Sign Series: Cancer

Sign Series: Cancer

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

“I don’t have anything big in the sign of Cancer, this newsletter isn’t for me.”

Think again!

We all have Cancer in our charts, which means we all have the sign of Cancer expressed somewhere in our lives.

Where we fall in the Cancer spectrum is individual for each of us, of course.

​In this newsletter we are going to:

  • Find Cancer in your chart and see what it is influencing
  • Learn how to get the best from your Crab
  • Think about how to avoid Cancer’s pitfalls

Who is Cancer?

Each sign of the Zodiac, including Cancer, describes a specific character, style, and set of tools.

If I had to boil Cancer down into one word, it would be feelings.

Cancer is feelings.

Its archetype is the Mother, Healer, the Romantic, and the Dreamer.

Also, the Volatile, the Smotherer, and the Doormat.

Like every sign, it’s complicated.

In Greek mythology, the goddess Hera sent a crab to attack Hercules, which he crushed underfoot.

They named a constellation in its honor, Karkinos - which we refer to as Cancer, Latin for “crab.”

Cancer’s symbol ♋ appears to be claws, ready to protect itself.

Here are the components that make Cancer the sign we all know and love:

–Ruled by the Moon: the planet of the soul and imagination

–Water Element: highly sensitive and runs on emotion

–Cardinal Modality: gets new things started

–Negative Polarity: looks inward

Want to dive into your natal chart but not sure how or where to begin? We've got you covered!

Download our FREE Birth Chart Basics Handbook and we'll walk you through it, step-by-step. Click below to say goodbye to astrology overwhelm!

What is vital to know about Cancer?

The key to understanding Zodiac signs is knowing what the sign desires most.

Cancer wants to make others feel loved and to feel loved in return.

Cancer wants a family - family by blood or family by choice.

This sign needs to feel secure enough in its environment that it can let its guard down.

It wants a safe nest and to belong to a group of people who love each other.

But how?

Ways that Cancer can achieve its goal of providing and receiving love:

  • Be very good at taking care of others
  • Anticipate the needs of others so it can attend to them
  • Attach itself to people and honor and protect that connection
  • Allowing itself to be emotionally vulnerable with people

So Cancer wants to be loved and accepted and wants to do the same for others.

“Whether it’s an old plastic bottle, an old lover, an old house, an old belief, an old bit of string, an old memory... hang on to it, says Cancer. You never know when you might need it again.”

​-Liz Greene

And like every sign, Cancer comes with a set of tools to help it achieve its goals.

Cancer’s tools:

  • Incredible compassion for others
  • Loyalty
  • Intuition about people’s needs and feelings
  • High emotional fluency
  • Emotional intensity
  • Ambition to seek others out
  • Unconditionally loving
  • Patient
  • Fiercely protective

One important thing to keep in mind is that Cancer is ruled by the Moon - the planet of the soul and imagination.

This sign comes equipped with a vibrant imagination.

These are the skills in Cancer’s toolbox.

And using these skills helps to shape the Crab’s personality.

The byproducts of Cancer using those tools shine through as traits - Cancer’s style:

  • An incredible mothering instinct (non-gender specific)
  • Expresses emotions outwardly for all to see
  • Feelings are big with the highest highs and lowest lows
  • “Mama Bear” tendency, going to great lengths to protect those it loves
  • Senses how other people feel before it's told
  • Keeping the same best friend or partner for life
  • Selflessness when caretaking - knows no limits
  • Very approachable and others feel safe in its presence
  • Loves being home, and being with family, or their comfortable people
  • Very sentimental
  • Daydreams and loses itself in its imaginary world - another safe place for this sign to find respite

But what does this look like when taken too far?

Every Zodiac sign has a spectrum.

One end is the healthiest possible expression of the sign – the other is the shadow where traits turn into unhealthy behaviors.

Cancer has some potential pitfalls:

  • Smothering
  • Trouble controlling emotions
  • Too emotionally closed off in attempts to protect itself
  • Defensive
  • Overly protective of others
  • Homebody to an unhealthy degree
  • Overly sentimental with belongings, especially if connected to loved one, attaches emotions to things
  • Lack of boundaries - can be taken advantage of
  • Being in relationships with “takers” that suck its energy dry
  • Spaced out or living in the imagination rather than reality

All signs have weaknesses.

​It’s easier to understand them (and give them grace) when you can connect the dots and see why they may emerge.

“The symbol of Cancer is the Crab because just like it, it has a hard outer shell, but deep inside it is soft and can be crushed and hurt easily.”

​-Ruth Moon

Cancer needs to figure out how to balance emotional vulnerability with the right amount of self-protection.

That’s not always easy.

And being sensitive takes a lot of bravery - something many with “tough” exteriors would struggle to do.

​Putting your whole heart out there for others to either embrace or smash takes incredible courage.


You may be wondering why I am referring to Cancer as an “it” instead of a “they.”

This is because I am not describing a person.

No one is this person.

What I am describing is a pure archetype – a character that exists in mythology and astrology.

Even the most Cancer of Cancers is a complex combination of many archetypes.

It’s important to remember this because in astrology we can fall into the trap of categorization – labeling and seeing people as one Zodiac sign.

We can even do this to ourselves.

But, signs aren’t humans, and when we try to fit someone into that small of a box it is doing them a disservice.

Disclaimer Over

So everyone has at least a hint of Crab somewhere in their psyche.

​The question is where and how much?

Where Cancer is in your life

Investigating Cancer in your chart offers helpful information like:

  • Where in life you are in-tuned to the feelings of others
  • Areas where you may seek out acceptance and are equipped to give it in return
  • Places where you may be great at using your imagination
  • Giving you a heads-up on where Cancer’s pitfalls could occur

How strong is your Crab?

