All About Cancer: Your Complete Guide to the Sun Sign
Everything you need to know about Cancer the Crab
All About Cancer — June 21 to July 22
Symbol: The Crab
Ruling Planet: The Moon
Body part: The Chest (heart center), breasts, stomach, and gut
Personal Mantra:I feel, I seek safety
Crystal: Moonstone, ruby, pearl, rose quartz
Colors: Silver, white, pastels, orange hues
Luckiest Numbers: 2, 7, 11, 16, 20, 25
Positive Traits: Powerfully intuitive and empathic, maternal, kindhearted, loyal, selflessly generous
Negative Traits: Moody, overly suspicious, pessimistic, emotionally manipulative, depressive
Most Likely BFFs: Scorpio, Taurus, Pisces, Virgo, Cancer
Most Likely to be Bae: Taurus, Scorpio, Capricorn, Pisces
Most Likely to be Frenemies: Gemini, Leo, Aries, Libra
Lana Del Rey
Shrouded in the mysteries of the Moon, Cancer’s internal machinations set on preserving emotional and physical security run the show, making this the most guarded sign of the zodiac. Sure, it’s difficult to get to know Cancer the Crab, born roughly between June 21 and July 22, but most don’t realize how backbreaking and unyielding undertaking this task will be. After all, you’re quite literally prying a soft and tender creature from a hard, spiny shell—a contradictory, enigmatic composition of iron armor and silken, delicate flesh, symbolized perfectly by the Crab that dictates Cancer’s every move. But for those who are understanding and patient enough to succeed in befriending the Crab, their gift is everlasting loyalty and an incomprehensible, god-like capacity for kindness and hospitality.
Cancers—the fourth sign of the 12—are absolutely brimming with parallel contradictions, but make no mistake, these tenacious personalities are consistent and never dabble, no matter which way their pendulum is swinging. Take their sense of independence: Crabs can range from resolutely self-contained and autonomous to terribly codependent and weak-willed sea bugs. The tipping point in the balance for Cancer’s self-reliance lies in their threshold for pain, emotional maturity, and intelligence acquired through life experience and developing resilience after sustaining repeated heartbreaks, which can often be very violent for these super-sensitive signs.
A very self-actualized Cancer who’s lived through many hurricanes of the heart, rebuilt, and refortified the leaky cracks in their shell, are most likely to be intensely independent and thrive in solitude. Immature Crabs who have not yet learned to harness the lessons of the rising and falling tides will latch onto the safest option in sight, becoming codependent and unable to fight for themselves. These are the Crabs with the weakest, most papery armor—over time, they must learn to strengthen their own shell and sense of self by choosing their battles. But the push and pull of contradiction dictate that even the toughest Cancers depend on love and emotional support as their sustaining lifeblood.
Cancer the Crab’s ruling planet is the Moon, which in astronomy, of course, is not a planet at all, but Earth’s orbiting satellite. Ancient stargazers and astrologers looked to Luna, the Moon, as the Great Mother of the heavens and the feminine aspect balancing the Sun’s masculinity, so She is considered a planet still today in modern Western astrology. As the Moon is responsible for creating tides in our waters, She is also the empress and creatrix of all emotions. Cancers are by far the most emotionally feeling, sensitive of the signs, thanks largely to their unique lunar rulership.
As the ancient symbol of the Divine Feminine, the Moon also colors Cancer personalities with a powerful maternal instinct and parental drive. Because of this sixth sense for love and nurturance, Crabs do exceptionally well in careers involving children, from teaching kindergarten to pursuing complex child psychology. Even Cancerians who never wish to raise children or become a parent—or who can’t stand actual children—can’t resist an opportunity to flex their nurturing, maternal traits, making Cancers some of the best caregivers and guardians of the zodiac.
