In the post below, “Science in the Stars”, Michele has published a concise and easy to understand introduction to medical astrology and what I like to call “Astrodynamics”. One I will link to my introduction to planetary rulerships and Medical astrology-“Astrodynamics 101”.
As always, Michele has done an exceptional job crafting a tasteful, informative and easy to understand post. She has done so on a subject that even the alternative community considers alternative. Whatever it is that Michele Burklund does, that constantly impresses me, she just did it again.
Michele publishes well crafted, interesting, informative, and beautiful posts on anything she considers a “modality” of naturopathic medicine. She will complete her 5th and last year of naturopathic studies this year, and from what I understand, specializes in mental health and neurology. As implied by the name, “Healthy Fashionista”, Michele does indeed have a great sense of fashion, but, more than that, she manages to balance appearance and content, inner and outer lives, wisdom and beauty with flair and style.
I believe that as individuals and as a group, we are an innate and integral part of the cosmos. We are a factor in every solution, and in every problem. We are affected by, and we affect everything around us. As above, so below. More than a philosophy, this phrase can give us a deeper understanding of the mechanics of the world.
The only way we can judge the validity of any theory, is by studying it. I hope the information presented here on the connection between astrology and our health, will provide a stepping stone for a deeper understanding of self, life and the world around us.
Medical astrology is actually an ancient science that predates both psychology and astronomy! This ancient medical system associates various parts of the body, diseases, and drugs as under the influence of the sun, moon, and planets along with the twelve astrological signs.
It’s been used for thousands of years dating back as far as 410 BC and traced to locations across the globe including Egypt and Mexico. It’s popularity has waxed and waned over the centuries but it has always managed to keep a presence. As a scientist by nature, I always try to keep an open mind to all types of modalities and entertain the validity while waiting for more evidence-based research to come about.
Isn’t is interesting that women have shown peak rates conception and probably ovulation appear to occur at the full moon or the day before. During the new moon, ovulation and conception rates are decreased overall, and an increased number of women start their menstrual bleeding. Scientific research has documented that the moon rules the flow of fluids (ocean tides as well as individual body fluids) and affects the unconscious mind and dreams. The timing of the menstrual cycle, the fertility cycle, and labor also follows the moon-dominated tides of the ocean. Environmental cues such as light, the moon, and the tides play a documented role in regulating women’s menstrual cycles and fertility (source). Maybe in our technology dominated culture we are beginning to forget how connected we are to universal forces?
Common imbalances associated with each astrological sign:
Aries: The energies are often in excess of the nervous and mental balance, and most ill-health has its origins in such things as violent exertion and outbursts of anger. The Aries person should seek poise at all costs.
Taurus : Over-indulgence and too much comfort lie at the roots of most disorders, but there is also a tendency to brood over troubles which lends force to any passing ailments.
Gemini : Nervous reactions and restlessness, form the basis.
Cancer : Usually complaints originate in the emotions through some mental irritant, cause nervous reactions and general lessening of vitality. It has been said that nine times out of ten the Cancerian is hurt in health more by others than by himself.
Leo : Nearly all afflictions tend to arise from over-exertion of some kind.
Virgo : There is a tendency to upsets of the digestive organs from nervous causes, producing acidity and other troubles.
Libra : Troubles arise usually from nervous exhaustion of some kind.
Scorpio : Breaking down of the resistance through worrying and interaction of others upon the individual.
Sagittarius : Restlessness often causes the trouble; the folks under this Sign are peculiar to accidents and injuries.
Capricorn : Disease is frequently rooted in inhibitions.
Aquarius : Nervous causes, usually, based on the highly sensitive nature.
Pisces : Over-heating of the mind with possibly fancied injuries from others, plus much sensitiveness physical and mental, form the basis for most complaints.
Not many people are familiar with Wild Ginger.
It is one of those unique, well hidden treasures of the deep woods that some Canadians or Northeastern Americans might come across, but most would not recognize. This may be a good thing. I believe it is on the protected list in Maine as a threatened plant, and I wouldn’t want to see a trend.
Shade loving and often found on north facing slopes under mixed hardwoods, It clings to humus, wends around rocks, clutching at the surface of the soil and more often than not does a good job stopping soil erosion.
