Plants of the Moon
Lunar herbs help us connect with the energy of the Moon, bringing its influence into magic and rituals. The moon plays a prominent role in the spiritual practices of Pagans and Witches alike. It is described as being feminine in nature due to its connections to water and the subconscious, as well as its correlation to the twenty-eight day cycle of the menstrual period. The moon has a major influence over men and women here on Earth, its waxing and waning tides directly influencing how we feel, the way we express our emotions, and how we relate to others. The moon also represents mystery, occultism, the sub-conscious and the dream world. Mythologically it is associated with a number of goddesses both dark and light. The moon also has this dual nature, during its waxing cycle its energy is building making it a powerful time to manifest our desires and reflect our light back out into the world around us. When the Moon is in its dark or waning phase the energy is turned within. It is a time of divination, and delving into the subconscious realms accessing our Shadow self and coming to a deeper understanding of things that are hidden. The dark moon is a powerful time to do certain rituals, corresponding to Hecate the Queen of Witches. It is also a powerful time to collect plants of a baneful nature, and those with connection to magic and sorcery. At this time they have absorbed the full cycle of reflected light from the Moon, containing its full potential of energy for that particular cycle.
Lunar herbs are often soothing, calming and sedative. Many of them have a watery nature, either growing in or near water or having a high water content. Many of these plants are also nocturnal, blooming only at night. Many practitioners of herbal magic enjoy planting and growing nocturnal gardens dedicated to the plants of the Moon. Other plants while not necessarily nocturnal are still directly connected to the cycles of night and day. They have a connection to both the Sun and Moon, male and female energy, and contain a balance of both energies. Many of these plants respond to light and darkness in their own unique ways and offer a number of unique symbolic applications for the green magician.
Evening Primrose (Oenthra biennis)
Evening Primrose. Photo by the author.
One example of such a plant that has connections to the cycles of both the Sun and the Moon, is the Evening Primrose. It is also known as Evening Star, Sun Drop, Night Candle, King’s Cure All, and Fever Plant. This biennial plant opens quickly in the evening lasting until around noon the following day. Most varieties are edible and medicinal, and have been used for a variety of applications as an herb for healing skin issues, as a dietary supplement and source of nutrients for Native Peoples, and the production of valuable Evening Primrose Oil. The flower buds can be peeled and eaten and in some places are considered a delicacy. The seeds are high in protein and contain amino acids. It can be used in infusions and poultices for the improvement of a variety of skin conditions, hence its use in many cosmetic products. It improves acne, eczema and psoriasis.
As a four-petaled plant it promotes balance, integration and restructuring. Four is the number of foundations, boundaries, and protection. Evening Primrose promotes healing, especially of negative emotions that have been caused at an early age. It helps with communication and building strong relationships with our loved ones. At a young age we pick up many verbal and non-verbal cues from our parents that shape how we view the world and our place in it. Sometimes we pick up negative behaviors and viewpoints from our earliest role models, and this plant helps us to re-establish healthy boundaries and ideas from this perspective.
It is beneficial for people who have experienced divorce or and absent parent, helping to heal the wounds of a toxic home environment. The home is a structure simply depicted as having four walls, which corresponds to the numerology of this plant. Symbolically connecting to our sense of security and belonging.
Evening Primrose Seeds. Photo by the author.
Evening Primrose facilitates the process of rebirth and transformation, helping us to connect with and reconcile our shadows. It assists us in processing and expressing difficult emotions, and returns vitality to us after these intense experiences. The plant’s connection with the Sun helps us shed light on deep emotional issues hidden in the psyche, represented by the Moon. The nurturing lunar energy is associated with maternal figures, and helps to facilitate healing in this area where there may have been struggles in the past.
The plant’s connection to the Moon and Water is particularly feminine in nature, along with its use in soothing and beautifying the skin, has connections with the planet Venus. Venus and the Moon are closely connected having many complimentary qualities. In this respect it helps one connect with their feminine side and embrace their own unique beauty. The Moon is associated with creativity and helps us to build self-confidence in our individuality. Also helping those with issues expressing their sexuality, which may have roots in their childhood.
Like many plants connected with beauty and glamour, the Evening Primrose is considered a fairy herb. The plant, and the dew that gather’s on it overnight is imbued with the Moon’s energy, and can be collected for use in beautification rituals. The plant itself can be added to baths and infusions for enhancing one’s aura and imparting an enchanting allure. It is also used for Moon rituals and can be placed on the altar or around the circle. Utilizing its feminine/lunar associations it can be employed to connect with lunar deities such as Diana, Selene, Luna and even Hecate.