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How to Care for a Cancer
Real Life Guidance on How to Get Along and Be Friends with the 4th Sign of the Zodiac
By Mary English
John Hunt Publishing Ltd.Copyright © 2013 Mary English
All rights reserved.
The Sign of Cancer
Cancer is the 4th sign of the Zodiac. To call someone 'a Cancer' they would have to be born generally between the dates of June 21st and July 21st. I say generally because it does depend on what time of day your Cancer was born and where in the world.
If they were born either on the first day or last day of the sign, double-check with a good astrological website or programme to make sure they actually are a Cancer. I can't tell you the number of people I've met who thought they were one sign, and that Astrology was rubbish because nothing seemed to fit them, when in fact they were the sign next door. There is no such thing as a cusp, you are either one sign or another, and you can't be both. But as I'm going to explain how to make an accurate birth/natal chart using a free online resource, you don't have to worry. We'll get the correct information.
The nature of Cancer is very different to all the other signs of the Zodiac. I'm not entirely sure why this is, but I have found that even though they are a Water sign, they're not at all the same as the other two Water signs. I suppose you could say that all the signs are different, but there are a lot of similarities between Sagittarius and Gemini: they're mutable signs, they both like change and they also like travel and conversation.
Cancer seems to be in a league all on its own. Maybe it's because of its ruler, which we will discuss in a minute, or maybe it's because it's the first Water sign of the Zodiac, or maybe, and I think this is more the point, Cancer is the most emotional sign and, as a general rule, most people are not very good with emotions.
I was talking to an Aquarius lady yesterday and she was telling me about her Cancer brother and what it was about him that drove her mad. She said there were times when she felt so overcome by the depth and strength of his emotions (when they happened) that she felt as if she were drowning in them.
I thought that was quite an interesting comment. Imagine what it must feel like to be that Cancer person and get those overwhelming feelings and to feel so overcome that other people feel they are drowning in them and nothing else will happen until they subside.
The Moon: Our Nearest Celestial Neighbour
Each sign of the Zodiac has a planet that 'looks after' it. We call it their 'ruler'. The ruler to Cancer is the Moon, that wonderful white disc in the sky at night.
Rather like Cancer the sign, the Moon is deemed in our Western 'modern' world to not be of any great importance. And now that 'man' has landed on the Moon, it seems as if all the wonder associated with this planet has drained away. But many cultures, luckily, still have an affinity with our little satellite.
I have a very basic telescope that I use every now and then, and the first time I used it I managed to see the surface of the Moon. It's a wonderful sight!
Never mind all the other planets out there; the Moon is our nearest neighbour. (The Moon is called a planet in Astrology but technically in astronomy it's called a satellite.) It's had poetry written about it, paintings, songs, religions, and exploration. It's fascinated people since the beginning of time. It certainly fascinates Astrologers because we use the Moon to help us understand a person's emotional make-up. More of that in Chapter Four.
Earliest civilisations have tracked the phases of the Moon, as it's the easiest planet to see with the naked eye. In some cultures the Moon has been worshipped. Rightly so, as without the Moon there would be no reminder for us that we're part of a bigger system, part of a much larger community and one, sadly, we barely understand. Now we're all so focused on our computer screens and TVs and mobile phones, we don't spend much time looking up at the night sky. As dusk approaches we get home by the light of streetlamps, or halogen security lights; but in earlier times, we would have to have either gone to bed at dusk, or used the light of the Moon to guide us if the night sky was clear.
Reflecting the Light
The Moon doesn't produce any light of its own and appears to shine from the reflected light of the Sun. We don't even see all of its surface as "more than 40 per cent of the lunar surface remains permanently out of view from Earth," so we mostly see features on only one side of the Moon. That lunar landscape has barely changed in millions of years because the Moon, unlike the other planets in our Solar System, is devoid of any weather or activity. It is a solid inactive world.
The surface is covered with a soil or dust made up from billions of years of impacts, hence the craters we can see with telescopes, or even on a clear night, with the naked eye. The Moon's gravity is a sixth as strong as the Earth, which is why the Apollo Mission astronauts could bounce around when they left the lunar module. This gravitational pull also causes the tides that raise and lower our seas every day. When the Moon is nearest to the Earth, that side of the Earth closest to the Moon has a high tide, and so does its opposite side.
When the Moon is furthest away, the tides are lower. If you watch time-lapse photography on YouTube (just search 'time-lapse tides') you can be witness to how much the coastline changes in 24 hours. While you're there on the beach, unless you're there all day, you'll miss how far in and out the sea ranges. I expect this is why numerous people have become stranded on beaches when the tide comes in.
Remember this about the Moon, how its effect on the tides can be imperceptible but can overcome you if you're not prepared.