Cancers are engulfed in the element of Water—the element of emotion, intuition, and feeling, magnified by the Moon’s reflective glow. Crabs find it easy to be sympathetic to others and are quick to show their affection. As Water signs, Cancer’s emotions ricochet like ripples and waves in the water and have the potential to stir up major tempests and tsunamis. These signs are one of the three “psychic sisters,” along with intense Scorpio and extraterrestrial Pisces, who tend to sense emotion and “see” underlying subconscious thought more than any other signs. Cancers, along with their watery siblings, possess an uncanny psychic nature that can be quite startling for their close friends and family. Absolutely nothing gets past these ultra-feelers, who are frequently natural empaths, mediums, clairvoyants, and intuitives, and make excellent healers, fortune tellers, medicine workers, researchers, and investigative detectives as well. Cancer’s sixth sense—a literal “gut reaction,” as these signs are ruled by the stomach and gut—is their guiding torch and a powerful aid, especially during times of uncertainty and extreme stress.
Cancer is a Cardinal sign and belongs to a group called a “quadruplicity” consisting of four signs that occur at the very beginning of their season, such as Cancer in early summer, Libra in early fall, Capricorn in early winter, and Aries in early spring. As a Cardinal sign, Cancers like to stir the pot and get things going, especially when it comes to emotions. Cardinal signs like to be the first. Cancer the Crab is the first to laugh, cry and the first to express emotion. But these folks are stubborn, tenacious, can be very strong-willed and like to win. So, they won’t be coaxed out of a sulking session—they must take the first steps in resolution in order for it to be successful. Cancer-born people can be self-sufficient and bitterly tenacious in getting things done with little to no physical or human resources. Moon Babies’ creativity in times of strife and famine is uncanny—these signs are true survivors and can weather practically any storm with grit and heart.
Cancer’s intense capacity for emotion and tremendous empathy can mutate into something of a personal hindrance, causing these perceptive sea creatures to become overly sensitive, hyper-protective, easily hurt, and predisposed to brooding. Cancers are quick to tears, weeping rivers at minor indiscretions and gushy moments that pierce their tender hearts just so, almost on command, which can range from awkward to hilarious and endearing. Even so, Cancer doesn’t care in the heat of the moment—they can’t help but be themselves fully, and for all their guarded ways tend to let their initial emotional response hang out honestly on their sleeve for all to see. Cancers are legendary throwers of on-the-spot temper tantrums, but clam up when asked to share their innermost feelings. Vulnerability holds too great an injury for Cancer; they must be absolutely sure that you are friend and not foe before their secrets are revealed. This collection of traits can sometimes make Cancer paranoid and hyper-reactive to small emotional stimuli, thus making mountains out of cosmic molehills. Notorious for their vast and detailed memory, Cancer doesn’t let go of past hurts easily.
Thanks to Mother Moon, Cancers are typically abundantly fertile, capable of creating very large families—though “family” is defined very loosely by these Moon Babes. Despite their sometimes shy, introverted nature and need for regular solitude, Crab personalities are tremendously driven by community and value sturdy roots and reliable, dependable systems based in logic and compassion. Usually, Cancers will create families and personal tribes wherever they happen to be—work, school, and the like—to serve as an emotional support clique. Crustacean-born folks are drawn to tradition and anything tempered by a richness in history. They are extremely loyal friends and devotees of any cause that’s inspired true love in their hearts, and have the tendency to become overwhelmingly supportive and patriotic, happily waving their flag grasped in their clenched crab claw.
Cancers are quick to help others and tend to avoid confrontation, but are also quick to retreat into their shells if it suits their mood (and they are typically very moody, especially when hiding). As symbolized by the Crab, who carries their home—a protective shell—on their back, Cancers fixate on their personal environment and take great pleasure in curating a beautiful and peaceful domestic life. Home, for Crab natives, must be serene, harmonious, and above all, secure. Cancers aren’t one to keep doors unlocked—ever—and certainly won’t stand for sitting in a vulnerable position, like with their back to an entrance. Personal safes and hidden nooks are Cancer’s design wildcard; no item, object, or tiny trinket of value is left unprotected. Cancer-born people are usually very talented in the kitchen, for the culinary arts cuts two carrots with one knife for Crabs, appealing to their parental urges to nurture and feed as well as their fixation on the domestic and the home.
