Cancer Lessons - Retaining Your Emotional Power

By Guru Rattana, Ph.D. - Issue #135 - July 5, 2007
Planetary Alignments
The Cancer Evolutionary Journey
Immature (needs to learn)Mature
Over protectiveProtects according to need
Avoids or denies feelingsHonors and feels feelings in the body
InsecureSecure within self
InsatiableSatisfied within oneself
Hides to feel safeFeels safe inside own shell
Accumulates thingsAble to let go of what is no longer useful
NeedyCan nurture self
FearfulAble to trust self and Divine connection
Need to control environmentsControls one's own reactions to situations
Sacrifices self and own needsCan give without losing connection with self
Over sensitiveAble to protect oneself and honor sensitivity
Confused by unconscious emotionsStays with feelings until can interpret messages
Feels vulnerableCreates own safe haven and energetic boundaries
Uncertain about own powers/strengths Connects within to power of tenacity and focus
MoodyFlows with shifts in emotions
Can be emotionally manipulatedFlexible and adaptable in own flow
CodependentAppropriately gives and receives
Where is My Cancer?

Like all the signs, not everyone has planets in Cancer. However, for the Crab archetype, the instinct to protect oneself in a secure environment, and the desire to give and receive nurturing, is part of everyone's make-up and birth chart. There are several ways to identify where and how Cancer energy plays out in our lives:

  1. The fourth house is the territory ruled by the Moon and associated with Cancer. Any planets in our 4th house are influenced by Cancer energy. The sign on the cusp of the 4th house indicates HOW we can feel secure and nurtured.
  2. Locating the house or houses that contain planets in Cancer, or have Cancer on the cusp, helps us identify the arenas in life where we confront our Cancer issues and display our Cancer traits.
  3. The house location of our natal Moon (ruler of Cancer), is also an indicator of how and where we play out our emotional issues and our quest for nurturing and inner connection.

The above ways all help us understand how and where our inner, emotional Cancer attributes find expression.

Paths to Power - Astrological Note

To extricate ourselves from the paradox of each sign, we can take advantage of some astrological strategies. One exit strategy from an apparent impasse is to learn from the opposing sign. The polarities are actually complements. The energies, qualities and insights from the opposing sign help us find resolution and bring us into wholeness.

Another strategy is to integrate the qualities and gifts of the previous sign. Since the progression of the Zodiac represents our evolutionary development, the previous sign always acts as a prerequisite for the next stage of our journey. If we have truly learned the lessons and integrated the qualities of the previous sign, our trek through our next stage of unfoldment is much more doable.

Gemini and Cancer - Listening and Feeling

Lets take the example of Gemini and Cancer. The progressive unfoldment of our sensory system works from seeing to hearing to feeling. If we have turned on our inner listening mechanism, we automatically activate our feeling mechanism. If we have not, the art of feeling escapes us. We continue to talk about our emotions as stories, instead of experiencing the energetic dynamic in our bodies. If this is the case, we need to take a step backwards into Gemini and focus our attention on listening before we hope to flow into the feeling mode.

The Zodiac signs that precede and follow each other exhibit dramatically different characteristics. On the other hand, the polarities are very similar. The polarities are either both feminine or both masculine. Gemini (air) and its polarity Sagittarius (fire) are both masculine energies. Cancer (water) and Capricorn (earth) are both feminine energies. Each polarity also expresses the same modality. Cancer and Capricorn are both Cardinal (active, initiating) signs. Gemini and Sagittarius are both mutable (flowing, accommodating, integrating) signs. Therefore the signs proceeding or following each other can offer us insights and strengths that elude the other.

The mental, male, detached, air energy of Gemini is just what Cancer needs when it lets itself get drawn into emotional dramas and then can't let go. Of course, part of the trick is to practice integrating Gemini attributes when the Sun is in Gemini, and integrating Cancer attributes when the Sun is in Cancer, etc. Being blissfully detached from emotional dramas might seem like a piece of cake, when the Sun is flooding us with playful Gemini vibes, but when the Sun sends waves of emotions through our being in Cancer, we better have a neutral mental anchor to cling to.

Likewise, our inner connection with our emotions, which embody the substance of our creativity, is the foundation which makes it possible for Leo to bring forth its creative projects into the world. Prepare now for the burst of creativity that awaits when the Sun shines in Leo.

Cancer and the 4th House

Cancer is a cardinal sign, which means that it initiates and takes action. Unlike Gemini, however, it is not interested in seeking out new activities simply to be stimulated by variety. Cancer is more concerned with orienting itself towards a specific goal. Cancer has more focused energy than dispersed Gemini.

