Throughout all of ancient astrology, the astrologers and philosophers spoke of the seven traditional planets as deities, and can be thought of as a kind of lord or lady of this material realm. As such, each planet rules over a series of objects, according to the energetic and typological congruence between the planet and those objects.
Amongst other things, each of the planets has dominion over a set of metals, stones, plants, and colors, and a day of the week. The Ancient Greeks called this similarity between the planetary energies and corresponding materials sympatheia, and the individual objects which have an affinity with a particular planet are called synthemata. The emerald tablets of Hermes Trismegistus echo this same principle: the correspondence of the above and the below.
Some of the most practical and well known of these planetary synthemata are the flora of this earth. All plants fall under different categories of planetary rulership, depending on the energetic similarities between them. For example, spicy, fiery plants are ruled by Mars, and brittle, cooling plants are ruled by Saturn.
There are many practical things you can do with the plants when it comes to astrology. For one, plants are a mainstay of any astrologically inclined magical operations – their presence can aid in traditional theurgic ritual. Additionally, the plants make very effective tools for remediation - working with the plants on an energetic level will alleviate difficult placements in a natal chart. For those unfamiliar, remediations are spiritual practices aimed easing difficult planetary effects. Finally, the use of the plants becomes especially important in traditional western herbalism, where remedies to sickness and illness are assigned in large part according to the planetary nature of the disease.
For all these reasons, acquainting oneself with herbs provide opportunity and aid for a tremendous number of spiritual endeavors. Now I’ll go through a brief list of some of the medical associations of each planet first, so that you can go through your own chart and see how some parts of your body may have been affected by one of the planets. Then, I will continue by offering up a list of plants which are traditionally affiliated with them, so that you can not only take proactive steps to doing any healing that may be required, and for your own magical workings if you are so inclined.
Saturn falls squarely in the melancholic category. He exhibits dry and cold energetics, and rules over our sense of hearing. Paracelsus assigns him rulership of the spleen. Others such as William Lilly note his affinity for teeth, ears, bones, the bladder, and all organs or parts of the body that become imbalanced due to cold.
Plants that are hard, knobby, or knotted, and prefer dark or cold environments have Saturnine qualities.
Saturn has dominion over Solomon's Seal, Comfrey, Hyssop, Tamarisk, Shepherd's Purse, Houseleek, and Asphodelos.
Jupiter possesses sanguine attributes . He exhibits hot or warm and moist energies, and rules over our sense of taste. He delights in expansiveness, wisdom, knowledge. Paracelsus assigns him rulership of the Liver. Other astrologers write of his affinity also for the lungs, liver, arteries, and the general movement of blood.
Plants that are large, grand, bright, and expansive can be said to be Jupiterian.
This includes Cedar, Myrrh, Frankincense, Hyssop, Blueberry, Basil, Cane Sugar, and Agrimony
Mars displays choleric characteristics. He possesses an extremely hot and dry constitution. Mars is rash, war-like, easily impassioned, and gets stuff done. Paracelsus assigns him rulership of the gallbladder. Other astrologers note his affinity for the groin, the formation of stones (such as kidney stones or gallbladder stones), and other rather unpleasant things, like carbuncles, fistulas, head injuries, and extreme fevers.
Plants that are barbed, thorned, sting, or display intense defensive and stimulating actions can be said to have Martial qualities.
Hot Peppers, Celandine, Ginger, Garlic, Cinnamon, Sulphurwort, and Broadleaf Plantain are all commonly associated with Mars.
The Sun displays choleric energetics practically-speaking, like Mars, but the Sun also rules Vital essence or spirit. The sun exhibits heat and dryness. He rules our sense of sight. Paracelsus assigns him rulership of the heart. Other astrologers also note his rulership of the brain and the eyes ("right eye of a man left eye of a women" according to Culpeper).
Plants that are bright or yellow/orange in color, grow in bright, sunny places display solar qualities.
Such plants include Celandine, Dandelion, Myrhh, Ginger, Saffron, Chicory, and Knotgrass
Venus occupies the sanguine category, with warm and moist energies. She rules over our sense of touch or feeling. Paracelsus assigned to her rulership of the kidneys. Culpepper and astrologers of the Renaissance wrote of her affinity for the throat, skin, the intercellular matrix, sperm and ovaries and gave her co-rulership of the liver with Jupiter.
Plants that are soft, particularly pleasing to the senses, and nourishing to the environment are displaying Venusian qualities.
Venusian plants are Violet, Vervain, Thyme, Teasel, Rose, Self-Heal, Strawberry, amongst other light, aesthetically pleasing plants.
Mercury does not hold fast to any essential energetic qualities. However, he rules over most aspects of consciousness and life of the mind/sensory experience. Other astrologers assign to him certain aspects of the "feeling" quality, as well. Paracelsus gives him rulership of the lungs.
Plants that are prone to adapt particularly quickly to their environment, have mottled colorations, or display prominent inconsistency in their appearances are displaying mercurial qualities.
Some specific plants for Mercury include Peppermint, Mandrake, Tulsi, Valerian, Honeysuckle, Mullein, Cinquefoil
The Moon possesses cool and moist properties and governs the water of the body. She rules over eyesight, along with the sun. Paracelsus gives her rulership over the brain. Other astrologers also assign her rulership over the eyes (Or as Culpeper puts it, "The left eye of a man, the right eye of a woman") Renaissance astrologers held that she governed also the intestines, the bladder, a woman's body, hormones, and amniotic fluids.
Plants that are white or light colored, prefer shade and more moist growing environments, and perhaps keep lower to the ground display lunar qualities.
The moon rules over with Mallows, Saxifrage, Peony, Wild Rose, and Mugwort.
This list gives you the basics - it suffices keep you occupied for awhile. If you are interested in expanding your knowledge of herbal lore further, many famous traditional astrological and magical texts discuss plants in detail. If you are interested in finding more plants and learning about things like co-rulerships, I recommend looking into William Lilly’s Christian Astrology, Nicholas Culpepper’s Complete Herbal, and Heinrich Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy, which lists the most correspondences by far. Every plant listed here is safe to consume, but double check that some specimen you find in another book (like aconite for Mars) isn’t poisonous.
Here’s what you can go home and try today: look at your natal chart and think of a planet that may have given you some trouble in life, whether it’s Mars in Cancer or Saturn in the 10th house in a nighttime chart. Maybe there’s a planet in your chart which which you can intuitively tell has been a difficulty for you. Then make a tea with some of the plants that are associated with the problem planet. Do this as a meditation and a way to connect and heal the relationship with that planet, taking the tea in a mindful way with the intention to use it as a remediation.
Given enough time, you will come to a deeper understanding of that energy in your life and in your chart. Some of the tension of it may begin to dissolve. Chances are, you may also have some physical issues clear up that were indicated by that planet and addressed by working with the plants.
I love working with the plants in astrology. It helps me to ground the energy of the planets in myself, seeing how they show up more immediately around me. Additionally, feeling in my own body the affects that each of the plants has on me contributes to my understanding of the planets themselves - a never-ending journey.
- Co-written by Crystal and Matthew