• Elizabeth Golden

Your Herbal Horoscope for Virgo Season

Change is palpable as we float with the newly falling leaves into a time of harvest and preparation for the lean season ahead. Virgo is a herald of transformation and transition, ushering us as we move, begin school years, and begin to shift our routines into this threshold between a time of easy and warm abundance, and one in which we must work much harder not to find ourselves isolated and in a place of lack. As the Stonecrop and Hydrangeas blush, berries and apples ripen, and trees start to turn the colors of fire and honey, we are surrounded by both signs of abundant life and the beginning of a descent into death. Even the bounty of harvest, the excitement of the foliage and comforts of fall, and looking toward the holidays of tricksters and of light, can’t completely quell the sadness of flowers dying back, trees losing leaves, the heat and light receding day by day. We are entering a time of loss and of death. I for one can feel myself mourning. Virgo sits on that threshold, half bounty, sunshine, and harvest, and half darkness and decay, straddling those lines and fostering all the self protection and boundary setting, as well as celebration and savoring of the moment that this time entails.

Leading up to the midpoint of the astrological year, Virgo is at home in this liminal and often painful space. Think of Persephone, the archetypical Virgo maiden, and daughter of Demeter, the goddess of the harvest. Persephone was kidnapped—while harvesting flowers—and forced into marriage by her uncle Hades, the god of the underworld. In her grief, Demeter forbids plants to grow. Persephone is ultimately tricked into spending six of months of her year above ground and six long months below, with Demeter’s cycle of grief giving us our perennial seasons of growth and decay. Thus, Persephone is both the goddess of springtime, vegetation, and flowers; and of the underworld and the dead.

In the light of living in the threshold and preparing for transition, it makes sense that Virgo is known as a teacher of efficiency, wise energy flow, and organization. The impulse (or practice!) to clear and consecrate a space before a ritual or creative work is Virgo’s hand. Virgo is a vessel keeper. Harvesting, canning, and preparing herbs during this season teaches us to intentionally cull and wisely plan for the needs of the future. This is the season of organizing, of purging, and of making space for what is vital and nourishing for the long term. This is the time to show up for ourselves, our commitments and routines, and for our communities. It is the time to build the necessary foundation of care and attention so that we don’t burn out or deplete too fast in the long months ahead. Like the plants we cull for food and medicine, and the flowers that die to direct energy back into roots, we can make sacrifices for our well being and our future. And we can hold space for our grief as we celebrate the bounties we have grown.


Plant: Trumpet Creeper Welcome to your cosmic rebirth, Virgo. You’ve been at the threshold of this moment for some time, hibernating in preparation for your big moment, and now it’s time to revel in the fruits of your energies. Don’t be shy about sharing your wisdom on how to live in this space of transition, even as you keep a bit of yourself hidden, just for you and those who take the time to search. Look to the Trumpet Creeper, so named for the heraldic trumpets it sends shooting from its tight buds, for inspiration in sharing your message. Give your tendency for criticism a big dose of self love and acceptance so that beauty and purpose can be your driving guides. You are an example to all in your circles as you shine with self belief and love!

Preparation: Flower essence While the roots of this plant are used to stop bleeding and induce sweating (it is also recommended as a vaginal wash for Candida!), there is something about the magic of its flowers that just beg to be taken as an essence. Turn to Trumpet Creeper when you want to express yourself boldly, without judgment or self doubt. Your immense wisdom and the beauty of your presence are always enough—don’t be afraid to show the world exactly who you are.


Plant: Mullein Whereas last month was all about finding your people, Virgo season takes an inward turn for you, sweet Libra. Use Virgo’s energy to create spaces of freedom for your most shadowy parts, where you can dream, imagine, vision, and do all kinds of generative, internal work. Mullein is an expectorant which means it makes room in our lungs, allowing us to breathe more freely—literally helping us make space within ourselves for our life force to cycle through. It is soft and protective, encasing it’s flowers and buds in a spike and teaching us to keep safe space for our fragile parts. It’s sunny flowers guide us into the light of truth with a sense of joy and tenderness while we face our fears and accept our dark sides without becoming overwhelmed. Let Virgo season create your vessel and Mullein light your way.

