Herbs of the Sun, Moon and Planets excerpt

Mar 12th, 2018 | By | Category: Articles, Book News

Below is the introduction to Herbs of the Sun, Moon and Planets, by Steve Andrews.

This book is about the herbs of other planets in the solar system, so is certainly a bit different from many other herbals. But how can there be herbs on the other planets you are no doubt asking?

Well, the answer is simple: the plants don’t grow on other worlds, but are ruled over by planetary deities, each of which has its own special characteristics and associations.

The historic herbalists, such as Nicholas Culpeper, came up with ways of grouping herbs into various categories so that they had a reference guide to their properties and knew which ones to try using to treat specific ailments. For example, there was the means of classification known as the Doctrine of Signatures, whereby a plant was named after a part of the body it was thought to resemble and then believed to be a good remedy for illnesses affecting that area. Lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis), with its broad and spotted leaves, was thought to have a similarity to the human lungs, and so this herb was thought to be good for respiratory complaints. The Doctrine of Signatures was one method ancient herbalists used, but there was another, because they also decided that, just as in astrology it is believed that specific planets and their gods rule over
individual zodiac signs, the same principle applied to herbs.

Mars is known as the god of war and so all plants he ruled over had some sort of Martian characteristic. They might have red berries or red sap, or perhaps their juice was caustic. They might be covered in spines or able to sting. In other words they had something about them that was warlike and aggressive.

By contrast, the Roman goddess Venus was associated with love, beauty, sexuality and growth. The dainty herb known as Vervain (Verbena officinalis) is a herb of Venus, and in witchcraft it is used in rituals and spells to attract love.

Sometimes it isn’t so obvious as to why a herb has been chosen to have a particular planetary ruler, but usually there are characteristics we can see and understand as to why the herbalists agreed that a plant was ruled by a specific deity. Herbalism according to the planetary rulers of the plants and spices makes a fascinating study and could perhaps inspire some interesting herb garden collections. It would be possible to collect and grow species that represent each planet, with herbs of the Sun growing in a circle in the middle of the garden. Yes, there are herbs that are thought to be ruled by the Sun as well, and also by the Moon. These two very important heavenly bodies are included in this work as well with some of the plants they have dominion over, and both are thought of as ‘planets’ from the point of view of practitioners of the esoteric and occult arts.

I have decided to choose seven herbs for each planetary ruler. Of course, not all herbalists, ancient or modern, agreed on everything, and so there are some herbs that are listed under more than one planet. They may well have characteristics that could represent either and thus the confusion. Others are so obvious that once you get to understand the rules behind this you can often spot what planet rules a specific herb just by looking at the plant. It will certainly give you plenty to think about!

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