Plants and Planets

In the past botanists such as Nicholas Culpeper associated plants with the planets, fixed stars and zodiac signs. The attributions were based on an intense study of a plant’s features, which included treats such as a thorny or prickly appearance, the scent emitted by the flowers or the entire plant, the plant’s life cycle, colors, metals contained in a plant, medicinal and other uses and of course plenty of folklore. Today plants are classified scientifically based on their genome, but their planetary lore is preserved and continues to evolve in the books of authors such as Stephen Skinner, Paul Huson, Scott Cunningham, Harold Roth and so on.

I find it fun and inspiring to continue this tradition and to explore its own inner logic. Hence I am listing here examples of plants, that I am working with, many of which are also part of my seed boxes.

(planetary rulers ordered according to the Chaldean sequence, photos by myself)


Saturn
Aconite + Asafoetida + Belladonna + Bistort + Bittersweet Nightshade (also Mercury) + Black Nightshade + Bluebell + Comfrey + Columbine (also Venus) + Cypress + Dodder + Foxglove (also Venus) + Fumitory + Hellebore + Hemp + Henbane + Ivy + Lady’s slipper orchid + Mandrake (also Mercury) + Mullein + Poison Hemlock + Poplar + Scullcap + Solomon’s Seal + Spurge (also Mars) + Yew

Characteristics: borders, hexing & binding, banishing, addressing “elders”, death spells; poisonous plants, plants that thrive in shade or along borders or on poor ground, plants with unpleasant odors; plants that effect the excretory system, cooling plants, plants that effect the bones and aging processes, anticarcinogenic plants


Jupiter
Agrimony + Anise + Avens + Borage + Cinquefoil + Dandelion + Fig + Honeysuckle + Houseleek + Hyssop + Linden + Liverwort + Lungwort + Meadowsweet + Sage + Thyme + Valerian + Walnut + Wood Betony

Characteristics: generosity, religiousness, law and authority, purification; large plants, nutritious plants, plants that effect the liver, digestive system and blood vessels, appetizing plants


Mars
Asafoetida + Basil + Blackthorn + Bloodroot + Bryony + Broom + Cactus + Carrot + Chili Pepper + Coriander + Dragon tree + Garlic + Gentian + Gorse + Hawthorn + High John the Conqueror + Holly + Houndstongue + Leek + Maguey + Masterwort + Mustard + Nettle + Onion + Oregano + Pennyroyal + Pepper + Pine + Radish + Rue + Snapdragon + Spurge + Sweet Woodruff + Thistle + Thornapple + Toadflax + Tobacco + Wormwood + Yucca

Characteristics: protection, attack and revenge, domination, vigor, vitality; plants with thorns and prickly surfaces that may be irritating to the skin, herbs and roots with a strong spicy aroma, warming plants, plants that strengthen the immune system, plants that effect the muscles and tendons, plants that enhance sex drive and potency, blood-purifying plants


Sun
Angelica (also Venus) + Ash + Calamus + Carnation + Cedar + Celandine + Centaury + Cinnamon + Cowslip + Eyebright + Goldenseal + Heliotrope + Hibiscus + Hops + Juniper + Laurel + Lemon + Lovage + Marigold + Marshmallow (also Venus) + Mistletoe + Oak + Olibanum + Olive + Orange + Palm + Peony + Rosemary (also Mercury) + Rowan + Rue (also Mars) + Saffron + St. John’s Wort + Sunflower + Tagetes + Viper’s Bugloss + Yauthli

Characteristics: centering, wealth, general protection; plants effecting the heart and circulatory system, tonics, warming and calming plants, antidepressant plants, plants that effect the spine, plants that ease symptoms arising from photo-toxic reactions, skin protectants, plants that effect eye sight; flowers that resemble the sun in shape and color, plants with a citrus- or orange-like scent


Venus
Almond + Birch + Catnip + Cherry + Cornflower + Columbine (also Saturn) + Cowslip + Crocus + Elder + Feverfew + Foxglove (also Saturn) + Geranium + Goldenrod + Heather + Iris + Lady’s Mantle + Larkspur + Lemon Balm (also Moon) + Lilac + Marshmallow + Myrtle + Plantain + Pansy + Rose + Self-heal + Tansy + Vanilla + Vervain + Violet + Yarrow

Characteristics: love and money spells, protection from martial spells, harmony, balancing; aphrodisiacs, plants effecting the kidneys and urinary system, astringent plants, plants that have effects on the genital tract, plants that aid wound healing and skin lesions, plants with large flowers and velvety leaves, plants with overwhelmingly sweet scents


