Herbal Forecast For October 2019
October 2019, Moon of Hyldemoer Herbal Forecast for Atavisceral
These notes are suggestions for herbal allies to assist with the effects of the cosmic influences of the month. Before imbibing any of the herbs recommended, research what is a recommended dosage, ask oneself & research such questions as, Does this herb interfere with any medications I am taking?, Does this herb match with my constitution?, Do I really need to take this herb into my body? Be wise: listen to ones own body, intuition, guiding spirits & the plants themselves.
Imbibing the herbs recommended is of course only one way of meeting the herbs. There are countless manners of developing relationships with our herbal allies including sitting with the fresh or dry herbs, or a picture/drawing of the herb, making an amulet to wear or have on your altar (adhering to planetary hours/days is important here), visioning or meditating with the plant, & taking an herbal body or foot bath (In this case remember your skin is the largest organ of your body). Use your imagination & listen to the plants, they have been on this planet much longer than we have, are our Elders & have great wisdom to offer.
“There fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp…And the name of the star is called Wormwood.” –Revelations, 8:10,11
While the cosmic skies of October swirl above, below & all around, the great star Wormwood (Artemesia absinthium) can be called upon for support, guidance & for joining the ranks of revelry.
Wormwood is ruled by Mars & Fire, so can be the torchlight for Mercury & Venus as they spend time in the dark, murky, tunneled, watery Underworld of Martian Scorpio. Not only offering fiery vision, Wormwood can relish in the shadows, wildness & otherworldly musings & hauntings that can abound in Scorpio’s domain. Wormwood assists in befriending these shadowy states, allowing one to sit at the voluminous table or crawl on the dark, lurid floor with them, thereby engaging with & gaining wisdom from the important shadowy parts of self. Wormwood can also have ones back when certain spirits overstep too many boundaries.
Wormwood is called upon as an Asperger when antagonistic spirits will not leave a place. As well, when antagonistic physical or immaterial worms & parasites take up residence in once body, or the body of ones animal friends, Wormwood can expel these unwanted guests with its vermifuge & antithelmintic qualities. Wormwood makes an excellent insecticide as a wash for fleas & lice & combined with other allies like Yarrow, Mugwort & Rose Geranium, repelling biting insects. For keeping unwanted pests from eating ones garden, Herbalist Adele Dawson made an infusion of Wormwood, Tansy, Rue & Garlic, by chopping all the ingredients & then steeping in boiling water for 30 minutes. She strained, cooled & applied this mixture to the Brassica family to keep off pests. Also, Wormwood leaves placed around a plant keeps insects at bay & positioned around ones space, keeps away unwanted energies & spirits.
Agrippa connected Wormwood with the Goddess Hekate & the Underworld. Like Myrrh, also associated with Hekate, Wormwood is exceedingly bitter. It is also one of the ingredients in the ink, written of in the Greek Magical Papyri (PGM) that was used when posing questions to the dead. The recipe was as such, “red ochre, burnt myrrh, juice of fresh Wormwood, Evergreen, and flax. Write [on a leaf] and put it in the mouth [of the corpse].” As well, Wormwood is used to communicate with the dead, combining 1 part Wormwood, 2 parts Myrrh & I part Cypress. Wormwood is an ingredient in bread offerings for the dead as well as used to protect the living from dead spirits.
Decisive Wormwood can bring fiery confidence to Mars in airy, Venusian Libra. Mars, along with Saturn rule the gallbladder, offering “gall”& will power to ones actions. The bitter taste of Wormwood offers this influence over the gallbladder, thus bringing resoluteness to ones ways.
As a bitter, Wormwood is an excellent ally for the stomach & the whole gastrointestinal tract. Wormwood taken as an infusion helps to restore appetite, allay nausea, stimulate gastric juices, & to remedy diarrhea, constipation & dysentery. A Standard Infusion of Wormwood is three small sprigs of Wormwood to two cups of water steeped for five minutes instead of the 15-20 minutes for non-bitter plants. This is taken two tablespoons each morning & evening during the prescribed treatment. Honey can be added to remedy the bitter taste of Wormwood. This ally is not a daily tonic, but instead to be taken in small doses for short periods of time (up to a month at a time, taking a month or more off). This can safely be taken for a week or more at 1 cup/day if needed. Wormwood helps to bring one back to health after stomach disorders that result from the lack of stomach acid being created. This fragrant bitter taste that Wormwood possesses brings strength & fortitude to the liver & gall bladder.