I would put it in a similar category of useful and highly valuable native plants as our Lady Slipper Orchid , which is almost extinct from encroachment of roads and cities and from over-harvesting.
Beautiful large green heart-shaped leaves glow & glimmer with an almost iridescent depth. In the spring they shyly hide beautiful purplish flowers, making them almost invisible. As if they were doing everything they could to not be found or recognized, to hide themselves from prying eyes and greedy hands. Leaves are similar in size, shape, colour and height to the Coltsfoot that grows almost everywhere here. Making it even harder to make a first acquaintance. It took me almost 2 years of false starts, impulsive roadside pullovers, dashes across fields, into woods, across streams, being so sure I had, finally, found it, …… and each time, catching myself a little sooner, my initial excitement tempered with a little more skepticism, as I sought out the telltale’s of those impostors, Coltsfoot and Wild Violets, blatantly impersonating Wild Ginger. Finally, I assume because the time was right, I was granted a personal audience. Deep in the woods, one on one, while hunting wild Mushrooms. I wasn’t even looking for it at the time!!
It’s Latin name is Asarum Canadense. Distinguishing it from its European cousin Asarum Europeaum, which has a little to no aroma and a general resemblance only on the surface. I believe the European version is in general toxic and medicinally acts as an emetic and Cathartic so beware. Also an abortifacient if I am not mistaken. Though it makes a pretty good shade loving ground cover in Northern climates if anyone.
Ahhhh Wild Ginger what can I say? You really have to smell it, taste it to know what I’m talking about. Scientifically it does not belong to the ginger family at all, But once you meet it you’ll know immediately why it got its name. Not quite as “hot” as Asian Ginger, but more than makes up for bite in its complex spicy flavour. It has an aroma and taste that gives it extensive possibilities in an infinite number of dishes
In the field of Natural Perfumery, its essential oil is exquisite! There’s nothing like it. I use it in perfumes, colognes, aftershaves and room sprays. Basically wherever I can. It blends well with Citrus, Woody and Balsamic essential oils, made easily into a perfume tincture. It has a high percent of volatile oils so it is worth the effort of distilling the essential oil, and I would love to extract a resinoid or concrete someday soon. I have a feeling it would add even more potential to its use in perfumery.
An interesting characteristic, is that when steam distilling the essential oil of Wild Ginger, the oil comes over a beautiful Emerald green, but over the course of a few weeks it changes permanently to a rich Amber colour. I know of no other essential oils that behave this way.
As a tea, the ground rhizomes are delicious, help ease a sore throat, mix well with other stimulating and spicy tea herbs, fruit or Citrus peels. It is warming and rejuvenating, lovely in the winter and like regular Ginger it encourages good digestion and discourages flatulence. Native North American tribes have historically used it for medicine and ceremony. In the summer I add it to iced tea and Lemonade. As a base for an alcoholic or non-alcoholic brewed Ginger Ale or beer, there is nothing like it!
Wild Ginger complements rice dishes, wild mushrooms, (and regular ones), fowl, Venison, Beef, Lamb, Chicken etc., etc., anything really!! Roasts and stir frys, Casseroles and pasta dishes. Sauces and Salad Dressings. Coarsely grind some with Mortar and Pestle and throw it in a pot of rice. It will transform it. Each little piece will turn into a flavorful chewy delicious tidbit by the time your rice is cooked, adding not only fragrance and flavor but a unique texture to your rice pot. Though I would not suggest completely replacing Ginger in the kitchen with Wild Ginger*, it creates delightful results anywhere regular Ginger is called for.
Candies, cakes, cookies and confections are a very exiting area to explore with Wild Ginger. The rhizomes make a wicked candied treat when boiled in sugar-water, then rolled in sugar, keeping unrefrigerated till it is gone, (which I promise you is never long), and the fragrant syrup from this process is perfect as a pancake or ice cream Syrup. If this Candied Wild Ginger is dipped in chocolate, I know of no other home-made confection that could compare. I add ground wild Ginger to fruit and herbal wines, Fruit cocktails and salads. I Have used it as a flavour component in a distilled liqueur, in Elderberry and Dandelion wines. There might be culinary applications it is not suited to at least experiment with. But honestly, I can’t think of even one! I usually add about 1 1/2 times more Wild Ginger to a recipe than regular dried Ginger.