Cancers are very smart with money—sometimes even a little too thrifty and calculating, as this sign is often painted with a broad brush of being miserly or cheap when in truth this sign is the most hospitable and generous of all 12. You can’t blame this frugal breed of Crab, though; ultimately, their motivation is to protect themselves and those they love, along with securing the future of their hearth and home. Noble? Unquestionably. However, this can come off as smothering, clamping down their claws on the things (and people) they love the most.
These Water signs are always looking for ways to make their shell’s interior feel more comfortable and loving. So like magpies, Cancer will pluck just about anything shiny that strikes an emotional chord from the streets to bring home to their nest. Sometimes, this is reflected as sentimentality, but this collector’s trait can easily sour into bitter possessiveness. This rule applies to more than just inanimate objects—Cancers are quick to take in strays of all kinds, even in their relationships. Cancers with tendencies for over-giving can easily deplete their core energy hub of strength and power with excessive generosity.
Cancers tend to view the world through rose-colored lenses, especially when it comes to forming bonds in friendship and love. Crabs are intensely romantic, intoxicated by the idea of love—they are devoted lovers and partners. These signs rely heavily on their strong intuition and gut reactions when playing the game. This quality becomes boldly apparent with when Cancer’s getting to know someone new, though their psychic tendencies never leave the relationship. Those born under this sign are quick to fall in love and hasty in pursuing friendship. Cancer’s openness and need to establish intimacy becomes particularly urgent with “wounded birds”—people who, for whatever reason, need “fixing,” parental nurturance, or nursing of some kind. Oftentimes, a being’s need for nursing trumps a normally incompatible personality or shady or abusive tendencies. At worst, emotionally immature Cancers will become trapped in self-destructive whirlpools of martyrdom and codependence, throwing the self-pity party of the season—and loving every sopping-wet drop of drama.
Because Cancers are natural empaths and intuitives, they accumulate all kinds of psychic debris in their “auras,” or energy fields, that can have a lasting negative effect. Tender Crabs should consider a routine outlet—a soothing, dependable constant they can rely on to process and expel lingering, superfluous emotional energy. A regular workout schedule or exercise regimen works wonders for Cancer-born folks, as well as creative hobbies in music and the visual arts. Cancers are not known as the star athletes of the zodiac; those born under this sign don’t respond to aggression or combative competition positively, but rather crumble under crushing anxiety and hurt. Still, Moon Babes thrive in playing team sports due to their emphasis on community and working together, especially if they’re played in or near water, like rowing and beach volleyball.
Physically, Cancerian-born people tend to have luminous complexions that seem to reflect light and glow. They often have round or heart-shaped faces and features, referred to appropriately as “moon faces,” with high cheekbones and delicate noses. Eyes possess depth and sparkle—their gaze is mysterious but soft and inviting, conveying security and warmth. Cancer’s hair tends to be soft and fine with a natural curl or wave with a fluid, flowing quality—like water. The mane can be dark or light-hued, tending to thin around the temples. Cancer men are known to have sparse facial hair—though others specifically grow unruly beards to hide their naturally youthful, childlike appearance. The Cancerian physique is sturdy and rooted, sometimes stout, with an average to short height. Their voices are typically soft and reassuring, but can become cold and monotone in under an instant when the company changes from family to stranger. Cancer is ruled by the breasts, stomach, and gut, so it’s not unusual for those born under this sign to be big-busted or boast a belly—many Crab people tend to walk with a trademark gait that’s lead by the chest or stomach.
Cancers look best in light, incandescent hues and fabrics (think: ethereal white chiffons, pearlescent silks, and pastel everything). Though these signs hold comfort sacred, they are sartorial chameleons, changing their look as frequently as the Moon moves through Her phases. Neckties and gravity-defying, revealing necklines with plenty of cleavage tend to be Cancer’s go-to faves, since their sign is ruled by the chest and breasts. The Crab’s wardrobe is bound to be packed with a spectrum of color and a broad variety of styles—these personalities love to express their many moods outwardly through fashion and design with a personal style that oscillates from extremely messy to neat-and-tidy as a pin. Cancers aren’t materialistic in the traditional sense, but they do tend to hoard items they’ve developed an emotional attachment to (which is basically everything Cancer owns). Flea markets, vintage, and thrift stores and a Cancerian sartorialist’s treasure trove to pick through, and it’s likely that their closet will resemble one, as well.
