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The zodiac sign of Cancer is symbolised by the crab, a land and sea-dwelling side-stepping crustacean that carries its home wherever it goes. 

Cancer, the first water sign of the zodiac, has deeply emotive and intuitive energy to it. Ruled by The Moon and linked to the fourth house, notions of home, house and domestic life are vital to the homebody Cancerian. Family and loved ones in their care are of the utmost importance. 

Cancer’s strong emotional body can become a problem if not managed and governed correctly. The sign has a tendency towards moodiness, worry and defensiveness. If emotions, the subconscious and the intuition are not aligned and expressed openly and with ease, the Cancerian can find themselves alienated by their own hands, or pincers.

Curious about the crustacean of the zodiac? Read on! 


  • Dates: June 22nd – July 22nd 
  • Ruling planet: The Moon
  • Natural house: Forth house
  • Element: Water
  • Quality: Cardinal
  • Symbol: The crab
  • Motto: I feel
  • Keywords: Sensitive, emotional, imaginative, protective, maternal, caring, sympathetic, nurturing, romantic, intuitive, clinging, insecure, nostalgic

Cancer season

Once Gemini season and its restless, frenetic and communicative energy draws to a close, Cancer, the crab, walks into the waters of the ocean in search of peace, calm and solitude. The ‘all over the place’ nature of restless Gemini needs to be contained and drawn back to a central point. 

With this, Cancer season is a time to come home. Home is not a literal concept but a figurative one, so the process of coming home’ can be either to a physical, emotional or even spiritual place. The heady intellect of the mercurial Gemini season that would have passed is a busy and exciting period, but Cancer season is a time to come back to your heart. It’s a time to take stock of your emotions and get into your feelings.

Cancer Symbolism

Cancer is symbolised by the crab. This slow-moving crustacean is an interesting one as it carries its home with it, wherever it goes. It is known for its hard shell which houses the soft fleshy body of the animal. Here, it retreats by drawing into itself whenever it feels threatened or attacked by exterior forces. 

Without this protective gear, it would be completely exposed and vulnerable – an emotion that Cancerians don’t often feel too comfortable expressing. The crab is also adorned with pincers. These often large defence mechanisms are tools for both protection and keeping others at a distance. 

Crabs are able to live both on land and sea. This leads to the sign’s both physical and emotional abilities.

Ruling planet: The Moon

Cancer is ruled by one of the two luminaries, The Moon. In Greek mythology, Selene was the goddess of the moon. Sister to Helios, the god of the sun, Selene would drive the moon through the sky to light up the dark, as her brother would do for the day, driving his sun chariot across the sky in daylight hours.

The moon has historically been linked with bodies of water, particularly the ocean. The fluctuation of the moon’s lunar cycles are linked to the tides of the ocean. The connection between the moon and water directly parallels the sign of Cancer and the qualities of the sign. 

Sun Sign Cancer: Personality and Traits

If you are born between June 22nd and July 23rd, your sun sign is Cancer. 

The sign of emotion and sensitivity, Cancer is receptive, imaginative and rather conservative in its being. Deeply passionate about and protective over its family, Cancer’s loyalty to the ones they love can be exemplary. A cardinal sign, Cancerians can be extremely enterprising and self-asserting. This, together with a strong command of their emotions, sensitivities, intuitions and softness, can make for an interesting character. 

Cancer personality positive traits

  • Sensitive
  • Imaginative
  • Caring
  • Devoted to family
  • Kind

Cancer is a water sign, so it is emotive by nature. Those born with their Sun in Cancer or strong placements in Cancer will notice a tendency towards emotive expressions or emotional behaviours. Cancer also has a deeply intuitive and imaginative quality to it. This, teamed with the depth of emotion, can develop a rich personality and lead to sound intuitive instincts.

Cancer is a cardinal sign, so, despite its emotional nature, the sign has a self-starting, initiating and driven quality to it. Cancerians have a tremendous ability to work and get things done. Their minds, if left to work instinctively, will lead to clear decision making and clever problem-solving.  

Cancerians tend to have a preference for continuity and consistency. Order, structure and method are often appreciated, particularly in their work and careers, and they do not favour change. 

Ruled by The Moon, those born under the sign can have mothering, nurturing and life-sustaining characteristics. Cancer is linked to the Fourth House, and thus the sign is closely linked to the home, house, the interior, and concepts thereof – in both a literal and figurative sense. Cancer is the energy of protection over these things, protection over the home and those within it; the energy of encasing or covering in order to keep it safe. 

