Cancer is the fourth sign of the zodiac. In Cancer the need is not one of individual survival as it was in the first three signs. Here, it is eternal survival through perpetuation of the species. It is the sign of fertility and nurture, and Cancerians have strong identification with these matters in one form or another. It doesn’t mean all of them are good cooks or efficient housekeepers, but they all want to feel part of a family. They enjoy feeding others as much as they enjoy feeding themselves. They are also ready to supply emotional nurturing by “mothering” everyone who appears to be in need. When upset, they tend to use food as consolation, which in turn, results in problems with excess weight. As an offshoot of their sense of familial relationships, they often develop an interest in genealogy and history in general.
Cancerians are doers. They set out to accomplish things and, one way or another, they want to obtain their goals. In spite of their emotional sensitivity, they are strong-willed and have no trouble expressing what they want, then finding a way to get it. The Crab is their astrological symbol and there are certain crab-like gestures directly associated with the behaviour of Cancerians. Just as the crab walks sideways rather than straight ahead, Cancerians use an indirect approach in accomplishing their goals. Rather than direct confrontation or request, they are more apt to resort to using emotional appeal. For example, they will get others to cooperate by making them feel like part of a family. At the slightest provocation or threat the crab quickly hides in the sand or retreats into a shell until safer times are at hand. Cancerians who feel threatened or suspect that their attempts may be unsuccessful often hide their true ambitions until a more comfortable situation occurs.
Cancerians react emotionally to everything they experience in life. That is, before they take physical action, before they sort out the practicality of what they are doing, and before they reason things out intellectually, they must express their feelings. They wear their hearts on their sleeves. Many Cancerians succeed in life because their genuine concern for the welfare of others inspires loyalty as well as cooperation.
The Moon, celestial guardian of human emotions, rules Cancer. The biggest struggle for Cancerians is to avoid becoming prisoners of their own emotions. Though they can be outwardly gregarious, they are shy and secretive about their personal matters. However, once they feel comfortable in a situation or relationship, they relax and completely open up even to the point of dominating the situation. Not usually ones to suffer in silence, they have to make an effort not to inflict their moods and endless recitations of their feelings or emotional troubles on others. Once they learn to keep excess emotions in control, their intuition can be remarkably accurate. Their emotional insecurity makes them want to hang on to things. They hate to throw anything away, and many end up avid collectors, conservators, and savers of string. It is equally difficult for them to give up on failed relationships, and still harder for them to learn the difference between caring and possessiveness. When they receive criticism, even constructive criticism, they tend to take it as a personal indictment instead of using it to attain personal growth and maturity.
Participation in physical fitness or sports activities becomes an important, often vital way for Cancerians to work out their emotional stress. They are especially adaptable to team sports since they tend to view their team members as part of a family-like group. Favourite Cancerian sports are swimming, fishing, sailing and other water activities. They also enjoy skiing, ice skating, and mountain climbing. Cancerians are creative. Even those who may not have a particular talent can use some type of involvement with art, music, or writing as another method of emotional release, instead of indulging in eating binges or other destructive habits. Living or spending time near the water is a relaxing, as well as creatively stimulating, environment for Cancerians.
Cancer colours are white, silver, and pale yellow. Vulnerable parts of the body are the breasts and stomach. Stomach aches, food allergies, and hysterics are the usual afflictions of Cancerians. Cancer rules silver, and the ruby as well as the pearl are considered Cancerian birthstones. The surroundings of a beautiful piece of silver are reflected in its shiny polished surface. Similarly, the emotionally sensitive nature of Cancerians tends to reflect the people and circumstances surrounding them. The ruby, a variety of corundum, is one of the hardest minerals known, while the pearl is soft and easily scratched. These gems uniquely illustrate the two contrasting sides of the Cancerian personality; hard and determined as well as soft and vulnerable. Cancerian flowers are the water lily (lotus), iris, poppy (white), carnation (white) and southern magnolia.