The Moon

Part 2 of the series Wicca for Devotional Astrology

A question for astrologers with devotional practices. Have you considered Wicca? Hear me out.

To say the moon is important in astrology is an enormous understatement. The Moon is called The Mediatrix, the essential interpreter and translator for other celestial forces to humankind. 

For someone observing a planetary devotional practice drawing from Traditional Astrology, the Moon and Lunar Work is the place to start. Wicca is a system that is inherently lunar that can be used to deepen one’s personal practice and bring it from prayer to ceremony. It is a helpful model for group ceremonial ritual experience. 

Wicca for Devotional Astrology Part 2 – The Moon

An important point I ask you to remember as you read all my posts:  Wicca is not the only way a person can be a Witch, or spiritual in a lunar way, or have a structured practice rich with symbolic correspondence. Even within Wicca, practice, areas of emphasis, and people are incredibly diverse. These ideas don’t represent those of all people who identify as Wiccan.

This post is part of a series. Please begin with: “Part 1: The Circle”.

To say the moon is important in astrology is an enormous understatement. The Moon is called The Mediatrix, the essential interpreter and translator for other celestial forces to humankind. 

The Moon as “Mediatrix” is in John Michael Greer & Christopher Warnock’s translation of The Picatrix. Extracts of passages about the moon can be found here, a valuable resource.

Amaya Rourke, astrologer and folk witch, brought this perfect title to my attention, and her course “The Path Chooses You: The Spiritual Magic of the Natal Chart” which I highly recommend to Witches learning astrology. 

For someone observing a planetary devotional practice drawing from Traditional Astrology, the Moon and Lunar Work is the place to start. Wicca is a system that is inherently lunar that can be used to deepen one’s personal practice and bring it from prayer to ceremony. It is a helpful model for group ceremonial ritual experience. 

What is “Lunar Work”?

“Lunar Work” is a way of describing a process of self-understanding that inevitably happens to people who begin to undertake the work of spiritual Self-Realisation.

Like the phases of the moon, lunar work is understanding cycles and habits, and that dark parts and bright parts are all part of a perpetual, cyclical process.

Like how the moon has its own path of orbit that  is similar to the ecliptic but not quite, we remember that we are unique – just like everyone else.

Like the Moon’s rulership of Cancer where hours of sunlight achieves a peak at Solstice, we learn that mental and emotional health are at the core of our whole wellbeing.

Like the Moon’s exaltation of Taurus, lunar work is not only coming to terms with the body’s needs for sustenance and security, but understanding that they are an essential foundation, without which there can be nothing greater. 

Like the moon reflects to us the light of the sun, lunar work is understanding our feelings that come from experiences in society and community.

Like the Moon is the Mediatrix that emphasises planetary and stellar influence with its aspects, lunar work is working towards being strong alone, and stronger together.

Like the moon eclipses and is eclipsed, lunar work is remembering our power and using it. 

Like how the Moon rejoices in the cadent third house (called “The House of the Goddess”) lunar work is the acknowledgement of, the engagement with, and the cultivation of the foundational communal experiences that shape us. 

Lunar work is working towards a mindset of abundance, reciprocity and responsiveness.

Lunar work is the work of Self-Knowledge. Not self-labelling, but the kind of Knowledge of Self that  dissolves illusions, gives rise to compassion, and gives way to what is called by some “The Great Work”. This Realisation of Self is embodied in the Passwords of Wicca – “Perfect Love and Perfect Trust”.

Wicca as a Lunar System

Wicca is known for worshipping a lunar Goddess, for full moon rituals, and for the practice of “Drawing Down the Moon”, where the Moon Goddess is invoked into the body of the High Priestess and speaks through her. Spellwork is completed to help those in need, and the ritual concludes with the blessing of participants in the form of sacramental cakes and wine. 

Different published Wiccan prayers refer to the Goddess as :

  • “Queen of the Moon, Queen of the Stars”, – Yuletide Prayer credited to Doreen Valiente
  • “Great Mother”, “Star Goddess” – The Charge of the Goddess, also credited to Doreen Valiente

The typical Wicca beginner book covers subjects that I have described above as lunar – body awareness, emotional-awareness, habit building, devotion, psychism, energetic work and awareness of the subtle bodies.  

A witches coven is said to be 13 people. There are typically 13 full moons in a calendar year.

The moon moves 12-13 degrees per day, sometimes slower or faster depending on where it is in its elliptical orbit. The moon’s orb of influence in a chart is 13 degrees.

