With the sun in Scorpio and the fields fallow, ’tis the hallowed season of the witch and, thus, no finer time to explore the rich history of the outsider.

From history, myth, folklore and fiction, we are casting an eye (of newt) toward witches that embody the archetype of each zodiac sign.

Helping to guide us on our journey from the broom to the great beyond is the incomparable, regal Jacob Budenz, a writer, Cancer, multi-disciplinary performer, witch and author of the new, queer magic short-story collection “Tea Leaves.”

Alongside fiction writing, Budenz is the lead singer/lyricist for psychedelic pop band Moth Broth, whose song “Baba Yaga” may or may not have provided inspiration for this piece. You can follow Jake’s work on Instagram.

As Halloween beckons, may your rituals be at the ready and your cauldrons runneth over.

And to quote a certain witch in William Shakespeare’s classic “Macbeth”: “By the pricking of my thumbs / Something wicked this way comes!”

Read on to learn more.


Medea, an enchantress from Greek mythology, casts one of her magic spells in the forest, circa 1200 BC. The corpse may be that of King Pelias, whose death she caused.
Getty Images

“Aries has a reputation for being “passionate” (read: unhinged), and we believe there’s no better match than the fearsome, powerful Medea of Greek mythology,” Budenz illuminates. “Yes, that Medea — but don’t panic, Aries. Contrary to popular belief, the idea that Medea killed her own children is most likely an invention of the playwright Euripides rather than canon to the myth.

When it comes to Medea and Aries, if you mess around, you will most certainly find out.

Jacob Budenz

Do most versions of the story have her literally setting her husband’s new bride and father-in-law on fire or enacting some similarly nefarious act of murder? Sure. But, like, come on — they all deserved it. She went to the ends of the earth for Jason, basically did all the work on his quest for the golden fleece, and then got royally screwed by the end of it all.

Aries will wreck you if you think they deserve it — but love you harder than anyone on the planet if they think you’ve earned it.

When it comes to Medea and Aries, if you mess around, you will most certainly find out.

Marjorie Cameron

In the Major Arcana of the tarot, the sign of Taurus is represented by the high hat and magic hands of the Hierophant card. The word translates to “one who reveals the sacred,” and the fixed earth of Taurus, at their dirt magic best, operates as a conduit and a chord between the immaterial and material, the known and the unknown.

We see this card find its feminine form in artist, occultist, witch and absolute Taurus Majorie Cameron, known professionally as Cameron.

Born under the sign of the bull on April 23, 1922, Cameron would find fame (and catch an obscenity charge) for her pen and ink work “Peyote Vision.” Featuring an image of a woman — bare-breasted, back arched, serpent tongue extended, getting it on with a shadow demon with a peyote button for a skull — the 1955 piece was, of course, inspired by Cameron’s own transcendent experience. After the legal debacle (and like a true, stubborn AF Taurus), Cameron vowed never to show her work again.

Taurus is built to endure and enjoy. In-kind, Cameron outlived two husbands and, according to “Vice,” in her later years and in true bull fashion, she “devoted herself to practicing Tai Chi, smoking pot, and spending time with her loved ones and … making art, of course.”


Honorable mention for Taurus witchery goes to French sorceress and master of poison La Voisin. Selling to royalty, killing by consumables and getting rich hawking love spells, La Voisin embodies the velvet underbelly of Venus.


Maura Moreira (sitting) as Tituba and Helmut Ibler (kneeling) as reverend Hale during a rehearsal of a scene from “The Crucible.”
picture alliance via Getty Images

Ruled by the silver tongue, sly wink and spinning yarn of Mercury, Gemini is the sign of the liminal. Tituba, an accused witch, star witness and enduringly mysterious figure, embodies the “story as sorcery” power of mutable air.

An enslaved woman, Tituba was among the first people to be accused of witchcraft in Salem in 1692, and her testimony was by far the wildest and most wildly entertaining, complete with blood oaths, red cats, winged women and the devil in a black jacket.

“She introduced a full, malevolent cast, their animal accomplices and various superpowers,” Smithsonian Magazine reports. “A sort of satanic Scheherazade, she was masterful and gloriously persuasive … More than anyone else, she propelled America’s infamous witch hunt forward, supplying its imagery and determining its shape.”

Masterful and gloriously persuasive? Giving shape to hysteria and imagery to the unimaginable? Living Gemini Jean-Paul Sartre’s theory “Hell is other people” and being cunning enough to escape that hell alive?

A Gemini icon if ever there was one.

Baba Yaga

Baba Yaga stomps through the forest with shrooms at her feet and phallus in hand.
Heritage Images/Getty Images

“Baba Yaga represents everything that is both beautiful and monstrous about divine motherhood,” Budenz reveals. “Sometimes depicted as a fearsome ogre, sometimes as a helpful guide to young, questing lads, Baba Yaga lives in a hut that stomps around the forest on chicken legs, and in addition to making a lavish stew, she will probably ruin you if you’re a bad houseguest.

