witch cauldron dance

Season of the Witch

 

With Halloween just around the corner, the witching season is upon us, and as with most things, astrology has something to say about it. Two mythic witches, or more properly, sorceresses, have asteroids named for them – Circe (#34), bewitching enchantress of her isle who captured and captivated Odysseus for a year, further delaying his return to his long-suffering wife Penelope; and Medea (#212), bride of Jason of Argonauts fame and Circe’s niece, an enchanting priestess of Colchis who guarded the sacred Golden Fleece and later murdered her children by Jason in revenge for his abandonment of her. Together with Hekate (#100), an ancient Greek goddess of the magical arts later reinterpreted in the Middle Ages as Goddess of the Witches, these three figure prominently in the charts of actresses who have memorably portrayed these much-maligned spell-casters.

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Circe the enchantress, who turned Odysseus’ men to swine.

One of the earliest popular portrayals of witches in American cinema is also among the most iconic – Margaret Hamilton’s green-visaged, hook-nosed, cackle-challenged Wicked Witch of the West in 1939’s classic, “The Wizard of Oz”. Hamilton’s threat level is palpable as she seeks to regain the ruby slippers taken from her dead sister’s body when Dorothy’s tornado-whirled house falls on the Wicked Witch of the East and kills her. Hamilton dogs Dorothy’s progress through Oz on her way to see the Wizard, sending her army of flying monkeys to bedevil her steps, until she is herself extinguished by a bucket of water thrown on her, at which she melts away. Hamilton has haunted the nightmares of generations of children with her classic peaked, flared-brimmed hat, jet black ensemble, clawed fingers and straggly broom.

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Margaret Hamilton in her trademark green makeup, among the earliest technicolor hags.

Born 9 December 1902, Margaret Hamilton sports asteroid Medea at 2 Scorpio in exact trine to Neptune, ruling movies, at 2 Cancer, with Medea also semisquare the 16 Sagittarius Sun.   Asteroid Circe at 26 Leo is tightly inconjunct the 25 Capricorn Saturn, marking the role of Wicked Witch of the West as among the most memorable in Hamilton’s career. Asteroid Hekate at 21 Gemini conjoins Pluto at 18 Gemini, and together the pair oppose Hamilton’s natal Sun, Venus and Uranus at 16, 19 and 21 Sagittarius, further cementing her performance as the epitome of the unconventional (Uranus) women’s (Venus) role in the public mindset.

witch margaret hamilton

A suitably eerie publicity photo for “The Wizard of Oz”, with Hamilton showcasing her claws.

Veronica Lake’s turn as the witch Jennifer in 1942’s “I Married a Witch” couldn’t be farther from the image created by Hamilton just three years earlier. Beautiful and vivacious, there are no hairy warts sprouting from any of Lake’s features, as the resurrected 17th century witch who had been burned at the stake takes revenge on the descendant of her persecutor, attempting to break up his engagement with a love potion which backfires, miring Lake in its powerful spell instead.

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Veronica Lake’s cheesecake publicity photo for “I Married a Witch”, a marked departure from Hamilton’s hag.

Born 14 November 1922, Veronica Lake’s natal Hekate at 12 Capricorn forms part of a T-Square with Saturn (career) at 15 Libra and Pluto at 11 Cancer, with Medea at 12 Gemini trine Saturn and Circe at 2 Aquarius squared Jupiter (success, public notoriety) at 4 Scorpio.

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Lake stirs up a bewitching love spell.

Another witch temptress caught in the snares of her own magic was Kim Novak, portraying Gillian in 1958’s “Bell, Book and Candle” opposite Jimmy Stewart. The hapless Gillian, always unlucky in romance, falls for Stewart, but another love potion gone awry steals her heart away, and forces her to choose between her witchy powers and the agonies of true love. Novak’s Gillian is another of the stunningly seductive type of Hollywood witch, who in the Circe mold brings misfortune on her admirers and herself.

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Kim Novak’s beguiling publicity photo for “Bell, Book and Candle” set a new standard for sorceress sultry.

Born 13 February 1933, Kim Novak’s natal Circe at 12 Taurus is squared Saturn (career) at 9 Aquarius and trine Neptune (films) at 9 Virgo, with Hekate at 18 Sagittarius and Medea at 25 Pisces forming a T-Square with Jupiter at 21 Virgo.

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Novak captivates Jimmy Stewart with a coy palm reading.