Cancers—like their sibling Water signs—aren’t afraid of their “shadow side,” or negative personality traits, preferring to face their darkness upfront as just another aspect of their holistic self. That’s not to say that Crabs air their dirty laundry freely or invite skeletons from their closet out for cocktails with friends. Notoriously private and a tad reclusive, Cancers are masters of concealing the hidden. After all, these watery sensitives are ruled by the Moon, empress of our deepest feelings and most private emotions, who hides many secrets on the Dark Side of Her surface we mere Earthlings are not permitted to see with the naked eye.
The Moon, Cancer’s Mother Goddess ruling planet, gave Her water babies many gifts, but a controlled, steady emotional range was not on the menu. Mood swings are known to plague Cancer-born people, who are prone to morose bouts of pouting, sulking, and brooding over negativity and ego wounds excessively. Because these Water signs are so empathic and sensitive to energy fields, their feelings can be wounded easily, making some reactive and overly self-protective, which can make them seem standoffish and prickly. Many other signs may negatively label these super-sensitive creatures as overly emotional and hypersensitive, but the evolved person will see past this protective facade and understand this pattern of traits is merely psychic chainmail designed to shield Cancer from unnecessary emotional stress. The evolved Cancerian will not shame themselves for their naturally emotional reactions. Instead, they will accept their heightened emotional sensitivity as a tremendous strength—an internal “smoke alarm” responsible for alerting Cancers of potential dangers lurking—and listen to their instincts and intuition.
Cancers who’ve been deeply injured by past betrayals of trust and loyalty or abandonment will become suspicious and thorny, rivaling Scorpio’s classic paranoia in the very worst cases. When Crabs put up these defenses and begin imagining predators, these signs can become sharp-tongued, sarcastic—even mean—a stark contrast from the warmhearted and generous sweetness they dole out so freely to their nearest and dearest.
Worst of all, wounded Crabs will retreat to solitude and isolate themselves from nurturing community when they need human support and love the most, retreating to their shell to sulk. During times of extreme stress, Cancer will become pessimistic and stormy to an extreme, abandoning and destroying any positivity or progress they’ve made in wake of a failure, no matter how minuscule the setback may be the grand scheme. Emotionally immature or inexperienced Cancerians may easily become mired in narcissism and self-pity when faced with disappointment. These weaker Cancers may turn to twisted emotional manipulation tactics and employ guilt to shift the balance in their favor. These signs don’t take anything lightly or impersonally (a trademark of the Water elementals), and will absorb rejection or dismissal as a deep insult. Most Water signs can be rather tricky, and Cancer is no different, possessing a diabolical vindictive side that can become bent on throwing pain back at its source. When dating, Cancer may become codependent, childlike, or clingy. The Crab doesn’t let go of anything easily, nor do they recognize change as a gentle transition. As you can imagine, this orchestra of shadowy traits can make Cancer one of the worst signs of the zodiac to break up with.
How to Love a Cancer
Only the luckiest among us will become caught in a tidepool with Cancer the Crab, an intensely devoted and doggedly loyal partner, gentle lover, and kind caretaker and protector. Cancer is a deeply emotional, sensitive sign—this can’t be stressed enough!—which compels these personalities to fall fast and hard when it comes to love. Water signs tend to see things in black and white, taking an “all or nothing” approach to matters of the heart. What’s the point if Cancer’s whole heart isn’t in it?
People born under this sign rush headlong into monogamy and one-on-one commitment, which can create severe blind spots in character judgement in their hopeful, Pollyannaish pursuit of true love. Cancers are the troubadours of the zodiac—if they believe in nothing else, they believe in traditional constructs of romantic love and are willing to bleed to make a relationship work. Never bailing on their heart’s desire, Cancers will ride through any storm, determined to prove their loyalty and steadfast commitment to their partner. Cancers are the serial monogamists of the zodiac as well, preferring partnership to the single life. Still, there exist a certain breed of deeply wounded Cancerians adept at playing the field and refusing to become exclusive with anyone in a measure of self-protection.