In the literal sense, Cancerians are homebodies. They are strongly attached to the home, a sense of domestic life and the mother or mother archetype. 

They love having a home to make up and show off and need domestic security for a sense of happiness. Even if a Cancerian likes to travel a lot, they’ll appreciate a home base to return to frequently. They may not stay here for long periods of time, but they like having this safety net or safe space to return to. This home base is key as it is a pace for them to retreat to, to recoup and recover in. It’s like a safe space that nurtures them and allows them to venture out into the world and exert their cardinal presence. 

Another aspect of the home sense is Cancer’s maternal nature. Those born with their Sun in Cancer or strong unafflicted placements in Cancer, can display a caring and nurturing quality about them, almost effortlessly. They can make excellent partners as they are compassionate, express emotions easily and have pure love to give. They can have a sentimentality to them; giving well thought out gifts and holding onto old cards and mementoes. 

They have a strong need to protect both themselves and their families from all threats. There is a real loving-kindness to the Cacneran, despite sometimes snappy and self-assertive layers. They make for fabulous friends as they’re extremely loyal and caring for those they love. 

Cancer personality negative traits

  • Selfish
  • Snappy
  • Self-centred
  • Defensive
  • Moody

As one of the three water signs, Cancer’s deep quality of emotions can sometimes be its downfall. They are a victim to their emotion, which can fluctuate and change from caring and compassionate one moment to harsh toward others and self-pitying the next. 

They also have a tendency to worry. Together with an active imagination and strong intuition, their emotions, if not carefully governed, can lead to excessive worry, negative thoughts and overprotectiveness of self and loved ones.  

Cancerians can be unstable and unreliable at times. They live in their feelings and sometimes are totally unaware of this. Sometimes, Cancerians, when they are in their negative, can be selfish and self-centred. Excessive thoughts, procrastination and timidity, can creep in. 

Also, they can be downright moody. Their hyper-awareness of their emotions can make them oversensitive at times; this can lead to insecurities and inferiority complexes when trying to assert themselves. If the Cancerian experiences this together with a lack of idealism, they can slip into a dreamy and disconnected, almost lethargic way of life. 

Fluctuating like the waves of the ocean, they can oftentimes fall into a slump or get into a funk. Due to their watery, emotive natures, it can be difficult to shake. Heavy emotions and in extreme cases, depression, can occur with Cancerians. There is a tendency for Cancerians to hold onto the past. This obsessive sense of sentimentality and nostalgia can lead to clinging and hoarding of things that others may deem unnecessary. 

There is a depth of feeling, of emotion, of a sense of being with Cancer. This is due to the signs’ deeply subconscious nature. There are things hiding and kept secret; nothing is direct, to the point or clear with a Cancerian. Cancer responds to the world through feeling. Their strong initiative natures can make it difficult to separate thought from emotion. They can appear elusive and seem indecisive at times. Unlike other signs who respond through their mind, intellect or actions, Cancer will need emotional clarity and a sense of calm before tackling problems. 

They tend to hide their emotions and deny their inner feelings. It’s almost as if they wear a mask for the public that disguises their vulnerable and sometimes timid natures. This ‘mask’ often serves as a barrier or defence against the outside world and the harshness therein. 

This ‘mask’ or ‘shell’ is where the Cancerian will withdraw or retreat when they feel upset or any uncomfortable emotion arises. They can snap at others, and even at the smallest insensitivity, will either retreat, shut down or jump to their defence – as symbolised by the crab’s defensive pincers.

The duality of the sign; its emotional and homebody self, opposed with its ambitious and outgoing nature; can cause serious conflict in the personality. There is also a deep yearning for approval and a sense of belonging. Cancer wants to be a part of the whole, but it demands success so badly that it can alienate itself and cut people out in order to achieve it. 

In the early years, Cancerian children can be shy and bashful. As their instinctive, defensive and protective shells start to develop in young years, it is important for those in the parental role to encourage courage and bravery in the child. Cancerian children love home security more than others. 

Cancer and health

In medical astrology, Cancer is associated with the stomach and difficulties in the digestive system. This can be exacerbated by the Cancerian tendency toward worry. Diet is important for this reason. Cancer is not a vital sign and is sluggish in nature. In life, Cancerians may find it difficult to exercise or find the motivation to move their bodies. This, together with potential digestive problems, can spell trouble in later life. 

Cancer, the sign, is associated with the breasts. This is also evident by the glyph of the sign. While the zodiac sign has nothing to do with the medical illness, cancer, it is worth women – regardless of placements of Cancer in the chart – get their breasts checked regularly. 

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