Halloween Witchery For Astrologers
Fire, Earth, Air, and Water – How To Untap The Zodiac’s Secrets of Witchery In Your Horoscope!
By Dikki-Jo Mullen
Standing in line in the bright Florida sunlight one day in early summer while waiting to purchase a ticket for Universal Studios, the conversations which could be overheard were most revealing. It would seem that all that is misty, gothic and reminiscent of the world of witches would be galaxies removed from the thoughts expressed by the crowds of tourists. But not so!
Young and old alike were all most enthusiastic about visiting the Harry Potter attraction at the famous theme park. For the visitors who travel to my home town of Orlando, Florida from all over the world, the focus was all about witchcraft and wizardry.
Harry Potter has revived and updated the mystique of the witch certainly, but the appeal of these supernatural and powerful beings is timeless, as evidenced by other classical witch tales. The witches in The Wizard of Oz and the three sisters who open Shakespeare’s Macbeth are a couple of examples. Whether hideous and ugly or angelically lovely the witch fascinates, attracts and intrigues us. The witch (and her male complement, the wizard) evoke deep reactions of envy combined with wonder, desire and maybe a chill of fear. Identified with potent forces and freedom as ancient and primal as the origin of life itself these spellbinder archetypes enjoy a peak season at Halloween each year. October 31st, the Old Celtic New Year, aligns with the first decanate of the astrological sign of Scorpio, with a double Mars and Pluto rulership. Most years this is 7-8 degrees of the sign. Its Sabian Symbol reads “The Moon Shining Across a Lake”. This suggests illumination of an inner nature and the beauty of nocturnal mysteries. The Moon, ruler of the subconscious, and a mythological guardian of the night, has a deep affinity with the practice of witchcraft. The ubiquitous Halloween witch flying, silhouetted with her broom, is completed by a Full Moon in the background.
She seems to be greeting the death of the summer past while a cold wind blows. The promise of a deeper darkness is building. Perhaps we secretly wish to be like her flying freely through the night unencumbered and able to heal or hex at will. The practice of wizardry and witchcraft addresses the possibility of inhabiting a different world which some entwines with our familiar one. Remnants of early, primal belief systems which fulfill the human yearning for a deeper connection with something beyond everyday reality are expressed through the image of the witch. Depth of feeling, euphoria, a deeper joy and hope, a greater aliveness are easier to believe in upon meeting the witch.
In the practice of Wicca, as the Old Religion of Witchcraft is sometimes called by practitioners, four elements, fire, earth, air and water figure prominently. Astrologers see the same four elements as important divisions in the energies expressed by the twelve zodiac signs. The four primary tools used in the practice of witchcraft are also identified with the same elements. These energies, elemental, raw and basic, work interchangeably within astrology and witchcraft.
To awaken and attune to your own inner magic this Halloween begin to focus on the element group of your familiar Sun sign. For further insight consider the other elements and how they reflect your Moon sign, ascendant and other important placements. Witchcraft is intuitive and personal, so the expression of instincts and emotions plays an important role in relating to your own birth chart in this way.
The symbol is an upright triangle
The Wand or Broomstick is the Craft Tool of Fire Aries, Leo and Sagittarius are the Fire Signs of the Zodiac
Begin to awaken a sense of witchery with incense, candle burning, sacred lights and fires. Select several candles and observe how the release of heat, light color affects you and your surroundings. Pink promises love, while red is more passionate and competitive. Green favors nature and prosperity, white assure innocence and sweeping away cobwebs. Yellow generates mental clarity while orange enhances friendship and cheer. Brown is grounding and practical. Purple is the color of psychic energy and conjuring the spirit world, while grey will balance positive and negative polarities. If there is any concern about one’s image or reputation three grey or silver candles will halt slander. The wand is used to extend power and direct efforts toward a desired goal.
The symbol is an inverted triangle
The Cauldron or Cup is the Craft Tool of Water.
Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces are the Water Signs of the Zodiac
The recording and interpreting of dreams, reverie and visions, perhaps while enjoying a fragrant bath, a stroll along the beach or walking among the autumn leaves while contemplating gathering storm clouds can awaken your inner potential magic. A crystal ball or bowl of water used as a meditation focus can magnify intuition and insight. Review the phases of the Moon and how they affect the flow of daily life. Remember how the Moon affects the ocean’s tides. The human body is mostly water and chemically is much like the ocean. How does this affect your inner power tides? The cup or cauldron is used to brew herbs, healing soups, potions and holy waters. Sacred wells, such as the Chalice Well in Glastonbury England, have a link with the sacred water tradition.
The symbol is an inverted triangle with a crossbar over the point.
The Stone or Pentacle is the Craft Tool of Earth. Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn are the Earth Signs of the Zodiac
Sacred stones and crystals are important in magical workings. They draw upon the natural energies of the Earth. Gemstone amulets, often fashioned from birth stones, will find a place in the wardrobe or upon the altar of those who practice witchcraft. A crystal tucked into a pillow to stimulate psychic dreams or a pendulum held to seek guidance and direction are ways the Earth energies might be added to rituals. The pentagram, a five pointed star with the single point facing upward has long been a popular choice to represent the element earth among practitioners. When made of wood or metal, the pentagram is called a pentacle and represents a human figure with its hands outstretched at the center of the universe. The celestial currents of the life force illustrated by five pointed stars in many places on Earth. Flower petals and star fish are examples. In slicing an apple a natural pentagram can be observed, formed by the seeds in the core. Perhaps that is one reason why apple dishes are especially popular at Halloween and apples are incorporated into many legends of witchcraft.
The symbol is an upright triangle with a cross bar.
The Sword or Blade is the Craft tool of Air.
Gemini, Libra and Aquarius are the Air Signs of the Zodiac
Blades and swords figure prominently in the practice of witchcraft as symbols of discrimination. They are used to cut through illusions and reveal the truth. The quest for knowledge and the freedom it brings in overcoming ignorance is suggested. The metaphor of the sword is also recognized in the sharp stirring of the wind. Vital to the continuity of life, the intake of air circulates through the mind and body. Air clears the mind and lifts the spirits as it sharpens the intellect. The Tarot Cards, which incorporate the tools of the craft in the four suits of Wands, Cups, Pentacles and Swords, are commonly used as both a focus for magical workings and a source of knowledge by practitioners.
The four elements which are a focus in astrology and witchcraft alike have four principles attached to them. These are the cornerstones of the practice of constructive and healing magic, which is the only type we advocate of course. The principles are “To Dare“, “To Have Faith“, “To Keep Silent” and “To Know”.
The first one, “To Dare”, draws upon the element Fire. Fiery energy provides the vitality, the motivation, initiative, confidence and courage to reach for goals and make desired changes in the status quo. The practice of witchcraft is dedicated to the ideal that the conscious direction of natural forces has the ability to direct and modify reality. The second principle, “To Have Faith” links to Water. Unwavering faith suggests the force of belief and power generated by deep feelings. Water has been called the strongest of the elements. It overcomes all of the others. Belief, driven by the power of emotion and love, is most essential for the successful materialization of magical workings. “To Keep Silent” reflects the Earth powers. Perhaps one point of importance here is a reminder from earlier times when the safety of witches was a concern. An indiscretion back then could have led to persecution by hostile outsiders. However the message of the Earth principle is deeper than that. Talking about a project dissipates its effectiveness and lessens its chances of reaching a successful ending. Keeping quiet about goals and projects until they are attained is an important part of real magic. Think of how seeds need time to rest and mature while planted and buried quietly in the ground until they are ready to germinate. Often authors won’t speak about a book until it is ready to be published as talking about it can jinx its success. Finally the principle “To Know” has a tie with the influence of the Air signs. Knowledge and information is essential to making the right choices. Education, whether acquired in a formal learning situation or through personal study, is valuable. Knowledge enables the witch in deciding what is worthwhile and how best to survive and cope with changes and challenges. Natural intellect refined by the gathering of facts combines in manifesting this final principle. It illustrates how best to direct valuable time and effort.
