In a recent post, we discussed the concept of Eudaimonia and how it can help us find a point of balance in a polarized world. As we discussed there, one of the ways that we teach this concept is by looking at the intelligences of the seven planetary archetypes, each of which has a range of energetic qualities, effects, and rulerships that fall along a continuum.
Like people, each planet has “good” and “bad” qualities, manifest when the energy tips too far towards one pole or the other, deficiency or excess. And also like people, each planet’s best manifestation is also within itself as a point of balance between extremes, found by deeply exploring that planet’s qualities and working to embody the most positive manifestations of them.
The planets are big, archetypal concepts, and so are able to hold these contradictions within themselves. Plants are more specific in their manifestations of these intelligences, with each one carrying an aspect of its ruling planet, embedded within other effects and qualities. This is why, for example, Nettles and Devil’s Club can both be spiny plants of Mars, manifesting protectiveness in similar ways, but at the same time, with Nettles showing Mars’ support for the blood and its iron, while Devil’s Club boosts the immune and psychic defenses.
Working with Spagyrics of plants for each planet in order to explore plants’ particular expression of its ruler is a powerful exercise for bringing about your own internal balance of Eudaimonia with the seven archetypes. In this post, we have put together a list of some of our favourite Spagyrics for each planet, in pairs which we find complementary and balancing.
The Moon rules cycles, the tides, and the waters of both earth and all beings on it. The Moon is also the ruler of the subconscious realm of intuition, emotions, and dreams, and so plants which are sedative or visionary are ruled by the Moon.
In the emotional realm, the Moon rules connection and compassion, and many deities of compassion are associated with the Moon.
The connection side of the lunar energy is carried by Kava Kava, which is used ritually to promote societal unity and bring peace. Kava is also relaxing and painkilling, and brings a watery feeling of melting into the space and energy of others. Kava is a healing tonic to bring people together and towards deeper understanding, allowing each side of an argument to see the other’s mindset and bridge them in a constructive way.
On the compassion side of the Moon, Sacred Lotus is associated with Quan Yin, the Bodhisattva of compassion. Another watery plant, showing the flow of connective energy, Lotuses hold their leaves and flowers above the muck that nourishes them, showing Quan Yin’s other aspect of discernment.
Where Kava helps you melt into another’s energy, Lotus can help you keep your own energy intact and untouched by others’ troubles, so that you can be compassionate without taking on everyone else’s issues. Lotus brings a peaceful perspective with some remove from the mess of a problem, and it’s also considered a tonic to the peaceful Shen of the heart center.
Mars is the planet of red, ruling over the heat of the body, its passion and even anger, and the blood and immune defenses that protect health. Heating immune boosters are ruled by Mars, and often are prickly or well-defended plants.
Astragalus is not prickly, but it is a powerful immune-boosting plant. Two parts of the plant are used medicinally, and so our energetic poles of Mars Spagyrics both come from the same plant.
Astragalus Root is the better-known tonic, used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to boost the we Qi, or defensive energy of the body. This energy runs just around the body, above the skin, and protects you from “external pernicious influence”, such as infection, allergies, toxins, and anything that the outside world might invade your system with. Our Astragalus can be felt as a shield to that force, and is an excellent long-term immune tonic with balanced effects.
Less well-known is Astragalus Seed, which is used in Chinese spiritual healing for people who “leak energy”. Like the root, but inside out, the seed forms a protective shield around the inner energy, holding it so that it cannot be dissipated by stress or illness, or drawn off by difficult people or situations. It can be used for meditation, magick, or spiritual practice to focus the Will and its energy for action, and as a physical tonic to keep the effects of energizing herbs within the body.
Named after the trickster god of travel, cleverness, and learning, Mercury rules the mind, movement, and magickal practice in general. Physically, Mercury is about air and electricity, ruling the respiratory and nervous systems, as well as general vitality. Perhaps more than any other planet, Mercury embodies its own poles of contradiction, and herbs ruled by Mercury have seemingly disparate effects.
Calamus is one of my favourite Mercurial plants, and it is used in Ayurveda as a tonic to the mind, thought, and speech. Called Vacha, meaning Truth, it enhances communication and assured that one’s words will be aligned with the highest aspects of the Truth.
Our Calamus Initiatic quickens the mind and thought, opening the flow between concept and expression. Thoughts are sharper and more insightful, and the speech becomes fluid and compelling, making this a favourite of activists and teachers.
On the other side of Mercury’s energy, Sandalwood is also revered in India, primarily as a scent in oils or incense. There is also a tradition of the internal use of Sandalwood, and as with the incense’s effects, it is said to “quiet the monkey mind” and stop the inner chatter of the brain that interferes with peaceful meditation.
Our Sandalwood Initiatic creates a hush across the brain as soon as its taken, and as it calms the mind, it also brings clarity and insight. If your spiritual practice requires an open, empty state of pure contemplation, Sandalwood is a supportive ally, and it is also useful in more mundane situations to calm over-thinking, obsession, and worry.
Jupiter is the largest planet, and that bigness is its energy. Expansive, grand and generous, Jupiter also rules judgement and wisdom. Physically, it rules the liver and metabolism, our body’s material expressions of judgement, and emotionally, Jupiter brings cheer and a jovial nature.
Bitterness is a signature of liver tonic herbs, stimulating the digestion and action of the liver in its work to detoxify the blood. No herb we know expresses bitterness more than Kutki, an an Ayurvedic herb which fires up digestive movement and power, and also has a deeper reparative effect on liver tissues, and is very balancing to the metabolism.
