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introduction Years ago, to my delight, I discovered that there was a healing art that combined two of my greatest passions: natural health and astrology. Always looking for ways to inspire people to achieve their optimal well-being, I decided to write Planetary Apothecary to bring this elegant, time-honored healing tradition--known as medical astrology--to modern-day readers who are looking to further enhance their health. While many people turn to astrology to garner insights into relationships, career, and unfolding life events, your planetary profile can also guide the way you approach personal wellness. It can help you identify natural remedies and healing techniques that are best suited for your unique temperament and individual health needs. A stellar approach to evaluating health and proposing therapies to foster vitality, medical astrology has a long and legendary past: It was documented by ancient Greek scholars, taught in medieval medical schools, and practiced by Renaissance physicians. Up until the early twentieth century, many doctors employed its observations alongside other methods of treatment. The study of the stars was so integral to the work of many healers that none other than the father of modern medicine, Hippocrates himself, was reported as saying, "He who does not understand astrology is not a doctor but a fool." Today you will find astrology professionals and health-care practitioners worldwide studying, and relying on, this graceful method of insight to offer clients an instructive way to approach their health-care needs. At the heart of medical astrology is the tenet "As above, so below," reflecting the long-held belief in the connection between the celestial bodies and our own bodies. The zodiac signs and their ruling planets are associated with various body parts, physiological functions, and emotional tendencies (with some areas of health cogoverned by more than one astrological signifier). In addition, the signs and planets have alliances with different members of the plant, mineral, and animal kingdoms. For example, Aries is the first sign in the zodiac and is associated with the head, while Pisces is the last sign and is associated with the feet. Leo, ruled by the Sun, has an affinity for yellow flowers such as sunflower and chamomile, while Taurus, governed by feminine Venus, has a kinship with trees that bear sweet fruits such as peaches and plums. Practitioners who use medical astrology utilize the information gleaned from their clients' personalized astrology charts to offer them custom-designed wellness solutions. They employ these insights as a tool to assess health strengths and weaknesses, determine the best remedies and therapies, suggest the timing of proposed treatments, and evaluate underlying psycho-emotional patterns that may stand in the way of healing. They don't use this astrologically derived information as the sole means of diagnosis and treatment, but rather as a complement to traditional methods of health-care investigation and advice. Even if you never consult with a medical astrologer, you can still integrate some of this healing art's fundamentals into your wellness regimen by using Planetary Apothecary as your guide. In this book, I take the classical wisdom of medical astrology and apply it to our modern-day health-care needs. As a foundation, I draw on the knowledge inherent in the traditional associations between "as above" (the planets and zodiacal constellations) and "so below" (ourselves and the healing gifts of nature, including foods, herbs, and flowers) as delineated by the ancient masters. With this time-honored tradition in mind, I also offer insights into contemporary healing activities popular today--such as spa and wellness therapies, relaxation practices, and yoga poses--matching their benefits to the needs of those born under the different astrological signs. Combined with the extensive information on the tendencies and temperaments of each sign, this knowledge will allow you to more readily navigate the maze of healthy foods, natural remedies, and self-care treatments available today, choosing those that are more aligned with your disposition, constitution, and health needs. how to use this book Planetary Apothecary is divided into twelve chapters--one dedicated to each of the zodiac signs. Each chapter includes individualized wellness profiles as well as holistic health approaches targeted for each of the astrological personalities and temperaments. To gain insights into your personal health, first read through the chapter on your Sun sign. Your Sun sign represents your vitality and the essence of who you are. It is the spark that energizes your being and therefore a significant factor in understanding your personalized wellness needs. Next, if you know your Ascendant and Moon signs, read through those chapters as well, as these astrological signatures represent other important facets of your overall health picture. Your Ascendant sign (often referred to as the Rising sign) symbolizes the way that you present yourself to the world and describes characteristics of your physical body, making it an important signifier of your health. Your Moon sign embodies your emotional being and can give you clues as to which health-care approaches you may find particularly nurturing, both for physical health as well as emotional well-being. If you don't know your Ascendant or Moon signs, don't worry; reading your Sun sign chapter will provide you with in-depth wellness insights. But if you're curious to know what they are, it's easy enough to find out. These astrological positions are calculated according to the day, time, and place you were born; with this simple information, you can discover your Ascendant and Moon signs--as well as other information specific to your horoscope--by having a website astrology service or astrologer cast your personalized