In Astrology we view Water as representing the emotions so equally the Moon-ruled sign of Cancer can seem gentle and sensitive but get them on a 'bad day' and you'll be (and so will they) overcome and/or flooded by their emotions. In other words, you'll both be more sensitized to emotional tidal waves.
Walking on the Moon
Interestingly, one of the last men to walk on the Moon was a man called Harrison Schmitt. Not only was he a Cancer but he was also one of the astronauts who landed on the Moon.
He was so influenced by his experience that he wrote a book called Return to the Moon: Exploration, Enterprise, and Energy in the Human Settlement of Space that discusses the pros and cons of actually living on the Moon and what spacesuits and physical examinations and considerations would be necessary for that to happen. No further exploration has been undertaken on the Moon's surface since 1972. Maybe it's time to leave our celestial neighbour alone.
The Moon and Cancers
Some Cancers have 'got in touch' with the Moon, which I think is a very good idea as it helps them feel more 'in the flow'.
Here's Stephanie, a mother to one son, a Pisces. She was born in Germany and came to the UK to work. She's a nurse and part-time therapist. I asked Stephanie her views on the Moon:
I started using a moon calendar quite a while ago. I have to say it works really well for me. I do know now when I have got my strong/energetic periods and the weak ones. For example: I have to write quite a few reports at work and some days I can write everything very easily and others, say a week later, I find it difficult. I look on my calendar then and yes, I know why ... the moon phase ... It's usually when the moon is going to be full soon or a new moon arrives that I am more energetic. By now I almost know automatically what type of moon we are having; the look on the calendar is only a proof then. It made things more clear for me why things sometimes don't run as smooth on one day/week than another. I even cut my nails according to the moon calendar and get sometimes the feeling when it's the right time to do so.
What Makes a Cancer Happy?
Tom is a Cancer and a retired teacher of woodworking and drafting and lives in Minnesota, USA.
I asked him what makes him happy:
Fishing, dancing, playing softball, singing in the choir, our house, cooking, my wife.
Douglas is a Cancer with a Taurus Ascendant and Moon in Aries. He lives and works in Bristol, UK. He is self-employed and lays gas and water mains but the recession has taken its toll as very few new homes are being built and he has to work away from home at lot, something he doesn't enjoy. I asked him what makes him happy and he said he is passionate about skittles and has played it since he was a young man, and his most memorable event was when he won the Singles contest. Skittles is a UK-based game that is mostly played in pubs and involves throwing wooden balls on to the wooden skittles to knock them down. This is a very old pastime and something a Cancer would love because it's old-fashioned.
I asked Stephanie what made her happy:
When everything is in peace and harmony, a bunch of flowers, a good cuddle (from my son or husband), spending time with my family, good weather (sunshine, warm temperatures and blue sky), good relationship to my friends and family, good food and cooking.
I loved the way she didn't just say "cuddle" from her husband or son, but a "good" cuddle, as if there are different versions of cuddles! I wonder if Cancers have a cuddle-o-meter that works out inwardly what a good or bad cuddle is? Just after I pondered that question, I found my answer.
In 2007 the Guardian newspaper asked 14 public figures to keep a diary for one week. One of those asked was Cancer actor Diana Rigg (who starred in The Avengers).
On day Three (Sunday) she wrote:
Had a date to see Rachael, my daughter, but she's been called away on location, so I'll have to do without a cuddle. We both give good cuddles. I am a great believer in cuddles. Rating people on their cuddlability is fun. I reckon Gordon Brown is a good cuddler, but his mind wouldn't be on it, and one can always tell. David Cameron – too brisk and efficient for comfort. Sir Menzies? Forget it. Zoë Wanamaker, I know, gives good cuddle. I sometimes think of all those OAPs stuck away in homes. How they must long for warm human contact. Dogs, since their beneficial effects have been recognised, are taken to visit; why not a kindly person to dispense cuddles?
The more I read and learned about Cancers, the more I thought I should have titled this book 'How to Cuddle a Cancer'. However, that would probably have been a rather more silly title and also not entirely helpful because it's not just cuddling them that's needed. It's understanding their feelings.
Harriet is a professional development consultant at her local council's customer contact centre. She lives and works in the suburbs of London.
I asked her what makes her happy:
Nothing makes me happier than spending time with people I love. My family and friends mean the world to me. I am a very sociable person and while I consider myself to have lots of 'friends' I have a small number of true friends who I know will always be in my life. I love spending time at home. I'm a real home bod. I love sleeping, good food and drink, and good film and music. I also love to sing!
As you can tell from this example, Harriet is perfectly happy being at home and with the ones she loves. How un-complex and refreshing that sounds!
To get an idea of what Astrologers say about Cancer, let's ask a few of them their views.
