Herbs of the Sun: angelica, ash, bay, calendula, chamomile, celandine, eyebright, frankincense, juniper, mistletoe, rosemary, saffron, safflower, Saint-John’swort, sunflower, tormentilla, walnuts
Colors: gold, orange
Energies: self-confidence, success, vitality, courage, authority, dignity, fame, self-knowledge
Stones/materials: diamond, citrine, yellow jasper, topaz
Deities: Ra, Apollo, Helios, Lugh, Isis, Diana, Brigit
In Astrology, the Sun and Moon are called “Planets” for ease of interpretation, but they are obviously not Planets in the scientific sense. In medicinal terms, the Sun could be considered the great restorative. Even as the returning Sun allows plant life to flourish on the Earth, the herbs attributed to the Sun act to restore health and vitality. They stimulate and balance the human health system that suffers from either excess or deficiency.
Many of the plants attributed to the Sun may be considered Solar simply on the basis of their appearance, of course. For example, chamomile, celandine, Saint-John’s-wort, and calendula all produce bright yellow flowers, many of which blossom around the summer solstice. The sunflower follows the path of the Sun during the day, facing the East as the Sun rises and bending its head to the West as the Sun sets. Saffron produces a dye that may be considered Solar because of its bright yellow-gold appearance.
It is in healing, however, that the Solar herbs really “shine” in their diverse healing efficacy. Solar herbs restore equilibrium to the entire physical system, often serving as tonics to the heart and promoting the free flow of vital energy. The heart is commonly considered the Solar center of the body (the organ ruled by Leo, the Astrological Sign associated with the Sun), and many effects of Solar herbs center around this organ. Angelica relieves circulatory conditions, such as gout, when used as a compress. It works well to alleviate fever, inflammations, and headache (all conceivable symptoms of excess heat or high blood pressure).
Saint-John’s-wort relieves headaches, and chamomile and celandine reduce fever. The restorative Solar heat of chamomile, celandine, juniper, and Saint-John’s-wort relieves swellings, inflammations, and rheumatic conditions; eyebright and Saint-John’s-wort alleviate symptoms due to colds, such as rheumatic joints and congested lungs. Angelica and Saint-John’s-wort also have restorative properties that recommend them for use in cases of weakness and anemia. In addition, Saint-John’s-wort is known to balance the effects of mental depression, leading to more confidence and the ability to take action toward personal and professional goals and responsibilities.
Another herb of the Sun, mistletoe is a parasite/symbiote to the oak, a tree attributed in a wide variety of cultures to Solar Deities. Mistletoe produces a drastic and often fatal effect on the heart and circulatory system. The berries are never used, but the leaves and twigs can be made in a weak Infusion to reduce bleeding by lowering blood pressure, and the leaves can be used to reduce uterine bleeding after parturition. As one of the few spots of green in the forest in the dead of winter, the mistletoe is often viewed as a symbol of the Sun and returning life.
Because the Sun is seen in Astrology and Magick as the Planet of the ego or personality, the Magickal/energy effects of Solar herbs are to promote self-confidence and personal success. The energies of Sun herbs are represented and expressed by people in the public eye: rulers and authority figures, as well as people in successful, self-expressive endeavors that bring them pleasure. Sun herbs impart a sense of purpose and a strong will. Just as the Sun Sign in one’s Natal (birth) Astrological Chart indicates the ways that a person presents himself to the world and tends to apply his energies, Sun herbs help to draw power toward self-expression and personal success in whatever endeavor toward which a person is directed.
Utilized in Solar Incenses, oil blends, Philtres, and other herbal formulas used in ritual, Sun herbs give vitality, health, creativity, dignity, success, and authority. When used in ritual and Magick, Solar herbs help us to define and understand our true purpose and Will in any specific endeavor. They inform our thought processes and how we wish to harness our motivation and energy toward the success of any given goal. Sun herbs strengthen our self-expression (the expression of our True Will), impart the confidence to embark on actualizing our goals, and give us the power to manifest our visions into the physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual realm toward which we are aiming this energy. With the self-expression of our Astrological Sun Sign, we each have our own gauge of what success means to us.
The various areas of interest and aspiration a person has at a given time, how success will express itself in the final outcome of the manifestation of a goal, and what life is presenting to an individual at the diverse stages of her life will all have a bearing on the ways that a person defines success at that particular juncture. We all have personal definitions of success that can never be defined solely by the outside world.
Because of their extensive benefits to physical health, as well as the emotional, mental, and spiritual levels of being, Solar herbs are excellent for use in ritual to balance and maintain your system for optimal energy and enthusiasm leading to success in any area you choose.
Adapted, and reprinted with permission from Weiser Books, an imprint of Red Wheel/Weiser, The Herbal Alchemist’s Handbook by Karen Harrison is available wherever books and ebooks are sold or directly from the publisher at www.redwheelweiser.com or 800-423-7087