If the dried rhizomes are properly stored, whole, not ground, they can keep for up to 8 years without losing their fragrance and potency. (as has been my experience). When Wild Ginger is ground and properly stored, three years is about the length of time before the flavor starts fading. I dare anyone that reads this to keep Wild Ginger in any amount till such time as the fragrance fades!! If you have it, you will use it till it is all gone!
For the past 14 years I have taken care of some plots of Wild Ginger growing “untended” in our area. (Locations I keep secret and share with only a handful of trusted friends). I harvest yearly in the fall and sometimes in the spring, experiencing the subtle differences each season lends it as I rotate between plots. After much trial and error I have come up with a couple of good harvesting methods that strike a balance between bringing home a bountiful harvest, and leaving behind happy thriving plants. This allows me to harvest every other year or so, and come back to vibrant vigorous growth that shows barely a sign of my presence. A very satisfying feeling. Win win, like good business we all benefit and do well from our relationship. Give and take. Honesty. A happy relationship.
There are many myths, anthropological, cultural and hard to prove theories about not using “Cold Steel” to harvest plants. whether it disturbs the plants energy, or the energies that are exterior to the plant. Mostly theories that are very difficult to prove even with advanced tools. Some things we just have to study or try for ourselves or we will never find out what is fact, what is fiction, what works and what doesn’t.
I must admit, using bone tools feels like I am working from the inside out, if that makes any sense. As if I am a part of the plant or process, not intruding, disrupting, invading. Feels more like sharing than taking. Sometimes I can only tell if something really works by how it “feels” to me, or by the results I get, like using Astrodynamics and Astrology to work in harmony with the plants. (As I do with Wild Ginger as well). The resulting products look, smell, and work better, last longer than the mass harvested and processed products I gauge them against. The whole process, in all it’s parts, just “feels” right, so that’s what I do. I also keep a thumbnail or two, extra long, from late Spring into Late fall, specifically for harvesting semi soft stems of flowers and medicinal plants. It’s just what works for me. No one else is obligated to follow suit.
I finally took down a few kilograms of fall 2012 harvest Wild Ginger that has hung from my rafters since the fall. I will distill a few Kilograms into essential oil this week, and keep the rest to sell locally and in my online shop. If anyone is interested in making the acquaintance of my fragrant friend. I’d be happy to grind some up for you, or ship you whole pieces.
Fall harvest of 2012 is cured, it always seems to mellow in the loveliest way when I make myself wait at least till spring to bring it down and use it
It is ready now to use for all the above mentioned purposes and pleasures, and I will have it set up for sale in my web-store at apothecarysgarden.com once I get this blog posted and have a break! Here is a link to the Apothecary’s garden shop, Have a look. If you like you can order some for yourself and try it in your own dishes, and please let me know what you think.
I will post some of my favourite Wild Ginger recipes on my Recipe Page, but please be patient, it may take me a few days to get that organized. So check back if you don’t find anything new. Everything seems to take time!!!
* Wild Ginger belongs to a very large family of plants found around the world. Some of its distant relatives, especially in northern Asia have been found to contain amounts of aristolochic acid which is a carcinogen. As far as I know our Asarum species does not contain these acids in any but trace amounts, if at all. I have not been able to find any information or studies done specifically on our Wild Ginger in this regard, but I do suggest not replacing your use of Ginger completely with Wild Ginger. Everything in moderation. And educate yourself… Here is a link to the Wikipedia site for Asarum Canadense, if anyone would like to edify themselves further.
Friday again. Beautiful. One of those few days in the week that anything can be harvested or processed. Not only ruling beauty and love, being an earth sign, Venus ,or Freya’s day is a day perfect for making things, manifesting on the physical plane. A day for creativity, especially. Creativity inspired or rooted in Love. Adoration, worship or Devotion.
Friday is a day I wait for each week. No wonder that in Judaism, Friday is the day to prepare oneself for the Sabbath, the day of rest. ( Sabbath= Shabtai= Saturn= limits, cessation, the metal lead, ). Especially important on Friday is the preparation of all food to be consumed on the Sabbath. ( did I mention Venus also rules food, its preparation, consumption and enjoyment?).
