Olfactory Allies and Fragrant Talismans for Cancer Season

This article was originally posted July 7th 2023 as part of our Olfactory Allies and Fragrant Talismans newsletter series, which highlights correlations between astrological transits and fragrant lant matter. View the full newsletter here.

A blessed, belated Summer Solstice! As we languor in the warmth of the sun’s rays and celebrated its life-giving light, we simultaneously welcomed its shift into Cancer, the celestial crab.\

 On the cusp of the tangible, the astral, and the watery depths of emotion, lunarian Cancer tends to find themselves preoccupied with security and soft landings lest they retreat back into their hardened shells to protect their tender inner-world. Nurturing, sensitive, and protective, Cancerians are connected to the world through an acute awareness of and tether to its beating heart. This heightened sensitivity can be cause for overwhelm and a strenuous sense of obligation toward the wellbeing of others (often at their own expense) which can, overtime, have gentle-hearted Cancer feeling depleted, unappreciated,  and alone—but in an environment of harmony, reciprocity, and security, what emerges from the shell is an unparalleled planner, protector, and caretaker, eager to trust and allow others in.

What might we glean from the reflective surface of the Cancerian shell this season? Whether this is a time to lean into care or to extend it, here are our chosen olfactory allies to keep you afloat through deep pools of sentiment, each selected for their ability to open and envelop the heart.

Jasmine · Orris · Chamomile · White Camphor · Tuberose · Sandalwood

J a s m i n e

An indisputably Lunar bloom, narcotic and enveloping Jasmine helps move stagnant emotions and dispel feelings of shame, anger, guilt, and grief. A symbol of the Feminine archetype—a role it shares with both the Moon and the celestial Crab—Jasmine is rooted in its sensuality and grace, and will care for those who call on her through empowerment rather than kid-gloves.

O r r i s 

Another floral aroma, Orris is the rhizome of the Iris, and is used in perfumery as a component of Iris and Violet fragrances. It is a soft, powdery aroma which can play up tender feelings by replicating scents steeped in nostalgia, purity, and innocence. Sybil Leek recommends working with Orris to both Cancerians and those of Lunar persuasion.

C h a m o m i l e

A Cancer guardian herb,, Chamomile exudes a gentle force and ability to calm fraught nerves and related bodily symptoms, such as digestive distress and insomnia. When used aromatherapeutically, its grounding, honeyed scent can cast bright rays for us to follow back to the surface when swept up in the tides of feeling—a useful tool for Cancer, as well as one which reflects their caring nature. 

C a m p h o r

Camphor is prescribed to Cancer for its cool medicinal scent, which helps invigorate the senses and calm frayed nerves by opening the lungs and promoting slow, deep breathing.. Spiritually, Camphor can be used to dispel baneful presences in the home, whereas topically it is cooling and can help relieve aches and congestion

T u b e r o s e

20th century occultist Valentin Bresle prescribes all scents flowery in nature to Cancerians, while Lady Sara Cunningham, who is renowned for her magical perfume and incense blends, recommends nightblooming Tuberose to lunarians to mitigate difficult emotions and restore harmony.

S a n d a l w o o d

Sandalwood corresponds both to the Moon and Water, making it a choice extract for Cancer according to David Conway’s planetary correspondences. Its scent is soft, woody, and lactonic, qualities which render it grounding, comforting, and sedative. The trees enjoy and thrive in the shade of others, a quality reflected by both the mysterious Moon and the guarded Cancerian. 

A pictograph of a crab set against the constellation of Cancer

Other scents and herbal guardians that can aid in either harnessing or, if need be, temper the Cancerian energy of the season are those which help harness our dreams and fortify the walls of the palace of our hearts, like lunar Mugwort, what protects the precious resource that is our time and care, such as solar Motherwort, and the briny effluvia of that which comes from the sea.


Wishing you all a season of security and care,


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