This article talks about Astrological health and creating natural plant medicines
Treating a patient and making natural plant remedies was more complex than you can ever imagine! Nobody in ancient times wrote the basic medicine book as they all seem to assume that we would know the basics. Knowledge was transmitted orally and what they wrote was only part of their expertise.
Temperament of the Patient
We do know that it was very important for the practitioner to ascertain the temperament of the patient, as different temperament types respond differently to various disease process and to treatment regimes. I will not be explaining how to assess temperament types here, but they are decided by the patient’s astrology chart or by assessing the personality and body type of the patient. The temperaments are either melancholic, sanguine, choleric, or phlegmatic. For example, a heart problem in a sanguine person would be treated very differently to a heart problem in a melancholic person. Modern medicine is only now relearning this lesson as they find that different people have different gene populations that determine whether a treatment will work or not, especially in the treatment of some leukemias.
After finding the temperament, the practitioner would decide which one of the four basic qualities of disease process was involved and what organ or body part was affected. These processes were either hot, cold, moist or dry; or a combination of them. For example, a fever is a hot process, but it can be broken down into a hot/moist fever or a hot/dry fever and these are treated differently. Similarly, a hot/dry type of heart problem would be treated differently to a hot/moist type of heart problem.
Deciding on the Remedy
Combining the temperament and the quality of the disease process, the practitioner would decide which herb or combination of herbs would make up the remedy, and how and when it would be applied. Various methods of application include pills, tincture, salves or drops. One can imagine their scripts would look something like…. Sanguine patient with cold/moist condition affecting the X organ which is best treated with X herb, via X method, X times a day.
Creating the Remedy
Much is written about the times for harvesting and the various styles of herb preparation and they seemed to be saying that the collection time affected the potency and strength of the remedy. Nowadays we know that 150mg of paracetamol helps a 10 kg baby with pain and fever, but an adult needs 2 x 500mg tablets and yet more powerful medications are needed with stronger pain and fevers. If I were the herbalist of my village or tribe, I would use the known methods of the time to make remedies of various strengths suitable for people of different ages, and suitable for everything from a mild to a severe disease process.
Doctrine of Signatures
Herbalists back then, and to this very day, classify herbs in a system called the “doctrine of signatures”. The shape, the colour, and outward appearance of the plant was associated with various parts of the body and the ailments it would cure. For example, a plant with flowers shaped like a heart would be tested to see if it could be used to treat heart conditions. Since the heart is the vital organ of life, just as the Sun is the vital planet of life, a yellow flower would also be a signature. Thus, a remedy chosen would be a yellow flower shaped like a heart, but the chosen herb must also be in harmony with the temperament of the patient and process of the disease.
Collecting the Remedy – Planetary Days and Hours
The ancients were at great length to discuss planetary days and planetary hours where each day of the week and each hour in it, have corresponding planetary rulers. Planetary days and hours have been around for so long that they are the origin of the names of the week in many languages. The seven planets are given rulership over each day and over parts of each day. Planetary days and hours were used for plant and herb collection and also for timing ceremonial events.
To create a remedy that is cooling and moistening the herb should be collected at a Venus time.
Lavender is considered a Mercury plant and is therefore best gathered during the hour of the day ruled by Mercury. Let’s say they needed to increase their supplies of heart medicine, and since they know that the Sun has a strong connection to the heart, they decide to harvest on a Sunday, the day of the Sun, and pick them in the hour of the Sun. They would try and do this when the Moon was travelling through Leo, the ruler of the Sun. If all the conditions were perfect and as the saying goes, all the cogs lined up, they would then choose the freshest herb that best suited the particular type of heart problem.
While I am not a herbalist, it is said that the most readily available heart herbs are marigolds, rosemary, endive, sage, and lavender. They would then apply the specific herbal remedy as a tincture, pill, salves, drops or rub, applicable to the patient’s temperament in the manner that would suit that particular individual and the nature of the remedy itself.
I imagine that it was quite difficult to have all the perfect conditions in place and the less that the harvest time fitted with the signature and aim of the treatment, the less potency and strength the remedy would have. The ancient were very smart people and I bet they had vials of pre-prepared remedies of various strengths that suited the most common ailments. I would… if I were in charge of making the herbal remedies!
The planetary days and hours were, and still are, used for astrological magic, alchemy and the creation of talismans and also an important way of timing ancient ceremonies and rituals. We can use this at a simple level to shine brightly in a Sun hour, be nurturing or intuitive in a Moon hour, make phone calls in a Mercury hour, have fun in a Venus hour, be courageous in a Mars hour, be expansive in a Jupiter hour, be organised in a Saturn hour.
The rules are simple… the planet that rules the day and hour promotes activities in sync with its essential nature and obstructs activities that are opposite to its essential nature.
The naming of the days in connection to the planets…
- Saturday being ruled by Saturn, Satur-day
- Sunday is ruled by the Sun, Sun-day
- Monday being ruled by the Moon, Moon-day
- Tuesday is ruled by Mars, and the French word for Tuesday is Mardi, Mars-day
- Wednesday is ruled by Mercury and the French word is Mercredi, Mercury-day or it could be from Norse mythology as Wotans day
- Thursday is ruled by Jupiter and the French word is Jeudi, Jupiter-day or it could be Thors day
- Friday is ruled by Venus and the French word is Vendredi, Venus-day or it could be from Friggs/Freya’s day the Norse goddess
At each adaptation of the calendar through the centuries, the rulers or governing authorities took special care to make sure that the sequence of the days of the week, and the sequence of their planetary rulers, remained unaltered. This sequence first came to thousands of years ago from Hellenistic astrology in 1st Century BCE and possibly Babylonian astrology in 2000 BCE.
The planetary hours are based on an ancient astrological system called the Chaldean order of the planets. Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon, and the cycle is then repeated. The planet that rules the first hour of the day is also the ruler of the whole day. Thus, the first hour of Sunday is ruled by the Sun, the first hour of Monday is ruled by the Moon etc. but note that the first hour of the day begins at sunrise and the last hour ends at sunrise of the next day.
The planetary hours are not hours of 60 minutes each, as we know an hour to be. The first 12 planetary hours are from sunrise to sunset and the next 12 hours are from sunset to sunrise. Thus, the length of each planetary hour varies with the season. In fact, the planetary hours will vary from place to place as the moment of sunrise changes. I suggest that you use an online calculator that requires you to input a location, but be aware that some calculators try and modernise or simplify the hours into regular and even increments of time.
The Astrology of the Moment
Along with planetary days and hours the ancients also used the astrology of the moment of collection of herbs and the moment of the treatment. Together these govern the perfect times to collect plants, perhaps also the times to combine plants and their extracts to create natural remedies and the times to treat the patient.
Culpeper, working and writing in the 1600s, spoke of planetary days and hours, but he also spoke so much of the astrology at the moment of collection. Many readers have forgotten he also knew of the planetary day and hour. Using the moment of collection requires a good knowledge of astrology. One example stated by Culpeper is… “Celandine is herb of sun for eyes, so sun in Leo, moon in Aries applying trine, let Leo rise, Aries as is rules the head”.
In Awe of the Healers of the Past
I love reading history and I am in awe of the healers of the past. They made the most of what they had and did a marvellous job. There is room for us to respect and look back at the past and add their knowledge to our current practises with the aim of improving outcomes in all health issues.