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Bitter Myrrh, Libra Moon, a Tincture


Ruled astrologically by the Moon, as some other bitter plants, it is time to tincture Myrrh. Today’s full moon in Libra, is closest to the spring equinox and appropriately, represents equilibrium and balance. The symbol for Libra are the scales. Its keyword is Balance. Balance between male and female energies. Winter and Summer. inner and outer, self and other.  As the sun and the seasons progress with Aries passion towards another Solstice, new beginnings, renewed direction, goals and ambitions are in the air, with a timely reminder to temper our actions and reactions, with balance. Sometimes easy to forget when swept up in Spring projects and passions.

Anatomical Man in the Duke Berry's Très Riches...
Anatomical Man in the Duke Berry’s Très Riches Heures (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love the way the full moons are always poised against, and illuminated by their opposite Sun sign. A perfect balance of friction and attraction. A choreographed dance of opposites made in heaven.    Aries Sun and its opposite, Libra Moon. The Moon’s feminine and watery reflective ebb and flow, contrasting the direct intensity of the Sun, especially when in  fiery Aries, makes them a  dynamic match of opposites.

.”The spark is Netzach, the friction of life.   In a motor, this generates the engine.   Netzach is Nature, the Tree of Life’s power base.   The friction of lightning and rain in Earth’s aeons, generated life.  The friction of male and female re-kindles the soul, a lamp in the womb for the soul.”

Now is the time. It has built up for weeks. Thinking, pondering, planning, waiting, distilling water, preparing. Waiting… Writing …..  In the fridge it waited as per my earlier post of how to grind resins. It is appropriate that it come out of the cold of the fridge (Frig, Frigga) /winter to spin around, be ground to nondescript powder. Then, in the bright of the full Libra Moon and the waxing warm Sun, dissolves into the waters of life, (Aqua Vitae), like the salt of the sea, becoming one with the liquid, and turned into a tincture. Losing itself into the menstruum. Transformation. This is the time, for the Alchemical “Solve’ “, the first step in the process.

Beautifully formed Myrrh resin chunk
Beautifully formed Myrrh resin chunk

Myrrh,( Mor, Hebrew), Mar,(Hebrew, bitter), , Mar Yam, (Mariam, Miriam, Mary, Maria),                               Mar Yam-(,Hebrew Bitter of the sea), or froth of the sea, salt of the sea, perhaps also known as Ashtoreth, Astarte, Ostara. Shechinah. The Holy Consort and feminine counterpart to YHWH. Feminine principles of the Moon and element of water.

English: Astarte with horned (moon crescent) crown
English: Astarte with horned (moon crescent) crown (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seems today is my , Ostara ,Easter and Passover. At 05:27 AM this morning, I covered the finely ground, powdered brown bitterness of Myrrh with the menstruum.  Pondering while nibbling on the Myrrh as I work, it is SO bitter! Grinding and thinking about the Passover Seder. It always felt like a bit of a sham with no one around that could give an answer that “rang” with Truth of deeper meanings for the traditional symbols. Mostly receiving information that no one has actually understood, or personally stood under in decades.  The representative “bitter” element or “Maror”, on the Seder platter now days is Horseradish, and not bitter in any way. Pungent? Yes. Bitter? No. In fact the “Maror” (the “bitter herb), may well have been and more likely was,” Mar”(, Hebrew-Bitter), and “Mor” ,(Hebrew-Myrrh), so (MARMOR?), Maror? My feeling is that Myrrh is likely the original basis of the original Passover Maror.

I can think of nothing that represents palatable bitterness as perfectly as Myrrh, which was readily available for thousands of years in ancient Israel.  Also Interesting is the inclusion in the Seder platter of salt water as “the tears we shed as slaves”, (The above mentioned froth of the sea/Moon reference). The lambs shank bone, a symbol of a tender young Aries Ram Sun?  The “Karpas” or greens, a symbol of spring growth. The egg on the platter at the Seder, fertility and Spring, but also representative of the duality and union of Yin and Yang, Equinox/Balance, Yolk as Sun, White as moon, (“Ha Levanah”, or the “White one”, is the Hebrew word for “The Moon”). Moon Feminine and Yin embracing and receiving  the Sun and Yang principal, the yolk.