The cycles of the Sun, Moon and planets familiar to astrologers are also incorporated into the practice of witchcraft in a variety of ways. The seasons of the year are honored by eight major holidays, called sabbats. These draw upon the magic of the calendar, the yearly solar cycle. The spring equinox, often called Ostara, honors rebirth while bidding farewell to the previous cycle. It correlates with the start of the sign of Aries when the Sun crosses the Aries-Pisces cusp. This is Ostara, or Easter and it heralds the beginning of the zodiac, near March 21. Next comes Beltane or May Day, celebrated under the sign of Taurus. Observed on or near May 1, May Day is a growth and fertility sabbat. The summer solstice, also called Midsummer‘s Day, comes next. Celebrated near June 21, it is the longest day of the year on the Gemini-Cancer cusp. Midsummer’s Day ushers in the peak of the growing season and illuminates the brightest of potentials. Lammas, or August eve, is next. Celebrated near August 1 in the sign of Leo, it is a time for appreciating the year’s early harvest. Lammas comes from a word meaning loaf-mass and honors the breads and grains which provide the staff and continuity of life. The autumnal equinox, also called Mabon, follows. This is when the day and night are nearly equal again, on the cusp of Virgo and Libra, near September 23rd. The year is half way through. The past and future meet, it’s a time to reflect upon what has gone before and to prepare for the times ahead. The beauties of autumn and seasonal changes which reflect the entire human experience are suggested by the beginning of autumn. Halloween, also called Samhain, which means “summer’s end” comes next. Celebrated during the time of Scorpio on October 31, it correlates with the Celtic New Year and reflects the early pagan beliefs in the power of this time. The dead are honored, the growing darkness is embraced, the time when the weather changes are greatest is about to begin, suggesting extremes and new dimensions afoot. The winter solstice, also called Yuletide comes next. Celebrated on the Sagittarius-Capricorn cusp on the longest night of the year, Yule correlates with the winter holiday season. It’s a time of hope and encouragement, of honoring faith in the eternal turning of the natural wheel. Yule, which comes from a word meaning wheel, brings reminders of the cycles of the seasons which bring order and direction to life itself. Finally comes the last of the eight holidays in the witches’ year, Candlemas or Imbolc. It’s celebrated on or near February 2, under the sign of Aquarius. Candlemas brings the first glimmer of the spring ahead. The cold, dark days of deep winter are waning. Its name suggests the candles which are lit at this time to welcome the gradual return of the Sun. The name Imbolc translates ewe’s or sheep’s milk. This honors the birth of a new generation of lambs and other creatures.
The zodiac familiar to astrologers is observed in the practice of witchcraft as the turning of a wheel of life and the natural forces which propel it, ready to be directed and harnessed for healing and goodness. It has been said that a feminine force, called The Lady, oversees the spring and summer signs. The autumn and winter signs are often viewed as masculine, indicating the mysteries of death and harvest. Some practitioners have a different opinion, seeing the Sun, which is reborn at the winter solstice, ushering in a divine mother energy which builds in ecstasy and passion until the summer solstice when the harvest is in view. The Sun or divine son then sacrifices himself at Lammas to protect and provide for a new birth to come.
The monthly Full and New Moons are called esbats, from a French word which means “to frolic”. The lunations are regularly observed by many who follow the path of Wicca. Each one is given a name and assigned a particular quality, these mirror the meanings used by astrologers in interpreting the Moon‘s signs and phases in horoscopes. The Full and New Moons mark times to nurture or diminish as well as times to honor and observe the various spiritual energies which are active each month. Rituals conducted then enable the witch to make the best use of the celestial power tides. For example at a Full Moon, when the energy reaches a culmination, dream work can be undertaken or a ritual to lose weight might be arranged. At the New Moon a prosperity spell to draw increase income and opportunity can be started. Often a wish list is written on the day of the New Moon and witches will delight in watching the wishes materialize as the Moon waxes toward the Full phase two weeks later.
If you would like to attempt a simple spell yourself, merely check the New Moon, as shown in the Daily Moon Calendar in The Witches’ Almanac write your wish list just as takes place. Keep in mind the four principles, “To Dare“, “To Have Faith“, “To Keep Silent” and “To Know”, while writing the list. Be careful what you wish for, it is very likely that at least some of it will come to pass.