The symbol for Cancer, the 4th sign of the zodiac, is two inverted shell spirals. The shape is that of a crab shell. Ruling planet: the Moon
Cancer Star Sign – Moon Babies
You've got yourself one very special cosmic angel here and one that is very easy to misunderstand.
Ruled by the Moon, these Moon Babies are soft, sensitive and oh so affectionate. They will grow up to be very imaginative, kind and gentle souls. That's where the misunderstanding comes in, for up to this point, you see this soft little cherub of an angel and all you want to do is protect it.
Yet behind that soft, soft exterior, you've got one very tough nut there. Your little Moon baby doesn't need anyone's sympathy, though they may learn to use other people's misconceptions to get their way, when they're older. That ‘butter won't melt in their mouth', look in their eyes? Disarm yourself now, because they'll use it throughout their childhood to get away with all sorts of things.
They're smart, creative and imaginative. In fact, they'll spend a lot of time in the realms of imagination, daydreaming being one of their favourite pastimes. They'll cry over a sick bird, even if it's on TV, show you endless affection and love story times, all the while, those little minds are going. Cancereans often achieve a lot in their lives and become very successful.
It's not going to take you long to realise that you have a very stubborn little moon baby here, able to dig their toes in and outlast and outsmart you. They'll get their way, even if they have to wait it out until you give in.
Despite their powder puff exteriors, these are tough cookies and they may love to avoid confrontation, so you won't have fights on your hand, but they'll win in the end, because they'll outwit and outsmart you. Accept their sensitivity and their dream like quality, but never, ever write them off as meek or weak. Never get your Cancerean to ‘toughen up', thinking you've got to prepare them for the big bad world. They're born ready.
It's only when attacked or threatened that you'll see the fight come out in your moon baby and then watch out, because they'll strike. They only protect, so if there's a brawl in your house and your Moon baby's siblings or playmates come off worse for wear, it might pay to look at what they did to provoke this normally placid moon baby.
As a water sign, you've got an emotional baby here, especially as cancer is ruled by the Moon. Just as the moon affects the tides, so too will it affect your water ruled moon baby.
This is a very maternal sign, so whether your moon baby is a boy or girl, they'll love looking after their dolls, who they'll think of, as their babies. They are little mothers and fathers in the making.
As a cardinal sign it's a sign of initiation and of new beginnings. The longest day of the year is a time when there is maximum light – optimism is one of the cancerean traits. In fact, it is a sign of great contrasts, for it gets its moods from the cycles of the moon, from its mythology and dark placement in the heavens and its link to the underworld.
Your little Moon Baby will love the night sky, so as soon as possible, wrap them up warm and show them the stars and the moon, especially a full moon. Your moon baby might be a little crankier around a Full Moon, so a trip outside, under the night sky to be shown their celestial ruler, may settle a few nerves.
Cancer Star Sign – The Constellation
When the ancients looked up into the heavens and saw the Constellation of Cancer, they saw a ‘Crab'.
They didn't see a group of stars that looked like a crab, to them it WAS a crab, but not just any crab. Hera, the long suffering wife of the philandering Zeus, placed the Crab in the heavens. Hercules was one of Zeus' many illegitimate children and therefore at the wrong end of Hera's jealousy. While Hercules was off performing his 12 tasks, Hera sent the faithful Crab off to try and stop him. The Crab caught up with Hercules in the marsh of Lerna, where he was battling the 9 headed Hydra. The Crab bit at his ankles and was promptly crushed by Hercules. Hera memorialised her faithful servant by placing him high in the heavens. Cancer, forever after, has been known for its faithfulness and loyalty.
There is, however, one aspect to the Constellation of Cancer that is often overlooked, but goes a long way to explain where Cancereans get many of there otherwise unexplainable characteristics. Among the group of stars that make up the Constellation of Cancer are a small group called ‘the Asses', they appear on the back of the Crab. In mythology, they are said to have been placed there by Dionysos (a God who went insane, the same God who discovered wine. Maybe there's a link?) He placed them there in recognition for their help in a tricky spot when trying to get across a large swamp. He'd already gone insane by that stage and was attempting to reach the Oracle of Zeus to be cured (the ancient world's Betty Ford Clinic). When he couldn't get across he came upon two Asses, captured them and rode them across.
To cut a long story short, he got cured, repaid the Asses by placing them in the Heavens and put them above the Crab. Dionysos was also an illegitimate child of Hera's husband Zeus and she had tried to kill Dionysos before he was even born. So, by putting the Asses above the Crab, Dionysos displayed a brilliant stroke of one upmanship. Cancereans have always been known as the sign that can survive and prevail in spite of inconceivable odds. It is only in recent times that Asses have been associated with stupidity. In the ancient world they were a symbol of wisdom, endurance, tenacity, stubbornness and were also a phallic symbol. All Cancerean characteristics. Cancereans are known as wonderful lovers.
The Crab gives Cancereans many of their traits. The Crab is an animal that lives both in the water and on the land. It hides itself behind its shell. When faced by danger it will never fight unless it has to, instead climbing further into its shell. If the Crab is ever in a position that he is forced to fight, especially if his offspring are in danger, he has a wonderful aspect to draw on. He'll extend his pinchers and attack, but even if a pincher, or a leg is bitten off, he simply grows another one.
The Crab is also very hesitant, something the Sun itself does while moving through the Constellation of Cancer. The Sun is seen to hesitate and even slow down at the Summer/Winter Solstice, the date the Sun moves into Cancer.