“Is there anything more Cancerian than that?

The vibes might be weird and vaguely threatening at times, but Baba Yaga’s hut feels strangely like home.

Jacob Budenz

“Ruled by the moon and the archetype of the mother, like Baba Yaga the average Cancer is most likely to want to invite you to their hyper-curated home, serve you some bizarre food and, as long as you’re a good guest, send you on your merry way more enriched than you were before.

“The vibes might be weird and vaguely threatening at times, but Baba Yaga’s hut feels strangely like home. Unless you piss her off — in which case she will almost certainly eat you.”

Winfred Sanderson

Vain with a commanding stage presence, Winnie, played by Bette Midler in “Hocus Pocus,” is all Leo.
©Buena Vista Pictures/Courtesy

With a shock of iconic hair and the crippling thorn of vanity wedged deep in her proverbial paw, “Hocus Pocus” witch Winifred Sanderson is mane-shaking, ring-leading Leo energy incarnate.

Leo rules the fifth house of creativity, carnivals and the inner child. In-kind, Winnie is ever trying to keep herself young. Image-obsessed, the eldest Sanderson sister takes to vaping the souls of innocent children to preserve her youth.

Leos are prone to pageantry and fed most fully by a spotlight. Apropos of this, Winnie has a serious stage presence and is the clear leader of this family band, galvanizing the adult population of Salem to dance themselves to death through a spellbinding karaoke performance.

Marie Laveau

Angela Bassett as the witch queen Marie Laveau in “American Horror Story: Coven.”
©FX Networks/Courtesy Everett Collection

Virgo is ruled by Mercury, the planet of the mind and the mouth and, apropos of this, most of what we know about Marie Laveau exists more in story than fact.

The product of an oral tradition that braids hearsay, mythos and intrigue, Marie Laveau, like many a Virgo, is remembered for her innate ability to organize, heal, advise, protect and, most of all, to help. We know that Laveau was born Sept. 10, 1801, under the stars of Virgo and the rich soil of mutable earth.

What is a spell, if not a prayer? What is a prayer, if not a spell?

Virgo rules the sixth house of service and daily rituals, and it’s believed Laveau ran a beauty shop in the fair city of New Orleans. Cutting hair and collecting gossip, much of her magic was derived from listening and delivering, the power tenants of Virgos who are adept at anticipating the needs of others.

Virgo is a sign related to temple worship and purification rites; coincidentally Laveau was both a Voodoo practitioner and a devout Catholic, recognizing that both realms offered an avenue to aid and intercession.

After all, what is a spell, if not a prayer? What is a prayer, if not a spell?

Glinda the Good Witch of the North

Billie Burke as Glinda and Judy Garland as Dorothy in the 1939 classic film “The Wizard of Oz.”
Courtesy Everett Collection

Materializing into being and into the cultural consciousness out of an incandescent bubble, emerging in a ball gown in broad daylight with a high-pitched question of good and evil, Glinda is an apex Libra.

Ruled by Venus, planet of love, beauty and the holy pursuit of aesthetics, Libras often conflate attractiveness with decency — and Glinda is no exception.

“Only bad witches are ugly,” she imparts before grave robbing a deceased witch and re-gifting her shoes to the gobsmacked Dorothy. Glossing over difficult truths with cheap charm and a metric ton of tulle? A chorus of minions at the ready and a popularity contest in the bag? Something subversive under all that sugar and spice?

It all adds up to a whole lotta Libra, folks.

Occultist Aleister Crowley circa 1954.
Bettmann Archive

Honorable mention goes to IRL Libra Alister Crowley. Born Oct. 12, 1875, Crowley was a true bon vivant. Deeply dedicated to decadence, he used charm, sex magic, a stage name and a family inheritance to earn himself acolytes, lovers and a reputation as the “wickedest man in the world.” Like many a Libra before him, he died penniless and infamous.

Astrology 101: Your guide to the star

Nancy Downs, ‘The Craft,’ 1996

Fairuza Balk as obvious Scorpio Nancy Downs in “The Craft.”
©Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett

Has there ever been a more gloriously stereotypical Scorpio brought to the screen than Fairuza Balk as Nancy Downs in 1996’s “The Craft?”

Power-hungry, prone to extremes and a champion at uncomfortable eye contact, Nancy exhibits some of the darker expressions of the Scorpio archetype.

Scorpio rules the eighth house of sex, death and other people’s money — themes present in Nancy’s preference for funerary aesthetics; citing betrayal as an offense punishable by death, using magic to seduce and then murder a would-be rapist, killing her step-dad with the sheer, kinetic force of her rage; living off and moving up courtesy of said dead dad’s life insurance policy; using snakes as avatars, and gliding across the floor in pointed black boots with athame in hand and vengeance on her brow.

