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