Here's Colin Evans in his The New Waite's Compendium of Natal Astrology, published in 1971 but actually written in 1917:
Cancer individuals are very emotional and sensitive, intensely romantic, with vivid imagination. Like the crab, their symbol of the zodiac, they are extremely tenacious ... They seem to be drawn to meetings and similar functions where sensation is the main feature ... his tense features and excited gestures reflect every ebb and flow of the fortunes of that party, then completely under the sway of sensation he shouts the names of his particular idols, admiringly, coaxingly, fiercely, according to his mood but always in a personal way, though he has never met him in his life ... This liability to absorb the nature of others should warn the Cancerian to choose carefully his environment and friends. Deep down within them there is a love of all things mystical and occult, antique and curious. They appreciate home comforts, ease and luxury. Sensitiveness about their families, relations and friends is a very marked feature with them. Retentiveness and tenacity are part of them, and even in the faculty of memory this will be noticed, for they can recall in exact detail minute incidents that have happened many years ago.
Hmm. Sounds quite revealing. Are all Cancers like this?
Let's ask Adrian Duncan (who is an Astrologer and a Cancer), author of the World of Wisdom Astrological program:
The bond to your mother will have been particularly formative. You are sensitive and easily hurt – though this may not be immediately apparent on the outside. Likewise, you are loyal and passionate in your defence of those you love – injury done to them is also done to you. You have a strong and instinctive protective nature ... You have a great talent for building up a nurturing environment for those who are close to you, yet it can also help to be more open to those who are not necessarily so close. You are easily upset by changes in your daily rhythm, and can be rather grumpy when called upon to change habitual behaviours. Your home is your castle.
I'd agree with these sentiments.
Let's ask a female astrologer now. Will she have a different view?
Here's Rae Orion in her Astrology for Dummies:
Ruled by the ever-changing Moon, you are responsive, aware, a creature of many moods. But though you sometimes feel adrift on an ocean of emotion, you are determined to achieve your goals – and you generally do.
And here's Linda Goodman in her Linda Goodman's Sun Signs in 1968:
His tears are never crocodile tears. They flow from the deep rivers of his fragile and vulnerable heart. You can wound his sensitive feelings with a harsh glance or a rough tone of voice. Cruelty can bring on brimming eyes or a complete withdrawal ... in the midst of uncertainty, despair and sadness, Cancer people seek retreat and solitude. Just like real crabs.
Lastly let's check with Felix Lyle and Bryan Aspland in their Instant Astrologer:
Cancer: protective, tenacious, imaginative, sensitive, nostalgic, tough, clannish, touchy, clinging, possessive, shrewd, caring, manipulative, intuitive, devious, fearful, dependent.
I think it's safe to say that the Sun sign Cancer's main keywords are mothering/nurturing, moody and emotional, homely and family orientated.
The Cancers I know (and there are quite a few, I also have a nephew and a niece) definitely like to nurture and 'look after' people and animals. They're the ones that people go to, to tell them their problems, get a hug if they're down, will look after your pet or your baby with open arms, and will enjoy being needed.
ALL Cancers that I've ever met have a strong link with their mothers or main carer. Even if they don't get on with them that well, they still crave the gentle touch of that person who will nurture them. If a Cancer comes to see me and their mother has died, alarm bells are ringing ...
Here the UK pop star George Michael tells us what happened after his mother died:
I struggled with huge depression after my mother died. Losing your mother and your lover in the space of three years is a tough one.
Harriet tells us about her relationship with her mother:
As well as her being a wonderfully kind, loving and ever supportive person, we also get on as friends. We have very similar personalities and laugh a lot together! Although Mum is definitely more assertive than I am. I tell her everything, and nothing beats a cuddle with Mum, I don't know what I'd do without her!
Stephanie's mother is also Pisces (so is her son) and lives in Germany. Here she tells us about their relationship:
I have a good relationship with my mum, who is a Pisces. I do struggle sometimes with her when it comes to making decisions: Mum, I have seen a good flight for you on these particular dates, don't you want to come? Her answer would be: I don't know yet, we could wait and see if we get a better one, it's still time to go ... and suddenly she rings and says she's booked a flight, a completely different one and different dates. She always needs time to think about things. She can be very motherly and be a friend at same time. She has been always there for me when I needed her, which I think makes a good trusting relationship.
Both of these ladies have mums that are compatible Astrologically, Harriet's mum is a Virgo, which is an Earth sign (see my How to Soothe a Virgo for more info) and Stephanie's mum is a Pisces (see my How to Survive a Pisces) and Water and Earth get on nicely, so do fellow Water signs. That's not to say that everyone who's Water or Earth will get on with everyone else who's Water and Earth, but it does help with understanding and empathy.
It increases the odds on getting along well.
Excerpted from How to Care for a Cancer by Mary English. Copyright © 2013 Mary English. Excerpted by permission of John Hunt Publishing Ltd..
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