Because liver function is linked to so many other systems, we have heard good reports of our Kutki Spiritualized Essence being helpful for allergies and other inflammatory states.
The opposite of bitter is, of course, sweet, and the most candy-like tonic we work with is Goji. Like delicious little raisins, these Chinese berries are treasured as a powerful tonic which is also pleasant to eat, and our Spiritualized Essence of Goji is syrupy and a bit wine-like.
Traditional Chinese herbal texts warn that overconsumption of Goji can lead to “an excess of mirth”, and it’s true that these little gems and our Spagyrics of them promote laughter, cheer, and positivity. They’re also good energy tonics, and full of nutritional and anti-oxidant power.
Venus is the planet of love, beauty, refinement, and the Arts, and rules the sexual organs, the skin, and the kidneys. In ancient myth, the goddess Aphrodite’s manifestations of these energies can be contradictory, as she both promotes sensuality and sexual expression, but also punishes those who separate carnality from the higher aspects of devotion and love.
As is clear from the name, aphrodisiacs are ruled by Venus and her desire to bring us all closer through the pleasure of the body, and a beautiful expression of this is the herb Damiana. A plant of Mexico, it is traditionally made into a liqueur which is given to newlyweds to energize their honeymoon, and it is both delicious and potent.
Our Damiana Essence is aromatic, and increases the sensitivity of the skin to touch, and is also a mild stimulant, boosting energy and creativity in all genders. Besides its erotic tonic properties, our Damiana is also lovely for dancing and other movement.
On the devotional side of Venus, Shatavari is the root of a medicinal asparagus, used in Ayurveda as a tonic for all phases of womens’ lives. Shatavari means “she with 100 husbands”, as it is said to give enough feminine energy to keep up with that many, but it is also a plant of devotional, loving energy above and beyond the sexual.
Our Shatavari Nectar carries that higher intelligence, connecting with Shatavari’s ritual use for devotions to the Divine Mother of Nature. It is one of my favourite Spagyrics for hiking and connecting with the green life of the forest, and it is also lovely for devotional work with a lover. It is also said to increase the bond between mother and child, and it can be used in solo practice to embody healthy mother energy for those who lacked that as children.
Saturn is the outermost, coldest planet of our solar system, and its energy is similarly distant and contained. Saturn’s main purview is that of structure- from the physical structure of the skeletal system to psychological containment, all the way up to the ultimate structure of time and its passage.
One of my favourite herbs of any planet, and one of the most Saturnine, is Red Root. This beautiful Western native bush graces our local area with bright blue flowers every spring, just when I rely on it for the inflammation of seasonal allergies. Red Root is a complex herbal medicine, working in a deep way on the body’s detoxification systems through Saturn’s organ, the spleen, and also the lymphatic system.
Saturn herbs tend to be astringent, shrinking inflammation by drying, and our Red Root Essence works this way as well. It is a restrictive herb in the sense that it strengthens the structures of the “waste management” systems of our bodies, so that the channels that carry waste out are separate from the flow of nutrients in, allowing injured or infected tissues to heal and repair.
That centering, holding effect is taken to an energetic level with Dragon Bone, a Traditional Chinese Medicine of fossilized dinosaur bone. Bones are one of the signatures of Saturn and its centering energy, and our Initiatic of Dragon Bone is best described with our silly slogan- “hold your own with Dragon Bone!”
This is a tonic to Shen, the peaceful strength that resides in the heart, and it contains and fortifies that energy so that it is a core of solidity that is not easily influenced by other people or outside energies. If you tend to get sad around sad people, or angry when the news gets sensationalistic, Dragon Bone can help you keep your energy to itself, strong and immovable like, well, a Dragon’s Bone!
The Sun sits at the center of our solar system, warming every sphere around it and bringing light and life to our planet. Energetically, the Solar energy is about light, warmth, and centrality of being, physically manifest as the heart and circulatory system, as well as the eyes.
On a subtle level, the radiance of the sun is seen in the shine of charisma and self-esteem, in how you view yourself and how you project that view to others. Two herbs which work with this energy in different ways are Rosemary and Angelica, which we work with as Magisteries.
Rosemary is a very solar herb in many ways, warming and brightening to the mood and stimulating to circulation. When processed as a Magistery, these physical qualities are opened to show the planetary archetype behind them, and our Rosemary Magistery is one of the most cheering, warming Spagyrics we make.
The world almost literally seems brighter after a few drops, and it brings out emotional warmth and friendly confidence that is very useful for shy folks or when you need to be just a bit more outgoing.
Our American Angelica Magistery is another side of the gold Solar coin, wildcrafted by us in the high mountains of Colorado many years ago. Like other Solar herbs, Angelica is warming and stimulating, but this aromatic root has a special affinity for digestion, acting as a strong appetite stimulant.
Angelica’s Sun-ruled psychological energy is more inward than Rosemary’s, boosting self-esteem and self-love, and when combined with its healthy digestive properties, we’ve seen it be truly helpful in cases of eating disorders.
It’s also been a support for healing all kinds of self-destructive habits, especially substance abuse, since they so often come from the same lack of self-esteem as eating disorders, and can be helped by a return to what Ayurveda calls the “forgotten magnificence” at the root of depression.
I hope this has been a helpful tour of Spagyrics for finding eudaimonic balance with the planetary energies- if you have favourites we’ve not listed here, or experiences to share working this path, let us know below!