I awoke this morning dreaming of the sea. 

She was vast, in my dream as she is in this world. The beach, too, extended down nearly a half mile, with an almost terraced structure to the sand as it pitched steeply before leveling at the water’s edge. 

I hiked down, determined but clumsy on the soft sand, nearly plummeting into the waves more than once. When I arrived at the last leveled terrace, I undressed and placed my shoes and phone safely near a bit of beach grass. 

tiny boat big sea

I held my shorts as I took the last few steps down towards Mother Ocean. The tide looked further out than I remembered and more still than I thought possible. I lost myself staring at the deep blue with a dawning discomfort, not understanding where the waves had gone. I looked down at the wet sand, wondering how it was possible for such a big body to have no movement, when suddenly my answer came and I was under water. 

And then I was not, again. The wave went back out, carrying my favorite shorts with it, like some kind of reluctant tribute. It wasn’t even a very violent wave as they come, and I did not sputter or reel; I just watched my shorts float slowly away like a much worn baby blankie or a comforting illusion. The loss I felt was deep and nagging, but not overwhelming. Still, I cried. 

And then, because it was a dream, Amy Poehler came up and explained that, actually “it’s ok. Don’t take it personally. She just likes to tease.” When the next wave met us, she reached out and there in her hand were my tiny black shorts. 

Waterlogged as they were, I took them back and held them close. But I did not put them back on. And I knew, the stillness I’d witnessed, agonizing in its incongruity, was simply the turning of the tide, which happens twice each day and still somehow holds such dizzyingly surreal grace that it threatened to upend me. So the sea herself upended me instead. What a divine sense of humor she has. 

this is how she laughs

I was reluctant to write this, as I am often reluctant to do anything that makes me happy or fulfilled or Seen (or that I said I’d do at a specific time). But then I remembered my dream, and the gentleness with which the DreamSea bowled me over, and I knew it was still the time to do so. 

Cancer season has been a gift, I think, or I say to myself over and over again until it begins to feel true. It has not been a gift in that it’s felt good, or even pleasant. Not a gift in that I’ve reaped a bounty or found a miracle. Not even a gift in the form of a particularly pivotal challenge. But a gift of stillness, just as confusing and agonizing and inexplicably, skin-crawlingly uncomfortable as the sea’s. 

crabby

But through the discomfort and the restlessness and the sheer weight of gravity that has had me lying on the floor multiple times this week, I Know that this is temporary. Just part of the Process. Something to let pass, not to resist. Let the tears out, breathe through the strain of it all; something is gestating and I can’t know what yet because I haven’t made that choice. The ache is not new, but the Knowledge is. The Trust is. And that is a stunning and priceless gift. 

Monday brings us the second New Moon in Cancer of the year. Our last one was a bit drowned out, if you can drown a sea creature, by the Solstice and a Solar Eclipse. It’s not hard to outshine a Cancer (just ask my ascendant Crab about my Gemini Sun), when they’d much rather stay inside until Mama Moon comes out. So this is, in some ways, also our only New Moon in Cancer, where we can feel the subtleties of those turning tides. 

dark moon rising

However you feel about Cancer energy (it can’t be just me who’s less than enthused), the Crab is at its most comfortable and content under its Dark Moon. And it’s extra special that she gets a chance to exalt a second time around, where she has the dark shoreline of our subconscious all to herself. 

“Sitting in direct opposition to Saturn, this New Moon is weighty, serious, and wants us to honor the limits we have to work within. Not the best moment to begin something that needs to happen with speed, this New Moon is meditative, contemplative, and reflective. It uplifts what is slow and steady. It asks us to adhere to the lineages and traditions that are sound, sturdy, and adaptable enough to be a bridge between this moment and a future full of care for all.” 

~Chani Nicholas 

Allowing this stillness to be such a moment of contemplation and recovery is aided by moon’s placement in the Tenth Lunar Mansion,  Al Jabhah ( or Jabbah or Gabhah),  also called The Rebuilding of Strength (as Alexis J. Cunningfolk describes). In his translation of the 11th century Arabic magick text the Picatrix, Warnock tells us that “as the Moon passes into Al Jabbah, sadness ebbs and fades and our sense of power returns.” 

So breathe in. And out. And trust that whatever viscous, resistant muck we have been moving through, this New Moon can allow us to break the surface and be Renewed. 

Herbs: 

One ally we can lean on as we work to allow this stillness to heal us is a cooling Lunar nervine whose beauty might be unmatched in this world: Passion flower. 

passionflower

When I first came across a blossom hanging off of a Passiflora incarnata vine, I stopped in my tracks. Never had I seen a flower so alien, so otherworldly and enchanting in its beauty. The protruding pistils with criss-cross stamens, the almost writhing thread-like striped corona, the bed of deep redpurplebluewhite petals…it’s almost hypnotizing. An apt description, considering its medicinal use as a hypnotic (sleep aid). In fact, this description of it’s florescence is worth quoting whole:

“Passionflower’s floral arrangement is so unique that early Christian missionaries decided to capitalize on its distinctive morphology, and use it as an educational tool in describing Christ’s crucifixion. The name describes the passion of Christ and his disciples, although in addition, it does excite passion in laboratory mice, who have demonstrated increased mounting of non-estrus females. {vi} But alas, we digress from botany. The flowers have the standard sepals and petals; additionally they have a third floral whorl, the corona. Passionflower’s corona resembles purple and white striped threads, which vary depending on the variety or cultivar. As the flower opens these corona threads emerge in a beautiful crimped pattern…”

~Juliet Blankespoor 

close up passion flower

Wild. 