chart (check the Resources section at the end of the book for astrology websites and for ways to find astrologers). Each chapter provides in-depth information and practical tips that will help you make lifestyle choices that best support your individual needs. You'll learn more about your astrological health portrait as well as the treatments, activities, and remedies that can bolster your optimal well-being. Every chapter opens by exploring the fundamentals of that particular astrological sign. In addition to general characteristics, it also covers information about your sign's symbol, planetary ruler, element, and quality, all of which can provide further understanding of your unique astrological temperament. It also features the following ten sections: Personal Health Profile Your personal health profile gives you insights into the attitudes that shape your sign's approach to wellness. It provides a glimpse into innate tendencies and habits that affect your sign's unique well-being and the areas of self-care to which you may be especially attracted. Areas of Health Focus In medical astrology, different parts of the body are associated with each of the twelve signs, as are different psychological propensities that may contribute to feelings of dis-ease. Each chapter highlights practical approaches for bolstering these areas of health. Healthy Eating Tips Natives of each sign have different personalities, which can lead to dietary habits that either support or stand in the way of optimal health. This section provides healthy eating tips that are geared toward your unique temperament and that can help you boost your overall healthfulness. Health-Supporting Foods Certain foods are particularly beneficial for certain signs. Find the foods that are ruled by your sign and/or help address particular health concerns specific to your individual astrological profile. Spa and Wellness Therapies Spa and wellness therapies include bodywork (such as massage), rejuvenating treatments (such as herbal wraps), complementary practices (such as acupuncture), and mind-body techniques (such as biofeedback). Each of these natural-health treatments--available at spas and from individual health-care practitioners--has its own style and benefits; as such, some are better matched to the personalities and health characteristics of the different signs. Discover the best spa and wellness therapies to foster your personal health and beauty. Relaxation Practices Distinct from spa and wellness therapies, relaxation practices are self-directed activities that you can do on your own. From journaling to gardening to meditation and more, numerous enjoyable activities can reduce stress and foster relaxation. As each fulfills a different need and is attuned to a distinct temperament, certain ones are more in sync with particular zodiac signs. Yoga Poses Yoga provides a holistic approach to exercise that in-creases physical strength and flexibility while calming the mind and inspiring the spirit. While there are hundreds of yoga poses (also known as asanas) that can benefit general well-being, certain poses target particular body parts or health concerns and therefore are more aligned with specific astrological signs. Investigate the poses that can best meet your needs. Aromatherapy Aromatherapy is a therapeutic art that uses the aromatic essences of plants--their flowers, fruits, leaves, and wood--to foster well-being. Use the healing fragrances of these essential oils in baths and massage oils, as perfumes, or to scent a room (please note that essential oils should not be used internally). With their distinctive qualities, as well as the astrological correspondence between plants and planets, it makes sense that different scents are especially suited for different zodiacal signs. Learn which essential oils can enhance your individual well-being. Natural Remedies Natural remedies--such as dietary supplements, herbs, and homeopathics--have become an important part of many people's wellness regimens. Different remedies are valuable for specific zodiac-related health conditions. In addition, in medical astrology the various planets and signs have established correspondences with the many plants and nutrients that comprise different natural remedies. In this section, discover those that may be beneficial for natives of your sign. Flower Essences These natural elixirs, made from flower-infused water, work energetically to restore mental and emotional balance. Flower essences can help you let go of certain habits and perspectives that stand in your way of whole health. While the stress-relieving Rescue Remedy is the most well-known, there are scores of individual flower essences that can be used therapeutically. Various flower essences accord with distinct psycho-emotional constitutions and, as such, address the unique temperaments associated with each of the twelve signs. Discover which essences are targeted for the inherent disposition represented by your astrological sign. As you journey through Planetary Apothecary, you'll not only explore what foods, natural remedies, and activities are most supportive of the characteristics of your sign but also why they are beneficial. Really understanding your individual needs, both physical and emotional, is vital to living a healthy and balanced life. If you know what makes you tick, it follows that you will have an easier time integrating those habits and choices into your routine. After all, health is not just something measured by the absence of illness or discomfort but by the vitality that is experienced when you live in sync with your true nature. It is my hope that Planetary Apothecary helps you create and sustain unique and effective wellness practices that will greatly improve the quality of your life. While the planets may seem far away, with the information we can glean from them, thanks to medical astrology, wellness is much closer than we think.