Persons born from June 22 to July 24, or those who have this sign rising at birth (which can be ascertained only through a knowledge of the hour of birth), will come under the dominion of the watery, cardinal and maternal sign Cancer, symbolized by the Crab, which is ruled by the Moon, the "Time Measure" and the ruler of the senses.

The active and passive types characteristic of Cancer are more clearly differentiated than those of any other sign.


In the active type the skull is long and the face aquiline. The complexion is rubicund, the eyes piercing, the mouth usually thin and firm, the chin pointed, the jaws sometimes suggesting the mandibles of the crab. The body is somewhat large and not very well proportioned. There is something a little clumsy in its appearance. The bodily strength is generally great, but there is a decided liability to disease, especially the kinds that come from self-indulgence.

In striking contrast to this picture is that presented by the passive type. Here we find at its fullest the influence of the element of water, accentuated by that very similar force, the Moon, the ruler of this sign. Here there is nothing whatever masculine to balance. The head is unusually {38} large and broad-skulled, so much so that sometimes it is even broader than it is long. The face is round and flat, the complexion is very pale and has a look as of unhealthy fatness. The mouth is usually large, greedy and sensual; the nose is wide and snub, often extremely turned-up. The eyes are large and often pale, and the arching eyebrows give an expression of placid curiosity. The hair is usually blond or of an indefinite color. When black, it is unusually black, very straight, and dull rather than glossy. The body is squat, with sort, rounded limbs, and in the case of women has abnormally large development above the waist.

This appearance is that of a pure Cancer type, but in its passive aspect the sign readily takes impression from any planet that happens to be strong in the horoscope. In both types there is a tendency to become very fleshy in later life, even when this does not manifest itself in youth. People with this sign rising are very liable to illness, especially chronic illness. There seems little resistance or recuperative power in the tissues. Everything in its vicinity tends to mix with water, and Cancer is more prone to contract disease than almost any other sign. The weakest point is in the digestion. The arrangements for nutrition are sluggish, and almost any organ is likely to degenerate. Physical laziness is a marked characteristic of this type; bursts of energy may be frequent, but only when under the influence of some strong motive. The general characteristics of water and the Moon are thus adequately represented in the physical habit of the Cancer native.

The appetite is unusually large and is indulged indiscriminately. It is very frequently of a morbid type, the {39} Cancer native preferring the foods that are worst for him, such as sweets or condiments. This doubtless conduces to the general ill health which one so often finds with the sign. In fact, the typical Cancer native is never really healthy, for in a proper definition of health we must include energy and activity, and in pure examples of people with Cancer rising these rarely exist. The active type is much less liable than the passive to any of these discomforts.

The type of disease will probably be determined by the position of the Moon or by the ruler of the sixth house and his aspects. For example, the ruler of Madame Blavatsky’s sixth house is Jupiter, which is in Aquarius, retrograde in the eight house in opposition to the Sun. A dropsical condition is easy to predict from such a configuration. There is a great liability to death in early childhood, but if these dangers are avoided, and they may be by careful training on the part of the parents, who should be particularly careful to correct signs of morbid or excessive appetite, there is not likely to be much trouble until the age when diseases consequent on self-indulgence become threatening. If these are avoided, the type is rather long-lived, unless there is something to disturb it; it does not disturb itself. There is, however, always a fear of degeneration of cell or alteration in tissue. Diseases such as Addison’s or diabetes are very common; so also are all kinds of malignant growths.

Cancer rules the stomach and solar plexus, and sympathetically the head and kidneys. It is most necessary that those born under this sign be very careful in all matters pertaining to their digestive organs, as they are susceptible to inflammatory diseases, infections and tumors. If {40} they are not wise in the selection of their diet, or if their constitution becomes depleted, they are likely to suffer from asthma, bronchitis, loose coughs, gastric disturbances, weak digestion and kidney complications. Under suppression or excessive use of alcohol, they may develop ulceration of the stomach. Women born strongly under Cancer frequently have ovarian trouble.

All people born under influence of Cancer find it difficult to withstand bodily suffering. They are inclined to exaggerate their symptoms to such an extent as to bring on the very disease they fear. They abhor pain and are very trying patients. Unless they are exposed to contagion, or they abuse nature’s laws, these people should enjoy excellent health after they reach adolescence. As children they are just like sensitive plants and are likely to be very delicate, particularly during the first four years of life.


