Cancer psychological profile
Cancer is involved with a dynamic which seeks a sense of emotional belonging in place and time. This is traditionally interpreted as an involvement with home and family, for it is in this context that most find completeness and security. For non-family oriented Cancers a vivid memory, a love of geography, or a few special relationships may take the place of the traditional family. In any case, Cancer is a very sensitive sign that needs the connectedness which, for most people, only the deepest human bonds to people and places can bring.
Cancer is ruled by the Moon. Like all things lunar, she is feminine, yielding, vulnerable, and intuitive. Deeply aware of human nature, Cancer confronts her own deepest instincts routinely, and sometimes has trouble reconciling a strongly emotional and sometimes moody nature with the cold, hard world of reality. Like all water signs, Cancer must periodically retreat in order to recoup energies. Like the crab who carries his home on his back, Cancer will either withdraw into her house, or into an emotional shell, when things get to be too much for her.
Perhaps because of the symbolic connection of this sign with the Summer Solstice, and the seasonal re-darkening of the Northern Hemisphere, there is a special poignancy to Cancer’s perceptions which seems to brush up against mortality itself. Perhaps it is this which makes her so vulnerable, so reluctant to let go of people and places, and so deeply devoted to that which she loves. Cancer has a long emotional memory, for both the good times and the bad. Cancer may be criticized for nursing old hurts, being unable to let go of old loves, or regressing into childlike rage or despair.
Something about Cancer’s nature clings to certain of life’s emotional events, turning them over in her mind for years as if they had happened yesterday. A strong relationship to family or ethnic traditions may shape Cancer’s life. She may be a traditional type herself, or she may be forced to sever herself painfully from the suffocating constrictions of tradition, and become totally focused on career achievements. A strong bond to the mother, or mother-image, is almost inevitable. Cancers need to feel needed, to take care of others, feed them, shelter them, and enjoy with them stories of the past which they cherish like old photographs in an album. Likewise, Cancer needs to become a child at times, and curl up in the protection of another’s care and concern.
Sometimes-paradoxical questions which will be important to Cancer’s longterm development are:
- “How can I acknowledge my vulnerable emotional nature without closing myself up in a shell? How can I get my needs met?”
- “How can I face current emotional situations without letting the baggage of the past inhibit me?”
- “How can I balance my private and public lives without going overboard in either direction?”
For more about these issues, read about Cancer’s opposite sign, Capricorn