THE ASTROLOGY OF Herbs
Like humans, herbs have complex personalities. They grow and develop under cosmological influences as much as we do. They favor and thrive in certain environments, and they, too, have a nervous system. Herbs also feel as much as we do (or more), and they offer a mirror that reflects how some of us prosper under certain astrological transits while others don’t.
The archetypes within each constellation and planetary body are said to contain complex patterns of energy that give birth to the origins of our personalities.
Therefore, the astrological configurations that exist when we are born create our base persona, giving rise to multiple possibilities for each individual’s unique “destiny.” Stellar influences are absorbed into anything that is alive on this planet. Plants absorb these stellar vibrations through photosynthesis, detailing the complex nutritious chemistry contained in both the stars and the planets.
The correlation of plants to planets has existed since time immemorial.
Herbs and diseases have been classified and described energetically in terms of astrological symbolism from the beginning of ancient Egyptian society. In fact, our understanding of the principles of diagnosis and treatment according to occult science were initially considered an essential part of the study of medicine. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, classified disease based on astrological phenomena, using planetary archetypes to decipher treatment and diagnosis of various illnesses.
The herbs found under the Sun’s rulership include mostly strengthening and balancing tonics that assist with general vitality medicines. Since the Sun specifically rules the heart, cardiotonics are found within this section, alongside herbs that nourish the cardiovascular system, as well as herbs that hold strong nutritional value. Herbs of the sun also improve the eyes and clear the vision (metaphorically and literally). Their “hot” and “dry” energy helps dispel cold, damp and phlegm from the lungs and respiratory tract. These herbs resist poison and aid in the recuperation of the vital forces. They are anodyne herbs that relieve pain with their relaxing warmth. Solar herbs provide us with the creativity needed to visualize our Selves within this Universe. With the aid of these herbs, we are better able to recognize our life’s highest purpose.
Herbs of the Sun also help us find a flow that suits our own authentic rhythm. They endow us with the courage to fearlessly seek our true visions, plus the means to manifest them. This naturally leads to tapping into universal abundance. Careful work within solar rituals requires us to be selective and precise with what we’re attracting. Be very clear with the image and changes you’re looking to call in, no matter how painful those changes may be, so the highest ideals can manifest properly in your life.
HERBS OF THE SUN FAVORITES
Almond, Angelica, Bay Laurel, Bergamont, Centaury, Chia, Cinnamon, Eyebright, Frankincense, Guarana, Juniper, Jergon Sacha, Life-Everlasting, Marigold, Mistletoe, Myrrh, Moringa (+Jupiter), Milky Oats, Peony, Rice, Rue, Rhodiola, Rosemary, Rue (+Pluto), St. John's Wort, Sunflower, Turmeric, and Walnut.
The moon houses our intuition and our emotions. Astrologers look at the Moon’s position in natal charts to understand the part of one’s being that is most vulnerable, including the emotions we tend to nurture and protect.
The vibrational impact of the Moon not only affects the tides of the world’s oceans, it also greatly affects the tides of our blood, our subconscious, our emotions, and our intuition. The plants associated with the Moon act principally on all the major fluids of the body (water and blood), the stomach, and the gut. The primary action of fluids within the body is to regulate, nourish, and eliminate waste. Much of our digestive activities and “gut feelings” greatly influence our mood and our emotional bodies.
HERBS OF THE MOON FAVORITES:
Anise, Ashwagandha (+Sun), Blue Lotus, Clary Sage, Chamomile, Fleur-de-Lis, Milk Thistle, Milky Oats (+Sun), Mugwort, Ginger, Poppy, Reishi (+Sun)
Herbs of Mercury may support us in finding much needed clarity, and order, among the internal chaos often found in the monkey mind. They are also of tremendous value to those whose lives involve the written or spoken word. Writers, bloggers, song writers, editors, poets, etc. may all strongly benefit from Mercurial herbs. These plant guides help inspire fierce clarity, whether for meditation or for times in life that might be saturated with confusion and/or spacey-ness.
Astrologers interpret the energy of natal Mercury as the way in which we use our mind. More specifically, mercurial energy impacts the ways in which we apply our five physical senses to obtain information from the world around us. We make sense out of that information based upon the data that is collected and stored in the brain. Just as Mercury, the deity, carries messages from our shadow selves (a.k.a. our “undiscovered” selves) to the outer world (a.k.a. our “manifested” selves), so do our thoughts carry information from the inner to the outer worlds.
