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.


2 thoughts on “Spica & the Witches Well

  1. Anything that can heal the bond of mother and daughter is indeed sacred, Blessings to you! That moon was also my birthday and I feel very blessed, thank you for a wonderful article.


  2. Thank you suepurcat,

    I am happy that you liked my post. It was from a while ago as you saw, though I realised I’d never published it.

    I agree… anything that can open up healing between mother and daughter is indeed sacred. The road to healing this split is beautiful and sometimes complex, and deeply needed I feel.

    I hope you had a lovely birthday.


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