Preparation: Mullein Stalk Lantern In one of the most exciting herbal preparations around, dried Mullein stalks can be coated in wax and used as wicks in Mullein stalk torches! You can even make sigils or color patterns in the wax (which can be made from raw wax, old candle bits, or even colored crayons!) for an even deeper sense of ritual. Let the body of Mullein itself be your light as you deep dive into your dark places. Mullein also makes an excellent oil infusion for ear aches (to protect your ability to hear) and a vinegar to extract its high mineral content (nourish you on your journey).


Plant: Spearmint This month is for growing your circles, Scorpio, as you strategize to bring all your dreams into reality. You’ve stood up into your truth, now speak it out loud and allow others to get in on the process—you can’t predict how they will aid you, and even more than this, the strength that comes in being seen and feeling like all of you belongs. What you do, what you dream, inspires people. They want to know you, in deep and penetrating ways. Spearmint can be an ally for you as you experiment with opening yourself and connecting with community. Physically, Spearmint grows only in groupings, a potent visual for this time in your life. As a cooling nerving and digestive working on the gut-brain axis of our nervous system, this mint soothes our anxieties and the butterflies in our stomachs, allowing us to be more vulnerable and real in relationships and especially in groups. The Latin Mente itself means thought, and this speaks to the mint family’s effectiveness on our internal dialogue. It is also uplifting and invigorating (though in a gentler way than its hybrid cousin Peppermint), giving us the energy to sustain us in social situations and embark on exploring new networks.

Preparation: Cold-Infused Iced Tea There are so many ways to use mints, but I always return to the classic mint tea as a way to cool myself and soothe my nerves throughout the day. For a convenient and tastier tea, place a strainer or tea bag of Spearmint (perhaps with Rose for love and Lavender for extra nerve nourishment) in room temperature water and leave covered overnight on the counter or in the fridge. You can even leave it by a window for extra moon magic! I love this method because fewer tannins are released in the cold infusion process, so it is less bitter, and it doesn’t require time in the morning to boil water and steep tea. Just strain and go, bringing Spearmint’s nerve soothing comfort with you as you traverse all the landscapes of your day.


Plant: Staghorn Sumac This month is all about professional growth, Sagittarius, but not in the quick and direct way you are used to, my archer. You are building towards your goals, and right now, Virgo is asking you to slow down, cultivate patience, and focus on the details. Let Virgo guide you to use your energy and resourced as efficiently as you can. Without getting too caught up in one of Virgo’s more challenging qualities of over-criticism, ask yourself what “perfect” means to you, and whether it serves you at all. Busting perfectionist ideals is one way to break down white supremacist, capitalist culture, ideals which may be close to your heart. The blazing red horns of Staghorn Sumac can aid you at this moment in cultivating endurance, patience, and faith in the long road as you build in deep-rooted, long term directions. It can help us feel the warmth and comfort of life when external circumstances and vulnerability feel scary or cold. With Sumac’s help, focus right now on centering your mission statement and articulable purpose. Let your dreams and ideas breathe without having to be fully cooked. Own up to your missteps and mistakes. There are real risks to putting our dreams out there, but with preparation and humility, they will take us to places we can’t even imagine!

Preparation: Cold Infusion Sumac-ade Staghorn Sumac makes an excellent sour ade that is cooling and toning when made as a cold infusion with the berries, leaves or both (the berries will give you a bright red color, while the leaves are more astringent). Heating Sumac can destroy the vitamin C content, so steep (essentially soak) the Sumac in room temperature or cold water overnight, on the counter, in a window for moon magic, or in the fridge. The plant is anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, immuno-stimulating, and diuretic, helping our bodies get rid of what doesn't nourish us. Sumac works on our immune system by both tightening up our mucous membranes—allowing fewer infections to get through—as well as stimulating our immune system. Due to the latter, it may not be appropriate for those with autoimmune disorders. There is a possibility Sumac leaves alone will have less of a triggering effect than the berries, but as always, see how the herb interacts with your unique body and make an informed choice for yourself. And if you harvest the Staghorn Sumac yourself, just remember to look for the upright, bright red horns—down-drooping, white berries indicate Poison Sumac, and ingesting will not be a pleasant experience!


