St. John's wort, the full Moon and Summer Solstice!
Hail the light!
We're basking in the fullest expression of the Sun's light for this year. The full moon at the Summer Solstice is the full moon for the year if you think of the whole year as a sort of quarterly moon cycle with the new moon at the start of the year, the full moon at the Summer Solstice and a waning moon for the rest of the year.
The zodiacal sign for the Summer Solstice is Cancer and the tarot card is the Chariot.
For the longest time, I had trouble wrapping my head around this association, until I thought about the season of the Summer Solstice being about movement; Cancer is a cardinal sign and cardinal signs are the first signs in each season and initiate activity for that quarter. 1
Also it makes sense from a Yin/Yang position; this is the season where the seeds of next year's growth are started, held protectively by the plant or seed pod and carried thru the summer on into fall and then winter, into its' opposite sign, Capricorn, the sign of the full moon right now. At the winter Solstice when we are entering Capricorn season, the seed holds the yang life force energy being initiated in the summer during Cancer Sun season. Capricorn is an Earth sign, and the seed will yearn to embed into the Earth to grow again into the fullness of the Sun in the next year's cycle. The full moon always reflects back to us the opposite side of the zodiac each month and in this way there is always a seed of the coming cycle in the current cycle as well as reflections of past cycles to reflect on and release.
The ancient systems of thought around the world that form the basis of our understanding of the cosmos, Hellenistic, Druidic, Ayurvedic, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Paganism, Native American, Aboriginal, etc. were based on observations of nature and her cycles.
Working with the cyclic nature of the energy of life turns the Charioteer into the Magician who can harness the energies to their own will. 2
In agricultural societies, this would be the time of seed husbandry, mastering the art of cultivating food crops for the next year and future generations. As Cancer rules the stomach, this makes sense. The basis of modern civilization was the ability of ancient agriculture to harness the production of wild grains into domesticated grains that would support large numbers of people in a place.
The most iconic western herb for the Summer Solstice is St. John's wort which blooms at this time. The one you want to gather or work with is Hypericum perforatum. This lovely herb has been revered by humans for at least two thousand years and the latin name comes from the Greek hyperikon, meaning it conquers evil spirits. 3 One way to ID it is to hold up one of its' little leaves against the light. It has little pin pricks where the light
comes thru. This plant loves to be deeply sun soaked. It's no wonder people love this cheerful yellow-flowered plant to support them thru the dark winter months!
St. John's wort supports better liver function as well as boosting nerve health and I love it in liniments and salves to speed up healing from injury, it's a key ingredient in my Hit Medicine formulations.
There's a lively debate about whether it's better to use fresh material or dried. Personally, I find dried St. John's wort works quite well. Here's a good source if you want to order online: *note that I'm affiliated with Mountain Rose Herbs and receive a small commission from sales originating from this site.
Bulk herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs including St. John's wort
*If you want to work with this herb, be aware that it can have interactions with many medications and ask your doctor if that's the case for you and any medications you take esp. ones that use liver pathways, including birth control. 4
From a magical perspective I like practical magic and simple rituals including herbs for mundane purposes are great for grounding your intentions, esp. for the cancer/ capricorn emotional/ material security axis. Making a tea with St. John's wort; (water for the Cancer Sun and herbs (earth) for the Capricorn Moon), while writing intentions or contemplating the next 6 months, letting go of whatever you're done with and re-investing in what you're keeping going forward into the rest of the year, is a wonderful magical ritual.
You can imagine sunlight entering the crown of your head and moving thru the body as you sip on your magical tea!
Start with 1 tbsp. of herbs to 1 cup boiling water and adjust to taste. Start with just this herb so that you can get a real sense of how it feels in the body before adding other herbs.
* This post is for informational purposes only and not meant to describe, treat or diagnose any type of illness. If you have questions regarding the herbs described and how they impact your health, please consult a doctor.