Cancer Woman

There are two types of Cancer women. Those who are Mothers. And those who are Eternal Children. Often they cross, and you find both in one. Cancer is often the epitome of the feminine – moody, non-rational, alternately loving and cruel, unpredictable, gentle, soft, capable of surprising ruthlessness, and ultimately enigmatic and full of mystery.

Don’t think because she can cook, that she’s domesticated. Or that, because she likes children, she’s docile and has no ambitions of her own. Cancer women can be intensely possessive, driving, ambitious people. It’s just that they tend to live it through someone else: the husband, the lover, or the child.

Many Cancer women choose deliberately to play the role of Mother. They have a wonderful gift for making a home, for creating a warm, loving atmosphere, for dealing with gentleness with all the bruises – physical or emotional – which their loved ones incur. But don’t forget that the Mother Goddess, in the myth, has more than one face. Her domestic face heals, nurtures, supports. Her dark face is wild like the maenads who dance the sacred dance of Dionysus on the mountaintop and dismember the faun they catch. There are secret depths of emotional storms and a strange, matriarchal consciousness in the Cancer woman. Some Cancer women show this archaic attitude by seeing men essentially as sources to beget children. They hark back to the old days when the Mother ruled and the king was sacrificed every five years. For this kind of Cancer, all men are essentially children, to be cosseted, loved, and made pregnant by.

A relationship with this kind of Cancer is both frightening and a great challenge. Frightening because it can castrate a man. If you are always treated like a boy, you remain one; and if you weren’t before, you become one. On the other hand, meeting it with the challenge of masculinity can lead to a wonderfully dynamic, passionately, constantly stimulating love. In the ancient myths, it is the hero who challenges the power of the Mother – not by demeaning or subjugation or denial of her rights, but simply by affirmation of his manhood and his own destiny – who is truly the hero. There is a fascinating quality about many Cancer women because of this dark aspect to the sign, which is much in evidence in Cancer women. It beckons, it fascinates, it attracts, it repels. But safe and domesticated, it isn’t. Think again. The cooking may be great. But you need to understand the woman.

The Cancer woman, too, must create. Usually her creativity is expressed through the bearing of children. But at mid-life, when the children have begun to grow away and need a friend more than a Mother, many Cancerian women suffer a deep crisis of identity. Who am I? What is my own life about? This is the greatest challenge that can befall a Cancer woman. In a sense, Cancer women’s real life doesn’t begin until this stage of the journey. The first part of life is often bound up with the home and family, the natural and right and instinctual expression of all the femininity and creativity of the sign. But later on the world must become larger, and the family bigger – the reason, perhaps, why many Cancer women make such excellent teachers, counselors and therapists. The creativity must be shifted on to levels other than the biological – perhaps why so many Cancer women make such excellent painters, novelists, actresses with depth and subtlety in mid-life. The depth and richness of the Cancer woman shows itself most truly after thirty-five. It is a slow-maturing sign. Crabs don’t race like greyhounds. But the Cancer woman, often more oyster-like than crab-like, may take half a lifetime to grow her pearl – her wisdom about human nature, and the depth of her love for people and life. Perhaps this is the most mysterious of all the faces of the Mother: Sophia, which means, in Greek wisdom. And wisdom comes from the heart, not the intellect.

From the book “Astrology for Lovers,” written by Liz Green.

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