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Astrology Horoscope: May New MoonOn July 20 at 12:45 pm (PDT), the Sun and Moon conjoin for the second time in Cancer this year. There was a New Moon in Cancer on the 21st of June last month. Along with the Sun and the Moon, the planets Jupiter and Mercury will have just crossed into the sign of Cancer as well. Just a day before this New Moon, Mars will go direct and begin moving away from its conjunction with Pluto. Any emotional energy that we have been storing up may be released during this time. Some of the intensity and power that comes with this conjunction will begin to fade as Mars now moves further away from Pluto. And now that we have moved through the powerful and transformative eclipse cycles, we can all breathe a little easier.

(Editor's note: See last month's Lunar Health Cycles for more details on the relationship of the sign Cancer and health.)

Herbology and the Sign of Cancer

One of the best activities we can do in the summer months is to spend some time outdoors connecting with the medicinal herbs in our nearby surroundings. Since antiquity, herbs have been associated with the signs and elements of the zodiac. Heating herbs such as ginger and garlic are associated with the fire element and nourishing and relaxing herbs such as licorice and lettuce are associated with the water signs. When we first start to study herbology, it can often be helpful to pick a handful of plants to really learn their properties and visit with them in their natural setting. When the Moon is in Cancer it can be helpful to study herbs that are associated with this sign. Herbs of Cancer often work to soothe the stomach and strengthen digestion. They are often cooling to the system, which is perfect for this especially hot time of the year. One of the most common and healing type of herbs associated with Cancer is lemon balm.

Lemon Balm

Walk out into most herb gardens and you will see a friendly little herb growing in moist, rich soil with a fair amount of sunlight. With its fresh lemony smell, lemon balm is unmistakable. It adds a dose of joy to all those nearby and acts as a natural insect repellent. Lemon balm is known as one of the best herbs for alleviating digestive complaints and lifting the spirits. As a member of the mint family, this plant is known in Latin as Melissa officinalis.

This herb is rich in volatile oils (especially citronellal) that help relax the body and relieve anxiety. Lemon balm can be taken when there is nervousness, insomnia and feelings of restlessness and depression. One of the best known uses of lemon balm is for calming an upset stomach. If there is indigestion due to overeating, poor food combining or emotional upset, lemon balm relaxes the stomach muscles and allows for better digestion. This is primarily due to a concentration of eugenol, a volatile oil that has an antispasmodic effect. When taken as a tea, lemon balm can bring on a slight sweat (herbs which do this are known as diaphoretics) that helps cool down those who drink it.

Lemon balm has the ability to gently bring on menstruation for those who are delayed and are experiencing painful cramps. Lemon balm also has an ability to help those who suffer from allergies such as asthma and hay fever by increasing antihistamine production in the body. With all these varied abilities, lemon balm is truly a wonder herb that is easily cultivated in our own backyards. To drink lemon balm tea, simply collect a number of leaves and crush them gently in your hand before pouring boiling water over them to drink. If you want to collect and store lemon balm, the leaves should be freeze dried as they lose their volatile oil content in the drying process. The usual dosage is one ounce of herb to one pint of water infused for 10 to 15 minutes.


Besides working with herbs, we can also take advantage of this Cancer Moon by finding time to make home cooked meals. In our increasingly fast paced lives, it can be hard to make the time to really prepare an excellent meal. One way to strengthen our health and well being is to choose a night once a week when all our close friends and family can sit down to a meal together. Opening up the house to those people we care about brings an added warmth and joy to the household. Through strengthening our ties and bonds to our community, we strengthen our own foundation and sense of peace and inner security. This Cancer New Moon is a wonderful time to nourish our hearts and bellies through drinking a warm cup of lemon balm tea and sharing our meals with loved ones. Good health to you!



Jonathan Keyes, B.S., is an astrologer, herbalist and plant spirit medicine practitioner. His writing has appeared in The Mountain Astrologer and in numerous Llewellyn almanacs. Jon has written a book entitled 'Guide to Natural Health, The Horoscope as a key to Ancient Healing Practices'. Jon is available for readings and can be contacted at Go to Jon's web site at

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For more information about Jonathan Keyes, click here.

Other StarIQ articles by Jonathan Keyes:

  • Pluto and Your Psyche   10/26/2013
  • Astrology and Stones   2/25/2012
  • Your Health and Saturn   2/4/2012
  • Lunar Health Cycles   3/13/2002
  • Lunar Health Cycles   2/27/2002
  • Lunar Health Cycles   1/26/2002
  • Lunar Health Cycles   11/14/2001
  • Lunar Health Cycles   10/31/2001
  • Lunar Health Cycles   10/15/2001
  • Lunar Health Cycles   10/1/2001
  • Lunar Health Cycles   9/14/2001
  • Lunar Health Cycles   8/31/2001
  • Lunar Health Cycles   8/16/2001
  • Lunar Health Cycles   8/2/2001
  • Lunar Health Cycles   7/4/2001
  • Lunar Health Cycles   6/17/2001
  • Lunar Health Cycles   6/4/2001
  • Pluto, Your Health and Herbs   4/30/2001
  • Your Health and Neptune Part 2   3/12/2001
  • Your Health and Saturn Part 2   11/13/2000
  • Michael Stipe Shuns the Spotlight   9/16/2000
  • Michael J. Fox   8/21/2000
  • Animals and Astrology Part Two   7/3/2000
  • Animals and Astrology   6/12/2000
  • The Astrology of Stones Part 2   5/15/2000

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