Cancer Symbolism

Cancer is the sign of the World Mother who gives form to the seed implanted in her womb by the Father.  Cancer represents the process of the growth of the’ soul through the sustaining efforts of the life forces. Thus Cancer embodies the principle of tenacity. When a crab holds on to something with its claw, one has to cut the limb off in order to retrieve the grasped object. This “never-let-go” quality is quite typical of Cancer’s character.

On one level, the glyph for the Crab  depicts the merger of the male spermatozoon with the female ovum. The symbol is one of the process of fertilization, the first coming together of the physical properties necessary to form a new life. Cancer is therefore an extremely powerful sign, for the pulsating life-force is so strong within.

Each of the zodiacal emblems is a pictograph of the part of the body ruled by the specific sign. Cancer is obviously the breasts. This is shown as the two smaller circles each attached to a semicircle. One semicircle is turned upward, the other faces down. This means that Cancer is constantly occupied with gathering in the necessary resources so that her children are always given the nutrition vital to life. We therefore find a certain vacillatory dualism inherent in the Crab’s character. On the one claw, Cancer people are extremely generous with their feelings and possessions, but on the other, they are constantly plotting to possess the object of their generosity.

Alan Oken

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