Cancer: Introduction

Cancer the Crab. If you have a Cancer Sun, Cancer Moon or Rising Sign in Cancer you will have a lot of crab in your nature. King – or Queen – of side eye? That’s you. However, I’m doing you a disservice and before you retreat to your shell, let me tell you some of the kindest people you will meet are Cancerian. The problem is, you really can’t ignore the fact that some of you Moon-people are the moodiest and most up-tight people ever born. The good news for the rest of us is, however, all you have to do to prize Cancerians out of their shell is love them and let them take care of you.

In this section, I’m going to give you the low-down on the keywords associated with your sign and the things that are often important in your life if you’re a Cancer Sun, Moon or Ascendent (Rising Sign). If you’re in love with a Cancer you’ll need to know just what they need – and they are needy. Cancer qualities can also be seen in those who have a strong Moon in their natal chart, for example, rising in the First House or in conjunction with the Sun.

Cancer: Key Qualities


Water signs are intuitive, sensitive and emotional and you are the most outwardly emotional of them all. Sympathetic and protective, you are happiest when your home life is harmonious and your family meets regularly around your dinner table. You bond over your shared history and you are at the centre of it all – the proud parent personified. Your emotional ties are binding and inform everything you do.


Cardinal signs lead the way. They are found at the beginning of each season and Cancer marks the start of summer, that wonderful time of year when a picnic on the beach is everyone’s favourite meal. Those born under Cardinal signs are initiators by nature and you are no exception. You push forward into the world by engaging with it at an emotional level. This quality can make them inspirational to others who will then follow their lead, yet are often surprised at how forceful and dominant an apparently gentle Cancerian can be.


Feminine Signs are considered to be more subtle and gentle in their approach to life and you are regarded as the archetype of gentle, maternal femininity. You don’t get more female than Cancer. However, as with many other signs, the male/female division is not really a boy/girl thing. Cancerian women appear soft, curvy and feminine but are no less tenacious and ambitious than their male counterparts. And male Cancerians? Just like their female counterparts they can be remarkably sensitive and tender – with a hard outer shell.

cancer the crab - image of crab pots on the shore
Image by 1681551 from Pixabay

The Cancer Myth

Every sign has a myth that emphasises the purpose of each zodiac sign.

Cancer: The Ruler

Your sign is ruled by The Moon – and the Moon is a feminine archetype, the universal mother. And much as we love our mothers, we know that quite often Mama is not always the tender loving parent we want her to be. Manipulative, mood swings and sometimes vindictive, the universal mother will stop at nothing to protect her children. The soft and gentle Moon can, however, smother as well as mother – yet without the emotional storms and changing tides the world would be barren and our stomachs empty. The Moon rules our history, heritage, home and family – the things that replenish the soul.

Cancer: June 22nd - July 22nd 1
Image by Myriams-Fotos from Pixabay

Cancer Archetype

Cancer Character

Cancer: June 22nd - July 22nd 2
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Cancer: Keywords


Collector, Comforter, Cooking, Deep Feelings, Empathy, Family, History, House, Home loving, Kind, Instinctive, Intuitive, Maternal, Motherly, Memory, Nostalgia, Nurture, Quiet, Protective, Sensitive, Shrewd, Sympathetic, Tenacious, Tender, Vulnerable.


Bossy, Broody, Clingy, Defensive, Demanding, Easily hurt, Easily offended, Fussy, Hard, Hoarder, Insecure, Irritable, Manipulative, Moody, Over Emotional, Possessive, Restless, Reticent, Sarcastic, Smothering, Snappy, Sullen, Sulky, Touchy.

Cancer Sun

The Sun determines your sense of self. It is who you are at a deep level and the fire that keeps your spirit burning. With a Cancer Sun you really identify with Cancerian traits – they represent who you are. You are instinctively protective – of your home, your family and, most of all, your feelings. Your need to protect makes you ambitious and shrewd. Money to you is the best way of ensuring you have all the comforts you need – and you’re not averse to using it to manipulate those around you into a state of dependency as you really like to get your own way.

