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BigLuna
28-12-2011, 03:34
Minderwiz, as a classical astrologer, what's your opinion of planetary rulership of plants, flowers, and trees? Is there any basis for it in your opinion? It all seems rather arbitrary and some associations don't make any sense at all.

Is there anything in your studies to support it?

Saturness
28-12-2011, 06:42
I am passionate about herbalism and have many books on the subject. One of them was done by a Brazilian author who both and herbalist and astrologer, and he does list which planet rules which plant. However, since it's a whole book it's hard for me to list it all here.

He does take into consideration the parts of the body that are traditionally rules by certain planets. So, lets suppose, a plant that is good to heal liver problems would be ruled by Jupiter. But he also gives "physical" characteristics most usually found in plants ruled by a certain planet.

The book has a bunch of tables... all in portuguese, but if there's interest I may translate some of it. Of course, I do not presume that this representative of what Traditional Astrologer think (that Minderwiz should be able to tell us), but it's interesting.

Minderwiz
28-12-2011, 07:39
That's an excellent question!!!

The first thing that needs to be made clear, is something that confused me for a long time, until I took up a traditional approach. And that is the use of the word 'ruler' I'm going to do an aside on Sign rulership first because the contrast is important

There are two distinct used of the word and they are quite different. The first relates to signs (not covered by your question). The sign rulerships are determined by 1) assigning the rulership of the Summer signs to Moon and Sun - so the Moon gets Cancer and the sun gets Leo 2) The remaining signs are allocated by applying the chaldean order of planets (Saturn inwards) working from Winter (Capricorn and Aquarius) through to the Spring (on the 'Lunar side' and Autumn (on the Solar side) ending with Mercury getting Gemini and Virgo.

I've laboured that side point because there's something vital about it for what follows. The rulership does not depend on affinity - Mercury is not ruler of Gemini because the two are similar Mercury is ruler of Gemini because to it's position in the zodiac circle relative to the Winter/Summer axis. Yes Gemini begins to take on an aura of it's ruler, and shows a side of Mercury but that is not the reason for it's rulership

Now when we come to plants, animals, gemstones, and other objects 'rulership' always has been given on the basis of affinity or similarity. So Saturn 'rulers' all things black, because the colour of Saturn is grey/black Mars rules all things red and sharp objects,

However problems begin to emerge with affinity as a basis - an object can have an affinity with the characteristics of more than one planet. This in turn means that some Astrologers will see one characteristic as being more important than another and so attribute rulership by affinity to one planet, whereas another Astrologer will see a different balance in the characteristics and attribute rulership to a different planet

For example, we might say that Saturn rules black things, and Mercury rules motor cars. So which one rules a black car? If you take black as an incidental property, compared to the car as a mode of transport, then you might go for Mercury. Now what about a black hearse? Its a black vehicle, but it's used for funerals and associated with death - so Saturn may rule black hearses or even dark red ones.

Now if you think about gemstones or plants you have all sorts of characteristics. Both can be used in healing - so we might classify them according to their healing properties or the type of illness they relieve . Both have colours as a property, plants may or may not have scents, plants can have culinary uses Gemstones can be 'hard' or 'soft' can be used in magical rituals.

Individual Astrologers may therefore assign rulership of a plant or a gemstone (or other object) to more than one planet based on the specific uses that they are concentrating on at any one time.

I've used the word 'affinity' but there's no real explanation extant of how the rulerships were awarded in the first place There's a good section in Lee Lehman's Book of Rulerships where she looks at the rulerships of plants and finds quite a disparity of rulerships given by traditional authors Some of that might be explained by my point on usage - for example Nicholas Culpepper was a herbalist, and it's no surprise that his rulerships are medicinally related but it's not always that clear. Lilly for example, attributes the rulership of eagles to, the Sun, Venus, Mars and Jupiter, within the space of about 10 pages, but doesn't explain why this is so. It seems almost as if he just copied it from someone else, but there's enough evidence elsewhere in his works that he thought carefully about his Astrology. So he must have had reasons - he just doesn't really share them.

So, I don't think there's any right or wrong answer to these rulerships (whereas there is for the signs) As long as you have clear reasons for assigning the rulerships, or even if you are accepting those of others. Personally, I go by te use or application I'm considering and the affinity or connection of a planet to that use but there's no text that says that's what I should do

dadsnook2000
28-12-2011, 09:22
Affinity is tricky. Consider a "shoe" for example. The shoe is for one's foot, so is it Pisces, or do we stretch it to Neptune? It has form and is made of animal skin, so is it Saturn and not Neptune. The shoe helps us to walk about and travel, so it has Mercury connotations, or does it? And we haven't even considered colors or fashion. Red pumps for Mars? I think not. What about sequined slippers, and Venus?

It seems to me that it is hard to make a serious case for planetary affinities. Dave

BigLuna
28-12-2011, 10:11
That all makes perfect sense to me, Minderwiz. I can't find anything definitive about this. Different authors = different associations.

Now, would you mind explaining why things can't have an affinity with a sign? Lots of herbalists assign plants to signs, not planets. Pansies = Capricorn, for example.

Marina, that's a great example with Jupiter and plants used for liver ailments; milkthistle, for instance.

Dadsnook, I get your point about shoes. The only thing I can say with "absolute certainty" is that stilletto heels are Scorpio. :)

In essence, it seems that it boils down to personal symbolism, which works for me.

Thanks, everyone. I've been debating this with myself for what seems like ages. Glad to hear it from different perspectives.

Minderwiz
28-12-2011, 22:22
That all makes perfect sense to me, Minderwiz. I can't find anything definitive about this. Different authors = different associations.

