Gender Female
Grace Water
Number of the Zodiac 4
Ruler ruled by The moon
Day of the Week Monday
Colours Moon colours, silvery grey, opal, pale blues Cancerian colours include yellow/oranges and sometimes indigo
Gemstones Moonstone, amber, pearls, crystal
Metal Silver, aluminium
Flowers and plants Almonds, lotus flowers, lily, iris, white roses Almond tree, olive tree
Tarot Cards The chariot
Cities and Countries USA, Africa, new Zealand Milan. New york, manchester (uk)
Animals The crab
Negatives Can be extremely selfish, hates being criticized, is annoyed by people who forget birthdays or anniversaries, can be oblivious to other peoples desires, manipulative, introspective, moody, secretive, over-dramatic, clingy, not quick to forgive. Given to volcanic tantrums and outbursts without provocation. Can feel insecure and have indefinable fears. Can be hard to live with because of their demands.
Positives Sensualist, romantic, impressionable to others needs and wants, understands the humanness of situations intuitively. Can be brilliant at managing and organization. Can be shrewd and tenacious in business dealings. Has a good memory and can be very compassionate. Is a good parent when not over-protective. Is patient and hard working.

Symbolism, mythology and influence

The Moon is one of the two great lights of our Universe. The semicircle of the glyph symbolises the Moon as a revelation of that which is only partly seen yet holds much promise in what you cannot see. The Moon sheds only reflected and absorbed light from the Sun and is symbolic of receptivity and is the shape former of energy within the human psyche. The Moon is a female entity and is closely linked to fertility, the feminine personality within each person, emotions, the Mother Goddess. She has had many names through the ages, including Padma, Inanna, Kali, Demeter (the Goddess of the Grain Harvest) and Isis to name a few. She symbolises the creative womb from which we spring and grow, stimulating life and creation. Its placement within a chart is traditionally believed to be indicative of ones personal life, family and home life. The Moon can also signify mother or wife and may determine the nature of child bearing as it is closely associated with female reproductive organs.

The Moons monthly cycle of waxing and waning can be indicative of the changing tides of emotions and moods of the archetypal Cancer.

The glyph that symbolises Cancer shows the interconnection between male sperm and the female ova or the process of fertilisation, as well as being pictorially seen as female breasts. The sign of the Crab shows the shield behind which they can retreat as well as having two quite independent claws that can be either generous and giving or possessive and selfish.


As the fourth sign of the zodiac that rules the house of home and family, the archetypal Cancer can usually be seen to be concerned with nurturing, protecting and providing a ‘nest’ for themselves and/or offspring. Usually very involved on one level or another with their family ties, they are usually the ones who hold the unit together. They can however take this too far sometimes, and can smother those who they love most. This can be detrimental inasmuch as they stop the growth of those who they protect. They need to allow those they love to have space to grow under the wing, not smothered by it.

Cancer is the first water sign of the zodiac and as young people their hearts can be quite vulnerable and they very often retreat into their shells to protect themselves from a too harsh world. As an adult this is transmuted into their need to provide themselves and/or close family with a secure and safe home environment into which they can go when life closes in on them.

They shine at fixing things, or being of service to others. But don’t mistake their service as servitude – for Cancers are shrewd and can be manipulative. They are a cardinal sign after all and are able to be serious, responsible and incredibly resourceful, should they so choose.

Because the Moon rules Cancer, the many phases of its lunar cycle can deepen Cancers internal mysteries and create fleeting emotional patterns that the sensitive Cancer cannot control, especially when a child. The basis for understanding the world around them is usually subjective. But their passive appearance hides a volatile watery turbulence beneath the surface of the primal ocean in which they live. This can show itself as mood swings, selfishness and a fits of rage when piqued.

Cancer can be a complex sign, not complicated, but complex and their world can be constantly in a state of flux for under the Moons influence it is ever changing. Even the most personally developed Cancers still find themselves suddenly having powerful emotional upheavals.

Lots of Cancers find themselves either blissfully happy or deeply dark and moody, and need to try to gain some balance, or middle ground if they are to survive the onslaughts of adult life. When they are in their happy frame of mind, there are no better people to be around, they will invite you home, cook you meals and be the shoulder to cry on. But don’t go around when they are down as they will have barricaded themselves into their home and you won’t be allowed in!

Whether male or female, if you hurt a Cancer, then expect to be hurt in return. They will not shy from giving as good as they get. They are very likely to have uncontrolled tantrums and then go on as if nothing had happened. But if they do this one too many times then they will not always be forgiven. They need to take a leaf from the book of their opposite sign Capricorn, and learn to be objective and have a little more self-control. This may go a long way in conquering their subjective emotional responses to what would (for other signs) be only a small slight, not a major issue! Learning to look within before responding can help. Cancer may need to learn that the mask they are intent on wearing may slip, forcing them to reveal what it is they truly feel.

Life can be full of drama; upsets, turmoil and intensity for Cancer’s emotional psyche draw those particular types of experiences to them. It would be wise for a Cancer to learn how to tap into their inner world and use their special gift of intuition and psychic insights to their advantage.

The Cancer sense of duty and obsession with creating safe and secure foundations can lead them into small business ventures. They can be drawn to professions such as finance, banking and trade. They are however, equally likely to be drawn into counselling, nursing, midwifery, psychotherapy or other types of social service. Many dream secretly of being millionaires who live off the fruits of his or her winnings, or successful investments.

When a Cancer gives their heart, they expect it to be treated sensitively and kept in trust forever. Getting very strongly attached can very often lead to pain, as they can tend to cling even harder when love is in its death throes. Tenaciously believing they can make it work. Emotional hunger can lead to relationship issues if Cancer becomes too dependent.

Not one to usually indulge in one-night stands or sexual liaisons either, Cancer people tend to seek stability and commitment. They are warm, caring and affectionate lovers – the romantic at heart who brings flowers and chocolates; the ones for whom being nurtured and pampered means so much. Cancers look for outward signs that their partner loves and cares for them and see the old fashioned concept of ‘love forever’ as being what they ultimately want from a relationship. To share a Cancers world others must first win trust, be gentle and loyal, for once Cancer gives you their heart the commitment is total.

Cancer should try to live more in the present moment rather than fretting and worrying. Headaches, eating disorders or emotional stress can form out of unfounded and perceived fears of the unknown.