerful scorpion sting, humans throughout history have considered these creatures to be symbols of death and evil.

However, scorpions, who are similar to spiders in that they are both arachnids, have existed for 435 million years! And out of the 2,500 species of scorpions that exist, roughly 25 (less than 1%) of them have venom that can kill a human.

Native to deserts, scorpions are found on every continent except Antarctica, and live in almost every kind of habitat. And aside from being known for its stinger and mating dance, scorpions are the symbol for the zodiac sign of Scorpio. Those with a Scorpio zodiac sign are born between November and to December 15.

Let's take a deeper look into scorpion symbolism, and what it means when this creature shows up in your life.

Scorpion Symbolism & Spiritual Meanings Of Scorpions

Scorpions are symbols of protection, transformation, independence, solitude, and intelligence. But scorpions are a symbol of death and rebirth, a symbol of power, and also represent lust, sex and fertility.

While, yes, some scorpions have venom that can kill humans, many cultures believed that scorpions could heal, helping a person start their life over when on the brink of death.

Because scorpions are known to use their stingers for both protection and hunting, and are usually on the defensive, they've come to represent the ability to safeguard oneself.

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Scorpion Encounters and Omens

If you explore deserts, and even mountains, caves and seashores, there's a possibility of encountering a scorpion. Though one should always keep their distance from wildlife, no matter how benevolent they may appear, scorpion encounters have a deeper meaning, depending on the culture.

Scorpions are viewed in both a negative and positive light. On one hand, coming into contact with one could symbolize transforming yourself by embracing your failures and finding your inner strengths.

But on the other hand, encountering scorpions could be associated with evil or the Devil; an evil being hiding in plain sight under the guise of something positive, who then uses their stinger.

Nevertheless, scorpions tend to be solitary and stay in their burrows, but you should still use caution.

What Different Color Scorpions Symbolize

Scorpions come in a variety of, but their markings depend on where they live. For example, scorpions who live in the desert tend to be lighter, like brown or orange, while scorpions in the forest are black.

Still, you might dream of scorpions in non-traditional colors, and there are spiritual meanings behind it.

White Scorpion Meaning

White scorpions are symbols of finding peace and reprieve after a period of uncertainty in life. On a similar note, a white scorpion also symbolizes that even though you're going through a rough period right now, there is hope in your future if you remain positive.

Yellow Scorpion Meaning

A yellow scorpion, known as the deathstalker, is the most deadly scorpion species in the world and, as such, dreaming of one carries a negative connotation. A yellow scorpion symbolizes evil, cynicism, and negativity, but is also a sign that you need to push forward to achieve the goals in your waking life.

Red Scorpion Meaning

Just like the color red symbolizes passion, strength and creativity, so does a red scorpion. A red scorpion dream relates to your personal passions and goals, as well as improving your romantic relationship.

Black Scorpion Meaning

While the color black symbolizes power and control, it also represents evil, darkness, and the unknown. A black scorpion tends to symbolize being aware of your surroundings so as to not be tricked by what is hidden from you, but could also mean the divine realm is stepping into your life sometime soon.

Brown Scorpion Meaning

Brown is a color that represents stability, wisdom, and the earth. With a brown scorpion, it's a message to remain grounded, be weary of people who hide secrets from you, and to pay attention to your sexual needs in your relationship.

Scorpion Symbolism in Dreams

No matter the circumstances of the dream you have, pay close attention to the way the dream makes you feel. Because that feeling will indicate the proper response in the waking world.

Dreaming of being stung by a scorpion

If you dream about a scorpion stinging you, it's not a good sign. In fact, a scorpion sting in a dream means you may have put your trust in people who will betray you.

Dreaming of killing a scorpion

Killing a scorpion in your dream means that you are overcoming toxic or negative situations and people in your waking life. You're on to the trickery of some individuals around you, and know that you must beat them at their own game.

Dreaming of a dead scorpion

A dream of a dead scorpion means you have the power to achieve your goals in the near future, bringing you joy and good fortune in the process. But be sure that you don't take advantage of that good luck.

Dreaming of eating a scorpion

Old myths and folklore say that dreaming of eating a scorpion is a good sign for your love life. However, this includes all types of love. And having that positive influence will change your life for the better.

Dreaming of a giant scorpion

A giant scorpion in your dream indicates that you need to be mindful of the decisions and choices you make in your waking life. It's a reminder that if you want a good outcome, don't just make choices haphazardly.

Dreaming of being attacked by a scorpion

When a scorpion attacks you in your dream, it's a sign of change or transformation in your future. Think of where you are now, and what part of your life demands an upgrade.

