This year on June 21, 2014, the Summer Solstice, the Sun moved into Cancer. Cancer, a Cardinal sign, is ruled by the Moon and belongs to the element of water. This brings an important point as the Moon has no light of her own. She can only reflect the light that's given to her by the Sun. This quality of reflection is a central factor in the Cancer archetype. Cancer claims exclusive rights to the Moon, both sign and planetary ruler termed, “cold and moist” in nature. Understanding the essence of that phrase reveals a lot about the complex sensitivity that lies beneath Cancer’s thick, crustaceous shell. In Cancer, we enter the world of emotions and feelings, as well as needs, intuition and the ability to bond with another human being. The rational Gemini self-awareness leads readily into Cancer's intuitive self-reflection and its personalized, feelings-based assessment of life. We now enter the realm of the non-rational, not necessarily irrational, but that which does not adhere to conventional logic or cause-and-effect.
In nature, water has no shape of its own, no taste or color. It needs other materials to be observed. Feelings and emotions are like invisible forces made perceptible by external events that cause internal ripples. Our feeling state can be affected by internal psychological dynamics and includes emotions, but also includes the intuitive senses. You can have a “feeling” about something without necessarily having an emotional response to it.
As children, we are very open. We freely express our emotions, from delight to contentment to primal rage. We learn to consciously identify our feelings by observing how we react to various situations and sensations. As we mature, we develop a more complex repertoire of feelings. Our first experience of being emotionally affected by others is our family, initially by the mother or mother-figure. Whether we experienced our childhood as nurturing, supportive and safe, or as painful, erratic and dysfunctional, our internal emotional growth tends to take on the shape of the environment in which it grew. It is here we first learn how to nurture and be nurtured, to bond and be separate, to be an individual and yet be part of a larger whole, i.e., the family. Unconscious dynamics which are passed down from generation to generation also have their roots in Cancer and the 4th house. Hence, Cancer also governs family, childhood, mother, our ancestry, and the past in general. As infants, we learn how to bond with another person, usually the mother first and later we begin to distinguish between where we stop and others begin. Our initial symbiosis with the mother-figure, combined with our subsequent ability to separate ourselves, matures into a capacity for empathy. The roots of our needs and behaviors in adult relationships are found deep in our Cancerian past. The archetypes of Aries, Taurus and Gemini form the foundation of the Self in its own right. Although Gemini brings us a conceptual experience of others through information and environment, Cancer involves an experiential, deeply personal encounter with others. In Cancer, it is enough to return to our roots and past to discover the dynamics which enabled us to grow into the person we are today. If we try to go forward without knowing where we came from, we risk becoming aimless, reckless and disconnected.