If you have a partner, this is the day to acknowledge, nurture and celebrate those aspects of the partnership that nourish and inspire you.
If you are lucky enough to have a deep spiritual/ emotional/ sexual partnership with someone, this is your day together. A day for the gift shared between you. For me, this is the best day of the week to experience the beauty, Love and transcendence it brings to you both. A day to manifest that Love in this physical world in any and all ways. Bake a pie, make a tincture, make Love, write something beautiful, walk in the woods.
Venus also has to do with Mother Nature and this beautiful planet that sustains us with its unconditional Love. So this is a day to be with Nature, enjoy and revel in her beauty, consider your relationship with Her as one of Love and devotion, mutual adoration . Make an offering, go for a walk, harvest for healing and for beautiful delicious food. Note the endless variation and diversity of materials, shapes and living things She offers us. The abundance of gifts She offers us to work with, to craft with inspiration and experience so we can sublimate and elevate raw materials into items that add beauty to our lives, medicine that heals and beautiful food that nourishes our bodies and spirits. These things She cannot do alone. Only we can raise them to a higher level. And the higher qualities we bring to the materials we work with, are directly tied to the qualities of our relationship with Her. What this means is that a deep respect for Mother Nature, a close or intimate connection, a excellent rapport and an attitude of devotion or adoration, or even just an acknowledgement of a relationship and Her presence as a unique entity, will raise and deepen our relationship with her and at the same time, allow us to better work in harmony with her, rather than forcing our will upon her. We have gotten so caught up in science and chemistry that we have abandoned the basic relationships that brought us their gifts in the first place.
In some ways our relationship with Mother Nature is the primary Man/Woman dynamic. Where mankind,(male or female), is the masculine energy and Mother Nature the Woman in this relationship. But I will leave that story for another time and another post.
Ahh, What a gorgeous fresh crisp morning… Beautiful clear sunrise and Venus rising ahead, ushering the sun through the dusk as if flagging the upcoming day as dedicated to Her. A day of beauty, Love and bounty. A perfect day to harvest in the wild. Time to go over my list and check it twice.
I am getting better at marking plant harvest times early in the year in my calendar so I don’t miss the unique windows of opportunity each plant might offer. Timing really is everything when it comes to quality. With intent clear, early in the year, one can almost just stand with arms open and collect the best specimens as they present themselves. As the days march by. When I know from the start that this cycle I will be making Elderberry wine or cough syrup, or candied Wild Ginger, then it feels almost like all I have to do is stand in place and grab them as they pass by, at exactly the right time, in the proper manner and presto,,, i have the highest quality herbs harvested at exactly the time when their physical and energetic properties are at their peak. Of course this not only allows me to prepare the highest quality medicinal and culinary items, but gives me a product with a greatly extended shelf life where color and fragrance are vivid and endure much longer than randomly plucked herbs, and from what I can tell without analytic laboratory equipment their medicinal properties are at their peak as well.
There are some things that only years of practical experience can give us. Many things actually. And then we die….but hopefully, not without leaving some legacy or trail of breadcrumbs, or Blog behind us. :-).
Herbal Apothecary, Wildcrafter, Sculptor, Craftsman.
Owner of Apothecary's Garden and Fairtrade Frankincense LTD. Providing a selection of fresh & fair trade, ethical and sustainably harvested Frankincense and Myrrh species, local and exotic fragrance materials, unusual essential oils, Natural perfume ingredients and animal essences. Astrodynamic plant Preparations, Herbal salves, cremes, tinctures and oils.
Tested on Animals and Babies, Children, Parents and Old Folks.
A sap for resins, ritual, Sun, Moon and Mother Nature.
A journal about Herbs, plants and processes. Recipes, plant Alchemy and our Relationship with Nature. Natural fragrance and medicine. Astrodynamics, rhythms and cycles, Medical Astrology, traditional Wisdom. Herbs and Healing, Science and Spirit. Oh and moustaches.
Fairtrade Frankincense explores our ancient and modern relationship with Nature's fragrant, medicinal oleoresins and provides a link joining traditional harvesters directly with our western market in fair and mutually beneficial commerce.