This bitter, fragrant taste of Wormwood can also be important to the Fixed Water sign of Scorpio, a placement which tends towards the ‘damp/stagnation’ tissue state. Warming, drying Wormwood can drain this excess moisture, emotions, obsessions sometimes found here. Wormwood can bring the warmth of a fire to swampy conditions & move energies in this fixed sign. Then again, Wormwood knows how to roll with the murky Underworlds, so if this is avenue to be taken, Wormwood is also ones guide.
With the strong thujone concentrations in Wormwood, especially when fermented, Wormwood can be a guide for Mercury in this Scorpio realm, to translate & decipher the messages being brought forth from the depths. Thujone, (C10H16O), is an isomer of camphor & is much responsible for the psychoactive effect of Wormwood. In Old English/Old Saxon wermod carries the meaning, ‘defend the mind’ & which became Wermuth in German, meaning ‘preserver of the mind’, Wermuth beer being brewed with Wormwood as a substitute for Hops. Thus Wormwood can ‘defend the mind’ of Mercury as this planet spends a couple months direct & retrograde here in Scorpio.
N.B. A note must be made that even if one speaks of the individual constituents of a plant, here we are calling upon whole plant medicine, as Juliette de Bairacli Levy said in 1973, “The medicines in herbs are derived from the cosmic forces of sunlight, moonlight, and starlight; from rain and dew and the minerals of the earth’s soil layers, as well as the hereditary properties. Any herb can have its medicinal properties analyzed to a certain extent; only the cosmic and the hereditary cannot as yet be measured, which is most unfortunate, for it is in this “streaming spirit” of the herb that most of the healing powers are contained.” Whole plant medicine honors the whole being of the plant: the spirit of the plant, the wisdom, intelligence, & deep knowing, the so named medicinal constituents, the taste, or the language with which we interact on the physical level & ‘the streaming spirit’. This is a topic unto itself & there is much more to say, but just a reminder of what we are talking about here.
To assist with the Full Moon in Aries on October 13th, so close to the Sun in Libra squaring Pluto in Capricorn & the New Moon in Scorpio on the 27/28th, as Mars in Libra squares Saturn in Capricorn & the Sun opposes Uranus, one can call upon Hawthorn (Crataegus sp.) who is ruled by Venus, Mars & Saturn, depending on who one is speaking with. Neither of these Mars ruled lunations are set to be simple or comfortable, especially with the friction generating squares alongside these fiery moons. Hawthorn has sweet, sour & bitter qualities, thus offering nutritive, cooling & drying, clearing & opening during these heated moons. The Aries Full Moon is more fiery than the Scorpio ruled New Moon, yet they both possess a potentially harsh denomination for which heart support & health may be in order.
The trees Hornbeam & Hawthorn both were looked to for enclosing & protecting woodland sanctuary & sacred sites. Several sacred Hittite texts, c. 1500 BC, of Anatolia (where Turkey is today),asks for Hawthorn to “pluck any evil, impurity or wrath of the gods from this initiate, who walks through the gate (of the sacred hedge).”
Hawthorn is one of the ancient Celtic sacred three: ‘Oak, Ash & Thorn’. When these trees grow together, it is said to be a favorite place of the fey.
Hawthorn is a heart trophorestorative,; this ally has the amazing ability of finding each person’s individual balance for their heart. Hawthorn strengthens the ability of the heart to receive nutrition, to be active, reserve & increase energy. Hawthorn reduces heat therefore lessening restlessness, irritability, anxiety & nervousness that can be felt with heart conditions. This also can apply to assisting those with attention-deficit concerns as well as the excess heat found in autoimmune dis-eases.
Like many of our heart protecting herbs, Hawthorn has thorns that hold a space of guarding for a heart to be able to open. (Haw- an old word for ‘hedge’ where Hawthorn has quite often been found & been planted, also is a name for the berries or haws & -thorn, of this tree’s grand Mars ruled thorns.) Hawthorn berries have nervine qualities that bring calm amongst a storm. Hawthorn thorns can be carried for protection or used in charms for thus.
