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Cancer: The Astroherbology Profile

They sell sea shells by the sea shore.

Or was it they host an emotional processing circle by the sea that is free for all to come and join?

It's time to explore the sign of Cancer! You're getting a snapshot into the ever expanding astroherbology magick of the Lunar Apothecary - sweet! 

I will be exploring all twelve signs from a medical astrology perspective with an emphasis on herbal healing. Learn more about the series and what all the correspondences mean check out the introduction to The Introduction to Astroherbology Zodiac Series. Missed the other signs of the Zodiac? Find out about the astroherbology wisdom of Aries, Taurus, and Gemini!

Element: Water
Mode: Cardinal
Guardian Planet: Moon
Direction: South
Season: Summer
House: 4th House / Angular
Lunar Mansions: 7th, 8th, and 9th Mansions
Solar Gemstone: Rose Quartz
Tarot: The Chariot, The High Priestess, 2 of Cups (6/21 - 7/1), 3 of Cups (7/2 - 7/11), 4 of Cups (7/12 -21), Queen of Cups
Tissue State: Damp/Stagnation, Cold/Depression

Body Systems: The Chest, Breasts, Stomach, Uterus, Ovaries, Diaphragm. Bone Marrow. Pituitary Gland and hormones. Upper Alimentary System. Brain covering. Ribs, Sternum, and Elbow joint. Lungs. Serum of Blood. Thoracic Duct. Peristaltic pump. Pleura and Pleural Cavity. Bladder. Protective coverings of the organs including the Pericardium and Meningeal coverings.

Imbalances + Diseases: Digestive diseases and indigestion including gas and bloating, ulcers, Crohns disease, and diseases of the gall bladder. Fluids in the joints. Asthma with excess fluids. Tuberculosis, consumption, and wet coughs. Infectious lung diseases. Sinus infections. Lack of or overproduction of fluids in the body, including excess mucus, edema, water retention, and fluids in the lungs. Swollen gums and soft teeth. Cysts in the breasts and breast diseases. Breastfeeding complications including mastitis. Bone marrow disease. Ovarian imbalance and diseases including infertility. Peristaltic dysfunction. Bladder infections. Abscesses. Lack of vitality. Shortness of breath. Indigestion, including diarrhea, gas, heartburn, and leaky gut. Excess mucus of the digestive tract. Pituitary imbalance, including lack or excess production of oxytocin and ADH. Lack of or excess saliva. Nausea. Poor relationship with food including overindulgence in food or lack of eating, including eating disorders such as anorexia and  bulimia. Depression and emotional stagnation. Lack of drive, including physical drive whether for fitness or sexual intimacy. Lack of bodily tone. Unwanted excess weight. Fixating on the past and not present circumstances. Self-isolating and highly defensive. Oversensitivity to other’s emotions and the environment in general can lead to paranoia. Inappropriate and harmful relationships full of emotional coercion, closing off from the world, apathy, giving but not receiving, issues of trust and faith in others.

Disease Degrees: 0 degrees: drowning, eyesight; 1 degree: sixth rib, eyesight, drowning; 2 degrees: seventh rib; 3 degrees: eighth rib, eyesight; 4 degrees: ninth rib; 5  degrees: tenth to twelfth ribs, sleep and trance; 6 degrees: diaphragm, sleep and trance; 7 degrees: thoracic cavity; 8 degrees: esophageal opening of the diaphragm, paralysis; 9 degrees: pylorus, azimene; 10 degrees: fundus of stomach, azimene, alcoholism; 11 degrees: gastric veins, azimene, chronic glomerulonephritis, alcoholism; 12 degrees: greater curvature of the stomach, azimene, alcoholism; 13 degrees: lesser curvature of the stomach, azimene. 14 degrees: stomach walls, azimene, blindness or defective sight; 15 degrees: gastric nerves, azimene, blindness or defective sight; 16 degrees: Pancreas; 17 - 18 degrees: duodenal opening of pancreatic duct, chemicals, poisons, gas; 19 degrees: Ampulla of bile duct, bile, chemicals, poisons, gas; 20 degrees: Superior pancreaticoduodenal artery; 21 degrees: inferior pancreaticoduodenal artery; 22 degrees: gastric mucosa, weak or impaired vision; 23 degrees: gastric blood vessels, weak or impaired vision; 24 - 25 degrees: blood vessels of digestive organs, danger through water, gas, poisons, dog bites; 26 degrees: mammary glands; 27 degrees: nipples, digestive troubles; 28 degrees: cartilage of ribs, hair, digestive troubles, depression mental and emotional difficulties and instability, spleen; 29 degrees: spleen, bronchitis, depression mental and emotional difficulties and instability; 30 degrees: twelfth thoracic vertebra, bronchitis.

Remedies for Imbalanced and/or Weakened Cancer: Learning to trust. Choosing healthy relationships with emotional give-and-take. Taking time for periods of retreat, but not isolation. Becoming self-soothing. Warming and drying herbs. Dry skin brushing.  Lymphatic tonics and cleansers. Diuretics. Mineral rich herbs and supplements for grounding.