However, you are also blessed with a great deal of emotional intuition and kindness. You have a knack of knowing when to say or do the right thing – and you’re very aware of your own, often fragile, emotional state. You see exercise, not as a way of achieving bodily perfection, but more as a way of easing your nervous tension. It doesn’t come naturally to you, however, and you prefer to frame it as a means to self care – because if you can’t care for yourself how can you even begin to nurture others?

Cancer Moon

The Moon reflects your deepest needs and with a Cancer Moon your emotional needs are particularly strong as the Moon is exalted in its own sign. So you need Cancerian things in your life. They make you feel content, secure and cared for. So, for you, a comfortable home, your birth family, children of your own, a healthy bank balance and a sense of belonging are essential to your emotional wellbeing. Cooking, walking by the sea and sentimental keepsakes keep you on an even keel – regardless of your Sun or Rising Sign.

You may, however, be prone to hoarding, refusing to let go of the boxes and piles of ‘treasures’, which to many people look like junk. To you they represent a lifetime’s memories and are too precious to part with. Learn to let go and develop a sense of inner security which will nurture you far more effectively. You are blessed with reserves of willpower and kindness so use them well – and don’t feel so sorry for yourself after emptying that closet!

Cancer Rising

With Cancer on the Ascendant, you were born carrying your shell on your back for all to see. Regardless of your Sun Sign, you take your time getting to know people and you really have to trust them and feel comfortable with them before you come out of your shell. Underneath that shell however, you are a kind and caring person who may at times appear somewhat shy, vulnerable and lacking in confidence.

Don’t worry, you have it in you to be tough when you need to be – and one thing you aren’t is a fool for others for you are far too self protective for that. Watch out for jealousy though – you can be prone to a bit of green eye… Don’t let it ruin your genuinely good nature

You often act, look and behave like a Cancerian – even if your Sun Sign has completely different characteristics. Cancer themed stuff comes really naturally to you and the way you engage with the world will be very Cancerian in style. You may tend towards being frugal, your home will be important to you, you will be nurturing, may cook well or be a great collector.

Whatever your Sun Sign, you will express yourself in ways that really resonate with your Cancer Ascendant. Those of you with a strong Moon in your natal chart – especially in the First House – will also share some traits with Cancer Rising.

Cancer in Love

When it comes to the ocean of love, Cancer falls in deep. None of this skirting around the shoreline, you need to possess and be possessed. Love for Cancer often becomes a dependency issue with a profound need for two to become as one. The key word for Cancerians is ‘need’.

You need a deeply intimate and emotional bond which to you is manna from heaven – as nourishing and fulfilling as a feast. Outside of your relationship absolutely everything else takes second place – just beware, however, you may be neglecting other people and relationships that are also essential to your sense of wellbeing.

However, there’s no-one like you for trust and commitment. Or is there? You may be seen as somewhat clingy in relationships but should your beloved fail to deliver the emotional bond you crave you will test the waters elsewhere – secretly – until you’re sure you won’t be taken for granted again. Mostly, however, you avoid such complications by waiting until you are sure the time – and the person – are right for you. Until then you’re happy to keep your shell to yourself…

Cancer: Things To Look Out For

Houses, Property, Gardens, Horticulture, Agriculture, Farmers, Milk, Mothers, Breasts, Midwives, Nursing, Health and Safety, Nerves, Memories, The Past, History, Historians, Antiques, Antiquarians, Museums, Curator, Host, Kitchens, Food, Seafood, Stomach, Grit, Pearls, Silver, The Sea, Waves, Tides, Tears.

Next: Leo | Virgo | Libra | Scorpio | Sagittarius | Capricorn | Aquarius | Pisces | Aries | Taurus | Gemini

Further Reading

To discover more about how Cancer influences your life, explore the planets and points in Cancer and Cancer’s ruler, The Moon:

The Planets in Signs

The Planets in Houses

The Angles in Astrology

The Moon in the Zodiac Signs

The Moon in the Natal Chart Houses

Sara Shipman | Real Life Astrology: Planets Signs and Houses

Sara Shipman | Real Life Astrology: The Cross of Matter

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© Sara Shipman

Picture credit: Image by David Mark from Pixabay