Cancer, 4th sign of the zodiac and first water sign. While the first day of each sign can vary a day or two each month, it's always easy to know exactly the sign of Cancer begins. The Summer Solstice is always the first day of Cancer. The days are long, warm and perfect for growing and nurturing life from the earth. And, not surprisingly, that is exactly what Cancer does best. It is the sign of home, nesting, nurturance, motherhood and emotional connections. But a Crab? One doesn't usually associate a crab with the warm fuzzies. How did the sign of Cancer come to be associated with something as reclusive, defensive and prickly as a crab?
Remember Hercules and all those labors he had to do? One of them required that he slay the Hydra, a many headed serpent. The mother goddess Hera (aka Juno) had a rather soft spot for the Hydra and didn't want it kills so she asked a crab to use it's pinchers to distract Hercules long enough for the Hydra to win the battle. So off the little crab went and grabbed hold of Hercules big toe with one of it's big pinchers. As anticipated, that was painful enough to distract Hercules from the Hydra but only long enough for him to turn the poor little crab into........well..........crabmeat. Hera was touched by the crabs' loyalty to her, it's courage and it's willingness to sacrifice itself for her. So to honor the crab's loyalty and heroics she placed it in the sky where it became the constellation of Cancer. Like the little crab that chose to duel it out with Hercules, the Cancer is loyal to it's loved ones, willing to do battle when provoked, especially when the family is threatened.
Wherever the crab goes it takes it's home (shell) with it. And while a crab in the form of a human Cancer native may not take it's home with it everywhere it goes, it will be an important touchstone for Cancer is the homebody of the zodiac. Much like the crab retreats into it's shell for protection, so the Cancer will retreat into the safety of it's home to recharge and regroup when the demands of the outside world become too much. Cancers are like the crab in their ability to be tenacious, energetic, focused and purposeful, as well as in avoiding conflict at all costs, being evasive and to deceptive some extent.
Thinking about dating a Cancer? Be prepared to spend a lot of time at home cozied up on the sofa, most likely with a cat or two, watching hopelessly romantic movies. And remember to praise their cooking, which probably won't be that hard to do, since Cancer is the sign that rules food. Taurus may be the sign that truly understands and enjoys the pleasures of the table, but Cancer is the sign that puts the love in the cooking that puts the meal on the table. Ready to settle down and have kids? The Cancer, be it male or female, is usually quite happy to oblige. Scorpio may rule that actual act of procreation, and children may be ruled by Leo, but the growth and nurturance that are needed to sustain a pregnancy and raise children fall squarely to the sign of Cancer.
The Moon is the planet ruler of Cancer. Okay, I know that the Moon isn't really a planet, but for the purposes of astrology it is. Astrology is a system of symbols that began long before man had figured out that the Moon was a satelite orbiting the Earth and not a planet. It does have a connection to the Earth and connection is what the Moon is all about, it's what Cancer is all about, particularly emotional connection and can do that in Spades. Cancer can be prone to dramatics - even more so than Leo - though melodramatics is probably more like it. On the surface Cancer may adopt a "never let 'em see you sweat" attitude and mentality, but underneath they are most likely a seething mass of often conflicting emotions. From weepy to whiny to depressive to maudlin, never let it be said that Cancer isn't in touch with his or her feelings. But, like all things the moodiness eventually passes. The Moon, romance, love and emotions go hand in hand and that is what Cancer is all about. So if you ever need to make amends to a Cancer think about baking their favorite cake and serving it up with mass quantities of pearls, silver jewelery and white roses all tied up with gorgeous green and grey ribbons. Their tender hearts are sure to melt and you'll be back in their good graces.
The glyph for Cancer is, essentially, the number "69" lying on it's side. Don't go there, don't even go there; although we will get there in a few sentences ;-). The glyph is representative of a couple of things. They easiest one is that it's a representation of the crabs two claws. The more satisfying explanation for the glyph is that it's the representation of the symbol for yin and yang, because for every emotion, every experience there is an equal and opposite emotion or experience. Gemini introduced the concept of duality,\; Cancer deepens it by adding the component of emotion to the mix. Oh........and how do you get a Cancer to go there? Shy, but still sexual, you'll need all your best seductive skills to gently guide that Cancer to lust and bed with you. They fear rejection but crave that total and complete merging with their partner, so keep it safe, keep it romantic, soft and gentle.