There's a bright golden haze on the meadow

There's a bright golden haze on the meadow

The corn is as high as an elephant's eye

And it looks like it's climbing clear up to the sky

Oh, what a beautiful mornin'

Oh, what a beautiful day

I've got a beautiful feeling

Everything's going my way

-excerpt of Oh, What a Beautiful Morning from Roger & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!

Plant: Corn

Capricorn, this month is all about finding growth in your work. It’s time to consider whether professional life aligns with with your values and sense of mission. You are being called to grow in two directions, much like your plant ally Corn, putting down roots while stretching to the sky. Create a strong base that will let you push at your edges. Explore the roads that call to you and even scare you. Corn teaches us to root and grow up. A domesticated plant that cannot grow without human intervention, it needs a gardeners hand to properly space if for survival. We, too, must steward our own growth, fostering the right conditions while giving our seeds space to grow. And like Corn, we do best when we find the right balance of individuality and community. We grow by finding our place. You have worked on building your structures of support—now explore with the knowledge they will be there when you need them. With a strong base, the right risks will lead you to new heights.

Preparation: Corn Silk Tea Corn is beloved for its sweet fruit and as a popped snack, and the husks are used for cooking and steaming, but did you know that the often-overlooked corn silk makes a tasty and nutritive tea? Corn silk tea is perfect for industrious and waste-conscious Capricorns, and fits well with Virgo’s lessons to utilize available resources wisely. Remove corn silks and dehydrate them by laying them over a sheet and gently baking them in an oven (often just the oven light is enough to dry them over a few hours, but look for more detailed instructions online). Then, steep as you would any loose leaf tea. Corn silk tea is high in potassium and is traditionally used as a urinary remedy, as a diuretic, and for regulating metabolism and blood pressure. Plus, it tastes like sweet Corn! Try this tea and let Corn’s energizing and nourishing properties help you root while you grow.


Plant: Apple and Peach This month is about embracing your vulnerability, Aquarius, as you think about new ways to be in collaboration and community. Sharing resources and fostering intimacy is messy! Power dynamics come into play and some of our deepest fears around abandonment, lack, and self worth can arise. Let the pairing of Apple and Peach be your guide as you wade into these murky but healing waters. Apple and peach are a classic flavor pairing, and each brings its own qualities to the table to work hand in hand for a delicious and nutritive combination. Both Apple and Peach are cooling and moistening plants that act on the digestive system, and in particular fever and vomiting. Apple fruit and, for a strong decoction, bark, can be used for these purposes, while Peach fruit, bark, leaves, flowers, and even pits can be used. Nourishing and soothing our digestive system inevitably has an effect on our mental health and wellness, as the enteric (intestinal) nervous system has so many nerves, it is basically a brain unto itself. As both fruits help quell heat and anxiety, they can help us move through hot forms of anxiety like shame and embarrassment. Both Apple and Peach help in different ways with your project, Aquarius, of becoming comfortable with interconnected abundance. Apple is in the Rose family, which is a good indication that it works spiritually with themes of love. Apple strengthens our sense of inner wellness and clarity about our emotions, inspiring nourishing thoughts and a comfort with interdependence. While Apple brightens our internal landscape, Peach moves us out of ourselves, allowing us to give from a place of wholeness rather than need. Peach strengthens our trust in our abundance, and helps us feel energized, rather than depleted, by tending to the needs of others. Peach allows us to let our love flow in a give and take that nourishes us all. Together, Apple and Peach give us the internal and external tools to be in relationships of abundance and interdependence.

Preparation: Dessert! (and maybe breakfast, too) Apple and Peach make such a delicious pairing it would be foolish not to chose a dessert as my recommendation, especially with the spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg that will lead us into fall. Enjoy an Apple Peach pie, a cobbler, or fruit in your morning yogurt or oats (okay, not technically a dessert, but the closest a breakfast can get!). In all honesty, this pairing was inspired by an Apple Peach festival that happens each year on the South Coast of Massachusetts where the pies and ice cream are out of this world! We’ll be away during the festival this year, so please fill up in our honor on some Apple and Peach at this perfect meeting of their harvest seasons—get it before it’s gone!