Cancers are already complex creatures, but adding love and sex to the equation creates a chemical reaction. First, Cancer will become fiercely protective guardians of their SO or partner as a show of affection. Privately, these signs are tremendously sentimental, adding great weights of meaning to otherwise mundane events. Yep, Cancer’s the one with all the napkins, matchbooks, and fortune cookie slips littered around their desk, vanity, or nightstand, right next to all the ooey-gooey pictures and keepsakes of their sweetheart. These are the folks most likely to make a big deal out of their relationship status on social media. It’s not that they are shallow or fake, Cancer genuinely wants to share their love with the world as a display of their gratitude. Cancer wants everyone to feel what they feel—especially when they are truly in love.
Cancer doesn’t like P.D.A. or excessive touching in public; this feels like a crude violation of privacy to most Cancers, and somehow a recipe for failure in love relationships. In bed, Cancer can be an extremely sensuous, intuitive lover, anticipating their partner’s deepest desires. Cancerian-born people are downright freaky behind closed doors—and they aren’t ashamed of it—providing sexual healing and sacred regeneration through erotic union with their most beloved.
Coaxing a Cancerian to open up isn’t easy, and while these signs are expressive during easygoing times, they can just as easily clam up and retreat into their feelings when things take a turn. Their feelings are easily hurt and they do not forget unfairness, betrayal, or disloyalty—like, ever. Be gentle with their feelings from the jump, Cancer the Crab is not magnanimous with second chances.
Most Compatible Matches
Cancer thrives when they are surrounded by those who are empathetic and understanding of their emotional composition—as much as one can be, anyway. So, these signs gravitate to like-minded Water signs, such as Pisces, Scorpio, and other Cancerians. Fiery and passionate Scorpio with Cancer makes for an intensely psychic duo. The only drawback when too much Water gathers together is, well, emotional flooding to destructive, possibly biblical proportions. Enter the Earth signs—Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn—the balancing act to sop up Cancer’s tropical storm. Cancer and Capricorn make beautiful music together as a Water-Earth and Cardinal-Cardinal sign pairing, but Cancer and Taurus are one of the most harmonious matches of the zodiac. Cancer feeds Taurus’ need for mothering, and Taurus gladly obliges Cancer’s need to nurture and care for their closest friends and companions.
Though one of the least socially inclined signs of the zodiac, Cancer craves attention, company, and comfort from other people more than any other sign. Of course, they seek and value friendship—not in quantity of friends but the purity of their quality. People born under this sign are happiest when they have a small, close-knit group of friends or family—or friends that they’ve morphed into family, more likely. These crustaceans can be spiney-shelled and pinchy at times, but make no mistake: Cancers need encouragement from others to carry on. Point blank.
Loyalty comes so naturally to Cancer-born folk that they set the bar sky-high with their expectations of mutual respect, transparency, and protection. It’s not that Cancer doesn’t love secrets—oh, how they do love intrigue and mystery—they just don’t like secrets between kept between friends. Don’t lie to Cancer, ever; these signs are uncannily intuitive, psychic even, and will always find out the truth. Dishonesty is the quickest route to being 86’d from Cancer’s life. Because of their open generosity and warmth, Cancer’s natural kindness is frequently misinterpreted as weakness by tricksters, energy vampires, and other predators. Later in life, Cancers who’ve been duped by friends will acquire an incredibly sharp intuition and shrewdness in judging character.
Cancerians are excellent listeners who have a supernatural ability to make others feel wonderful about themselves just by being present and relating. Water signs are notoriously tight-lipped and Cancer’s legendary discretion makes these signs incredible confidants and counselors. Generous and selfless to a fault, Cancer would give the vintage Prada blouse off their back at a friend’s request. And you should be so lucky. Yet Cancer-born personalities tend to give more than they take, leaving a private imbalance in the Moon-ruled person’s perception. You see, Cancer never wants to inconvenience anyone by asking for anything—yet they secretly long to be taken care of as devotionally and as lovingly as they care for others.