The first question is, how strong is Cancer in your chart?

Please remember that astrology is complex and this list is a blunt tool for determining “sign strength,” but it’s a good start.

1. Your Sun, Moon, or 1st House (your rising sign) in Cancer: Any of these would make your chart scream “strong Cancer,” but especially the Moon. Find more than one of those in this sign and you’re overflowing.

2. Other planets in Cancer: Where there are planets there is energy working through the style of this sign. Some part of your psyche is shaped by Cancer. Find multiple planets there and this ups the ante for Cancer strength in your chart.

3. No planets are present, but houses 4, 7, or 10 land in Cancer: These angular houses can be very influential. Cancer’s influence can still be evident even though no planets sit in the sign. If your 4th House lands in Cancer, this is “extra-strength” as well.

4. No planets present and any house besides 1, 4, 7, or 10 lands in Cancer: The sign a house cusp (boundary line) lands in helps to shape it. With Cancer on a house cusp, “Cancer energy” may be present or felt in those areas of life. But without a planet there, its influence may be less profound.

5. Cancer lands between two houses and no house cusps land in it at all: This is an “intercepted sign.” “Cancer style” may not be strongly felt, or be expressed much more internally than externally.

Now you have a better sense of where you fall on the “Cancer scale.”

From here, it begins to feel like a “choose your own adventure.”

​There are more details to add to your Cancer story, and each person’s will be different.

What is my Cancer story?

This is where things are going to take a different turn for each of us.

What you investigate next will depend on what you have going on in your sign of Cancer.

1. If you have a planet in Cancer: Planets have their own agendas to add to the mix. Investigate how your planet could be shaped by the sign of Cancer. For help on that question, find more information here.

2. For everyone, learn about the house that sits in Cancer: How does this watery sign shape the experiences you may have with that house? Learn more about that here.

​3. If you have a planet in Cancer: How could the motivations of that planet work through that house, AND the style of Cancer? Get creative here! It takes some brainstorming and the use of your imagination.

“A camera molds memory into permanency for Cancerians, whose very minds are like sensitive film, recording every impression with vivid clarity.”

​-Linda Goodman

Once you have gathered information about what in your chart (and life) Cancer is shaping, you are ready to do some introspection!

What can I learn from my Crab?

One great way to think deeper about something is through journal prompts.

​The ones below can help you dissect the Crab in your life and learn more about how you may experience this sign.

  • ​How “strong” is Cancer in my chart? Did this surprise me or not?
  • What house lands in Cancer in my chart?
  • Which areas of life does Cancer influence in my chart? (Learn more about houses here.)
  • Do I feel Cancer’s influence at work in those areas of my life in any way? If so, how?
  • Are there any of Cancer’s traits that shine through me in those parts of my life?
  • Do I sense any of Cancer’s pitfalls at play in those areas of life?
  • In what ways am I nurturing or unconditionally loving?
  • How much do I allow my emotions to show? Do I think it’s too much, too little, or just the right amount? Why?
  • When was the last time I cried? When was the last time I felt extreme joy? When was the last time I laughed until it hurt?
  • How often do I indulge my imagination or allow myself to sit quietly and daydream?
  • Do I have a group of people who love and accept me fully and whom I can be comfortable around? If so, what do they do that makes me feel that way?

“One of the most astounding traits in the zodiac falls to Cancer, and it’s their innate ability to spark happiness in others even when they themselves are not feeling great.”

​-Maria Silva

How do I keep Cancer happy?

You have swam through deep Crab waters at this point and investigated how you experience this energy.

If you want to develop and embrace your Cancer further, how could you begin?

Ideas to keep your Cancer happy:

  • Let yourself feel. Many of us grew up in a society that told us to stuff our feelings. And Cancer has loads of feelings. Observe when you have emotions and note how you manage them. Honor yourself by paying attention to them.
  • Find someone to take care of. Cancer loves to nurture. Find a friend, group of people, puppy, someone who could benefit from extra love and consideration.
  • Lose yourself in your imagination. The imagination can be a window to the soul and the divine. Spend time in it and see what it has to show you.
  • Let others take care of you. Cancer is great at taking care of others but doesn’t always allow anyone to return the favor. But this benefits both parties. Let someone else have the opportunity to feel the good feelings that come with nurturing, and feel nurtured yourself.

"Home is not where you live, but where they understand you.”

​— Christian Morgenstern

How do I avoid Cancer’s pitfalls?

Cancer is a fantastic sign that ushers more love into the world.

But if you have strong Cancer placements in your chart, how do you steer clear of some of Cancer’s not-so-fun tendencies?

Ideas to avoid Cancer’s pitfalls:

  • Check yourself when it comes to taking care of others. Step back and read the room sometimes. Do they seem to appreciate your caretaking at that moment or do they want you to back off a little?
  • Notice who you are giving your love and energy to. If they aren’t dependents, pay attention to if they return any of that love and energy or if they are only taking it.
  • Make sure you have a good system for managing your emotions. Deep feelings are a blessing, but they shouldn’t be expressed in a way that they become “everyone’s problem.” And they shouldn’t be suppressed and hidden away, either. Finding this balance could take deliberate work.

Wish you could just print out a Cancer cheat sheet with all of Cancer’s stats and journal prompts?

You can!

Click here to download the Cancer Sign Series companion cheat sheet and journal prompts printout that goes along with this newsletter.

I hope you have enjoyed learning more about Cancer in your chart!

Much love,

Love You → Love Others

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Hi, I'm Peggy

I went from lost and desperate to feeling more joy and a sense of purpose. And all it took was a little ancient wisdom! Now my mission is to accompany you on your self-discovery path so you can unlock more happiness and self-love as well!

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