Cancerians have a strong nurturing instinct. The glyph for Cancer depicts a mother's breasts, because the first nurturing a child receives after birth is usually suckling at their mother's breast. The crab is also an apt symbol for this sign because, like the crab, Cancerians have a hard outer shell and a soft centre. They rarely move forwards to achieve a goal, preferring to approach it sideways, as if siding up to their opportunities. Being a cardinal type, they are ambitious and will initiate action to achieve their desired goals.
Cancerians understand life through feelings, a characteristic of the water signs, and it can be difficult for them to understand something they cannot feel. They are naturally intuitive, able to sense the emotions of a group of people rapidly and adjust their response accordingly.
Cancer is ruled by the Moon, which has a noticeable effect on Cancerians. When it is a Full Moon, they are often more energetic or restless than usual, and around the New Moon, more sluggish. They prefer the evening to the early morning, and their vivid imaginations make them valuable writers, painters and storytellers. Many Cancerians have slow lymphatic systems and are consequently somewhat slow physically, which heightens their imaginative tendencies.
Cancerians are patient, sympathetic and protective people. They are suited to careers that involve caring and compassion, such as child care, infant or primary school teaching, or managing a bed and breakfast or private hotel. They have a subtle sense of colour, which suits them to interior design and interior decorating. They can enjoy working in the hospitality industry and when grounded by financial fears and insecurities, they often seek clerical or accounting work as it is secure.
Cancerians enjoy the sea, rivers and lakes, but prefer appreciating the beauty of these things to getting wet. Work involving boats or liquids (including alcohol) appeals to them.
Natural hoarders, Cancerians collect mementos of every event or phase in their lives. Once in a while they will gather together their photographs, books, records and CDs and wallow in nostalgia. They can be quite acquisitive, and again the crab is symbolic of their nature, its strongest parts being its claws. They are apt to want to live in the past, so a Cancerian or someone with strong Cancer qualities would be the person to consult for historical details if you were putting together a family tree.
Cancerians often possess deep memories, especially for emotional hurts, and it is not unusual for them to recount an incident from 10 years ago in great detail if it has upset them in some way.
Home and family are important to Cancerians, and a characteristic of their homes can be that every ledge and flat surface is crowded with books, cards, trinkets and collectibles. They love cooking, and usually prepare more than necessary.
Cancerians are inclined to be emotionally possessive of their loved ones and need to curb their tendency to worry about family and friends. As parents, they can find it difficult to let go of their children when they want to leave home or assert their independence. With smaller children, however, Cancerians excel. They are patient and doting, and because of their vivid imaginations, are excellent storytellers.
Essentially romantic, Cancerians enjoy travel and learn languages easily by absorbing the sounds around them and committing them to memory. They are much better learning a language when immersed in the culture than in a school-type environment.
Cancerians are often highly intuitive, particularly through their dreams at night, and keeping a dream journal can be a very rewarding process for them. With a little training, the average Cancerian can program their dreams to give them solutions to problems in their daily life. Sometimes, when life’s problems overwhelm them, Cancerians can retreat into their dreams and their rich fantasy life.
Cancerians can be moody, especially when they feel insecure, and logic doesn’t help them feel better. Emotional reassurance is necessary and they respond well to hugs. Being such good nurturers, they also respond well to a little nurturing in return. When a Cancerian feels unappreciated, they tend to moan, nag and criticise, dampening the mood of all those around them.
With their active imaginations and vivid memories, Cancerians delight in romance. When separated from the one they love, they like to know they are remembered, so sending cards, letters, flowers or small gifts to a Cancerian partner goes a long way towards winning their heart. All these gifts or letters are carefully tucked away for later review, to be savoured hundreds of times at leisure. In return, Cancerians love to send cards and letters, and will spend hours dreaming of how their partner felt when they received them.
Cancerians are very nurturing and are usually gentle in their displays of affection. Fond of family life and domestic harmony, the Cancerian enjoys a homely abode which is often cluttered with family photos and collectibles.
Being a water sign, the Cancerian is usually in tune with their partner’s feelings, even when they are apart from one another. These people tend to worry about their financial security, their loved ones and the state of the world generally, so emotional turbulence in a relationship can be very debilitating for them.
Owing to their romantic nature, Cancerians sometimes love their partner more intimately when that person has left them or is unavailable. ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder’ aptly describes the Cancerian approach to relationships.
The sign of Cancer rules the stomach, the digestive system, the breasts and the lymph glands. A slow lymphatic system is characteristic of Cancerians.
The Cancerian imagination is usually well developed, and it is important for these people to recognise that their minds can direct their imaginations towards creative things or towards fearful events. When directed towards fearful events, Cancerians worry incessantly, stressing their already delicate stomachs and digestive systems, which can result in ulcers.
Negative Cancerians are worriers. Often crippled by fear of disastrous consequences, they fail to seize the moment and succeed with their plans. Their vivid memories are cluttered with past hurts, both real and imagined, preventing them from forgiving and living in the present. They tend to be martyrs who moan loud and long about life’s injustice. They can be quite selfish, stingy and loath to spend money.
When negative, Cancerians are unable to give or receive nurturing, and they often retreat into dreams when presented with problems. This hardening of their soft natures can be a result of difficulties in childhood, which seem to affect Cancerian types more than any of the other signs. In many cases, they hold a grudge against their mother, blaming her for ruining their life. Their lymphatic disposition means they retain wastes in their physical bodies; in turn, they can experience emotional retention and an inability to forget or release past hurts. They are moody, often retreating into themselves without warning and proving unreachable to those around them.
Being a water sign, the negative Cancerian can be an emotional and psychic sponge, draining those around them and casting a gloomy shadow over everything. Slovenly in habit, they invariably choose the path of least resistance while expecting the greatest success.
Fearful of emotional and financial bankruptcy, negative Cancerians hoard all that they can, both physically and emotionally. These people are usually unsuccessful in their own business, as they worry too much. Negative Cancerians can also seem emotionally unavailable in relationships, as they are still emotionally attached to some past partner. The Cancerian tendency to love someone more once the relationship is over is stronger in the negative Cancerian. A negative Cancerian could cling to the dream of fulfilment with a past lover for over 20 years.
Decisions prove very difficult to make for the negative type, as their sense of loss can be overwhelming.
Whereas fire signs look forward to opportunities with anticipation, water signs (especially Cancerians) often look back to past opportunities not taken, particularly when they are in need of an escape route from their current circumstances.
The lesson for Cancerians is to decide through a combination of feeling and thought, and then to fulfill their plans despite fears and obstacles.
While Geminis attempt to decide using only thought, Cancerians can become overwhelmed by feelings and lose sight of the rational approach.
When deciding, Cancerians often consider the effects any choice they make might have on those around them, as their sense of community is well developed. This meant that they can take quite a long time to make decisions and they can feel the need to make sacrifices to ensure the happiness of those they love.