Now, would you mind explaining why things can't have an affinity with a sign? Lots of herbalists assign plants to signs, not planets. Pansies = Capricorn, for example.



Well your original question related to planets, so I left signs out for brevity. Signs have been linked to plants since at least medieval times, so clearly the association has no special connection with modern sign meanings. The real issue is more to do with the reasons for those associations.- is it affinity or something else.

At least part of the answer lies in the concept of Melothesic Man - the association of the signs with body areas, starting with Aries for the head and working down to Pisces for the feet. I don't really think this is an affinity relationship, I think it is positional, first to last, top to bottom. Though I'm sure over time an affinity has crept in.

Given this link between signs and body parts, I can see medical and medicinal links that grow out of it.
Oddly, Culpepper associates herbs only with planets in his Herbal, but in his Astological Judgement From The Decumbiture Of The Sick, he links diseases to Signs, as well as planets. However it's planets that 'cause' (or at least indicate the imbalance that is the cause of the disease) disease, not signs

There are also links between signs and compass bearings, signs and places and positions in a house and places such as towns, cities, regions and countries. Again though, it seems that 'affinity' is the wrong word - the link is more an association or even a metaphorical reference.

Some of these seem to be obvious or at least reasonable, others have been lost in the mists of time and elude me. Traditionally signs are passive, whereas a number of Modern writers take them as, active. A modern writer might associate Gemini with modes of transport, a traditional writer would confine the affinity to Mercury. That I think is why Culpepper gives rulership of herbs to planets - he is seeing their medicinal role as active. That is not to say that a plant could not have a passive association with a sign. Indeed Culpepper doesn't mention pansies in his herbal, so he obviously thought that they have no medicinal properties BUT they are still a flower and the association with Capricorn might well be an apt descriptor of them.

I've not mentioned the outers but I see no reason why these cannot have such associations - as Dave mentions in passing in his shoe example. I'm not convinced of 'affinity being the basis of association in all or even most cases but I do see such associations or metaphors as being useful to the Horary or Medical Astrologer.

BigLuna
28-12-2011, 23:41
Yes, Culpepper solely uses the planets. I remember reading about some plant in his herbal (can't remember which one now) that got its association to the Sun from the Egyptians. He remarked that he didn't really understand their reasoning, but there it was. I'll pour through my Culpepper's herbal and try to locate that plant if, for no other reason, to make sure I didn't make that up and convince myself that I actually read it.

I'm writing a little piece on patchouli for my blog and I've gotten myself into a dither about it. It's always listed as a plant of Capricorn, due to the Saturn rulership. But! It's also the fragrance always associated with hippies, so that could make it Uranian, as well, while keeping in mind that Saturn is the traditional ruler of Aquarius. Patricia Davis, an astroaromatherapist, associates it with Scorpio because it was used medicinally to treat stings. Round and round we go.

Thanks for your views on the signs and plants.

Remember those old planting calendars that had pictures of body parts instead of the signs for the moon's location? There would be a picture of feet if the moon was in Pisces or a head if it was in Aries.

Minderwiz
29-12-2011, 08:31
I'm writing a little piece on patchouli for my blog and I've gotten myself into a dither about it. It's always listed as a plant of Capricorn, due to the Saturn rulership. But! It's also the fragrance always associated with hippies, so that could make it Uranian, as well, while keeping in mind that Saturn is the traditional ruler of Aquarius. Patricia Davis, an astroaromatherapist, associates it with Scorpio because it was used medicinally to treat stings. Round and round we go.


Is she treating the stings sympathetically or antipathetically? If the latter, there's an argument that it's not related to Mars but is associated with a cold and dry plant such as Saturn, or a cold and wet planet such as the Moon, Mercury might also be a candidate for the former and Venus for the latter.'

BigLuna
30-12-2011, 07:00
Here's the quote: (It's not stings. I misquote her. It's snake bites and poisonous insects.)

"In the South-East Asian countries where Patchouli originates it is traditionally used to treat snake bites and those of poisonous insects...andhere we are considering the sign with a 'sting in its tail'!

Sting in its tail = my bad memory and misquote. I apologize for that.

Minderwiz
30-12-2011, 08:24
Thanks for the actual quote.

Firstly it does seem that she is treating signs as active in treatment. It's not clear though what her underlying stance is in this specific instance. The 'sting in the tail is a clear link to Scorpio, through analogy but analogy isn't a basis for treatment.

So it actually raises more questions than it answers. It's an intriguing area though. I'd be interested if you find out more.

BigLuna
30-12-2011, 09:05
This is certainly an astro hobby of mine, as frustrating as it gets.

I'm still intriqued by Dadsnook's shoe example. Are toe shoes Libra, Gemini, or Mercury? Why are hats often cited as Gemini, when they sit on the head (Aries)?

If I come across anymore patchouli/scorpio/whatever info, I'll be sure to keep you posted.

N.Tesla
30-12-2011, 10:38
I remember having read somewhere in the Three Books of Occult Philosophy by Henry Cornelius Agrippa how a certain tree was cut and was seen to bear a certain mark, resembling the signs of a particular star and how it meant that that tree was ruled by that particular star, because the microcosm is but macrocosm, if on a smaller scale, so the virtues of that star were to be found in that tree, because the tree was a repetition of a celestial DNA (so to speak) after an earthly fashion. I think it was on the first book, but then again it's been quite a while since I read it, I could very well be mistaken. In a general sense, I think it has to do with recognizing one in the other, much like you would see your own image in your parents.

BigLuna
30-12-2011, 11:23
How interesting! I certainly like the idea of "celestial DNA" but wonder if two people would see the same mark as representing the same thing.