While writing my second book in the Pentacle Path series, this one on Lunar Witchcraft, I’ve fallen down a few research rabbit holes. Like any good adventure, I thought I knew where I was headed when I started out. Thanks to the twists and turns of the journey I’ve ended up in territory I didn’t even know existed before fate landed me this contract. Those revelations inspired an entirely new approach to my magickal relationship with Lady Luna. Allow me to share my recent fascination in lunar magick: celebrating Full Moons in six zodiacal pairings to balance each axis of human consciousness.
Six Zodiacal Pairings
The Zodiac signs are often pictured like a wheel rotating around the earth. When modern witches came along and hobbled together a full year of solar and lunar rituals timed by the zodiac, we naturally called that system the “Wheel of the Year.” I envision that wheel much like an old-fashioned spinning wheel with spokes. You know the kind from fairy tales, like the cursed one that pricked Sleeping Beauty’s finger, or that Rumpelstiltskin used to spin straw into gold thread. Mostly they spin random fibers into an organized spool of strong yarn fit for weaving. Both spinning wheel and the zodiac Wheel of the Year are useful tools for organizing bits of chaos into a useful structure.
Picture the zodiac like that spinning wheel that is divided into twelve equal parts. All the parts are connected through the middle by six spokes. Obviously, the spokes pair signs by what is directly across the wheel from each other. Each set of connected zodiac signs work together as a range in consciousness. Each sign lends both virtues and vices to that axis of consciousness.
This bit of astrological structure really sparked my Lunar Witchcraft practice! At every full moon, we get a magickal chance to balance the two ends of the polarity those signs anchor. It’s just a matter of geometry. The reason why we see the whole face of the full moon is because it is 180 degrees opposite the sun. The sun→ earth→moon make a straight line along that spoke, with the sun in one sign of a pairing, and the moon in the other sign of the pairing. Full moon spells can work our balance from whatever end of the spectrum we’re in. Each sign holds virtues that help us, and potential vices that need to be helped, and oppositions bring out those vices to be worked on.
The tension caused in the opposition between each extreme is what propels our evolution into more effective people. Improving ourselves is supposed to be the purpose of the Great Work of Magick! Full moon magick can help balance us along the axis of consciousness those signs create on earth. Got an issue with asserting your own Identity? There’s a moon for that! I think of baby earth being cradled between Mama moon and Papa sun’s arms while they bestow those particular blessings upon their children.
You get two chances to work each axis of magick every year: Light half of the year, then repeat during the dark half of the year. During the light half of the year, the Sun shines from the first sign in the pairing, while the Moon receives that light in the second sign, tunes that moonlight to the virtues of the opposing sign, and then reflects it back to earth.
Then on the flip-side, during the dark half of the year, we get a second chance to work those same themes, but because the sun and moon have now traded signs, we can work the magick from the opposite direction. It’s an alchemical method of transmuting vice into virtue. The virtue from one side is the antidote for the poison on the other side.
When planning those full moon spells, I think of these two positions of sun and moon much like a tarot card reading. The sun’s sign represents my conscious awareness of the current themes in my life from that end of the polarity. The full moon’s sign can now reveal my unconscious shadows that need working on. Then, during the dark half of the year, their positions will all reverse to balance the opposite side. I can take a look at the same issues, but from a different perspective.
Six Axes of Human Consciousness
The graphic above shows the twelve zodiac signs paired across the wheel of the year into the six thematic polarities. Each polarity describes an axis of human consciousness. The “spokes” that connect the signs are a range between two areas of our life, along what Carl Jung called the process of individuation. They are:
The Axis of Identity between Aries and Libra
The Axis of Possession between Taurus and Scorpio
The Axis of Information (I call that one Perception) between Gemini and Sagittarius
The Axis of Security between Cancer and Capricorn
The Axis of Ego between Leo and Aquarius
The Axis of Service between Virgo and Pisces.
Journey of the Soul: The Path of Self-Knowledge
The signs in order tell a story of creation, the journey from the oneness of Spirit into the separateness of matter as wee babies, and then our path of return back again as we seek reunion with that oneness of Spirit we remember deep in our souls. This journey of the soul begins with fiery Aries and then evolves through each sign and modality. There are three groupings of four signs each, in sets with one of each element. They always transition between sets between the water and fire signs.
Primal, Lower-self Elemental Set: Aries ♈︎, Taurus ♉︎, Gemini ♊︎, Cancer ♋︎
Personal, Middle-self Elemental Set: Leo ♌︎, Virgo ♍︎, Libra ♎︎, Scorpio ♏︎
Universal, Higher-self Elemental Set: Sagittarius ♐︎, Capricorn ♑︎, Aquarius ♒︎, Pisces ♓︎
I appreciate the following quote for its succinct description of what each sign teaches the human being as they grow in self-knowledge. It is by Bulgarian psychoanalyst and astrologer Salvina Kotzeva from their article entitled “The Polarity of Human Consciousness in the Six Astrological Axes, Part 2.”