Plant: Black-Eyed Susan It’s time to swim in the waters of vulnerability and intimacy, my little Pisces fish. You are learning about deep listening and clear speaking, about sharing your gifts, and about creating the necessary boundaries and structures of consent to be able to deep dive together. All too often, our fears about our deep selves make us fear being seen, by both others and ourselves. Black-Eyed Susan can help us see ourselves and others with open eyes, curious and open to what our supposed monsters might have to teach us. Black-eyed Susan is our lantern in the dark, treacherous terrains inside of us and between us and another. It helps us become clear about who we are and what we need to feel held in relationship, allowing us to heal in a mutual movement toward growth.

Preparation: Root Tea or Flower Essence Black-eyed Susan is abundant and prolific, making it an ideal candidate for root harvesting. Its roots have been used traditionally by Native Americans for colds, sore eyes (to strengthen our ability to see!), and as an immunostimulant similar to Echinacea. It is hard to find modern information about preparing the roots, so if you are interested in exploring this, I encourage you to do more research. If you are more interested in it’s energetic healing capacities, take Black-eyed Susan as a flower essence (you can try Golden Hour's here), especially when you are preparing to do internal, therapeutic, or relationship building work.


Plant: Portulaca You’ve been working on cultivating expansion and joy even in adverse circumstances, Aries. Now, you are ready to pay close, Virgo-style attention to what is working and what needs to change in your daily flow of energy and deputized. Making small adjustments is not your favorite flavor of energy but it will go so far toward helping you find more ease, sustainable energy, and joy. Trust your visions and follow the instincts that will make more space for growth. Last month, the sky-high, space taking energy of Sunflower taught you about expansion and sunny joy. Now, get closer to the ground with Portulaca, or “Rock Rose,” or “Moss-rose Purslane,” a succulent ground-cover that sports an abundance of candy-colored blooms. While Portulaca may not have quite the arresting presence of Sunflower, it never fails to catch my eye as I walk by with its bright, cheerful blooms. And as a grass alternative, it has much to teach us about wise resource use that also leads to great beauty and joy.

Preparation: Soup Thickener The leaves, stems, seeds, and roots of Portulaca are an excellent depurative, or detoxifier, and support for the liver and kidney. Grind up the raw or cooked plant and add to soups as a thickener with a nourishing boost.


Plant: Hibiscus

After a period of internal work, Taurus, it's time to step outside, turn your face toward the still-blazing sun, and embrace expression, creativity, pleasure, and fun. You have pampered and nourished yourself in your soft, cozy, hideaway, and you are ready to trade your silk peignoir for sequins as you run toward romance, passion, and glamour. Even if it is a romance with yourself, you are embracing the exciting, sensuous side of life. What better plant than the ample, sumptuous Hibiscus to support this quest for wild delight. Tart, bright red Hibiscus will soothe the heat of your adventures, helping you stay regulated as you get your blood pumping and offering vitamin C and antioxidants to nourish you as you ground into your sexuality and sense of embodiment. Hibiscus is all about desire, so indulge yours and embrace the abundance of your body and soul.

Preparation: Hibiscus Syrup

While Hibiscus tea is a popular and totally delightful option, try making a sweet and tart Hibiscus syrup from the Calyxes, or thick crown-like fruit directly under the flower. Consider adding rose to boost the love and passion the syrup will inspire. Add the syrup to seltzer or teas to take with you throughout the day, or drizzle on ice cream for a sumptuous treat. Indulge yourself and let Hibiscus stir your desire! You can also try Golden Hour's Hibiscus flower essence, My Cup Runneth Over.


Plant: Morning Glory

After a time of wandering and getting unstuck, Gemini, it's time to return to your nest and clean house, in a domestic and internal sense. Allow yourself to release what isn't working for you and to make room for what you want and what could be yours. Virgo is the consumat organizer and declutterer, but if unchecked, Virgo energy can plunge us into self criticism and judgment. Detoxing our space and psyche is not about being self critical, but creating space and a sense of ease for sweet transformations to take place. Creating spaces of freedom is a deeply grounding act, allowing us to feel held in the daily containers of our lives. It is never too late or too difficult to start anew; even small changes create powerful shifts. Morning Glory is an amazing teacher in the power and possibility of renewal. Each morning, they open anew, closing again when the sun wanes. They embrace open space, twirling across fences and even other plants. Let them guide you as you experiment with practices of renewal.