Deutsch: Yin Yang
Deutsch: Yin Yang (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is a time for new beginnings, rebirth, regardless of one’s faith. A time when we might have more impetus to try, and succeed. To emancipate ourselves from forms of slavery we laboured under till now. Whether self-created and self-defeating patterns and habits, or unhealthy dynamics we have perpetuated with others. Patterns we have accepted and tolerated to our detriment for too long for all the wrong reasons. Libra seems to imply the dynamics between ourselves and others. Relationships.  Our Easter, Ostara, Passover ,Equinox passage is an opportunity  for both reflection and action. Self-examination, new choices, new beginnings. A time we might see our light reflected back to us, and a time for us, like the Sun, to wax bright.  With any luck we can hope to ride this wave of seasonal growth, and work with the natural cycles around and within us to carry ourselves closer to our goals..

And all the while, try to remember, balance.

Moses, Exodus, Liberation of the bondservants,...
Moses, Exodus, Liberation of the bondservants, the Jews in Egypt go free, Holy Bible Etching, 1885 (Photo credit: Wonderlane)

The Myrrh Tincture:   Created at 05:27 EST. During the Pisces Lunation cycle, Full Moon in Libra, Sun in Aries. Ascendant in Taurus?   A solvent mix of 55% distilled water to 45% pure alcohol, (mirroring the assumed ratio of gum to oleo-resin in the Myrrh), was poured  and covered the powdered Myrrh. It basked in the predawn moonlight symbolically, and was put away to gestate and circulate. Left in the care of natures rhythms till it is time for me to step in and give Nature a little help. Take the tincture to the next level. Likely on the path to becoming a Spagyric tincture.

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Ladybugs and Daffodils

IMG_4048 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
 Well, we apparently are still in the season of toothaches and heartaches.   Winter.
  Myrrh and the moon took care of the first.
Frankincense and the Sun will, I hope do well for the second. 
    So on that note…..…….
  According to my friend’s emails, spring is already in full swing in England.  I assume, because they are graced by warm Gulf waters. We, in Ontario, however, have no such buffer and will wait for weeks yet till ice, snow and permafrost  move on and allow us to engage the soil productively.  You can’t sow seeds in soil that is as hard and cold as ice.
       This post is for us poor ice-bound farmers and gardeners, still waiting and longing for  warmer fertile days, for Ladybugs and Daffodils.  On the bright side, it gives us more time to plan, be creative, prepare ourselves, to anticipate,,,and, I wonder if we enjoy our summer more than those spoiled Brits with their extra month of summer and their balmy winter. Ha!    Either way, best to enjoy and make the most of what we have .  This post is for those who wait with me, living physically close to  “The Apothecary’s Garden” at the Teaching gardens at Churchill Park. Those who can plan, dream and break soil with me in Westdale when it is finally released to us again.
Butterfly Bush and Viceroy Butterfly, Hamilton 2010
Butterfly Bush and Viceroy Butterfly, Hamilton 2010
Hi everyone;
 Another season is about to start. We can all feel it in the air. Though we may yet get a late March or April dump of snow, I am sure I’m not the only one smelling that inspiring aroma of the soil stirring and waking beneath our feet. Not the only one already preparing strategies for this years gardens.
    Between roots, shoots, seeds and cuttings, we will have a bounty of new young plants to share with the community. Spring culling will be one of our first jobs in the garden. As a teaching garden our focus is on maintaining a representative plant or grouping of each specimen showcased in the garden. This means we will be composting or giving away a variety of medicinal, culinary and aromatic plants. Our first choice is to share as many as we can.
  So tell your friends, share a link to this page, spread the word. There is no obligation associated with the plants we are sharing, though we do need volunteers in the garden for  spring and fall “cleanups”, and for ongoing summer watering and care.
If anyone can contribute in some way to the garden this season, we would welcome the support.
If not, no worries, just enjoy the plants. This is after all a community garden.
 We will post the dates of the culling and plant “giveaway”, ( and call for volunteers), on this Facebook page once we get our calendar organized.