Dreaming of a scorpion in water

If you dream of a scorpion in water, it means that it's time to let go of your issues from the past and move forward. Accept your circumstances for what they are and find a way to move past the pain.

Scorpion Spirit or Totem Animal

A spirit animal is a spirit guide who teaches you lessons while ensuring you stay on the right path in life. A totem animal is a spirit guide, but differs from a totem animal; a totem animal is called upon when you need guidance.

Though you cannot choose your spirit animal, you'll know if a scorpion is your spirit animal if you resonate with this creature or have had a profound experience involving one.

Those with a scorpion spirit animal are survivors. No matter the circumstances, they overcome them, using their restraint and resilience to wait for the proper time to attack back.

A scorpion spirit animal is meant to teach you the importance of letting go of negative circumstances, embracing your transformation, and finding the perfect balance between solitude and sharing that joy with others. When this spirit animal appears, know that you're being guided towards protection, strength, and ease.

People with the scorpion totem animal are patient, intuitive, and protective of themselves and their loved ones. These individuals are cognizant that life and death are part of existence, and use it to their advantage to grow. Those with this spirit totem are helpers and healers.

When a scorpion totem appears, it brings with it a sign of transformation, helping you adjust to changes coming into your life, and reminding you that the ups and downs of life are all part of the cycle.

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Spiritual Meaning of Scorpions in Christianity and the Bible

In the Christian religion, scorpions are seen as symbols of evil and torture. The Bible also references scorpions multiple times, most notably in Revelation 9:3-5, which says:

"And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it was commanded by them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, nor any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.

And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented for five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them."

This passage refers to the power of the scorpion sting that leads to lasting pain and suffering for days, and the effect these creatures of the Devil have on those who do not follow the Lord.

Spiritual Meaning of Scorpions in Islam

For Muslims, scorpions are symbols of both evil and protectors, and are portrayed as a symbol of sexuality in folklore. Scorpions are often woven into carpets and portrayed in Islamic art, depicting the scorpion as the dervish having power over evil.

Spiritual Meaning of Scorpions in Buddhism

The Buddhist religion has a few folklore tales of the scorpion, portraying scorpions as both creatures who have it in their nature to sting to protect themselves, and as a mighty force.

In one tale, King Langdarma, a Tibetan Emperor who ruled from 838 to 841 CE, sought to suppress Buddhist teachings.

After summoning Nubchen Sangye Yeshe, a student of Guru Padmasambhava, and his disciples, Langdarma asked, “And what power do you have?” to which Nubchen replied, “Just observe the power I can manifest merely from the reciting of mantras!”

Nubchen then raised his right hand, making a tarjani-mudra gesture (where both index fingers meet). The sky then opened up, and Langdarma saw nine giant scorpions in the sky, each the size of a yak.

Scared, the Emperor promised he would not harm or exile the monks, after which Nubchen pointed to the sky with the gesture, and lightning struck a nearby boulder. Langdarma then swore, “I will not in any way harm you or your white-robed followers!” and released his prisoners.

Another folklore tale is called "The Monk and the Scorpion."

A monk was near a stream and saw a scorpion struggling to get out of the water. The monk scooped the scorpion up, which then stung him. The scorpion fell back into the water as the monk drew his hand back in pain.

Again, the monk scooped the scorpion out and was stung, repeating this a few more times. A young boy asked the monk why he kept saving the scorpion if he knew the scorpion would sting him. As the monk used a leaf to finally rescue the scorpion, he replied, “Dear boy, just as it is a scorpion’s nature to sting, and water’s nature to make things wet, so it is my nature — a Monk’s nature — to save.”

The moral of this tale is that you should remain true to who you are, and just because it is in a scorpion's nature to sting, that doesn't make the creature good or evil.

Spiritual Meaning of Scorpions in Hinduism

In Hinduism, there is a Scorpion goddess named Chelamma. Praying at her shrine is said to give protection from scorpion bites. There's also an ancient hundi, or collection box, in front of her shrine, where people have left gifts for the last 1,000 years, though it has never been opened.

Additionally, in Indian folklore, if a scorpion bites a person, it is said that they must call on Shiva, the Supreme God, to remove the poison and stinger.

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Scorpion Symbolism in Mythology and Folklore

Native American Scorpion Symbolism

In Native American culture, scorpions are symbols of change, danger and risk, and tribes have multiple folklore stories about these arachnids. The most popular tale is "The Scorpion and the Frog."

In the story, a scorpion wants to cross a river and asks a frog for a ride. (Other interpretations replace the frog with a turtle or fox.) Hesitating, the frog reveals that he is scared the scorpion will sting it, but the scorpion promises he won't sting, as that would cause the frog to die, leaving the scorpion to drown.