Oscar winner Anjelica Huston’s portrayal of the Grand High Witch Eva in 1990’s adaptation of the Roald Dahl book “The Witches” is more of a throwback to the classical witch of crone-like aspect. Eva shows a public face of elegance and style, but underneath is a hunchbacked, demonic-looking creature, intent on ridding the world of children by turning them all into mice.   Foiled in her evil scheme by a group of youngsters, the tables are turned and the witches themselves are transformed, then killed as pesky rodents by the adults.

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Sophisticated, then scabrous, Anjelica Houston models both sides of her witchy nature.

Born 8 July 1951, Anjelica Huston’s natal Medea at 18 Leo is exactly conjunct Pluto and exactly semisquare Mars at 3 Cancer, sextile to Neptune at 16 Libra and trine Jupiter at 13 Aries. Also trine Jupiter is asteroid Circe at 7 Leo, while Hekate at 5 Gemini squares Venus at 0 Virgo.

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Bette Midler brews up a pot of trouble for Salem in “Hocus Pocus”.

Bette Midler took on the comedically spellbinding role of resurrected Salem witch Winifred Sanderson in 1993’s “Hocus Pocus,” back after 300 years to suck the life out of Salem’s children in a bid to regain her own lost youth. With her sisters Sarah and Mary (Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy), Winifred has just the night of Halloween to make a potion that will ensure her immortality, but is brought to grief by a trio of youths and a talking black cat (in reality a boy she cursed centuries ago). Midler’s snaggle-toothed aspect is more cronelike than comely, but that doesn’t prevent her giving a rousing rendition of “I Put a Spell on You” at Salem’s annual Halloween Ball.

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The Sanderson sisters plot their wicked revenge (left to right, Kathy Najimy, Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker).

Bette Midler’s (born 1 December 1945) natal Sun at 9 Sagittarius is squared by asteroid Medea at 11 Virgo and trined by asteroid Circe from 14 Leo, with asteroid Hekate at 1 Taurus semisquare Uranus at 15 Gemini, square Mars at 3 Leo and more broadly squared Saturn at 24 Cancer.

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Nicole Kidman and familiar on the set of “Practical Magic”.

Nicole Kidman has been cast as two witches, both of the modern, post-warty variety, in 1998’s “Practical Magic” and the cinematic re-imagining of the hit ‘60s TV Show “Bewitched” in 2005. In “Practical Magic” Kidman plays Gillian Owen, who with her sister Sally (played by Sandra Bullock) carries on the family tradition of witchcraft and romantic mishap. The orphaned pair lives with their spinster aunts and experience tragic results from their affairs and marriages, until finally breaking the curse that haunts their lives. Kidman’s turn as the inimitable Samantha Stephens in “Bewitched” attempts to recapture the lighthearted feel of the TV show, with Kidman as a genuine witch cast in the remake of the original series. “Bewitched” was critically panned, but earned modest profits at the box office.

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Cauldron camp: Kidman and co-star Will Ferrell in the cinematic remake of “Bewitched.”

Nicole Kidman’s (born 20 June 1967) natal Circe at 17 Aries conjoins Saturn (career) at 11 Aries, which is also squared by Medea at 15 Cancer. Medea is also trine to Neptune (films) at 22 Scorpio, which asteroid Hekate at 14 Taurus broadly opposes, while tightly semisquare the 28 Gemini Sun.

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Elizabeth Montgomery nose-twitched her way into America’s heart as Samantha Stevens, suburban housewife, mother and witch.

Perhaps the most successful Hollywood witch was Elizabeth Montgomery, whose eight seasons as Samantha Stephens on the original TV series “Bewitched” assured her place in the iconography of classic American television. “Bewitched” ran from 1964-1972 and was a smash hit from its inception, coming in at #2 in its first season; it was the longest running supernatural-themed series of its time (which included “The Munsters” and “The Addams Family”).

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The principal cast of “Bewitched”: Smiling Sam, long-suffering hubby Darren, and meddling mother Endora.

The plot revolved around the engaging Montgomery’s attempts to abandon her witchy heritage and live a simple human life with her advertising exec hubby Darrin; the cast included her interfering mother, Endora (Agnes Moorehead), and wisecracking Uncle Arthur (Paul Lynde), also born witches.  Born 15 April 1933, Elizabeth Montgomery’s Sun at 25 Aries is conjunct asteroid Medea at 20 Aries, with asteroid Circe at 4 Gemini squared natal Neptune (TV) at 7 Virgo, also trined by Hekate at 3 Capricorn.

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A rare moment of witchy garb for Montgomery; Samantha Stevens was the first mainstream TV witch, typically clad in slacks and sweaters.

