Over the years working with Cancerian clients, I have often been told that they don’t relate well to the image of the motherly housewife which is often associated with Cancer. This isn’t surprising given that this fluffy image is far from explaining the complexity of this sensitive sign.
To truly understand it, we need to examine its symbol the Crab, as well as its association with the Moon. Water signs are known to be very sensitive and Cancer is no exception. The sensitivity means that there is an innate sense of vulnerability felt by these signs. As a result, self-protection, in other words, security becomes a very strong driving force. In the case of Cancer, the crab gives us clues as to how Cancerians seek to protect and defend themselves.
Firstly, crabs have hard shells protecting soft and vulnerable interiors. Cancerians come across as being very lively, friendly and with a great sense of humour. They often make jokes about themselves to cover up anything about which they feel insecure. They are dynamic and being a Cardinal sign, are often found in positions of leadership. This extrovert appearance is their protective shell; it masks their sense of vulnerability.
If threatened, crabs use their pincers and Cancerians can use their humour as both a defence and as a means of attack. If you’ve hurt a Cancerian, you may find that you either become the butt of jokes, or have carefully judged, hurtful remarks aimed at you. The difficulty is that when hurt or threatened, Cancerians don’t find it easy to be direct. Moving sideways, they drop hints in the hope that those involved care and understand them well enough to pick them up.
This can make things rather difficult and can be very frustrating for all involved, so it is important to understand Cancer’s difficulty with being direct. If we state clearly that we have been hurt, that we have done something wrong or that we are upset, we make ourselves vulnerable. This is very difficult for a Cancerian who prefers to be strong. They give the impression of sharing their feelings with you because they are so comfortable discussing emotional issues, but unless they truly trust you, they are unlikely to let you know either what they are truly feeling or the strength or their feelings.
So where does the link with mother and nurturing come in? This image comes from Cancer’s association with the Moon. In many ancient cultures, the Moon was associated with women and all things female. Traditionally this has been the domain of the home, family and feelings. Yet, once again, one would be doing this complex sign an injustice if this was all that was thought of in relation to Cancer. The image of women as purely emotional and family oriented is two-dimensional.
Greek and Roman mythology provide us with a much stronger and realistic picture of the essence of women and Cancer. The Roman Goddess of the Moon was Diana. Her first act upon being born was to help her mother deliver her twin brother Apollo. Diana grew up on a desert island. She was resourceful, strong and independent. She was a hunter and so provided for herself and her mother. She remained chaste and independent of men. She was the protector of women in labour, and young girls.
This is a much truer picture of Cancer. Strong, independent, capable and loyal to their families. They may choose not to have families of their own so as to retain their independence but if they do, far from fluffy housewives they tend to be strong heads of the family, often taking interest in and playing responsible roles within their local communities.
Given their sensitivity, they are also likely to enjoy music and are can be sentimental. This is the dreamy side of Cancer which along with their whimsical humour and ability to connect emotionally with their loved ones, can make this a lively and caring friend to be with.