Pure, fixed, underbelly underworld water power, my friends — and beautiful to behold.

Dion Fortune

Born Dec. 6, 1890, the British occultist, Sagittarius, psychic medium, magician and certified bad b—h Dion Fortune demonstrated the high-flying ideals and freedom-forward ethos of her sun sign.

Sagittarius is ruled by the benevolent, luck-doling, belt-loosening, mind-blowing, horizon-broadening, drunk-on-optimism planet Jupiter. In-kind, Fortune, who founded the Society of Inner Light, maintained that she spent a past life as a temple priestess in the lost city of Atlantis and was able to use her channeling gifts to download and disseminate essential wisdom. Naturally.

Fortune studied and rejected the works of Freud and Jung, convinced that pair of gray hairs were “unable to comprehend the full range of the human mind’s capabilities.” From her adopted last name and a belief that sex could be used to conjure the otherworldly to claims that she consorted with both Merlin and Socrates, Fortune proves herself every inch a rock ‘n’ roll scholar, a rabble-rousing theologian and an absolute archer.

Sabrina Spellman

Pointing fingers and rocking a half ponytail, Sabrina (played by Melissa Joan Hart in the 1990s series) is all sea goat.
Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

“OK, so ‘Chilling Adventures’ pegs Sabrina squarely in Scorpio, and back in the ’90s her birthday would’ve made her an Aries. We say, screw all that — you can’t convince us that the OG Sabrina was anything but a Capricorn,” Budenz imparts “Lest we forget her iconic pancake addiction, which is basically the most Capricorn thing ever, and as much as she tries to deny it or walk away from it, she stays loyal and true to Harvey through the end.

“Melissa Joan Hart’s Sabrina is family-oriented, willing to try anything from the practical to the esoteric to manifest the dreams of herself and her loved ones, earning her honorary Capricorn status regardless of her conflicting origin stories.”


Stone bust of Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft.
De Agostini via Getty Images

Ever riding the line betwixt tradition and transgression, structure and destruction, Aquarius is the uncontested outsider of the zodiac.

Enter Hecate, goddess of the crossroads, sorcery, necromancy, twin torches, spells, barking dogs and underworld recon. Her name means “worker from afar” from the Greek word hekatos. Apropos etymology for Aquarius, a sign that seems to hover above rather than walk among.

In statuary, Hecate is depicted in triple form, indicating both her power and her powerful ability to see in every direction at once — an aspirational vantage for this fixed air sign.

Rumor has it Rasputin’s severed, pickled penis is still being used in spell-casting to this very day.

Rasputin in 1914.
Getty Images

Honorable mention goes to the lascivious, hard-to-kill, wolf-eyed Russian mystic Gregor “The Mad Monk” Rasputin. Born Jan. 22, 1869, this water bearer used hypnosis to heal, rank musk to seduce and the mysterious blend of heathen and holy man to rise from obscurity to infamy. Rumor has it his severed, pickled penis is still being used in spell-casting to this very day.

Madame Blanc, “Suspiria,” 2018

Madame Blanc has mutable water written all over her.
©Amazon/Courtesy Everett Collection / Everett Collection

Budenz writes: “Is there a sign more suited to a culty feminist dance teacher than a Pisces? Pisces sees straight to your core and, like Madame Blanc, is just as capable of sending you a jolt of mystical warmth and energy as they are to look into your eyes and hiss, ‘You’re confusing physical weakness for artistic preference!’ Like the other water signs, Pisces’ superpower lies in reading emotions, which may explain why a number of famous cult leaders were born beneath this mutable sign.

A Pisces can eviscerate you with a single, calm word or guide you to your highest potential.

Jacob Budenz

“A Pisces can eviscerate you with a single, calm word or guide you to your highest potential. Under the tutelage of Madame Blanc, the young dancers-turned-witches accomplish miracles, but those who cross her wind up twisted into a human knot like Olga. And the most Pisces part of it all? It’s not even Madame Blanc who does the twisting. She guides her new star pupil, Suzy, through the dance that ruins Olga’s body and makes it feel like a moment of feminist empowerment for her protege.”

Astrologer Reda Wigle researches and irreverently reports back on planetary configurations and their effect on each zodiac sign. Her horoscopes integrate history, poetry, pop culture and personal experience. She is also an accomplished writer who has profiled a variety of artists and performers, as well as extensively chronicled her experiences while traveling. Among the many intriguing topics she has tackled are cemetery etiquette, her love for dive bars, Cuban Airbnbs, a “girls guide” to strip clubs and the “weirdest” foods available abroad.


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