In the moral, as in the physical world, there is an extreme contrast between the active and passive types presented by Cancer. It will be simplest to describe them separately, leaving the question of modified or mixed types to be adjusted to each particular case by the Astrologer. Cancer being a cardinal sign of water, represents the most active or fiery part of water, that quality of water which makes it the most universal of solvents, eating up solids in a way similar to that of fire itself. It must not be considered paradoxical to speak of the fiery part of water; in nearly all cases the solution of a solid body in water generates energy which manifests itself in heat. {41} When sulphuric acid is mixed with water, the temperature of the liquid is raised almost to boiling point, while the solution of caustic soda in water generates so much heat than an engine has been devised to use this for its source of energy. There was, therefore, nothing unphilosophical in the theory of the alchemists and early chemists when they described every substance as composed of the four elements in varying proportions.

With regard to the active type of Cancer, we shall not forget that it is water, but we must not think of water as passive, easily molded, incapable of offering resistance, quiet and reflective. That is rather the type of water represented by Pisces, or by the passive type in which Cancer’s natural acerbity is modified by the influence of the Moon. We must think of it as the corrosive element, as the sea which eats away great cliffs, eternally breaking back upon itself, and eternally coming on again, wave upon wave, until it has eaten up the defiance of the cliffs. This image is very accurate in describing the method of attack of the native. He does not expect to gain his ends immediately. Rebuffs do not perturb him in the least. It is all part of the business. He is broken to pieces apparently, but he goes on exactly as if nothing had happened. One sees excellent examples of this method in the lives of William Blake and Madame Blavatsky. These were both persons of what may be called the prophetic type. The corrosive action is shown in the subtlety and persistence of their criticism, which has produced such immense results on the trend of the thought of the world. Not in either was there vehemence of swordstroke. The method employed was insidious. Constant rebuffs had no effect upon the work of Blake. He went on with a serene {42} confidence that he was dissolving the conventional ideas of right and wrong. The same is true of Blavatsky. In face of the most damaging attacks, she persisted quietly and on the rare occasions when extreme provocation caused her to lose her temper, she was the first to recognize her error, and continue her submarine operations, so to speak. It is impossible for a thoroughly educated person nowadays to hold the view that salvation, whatever that may be, is the prerogative of some particular creed.

Blavatsky may be fairly given great credit for this fact and she helped to bring about this revolution without destroying religion, merely by showing the essential harmonies in apparent diversity. Her share in this work is really much larger than that of science, which used a purely destructive formula. Blavatsky did not destroy the barriers and the warring faiths with them. She merely dissolved the artificial dams.

People with Cancer rising do not attack effects; they they seek causes and undermine them. For this reason, such people constitute a serious menace to established order. Their work is accomplished while people are still pointing them out as examples of fatuity and failure. Swinburne is another example of this principle. The world is extremely lucky to have had three such persons within a century. Swinburne had been tabooed, reformed, and nullified. Victorianism was convinced that he was a negligible quantity, but the younger generation knew him by heart and was already acting on his revolutionary conceptions. Victorianism died without knowing that it was sick.

A fourth member of this revolutionary Cancer body was Huxley, who sapped dogmatic Christianity in the same {43} insidious way that the other three had used on somewhat different planes. A perusal of his essays on the subject will be found extraordinarily illuminating on the method of attack characteristic of natives of this sign. He says such innocent things. He leads his opponent on from one apparent victory to another, until the latter is suddenly overwhelmed by the realization that Huxley has been causing him, without his knowing it, to admit the very propositions which he set out most strenuously to deny. The educated world was leavened with Huxley’s agnosticism, even while it was proclaiming that the school of Darwin had been superseded.

The vision of these people is usually comprehensive and idealistic. They always think in large units of time and space. There is a strong tendency to the poetic or romantic view of the Universe. Life is to them a species of knight-errantry. They understand themselves as pilgrims or as guardians of some grail. Even a comparatively fleshy type like Byron pictures himself as his own "Manfred." In fact, there is a tendency for the individual, even when he is not a prophet, to regard himself as one. It may be that the Cancer native is a little apt to overlook the practical details of life. His imagination may bewilder him, so that he takes windmills for giants. Furthermore, this quality often causes extreme conceit and egotism. The habitual exaltation of one’s self or one’s functions frequently leads to contempt and lack of consideration for others. This is a fault against which the native should be constantly on his guard, for it is in reality the most terrible threat, even against the vision itself, which he so dearly cherishes.

