Now that you've learned about the Astrological Archetypes existing in nature, our psyche, and the whole human experience, we look to the birth chart to see how those archetypes show up for us as individuals and as a collective throughout time and space.
Your birth chart is a snapshot of the sky at the exact moment you exited the womb. The placement of the celestial objects, points, zodiac signs, and the geometric angles they make to each other serves as a map and guide of your soul's journey. To access a free birth chart, you can visit www.astro.com. Having an exact birth time is necessary while the general city or region is ok.
When studying the birth chart, it's typical to take a geocentric perspective, meaning that the birth chart is viewed as if Earth (You) were the center of the universe and all the planets are moving around us. Its also important to note that we perceive the birth chart from a bird's eye view - as if we were looking down on the birth chart - so the left side of the chart is considered the Eastern hemisphere, the lowest part of the chart is the Northern hemisphere, the Western hemisphere is the right half, and the Southern hemisphere is at the top of the chart.
When you look at the chart, you see a circle divided into 12 slices - usually unequal but that depends on the house system you use (topic for another article) - with the zodiac signs going around the outside of the circle and glyphs (symbols) for the celestial objects placed inside the circle. You may also see lines connecting 2 glyphs - these represent the aspects, which are the conversations being had by the represented planets. For simplicity purposes, we're going to break down the birth chart into 3 parts for this article: the celestial objects and points, houses, and zodiac signs.
Astrology takes into account a wide variety of planets, asteroids, stars, imaginary points in the sky and more. The main ones used are the sun, moon, Mercury, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Chiron, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, and the lunar nodes. These objects represent things about ourselves and the collective, such as our personal belief systems (Jupiter) and values (Venus) and the beliefs and values of a collective or generation. How these "things" show up for us depends on the house and zodiac sign they fall into in our birth chart, as well the aspects (angles) to other planets/points in the chart.
The houses are shown by the 12 divisions made into the chart. Each of the 12 parts represents an area of life, your psyche, or human experience. The first line is considered the one on the Eastern horizon. The zodiac sign that this line falls on, is known as your Rising sign or your Ascendant and it encompasses the First House. The next line starts the 2nd house, and so on until you get to the last 12th house cusp. The line starting the 4th house is called the Imum Coeli (IC) or the Nadir, while the 7th house cusp is the Descendant (DC), and the 10th house cusp is the Midheaven or Medium Coeli (MC).
While there are housing systems that divide the houses into equal parts, many systems don't. Each astrologer has their own housing system preference according to the type of astrology they practice or the type of astrological chart being cast.
The zodiac signs also divide the circle into 12 parts, which don't necessarily align with the houses. There are 30 degrees in each zodiac sign and the signs make up the ecliptic path that the sun follows throughout the year. The planets and moon also stay in close proximity to the ecliptic path, while moving through each zodiac sign at different speeds. When houses and planets occupy a specific zodiac sign, that planet/house exhibits the style of that zodiac sign. For example, the house occupied by Capricorn often shows the part of life where you can have the most challenges, but also learn the greatest lessons and reap the biggest rewards.
Reading the chart requires you to weave together the different parts of the birth chart by blending together the archetypes of each house, planet, and zodiac sign. Further insight comes through the aspects that each planet/point is making to other planets/points. These aspects are conversations between archetypes that expand on the story of your soul. In Part 3 of Astro Virgins we'll dig deeper into aspects and how to understand them.
People love to get their nutrients and medicines in a pill. Especially when it comes to herbs. But - except for the few very, very badly tasting herbs that only require small doses - capsules are the least effective method for taking herbs. Particularly if you're taking tonic herbs, which are herbs taken as part of your daily health routine because they profoundly nourish, tone, and strengthen different body parts and organ systems. The amount of plant material required for these tonic herbs to be effective in a capsule would have you taking A LOT of pills each day. And even if you do manage to swallow them all, how well you absorb the plants' compounds is minimal because your body has to first breakdown the capsule before getting to the herb, which is in an unprocessed form, making the nutrients less bioavailable.
Instead, you want to drink your tonic herbs. This method is quite familiar to most: it's infusing the herbs in water - what you likely refer to as a "tea." But more accurately, these infusions are called tisanes, because only infusions that contain the tea plant (camellia sinensis) are actually "tea." Infusing your herbs in water and slowly drinking the resulting tisane is one of the best ways you absorb herbal goodness. That's right - in this scientifically-advanced modern age where chemicals are created faster than we can process them, H2O remains superior for extracting a diverse range of plant constituents from tonic herbs. And ideally, the longer you steep your tonic herbs, the more nutrient-dense your resulting tisane. You can also make a more potent Tonic Tisane by using larger quantities of plant material. Susun Weed coined the term "nourishing herbal infusion," which refers to a tisane made with 1 ounce (by weight) of herb steeped in a quart of water for 4-10 hours. She uses herbs that border the line of medicine and food, such as nettles, oatstraw, burdock root, and raspberry leaf. All of these tonic herbs contain high mineral, vitamin, and protein content. All of the Tonic Tisanes in GreenWitch Gardens Medicine Collection are formulated with tonic herbs as the base, and call for you to use 2 tablespoons per pint, however you can also brew them using larger quantities, as in Susun Weed's method, in order to get a stronger dose of nutrients. This can be an especially effective method if you are trying to correct a nutrient deficiency. Each GWG Tonic Tisane is formulated with herbs that have a specific affinity for a specific body system/organ, and can be consumed on a regular basis in order to nourish and strengthen that organ/body system.
