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Astrology and Herbalism

Celestial Nature of Plants

By Veronique Foster

Astrology and Herbalism

Herbalist and Astrologer, Nicholas Culpeper

Hulton Archive / Getty Images
Herbalism has regained a lot of respect lately and has helped many people improve and maintain their health. However, it seems to me that most people have lost touch with the true spirit of plants. They have forgotten what healers around the world have known: plants can heal us on a mental and a spiritual level as well as on a physical plane.

Perhaps, if we go back in time and look at plants the way our ancestors did, we can adjust our perspective on healing and live by this knowledge and wisdom. As we take our herbal teas or supplements, we can benefit greatly from putting our intent on the celestial nature of plants and their special healing power and virtues.

First, we must consider that our ancestors' understanding of the world was based on the fundamental beliefs.

Fundamental Beliefs

  • People, plants, planets and constellations are made of the same elements (fire, earth, air and water) and the same energies (hot/dry, hot/moist, cold/dry, cold/moist). This commonality facilitates people's connection with nature and the universe.
  • The human body is a miniature replica of our solar system with each body part and system symbolically representing a sign and planet.
  • Nature often has a way to tell us what a specific plant is good for. This belief has even been attributed to Adam who, in naming the creatures in the Garden of Eden, understood that each name has the power to describe the essence of things.
Hence, celestial correspondences were established by keenly observing what a plant is good for, detailed in the Doctrine of Signatures, and by using the language of astrology and its rich, ancient contribution to our medical wisdom. In this article, let us focus on some aspects of the Doctrine of Signatures, attributed to Paracelsus (1493- 1541), and begin to understand the richness of its philosophy.

Appearance of Plants

  • Sun: Plants with heart shaped leaves are used for heart ailments. Plants with yellow flowers (Calendula, St. John's Wort) and plants that turn towards the sun (Dandelion) are associated with the Sun.
  • Mars: Plants with thorns or prickles (Milk Thistle, Nettle) are identified with Mars, the planet symbolizing a pioneer, combative spirit.
  • Saturn: Plants that exhibit a knobby quality may remedy swollen joints, the body part associated with Capricorn, ruled by Saturn. Perennials with long lives (Mullein), plants with annual rings or woody plants (Kava Kava) are also identified with Saturn, the planet of aging.
  • Mercury: Plants with hairy, fuzzy leaves (Mullein) often correspond to the cilia of the mucus membranes of the lungs, the body part associated with Gemini, ruled by Mercury. Plants that have finely divided leaves like the bronchi of lungs (Dill, Fennel) or vines that grow on trees (Honeysuckle) are also associated with Mercury, the planet of communication and planet ruling the nervous system.
  • Venus: Plants with lots of mucilage (Marshmallow) soothe irritated mucus membranes, associated with Taurus, ruled by Venus. Plants with beautiful flowers (Vervain, Violet) or red fruits (Raspberry) are also linked with Venus, the planet symbolizing beauty.
  • Moon: Plants with little white or pale yellow flowers (Cleavers) and plants with juicy leaves (Catnip) or moon shaped leaves (Caraway).
  • Jupiter: Large edible plants (Burdock, Centaury), that remind people of the planet of expansion.
  • Neptune: Plants growing in or near the ocean (Dulse, Kelp) as Neptune is the Lord of the Oceans.

Plant Qualities

  • Sun: Plants beneficial to the heart and circulation (Motherwort, Ginger)
  • Mars: Plants growing under adversity (Elder, Beet, Blackberry).
  • Venus: Herbs that calm overindulgence in food (Burdock, Vervain, Sage).
  • Saturn: Plants that are grounding (Ho Shu Wu) and help one complete projects on the material plane.
  • Mercury: Plants that are good for the nervous system (Skullcap, Lavender).
  • Moon: Plants that may affect the subconscious. Plants living by the water (Peppermint, Watercress).
  • Jupiter: Herbs that promote a positive frame of mind and expansion (Oatstraw).
  • Neptune: Mystical herbs that are helpful in dream work (Skullcap) or help bring physical concepts to the next plane (Willow).
  • Uranus: Herbs that are hybrids and easy to transplant as Uranus is the planet of sudden changes. Herbs that energize, stimulate and promote inspiration (Cinnamon, Cloves).
  • Pluto: Herbs beneficial for enhancing sexuality (Damiana, Saw Palmetto) and for balancing the physical and spiritual aspects of a personality.
First, all these correspondences demonstrate how harmonious our natural world and our Universe are! As we get a sense of belonging to this organized, beautiful world, we feel more connected and gain a higher consciousness.

Secondly, by creating a state of resonance with the planetary energy of our choice, we help strengthen our energetic field and connection with ourselves. In fact, famous scientists like Fritz Poppe, William Reich (founder of Orgone Therapy), Harold Saxton, Robert Jahn and Brenda Dunne have all demonstrated that we receive planetary energies through our skin, our energetic field or states of resonance.

Which planetary energy should one support? I recommend that people look at the planets ruling their Sun (Birth) sign, Moon sign or Rising sign: Supporting their Sun Sign will increase their vitality, supporting their Moon sign will nourish their emotional make up and supporting their rising sign will nourish their physical body. Of course, with the help of an astrologer, people can explore many other avenues!

This article is a reference work not intended to treat, diagnose or prescribe. The information contained herein is in no way to be considered as a substitute for consultation with a licensed health professional.

Further reading:
Culpeper's Color Herbal, 1983
Cunningham, Scott, Cunninghams' Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, 1994
Hopman, Ellen Evert, A Druid's Herbal, 1995
Moore, Erin, Astrology and Herbal Energetics, 1993
Petulengro, Leon, Herbs, Health and Astrology, 1977
Tobyn, Graeme, Culpeper's Medicine, a practice of Western Holistic Medicine, 1997
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