Though the Apothecary’s Garden’s focus is on medicinal, culinary and aromatic plants, there is another beautiful old garden on the grounds that we have not had the time or manpower to reclaim.

"Plant Lovers Garden" Churchill Park 2010
“Plant Lovers Garden” Churchill Park 2010
   “The Plant Lovers Garden”, is a  lovely walled-in courtyard that houses a variety of growing environments. Originally built and maintained by the RBG auxiliary, It featured a spectacular collection of exotic and unusual specimens nestled among its rock gardens, stone paths and water features. After years of neglect, overgrowth and theft, it is a sad sight. Each season we manage to keep most of the weeds from choking out what is left of the collection and water it when needed, but it is still in a steady decline and must get a bottom to top renovation before it is too late.
Papaver Somniferum Apothecary's Garden
Papaver Somniferum Apothecary’s Garden
   In conversations with the city 3 years ago, it was suggested that after the Apothecary’s Garden was renovated, the city would work with the community to re-establish the Plant Lovers Garden as well.
If we can get the volunteer manpower and pitch a proposal to the city, it is likely they will support renovating the Plant Lovers Garden and supply whatever materials we need. Perhaps even contribute funds. They have been extremely responsive and supportive of all our efforts till now.
 If anyone is interested, has some ideas, time or resources to share, or would like to take part in re-establishing this beautiful courtyard garden, please let me know, we can use all the help we can get.
If we can get enough volunteers organized for this project, we can approach the city with a plan, and save this unique landmark and peaceful retreat.
    This is a general list of plants we will have available to share with the community in the spring.  We don’t know how many plants we will have, so it will be on a first come first serve basis. We do not have pots or containers at this point so “BYOP” and if you have extra we could probably put a small number to use.

  We also have a wish list of plants we hope to acquire for the garden, it is by no means complete and input from the community is welcome. So if there are any plants you would like to see in our Apothecary’s Garden, or if you have access to one of the plants on our wish list, please leave me a note.

Monarch & Tiger Lily Hamilton Ontario
Monarch & Tiger Lily Hamilton Ontario
Thanks and hope to see you in the Garden this year
Dan Riegler

Spring 2013 Plant sharing list 

Lemon balm

Skullcap, (Lateriflora)
Baikal skullcap, (Chinese)
Anise hyssop


Sweet flag
Blue flag
Hoary Mountain mint
Chocolate Mint


Perennial flax

St. John’s wort

Russian tarragon
Clary Sage

Wood Betony
Prairie sage

Ladies mantle



Plant wish list for Apothecary’s Garden Churchill Park

Arnica Montana
black cohosh
Blue cohosh
Cost Mary

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Magical Mythical Marvelous Myrrh


Natures perfect gift for Oral care & first aid   

Heartache or toothache, which is the worst?  I still don’t have an answer for that one. At least for a toothache there is an obvious  and effective way to address the source of the pain. Winter is the time I experience the most discomfort and pain with teeth and gums. (And heartache :-(. ), If something is going to go wrong in my mouth, it will, without a doubt, go wrong during the winter months.

The one consistent help and comfort has been the oleo-resin from Commiphora Myrrha.  Myrrh. It is the only thing that has given me a naturally sourced reprieve from  pain and misery of toothache, sore, infected or inflamed gums and loose teeth. Over the years I have found that the essential oil and tincture of Myrrh have done some amazing things for my teeth. (I have had many problems with them). I have had teeth that were so loose I was sure they would simply fall out within hours. Though it seemed obvious it was too late to reverse the damage, a couple of days of diligently swooshing with the salt water Myrrh mix, tightened them back up and saved them for a few more years.

English: Somali man collecting incense
English: Somali man collecting incense (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Add 1 or 2 ML. of tincture of Myrrh to a salt water “gargle”, (1/4 teaspoon salt  to 1 cup of warm water). Swoosh in mouth over gums and teeth as many times as you can or need  per day.  It works like a charm.