Once you've made your Tonic Tisane and strained the herbs out, make sure you drink the infusion properly. Your Tonic Tisane isn't a pill you throwback quickly and you're done. Sipping your tisane slowly throughout the day (or 2 days) keeps a steady stream of nutrients in the body, allowing your body to effectively break down and distribute the nutrients to the proper organ systems. Guzzling your Tonic Tisane, instead of sipping it, only results in a spike of urination, oftentimes too quickly after you finish.
Alternatively, make drinking your tisane part of your daily ritual practice. In our whirlwind world, we hardly carve any time out of each day for a mindful practice of intention setting and tuning within. Instead, too many people live rushed, over-worked, over-stimulated, malnourished lives and something as simple as a 15-20 minute personalized ritual that's done 1-2 times each day is just too easy of a way to avoid disease, pre-mature aging, and emotional and mental distress. Visit the GreenWitch Gardens Medicine Collection for various types of Tonic Tisanes for whole body wellness.
Bland food doesn't typically get the mouth-watering response that robustly flavored dishes do - so I'm willing to bet that most of you have well-stocked spice racks. Which is why when you're wondering how to naturally treat an ailment like a cold or digestive upset - your spice rack is where you should turn to first.
In order to not get carried away, I'm starting with the 4 herbs I find to be most common in homes across the U.S., and that are potent, multiuse powerhouses (TBH: there are far too many uses for each of these herbs for this article...).
IMO, garlic is king of the culinary medicinal herbs. Numerous studies show that garlic kills or inhibits a wide variety of bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi, and it may prevent you from getting sick in the first place by boosting your immune system. What's better, garlic prevails over pharmaceutical antibiotics in its ability to fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Garlic also fights against viral infections, whereas prescribed antibiotics do not (and the prescribing of such has contributed to the overuse of antibiotics and antibiotic-resistant bacteria). To get the medicinal benefits, use fresh, raw garlic - if it gets rubbery, starts to sprout, or is cooked -it's potency severely diminishes. To reliebe a toothache and fight infection, crush a clove of raw garlic and apply it directly to the tooth. You can also swallow cut up pieces of crushed, raw garlic clove at the onset of cold/flu symptoms and continue until the symptoms subside (not to exceed 2-3 cloves, depending on your energetic state). Garlic used in this method also rids the digestive tract of parasites. A drop of warm garlic-infused olive oil can be applied directly to an earache, or rubbed externally around the sore area. This oil can double as an antifungal treatment.
Garlic Infused Honey makes an excellent cough syrup and it's easy to make:
GreenWitch Tip: Ferment the garlic in the honey to add probiotics and enzymes that build healthy gut flora.
I'm a firm believer that Thyme should be stocked in every spice cabinet and medicine chest because it's a go-to for so many common issues that people can manage on their own (rather than taking a trip to the doctor for unnecessary pharmaceutical medications). Because thyme is a nervine, it works on a portion of the nervous system that resides in the gut, aiding in digestion and easing anxiety and insomnia. Additionally, it's very effective for respiratory conditions where the body needs to purge excess phlegm and facilitate productive coughing. Thyme also strengthens the lungs and helps with shortness of breath. To use thyme medicinally, make a tea using 2 teaspoons of dried thyme per 1 cup of water, and drink up to 3 cups per day.
GreenWitch Tip: While the thyme is steeping in the boiling water, hover your face about 8-10 inches above the pot and inhale the vapors to soothe a sore throat.
Black pepper is one herb that's so common it's negligible to most. But in a society where digestive problems are central to so many people's health problems, it's essential to know how to use this culinary spice medicinally. One bite into a whole peppercorn let's you know immediately this spice is pungent and warming - which is a key indication that it's going to have a stimulating effect on the body. Once that warm pungency hits your taste buds, it triggers the stomach to produce hydrochloric acid - essential to protein breakdown. The warming stimulation boosts circulation in the body and can benefit those with chronically cold hands and feet. It's also an antioxidant with cancer-fighting actions that inhibit tumor growth. Now that you have this new information about black pepper, I'm sure you're compelled to rain the pepper down on your midday meal - but don't. Other than making your delicious whole foods meal unpalatable, black pepper in large quantities can irritate the mucous membranes. A moderate sprinkling on your prepared food, or a tiny pinch mixed in honey delivers all the pepper power you need.
GreenWitch Tip: Add black peppercorns to your olive oil or vinegar cruets for a spicy, medicinal kick.
If you Google the uses for Cinnamon you'll find this is another spice with a broad spectrum of uses; you'll find recipes to help everything from the common cold to erectile dysfunction. Indeed this moistening, warming spice is impressive and has numerous research studies to back up its broad capabilities. Firstly, cinnamon is packed with polyphenols making it an antioxidant superstar. Antioxidants are key for fighting the free radicals found everywhere in our factory-created environments that speed up the natural aging process. Cinnamon also shows to dramatically reduce insulin resistance and lower blood sugar levels, making it a powerful ally for those dealing with insulin-resistance health problems. To use cinnamon for insulin resistance, 1/2 - 2 teaspoons daily is recommended. For daily use, add a pinch of cinnamon to your herbal tea blend or coffee.
GreenWitch Tip: Not all cinnamon varieties are created equal: Cassia and Ceylon cinnamon is the variety you want to stock in your medicinal spice cabinet.