Understanding Herbs Astrologically

In a similar way that the astrological pattern enables us to see the relationship between the human body, psyche, and soul, so too does it allow us to understand the connection between a plant’s physical, energetic and spiritual properties.

It’s common in modern day herbalism to have one particular system for understanding the medicinal properties of a plant and how it acts upon the body, and a totally different model for how a plant can heal the mind, heart and spirit. But in a truly holistic model, we see that the physical symptoms of the body are reflections of what’s going on in the mind and soul. As such, the medicinal properties of a plant are not separate, meaning that the way they heal the mind and spirit is based upon the same pattern in the way they heal the body.

The goal of the astro-herbalist, is to learn to see these patterns of relationship between a plant’s chemistry, energetics and spiritual properties, to see into the essence of the plant – it’s wholeness – and how it heals the whole person. This essence of the plant is encompassed by its primary astrological, or planetary, “ruler.”

Each planet in medical astrology has certain qualities and characteristics associated with it that points towards which plants are connected or similar to that planetary quality. This is done through looking at organ rulerships, energetic qualities like temperature (hot/cold), moisture (damp/dry) and tone (tonifying/relaxing), morphological characteristics as seen through the doctrine of signatures, tastes, and other properties.

For example, with Cayenne pepper we see a bright red coloration of the fruits which exhibit a highly pungent, aromatic taste. It has a primary affinity for the heart, blood, and cardiovascular system and a very warming and drying energetic quality. It stimulates circulation of the blood, promotes diaphoresis, eases musculoskeletal pain and inflammation, and has antiseptic properties as well.

All of these properties of Cayenne are directly correlated to Mars, the red planet. Mars rules the blood and its circulation, is hot energetically, governs immunity, fever, inflammation, and pain associated with heat. Many spicy pungent plants relate to Mars, as it’s the hottest of all the planets. Thus we can see that the properties of this medicinal plant are similar, or sympathetic, to the planet Mars.

Based on these signatures, we can start to understand the subtler properties of this plant and how it might operate upon the psychological, emotional and spiritual levels as well. Mars also relates to our willpower, the action we take out in the world and our ability to exhibit a “warrior spirit.” It’s common for people with excessive Mars to be overheated both physically and psychologically, which can express as anger, irritability, frustration, or a controlling/domineering nature. If in deficiency, we’ll see folks with low willpower and drive, a lack of strength in character and confidence, a timidity in the personality. As Cayenne embodies the force of Mars in such a powerful way, we may see it facilitating upon some of these patterns in the personality of the person that uses it, especially in spagyric preparations of the plant which concentrates this celestial power into the extract.

In essence, the pattern of astrology helps the modern herbalist have a system for understanding the holistic properties of plants in ways that reach far beyond merely knowing its actions, energetics, chemistry and medicinal properties. It gives us one language, one pattern, one framework that unites their physical, energetic and spiritual qualities that gets us closer to grasping their essential nature that heals the whole person.

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