Cancer is the cardinal water sign. The symbol for Cancer is the crab, and its horoscope glyph is the sidewise depiction of the claws of a crab.

The symbol of the crab is very telling – like the crab that retreats into its shell when it is threatened, Cancer disengages and retreats from contact when its feelings are hurt. Being a water sign, emotions are valued more than anything else, and the give and take of feelings are essential to a Cancer’s continued good health.

Being a cardinal sign in water, Cancer’s actions are motivated by feeling. They need to feel emotionally connected to an activity to get it started–the connection may take the form of possession or ownership of an activity that they can grow and nurture.

The watery world in which Cancer finds solace also makes it somewhat moody, akin to the ebb and flow of tides. The moodiness is quite obviously expressed – others around can clearly sense when Cancer has begun to retreat, or when it’s about to engage.

More broadly, Cancer people wear their emotions on their sleeve. Tears and laughter both come easy, and the are so expressive emotionally that they don’t need to put their feelings into words. And because of this, they can connect with others at an instinctive gut level, bypassing rational thought and  circumspection.

On the other hand, such deep contact with emotions can lead to a lot of ups and downs in how Cancer deals with others. Cancer is tentative in its give and take, trying to assess feelings, and wary of being hurt. This makes Cancer shy and reserved, not the kind that make or need a lot of friends. Cancer folks are retiring by nature and need a lot of me time to process their emotions in a quiet place where they will not be disturbed. 

Cancer people love their home, which is a safe haven from the outside world. Family means a lot to them, and in a broader sense, they place great importance on culture and tradition. Cancer is very much the mother, at its best when it is nurturing or caring for another human, or a pet. Most Cancer people, irrespective of gender, enjoy cooking and feeding, thereby indulging in the most fundamental kind of nurturing.

Keywords for Cancer: Naked Emotions, Nurturing, Food, Home, Family, Culture, Ancestry, Country, History, Tradition, Shy, Moody, Zany 

Find out if any of the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, or Mars in your horoscope are in Cancer. If the Sun or Moon are in Cancer, understand which of the Cancer qualities described in this post most resonate with you–the Sun and Moon color the entire personality. If Mercury, Venus, or Mars are in Cancer, then you need to understand how certain Cancer qualities might find expression in the way you communicate (Mercury), relate (Venus), or assert yourself (Mars). The post on Water Signs spells out more specifics for Mercury, Venus, and Mars expressions in the water signs.

Following are the personality sketches of a few public figures who have the Sun in Cancer. See how Cancer qualities permeate their lives.

Anthony Bourdain (Died 2018). Chef, TV Personality.
Cook, chef, creator and host of travel/food show on international culture and cuisine. Advocate for communicating the values of traditional or peasant foods. Author of fiction and historical non fiction.

Angela Merkel. Politician.
Long time Chancellor of Germany, health care reformist, advocate of cultural assimilation of immigrants, decreed policy to give asylum to refugees.

Frida Kahlo. Painter.
Famous artist, renowned for her portraits, self portraits, and works inspired by the nature and artifacts of her native country. Inspired by the country’s popular culture, she employed a naive folk art style to explore questions of identity, post colonialism, gender, class, and race in society.


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