March 2019 Herbal Forecast

    These notes are suggestions for herbal allies to assist with the effects of the cosmic influences of this month.  Before imbibing any of the herbs recommended, research what is a recommended dosage, & ask yourself & research such questions as, Does this herb interfere with any medications I am taking?, Does this herb match with my constitution?, Do I really need to take this herb into my body?   Be wise: listen to your own body, intuition, guiding spirits & the plants themselves.

      Imbibing the herbs recommended is of course only one way of meeting the herbs.  There are countless manners of developing relationships with our herbal allies including sitting with the fresh or dry herbs, or a picture/drawing of the herb, making an amulet to wear or have on your altar (adhering to planetary hours/days is important here), visioning or meditating with the plant, & taking an herbal body or foot bath (In this case remember your skin is the largest organ of your body).  Use your imagination & listen to the plants, they have been on this planet much longer than we have, are our Elders & have great wisdom to offer.

      The overall plant ally of this month I find to be edible Seaweed like Dulse, & Kelp. 

Dulse (Palmaria palmate) is type of red algae.  Red algae call upon their red pigment molecules to photosynthesize with our fiery Sun.  Red algae are one of the oldest groups of eukaryotic creatures, a fossil found in Canada dates to be 1.2 million years old.  Humans, much newer to Earth, have been eating seaweeds for the past 2,000 years at least.   With a short stem, Dulse attaches to rocks in the inter-tidal zone & thrives in this constant transition zone. 

     Dulse offers ample iron, potassium, calcium, chromium & magnesium.  It supports bone density, strong muscles, white & red blood cell & arterial health.  Dulse also offers Vitamin B-12, A, B6 & C, thereby offering support for the nervous, adrenal & immune systems.  Vitamin & mineral rich Dulse also supports eye health, as well as contains Omega-3 & Omega-6 acids, which working together in our bodies support heart, circulatory & brain health.  Dulse has a great amount of protein & dietary fiber.  Containing high amounts of iodine, an essential mineral for thyroid health, Dulse is an excellent source for this.  It should not be eaten in excess if one is dealing with hyper- or hypothyroidism. Consult ones medical practitioner before making this part of ones diet.

     There are over 300 species of large brown algae that belong to the order Lamianrialles, which often carry the common name Kelp.  Growing along the coast where I also grow is Lamainaria longicruris, often called “Sugar Kelp” or “Wild Atlantic Kombu”.  Vitamin & mineral rich Kelp offers at least 25 vitamins including B-1,2,6,12, A, D, colic acid, carotenoids & many minerals including magnesium, potassium iron, calcium, iodine & sulfur.  It also has sodium alginate that assists in releasing heavy metals from the body.  Kelp has higher levels of calcium than milk, is a phenomenal source of chlorophyll & offers iodine for thyroid health.  (The same excess Iodine caveats apply for Kelp.)   When cooked with beans, Kelp helps to soften them, converting the sugars into more digestible forms, reducing flatulence.  Kelp offers a good source of the mineral vanadium, which helps to form enzymes in ones body that offers a natural antibiotic defense.   Kelp also offers insulin signaling & blood sugar balancing which can assist those dealing with diabetes or pre-diabetes.  Bringing Kelp into ones diet has also assisted in reducing blood clots & overall heart health.  These are just two types of the multitudinous Seaweed allies we are fortunate to share this Earth with, become friends with these Sea allies.

     Most Seaweed begin their lives having a grasp to some sort of grounding, be this solid rock in the intertidal zone or the sea floor, or a sunken ship.  Seaweed flows with the ebbs and tides of the sea, understand how to keep a form in the murky void of the ocean & truly are the sea in plant form.  If the Seaweed has somehow let go of its steadfast grasp, as it floats in this trusted depth, it has a memory, a remembrance of this reliable foothold, of both Water and Earth. 

     With Mercury retrograde in Pisces from March 5-28, & conjoining Neptune as he goes direct, this vitamin & mineral rich seaweed will guide ones way when revisiting, revising, revisioning, & reintuiting while Mercury, the ruler of communication, is in its detriment & fall.  This seaweed ally is likened to XVII, the Hanged One, of the Major Arcana of the Tarot.  This is a time of surrender, of hanging from an appendage, of floating & listening & reviewing all that has come before.

     Uranus entering into its seven year stint in Taurus late into the eve of March 5, one may wish to call upon Seaweed’s movement in the sea as a dance style, as a way of moving over the Hunderwassian undulating Earth, riding & rolling with the waves that can be created by dynamism entering solid Earth.  The salty, mineral rich flavor of Seaweed is the taste of moistening, breaking up masses & warming the body’s digestive processes, of Water & of Fire.  Like Uranus, Seaweed can dissolve all that does not serve anymore & provide Taurus with the mineral rich stability that it desires.  Seaweed can be a firm basis, as the possible XVI, The Tower of unsustainablity crashes all around us. 

     As well, Poplar (Poplulus spp.), of Saturn, the Moon, Mercury, the Sun & Mars depending on the species & culture, will be a grounding guardian in this watery realm.  Living in wet places, on the edges of forests, at the gates of Hades & associated with Hekate, these dear first succession trees are frontrunners & protectors of the liminal lands.  The trembling leaves of the Aspens, part of the Populus genus, have been linked to Mercury as they are constantly communicating with all around even if there seems to be a lack of wind to move them.  Popple will guide Mercury in these retrograde watery territories of Pisces.  Poplar, allied with speech, language & the Winds, can be called upon to send messages far & wide, to the Otherworld as well as aid in astral projection, even if these messages are not in words, but in the hieroglyphs or dances of Pisces.  Poplar is acknowledged as the ‘Tree Who Transcends Fear’ & can offer shielding & protection.  For this reason it is often called the Shield maker’s Tree.  Burning Poplar wood in fires brings protection.

