(June 22 - July 22)
For most people this phase of life is extremely important, for it is from this part of our childhood that we have our greatest memories of happiness or upset.
Memories are hoarded and resentments encountered through the sadness of childish experiences, for it is a strange, sensitive and sometimes uncomfortable time, involved almost totally with the parents and family.
Emotional security, or lack of it, is found through the warmth and response of those who care for their offspring, and it is during this period of growth that a child learns about emotional reactions and the beginnings of love.
Most of their concerns center around the home, although they learn a great deal from others at school, and they start to discover themselves and their place in society through observing and reacting to the behavior of those close.
They can often be seen as the "child" playing the "parent", for they are learning what it means to give and receive, and are deeply sensitive to the requirements of the family, because their little life is totally reliant on its well being.
Many a child is heartbroken and rent apart by the loss of a family pet, or even their favourite teddy bear.To them this breaks up the household, and hence seems to destroy everything they know about their feelings and how to respond to others.
They have learned to love something, and now it is gone. And yet a child of this time will often appear to be untouched by circumstance, yet deep down the injury remains hidden in the subconscious.
This is why many psychologists search for a patient's response to their upbringing for, by a child's reaction to damaging or happy experiences, they form the very root foundations of themselves and their emotional worth.
At this age a child will often announce they are going to marry a parent, for that person is all they know about feeling and emotion, and everything seems safe and warm in the love they hold for those close.
The planet that governs Cancer is the Moon, and the element associated is water. This makes them deeply emotional and reactive to everything they feel.
They have not the impulse of Aries or Gemini, nor the contented static quality of Taurus. They instinctively follow the ebb and flow of water, and are often particularly affected by the phases of the Moon.
This gives them a strongly protective, but restless quality, with a tendency to brood over hidden injuries, causing mood swings, for they find it difficult to communicate what is hidden in their heart. They look to the past to find their security, giving them a need to hoard a multitude of sentimental possessions, and memories, both good and bad, have a great affect on their behavior.
The symbol of Cancer is the Crab. The shy, sensitive creature that patrols the rock pools of the sea-shore. A crustacean that is born helpless and fleshy, hiding beneath stones to protect itself from predators until the skeleton of its shell grows outside the body in order to protect it.
As the Crab carries its house on its back, so does the person who is Cancer, and there are many similarities.
The Homebase is their protection, and they learn from an early age that emotions and feelings can be damaged by the harshness of a lonely and hostile world.
They are said to instinctively put up a barrier between themselves and others, which can protect them from the risk of pain, particularly when they feel emotionally vulnerable, and it is only the gentle and wise who can penetrate the outer skin to find the tender soul inside.
When they are hurt they will recede back into their shell, but with an air of casualness that makes them appear cool and indifferent. However, they are deeply sensitive, yet rarely show it, and it is an unusual person indeed who has the insight to see through the facade, or the patience and tact to pries them out.
If stripped of their outer coldness, they are exceptionally vulnerable and emotionally defenseless underneath. In much the same way the young child can seem resilient to knocks, but can be deeply hurt inside, and needs the protection and warmth of family life to sustain them, until they are strong enough to form their own emotional security.
This is the nature of the true Cancerian person. They are not the thinkers of the Zodiac, they feel; are governed by instinct, and that feeling is the fundamental foundation on which they stand. They are natural homemakers, and their total nature is about caring and nurturing others as well as themselves. Like a tigress protecting her young, woe betide anyone who threatens those that they love.
They are unphased by the natural functions and anomalies of the physical body, and because of this, and their nurturing qualities, they make excellent nurses, midwives, homemakers, parents, carers and anything that requires patience and empathy with others, yet without being overwhelmed by the more basic aspects of nature.
The element Water that belongs to this sign, can be likened to the babbling brook, or the fountain spray that cascades with life in our gardens and parks; always moving, but always gentle, fertile and cleansing, as it dances in the warmth of the sun.
Cancer arrives at the first flush of Summer, and at this time you will see the plants, that have made growth and flowered in the Spring, are now fully formed.
It is time for them to expand and enlarge on their original structure, and give birth to seeds ready for the ripening that comes in the time of Leo.
The birds and animals have made their nests and dens, and are busy nurturing and protecting their offspring from the dangers of life.
So it is with Cancer who is born into the phase of existence that requires nourishment and protection, yet the nature of this Zodiac Sign is also to care for others in the way a loving mother does for her child.
Their task is to nurture and respond to "need", in order that others may eventually harvest the fruits of their gentleness and sensitivity.
For them, the old ways and traditional values must at all times be preserved, for Cancer is the foundation of civilisation, gently and lovingly formed for the future emotional security of humankind.
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All writings © J.Shell 1981 - 2005 (unless otherwise stated). All rights reserved.