Friday, 15 January 2016

Herbs of the Sun, Moon and Planets to be published in May

Herbs of the Sun, Moon and Planets

My forthcoming book Herbs of the Sun, Moon and Planets has been set a publication date for 27 May, 2016.  It is being published by Moon Books in their Pagan Portals series. The cover features some dragon trees, which are described in the section about Herbs of Mars. I became fascinated by these weird plants when I first came upon them in Tenerife where I used to live. They look as if they could have come from another planet! 


Ancient Herbalists

You are probably wondering how there can be herbs of the Sun, Moon and Planets, and of course, as far as we know, the Earth is the only planet that supports life as we know it in this Solar System, so what does the subject of my book and the title mean?  Well, the answer is that ancient herbalists, such as Nicholas Culpeper, had a system of listing herbs under different planetary rulers, according to their characteristics. 

For example, according to these herbalist schools of thought, herbs ruled by Mars, the god of war, have something aggressive about their form, such as spines. Red is the colour of blood, associated with war and violence, and the dragon tree (Dracaena draco) has a red resinous sap known as dragon's blood. It also has spiky leaves that are lance-shaped. This made the tree an ideal candidate for being included in the herbs of Mars.


The Dragon Tree

Seven Sections

Herbs of the Sun, Moon and Planets has seven sections in which I list seven herbs and discuss their uses, and why they are listed under the dominion of a particular planet.  There are sections for the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.  In the section for Herbs of the Sun, the sunflower (Helianthus),  chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) and St John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) are included. 


Chamomile (Photo - Public Domain)


The first two of these herbs have petals that radiate out from a central disk and that makes them similar visually to the Sun. The sunflower and St John's wort have bright golden yellow petals too, which also got them listed as herbs ruled by the Sun.  St John's wort is a well-known remedy for depression, a herbal antidepressant, so it brings a ray of sunshine into the emotional state of someone who is suffering from melancholy.

Eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis) is another herb of the Sun. It has markings like sun rays on its flowers and is a herbal treatment for the eyes. It also likes growing in sunny locations. 

Herbs of the Moon have something to do with the night about them or something rounded or white or silvery. The white water lily (Nymphaea alba) is a herb of the Moon and it has white flowers and rounded lily pads.  Jasmine (Jasminum officinale) is another herb ruled by the Moon, and this shrub has white flowers and emits a perfume after dark. 

Herbs of Mercury must communicate and have something to say. Mercury was regarded as the messenger of the gods. Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is a herb ruled by Mercury. With its feathery foliage, graceful appearance and aroma and flavour of anise, it certainly communicates to our senses. 

Herbs of Venus should have some association with love. The rose is, not surprisingly, listed in the herbs governed by the goddess and planet Venus.


Gardening Event

I am a regular contributor to Mediterranean Gardening and Outdoor Living magazine, "the only English language magazine dedicated to gardening in Iberia," and this summer on 11 and 12 June, the publication is holding an "outdoor living extravaganza," their First Annual Mediterranean Gardening Show. This fabulous gardening event will be held at the VILA VITA Parc Resort and Spa in the Algarve area of Portugal.  I am pleased to announce that I will be one of the guest speakers at this event, and I will be selling and signing copies of my new book, which will be published just in time for this.

Kindred Spirit magazine

Look out for me in the summer issue of Kindred Spirit magazine, a popular publication about Mind, Body and Spirit subjects. There will be a feature about Herbs of the Sun, Moon and Planets in it too.

Of course, I am looking for further publicity for my book, so please get in touch if you want to interview me about it or can review my work! 
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