Although Cancer represents the fiery part of water, {44} even its most active form retains the quality of reflection, but moving water distorts and exaggerates these images. We may say here that in the passive type of Cancer this reflection becomes enormously important. Cancer is preeminently the sign of memory and its natives dwell intensely upon the past, having a profound affection for everything that represents rest and serenity, but in the active type this quality is transmuted; the images of the past are magnified and idealized. In the Tarot, "The Chariot" is the card attributed to Cancer and the Charioteer is, in one sense, the herald of the divine, of the god-man or Messiah, who comes into the world to create a new era. The herald, therefore, has no conception in consciousness of the message which is to come, and he gets his ideas by reference to antiquity.

Thus we see Blake going back to the Old Testament for his inspiration; Blavatsky founding her philosophy on the Vedas; Swinburn exalting Paganism; and Huxley arguing about the Eohippus. The adoration of the past has a tendency to falsify the picture and there is little sense of true proportion.

Consequently we find the native of Cancer drawing the absurd caricatures of the periods which he happens to affect. Consider for a moment the eighteenth century. There is the Watteau shepherd-and-nymph Versailles idea of it. There is the oppression of the poor, spiritual-deadness idea of it. The philosopher will not take one without the other, but people with Cancer rising do not see this. They ignore everything but that which suits their purpose. Thus, though devoted to history, they make the most untrustworthy historians. The effect of this romantic temperament is to make the Cancer native rather inspiring as a teacher or guide. People like to have things {45} painted "couleur de rose." They dislike people who point out that the Knights of the Round Table are but an astrological legend and that whatever knights there were at the period slept on dirty straw. They are even more offended if the same thing is said about Jesus or Buddha, each with his twelve disciples, with some allusion to the fact that Easterners do not use forks in eating.

The Cancer native is rarely of a strong intellectual type. He lives far too much in sensation and emotion. He may be spiritually developed to a high extent, but rarely gets rid of ethical implication. He is bound by conventions, not those which he finds close at hand but those of the period of history that excites his admiration. He is, therefore, often extremely superstitious, in the true sense of the world. He is scrupulous in fulfilling conventions whose very object may have been forgotten.

The type is extremely sensitive in its emotion. You cannot destroy its activity by ridicule, but it will feel the wound personally. There is a distinct tendency to go hunting martyrdom. The Cancer native takes pleasure in his misfortune. In one of St. Paul’s Epistles, Christians are advised to console themselves for any sufferings that they may endure by recalling the fact that these things always happened to the prophets and martyrs of times past. One cannot help saying that this is very unwholesome advice. It kills at the root self-criticism, the most useful faculty that the average self-sufficient human being has as a corrective. It prevents him from inquiring whether his misfortune may not be due to his own stupidity. The more misfortunes he has, the more he is convinced that he is a fine fellow; and this may develop ultimately into {46} a persecution mania. One often finds a touch of the charlatan in perfectly sincere Cancer natives. The Cancer native has the idea of appeal to authority and antiquity, and he finds it necessary to defend himself by exalting his own personality. Besides this, he will go for proof to analogy and to history, but he will not use modern scientific methods. If one quotes Huxley as an example of a person whose thought was the exact contrary, one need only go into the horoscope in detail to see how the planets governing his intellectual side were able to overcome the original tendency. In everything except science, Huxley held the conservative, authoritative position. It is not unusual to find special training causing a development in one particular line, which is apparently altogether out of keeping with the general character. Such artificial aid as the imagination can confer is, of course, somewhat in the nature of morphia. There are periods when the dose has worn off. Despondency is the natural antithesis of vanity; and the Cancer native is therefore prone to times of extreme depression. This alternation of moods must be carefully distinguished from what is called a mercurial temperament, which is elastic, and depends for its modulations

much more upon facts. Its resisting power is much greater. The mercurial mind never reaches such heights or depths as that which we are discussing.