Preparation: Notice their Rhythm and take it in with a Flower Essence

Each morning as you go off to your day, notice the rhythm of morning glories opening to the sun. Let yourself be delighted by the way they die back and allow new ones to bloom each day, and let this be your inspiration for starting anew, for letting go each night and each season to make room for what wants to be yours. If you would like to take this energy of possibility and renewal internally, consider incorporating a Morning Glory flower essence (like Golden Hour's, heard & answered) into your routine, and let the old fall away to make room for the magical new.


Plant: Honey Locust

This is a ripe season of learning, expansion, and connections for you, Cancer, and this abundance of opportunity requires you to set careful and wise boundaries over your energy in scheduling and communication. Allow the foundation you've grown of generosity as the crucial ingredient to abundance lead you to build and expand your life and resources with consciousness and care. Focus on cementing the details and changes that will bring you sustained wellness and prevent burn out and overwhelm. Honey Locust is a great teacher for fast growth in previously depleted areas like mining spaces and property developments. It is on the leading edge of fall as one of the first trees to change the color of its leaves from green to honey-yellow, encouraging us to innovate and lead the way with new ideas. Most of its varieties have impressive thorns, while the gum in its seed pods have been traditionally used as a sugar alternative. This duality of sweetness and sharpness speaks to the balance of receptivity and boundaries you need to cultivate right now.

Preparation: Ritual Thorns

Sharp tools like knives and thorns have been used in ritual since ritual has existed--the knives suit of the tarot speaks to the importance of recognizing the necessity of sharpness and boundary keeping in the balance of life. Enact your own rituals of boundary setting and balance by using Honey Locust thorns to pierce figures, draw sigils in candles, or build an altar. For inspiration, spend time looking at art by artists like Dove Bradshaw and Susan White. Let the wisdom of the thorn penetrate your expanding life.


Plant: Blueberry

Leo, the financial foundation of your life is ready to shift! You are ready to make major changes toward making a living in ways that jibe with your sense of vision and purpose. This is scary but exciting territory, and you will need to learn lessons about embracing abundance, recognizing your self worth, and building a life with the resources and space for comfort and expansion. Blueberry is an excellent usher into prosperity and abundance. Blueberry fruits are delicious and sweet, and the tannin-rich leaves can be used to make a slightly more astringent tea. Blueberry aids in circulation, an important quality to become comfortable with as we strive toward a sustainable and lasting sense of abundance through times both fat and lean. And while Blueberry may not seem at first blush to symbolize the kind of drama you love to live in, Leo (though its deep purple color does speak to your royal nature), if you've ever climbed a hill to be surprised and delighted by a cover of Blueberries, you know that sometimes the grandest gesture of all can be the sweet surprise and reward of the abundant sweetness of the earth. There is no feeling more soul-swelling than pouring out water bottles to fill with Blueberries you didn't even know you would find. Take this lesson to heart--you never know where the sweetness and nourishment in your life will appear, and as long as you make space to carry it, this bounty can be yours.

Preparation: Blueberry Picking and All Sorts of Cooking!

If you are able, go pick Blueberries! The shear abundance of the berry will be a heart-nourishing reminder of the profundity of how little gifts can add up to make a big impact on our souls. In all likelihood, you will walk away with buckets upon buckets of sweet and tart berries, ready to be baked into pies, cooked into sauces and syrups, added to salads, yogurts, and cereals, and snacked on through this harvest season (that is, if any make it home!). We all know that berries are nutritional powerhouses, quelling inflammation and protecting us from all kinds of bodily ills. It is impossible to feel like there is not enough for us on this earth when we are surrounded by bushes upon bushes of tiny blue powerhouses, or even just enjoying a jar of wild Blueberry jam cultivated by caring hands. Embrace Blueberry's call and let the gifts of this earth surround you with ease.


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