Cancer and the 4th house are right at the bottom of the horoscope. This is the midnight point, when the old day dies and the new one is born. The cusp of the fourth house is the end and the beginning of life, where we first emerge and the soul enters into the corporeal body. This is our root, our home base and our foundation. The fourth house is our cornerstone, our karma and our connection with Mother Earth. Cancer is thus interested in putting down roots, creating a home, and maintaining a nurturing and supportive environment. Cancer has the need to feel safe, secure and cozy. Gemini can feel at home wherever it is. Caner needs a specific location, a place that it can call its own, and a resting place where it can draw sustenance.

In our Cancer phase we orient ourselves, define our direction, and focus on our goals. In our Cancer developmental process we develop the capacity to feel, and learn how to experience and care for our emotional body. In the Cancer arena we draw comfort, inspiration and a sense of belonging and continuity from our birth family, local or traditional customs, racial affiliation and national identification and heritage.(1)

Establishing Our Roots

Cancer needs security, stability, roots, and a secure environment. In their absence the Crab feels estranged, left out, insecure and needy. The question is, HOW can Cancer get these needs met without fostering dependency. Cancer thrives in a cozy, warm, comfortable home, with consistent emotional bonding with family. Cancer enjoys the emotional comfort it feels from the respect, acknowledgment, and cooperation from its family. The problem is that Cancer can become dependent upon external forms of nurturing, to the extent that it becomes invested in codependent relationships. The Crab feels fine when the support is there, but devastated when it is withdrawn. In this state of dependency the Crab lives in a state of anxious insecurity.

It is legitimate to need a safe environment, but the problem with immature Cancer is that it is intrinsically insecure. When its internal fear dominates its psyche, no environments, no relationships, no sweet talk can ever meet its needs. It is insatiable. Attempts to make everything OK lead to the need to control everything, and everyone around it, but trying to control anything or anybody external to ourselves never works: there is always another noise or annoyance to bother this highly sensitive sign. What Cancer must eventually learn, is that no environment or relationship is safe enough or dependable enough to substitute for our inner security, and an intimate relationship with our own emotional body and the Divine.

Cancer's Powers

The story of the Greek goddess of the grain harvest, Demeter, illustrates the Cancer psyche and powers. When Demeter's daughter, Persephone, was abducted by Hades and taken to the underworld, Demeter pined away until the Earth suffered and the crops failed. She has the power to ruin the harvest. Father Zeus dispatched Hermes to Hades to fetch Persephone and bring her home to her mother. Persephone was however allowed to stay with her mother only half of the year.

The Cancer Crab is a very delicate being. Its power lies deep within. Like Demeter, the Crab's behavior does not depend upon brute force. The Crab is not direct in its strategy. Immature Cancer gets what it wants by waiting it out, through emotional blackmail, and passive-aggressive behavior. Like Demeter, we can sulk until we get attention and finally get our way. The Crab simply withdraws into its shell and refuses to come out until it gets cooperation. In its shell-home, Cancer must learn how to feel safe, protected and in control. As it gets in touch with its powers of tenacity and inner focus, it establishes a secure relationship with itself and its Divine Connection.

Cancer has a reputation of being ambiguous and difficult to pin down. Cancer usually does not communicate directly. When confronted, the Crab maneuvers by biting at the ankles and snapping at the feet of its aggressor, rather than confronting him directly. Its action is decisive, and its hold invincible. From its grip, no one can extricate himself without shedding some blood. Inwardly it is a little shaky about itself and uncertain of its power and potential, which often makes it an easy target for birds of prey.(2)

The Crab is generally shy, nervous and impressionable. It is highly sensitive to the slightest noise or movement in its vicinity. It is not poisonous and seldom violent in temperament. To protect itself, it stays close to the safety of its own home, where it has its own power base, is its own authority, and own boss. The Crab needs familiarity to not feel vulnerable. Although it needs its own terms and its own tempo to operate effectively, Cancer is not a recluse. It needs to help others, feel needed, and be a valued member of society. It will sacrifice its life for a cause it believes in.

Cancer's Nature and Temperament

Cancer has very sensitive emotional and physical bodies. It can feel messages from its unconscious long before the conscious mind can compute what is going on, or interpret its messages. It is hard for Cancer to immediately identify what it is feeling, why it is feeling a certain way, and what it needs. Its real needs, desires and issues are often masked in attempts to cover up the anxiety it feels, but cannot logically understand.