     There is much sextiling & trining of Saturn & Pluto in Capricorn this month by Mercury retrograde in Pisces (3/6 sextile Saturn//3/16 sextile Pluto//3/20 sextile Pluto//3/28 close sextile to Saturn), by Mars in slow & steady Taurus (3/14 trine Saturn//3/20 trine Pluto) & by the Sun in Aquarius/Pisces (3/9 Saturn//3/13 Pluto).   Sometimes we do not even notice these more gentle & often beneficial sextiles & trines, but even so, Saturn in rulership in Capricorn & Pluto of the Underworld himself will supported by Saturn ruled, Underworld associated Poplar during these meetings.

     As the Sun enters Aries on March 20, bringing the Spring Equinox, Ostara, the first day of Spring in the Northern hemisphere, many look to this day’s forecast to foretell the coming year.  We find Mars in Taurus trining Pluto in Capricorn as well as Mercury Retrograde in Pisces sextiling Saturn in the morning.  The benefic ruled signs of Taurus & Pisces, Venus & Jupiter respectively, are being offered structure from these Saturn ruled, Capricornian placements of Saturn (in rulership) & Pluto.  Mars in Taurus is offered the chance to trust that the unknowns are in organic/dynamic right relationships & the murky communication of Pisces is being offered structure & foundation while revisiting intuitive processes, ideas, formulas, all the while, Saturn asking, will it hold up?  These are Saturnine gifts for the rhythmic, organic action of Mars in Taurus & intuitive dreamscapes of Mercury retrograde in Pisces. 

     Here Poplar once again can be ones guide.  Poplar grows in Piscean wetlands, edges, & transitions zones, yet the crimson red & golden yellow resin of the brassy, dragon claw buds are of Mars or the Sun warming the entire body with this aromatic resin thereby moving stagnant waters.  If one has tasted the all embracing, warming, aromatic bitter taste of these sticky, balsam buds, one has felt the guide, holding the torch high in the Underworld caverns of dripping water & damp, moist air. 

     The pain relieving & anti-inflammatory qualities of the Poplar are due in part to its strong salicylic acid content, the same constituent in Willow, Meadowsweet & many other analgesic allies & the precursor to today’s aspirin.  The bark, leaves & buds are contain this salicylic acid & thus teas, tinctures, baths, infused vinegars, etc. of Poplar offer succor to rheumatic, arthritic, headache,  & muscular pain.  As well, the warming & stimulating qualities of Poplar medicine offer expectorant actions for congested lungs, warming to cold conditions in the body & soothing to sore throats.  Warming, pain reliving Poplar tincture has comforted & brought healing to me many times with sore, scratchy throats & hoarseness.  At the beginning of a chest cold, Poplar bud tincture increases protective mucus secretions when tissues can be inflamed & painful.  For deeper infections of the respiratory system, this Poplar tea or tincture will soften hardened mucus in the lungs & act as an expectorant.  The aromatic qualities of this medicine will inhibit any further growth of harmful microorganisms & thus stave off further infection.  The feeling of taking in Poplar medicine when one is in these conditions is the feeling of being cared for by a competent, knowledgeable, caring ally.

     As noted in folk medicine from places where Poplar grows, Poplar medicine assists in bringing healing to the excretory system.  Urinary tract infections, uterine problems, chronic diarrhea, weak kidneys & gonorrhea are find relief from Poplar.  

     Poplar buds are infused in oil to make a healing salve for wounds, bruises, swellings, burns, skin irritations like eczema, psoriasis & for arthritic & rheumatic complaints.  Tea & tincture can be made from these buds offering similar attributes as well as relief from diarrhea & other digestive woes.  The bud of the Cottonwood can be rubbed on small wounds to receive its antiseptic & analgesic qualities.

     The Full Moon in Libra & the Sun’s opposition in Aries on this equal night/equal day vernal equinox, offers Mars & Venus ruled signs in opposition.  This opposition tells of a balanced tension.  The self-driven nature of the Sun in Aries is in check by the society/other-driven nature of the Moon in Libra.  When the planets Mars & Venus are in opposition, as they will both be the next day, the 21st, highlighting this Full Moon, I often call upon Damiana (Turnera diffusa) as I feel this aphrodisiac love herb is also a warrior of love & matches sexual tensions well with creative action be it love making, or offering ones gifts to the oneself or others.  This Mars/Venus polarity on this divination day & the following, tells of the meeting of two forces in tension, possibly creating a bridge to new lands & ways of being. This could be likened to XIV The Temperance card, opposites aligning, tempering steel into an even stronger substance & tool to wield containing the combinations of strength, determination, wisdom & omni-directionalism.

     On March 26, Venus ingresses into exaltation in Pisces, with Mercury in fall.  Venus has her own luxurious, dreamscape abode in Pisces where she can hold court for Mercury for the last two days of retrograde & as he turns direct & meets up with Neptune.  Venus in Pisces is brings Roses into our Seaweed baths, dissolving, holding, strengthening & nurturing all at once.   Allowing for dissolution, yet rising from this watery realm with a strengthened heart & core.  Benefic Jupiter, who also rules Pisces & is in rulership in Sagittarius, will beam with this confidence offered from this duet of plant beings as ones personal arrow will then be pointed in the direction of heart & knowing.

Moon of Hyldemoer, Suzanne Stone, Community Herbalist

This material is not a substitute for a health care practitioner.  Please do not duplicate this material without permission.