I have just returned from a week spent in Portland, Oregon at the Lost Secrets of Renaissance Medicine conference hosted by medical astrologer Judith Hill along with her co-teachers, the ineffable Matthew Wood, Oregon herbalist Scott Kloos and evolutionary herbalist Sajah Popham. I have spent over 20 years studying both astrology and herbalism and have begun to integrate my learnings from both fields as my experience over the years has led me to discover what I've observed as a powerful synergy and natural correspondence.
Astrology is an ancient practice and art with roots that stretch into primordial Babylon, Egypt, and Israel, and, although its exact origins are unknown, it has been a consistent source of wisdom and celestial alliance for humans throughout time. It is the predecessor of astronomy with both systems being, at one time, a unified body of knowledge that combined the objective, obseverable measurement and motions of planetary activity with the subjective study of the emotional, biological, spiritual and social influence they have on the gravity bound energies of the Earth. It has presently become a widely popularized form of western divination, entertainment, and has been often confused with predictive fortune-telling. Astrology can be used as a tool to discern the energetic background from which past, present, and future events may be made manifest but, in its essence, is more a symbolic language that describes and defines the holographic resonance that exists between the Earthly and heavenly bodies. The concurrent motion of the planets and their influence on universal activities and functions have been studied, observed and documented by some of human history’s greatest scholars, philosopher’s, and scientists with ongoing experiments being conducted based on numerous hypothesis regarding the reflection of astral light, electromagnetic resonance and medical/physical correspondence.
Although modern physics has begun to analytically validate astrological tenure through studies and emerging scientific theories, it will not soon be likely to comprehend the extensive and mysterious art of interpretation that has evolved from centuries upon centuries of rigorous practice, case studies and intelligent observation. Medical astrology, now seen as a specified branch of study, was at one time integrated into all medical doctrine and was long practiced by the physicians of antiquity that founded our current system of allopathic and technological medicine. Herbal medicine and astrology form a harmonious bond that offers a deeply coherent conception of physical, psychological, spiritual and planetary resonance that was well defined and practiced by many western herbalists of the past. The work of English herbalist Nicholas Culpeper( 1616-1654), along with many other Renaissance scholars, provides us with one of the most extensively recorded treatise on planetary-plant-anatomical relationships that is still referred to today by western herbalists.
The study of astrological herbalism is one of complex and interacting systems but a basic understanding can begin by learning the initial relationship of the plants to the planets, the planets to the human organ systems and the planets to the signs of the zodiac. When many of us consider astrology we automatically think of the horoscopes that are printed in the newspaper. These are merely a list of Sun signs and a generalized interpretation of their meaning in relationship to other stellar influences for that day. A “Sun” sign is the symbol of the zodiac that corresponds to a constellation and where the Sun is in relationship to that constellation on the day that we’re born, although this correspondence is not entirely accurate because the position of the has Earth changed since the signs of the zodiac were first established. Because of this, modern astrology, or any astrology for that matter, is not necessarily a fixed or linear system of classification but a language that aligns human patterns with the motion and architecture of planetary dynamics and qualities. Each individual is born with a unique and varied formulation of aspects that are identified in the natal or birth chart. Each person’s chart contains all of the signs of the zodiac, their corresponding planets, and the relationships between each of these. Each planet expresses its own unique arrangement of qualities and each zodiac sign is ruled by a different planet. The zodiac sign is considered a “field of action” for the planetary qualities to interact with the free will and inherent potential of the individual.
The twelve signs of the zodiac are:
Herbalism, medicine and astrology are connected in several ways but primarily by the correspondence of each sign to specific human organ systems as well as the energetic and elemental character of each planet and its correspondence to the qualities of plants.
"Different species of plants will affect different organs and parts of the body. According to all ancient traditions, including the herbalism of the West, organs are not just accidentally evolved globs of specialized tissue, but are the loci upon which different planetary forces play, centers of different forms of consciousness. Indeed, they are energy confluences where the planets build themselves dwelling places in the microcosm. According to Paracelsus, plant substances can be messengers from the greater wholeness to these centers, restoring the state of health in them." ~Wolf D. Storl, The Herbal Lore of Wise Women and Wortcunners
Every plant is considered to have a planetary ruler and will have an affect on the part of the body that this ruler corresponds to. Some plant to planet examples:
Plants ruled by Mars: Garlic,Ginger, Nettle
Plants ruled by Venus: Plantain, Wild Rose, Pomegranate
Plants ruled by Mercury: Parsley, Skullcap, Lavender
Plants ruled by the Moon: Mugwort, Datura(Moonflower), Lotus
Plants ruled by the Sun: St. Johnswort, Calendula, Goldenrod
Plants ruled by Jupiter: White Cedar, Sage, Dandelion
Plants ruled by Saturn: Mullein, Solomon's Seal, Comfrey
Plants ruled by Uranus: Echinacea, White Pine, Coffee
Plants ruled by Neptune: Kava Kava, California Poppy, Cannabis
Plants ruled by Pluto: Fig, Ghost Pipe, Trillium
Being ruled by a planet indicates that the plant has similar properties, qualities, and energetic patterns and/or that it thrives in similar environmental conditions as those that are conveyed by the planet. It may also be that the plant has an affect on the organ system that is ruled by a planet. For example Saturn rules the bones and the muscle-skeletal system. Solomon's seal is considered a Saturnian plant because it helps to treat conditions of dryness in the joints and arthritis. Each plant may have secondary correspondences as well.
Here at The Root Circle we have a set of flower essences that address various psycho-spiritual and physical issues related the seven inner planets. The descriptions here go into detail about the influence and possible manifestations of each planet: Planetary Essences
And if your interested in a personal astrology reading with Lisa here is information about scheduling an appointment: Astrological Chart Readings
For more information and to further explore herbal astrology refer to the following sources:
Culpeper's Medicine, by Graeme Tobyn
Medical Astrology; A Guide to Planetary Pathology,by Judith Hill
The School of Evolutionary Herbalism-for great online programs and tons of free and highly informative videos!