The full moon in Wicca was typically used for spellwork (though this seems to be changing now, as people seem to relate to the new moon as a time of beginnings, rather than seeing it as a resource that is empty and resting.)

Movement in a Wiccan circle is done conscientiously, with clockwise and counterclockwise movements having distinctive meaning. An astrologer observing the heavens will notice these movements as well. 

The sun rising, moving East to West every day forms the Primary Motion. In an astrological chart, it’s observed in the way the House containing the Sun  relates to the time of day, moving clockwise about the chart.

Observing the moon brings us to understand the Secondary Motion in astrology. The moon, which is fast moving and very visible compared to the planets, appears  to rise about 50 minutes later every day. Regular observance of this, and the other planets, it seems like they are slowly moving from West to East. In the astrological chart, the planets move in a counterclockwise motion through the zodiac.

Gemini Brett has my favourite presentations with regards to Observational Astrology, observing themovement of the Moon. It brings us to question how different symbols and myths may illustrate and explain the phenomenon. [Mysteries of the Moon, Black Moon Lilith]

Wicca honours the seasons as transformative and initiatory. While the seasons themselves are caused by the relationship between the sun and the earth, related to the tilt in the earth’s axis. The axial tilt of the earth is modulated by the Moon.

 In other words, the outer work, the externalised seasonal experience that happens to you is solar. The internalised experience, inner work and personal growth, is lunar. There is no one without the other. 

I am only just beginning to learn about this. I referred to the Wikipedia entry for Axial tilt and “The Moon’s Effect on the Seasons”.

What I present here as lunar work to astrologers and workers of planetary magic might be better recognised as seasonal inner work to other witches and Wiccans. Not everyone will work with the Hermetic maxim of “As above, so below”  – something to keep in mind if you are speaking to Wiccans. 

Group Practice as Lunar Work

One thing I really appreciate about Wicca as a system today is its adaptability for both solitary and group work. There are so many books and resources available for someone building their own practice, offering a framework to begin with, which helps manage overwhelm. That framework can be easily adapted and scaled to include others.

Wicca was initially designed to be a system for group practice, which can be an especially transformative tool in the work of Self-Knowledge. Group work highlights agency and accountability, and can show us how the ways we see ourselves is different from how others see us, and how we act differently in different situations or with different people.

Group work can also be terribly triggering! There is a lot of value in understanding your needs and desires, your boundaries and limitations, before joining any group – but especially important for a spiritual one. 

“Group Work” can be embraced in any group setting, but there are some advantages to working specifically with a Wiccan one, namely that it seems to have less hierarchy, is more inclusive than other Initiatory Orders, and is quite public. 

Wicca is doing Collective Lunar Work

I’ve explained how Wicca’s spiritual focus is distinctively lunar at the level of the individual and coven, but we also see it in the way it has evolved as a system of values over time.  Wicca as a greater collective is doing significant work in examining, criticising and reworking its systems to reflect society’s values today. Wicca in the public sphere shows us that transformative lunar work happens at every level.

We see this in the addressing of: 

  • inclusivity and diversity, challenging cis-het fundamentalist orthodoxy (calling a spade a spade!)
  • confronting the double standards of nature worship without environmental preservation
  • challenging magic spells without mundane activism
  • the need for transparency and consent, even in a “secret” initiatory group
  • working to correct the harm from and lies of predecessors in the tradition/lineage
  • the cult of fame
  • privilege. Traditionally, it is inethical to charge for teaching or initiating into Wicca.  

Wiccans who have strongly impacted my views of it as a system include Yvonne and Shane

Not all Wiccans and covens share these viewpoints, but the public awareness of these points empowers the individual “seeker” in asking important questions before joining groups. 

The community is diverse with significant and strong differences of opinion. I think the public discussion and disagreements of  Wicca’s flaws are a big part of why it has become unpopular. I also feel strongly that  these conversations are what we should be looking for in strong communal systems. They model to us that  it is right to ask questions, to challenge structures, to ask what they mean and why they’re still relevant.  This is not modelled in other modern eurocentric initiatory systems I know of. These systemic changes are valid reasons why we can all learn from Wicca. 

Thank you for reading!

If you are enjoying this series, and would like more practical help with how to build a personal astrological devotional circle practice based in Wiccan praxis, please consider joining this waitlist for a special e-mail correspondence I am working on...

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