The importance of this specific role for Montgomery’s career can be seen in the placement of asteroids Samantha (#3147) and Stevens (#38540, homophone for “Stephens”) in her natal chart. Samantha at 14 Pisces exactly opposes Jupiter (fame, renown) at 14 Virgo and is also opposed Neptune (acting, TV) at 7 Virgo. Samantha is also semisextile Saturn (career) at 15 Aquarius, while Stevens at 20 Taurus is trined Jupiter and squared Saturn. When the series premiered on 17 September 1964, transit Samantha at 8 Virgo conjoined Mercury and Pluto (the power – Pluto – of media – Mercury) at 6 and 14 Virgo, straddling her natal Jupiter, with Stevens at 29 Cancer conjunct Mars at 1 Leo and exactly inconjunct Saturn at 29 Aquarius.

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Publicity photo for “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch”: Melissa Joan Hart vamps it up in ’90s style.

Another famous and long-running TV witch was Melissa Joan Hart, who starred as Sabrina Spellman in “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” from 1996-2003. Sabrina appears to be a typical teen until her sixteenth birthday, when a series of comical mishaps forces her aunts to reveal to her that she is in fact a witch. The show was loosely based on a character in the Archie comic books, and was a popular success, with its Halloween episodes becoming almost as anticipated and iconic as those of “Roseanne” and “The Simpsons”.

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Hart with her pet cat familiar, Salem.

Melissa Joan Hart’s (born 18 April 1976) natal Circe at 7 Aries conjoins Venus at 12 Aries, is squared to Mars at 14 Cancer and trined natal Neptune at 13 Sagittarius. Asteroid Medea at 24 Aquarius is sextile the 28 Aries Sun and inconjunct Saturn at 26 Cancer, with asteroid Hekate at 13 Scorpio exactly semisextile natal Neptune at 13 Sagittarius and forming the Apex of a Yod, or Finger of Fate, with inconjunct aspects to Mercury at 15 Taurus and Mars at 14 Cancer.

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Triune goddess Hekate, Maiden, Mother and Crone, later recast as goddess of the witches.

Hekate is also exactly conjunct asteroid Sabrina (#2264) and trined to asteroid Spellmann (#2459) at 9 Pisces, which squares Neptune and is exactly inconjunct Pluto at 9 Libra, representative of the transformational nature of the role in Hart’s life.            When “Sabrina” premiered on 27 September 1996, transit asteroid Sabrina at 17 Leo was conjunct both Mars and Venus at 10 and 22 Leo, sesquiquadrate Saturn at 3 Aries and semisquare the Sun at 4 Libra. Transit Spellmann at 1 Capricorn conjoined Jupiter at 8 Capricorn and formed a T-Square with Saturn and the Sun, with Spellmann and Sabrina sesquiquadrate each other.

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Alyson Hannigan as witch-in-training Willow in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”.

Least stereotypically “witchy” is the character of Willow Rosenberg on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1997-2003), portrayed by actress Alyson Hannigan. Willow’s powers are not innate, but develop over time as she works to master her craft, perhaps the most authentic depiction of genuine Wiccan/witchcraft practitioners on screen. Initially awkward and unsure of her gifts, with many a miscast spell, by the series’ end, Willow’s abilities far outstrip any known human capacity, but she retains a centeredness in everyday reality which is at once naive and endearing.

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Witch Willow with her werewolf boyfriend Oz.

Born 24 March 1974, Alyson Hannigan’s natal Hekate at 0 Cancer conjoins natal Saturn at 28 Gemini and squares her 3 Aries Sun, while trine a Jupiter/Mercury pairing at 3 and 5 Pisces. Asteroid Circe at 9 Scorpio trines Jupiter and is exactly semisextile Neptune at 9 Sagittarius, and asteroid Medea at 18 Libra conjoins Uranus at 26 Libra and is exactly sesquiquadrate Jupiter.

 

From the classic to the comic, witches on TV and the silver screen have fascinated, beguiled, enchanted, spooked and scared us, and their celestial referents have been right there, backing them up and casting their own unique spell. Given their apt placement in the charts of cinematic cauldron-stirrers, it’s no surprise to find these same witchy asteroids active with real witches, too, practitioners of Wicca and Neopaganism.

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Medea the sorceress lures Jason with a potion.

