Cancer: The Great Embrace

by christina rai

Related imageSummer Solstice, and the beginning of the Zodiac energy—Cancer—is a time of the ‘great light’ here in the northern hemisphere. This is the ‘Full Moon’ point of the yearly cycle. At Winter Solstice, we were at the point of ‘least light’, with the days short and the nights long. This point can be co-related to the New Moon. If you go outside at New Moon and look into the sky, you will see stars but no trace of Luna. It appears that the sky is moonless! New Moon time is the seeding time, a time of gestation, womblike, mysterious and fertile. On the other hand, Full Moon is a time of revelation, fruition and manifestation. This is a natural cycle of becoming and does not alter in its flow. First we are born—the seeding and birth, the beginning. Then begins the unfolding, the growth. And then comes that point of full manifestation where much, if not all of the potential of that original seed is revealed. The Moon’s ongoing immutable cycle in the celestial sphere is a mirror of this organic process of which we are all a part. This serves as a reminder to us to pay attention to the natural cycles and meditate on what they can teach us.

In the northern hemisphere, winter drives most of us inward. We slow down and even, for some, hibernate, metaphorically speaking. This meditative state can facilitate the birth of new projects, new mind sets, new protocols. After the gestation period, we start to implement until finally, we see the results of all of our dreaming and activity. So, if you follow the flow of energy mindfully, you can take a moment now, as we approach the Summer Solstice, and review for yourself, how you have worked with your own cycle of growth. Did you set any specific goals at the Winter Solstice? (New Year’s resolutions could substitute for this purpose.) How have those goals or resolutions formed so far? Are there aspects of your own unfolding reality that need adjustment and refinement? If you are a journal keeper, you can look back at your December and January entries and note how you have evolved over the months following, how initial ideas have changed, how your perspective of situations has shifted. Summer Solstice is a good time to make some evaluations and necessary adjustments!

And, as the Sun enters Cancer the natural cycle shifts into waning of light. The days will begin to shorten and slowly we will move into the dark. But, at that point of 0* Cancer, we still have glorious sun filled days. We are bathed in the light and warmth of summer.

Cancer is one of the Water signs, flowing, emotional and sensitive. It is also a cardinal energy, keyed to movement, relatively swift in its reactions and attuned to growth. The element of Water is usually associated with the emotional body and Cancer does indeed correlate to the breast area of the physical body as well as the stomach. The breasts are the outer layer of the heart area, suggesting a connection here with love and nurturing. The stomach, of course, is critical to our well-being, since we need nourishment in order to live and Cancer is the nourisher. In fact, it is ‘the gut’ that often serves as a danger signal on a variety of levels. Instinct helps us to stay safe. Stomach aches often indicate a need to adjust ourselves physically. It is no accident that in this day and age of stress and trauma that there are so many ‘cleanses’ that address stomach and gut problems.

The celestial object associated with Cancer is the Moon. Constantly shifting above us in the sky, the Moon is the least constant heavenly body except for, perhaps, the comets and meteors. At any given moment, we can look up and see a transforming Moon, first a little sliver, then a delicate crescent, then a whole half pie, then a humped back old woman, reversed, and finally, the full fat globe that rivals the sun—sort of…☺ The Moon’s changeable nature lends insight into something important about Cancer. This is an energy that is constantly flowing from form to form. On an ego level, this could manifest as a certain moodiness, a restlessness that could externalize as irritation. If you have an accentuated Cancer energy in your psyche, you must honour your very real need to follow your feeling nature and if you feel grumpy, it might be that you just need some down time to unwind and re-integrate. Or, check in with yourself—when was the last time you ate? Blood sugar, don’t you know! Experientially, Cancer types are absorbent, like a sponge and as a result, must take the time to sort through the wide array of emotions that they take in through their skin. Once this is understood, both by the Cancer types and their loved  ones, life gets much easier to bear. The old scripture that tells us about there being a “season for everything under the sun” is particularly true about the Cancerian experiential process. Laughter is often followed by tears and sorrow leads to peace.

Cancer is found in the 4th house of the natural wheel of the Zodiac. This 4th house is all about the deep things of the personal, where we come from; where we are, in theory, most comfortable or, at the very least, where we better come to some sort of terms of agreement; our deepest emotions and our impulse to nest, to build home and family; to be ultimately who we truly are. It is the ego in search of its roots. No wonder that Cancer is attuned to caregiving and nurturing. One of the archetypes that comes to mind when talking about this energy is The Mother. Of course, just what kind of a mother springs forth from the Cancer soul is quite another matter. We can witness the inspirational mother, the loving mother, the mother as teacher, the ultimate nurturer mother, the mother as friend, the critical mother, the ineffective mother, the forgiving mother, the controlling mother, the absent-minded mother, the oppressive mother, the mother as manager, the detached mother, the monster mother, and so forth. The maternal demonstration is entirely dependent on other factors in the natal structure! However, with mindfulness and intention, the strongly cancer type can find her way into the arms of the ‘Model Mother’ who nurtures just enough to give support without eating her young one up or infusing the fear of failure into that young one!

The symbol for Cancer is The Crab. Here is the little creature who, basically, carries his house around with him. Think about this for a moment. What is a home, really? Is it a place or is it a feeling? For Cancer, it is the feeling of Home that is of paramount importance, thus the image of the little crab, trucking around all that is familiar and secure wherever he goes. And, as long as there is a sense of security, then the Cancer type can really step out and shine. It is only when she does not feel safe that she recedes into her ‘shell’ to hide away from the world.

The Cancer Lover is caring, kind and full of warmth—when she loves you! But watch out if you break her heart. She just might make a few nips at you with her claws. The forgiving side of Cancer, the soft side gives way, under stress, to ultimate pay back. Attack her in her security or her comfort zone and she will muster all of her resources to withstand you and bring you down.

The shadow side of Cancer is moodiness. Ruled by the Moon, that changeable trollop who loathes to spend too long in any one energy, Cancer types must monitor all of their body systems, from the physical to the emotional, to the mental and the spiritual. The strategy to deal with that changeable temperament, that tendency to fall deeply into the ‘dumps’, is to be strict about routines that build you up, habitual rituals that provide you with structure. Remember, Cancer is a water sign. Water flows and changes and is difficult to contain unless that container is rigid, not porous, fixed. With good support systems in place, cancer can moderate the changeable nature of its cycle and diminish any tendencies to fall into funks. If you have a prominent Cancerian signature—personals in this energy, angles in this energy—find something that you can nurture. If you can express that inner need to ‘take care of’ then you will be less focused on any lack in your life that may cause you to get depressed.

The Partner sign to Cancer is Capricorn. Winter solstice occurs when the Sun moves into Capricorn, exactly 6 months after Summer Solstice. Where Cancer is soft and emotional, Capricorn is all business. Where Cancer can typify the feminine side of parental care, Capricorn is the disciplinarian, the task master. While we recede into the security of our own space in Cancer, we face the external world in Capricorn and carve out a place for ourselves in society under the auspices of that energy! Together, working in harmony, we see a complete picture of the self, both private and public, in here and out there. Cancer is, as I mentioned, a water sign. Capricorn is an earth sign. When you mix water and earth, you get mud which, with some expertise, can be made into bricks and bricks, after all, are what make up a building, a home, a structure to be safe in and for all the world to see. What a fitting metaphor for the energy of Cancer/Capricorn!

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Posted in Meditations, Signs.

christina rai is an astrologer working in Winnipeg. She is a member of the Manitoba Astrology Association

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