Cancereans have long been known as very intuitive, even psychic. Crabs can find food by using chemical stimuli. The have ‘smell detectors'. Crabs rely on this sense organ to find food, mates and avoid prey. All very Cancerean characteristics.
Another trait of the Crab is that when he's outgrown his shell he needs to shed it in order for the new shell to grow. When he sheds his old shell a new, bigger but softer shell is exposed. While in this state he's vulnerable, so the Crab buries himself in the sand until the new shell has hardened.
Cancereans are known to ‘reinvent' themselves, but when they do they have an urge to hibernate, to hide away. As they evolve they have periods and cycles where they need to seclude themselves and grow their new shell hard. They emerge back into the world, a new better version than before.
The Constellation of Cancer is one of the two ‘Gates of the Gods'. These gates are where the Milky Way and the Zodiac intersect. They ascend after death through the Gate of Capricorn to return through the Gate of Cancer.
Cancer Star Sign – The Planet
There is absolutely no need to tell you where to find the Moon in the sky. For thousands of years the Moon has enchanted mankind. In prehistoric times, before we learnt to tame the land and farm, the world was a different place. This was a time of ‘matriarchal' rulership. It was women who were referred to as the ‘wise ones' and it was the Moon they worshiped. With the advent of civilisation, society became more ‘patriarchal'. This new age of male domination was more Sun based. Hence, the Moon has always been an ancient and primordial symbol and always associated with Women. Its worship stems from a time long before history books were ever written. Cancer is a sign that is often interested in history and the past. It was women who fed their families. Food is central to Cancereans. You'll find many Cancereans working in restaurants and a ‘Crab' without a full fridge or pantry is an unhappy creature.
The Moon is the second brightest object in the sky and circles the earth every 29.5 days. It begins each new orbit on a New Moon, two weeks later it's fully illuminated by the sun and then begins to wane, ready for the next New Moon. Twice a year the Sun and Moon move into a band in the sky that makes eclipses possible. Every six months we have a Solar and Lunar eclipse, two weeks apart. Occasionally there are more.
That the Moon has an effect on us is without dispute. Even the most hard nosed cynic knows that the Moon influences the tides. But did you realise that the pull of the Moon actually influences the earth's orbit, it's that strong.
The Moon exerts gravity on the Earth and as the earth revolves on its orbit, the gravitational wave moves slightly ahead of the Moon. This causes the Moon to accelerate and as a consequence, slows the earth down. Over the millennia this has meant the Earth has slowed down fractionally (and I mean fractionally) each year. As a result, the Moon gets higher in its orbit by 3.8 centimetres each year. This phenomena means that at present the Moon is exactly the same distance from the earth as it is smaller than the Sun. This makes Eclipses possible. We are the only planet, in the solar system that experiences Total Eclipses. In millions of years when this ratio changes, we won't have them anymore. Just as the Earth is being slowed by the Moon's influence now, so the Earth slowed the Moon in the past. Whichever way you look at it, the Moon has a huge influence on not just our planet, but also our lives.
Can you imagine then, that if the Moon's gravitational effect is strong enough to not only create the tides, but actually influence the earth's orbit itself – what affect does it have on us!
Cancer Star Sign – The God
There are many Gods who are said to rule the Moon, among them Dianna the Hunter. But it is in Artimis, or in her more ancient form of Hecate, that we meet the Moon Goddess of ancient times.
Hecate is the legitimate child of Hera and Zeus (yes, he did have legitimate children as well). She stole a pot of her mother's rouge and to avoid punishment she fled to the house of a woman who had just given birth. In ancient times it was believed that anyone who came in contact with childbirth was rendered impure. So in order to wash off this stain, she was taken into the underworld to be cleansed. But don't forget, Hecate was a Moon Maiden and they don't like being told what to do. So instead of being purified, she stayed down there as one of the rulers of the underworld. In fact, she became known as the ‘Invincible Queen' presiding over cleansings.
As the Goddess of Enchantment she was said to accompany Cerberus, the three headed dog that guarded the Underworld, to torment men through their dreams. She was said to haunt tombs and the scenes of crimes. Cancereans make wonderful Detectives and usually love a good murder mystery.
Hecate was very much ‘daddy's little girl'. Zeus denied his daughter nothing, including the power to grant or withhold from mortals any desired gift. Thus, Hecate is one of the most ancient and archaic figures that preside over magic, death, children, the underworld and fate.
Since ancient times Cancer has been the symbol of the Great Mother and motherhood. Women in labour were said to call out for Artemis' help. Artemis' mother is said to have borne her ‘without pain'. Since her birth, the ‘Fates' proclaimed her patroness of childbirth.
Cancer Star Sign – The Season
Cancer holds two distinctions. That of being the first water sign and the first sign of Summer.
Cancer begins on the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. At this point the Sun is at its hottest, directly overhead. The land itself is thirsty for moisture. The most precious commodity and more precious than gold when the Sun moves into Cancer – is Water.
As the fruit and crops ripen and the streams, ponds and rivers dry, all thoughts are turned to getting as much of this life giving elixir to the food producing plants and livestock, as possible. It was a time when the home soils needed nurturing. Families worked together to bucket water from wells and water sources.
The heat of the day was exhausting and languid. Shade was sought and long summer nights enjoyed.
Being the first month in a new season Cancer is a Cardinal sign, that of initiation. It's not a fixed sign, so it doesn't have to ‘do the work'. This is the initiation stage in a new season. The crops are still growing; it's a time of waiting and a time of expectancy.
Anne Macnaughtan/Forecasters © 2004