The path of self-knowledge and individuation begins with Aries or the spark of divinity, through which the individual human consciousness is born and a separate self is formed. With Taurus, it already acquires an individual body, sensations, and qualities to reach Gemini and develop the ability to verbalize his thoughts, exchange ideas with the people around, and ultimately study the world by trial and error. With the fourth sign – Cancer, it is associated with its deep emotional nature, the transience of feelings and natural cycles in life. Reaching Leo, the individual human consciousness begins to freely express itself and its talents, which distinguish it from others, in order to develop them to perfection in the sign of Virgo and reach the most final phase of separation from the Whole. Then, in the sign of Libra, the second half of life begins – a return to the state of Oneness, where the Self first connects with the idea of the Other, by building partnerships and achieving harmony in them. In Scorpio, these relationships deepen through the emotional exchange and merging of the two individuals, leading to inner transformation and the opening of a new page. The ninth sign of Sagittarius brings the transition from internal realization to external activity and from personal to community. The individual consciousness is already opening to the world and learning about how colorful it can be, helping it to reach universal human truths and its spiritual essence. Capricorn applies all this knowledge in the direction of developing his vocation to society. He begins to sacrifice himself for the community in order to establish in Aquarius common goals and ideals to pursue for the good of the group. In the last zodiac sign – Pisces, the individual consciousness reaches the final phase of return to the Whole, where it loses its outline and takes on the difficult task of being both Everything and Nothing, aiming to reach beyond the bipolar model of perception of consciousness.
Tides of Receiving and Projecting
As I took research notes, I made the following table to illustrate those six zodiac pairings, and the axes of consciousness they anchor, with information sourced from Ivo Dominguez Jr.’s book Practical Astrology for Witches and Pagans and that article series mentioned above by Salvina Kotzeva, Parts 1 and Part 2”
Notice how opposite signs will always share the same modality (cardinal, fixed, or mutable). They are also paired by either the receptive elements of water and earth, or by the projective elements of air and fire. So there is a larger tide of ebb and flow, receiving one lunation, then projecting the next lunation. They are always in different phases of Self-development, which range from the primal awareness of the individual body to higher awareness of our spiritual unity.
Example: Axis of Identity: Self → Others
Wind Moon in Libra and Blood Moon in Aries
Here’s an example of this magick by lunar pairing. In spring while the sun is in Aries, we’ll have a Wind Full moon to celebrate in Libra. That magick of opposition anchors the Axis of Identity. In consciousness, this connects Aries (fire) and the primal, body needs for the SELF, across to the moon in Libra’s (Air) personal, mental needs for connections and relationships with other people.
The Sun and our conscious awareness of our problems is in Aries, whose virtue is that they are great at sticking up for themselves, and challenging anyone they have to fight to ensure that their personal needs are met. By Gods their identity will be respected! However, a VICE of Aries is that they might assert their own ego too much, and demand their own way to the exclusion of everyone else. Perhaps that drives them into isolation, whether that is self-imposed, or because others got fed up and deserted them.
However, a VIRTUE of Libra is their easy partnering with others, their pursuit of beauty, balance and fair-minded equality in their relationships. So, at the Wind Full Moon, when doing some needed shadow work in the area of our identity, we can magickally distill an antidote for that Aries poison using the Libra Moon’s powers.
The Aries shadow lesson might be to accept differing perspectives from the folks around them in peace – learning NOT to fight to get their way over every little issue, and realize that compromise doesn’t mean their own identity is any less important. We just have to take turns getting our own way, without threatening the individual identities within our relationships. How would you design that spell?
On the flip side of the year, during Autumn’s Blood Full Moon, we can revisit the magick along this Axis of Identity, but from the opposite direction. A VICE of Libra is to potentially lose sight one’s own individual identity and needs within their relationships. Maybe they’ve gone too far in peacemaking and balance-tending all the time, and the needs of the Self aren’t being properly met. The Libra shadow lesson can distill an antidote from that spicy Aries fire during that Blood Moon and whip up some mojo to stand up for themselves! What magick can they do to assert their personal perspective or needs within their relationships? What magick might they work to strengthen their own individual identity?
Lunar Pairing Magick Candles
Along this line of thinking, I’ve developed a series of Lunar Magick Candles with my original artwork to channel these astrological powers into these spells. I’ve already loaded and charged them with herbs, stones, oils and blessings appropriate for the signs and planetary rulers! The videos of their making are posted to my YouTube channel. Here’s the link to see how I made the Aries/Libra candles. These are still available for purchase from my website here. We ship within the USA.
This is the kind of Lunar Witchcraft program I’m currently working on for Vol.2 of the Pentacle Path series, so I welcome your ideas in the comments! Today is the second anniversary of Vol. 1 Elemental Witchcraft’s release! If you still need a copy, I’d love to sell you one through our website here.