As one of the most loving, caring, and generous signs of the zodiac, it’s safe to say that Cancer makes an excellent partner, in love, life, and business. Sidling up to Cancer and making the first move can be a bit tricky with these Cardinal signs, who typically like to throw the first hints of interest into the ether, however, indirect and moody (read: non-aggressive) their efforts may be. Symbolized by the Crab, these personalities carry a protective shell with them at all times, and if they feel the slightest bit threatened, they have no qualms with crawling inside to seek refuge until the atmosphere feels safe again.
Establishing a lasting partnership with Cancer relies heavily on the compatibility of values, communication style, and languages of love and affection, though these signs are known to fight to the bloody end to keep their relationships alive. Wholly devoted caretakers and family people, Cancers are fierce protectors of hearth and home. Though soft and kind to the core, Cancerians feel no inner conflict when faced with defending their partner, children, family, and loved ones. Should you come between a Cancer and their most beloved, I suggest you run for cover.
In relationships, these signs tend to “parent their partner” to a degree. Their gentle fierceness combined with Cancer’s constant caretaker role can be too intense for some signs, branding these tendencies as clingy or stifling. Not so. Cancer wants nothing more than to love and nurture—and to be loved and nurtured in return, an important facet of Cancer’s motivation as an empath they rarely reveal. Protect your Cancer in return from the harsh ugliness of the outside world, and they will define love to you in a whole new light.
How to Lose a Cancer
Cancer’s complexity is buried under a thousand veils, but despite their intense sensitivity and emotional nature, getting a Cancer to drop you isn’t that easy. These tenacious, determined little crustaceans don’t let go easily—not by a long shot. Anyone who’s ever attempted to break up with a Cancer knows that these signs will fight it out until the earth is scorched and you’re left bruised bloodied. Cancer isn’t afraid of banging their head against a brick wall, and they damn sure won’t give up a perfectly good relationship that swiftly.
Cancerian folks despise confrontation and conflict, so while they may not straight-up dump you in the traditional sense, they will absolutely scuttle off in search of a safer shell should they catch even the faintest whiff of a threat. Boldfaced aggression is seen as jarring and disrespectful to somewhat-serious crustaceans, as is persistent romantic or sexual advances that continue after Cancer has (usually gently) communicated their disinterest. Change, especially when abrupt or unplanned, is Cancer’s kryptonite. These signs dislike surprises, secrets kept from them, and irresponsible spontaneity. Shaking up a Cancer’s shell-encased world will definitely rattle them, freaking them out enough to flee.
Crabs place family relationships on a pedestal, holding elders and parents in skyscraping regard. A clear-cut way to extinguish Cancer’s romantic spark is to lob disrespectful or impoliteness at family members. If they’re your family, you’ll put a bitter distaste in Cancer’s mouth forever; but if they happen to be members of their family, well, that just plain isn’t advised, my friend—unless you think you can handle Cancer’s seething, stormy ire, and daggers that seem to fly from their eyeballs. (Newsflash: Basically no one can handle Cancer’s wrath—except for maybe passionate Scorpio and dry Capricorn.) Cancer-born people are notorious for their tight relationships with their mothers especially, so insulting one’s mother makes for a can’t-fail strategy for repelling Cancer forever.
The most mortal threat you can leverage against a Cancer is forcing vulnerability upon them before they’re ready—if they are ever ready, that is. No one puts crabby Cancer in the corner, especially if you intend to pressure them into divulging their innermost thoughts and feelings or convince them to trust you. As one of the most psychically sensitive and empathic signs of the zodiac, Cancers can detect bullshit before you even spew it, so save the games for someone less intuitively inclined. Taking advantage of Cancer’s kindhearted nature and generosity is a surefire way to lose their love and friendship permanently. Trust is the key to opening all of Cancer’s doors, but once you’ve proven yourself untrustworthy, consider the entire relationship squandered—these signs have long, unforgivingly detailed memories.