In the past I used essential oil of Myrrh for this purpose, smearing the bitter tar on my teeth and gums, or trying to infuse what I could of the thick essential oil into the water. It worked, however I have found that using the alcohol/water tincture in salt water greatly accelerates the process. I am continually surprised how quickly it brings my teeth and gums back to normal, reducing swelling, pain and discomfort.  Adding tincture to the water immediately creates an emulsion and turns the water white.This is a sign you got it right. (See below)Fresh Myrrh Resin Chunks

Fresh Myrrh Resin Chunks, essential oil and emulsion of Myrrh tincture with salt water.

Also, it doesn’t hurt if you swallow some. The bitter principal in Myrrh is good for you. Especially considering how in our western diet we avoid the bitter principal and flavour as much as possible, and we overdo it with the sweet instead. Some attribute many of our western ills to this imbalance in our diets. Bitter flavours are usually associated with stimulating and toning Liver, spleen or gall bladder.

There is simply nothing as effective for healing oral distress than Myrrh. Canker sores, spongy gums, sore, inflamed, infected gums, toothache, (Make sure to get it looked at by a dentist!), Gingivitis, bad breath, loose teeth, sore throat, post extraction swelling and pain, Denture discomfort, irritation and soreness of any kind.  A short video tutorial….

The name Myrrh is rooted in The Aramaic word for bitter. Mar, Mor, Myrrh. Some associate the name Mary, Miriam, Mariam to meaning the bitter of the sea, froth of the sea?(Sometimes associated with the Goddess Astarte, Ashtoreth).

Foliage of myrrh (Commiphora sp.)
Foliage of myrrh (Commiphora sp.) (Photo credit: Joel Abroad)

Either way a feminine principle which is appropriate since Myrrh is said to be ruled astrologically by the Moon. ( Frankincense by the Sun). There are many more valuable medicinal and spiritual/energetic attributes to Myrrh, but I will leave those for another post.

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 “As above, So below”

Flyer Apothecary's Garden 2012

Astrodynamics is a modern term coined for a method of working with plants and Astrology to refine the energetic and physical qualities of herbs and their products. It is a branch of Herbal Alchemy which seeks to sublimate and potentate plant qualities  by working in harmony with Nature . Its goal is to bring plant life to its fullest potential, or in other words to  transmute what is mundane to a higher form of itself. This is reflected in the well-known pursuit of mineral Alchemy,  transmuting  Lead to Gold.

According to Astrodynamics, each plants physical, energetic and therapeutic properties resemble and resonate with different astrological and Planetary bodies. Each plant is influenced by, or “Ruled by” a planet and/or Sign of the Zodiac and there is a resonance, a harmony and an affinity between them. These energies are at their peak in plant life when their ruling sign or planet is prominent or well aspected in the sky. When their ruling planets or signs are at an ebb or in conflict with other heavenly bodies, the corresponding qualities in their subjective herbs will also  be at an ebb. There are different influences that are considered in this approach to herbalism.

The symbols used in Western astrology to repre...
The symbols used in Western astrology to represent the astrological signs (Zodiac) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

-The natal chart which shows the Astrological positions, relationships and influences at each given moment.

-The position of the Moon, whether waxing or waning and in which sign of the Zodiac it is passing through.

-The day of the week, each is ruled by a different planet, as is each hour of the day.

-Care is also given to one’s intent and mindfulness in every step of the process. One cannot separate oneself from the equation or not influence the end product. Each species is accorded the respect and care due to a unique individual, not a commodity. Thus Astrodynamics is about the dynamics of relationships, the interconnectedness and interdependence of all things.

-My experience has shown, that growing, harvesting and processing plants, conscientiously while working with their rulerships and Astrological affinities in this manner, yields products of superior medicinal quality, colour, fragrance and extended shelf life.

The second place we utilize this knowledge is when the medicine is made. This is directed by the organ or area of the body the dis-ease is affecting. Each organ is “Governed” by its own astrological and planetary signs.

The body and organs are supported with herbs that have an affinity with them.   The  medicine is produced at a time these energies are at their peak. While the dis-ease is addressed with herbs that are astrologically opposite in their nature and energy.AG Flyer Inside 2013

These are some basic principles of Astrodynamics,Herbal Alchemy and Medicinal Astrology, in a nutshell.