The passive type of Cancer is altogether governed by the Moon. It has hardly anything in common with the active type. It lives almost entirely upon reflection, like Selene herself. The conservatism is quite complete, yet there is practically no resistance to change when the impression arrives. It reflects any image with equal docility {47} and is itself not really impressed. There is something philosophically false in saying that water takes the shape of the vessel into which it is poured. Water has no shape. The only thing that it insists upon is a level surface. Just as the active type wins by subtle and persistent attack, so the passive type remains itself by virtue of resistance of the Tolstoian kind. It resists by the simple process of not resisting. Water can no more be compressed than steel. Its apparent docility is a delusion. This type is not imaginative or prone to the same romantic illusions as the active type. It replaces these qualities by sentimentality. There is little real depth of feeling; the most affectionate wife, and affectionate is the right word to use, is hardly disturbed by the death of her husband. She accepts the new situation with perfect equanimity and probably slides into another marriage a year later without enthusiasm or regret. Things are taken as they come, not as in the case of Gemini, because of conscious adaptability to new circumstances, but from pure laziness. The easiest way is the only way.

There is very little moral stamina in these people; a great many women of the street are of this type, but one never finds the real courtesan with this sign rising in its passive form. They are never really wicked, any more than they are really good. They simply accept without forethought or design. They never originate; there is no activity in them. Although these people appear the most domesticated and reliable, they are not at all to be trusted. They come under a new influence and respond to it as completely as to the old. It is as absurd to be angry with them as it would be to blame a looking-glass for reflecting opposite images in succession. {48} In speech and writing, the general characteristics of both types are the same. There is a strong tendency to employ the appeal to antiquity. Byron was always writing of past times and filling his work with allusions to the classics, even in his most modern efforts. A much stronger case is Swinburne, who was literally saturated with antiquity. He wrote almost entirely of classical mythology or legend; he imitated the actual meters used by Greek poets or French, using such forgotten forms as the ballade and the "chant royal." He even wrote poems in Greek, Latin and French, so admirably framed on ancient models that scholars admitted that they might have been written three thousand years before. He then spent twenty years with Mary, Queen of Scots, and the Elizabethans. He wrote numerous ballads in the style of different authors of almost forgotten periods. Even his most modern work was suffused with the ancient spirit.

In less brilliant cases we find failure instead of success. The average writings of natives of this sign are repetitions of worn-out platitudes. Many are too lazy to write; even in speech, they are deliberate and placid and seldom say anything worth hearing. They say the easiest thing and are particularly careful to avoid giving offense. The last remark is not at all true of the active type, which is very sharp and often offensive in its utterances, outspokenness of criticism being characteristic of it.

The native of the active type is quite likely to contract a marriage of convenience, but he is not particularly keen on doing anything of the sort, having a feeling that it may interfere with his activity. The passive type welcomes a marriage as a settlement and remains in it with the same feeling. This type is not especially faithful by {49} nature, but would be so rather than have a domestic upset.

In love, the active type is tenacious, enduring and even selfsacrificing when its affections have once been fixed, although because of their normal good nature and desire to please, these people may be accused of fickleness. The passive type is purely receptive; it is sensual rather than passionate. It is often mercenary because ease is its chief consideration. These people adore children, but have little patience with their naughtiness. This is an exceedingly bad type of mother. The child is petted and spoiled in every way, yet at the first fault which happens to irritate the mother, unreasonable punishment is inflicted. When the active type of cancer becomes a mother, there may be a tendency to err by undue severity, but the comprehension is better and the whole attitude more reasonable.

In their dealings with inferiors, people of the active type are apt to be just, but severe; those of the passive, careless and overindulgent. In public affairs the active type is exceedingly dangerous, owing to the qualities of his method of attack as already described. The passive type is useless, even for routine. He can hardly bring himself to attend to business and he has no perception of the necessity for dealing with individual cases, as such. He wants a single formula to cover everything. He may not exactly create, but he performs the miracle of resurrection. The passive type is a complete nullity in science and religion. He has not that discontent which is the basis of all inquiry. The disposition to travel, especially mentally, is strong in the active type.

From what has already been said about the general character of both types, it will be seen how they react to {50} attempted control. The active breaks, but continues the attack; the passive yields in appearance, but receives no real impression.

The Cancer-born are thin-skinned, hypersensitive and suffer acutely from fancied slights. It is necessary for them to have congenial surroundings and associates who hold similar views of the essential aspects of life, otherwise they will not make the best use of their opportunities. They are dependent on sympathy and approval, both in private relations and in public matters.

