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1 The Magician (Astragalus)


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Today my studies with the Herbal Tarot continue looking at the next card in the major arcana - The Magician and his herb, Astragalus.


1 The Magician

The Magician stands outside on the grass with a yellow sky.  There is a small outcrop of rock nearby upon which rest the symbols of the tarot suites and hence the elements - a cup (water, emotions and feelings and the flow of ideas), a pentacle (earth, material assests and worldly matters), a sword (air, thoughts and the power of the mind) and a wand (fire, energy, actions and creativity).  Just in front of him grows the Astragalus plant reaching skywards and near the top are small yellow flowers which blend in with the yellow background.

The Magician himself stands tall and proud, looking directly out at us.  He is wearing a robe of pure white, delicately adorned about the neck.  Over this this he wear a red mantle with blue sleeves.  His left hand is raised and holding a crystal ball while his right hand points down towards the earth.


The magician symbolises the power of creation in all forms.  He is perfectly grounded yet is receptive to the energies around him (shown by the crystal ball) and able to direct those energies so he can create as he desired (symbolised by the right hand pointing downwards).  He able to use all energies around him (shown by the cup, pentacle, sword and wand).  When he appears in a reading I feel that he symbolises an ability to understand the energies around us and be receptive to new inspirations while also giving us the power to outwardly make those things happen in our lives.



This a herb I'd never heard of until I got this deck, so now seems a great time to look into more detail at it.  Some of my information comes from the deck's companion book, some from herbsguide.net


Family: Fabaceae (this is the legume or pea family which makes sense as I've always thought the drawing of the herb looks rather like members of the pea family!  Its drawing is again fairly accurate as well.)

Botanical Name(s): Astragalus membranaceus


This herb has various common names, the ones I know are Milk Vetch and Yellow Emperor (although I didn't realise they were the same plant!)  Other names are Huang qi, goat's horn and green dragon.  It is another chinese herb and is indigenous to northern and eastern parts of China and parts of Mongolia.  In general the root is most commonly used.


The companion book calls Astralagus the Herb of Creativity which fits in perfectly with the power of the Magician.  Spiritually, it can be used to increase our energy and reduce the 'gap' between the ideas in the mind and physical reality in order to bring about creations that we desire.  It can also help us to be grounded.  Medicinally, it has been proven to help strengthen the immune system and to help digest food (and experiences).


So all in all, a rather interesting herb that perfectly matches the power of the Magician!

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Huang Qi is a fantastic tonifying herb. It is slightly warming (yang) and enters the spleen and lung meridians. Being a 'sweet' herb, it is more directly aligned with the spleen however just like in tarot - you read the whole body (or spread) not just one card. 

The spleen is a lot more important in traditional medicine than it is in western practice. It is a key assimilator of energy, so even if the other organs for digestion are doing ok, without the spleen one will eventually suffer from a lack of qi. Too much over thinking and worry are associated with spleen deficiency, and in this day and age we are pretty much all spleen deficient to some degree. This matches with the companion books idea that it can increase energy and reduce 'gap' between mind and reality. Most people make their problems into bigger issues than they really are through overthinking. Over stimulation is also a big threat to the spleen function (think computer, mobile, social media), and Huang Qi helps to break that cycle of addiction to over-excitement to 'ground'.

As a woman and asthmatic I've always been careful to look after my lungs - because they govern the skin! So my weakness makes me extra careful to look after my lungs if I want to look good as I age. The lungs, together with the spleen and kidneys also play a part in how water is assimilated in the body - think water retention, dry skin, etc. It also governs ones wei qi, or exterior strength to stop you from getting sick (another issue I have learned to deal with). So yes, it is 100% one of the areas connected to immunity. The lungs also correspond to the emotion of grief and sadness, something to consider for those with chronic depression.

It is interesting how both the organs are in the business of transferring food and water into energy, while the Magician is also in the business of creation. These are great posts @stephanelli! I'm going to try and do at least one deep-dive everyday, see what else I can learn.

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51 minutes ago, Grace said:

@stephanelli I grew up with TCM practitioners so I'm a bit of a nerd with the Chinese stuff. But my own European herbs, no clue!! 🤣 I enjoy learning though.

Ah nice.  I look forward to you sharing your knowledge more then 😉 


I'm better at my local UK herbs and those that I grow.  Most of this deck has been hard for me to learn and work with because it isn't what I'm used to but it is fascinating and everytime I use it I make new connections and understanding.

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