Spica & the Witches Well

Image by John Duncan

Friday 16 October, New Moon at 23 degrees Libra

New Moon Insights: What will it take for you to own your witch?

Today in the ancient part of the city of Edinburgh, my mother and I visited ‘Witches Well’ on Castlehill in the precincts of Edinburgh castle.

A cast iron plaque made by Celtic revivalist John Duncan in 1894 depicts the faces of evil and healing turned against each other while a serpent -a creature embodying both wisdom and poison-slithers between the two. Above the heads is foxglove, a potent medicinal plant capable of curing or killing.

The site of the well marks the place where 300 people- mainly women- were burned at the stake for suspected witchcraft. King James VI, the ruling monarch of the time harshly punished any activities thought to be connected with the dark arts. In reality many of women were tortured for being a bit different, eccentric, or knowledgeable in herb lore and other natural magic.

Five times more witches were burned in Scotland than any other country in Europe and 32% of Scottish witches came from the Lothians.

To be there with my mother whom I have not seen in a few years on this balsamic moon felt significant. Our own relationship has been painfully challenged…  we carry in our female line that which has the power to destroy or to heal. Both of us have at times been crushed under the weight of our shared trauma… and yet today we are choosing to heal.

I think of all those women, of all women, in various states of embodiment, of owning and disowning themselves, remembering and forgetting themselves, rising and falling. I think of the power they hold to transmute poison into medicine.

A few days ago, the question came to me… What will it take for you to own your witch?

Tomorrow the new moon is conjunct Spica, the brightest star in the Virgo constellation, revered by the ancient Egyptians who aligned temples to her. Spica is thought to be one of the most fortunate stars, associated with religious and spiritual qualities. According to Ptolemy it is of the nature of Venus and Mars- a rare blending of masculine and feminine. The warrior. The power of the actualising masculine principle channelled through the feminine principle. The power to create from spirit- the witch.

Spica is placed in the wheat sheaf in the left hand of the Virgo constellation, physically representing harvest and symbolically representing the alchemical act of transforming spirit into matter.

I see this new moon as potent time to channel and transmute poison into medicine. The ability to do so lies within ourselves when we make a conscious choice to heal and reclaim ourselves as autonomous and powerful beings, aware of what we are creating or destroying in our lives.

 Hurt and pain then become the Prima Materia, the raw material, from which we birth a new vision.


Venus conjunct Regulus: Power of the majestic feminine.

La forza (“the force”) by Boris Indrikov

Every 8 years Venus meets with the royal star Regulus- heart of the lion.

If you get up just before sunrise on October 2 & 3, you may be able to see Regulus shining in the morning sky next to Venus (Venus is the brighter of the two).
While this event happens every 8 Earth years, during that time Venus has circled the Sun 13 times.
The union of Venus and Regulus announces the fierce feminine, the one who will not be tamed, silenced, or subdued beneath false authority. It is an energy that is resonant with the mighty Egyptian goddess Sekhmet whose name means ‘one who is powerful’ and who is also given many epithets such as ‘one before whom evil trembles’.
This is an opportunity to remember and reaffirm sacred patterns of feminine wisdom and strength as a force that will not tolerate oppression, corruption, or evil.
She is the one who rises again and again to defend the sacredness of life, freedom, sovereignty, and truth.
Perhaps you feel called to honour this force in yourself, align with ancient feminine power and shine your light through the murkiness, confusions, and illusions of this time… if you’re feeling particularly inspired or focused you might want to rise before the Sun to meet these celestial beauties within and without.
The exact conjunction happens on October 3 at 00:00 UTC.
Hymn of Sekhmet
Mine is a heart of carnelian, crimson as murder on a holy day.
Mine is a heart of corneal, the gnarled roots of a dogwood and the bursting of flowers.
I am the broken wax seal on my lover’s letters.
I am the phoenix, the fiery sun, consuming and resuming myself.
I pace the halls of the Duat.
I knock on the doors of death.
I wander into the fields to stare at the sun and lie in the grass, ripe as a fig.
The souls of the gods are with me.
They hum like flies in my ears.
I will what I will.
Mine is a heart of carnelian, blood red as the crest of a phoenix.