The Hawthorn tree also offers a portal to other realms, an anchor spot especially for the New Moon in Scorpio, near a Sun square to Pluto in Capricorn. Both Scorpio & Pluto in Capricorn will have underworld depths to explore, traversing into which with Hawthorn offers a pillar of strength & courage, as well as shielding.
The burning of Hawthorn wood creates a very hot fire. In the past, this tree was cherished more than Oak wood for ones oven. This may be needed, especially during the fiery Aries Full Moon, in a ‘like heals like’ sort of way. Sometimes to speak to the fire, one must become the fire. Hawthorn offers patience & endurance during a time when inner silence, & deep focus are needed.
With the New Moon in Scorpio being roughly four hours from the Sun’s opposition to Uranus, Hawthorn’s amphoteric, balancing qualities for the heart, can prepare on to roll with the unexpected that Uranus is notorious for offering.
“The most neglected things have their use. The buds of the bramble-leaves boiled in spring water, and the decoction sweetened with honey, are excellent for a sore throat. A syrup made from the juice of the unripe fruit, with very fine sugar is cooling and astringent. It is good in immoderate fluxes of the menses, and even in purgings. The berries are to be gathered for this purpose, when they are red.”
–British Herbalist John Hill (1740)
Blackberry (Rubus villosus (native to North America) R. fruticosus (native to Eurasia), ruled by both Venus & Mars, can be of assistance this month as Mars spends his detriment in Libra & Venus in detriment in Scorpio. The Venusian relation of Blackberry can be seen in this plant’s gentle, five-petaled Rose flower as well as in the sweet fruit Mars’ qualities can be seen in this plant’s grand thorns, as Blackberry covers the disturbed land in warrior fashion. One of Blackberry’s abilities is to allow the Earth to heal while offering vast medicine, nourishment & shelter to the Earth & her beings.
In some places, it was unlucky to harvest Blackberries after Michaelmas day on September 29, old Michaelmas Day, October 11, or after Samhain. The berries were said to be associated with the devil, witches & fairies, so that if picked after these days, the devil or mischievous fairy may bave spit on them or may possess them. Blackberries were said to be poisonous after these dates & that they were to be left for the devil as an offering. This relation to the devil, may have come from the tale of when the devil was cast out of heaven, he fell into a Blackberry patch on his way to hell. Therefore, any Blackberries left on the vine after these dates make great offerings for the chthonic spirits of the Scorpionic Underworld.
Where a Blackberry bramble forms an arch, is a place of magical protection & healing. It is said that if one crawls forward & backward three times through this archway, facing east/west as much as possible, ones rheumatism, whooping cough & boils will leave. This archway could also be a place for one to give themselves over to the devil. A space created by Blackberry brambles can be a meditative spot for working with Mars and/or Venus this month.
The Blackberry brambles have been used for protection, making a wreath with them to keep out negative energies hung in the home or barn. A bramble wand was sometimes placed in a milking pail to keep the milk from souring.
The astringency of Blackberry also brings relief to the ‘damp/stagnation’ state of Fixed Water Scorpio, allowing toing & tightening to occur in this loose tissue state. This looseness comes from the excess fluid, so that retention of necessary nutrients & ideas is not able to occur. Blackberry tones & astringes, restricting excess loss.
This restrictive quality of Blackberry through this plant’s cooling astringency as well as through this alliy’s thorns will be welcomed by the early squares & later trines with Saturn with the personal planets. Meeting Saturn in the briar patch will esteem oneself with the Greater Malefic. As well, our furthest planet, Pluto, who is also squaring & trining the personal planets throughout October, knows this bramble patch through and through, as this is the portal to Pluto’s realms.
So as we are in the midst of October, carry ones thorns or at least know where to procure them, paint ones lips & bodies with the last Blackberries of the season before the rest goes to the devil, & enter the Underworld with the Artemis’ Artemisia absinthium by ones side, during the long green hour.
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Moon of Hyldemoer, October, 2019
Suzanne Stone, Community Herbalist
This material is not a substitute for a health care practitioner.
Please do not duplicate this material without permission.