Who are those Watchers, anyway? We’ve all asked that question at one point, at least those of us who regularly cast sacred circles or work with correspondence lists and the effects of the elements or the cardinal directions generally associated with many Pagan traditions, Wicca among them. Just what exactly are the Watchers who watch us from within those Watchtowers?
Let me first explain that I am not referring to the thoughtforms we call “watchers” (although in a sense all astral entities can be defined as either being, or originating in part, from thoughtforms). I am speaking of those entities we call upon for protection and assistance during rituals of worship and magickal workings. And since my M.O. lately seems to be to revisit a basic concept learned in my First or Second Degree Training at Sacred Mists, and then rip it apart to its quantum level so I can understand what it is and why we use it, it is not surprising that I decided to do the same with Watchers.
The first concept to remember is that the terms “Watchers” and “Angels” are mostly synonymous, and thus, interchangeable. My personal research regarding Angels has brought me to define Angels as ancient beings or entities, some of whom are tasked with or have volunteered to work with humanity’s evolution, who did not originate here on our physical world, who have entirely completed their own evolutionary processes as a species, and who exist within the non-physical realms (although they can reside within a physical body if they so choose). Angels are not associated solely with the Christian Traditions; actually, references to Angels can be found that predate Christianity. I believe that some tend to associate Angels with Christianity because much (but not all) of the information out there regarding Angels is couched in Christian terminology. All of this applies to Watchers also, and makes our task of understanding Watchers a bit easier.
The term that ended up bringing me the most valuable understanding of Watchers is “the Four Royal Stars of Persia.” The Four Royal Stars of Persia are actual stars, easily located in the nighttime sky, and at least slightly familiar to anyone with an astronomical bend: Aldebaron, Regulus, Antares and Formalhaut. These four stars became “Royal” when ancient astronomers realized that each star comes into prominence towards the height of each of the four seasons, and thus assigned powers and correspondences to the stars according to the associated season. Below is a brief summary, in no way complete, of information I found while researching each star:
Aldebaron (“the Follower”), Persian name, Tascheter or Tishtya (also associated with Sirius and Arcturus), reaches dominance at the Spring Equinox, and thus it is associated with sunrise, the cardinal direction of East, and the season of Spring. It is found in the constellation Taurus, and has a possible planetary companion; it is associated with Archangel Michael, and eloquence, integrity, courage, agitation, loss and violent death. This star is probably the source of the phrase “hitting the bull’s eye,” and is said to predict riches, honor and integrity, but those benefits are usually presented through the passing of some kind of test.
Regulus (“little king” or “prince”), Persian name Venant, Vanant or Wanand (also associated with Vega, Altair, Corvus, Sirius and Procyon), reaches dominance at the Summer Solstice, and is found in the constellation Leo; it is associated with the Archangel Raphael, and nobility, ambition, great power, alertness, leadership, sudden downfall, accidents and violence. Metaphysically, because I associate the element of Fire (heat, Summer, daylight) with the direction of South, my first instinct is to place Regulus in the Southern quarter; more on that choice can be found below these descriptions. This star predicts success within your chosen field, even fame, however it also warns of the good possibility that you will be tempted to take revenge. The warning is to be listened to, for if you give in to the temptation, all that you have strived for will turn to dust.
Antares (“holds against Ares (Mars),” and “the heart of the Scorpion”), Persian name Satevis, Sataveaesa or Sadwes (also associated with Crux, and the stars of Musca Australis), reaches dominance at the Fall Equinox, and thus it is associated with sunset, the cardinal direction of West, and the season of Fall. It is found in the constellation Scorpio; it is associated with Archangel Uriel, and adventure, obstinacy, stubbornness and violence, as well as injuries to eyes and sudden loss. This star can also indicate trouble dealing with emotions because they are easily triggered.
Formalhaut (“mouth of the fish,” and “the Star of Alchemy”), Persian name Haftorang, Haftoreng or the Haptoiringas (also associated with Ursa Major), reaches dominance at the Winter Solstice, and is found in the constellation Pisces; it is associated with Archangel Gabriel, and magic, fame, the occult, faith, alchemy, addiction, undesirable associates and congenital birth defects. Metaphysically, because I associate the element of Earth (cold, Winter, nighttime) with the direction of North, my first instinct is to place Formalhaut in the North; again, more on this choice below. This star is associated with creative mental energy, which can either have a positive effect or a challenging one.
The “need to choose” mentioned above is connected with a discrepancy I found in the seasonal/directional associations with the North/Winter and Formalhaut, and the South/Summer and Regulus; in some sources, their positions are reversed. To me it appears there is no wrong answer, just personal preference.
Interpretation number 1: Regulus reaches dominance at the Summer Solstice. Metaphysically, because I associate the element of Fire (heat, Summer, daylight) with the direction of South, my first instinct is to place Regulus in the Southern quarter and give it Summer/Fire correspondences. Formalhaut reaches dominance at the Winter Solstice. Metaphysically, because I associate the element of Earth (cold, Winter, nighttime) with the direct of North, my first instinct is to place Formalhaut in the North and give it Winter/Earth correspondences.
