She is nurturance. She is empathy. She is protection. She is womb-space. She is home. She is Cancer.
Here we are, in the cardinal water sign of Cancer. As a water sign, Cancer rules the emotional realm, the heart space. Her waters are the tears we shed in grief and in joy. Being a cardinal sign, Cancer is an initiator of feeling, of heart energy and of connection. Ruled by the moon, Cancer, is deeply maternal and, although not a mutable sign, is changeable, cyclic and, at times, tumultuous.
I know nothing really changes without scratches and tears
A place of discomfort we're here to share
Still, I run in a panic from each little ache
Afraid to sit with your anger and face my mistakes
The symbol for Cancer is the crab. This sweet little creature is so sensitive and vulnerable that she must live within a hard, protective shell. To further ward off danger, she can snap her claws viciously and quickly if she perceives a threat. For the literal crab, this is the best possible way to move across the earth and sea. For humans, this aspect of Cancerian energy can sabotage the thing we most deeply desire- safe and loving connection with others.
The darkest hour of my weary soul
The moment I swore not to love you, that you weren't my own
The sweetest hour of my tortured mind
The moment we screamed at the top of our lungs and defined
The song for Cancer season is Sweet Enemy. This piece explores the Cancerian polarity of a highly self-protective enemy consciousness and a stance of openness, acceptance and embrace of others. The Cancerian heart feels deeply. Emotional boundaries can quickly blur. Other people's pain can seep in and take root, forcing us to back away or cut off contact with others in order to self-preserve. The call of the evolved Cancer is for healthy, sustainable boundaries. We often think of boundaries as that which separates. In reality, a boundary is the place where two separate entities meet, the point of connection. Ironically, knowing where you end and I begin is what makes it possible to be in connection with one another. If we completely merge into each other's pain and trauma, then we inevitably have to pull back and separate. The ability to maintain our sense of self and self-care while caring for and feeling with one another is Cancer's task.
Look into my eyes
I feel your pain
Let courage hold us through this anguish
So we can reclaim
Cancer's magic is the ability to truly see and feel the other, a superpower that has the potential to create and sustain strong bonds of compassion and care. But we can quickly be overwhelmed by pain. The crab in the shell knows that pain equals death, so it acts swiftly and decisively to preserve itself. Similarly, we humans have been conditioned to associate the pain inherent in relationship (misunderstanding, hurt feelings, differing perspectives, misaligned needs, betrayal, etc.) with a type of ego death. So we come out fighting to protect against this, often pushing each other away and severing bonds in the process.
It's through the strife and the tears and the raging
That you enter me, sweet enemy
The strife arises when two people confront their inability to control one another. We don't like to admit that we want to control one another, but it is a strong theme of human relationship and conflict. The crab's solitary nature has some wisdom for us. For human relationships to flourish, periods of separation are necessary. These solitary moments enable us to empty out accumulated emotional toxins, resentments and distortions so that we may reconnect with clear minds and open hearts. Cancer is a dance of connection and solitude, of interdependence and autonomy.
I was waiting for the darkness to hold me tight
I was looking for the cold just to warm my sight
Gotta break the vase now to let in the light
See the water seep out the cracks
And take up the fight
At this moment in time, as we collectively emerge from a period of unprecedented isolation and begin to embrace one another again after so long, we need Cancer's medicine more than ever. Can we be in connection without negating our self or the other? Can we tolerate the risk inherent in close contact?
While the Covid vaccination greatly reduces the risk of transmitting this deadly virus, giving us access once again to shared spaces, shared meals, singing together, dancing together, embracing one another... risk is still present. Likewise, whenever we allow ourselves to get emotionally close to another, to care for, feel with and be cared for by someone else, there is a risk of being hurt. As such, the reactive, self-protective tendencies of the crab can feel almost instinctive at times. For those of us with this thread of Cancer in our wiring, it is a life-long practice of slowing down and coming back into connection, first with self, then with others.
As we learn to give ourselves the love and understanding we seek from others, we learn to tolerate the moments when it feels like others have failed us, the moments of ego-wounding and heart-pain that can lead to withdrawal and severing bonds. Cancer's immense capacity for nurturance and care must begin
and end with how we treat ourselves as we navigate an unpredictable, painful world. This Cancer season, we are blessed with the the riches and sweetness of community, connection and the joy of gathering together once again.
Note: This is the eighth in a thirteen chapter journey through the songs of Somebody Calling, and the zodiacal calendar. Full disclaimer, I am a psychotherapist, I am not an astrologer, so my musing on the zodiacal energies of these songs is that of a layperson. If you are interested in exploring astrology further, I highly recommend the following founts of wisdom: Jessica Lanyadoo Kirah Tabourn Chani Nicholas MaryPat Lynch Alice Sparkly Kat Melissa LaFara Jessica DiRuzza Richard Tarnas Zamboni Funk If you are interested in exploring the underworld of your own psychic terrain with a spiritually grounded psychotherapist, you can learn more about me and how I work here.