HERBS OF MERCURY FAVORITES
Anemone, Bamboo, Brahmi, Cedar, Clover, Geranium, Gotu Kola, Ginkgo, Green Coffee, Honeysuckle, Lady’s Slipper, Lavender, Licorice, Lily-of-the- Valley, Lion’s Mane, Meadowsweet, Mulberry, Mucuna (+Uranus), Parsnips, Pomegranate, Rosemary, Rhodiola (+Sun), Sassafras, Saw Palmetto, Tulsi, Turmeric(+Sun), Valerian
Love and beauty fall under the rulership of Venus. This encompasses all the realms of love, from romantic love, love of family, friends, community, the planet, and other living beings. It is this love, this coming together in empathy, which creates the harmony of Venus. This planetary energy is not just related to aesthetics, it also embodies the many layers of joy, whether casual or spiritual, which all of us seek.
Venusian herbs aren’t just herbs for “beauty” as in our skin and outer layers. It also contains herbs for fundamental happiness, herbs of the heart, euphoric herbs that boost our mojo, along with reproductive tonics and spirit herbs. Herbs of Venus help to calm us at our core, and they attune us to giving and receiving greater love.
HERBS OF VENUS FAVORITES
He Shou Wu (+ Sun), Bobinsana (+Saturn), Bergamont (+Sun), Balm of Gilead, Camu Camu, Horsetail (+Saturn), Rose (+Sun), Geranium, Mangosteen (+Jupiter), Orchid, Schisandra, Ylang Ylang
Mars represents primal energy, the fuel that helps us manifest ideas, dreams, and desires. Mars yields and provides us with power, strength, courage, and physical activity. Within astrological charts, Mars is a key element noting aspects of one’s drive, desire, agility, and the nature of one’s physical energy. It also notes how, from where and when we derive our energy (or not). Astrologers look to Mars’ placement in the natal chart to describe how we pursue many aspects of how we take action, source energy within the body-mind, activate enthusiasm, catalize dreams, and even the way we pursue sexual fulfillment and desires.
Mars can also note where we might be prone to inflammation or imbalance. The placement of Mars and its energetic signature can note where we may hold potential triggers or undealt aspects of our personality, which might cause us to be overwhelmed, frustrated, or angry. This greatly helps understand the depths of particular triggers or inflammatory responses, assisting us in learning, discovering, and evolving them.
HERBS OF MARS FAVORITES
Coffee (+Uranus), Catuaba, Guarana, Maca, Prickly Ash, Pine (+Pine Pollen), Ginkgo (+Mercury), Ephedra
Jupiter is often thought of as the planet of abundance, higher wisdom, success, and expansiveness. Its energy allows us to have an expansive outlook and increased access to the resources we need. Jupiter gives off more energy than it receives, so it is not surprising that this planet represents the concepts of generosity and benevolence.
Adaptogens are a special class of herbs that provide a great amount of vitality, enhancing longevity in the body and mind overall. They’re commonly known for their powerful ability to prevent the damaging effects of stress on the organs, enabling deep protection on a multi-organ level, and for assisting the body in adapting to life’s many challenges. Many of Jupiter’s herbs share this energetic ability, as they are multiorgan-targeting herbs that enable a general state of wellbeing and longevity.
Part of what makes adaptogenic herbs so interesting is that they exert seemingly paradoxical effects (like Jupiter’s transits). The same herb may have differing biochemical effects in different individuals or they may affect the same individual differently at different times. The fact that a single substance can attenuate certain mediators in one person or one tissue while increasing them in others may seem paradoxical or even implausible, and yet has been proven to be effective and possible!
HERBS OF JUPITER FAVORITES
Borage, Bodhi Tree, Coltsfoot, Elecampane, Frankincense, Hyssop (with Moon and Mars), Henna, Jasmine, Lavender (with the Sun + Mercury), Melissa, Meadowsweet, Mulberry Tree, Magnolia, Oak Tree, Pine + Pine Pollen, Raspberry Fruit + Leaf, Roses (with Venus), Rose Hips, Sorrel, Suma Brazilian Ginseng, Sumac, Slippery Elm, Wood Betony
The energies of Saturn rule the inheritance of karma. Archetypically, Saturn provides us with protection, courage, endurance and self-control, and also deeply challenges us. Saturn sometimes has a bad reputation because it embodies the obstacles we stumble upon as we go down life’s path. However, it is through overcoming these roadblocks that the lessons of Saturn are learned. Saturn represents our trajectory and achievements over time, as well as the treasures of wisdom earned through life’s hardships. Saturn, also considered the Lord of Time, embodies the lessons and patterning of our ancestral heritage. How we choose to conduct Saturn within our lives determines our ability to work in harmony with it.