There was a vine that grew on the wrought iron fence of a house across the street from my school. Each spring, it became a ritual to seek out this surreal bloom as a harbinger of warmer weather and a feast for my eyes, like a tiny portal to the lovelier part of a Lovecraftian dimension of eldritch horror (and beauty). 

And then one day, I shared this experience with a friend. As we stood over what I basically considered extraterrestrial flora at this point, she said “Oh, passionflower! My favorite!” Now, I knew what passionflower was. And that it was (probably) where passion fruit came from (a different species, but passiflora all the same), but THIS is what such a relatively commonplace plant looked like????? And there we have another entry in why I became a plant witch. Because what the fuck basically. 

another passiflora

Passionflower has since become a dear ally in my efforts to treat my Generalized Anxiety Disorder without the side effects of SSRIs or benzos. I’ve spoken in previous guides about the other plants that support and balance my neurotransmitters, but passionflower joins the ranks of Skullcap and Oat straw as a cooling and powerful nervine and anxiolytic that has outperformed the benzodiazepine oxazepam in patients with GAD, with significantly fewer side effects

It’s also shown promising results in trials related to treatment of ADHD in adolescents and children, performing as well as methylphenidate (Ritalin) in a randomized trial, with almost no side effects to speak of.

Where it shines the most in my experience is an extremely gentle yet effective ally for the sleepless. Since infancy, I’ve had a…contentious relationship with sleep. For those of us whose racing thoughts and perma-tense muscles can make relaxing into REM feel not only impossible but like its own feedback loop of anxiety, passionflower can gently release the the tension, calming and soothing, physically, mentally, and emotionally. It is a balm during a panic attack and a guide out of the Spiral. 

Magickally, passionflower can also quiet the mind chatter that often clouds our intuition and traps us in the material realm. It has been used quite regularly by practitioners to open up and activate threads of higher consciousness and can allow for more direct channeling. 

"The channel is opened, so that energies are not held within but are released. Any negativity, such as fear, resulting from these higher states is released into the Earth. There is a tendency for the individual to be better protected from negative or difficult vibrations...” 

~Gerudas 

This New Moon in Cancer presents us with an ideal opportunity to play in this Lunar space with dreamwork. I discussed in our guide for our last New Moon in Cancer the ways in which Mugwort can aid us in this work by elevating our minds onto the plane of the Unconscious, moving up the Tree of Life to Yesod, Sephirah of the Moon and all things Immaterial. Passionflower works in tandem in the other direction, allowing the noise of the Living to fall away, clearing the path to this elevation. 

The two work together beautifully in this Moon’s recipe: 

rosy tea

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream Tea

Here, we mingle our Passionate soother with dreamy Mugwort, fellow cooling nervines of Lemon Balm and Rose, protective and prophetic Yarrow (throw in a thorn from your roses to strengthen these boundaries), rounded out with warming nervine Chamomile. 

2 pts Passionflower

1 pt Mugwort

1 pt Rose

1 pt Lemon Balm

1 pt Chamomile

1/2 pt Yarrow 

1/2 pt Rosemary (optional, add if you run/sleep cold)

Now this is a blend of mostly cooling herbs, with slightly warming and sunny Chamomile doing the majority of balancing work. If your constitution runs cold or you just need a blend that heats you up a bit more to sleep well, add in a bit of Rosemary. It can also increase your likelihood of remembering your dreams, but Mugwort aids heavily in that as well so if you’re a night-sweater like me, feel free to leave it out. 

Pick a measurement to use as your "part" based on how big you want your batch to be (tsp for a couple cups worth, a cup for a month or more of tea). Dried is preferred as it will keep, but if making a single cup, fresh is fine (just double the amounts). Add each herb one at a time to a clean dry dish. Blend together with a spoon or clean dry hands, and as you do, imagine you are creating a key to the Door into your Subconscious. This tea will unlock any inner barriers your conscious mind might have put up to ward itself from the Great Unknown, its own seat of Mysteries. Sleep is the Gateway; imbue into this blend the courage and will to open that Gate and step through it. 

To brew, pour just boiled water over 1 tbsp (per cup, scale up as needed) of your herbal blend and cover. Let steep for up to 10 minutes (the mugwort and yarrow can get a bit bitter when oversteeped, but I’ve never minded myself). Strain and drink before bed or as a part of any pathworking or dream weaving rituals. 

This can also be scaled up into a fantastic Bath Tea or Rinse, just throw in some extra Mugwort (like an entire handful if you can spare). A Dream Bath is an excellent way to follow this Cancer moon back into Mother Ocean. 

Ok, lovelies. I’ll leave you with that. If you want to access the full length Guide, go check out the Patreon!

However you decide to honor this watery New Moon, remember to take deep breaths and Know: if you a wave catches you unawares or you get caught in a riptide, you will not drown. Either you will find your way to the surface or you will learn to breathe water. 

In love and magick, 

~Corinne

lil witch bb