Now for the contradiction, interpretation number 2: If we consider the horizontal line (Aldebaron and Antares) as a left/right flow of energy in a solar way (after all, that is the direction our sun moves), then we can see the vertical line as an above/below flow of energy, similarly in a solar fashion. The concept of “above” is usually associated with noon and the peak of light for the day, and thus with the season of Summer. The concept of “below” is usually associated with midnight and the deepest dark of night, and thus with the season of Winter. If we take this into consideration, Regulus, with its association to the Summer Solstice, should be “above” and thus, North, and Formalhaut, with its association to the Winter Solstice, should be “below” and thus, South. For the record, after much consideration, I chose interpretation number 1 because it meshed best with my own Practice; you should choose whichever interpretation meshes with your own Practice.
Both the Bible and the Book of Enoch speak about Watchers as Fallen Angels, and certainly not as entities beneficial to know, or even as being benign and neutral. Enoch tells us in detail of these Fallen Angels who, for their own pleasures, decided to disobey Yahweh’s version of the Prime Directive (a Star Trek reference which basically prohibits sharing advanced knowledge with less advanced civilizations). These Fallen Angels shared hidden and secret advanced knowledge with humans, and infused their non-human DNA into human beings by mating with humans (the Nephilim are said by Enoch to be the dangerous hybrid offspring of that mating), changing humans to the point that Yahweh decided to wipe the slate clean through the Great Flood of the Bible in order to start over.
I wondered for a time why I would want to call such entities to my circle and offer them influence in my rituals and workings. I had to ponder a bit before I realized that even if this story was based on some real experience with Watchers (and not some propaganda to discourage humans from associating with Watchers), the Watchers in the story were only a segment of the species (about 200, according to Enoch), and condemning an entire species because of the ill-advised and unethical actions of a few is not right. After all, humans are known to perpetuate some horrific harms upon other species, our planet and each other, but we certainly don’t condemn all of humanity because of the actions of a few.
I do not see Watchers as Elementals, although they have a connection to Elementals. Watchers each rule a cardinal direction, a season, an astrological time and an astronomical event, as well as the correspondences to each of those concepts. The elements are listed among those correspondences, and thus, so are Elementals. Watchers are complicated and intelligent beings or entities (who may have originated as thoughtforms but who have been in existence long enough to attain a high level of independent awareness) consisting of pure energy, completely evolved, and who don’t need a physical vehicle in order to exist and function.
Like those highest and purest forms of sacred feminine and sacred masculine energy that are our Goddesses and Gods, part of the nature of Watchers causes them to respond to attempts to interact with them. When I cast a circle, I call the Watchers to each of the cardinal directions for several purposes. I call them to protect my circle in accordance with each of their “specialties.” I call them to ask for their support and guidance regarding a ritual of worship or magickal working, and their intervention in support of the ritual or working (or their nullification of it, if nullification is in my best interest), again in accordance with each of their specialties. The Watchers come when I call because it is of their nature to come, just as it is of my nature to desire their presence; I may in a sense “command” them, but I am no better than they are and I treat them with respect. I like to think that we all feel that any ritual or working is made more complete and perfect by the inclusion of each of our essences.
Watchers oversee the elements and their effects, among other things, but they would not replace the Elemental Guides who have come to me through my studies and degree training at Sacred Mists, and under most circumstances they would not dictate the contributions or actions of those Elemental Guides. Elemental Guides bring much to my efforts and insert their specific energies into my workings, my rituals and my sacred circle; of course, what they bring is completely connected with their individual element as it relates to our world. Plus, Elemental Guides help me within other focuses, such as in my chakra work.
Watchers, true to their names, watch both what is happening within my circle and what is happening outside of my circle. They can also have an effect on me directly because they are connected to times and seasons, astrology and astronomy. The presence of each of the Watchers’ stars, the Royal Stars of Persia, in my astrological sign can have a direct effect on me just as the presence of one of the planets in our solar system in my astrological sign can have a direct effect on me. Plus, Watchers guard powerful vortexes or portals (we call them Watchtowers) that connect to ancient knowledge, and cultivating a relationship with them might allow me to make use of the energies associated with those vortexes or portals. Watchers are also vast reservoirs of information concerning the development of our civilization; many believe that Watchers are tasked with teaching and guiding humans as we develop.
In the end, my efforts to increase my understanding of Watchers have brought new depth, flavor and texture to my rituals and workings, and to my own humanness and ability to experience life and living.
Sacred Mists Wiccan Degree Training Lessons
Progressive Magic Course with Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone
Wikipedia (“Watchers,” “Angels,” “The Four Royal Stars of Persia”)
The Book of Enoch: Angels, Watchers and Nephilim, by Dr. A. Nyland
Return of the Angels, by Migine Gonzalez-Wippler
Gateway of the Gods: An Investigation of Fallen Angels, the Nephilim, Alchemy, Climate Change, and the Secret Destiny of the Human Race, by Craig Hines
The Wiccan Mysteries: Ancient Origins and Teachings, by Raven Grimassi