– Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Thursday June 20th we mark a power point in the calendar year, the seasonal transition we call the Summer Solstice. The Sun will move out of the inquisitive and communicative masculine air sign of Gemini and enter the sensitive and reflective feminine water sign of Cancer. Each succeeding sign of the zodiac provides the means to rectify or redirect the energy of the previous sign. Cancer asks us to shift our awareness from the realm of the mind and tune in to our feelings. A cardinal sign, Cancer wants to initiate activity from a feeling, heart-centered place.
The negative, or receptive, polarity of Cancer gives it an internal, inwardly directed energy. A key phrase for Cancer is “I Feel.” Cancer is sensitive, intuitive, empathetic, vulnerable and sentimental. Cancer governs our inner sense of self, our instincts and emotional attitudes that form the foundation of our psyche.
Considered the youngest sign of the zodiac, Cancer rules our beginnings: infancy and early childhood. The glyph for Cancer is two gametes, male and female, representing fertility and new life. It is symbolic of the deep, creative, imaginative wellspring of life.
Home-loving and maternal, Cancer values family and its ancestral past. Cancer’s domain includes the home, family history and origins, hereditary traits, and ethnic and cultural traditions. On a broader scale, nations and states, citizens, public opinion, and humankind are Cancerian. Cancer is motivated to seek security in its family, clan, tribe, or community. It fears exclusion and needs acceptance from others. Its challenge is to learn self-sufficiency outside of the confines of home, family and community.
Cancer can be retentive, tenacious and shrewd. It stores early life experiences, especially those that are emotionally charged, deep in the subconscious. It allows these emotional memories from the past to color its present experiences, reacting with unconscious, pre-conditioned responses to events and people. Cancer can be overly sensitive, moody, easily hurt, needy and dependent on others. Its tendency to be passive can lead to emotional co-dependency which interferes with its ability to develop self-sufficiency.
The symbol for Cancer is the Crab, a water dwelling animal with a protective shell. Just like a hermit crab, Cancer retreats into its shell when it feels vulnerable or threatened. It guards its privacy and personal matters. It is evasive, preferring not to confront life directly. Like the crab, Cancer moves sideways, side-stepping to escape perceived danger or attacks.
Cancer shows its devotion and care in loyal, nurturing, protective, supportive and domestic ways. Archetypes for Cancer include the primordial Goddess or Female Principal, the Roman goddess Diana as well as the late Princess Diana, and the Mother and Child. Wet nurses, cooks, kitchen workers, homemakers and women in general embody the energy of Cancer. History, genealogy and archiving the past are Cancerian occupations and activities.
The color for Cancer is calming and soothing watery silver-blue. Silver is its metal. Pearls and coral are its gems. Willows and trees rich in sap are Cancer plants. Parts of the body ruled by Cancer include the breasts and the stomach. Bodily fluids such as tears, saliva, and milk, and fluid flow and retention are governed by Cancer.
Cancer rules the beginnings and endings of all the cycles of our life. We are born from the Cosmic Womb and we return to it when we die. Cancer defines the ways our beginnings and endings play out in our lives.
“It is impossible for emotion not to come on us in thinking of that time now flowed away.”
– Paul Cezanne