Gifts of Cancer: Emotional depth and intelligence. Ancestral heritage and wisdom. Security and developing a nourishing home environment. Intuition and psychic gifts. Empathy.

Rituals of Cancer: Trance and journeywork. Psychic development. Past Life work. Visionary dreaming. Fertility rituals. Self-empowerment.

Cancer Guardian Herbs: Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis), Chamomile (Matricaria recutita), Burdock Root (Arctium lappa), Red Clover (Trifolium pratense), Fenugreek (Feoniculum vulgare), Chickweed (Stellaria media)

Cancer Remedy Herbs: Agrimony (Agrimonia eupatoria), Chamomile (Matricaria recutita), Angelica (Angelica archangelica), Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis), Cleavers (Galium aparine), Yellow Dock Root (Rumex crispus), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

Flower + Gem Essences: Clematis, Agrimony, Red Chestnut, Honeysuckle, Chamomile, Moonstone

The Sun in Cancer

I think that one of the quickest ways to understand Cancer  is to take a look at the sign’s zodiac symbol, the crab. The crab is a liminal animal, straddling both land and sea. Cancers are creatures of the water, but they dwell mostly on the shore. Their strength lies in their emotional experiences of the world. It is through their emotional sensitivity that they perceive the world and they place a lot of self-worth in their ability to be sensitive. We live in a world that does not value sensitivity - being sensitive is dangerously subversive because it requires us to be aware of the way we are impacting the lives of others including the life of our beautiful ocean planet. Another aspect of the crab to pay attention to is that it carries it home with it everywhere and has a hardy, defensive exterior with a soft interior. Being sensitive requires the ability to retreat and recuperate because deep feeling all the time can be overwhelming. Carrying their homes with them, Cancer folk are also often concerned about home life in general and creating homely, welcoming, and nurturing spaces.

While the sensitivity of Cancer and their ability to move between the world of the physical and the emotional with ease can be a great gift, it can also be one of Cancer’s greatest struggles. Their sensitivity can become overwhelming and they can retreat from the world of large, becoming apathetic, depressed, defensive or some combination thereof. If they haven’t invested enough time in or valued the importance of emotional intelligence, they can find themselves in inappropriate relationships that can be codependent, draining, and emotionally coercive. All of this can dampen Cancer’s ability to trust and have faith in the goodness of others. They risk shifting from a liminal creature of wisdom  to something a bit more crabby. Sometimes, Cancer folk can get caught up in past emotional experiences, placing priority on those memories and that version of reality rather than the current reality of the present. Yet, when Cancer folks are dwelling in their power, they have an incredible gift to journey into the past, return, and teach us about healing our ancestral heritage and tapping into a lineage of wisdom. 

Within the context of medical astrology, Cancer folk are typically not the most inherently energetic of the signs of the zodiac. They have to pay close attention to how they expend their energy, but with care they can do well. Time for retreat and relaxation is important. Since they are a sign that is very lunar-oriented, spending some time in the sun (especially in the early morning) is good for recharging their energetic centers, but should not be overdone. They should also give themselves space to be quiet and creative under the light of their guardian planet, the Moon. A consciously consumed diet is important and being aware of the relationship between feelings and eating is one of their keys to longevity. While exercise is not the favorite activity of many Cancer folk, like everyone, the crab needs to move their body. Swimming, gentle yoga, and breathing exercises will all be beneficial. The gifts of Cancer folk are manifold and include the ability to connect with parts of our emotional landscape we thought we would never find again. They help us find the shore and that is such a gift as we remember to return home to ourselves again and again. 

Cancer Guardian Herbs 

Aloe Vera  via

Aloe Vera via

Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis)

The form of Aloe Vera is reminiscent of the energetics that Cancer embodies - a hard, spiky exterior filled with soft, liquid wisdom. The inner gel of the plant is cooling and moist, alleviating inflammation in the body both internally and externally. The gel of the plant’s inner lining can be drunk daily as a nutritive and immune-building remedy. Excellent for burns, Aloe is also good for emotional, mental, and spiritual burn-out that is so common during these times of great change. The regenerative quality of Aloe means that it helps us to form new tissue cells, which is why the plant is useful in the treatment of scars. Aloe is moistening not only topically but internally as well assisting with hydration and re-hydration after exertion or prolonged sun exposure. The plant is also useful for moistening dried out bowels, improving digestion, and general vitality.

Aloe is used topically for a variety of conditions including sunburn, burns, bedsores, athlete’s foot, bruises, wrinkles, ulcers, herpes, abrasions, ringworm, shingles, dandruff, insect bites, eczema, psoriasis, hemorrhoids, and the itch of chicken pox. Deeply nourishing, Aloe helps us to relax and be present in the moment to what we need now which is a primary gift of Cancer folk.

Want  access to more information on a variety of healing herbs for Cancer folk including a full medicinal and magickal profile on Aloe Vera? Join the Lunar Apothecary!