Discord or opposition tend to divert their best endeavors. They are inclined to be changeable and restless, but at the same time possess great perseverance and tenacity of purpose. They are very easily influenced by those they love, but if coerced, even though they may appear to be adaptable, they will display a very determined and even stubborn spirit. Those who are intimately associated with people born under this sign should encourage them to cultivate independence of thought and action. This may be difficult to do, for in one breath they express the desire to be "let alone," and in the next, feel entirely at sea without a directing force. People born under this sign are often attracted to spiritualism and psychic phenomena. There is a great danger, however, that they may delve so deeply into the supernatural realm as to interfere with their health and worldly success.

Children born under the influence of this sign are inclined to have a weak constitution during childhood, but they grow more robust in after years, particularly after the age of forty. It is most essential that the parents choose nurses and governesses who are robust physically {51} and normal mentally, and who have good dispositions, as Cancer children are so impressionable and sensitive that they become easily depleted when associated with uncongenial, weak or elderly persons. Vice versa, these children draw on the life forces of those stronger than themselves or from those who love them.

They have a tendency to be contrary and sullen, and to brood over slights, imaginary or otherwise. They have very delicate digestions; they do not require as much food as the average child, and are very "faddy" in their likes and dislikes. They must be taught to like simple and nourishing food, and not be allowed to select their own diet, which, in many cases, is just what they should avoid. They should not be exposed to infectious or contagious diseases, for, because of their receptiveness, they are likely to catch the germs from others.

These children are not only affectionate, but crave love, although it is difficult for them to be demonstrative because of their modesty. Because of their lack of self-preservation and unselfishness they are often taken advantage of by their playmates, and later in life may be foolishly indulgent rather than wisely kind.

Because of their lack of initiative and their tendency to go along the line of least resistance, their possibilities and limitations should be studied, and wise direction given to their education. Unless they have some very strong bent, which, of course, will be due to aspects in their horoscope, or they express a desire for a college education, it would be unwise for parents to insist, or make too many sacrifices in order to send them to college. The Cancer-born have great manual dexterity and are very thorough {52} workers. If they show any desire for a manual training, it would be well to encourage it. They do not derive knowledge as easily through books, but rather absorb it through association, travel and experience.

People born from the 20th of February to the 22nd of March, when the Sun is in the watery, unselfish sign Pisces, and from the 24th of October to the 23rd of November, when the Sun is in the watery, mechanical sign Scorpio, are naturally sympathetic and helpful to those born under Cancer. Because their characteristics are complementary, they are good partners for the Cancer-born, matrimonially or otherwise. If too intimately associated with those born from the 22nd of March to the 21st of April (Aries), 24th of September to 24th of October (Libra), or the 23rd of December to 21st of January (Capricorn), Cancer natives will need to guard well their own interests and fight to preserve their own individuality. Such an intimacy might result in the native of Cancer becoming too introspective, too fretful, and too lacking in self-confidence. For this reason, people born under Aries, Libra and Capricorn would not make the most sympathetic or helpful partners, either matrimonially or in a business way.

A period of about seven days -- July 21 to July 28 -- when the vibrations of Cancer are merging into those of Leo, and Leo still retaining some of Cancer, is known as the cusp. People born between these dates will partake of the supersensitive, conservative Cancer, as well as of the overconfident, masterful side of Leo, or a combination of the two. As Mercury, ruling the mentality, and Venus the love nature, are so close to the Sun, they, too, {53} may partake of some of the qualities of the adjoining signs of Cancer. This will account for some of the complex personalities so difficult of comprehension.

The position of the Sun or Ascendant only has been considered in drawing these deductions, therefore it is probable that persons born under other signs than those mentioned will be congenial or uncongenial to the Cancer-born. The combinations of influences indicated by the individual horoscopes will make clear the reason for such variations.

These indications can be general only, and will not cover all the characteristics of an individual as he knows himself. A detailed statement or horoscope must be made to discover the modifications made by the planets. {54}


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Astrology: Your Place in the Stars | Foreword | Zodiacal Signs, Planets and their Symbols | The Signs of the Zodiac | Aries | Taurus | Gemini | Cancer | Leo | Virgo | Libra | Scorpio | Sagittarius | Capricorn | Aquarius | Pisces | The Planets | The Sun | The Moon | Mercury | Venus | Mars | Jupiter | Saturn | Uranus | Neptune | Influence of Neptune on the Individual | Table of Ascendants | How to Cast a Horoscope | Horary Astrology | Description of the Twelve Houses | Free Will versus Destiny