Naturally nurturing, Cancer instinctively takes care of others, and especially those in need of assistance. It has a tendency to be overprotective, over-watchful, apprehensive, and anxious. An attentive parent, it fears that its child (human or creative) might be abducted. For Cancer, emotions and feelings are stronger than logic. The problem is, that it has a tendency to sacrifice its own creativity and needs, which can make it feel like a martyr. If it does so, it feels victimized by a lack of gratitude. Emotional turmoil arises when it does not feel acknowledged or appreciated for its emotional investment.

Water signs are adaptable. Their energy nurtures and provides sustenance. Cancer's nature is pliable, emotional, and sympathetic, and it is very productive when circumstances are supportive. Inaction makes Cancer feels uncomfortable. It desires to be engaged in some kind of movement.(3)

The Moon - Ruler of Cancer

We study the planet that rules a sign in order to understand it better. The Moon is the heavenly body associated with Cancer. Ironically, studying the Moon makes it clear why we have a hard time understanding Cancer. Cancer, like the Moon, is enigmatic and mysterious. Mercury, ruler of Gemini, symbolizes a mind which is consciously active. The Moon works on the psychic, instinctual, unconscious feeling level of being. The Moon is pure consciousness. One lesson of Cancer is to bring the unknown and the unconscious into consciousness, but waking up out of our unconscious state and becoming aware is a life time endeavor.

Add the fact that the Moon is in constant flux. It moves through one sign of the Zodiac in two and a half days. From our vantage point on Earth, the shape of the Moon is constantly changing. It is a shape-shifter. As the Moon changes, so do our feelings, emotions and instincts.

The shifting Moon continuously affects our moods and creates psychological changes in our psyche and in our bodies. Women are especially impacted by the changes of the Moon. The Moon bestows mysterious occult powers over life and death, and awakens us to the gifts of intuition, instinctual awareness, feelings and nurturance.

The Moon is the giver of form. It is responsible for both the birth and the death of form. The Moon also generates emotional attachment to the form she creates. The Crab tenaciously hangs on with its claws, but its attachment is not just to form. Unconscious habits, and the desire power of unmet needs, generate a force that resists letting go.

Lessons of the Cancer Archetype

The Cancer archetype helps us discover and develop our emotional body and feelings.

The most feminine sign, Cancer, teaches us that if we try to override or ignore our feelings, we will be unable to know what we need, or to express ourselves honestly and authentically. Our feelings offer valuable information as well as self nurturance. If we do not allow our emotional body to nurture us, we feel discontent. Without an intimate relationship with our emotional body, we find that we have needs that we can't identify, and hungers that cannot be satisfied. We unsuccessfully try to satisfy these cravings with food, work and other addictions. Our body remembers and stores unexpressed emotions, holding them until we are ready to experience them, or until illness induces us to face them.(4)

Moving toward emotional connection and maturity are Cancer's soul lessons. The Crab teaches us that it is through our emotional body that we discover the meaning, purpose and core lessons of our life situations. We grow by embracing our emotions, in a way that we can put both the past and the present into perspective. The more we relate to our emotions as the substance of our soul, the more we embody our true essence.

Cancer/Capricorn Polarity

Cancer and the 4th house link us to our past. Capricorn and the 10th house draw us to the future. Cancer pulls us into our emotional center. Capricorn pulls us into the world. When our home base and emotional foundation is strong, we have more success in the world.

Cancer represents the mother principle in nature, the biological mother, emotions, home, private life, inner peace, the hearth, the depth of one's being, and material comfort. Like Cancer, its polarity Capricorn is also a dutiful, parenting sign. Capricorn is dependable, responsible, strict, austere, practical, realistic, grounded, and objective. In the 10th House of Capricorn, we emerge into the outside world. Our career, profession and social status are vehicles to accomplish our aspirations and ambitions, and to achieve public standing. Both Cancer and Capricorn are prudent, serious, thrifty, cautious, conservative, frugal, organized and efficient.

Ruled by the Moon, the whole month of Cancer (June 21st through July 21st) is infused with the full gambit of new and full moon energies.

Capricorn Full Moon - June 30th - Our Destiny in the World

The issues of the two opposing polarities are played out at the Full Moon. Full moons are a time to evaluate our progress and to adjust our course. Cancer asks us "What is the state of our inner being? Is our emotional energy engaged in drama or dharma?" Capricorn asks us, "What is the state of our position in the world?" Capricorn asks us:

  1. to compare what we want and feel we should be doing against what we are actually doing,
  2. to evaluate our current responsibilities,
  3. to define reasonable commitments,
  4. to set and respect boundaries, and
  5. to live within practical limits. As we do so, we attain deeper levels of maturity and self-fulfillment.