Mercury
Bittersweet (also Saturn) + Caraway + Chervil + Clary Sage (also Moon) + Clover + Dill + Elecampane + Fennel + Fern + Lavender + Lemongrass + Lily of the Valley + Mandrake (also Saturn) + Marjoram + Mint + Parsley + Pimpernel + Summer Savory

Characteristics: knowledge, travel, communication, divination, psychopomps, trickery; plants effecting the nervous (nervine) and respiratory system, plants with feathery leaves, herbs with intense but short lasting scents, inconspicuous herbs, multicolored herbs, plants with umbels


Moon
Aloe + Cabbage + Chamomile + Clary Sage + Evening Primrose + Field Penny-Cress + Honesty (Lunaria) + Jasmine + Lemon Balm (also Venus) + Lettuce + Lily + Loosestrife + Mallow + Mugwort + Passion Flower + Poppy + Willow

Characteristics: dreams, clairvoyance; plants that are calming, relaxing and cooling, plants that aid sleep, narcotic and anodyne plants, plants that effect the hormone and lymphatic system, plants with a high water content, flowers with a mild sweet or camphorous scent, plants with flowers that open at night

(to be continued)

Useful links:
Planetary Days and Hours
Lunar Gardening Calendar
Correspondence Tables by Harold Roth

-> You know of a other useful websites or books related to the topic of plant astrology? Please add it in the comments below! 🙂

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Officially Spring Now

The buffet is opened: Today came to visit the first bees! Still a bit slow and clumsy from the cold, but so nice to see them back in our garden!

Earlier this week, I went to my old childhood playground and gathered willow catkins. My mom dug out these old painted wooden Easter eggs and little beetles. In 2 weeks I will be moving. It is hard for me to imagine, but something in me is determined to discover and live in a new place.

Winter Returned

Today winter returned once more. The temps went below zero again, but this time the cold was accompanied by snowfall, covering the garden in white. A field fare (Turdus pilaris) – first time for me to see this bird – spends the late winter here, thriving on rose hips and left over fruits. Snowdrops are living up to their name and a spiderweb swaying in the wind, portentously catches snowflakes… the time for winter’s magic isn’t over just yet.

Reading Suggestions on the Poison Path

28833096_10160348495105107_976279603_nIn all honesty, it has been really hard to write this post: it has taken us more than 2 years. We have never been really fond of reading lists, and thus we expect this article will not be seen like that. We have received lots of enquiries regarding recommended books in herbalism and the Poison Path so we have decided to write this reflection, but bear in mind that this is a really delicate matter.

We don’t find the books that change our life, but books find us, and it is no point on giving you an exhaustive list on what to read or not, because, if you have to read a book, in the end, it will come to you just when it is necessary, and when you open it you will surely know from page one that you are reading what you’re supposed to, as if you were accomplishing your


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2018

March 07, 2018

After several weeks of drought and freezing cold, low “Wiebke” first brought rain and then snow, which lasted for a day and brought much needed precipitation. Within a few hours the white blanket was gone again and spring took over the next day. Winter slumber is definitely over! Alas, most early flowering plants had already blossomed at the end of an unusually warm January, and where then surprised by the Siberian cold that lasted throughout the month of February. In the end I ran around the garden with a watering can, carrying and pouring gallons of water from the rain barrel in our basement. Meanwhile we missed to empty the second rain barrel left outdoors and of course it burst when the water in it froze completely. To do: buy new rain barrel!

Now, there is still a bit of work to do with preparing the garden. And god, I am going to miss this view…

March 09, 2018

Meanwhile, I have been dedicating time almost every day to processing last year’s herb harvest, sorting seeds and also began filling the next seed boxes! As of yet, I am done with about 1/3 of the contents. This year I am not doing it all at once, but little by little, working on the boxes parallel with other creations.

I plan to finish processing and packing up all the remaining herbs, seeds and wood until the end of the month. Hence my quietude here. I will be back with news and updates later in April. So long, I am already wishing you a blessed spring equinox and much joy with your own gardening endeavors!

Below some pics from my winter:

And the first flowers:

June 2017

Half time: half of the year is over, half of this heap of soil has been sieved and used for the new flower beds

Summer Solstice and St. John’s, 2017

My ritual for the summer solstice took place on Wednesday morning, at 6:24 am, the time of the astronomical beginning of the summer. As the sun rose, opened also the first poppies, as if they had an inner clock set. Together with the singing of birds and buzzing of early bees frequenting the poppy flowers, I greeted the arrival of the hot season. With the smoke of the incense composed for this occasion, I blessed the new herb patches. A common redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus) that I had already seen a couple of times in the garden, came really close now as if to inspect my doing.