Cancer Remedy Herbs 

Chamomile by kallerna via

Chamomile by kallerna via

Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)

Chamomile is both a Guardian and Remedy herb of Cancer. It is an herb with an affinity for the stomach, which Cancer guards. Chamomile is also an herb for emotional upsets that manifest in the stomach and digestive tract. Think about the person (maybe you!) who gets a nervous or upset stomach during emotionally challenging times - Chamomile is a fantastic ally. The herb is bitter and sweet which helps us to produce fluids such as bile for digestion, but also helps us to digest our emotions properly. Do you see how Chamomile is both an herb of Guardianship and Remedy for Cancer? 

Chamomile is an herb forcolic-y children and young ones who have great emotional sensitivity that can make moving through the world difficult. Yet, because it is also an herb of Cancer, it has the ability for all of us at any age to connect with our inner kid, which is an exceptional quality when it comes to emotional healing. Many of us are carrying around emotional baggage from our young and formative years that can keep us floundering or stagnating in our present life. Chamomile can help us to process these difficult emotions, by gently reconnecting us with who we were before so that we can move on to who we are becoming.

Sun in Cancer Flower Essence

Since Cancer is so deeply situated within the realm of the emotions I could easily list out a hundred essences I could recommend for Cancer Sunfolk. I have chosen to go with Agrimony, alsoknown as the remedy for the tortured smile. Agrimony is for folks who are experiencing a storm of emotions inside but maintain a cheerful exterior at all costs - hence the tortured smiling. Cancer folk can sometimes fall into this pattern when they don’t feel like they have a safe space to express their emotions and have them be valued. Sometimes, Cancer folk can get so caught up in hiding their emotions from others that they successfully hide what they are feeling from themselves. Such emotional hiding suppression can lead to all sorts of discomfort and imbalance in their lives. I think Agrimony essence is also useful for those folks coping with post-traumatic stress disorder as it is very good at helping us to connect with what we are feeling deep within as opposed to connecting solely to how we are reacting in the moment. Agrimony assists us in expressing our true emotions and through that actually cultivating an authentically cheerful disposition.

Want access to the Cancer Tamer and Cancer Power! blends, Cancer inspired rituals and charms, as well as a full astroherbology profile on Cancer's Guardian Planet of the Moon plus a whole heck more?! 

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Belly Wisdom: Waxing Quarter Moon in Cancer

Cancer Moon Waxing Quarter The following is a preview of exclusive Lunar Apothecary content. In addition to a year's worth of ecourse material and access to our private learning community,  twice monthly I write about astroherbology and healing in the Moonlight, the newsletter of the Lunar Apothecary. Below is a preview of this month's Moonlight content.

The Moon is growing in the sign of Cancer as we enter the month of April. The Moon is the guardian planet of the sign of Cancer, so we can expect a particularly strong flow of lunar energy washing through our psyche as we approach the shore of the crab. Within the Ninth Mansion the Moon takes time to retreat and re-balance before continuing on to Her eventual fullness. We could spend a lot of time talking about the emotional nature of a Cancer Moon - it is certainly productive and useful to learn how to communicate clearly with yourself and others what you are feeling - but sometimes you just have to feel it. So I've written up a short meditation for you to do while the Moon dreams in Cancer that focuses on the belly - the body system that the star crab guards.

Take a moment to place your hands on your belly. Fill your lungs and belly with air. Drop your awareness down from your head and into your belly. Exhale, releasing tension and resistance. Your belly holds your gut instinct, your second brain, and your true emotional nature. What do you feel when you drop your awareness down into your belly? Leave one hand on your belly and bring up the to your heart. Take a deep belly-filling, lung-expanding breath. Connect the emotional wisdom of your belly to the compass of your heart. What do you feel when you connect your intuition with your heart? Exhale, releasing fear and doubt. Move the hand from your heart to your brow, placing your palm over your third eye. Take another deep breath, connecting your well of intuition to your filter of consciousness. What do you feel when you connect your well of knowing to your third eye? Exhale, releasing blessings. Bring both hands back to your belly and take three more deep breaths.

The Moon in Cancer is an auspicious time for healers and those who serve others to check in with themselves and be honest with the amount of self-care and community-care they are receiving. For everyone, whether you play the role of healer in your community or household, we can access emotions that we tend to suppress, cover up, and push aside when the Moon is in Cancer. 

What do you need to feel that you have not given yourself space to feel all the way through?

Herbs that help us release tension, especially tension within the gut, are important. Bitters can help us access what feels bitter and difficult in our life and release it or transform it into new potential. Herbs of a bitter variety also help us pull out of states of stagnation and feeling bogged down. Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is a gentle Cancerian bitter herb and an easy addition to many tea blends or herbal baths. Bring out the herbs and essences that bring you joy as well and remind you of your strength as you transition with Cancer - add them to your bathing waters and teas. Cancer is a sign that appreciates immersion so create healing spaces that are immerse-full - fill the house with Cancerian scents such as Sandalwood (Santalum album), make beverages of a healing variety available in each room, create mini retreat spaces out of pillows and blankets and get tucked in. You are worth every bit of your healing, clever one.

What are Moon Mansions? What is the interplay of earthly herbal healing with star wisdom? Learn more through our ecourse and online community, The Lunar Apothecary. The Moon is calling...

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