Introduction To The Planetary Attributions Of Plants

Introduction To The Planetary Attributions Of Plants Cover During the several years in which I have been studying the magical and alchemical properties of plants according to the Wiccan and Hermetic traditions, I have several times faced at first the confusion, and later the frustration, of noticing that different sources assign different planetary attributions and Correspondences to the same plants. One is often faced, while preparing a recipe or determining the components which are more appropriate for a certain working, with the possibility of a certain plant one wishes to work with being assigned to the influence of three, four, and sometimes even five different planets, according to different authors. When these planets are somehow related (like Mars and Saturn being considered in the past as ‘evil’ or of detrimental, limiting energy), one might attribute this to the development of astrological understanding through time and consequently consider them of the same general limiting intention in light of the more current knowledge. But when the possibilities offered can not be so clearly grouped into one general aura or type of energy, one is left with no other solution than to make an almost random choice based more on the preference one might have for a certain author, publisher, tradition or period of the history of magic than on any other data, especially if one has limited previous experience in working with the problematic plants in question. In time I have come to accept this as a rather typical – and actually something to be expected – of spiritual sciences such as the Hermetic or Occult sciences, in which personal insight and individual discoveries through meditation, contemplation, or actual communion and communication with the spiritual essences or patron spirits of the plants are considered as valid sources of information as their pharmacological constituents would be. As a matter of fact several of the sources that cite the planetary attributions of plants are well aware of this fact and specifically list more than one planetary correspondence in the entries for some plants, pointing out this fact clearly in their prefaces, footnotes or correspondence tables. In this series of seven compiled tables of Correspondences I do not wish to comment or establish a judgment over the validity of this and other problematic and strongly criticized epistemological approaches of the alchemy, magical herbalism, Hermeticism and other occult sciences. Yet as a complement to the existing qualitative data which such approaches yield, and which exist profusely, I present here some quantitative data, in this case of a bibliographical nature, so that a decision on the planetary correspondences of plants may be taken by the practitioner based on his or her preference of certain well-known authors in the field. I have gotten a hold of eleven recently printed sources that include if not whole tables at least a mention of the planetary correspondences of plants. They include a manual of evocation of spirits, a manual on planetary magic, a commented and edited re-print of Agrippa, a manual on the construction of talismans, two manuals on practical alchemy and several magical reference works, either specifically devoted to botanical magic, magical herbalism and magical aromatherapy, or of a wider scope. Apart from Donald Tyson’s reprint of Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy (first appeared in Antwerp in 1531) all of the sources are modern, and most are still in print and easily obtainable through bookstores or the Internet. I have chosen these types of sources because the intention of this series is to be an aid to practicing spargyricists, rather than a bibliographical referencing source for historical studies. I have included the Agrippa not only because it is perhaps the single most important original source of contemporary natural magic (magia naturalis) but also because, as the rest of the sources I refer to, it is readily available commercially, having been reprinted by Llewellyn in 2004.

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