Poppies opening on the morning of the Summer Solstice 2017, bees going wild

I spent the rest of the day planting henbanes and datura into the newly made bed. The following days I harvested different herbs and roots during auspicious hours, and dug up more ground to open up even more space for the herb patches, which by now feels much like a never-ending project. I was often working until dusk, but I would be in magical company…

Incense burnt for the summer solstice, on the morning of the 21st of June 2017

Since the summer solstice there are little fireflies dancing around our garden at dusk. Their literal heyday happens to fall between the summer solstice and Eve of St. John (24th of June), which is why they are also known as “JohanniswĂŒrmchen” in German. It is the night, when the males can bee seen “dancing” in the air in search for a female. The male fireflies are now in their last incarnation, during which they only drink water and sustain themselves from reserves gathered during previous chrysalis stages. The females in turn are not able to fly and thus attract the males by emitting light. From this may stem the English name “glow worms”. There are many different light emitting bugs to be found all across the world. But in my location the males of Lamprohiza splendidula are the only males also capable of emitting light. The males of other firefly species in my area do not emit any light. Hence it is 100% the males of Lamprohiza splendidula when seeing fireflies dancing in the air where I live. When the males have spotted a partner they descend vertically unto the female for copulation and die shortly after. I guess that’s what you call “getting laid”! Now, before you accuse me of disturbing them in their most intimate moment; I found them on our basement steps and first did not realize that it was two mating fireflies. I wanted to secure it but also was curious which species it had here and hence took this photo and then relocated the pair to a nearby flower patch. Hoping for a new and larger generation of fireflies to frequent our garden soon!

JohanniswĂŒrmchen (Lamprohbeginning of summerza splendidula) bei der Paarung, Juni 2017

The garden month of June

When the moon is waning, early in the morning, at the dawn of the Day of Saturn, encircle with an iron tool three times the black hellebore’s root, dig it up protecting your hands, cut it in two, keep the larger half and put the smaller one back into the soil.

Hellebrous niger root, harvested when the moon is dark, at the dawn of the day of Saturn

When the moon is dark, in the middle of the night of Venus and hour of Saturn, light two beeswax candles, one to the left and one to the right of the Valerian. Carefully remove some parts from the roots, which are spreading into all directions. Save a few cuttings for planting new patches of Valerian and keep the rest for drying.

Valerian root, harvested during dark of the moon, in the middle of the night of Venus/hour of Saturn

I have been growing rue in pots for years, always moving it indoors during the cold season. Now was the first time I planted one outdoors. And it gave a sorry sight after the long winter… All the more excited am I to see this very same rue plant flowering and prospering! This little bumblebee joined me.

Bumblebee on flowering rue plant, June 2017

The annual buzz concerto has returned – bumblebees of all size and couleur are busy frequenting the lush flowers of the white and purple flowering foxgloves. As they enter the flower their buzzing sound is amplified.

Bumblebee entering foxglove flower, June 2017

I recently read somewhere that monkshood and foxglove would not get along beside each other. I cannot confirm this…

Shade garden: foxglove and monkshood growing beside another, June 2017

Every year I am enchanted by the sight of the ghostly white flowers of the Northern wolfsbane (Aconitum lycoctonum). It is the first of the aconites to flower and set seed.

Ever haunting, the ghostly white flowers of Aconitum lycoctonum, June 2017

Perfect match: the flowers of blue monkshood are adopted to the physiognomy of bumblebees, the only insects able to enter the flowers…

Blue Haven: large earth bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) on blue monkshood (Aconitum napellus)

This month came also – finally – some rain showers. Though compared to the rest of Germany and previous years, we really had the lowest amount of rain in a long time. I remember our drenched meadow from previous years, June would always be rainy. Not so this year. There were a few short thunderstorms, and relatively soft rains, with maybe 1 exception. In the face of a near blackened sky I spent one afternoon making the garden save for the announced storm, one could hear rolling thunder in the distance… and in the distance it would stay. Our rain barrels ended up only half filled.

Poppy flower after the rain, June 2017

I had sown black, white and purple poppies as well as a mix of seeds. I was really surprised though about the many different colors and shapes. Basically no flower would be like the other: it’s having purple to red, purple to black, black to red, white, white to purple, filled, simple, fringed and all of these combined!

Red corn poppy and fading purple opium poppy after a short rain shower, June 2017

By surprise, these red corn poppies appeared in the patch were I had sown various poppy variants, which were sown in rows and accurately labeled, hehe. These must have been part of the seed mix gifted by one seller. I sure don’t mind…

The first poppies to flower here were the red corn poppies, June 2017

The bees, bumblebees and other pollinators are frequenting the poppies every day, as also new flowers open daily. The foxgloves, Northern wolfsbane and henbane are nearly done flowering. So are the shrubs, except for roses. Lavender has yet to start. So the poppies, rue etc. are a welcome food source.