Using its persuasive ways, the scorpion convinces the frog to take it across the river. But halfway through the journey, the scorpion stings the frog, just as the frog had feared. As the frog dies, he asks why the scorpion stung it despite knowing they would both drown, to which the scorpion says, "I am sorry, but I couldn't resist the urge. It's simply in my nature."

Native Americans frequently used animal symbolism to explain to children the ways of the world. And in this tale, the moral is clear: you cannot change the true nature of people. Sometimes, people will hurt others, even when it negatively impacts them as well.

In addition to being used in folklore, scorpions were used in rituals and spells, with their poison being used as both medicine and as an antidote. Shamanic medicine was said to heal against other toxins, due to its psychedelic properties. The scorpion's poison was said to lead to an altered state of mind, which enabled people to be open to a higher state of consciousness.

African Scorpion Symbolism

In Africa and the West, scorpions were both feared and revered, often seen as symbols of power, guardianship, and the end of an argument, as well as evil and death due to its poison.

Black scorpions, specifically, were known to symbolize racial prejudice against Africans.

Ancient Greek Scorpion Symbolism

In Ancient Greek mythology, scorpions are related to Orion the hunter, a giant huntsman whom Zeus placed among the stars, ultimately turning into the Orion constellation.

As the myth goes, Orion would go on hunting trips with Artemis, goddess of the hunt, angering Apollo, Artemis's brother. In his anger, Apollo sent a scorpion to kill Orion.

A second version of the myth tells of Orion wanting to kill every animal on the planet, angering Gaia (Mother Earth), who sends the scorpion to kill Orion. A third version says that Artemis grew angry after Orion attempted to touch her veil, and sent a scorpion to mortally sting Orion on the heel.

Unable to hunt the scorpion, varying versions of the myth say either Artemis or Zeus placed Orion among the stars, where he could hunt (or be chased by) the scorpion for eternity.

Ancient Roman Scorpion Symbolism

In Ancient Rome, scorpions were heavily feared, and the image of a scorpion was depicted on the shields of the Imperial Roman Army, or the Praetorian Guard. One of the weapons of the Guard was also called Scorpion, a machine for the siege of cities.

Ancient Egyptian Scorpion Symbolism

Ancient Egyptians viewed scorpions as symbols of life and death, guardianship into the underworld, and the quality of control. The Egyptians worshiped a scorpion goddess named Serket, goddess of fertility, animals and medicine, who would heal venomous scorpion stings.

Serket was also said to take the form of a scorpion, and was sometimes depicted as having a woman's body and a scorpion's head. Because Serket was poisonous herself, she could neutralize stings of animals, including the scorpion.

Egyptians worshiped a second goddess, Hedetet, who had the head of a scorpion while nursing a baby. In later Egyptian history, she was merged into the goddess Isis. In one story, Isis travels with her child using seven scorpion deities to guard her.

Aside from representing goddesses, scorpions were said to be guardians to souls traveling to the other world, shown as protectors of the deceased's soul.

Around 3250 BC, a king called Scorpion ruled the South, and a few hundred years later, another King Scorpion ruled Upper Egypt. However, it is not known whether these two kings named Scorpion were the same person.

Celtic Scorpion Symbolism

For the Celts, scorpions were thought to have mystical powers, but were still considered evil, dangerous and poisonous. Scorpions were said to have powers relating to the underworld, due to their ability to live in crevices. Scorpions were also used in witchcraft and spells.

The Celts also believed that scorpions could sting itself, but an oil on the creature prevented the poison from spreading.

Far Eastern Scorpion Symbolism

Far Eastern countries view the scorpion as both evil and as a protector. In parts of Asia, scorpions have long been used in artwork, and some areas used a scorpion charm to protect against evil and illness.

In China, specifically, the scorpion is depicted alongside other deadly symbols, including the viper, toad, spider and centipede. Chinese families who have one son worship all five of these symbols to protect themselves.

Scorpion Tattoo Meaning

While people get tattoos for a variety of reasons, particularly to express themselves creatively, getting a scorpion tattoo has a very specific meaning.

A scorpion tattoo can symbolize a person coming out the other end of a transformation as a better person, or perhaps as a message that they have a stinger and will use it if need be.

However, a popular reason for getting a scorpion tattoo is if you belong to the Scorpio zodiac sign. Scorpios are passionate, brave, loyal and intuitive, and this tattoo is just one way for them to express their connection to their zodiac sign.

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Samantha Maffucci is an editor for YourTango who has written hundreds of articles about relationships, trending news and entertainment, numerology and astrology. Follow her on Twitter for more.