In medical astrology, Saturn is associated with the hard structures that hold our body, such as the skeletal system, the knees, the joints, teeth, nails, hair and skin. Saturn is also associated with the gallbladder, and the faculties that process minerals within the body (such as the kidneys and bladder). In esoteric anatomy, this is usually associated with the processing of spirit. The kidneys themselves are also seen as the doorway to spirit. For example, Chanca Piedra is a masterful herbal gallbladder tonic that breaks down calcification, while increasing bile production and clearing out stagnant toxins.
HERBS OF SATURN FAVORITES
Comfrey, Goutwort, Henbane, Mullein, Arnica, Hemp, Horsetail, Solomons Seal, Shepards Purse, St. John's Wort
Uranus is the celestial body that embodies big changes, innovation, breakthroughs, and transformations. It is the planetary body that rules ideas, insight, speed, intuitive “downloads”, transformations, the visionary world, the future, the wisdom of change, and much more. In astrology, Uranus helps us to understand what to let go so that we can take big chances to help catalyze powerful changes within our lives. Uranus is often interpreted in the natal chart as an essential place from where we gather inspiration.
Within the classic texts of medical astrology, the study of the planets beyond Saturn (Trans-Saturnian planets) didn’t exist, and association with herbal remedies came later in history. The ancients had intricate analyses of all the planets between Sun and Saturn—from planetary alignments to biodynamics, and from herbal correspondences to archetypal manifestations. The archetypal energy brought into our lives during a Uranus transit is one of vital change, representing an important transformation that needs to happen regardless of our mental state and desires. On the flip side, unhealthy Uranus energy can manifest as erratic circumstances, having the rug pulled out from underneath us, and sudden, not easily palatable (yet mandatory) changes whose continuation may lead to the fulfillment of our truth.
HERBS OF NEPTUNE FAVORITES
Lotus, Lilies, Mugwort, Silene Capensis, Ayahuasca, Poppy, Psilocybin, Valerian
It’s often said that Galileo mistook Neptune for a star because of its slow movement. Neptune was later “officially” discovered by mathematician John Couch Adams in 1846. It takes Neptune 165 years to complete its whirl around the zodiac, spending roughly 14 years at each sign. It has feminine energy and rules Pisces and the Twelfth House. Neptune is known as the higher octave of Venus and is the second of the transcendental planets. The planet was named after the Roman God of the Seas, who is also known as the Greek God Poseidon.
Neptune’s archetype is felt most strongly as we transition from the dreamworld, in the porous state between dreaming and waking. Neptunian activities like dreaming, having visions, astral traveling, artmaking, etc. help us tap into our emotional body, dispelling illusions that are usually maintained by our ego selves. Neptune brings every day emotions (The Moon) to a higher, more spiritual level. Neptune is said to be the higher resonation of the Moon, representing oceanic consciousness, the collective consciousness. The insights and delusions that arise as we wade through the emotional waters of our own inner seas are reflected in Neptune.
HERBS OF URANUS FAVORITES
Wild Carrot, True Unicorn Root, Spikenard
“Pluto is the archetype of primordial energy, the universal life force which impels all evolution and transformation. Pluto represents the principle of power itself, of elemental force, of primal libido and aggression, and is essentially identical to Freud’s notion of the id. It is the Dionysian energy of life, the Serpent power, the Kundalini. It compels, empowers, overwhelms, transforms; it destroys and resurrects. Pluto governs the instincts and the forces of nature. It rules the biological processes of birth, sex, and death, and at its deepest level it involves the mystery of death and rebirth.” — Rick Tarnas
The herbs of Pluto are moist, potent, and energetically procreative. Most of them have a strength to them, from the way they grow or smell to the impact they give when intaking them. Plutonian herbs cause deep transformations in the body, from powerful healing plants that abolish dis-eases (like anticancer herbs) to those that emotionally shift the body into higher frequencies. These herbs are excellent for easing us through long-term transitions in life, as well as dispelling energies, or situations that no longer serve a purpose. On a more magical note, the herbs of Pluto help us touch the abyss of our emotional bodies and allow us to fully evolve our dharma, our spiritual purpose.
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This 55 card oracle deck encompasses the ancient folk history and medicinal uses of plants, alongside their astrology correspondences and divinatory meanings. Learn how medicinal functions correlate to celestial bodies, and the archetypal language of nature. For more information on the magic and meaning behind this deck, read more about it here.