“All mine you have to be…”, bee on poppy flower, summer solstice, June 2017

Hover flies mimicry the look of other, more dangerous insects to confuse predators. It seems to work also when in competition for newly opened flowers, such as this lovely dark colored poppy.

Hover fly on dark poppy flower, Summer Solstice 2017

Remember the bee approaching a poppy flower above? Here is the same flower, now frequented by a large earth bumblebee. Despite its size it would not dare to access before the bee had left.

Bumblebee on poppy flower, photographed on the morning of the summer solstice 2017

So much for them poppies. 10 days later and with the month ending, the last poppies are done flowering. In a few days from here the pods and seeds will be ripe for harvest. I will need them for my necrosophic incense of Qalmana as well as new qliphotic blends.

Preceding the summer solstice, I went to gather herbs for midsummer: mullein, viper’s bugloss, mugwort and yellow chamomile make up a lovely bouquet.

Midsummer Bouquet, June 2017

These and a number of other herbs associated with the summer time are also part of my summer solstice incense:

Incense blend for the summer solstice, June 2017

Last but not least, seeds sown this month: Hypericum perforatum var. ‘Tauberthal’ and some remaining Artemisia absinthium, scattered loosely into the bed.  St. John’s Wort sown on St. John’s Eve. 😉

And now for a coffee break… Enjoy your summer!

Garden Work Coffee Break, June 2017

May 2017

Rue, rosemary, rose, columbine, belladonna and henbane, various trays with young henbane plants, pots with mandrakes

May is a tough month, both for me, as well as the green. Whilst April is still cool, bulbous spring plants are in bloom and other plants just begin sprouting fresh green, May sees the arrival of the first hot days and the green now grow and expand rapidly. It’s the first time during the year that I find myself running and watering daily. Seedlings have to be replanted and previously pricked out plants demand larger pots or have to be planted to the ground, least they wither. It’s an overall stressful period. And as I find myself plagued with pollen allergy the plants too start to suffer from various diseases: first and foremost aphids (which have been multiplying rapidly and in significantly larger amounts than in previous years), secondly black spot disease and mildew (plaguing my beloved Munstead Wood rose) and thirdly a fungus that causes leaves to crumble and roll up (this fungus infests fruit trees and is effecting our cherry tree heavily this year). So I am constantly on watch, removing aphids by hand and cutting off diseased leaves and twigs.

It’s also a month for harvest: paying attention to the moon’s phase, auspicious days and planetary hours, I dug up mandrake and greater celandine root and collected elder flowers. Further the seed capsules of the Hellebores can set free their load any day and I am of course eager to collect their seeds, especially those of the black flowering variants. Alas, ants also have an interest in the oil-rich and therefore nutritious seeds and quickly carry them away into the darkness of their underground abodes. I got serious competition…  Did I mention it’s a stressful month as pertaining to the garden?

But there are also joyful moments, e.g. when the light of the evening sun shines through the flowering trees…

End of May the elder trees start blooming and the air smells of their sweet scent. I gathered the flowers during the night and hour of Venus.
Dog rose, swaying in the evening sun…

And yet there is more work to get done. My garden goals for this year include making a new flower bed beside our back porch. It’s a spot, where flowers will enjoy noon and afternoon sun during the summer. But before I can plant anything here, I first have to break up the old ground, which includes the removal of old tree roots as well as implementing a root barrier to the side of the hedge, mainly to keep the ground elder out. This part is done now. When finished with digging up the entire space and removing weed, I will blend the old soil with compost and humus-rich soil. The process thus far:

New flower bed process: breaking up soil and implementing root barrier to keep ground-elder from spreading, removing old tree roots

You see, it’s still a way to go for my future flower bed! But now some more impressions from the garden and recent herb harvest….

Leaving flower ‘islands’ on our lawn: this year appeared these lovely heartsease
Black petunia flower, floral galaxy unfolding…
Nightsky in a flower, May ’17
These two irises are back and I love them!
Valerian, Foxglove and Monkshood at dusk
Buzzy times for bumblebees. Here is one cleaning itself and almost falling over from the flower of my Valerian.
Mandrake root harvested in May ’17, under the waning moon: long legs and an auspicious hip swing it got!
The way it looked at me from the ground… sadly the upper part was rotten, probably due to a late frost in April. I saved what was left.
Greater celandine (Chelidonium majus), harvested on the day of Mars and night hour of the Sun. To me it is one of the most powerful witching herbs native to where I live.
The color is real. Here it shows why greater celandine is sometimes compared to Canadian blood root. It is also known as tetterwort and its applications in herbal medicine are similar.