I am blending arcana and tea leaves. It’s a starry infusion best left to swirl around in a good quality ceramic pot. The idea behind this is to think about, meditate on, collect, infuse, touch, smell and contemplate a herbal tea, draw one card on it and expand on my research for the herb and arcana card. I’m starting with the Major Arcana, drawing one card for each herb that I have used, or am using for tea.
It is summer in my part of the world, and the garden is full of borage. It’s a useful companion plant to a veggie garden, and beautiful enough to plant on its own – bees and bumblebees especially love visiting its delicate blue flowers. The borage shown below is growing next to a nettle patch – you can tell the difference by the leaves – nettle leaves are serrated, borage leaves are not.
With this herb in mind, I sat down and asked the cards, Which Major Arcana does this herb relate to? I used the full Haindl Deck, and drew The Moon. I was a little surprised at first, until I did some research on the plant.
Borage (Borago Officinalis) is the flower of courage, much valued by the Ancient Greeks as a herb that brings courage, and dispels melancholy. McIntyre (1996) notes “the herbalist Gerard writing in 1597 said that a syrup of borage flowers ‘comforteth the heart, purgeth melancholy and quieteth the phrenticke and lunatick person‘… The word borage is said to be a corruption of cor-ago; cor means heart, ago means I bring, as borage has an old reputation as a cordial, a tonic to the heart and lifter of the spirits. It has been used to strengthen weak heart conditions, calm palpitations, and to revitalize the system during convalescence and exhaustion.”
In other words, and excellent tea for those times when one travels through the dark and mysterious landscape of the Moon, when faced with primal fears, when doing introspective work that brings to the surface burried or suppressed issues and fears, when doing dream work which can be unnerving. The use of borage to “quieteth the lunatick” was a key phrase here, knowing the word “lunatic” derives from the latin for moon, “luna”. Native Americans knew to use borage to aid with healing after a long illness and used it for nervous conditions. They also used it for “releasing the spirit” after loss, and applied it as a remedy to depression (Garrett 2003). The affirmation for the borage flowers is “I learn to stand on my own” (Griffin, 1997) – appropriate when one makes the difficult journey through the lunar landscape.
So this is a herb I would drink as a tea when exploring the Moon card, or doing any related work on dreams and the subconscious. Note the flowers come in blue or white – colours I associate with the Moon – although it is the leaves that are often mentioned as herbal remedy. Unless you want to explore the Roman recipe of steeping borage flowers in wine!
Garrett, J. T. (2003) The Cherokee Herbal
Griffin, J (1997) Mother Nature’s Herbal
McIntyre, A (1996) The Complete Floral Healer