This full moon, and the month in Cancer, bring our attention to the fact that the gap between our current life course and our soul path is impacted by old beliefs, emotional imprints, and learned behaviors that do not align with our soul purpose. We feel the evolutionary spiritual imperative, of releasing influences from our past that no longer serve us.

Cancer New Moon - July 14th - The State of Our Shell

New Moons are appropriate times to set new intentions and envision new outcomes, but before we do, we need to take a look at where we are. The Cancer New Moon asks us to examine the State of our Shell. It is the state of our shell that holds our inner and outer realities together. If our shell is too thick, we imprison, limit and isolate ourselves in a restricted world. If it is too thin, we lack the boundaries that make it possible to define and separate ourselves from others. Too thin, we feel vulnerable, unprotected and unsafe and unable to meet life's challenges with courage.

Inside our shell, we need to check in with our body, emotions, and our soul. If we distance ourselves from our emotional waters, we lack connection with our soul. If we are too immersed in our emotional waters, we can't find the stable shore where manifestation is possible. Inside our shell we can find out what is sustaining us.

Cancer reminds us of how our needs and requirements change. What was once beneficial, protective and sustaining can become toxic, constrictive or simply not useful. We are always making some kind of adjustments, but every once in a while we have to shed our old shell so we can grow and evolve to the next level. This new moon helps us awaken to both subtle and dramatic levels of our growth process.

Pluto Aligns wih the Galactic Center

Pluto at 27° Sagittarius aligns with the Galactic Center during this new moon (exact on July 17th). The conjunction of Pluto with the Galactic Center occurs every 240 years. It represents the closing of an era and the dismantling of the beliefs and structures that supported it.(5) The alignment occurs three times. The first was December 28th, 2006. The third will be October 28th, 2007. Pluto exposes the shadow and suppressed part of our individual and collective psyches.

When the walls of old structures come down, the contents of our closets get exposed. To move to a higher level of consciousness, we have to clean out our personal and collective closets. The remodeling of both our personal and Earth homes can be messy and create disorientation. We will experience a certain amount of chaos for sure. Even in our victories there will be chaos, because something is fundamentally shifting. We need to closely examine what is transpiring.

We have to act, but we have to be clear about our intentions, and what motivates our actions. We are not involved in typical political fights or interpersonal dramas. Have you noticed? Something very significant is transpiring. The outcome of our tests can now deliver us to a higher level of participation, creativity and consciousness. We are being challenged to approach our death experiences from the point of view of rebirth, not from the stance of loss and destruction. We are being invited to apply the principles of Light so that our victories are not superficial. Our goal is to fill the gaps in our consciousness with light and gratitude, so the dark side will be unable to win and take over again.

Rebirth requires transformation. Transformation requires infusing light where there was once darkness. It is time to open new doors to expanded awareness and innovative vistas. The process of growth always involves endings and beginnings. Cancer teaches us that our feelings are an accurate guide to release us from wounding, welcome us into wholeness and to guide us into a promising future.

Our Conciousness Influences Future Outcomes

People are always trying to predict the future. Our need to know is partly a reflection of a desire to feel secure, but it is also a reflection of not wanting to take responsibility for what we are creating. When we approach predictions in terms of the impact of our actions, we realize that what we do in the present creates our future. If we want to influence possible outcomes, we can be aware of, and work with, the energies that are impacting us.

We can't predict exactly HOW astrological changes, for example, will influence our lives, and what the global outcomes will be. But one thing is certain; possible outcomes in our personal and collective lives are greatly influenced by our level of consciousness. If we are living in victim or control consciousness, we'd better make sure we know how to run for our lives. If we are tuned into the peace channel in our mind and heart, the higher frequencies of any situation and astrological configuration can be delightfully supportive.

Have you noticed that your prayers are working? That your intentions are bringing what you want into manifestation? That your healing meditations are actually helping people heal? That when you need something, it appears? Pay attention, and you may recover your sense of wonder and trust in the support of the spiritual realms.(6) To connect to the higher levels of consciousness, the magic mantra is THANK YOU!

Mercury and Other Planets Retrograde

Mercury went retrograde June 15th at 12° Cancer. Mercury will gently slide direct July 9th at 7:16pm PDT. I hope you are taking advantage of this opportunity to be quietly with yourself and to turn your attention inward. If you really LISTEN carefully, you may find that you actually desire to turn your attention to the cosmic sound and peace inside. Even if, for only brief moments, the pull toward the inner peace channel, and away from the thought-filled analytical mind, can be very healing. Just to remind you, Mercury (and our mind!) is so active, that it needs this retrograde time 3 times each year in order to slow down, develop its capacity to listen, clear its mental burdens, unwind and relax.

