Scorpio is a fixed water sign ruled by Mars, god of war. This sign of the zodiac is most commonly represented by the scorpion: a predatory, venomous creature built to survive in extremely tough terrain.
While Mars’ other sign of Aries is embodied by the brash soldier ready for battle, Scorpio is better represented by the ninja, sniper, and assassin. Scorpio operates via distance, knowledge, and stealth. They seek a higher vantage point from which to survey their environment, but also where they can’t be seen. This is their position of power.
People with prominent Scorpio placements are familiar with the dark side of humanity. Scorpios are all too aware that the world is not always safe and people are not always kind. They have often witnessed or experienced terrible personal pain, even especially from a young age.
Being keenly aware of the potential for terror and conflict in the world, and keeping in mind that Scorpio is ruled by Mars - Scorpios are hyper-aware of potential threats. Vigilant self-protection manifests as preemptive probing and suspicion, constantly scanning their surroundings for danger and casting just about everything under doubt.
Hyper-analyzing microexpressions comes easily for Scorpios, but it’s important to understand that their sharp perception of emotional energy functions as a survival mechanism. Scorpios read the room, even if you don’t. Know that a Scorpio will notice and remember the things you do (and don’t) say, and whether your actions match up with who and what you claim to be.
Scorpios seek to expose that which is hidden because knowledge is power in their eyes. Anyone might be your enemy, and to know your enemy and their weaknesses is to possess the ability to destroy them.
This is also why Scorpios are so prone to secrecy. They avoid allowing other people to get to know them because they’re afraid that knowledge might be weaponized. A Scorpio is likely to seek as much info about you as possible, but may not return the favor.
Yet - Scorpios also crave vulnerability and connection. As much as they guard their personal truths as a means of self-protection, they also have a deep desire to be understood. The tension between these opposites is something that they wrestle with.
People glamorize and sexualize Scorpios for being dark and intense, but it’s important to have sympathy for the deep vulnerability beneath a Scorpio’s tough exterior.
And: because they have witnessed conflict, brutality, and/or betrayal between other people, perhaps in different relationship models they observed when they were young - Scorpios may over/compensate by seeking out total sacrifice and devotion from their loved ones. This may be especially common for people with their natal Venus in Scorpio. To many Scorpios, a person doesn’t really love you unless they give up all their secrets and completely bare their soul, utterly yours. Only then is a relationship seen as genuine and safe.
Scorpios are often associated with gothic horror, death, and topics considered taboo. I would surmise that this is partly because Scorpio seeks to master the darker side of life and learn as much about it as possible - because to understand and own up to darkness means that you’re strong enough not to run from it. To master things that others fear is equivalent to power.