A forerunner of the modern Wiccan movement, Britain’s Dion Fortune wrote more than a dozen books on magic and mysticism, including “The Cosmic Doctrine”, “Moon Magic”, and “The Goat-Foot God”, and was a formative agent in Neopaganism. With her husband Penry Evans, she formed “The Society of Inner Light” in the 1920s, ultimately an offshoot of the noted late-Victorian theurgical group, the Golden Dawn. Born 6 December 1890, Dion Fortune’s natal Circe at 4 Sagittarius is broadly conjunct the Sun at 14 Sagittarius, which is also part of a T-Square, squared by asteroid Medea at 7 Virgo and Hekate at 14 Pisces.

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Dion Fortune, an early proponent of modern witchcraft.

Sybil Leek, dubbed Britain’s Most Famous Witch, came to prominence in the early 1950s after the repeal of the UK’s anti-witchcraft laws. At one time the most visible face of the emerging Wiccan religion, Leek authored more than sixty books on occult subjects, and was an important advocate for and influence on the movement. Born 22 February 1917, Sybil Leek’s natal Circe at 4 Sagittarius closely squares her Sun/Mars conjunction at 3 and 5 Pisces and is trine Neptune (spirituality) at 2 Leo. Circe is also at the Apex of a Yod, or Finger of Destiny, with inconjunct aspects to Jupiter (publishing, religious belief systems) at 1 Taurus and Pluto (transformational, catalytic figure) at 2 Cancer. Asteroid Medea at 21 Capricorn opposes Saturn (career, establishment or foundation of authority) at 24 Cancer, which is also sextiled by asteroid Hekate at 27 Taurus.

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Sybil Leek, once Britain’s most famous witch.

Margot Adler’s seminal 1979 work “Drawing Down the Moon” both documented the American Neopagan movement of its time and helped to broadly disseminate its views and practices. Adler drew on her background as an NPR radio journalist to produce a thorough overview of witchcraft’s origins, history, and modern applications, including interviews with both lay witches and organizers of the movement. Margot Adler’s (born 16 April 1946) natal Circe and Hekate at 21 and 27 Taurus are inconjunct Jupiter (publication) at 22 Libra and sextile Mars at 27 Cancer, with asteroid Medea at 2 Virgo inconjunct Mercury (writing, journalism) at 0 Aries and semisquare Saturn (career) at 18 Cancer.

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Author Margot Adler: her influential work “Drawing Down the Moon” introduced many to modern Wicca.

In the birth charts of ordinary mortals, Circe can indicate where we have the power to bewitch others, causing them to do our bidding or transforming them into something more suitable to our own ends and desires, using our innate charms to manipulate and control others. Medea reflects an area where we may be tempted to turn to “the dark side” of revenge, lashing out at others we deem to have harmed or betrayed us, perhaps via occult means. And Hekate can indicate prophetic ability, the power to align with forces greater than ourselves, to embrace union with the beyond. To discover your bewitching asteroid placements, visit www.serennu.com.

 

This Halloween promises to be spellbinding, with all three witchy asteroids in prominent focus for the day. Asteroid Medea at 5 Libra is in an exact conjunction with Mars, making this All Hallows Eve a great time for some sexual magic. Also within orb of conjunction to Mars is asteroid Circe at 27 Virgo, which likewise is tightly inconjunct Uranus at 26 Aries, perhaps a prime opportunity to hone some of those broomstick-flying skills (or at a minimum, creating a unique and unorthodox or shocking costume for the occasion). Squared Saturn at 24 Sagittarius, Circe could assist in grounding your magical practice into something useful and lasting, the very epitome of “Practical Magic”. Lastly, asteroid Hekate at 4 Leo is exactly squared Jupiter at 4 Scorpio, which is itself conjoined the Sun at 8 Scorpio. This affords an excellent opportunity to see into the future, connecting with distant times and places, when the veil between the physical and spirit worlds is parted at midnight; spells for increase, fame and renown are favored.

 

Witch, wizard or warlock, enjoy the magic and mystery of the holiday, and have a safe, happy Halloween!

 

 

 

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Alex Miller

Alex Miller is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book, detailing deep space points in astrological interpretation, and the forthcoming Heaven on Earth, a comprehensive study of asteroids, both mythic and personal, due in 2018. Alex is a frequent contributor to “The Mountain Astrologer”, “Daykeeper Journal”, and NCGR’s Journals and “Enews Commentary”; his work has also appeared in “Aspects” magazine, “Dell Horoscope”, “Planetwaves”, “Neptune Café” and “Sasstrology.” He is a past president of Philadelphia Astrological Society, and currently a board member for the Philadelphia Chapter of NCGR.

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