Uranus went retrograde on June 23rd at 19° Pisces, and stays in apparent backward movement through November 24th. If we stay tuned, the radical awakener can wake us up internally, without having to create more drastic wake-up calls.

Jupiter went retrograde April 5th at 20° Sagittarius. It will go direct August 6th at 10° Sagittarius.

Neptune and Pluto are both still retrograde as well.

Relax and Renew, 2nd Edition, by Guru Rattana, Ph.D.

Relax and Renew by Guru Rattana, Ph.D. takes stress reduction to the level of spiritual resolution. The techniques offered in this book don't just cover up the symptoms, they completely cure the problem!

• New, fully revised and expanded 2nd Edition

• Over 100 Yoga Sets & Meditations

• 240 information-packed pages

• Relax & Release stress in 2-11 minutes

• Rejuvenate your Body

Kundalini Yoga - Feeling Meditation on Your Container and its Contents

Water is the substance that sustains all life. Water in its pure form is colorless, odorless and formless. It assumes the shape of the vessel that contains it. The water in our body takes on the vibration of our emotions. Since we are 70-95 % water, (when we are born we are 95% water but we dehydrate as we get older), the quality of our water element is a major factor in determining the quality of our life.

Since our emotions represent the water element of our being, the vibration of our emotions determines our frequency and how we feel, e.g. if we feel stressed or relaxed, anxious or satisfied, peaceful and relaxed. It is thus important to connect with our emotions, monitor our feelings, and do our best to raise our emotional vibration to the frequency of peace and love. Below are some suggestions on how to tailor your Kundalini Yoga practice to cultivate emotional balance and tranquility.

(1) Connect in Your Body

Like the Crab, to feel secure, we must feel safe in our body. Our first task is thus to be present in our body and feel that all our sensations are contained inside our skin. In this way, we build a feeling sense of our body as the container for all our sensations, including all the feelings of our emotional body. We enhance our connection with our body by doing first chakra exercises such as frog pose, archer pose, and all standing exercises.

(2) Feel Belly and Solar Plexus

As we begin to feel that our body is the vessel that contains our emotions, we allow ourselves to feel the variety and ever-changing flow of emotions inside our body/skin. We connect with our emotional body by feeling the sensations in our belly and our solar plexus. Whatever we feel anxious, jittery, agitated or content, relaxed and peaceful, this is the vibration of our emotional body, and the water element of our being at this time.

(3) Long Deep Breathing

Our next and on-going task is to soothe, calm, nurture and relax our emotional energy. One of the quick and easy ways is to slow down our breath, and to do long deep breathing through our left nostril. Allow spaces between each exercise in your Kundalini Yoga practice, to let your breath slow down and your physical and emotional bodies relax.

(4) Spinal Grinds

A very easy and effective exercise to calm down the emotional body is spinal grinds. Place your hands on your knees and slowly rotate your belly and lower spine. Do this with the breath and a mantra, like SAT NAM attached to the breath. Our emotional energy is soothed by the rhythm, the breath and the internal sound of the mantra. Do this breathing, internal mantra and movement as a meditation. You can do it as long as you like. When you are done, simply let the external movement slow down, until the movement becomes internalized. Sit and be with your energy, and feel the dynamic aliveness within. Now check your belly and solar plexus and feel how they feel.

(5) Monitor Your Feelings during Kundalini Yoga Practice

There is a whole section of quick stress reduction exercises and dozens of meditations and kriyas in Relax and Renew 2nd Edition. Pick any one that feels good to you and practice it. Monitor your emotional vibration before and after your practice. Shifting emotional energy takes loving attention and consistent practice but, like water, it adapts to the container and how we hold it. Hold your feelings with love, kindness and total acceptance in your heart.

References and Footnotes

"Capricorn Full Moon, and Cancer New Moon", Austin, Stephanie, The Mountain Astrologer, Issue #133, June/July 2007, p. 102-3.

"Fundamentals of Vedic Astrology", Behari, Bepin, Lotus Press, 2003.

"Astrology and Spiritual Awakening", Bogart, Gregory C., Dawn Mountain Press, Berkeley, 1994.

"Archetypes of the Zodiac", Burt, Kathleen, Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, 2002.

1. Bogart, p. 33
2. Behari, p. 46
3. Behari, p. 47
4. Austin, p. 102
5. Austin, p. 103
6. Austin, p. 102


For news of all the latest astrological events, check out Guru Rattana Blog