With the coming of the summer solstice, the unfettered romp of Gemini is drawn earthward by the tidal pull of Cancer, the Crab. Cancer's ruling planet is the moon, linked in astrology to nature, gestation, motherhood, and the creation and preservation of life. Perhaps more than any other sign, Cancer represents the passive, receptive, but profoundly pwerful and encompassing female force in nature - the all-nourishing, or all-devouring, mother. The Crab symbolizes the sea, cradle of all life.

As is typical in the ongoing dichotomy of the zodiac, Cancer's characteristics are nearly opposite those of the preceding sign. Where Geminis are expansive, adventurous and forward-looking, Cancerians build boundaries, make homes, and gather things into incubation, protection, nurturance, and mothering. Cancerians are family centered, tradition bound, tied to the past, fearful of the future and of the unknown. Security is one of their major goals. While Geminis laugh at life, Cancerians look toward introversion and melancholy. They are as restless and moody as the shifting tides. They find the real world threatening, Astrologers say, and like to retreat into dreams and fantasies and to shelter themselves in the relative safety of the past.

Memory is one of Cancerians' special gifts. Geminis deal with experience by expressing it, while Cancerians remember it. The taste and smell of certain biscuits were enough to call up the whole fictional world created by Cancerian Michael Proust in Remembrance of Things Past. Cancerians love all things old; they cling to old possessions and old ways. They are wonderfully retentive; thus they make fine historians - caretakers and custodians of the past.

The symbol of the Crab is highly emblematic of Cancerian nature. Metaphorically, Cancerians have a hard outer shell and a soft interior. They need to feel safe if they are to put aside their brittle exteriors and expose their considerable vulnerabilities. They risk little and flinch easily. They are wary, defensive, and quick to withdraw into their shells. Like the Crab, they approach the world obliquely, sideways. They tend to be exclusive in their social contacts; at the same time, they are particularly touchy about being excluded by others. And they never forget a slight. The Crabs' antennae are amazingly acute; another distictive Cancer gift is power of perception.

Extreme sensitivity to their environment and to what others want or need makes Cancerians excellent business people. John D. Rockefeller and department store magnate John Wanamaker were born under the sign of the Crab. Cancerians are also good resource people - the ones who always seem to know where the best goods can be had or the best services rendered. And they share their information generously -up to a point. Cancerians keep score. They expect their kindness to be returned. If they are disappointed, they become withdrawn and hostile. It is then that the Crabs' pincers come into play, nipping at the vulnerabilities they sense in others.

According to astrologers, the complex mother-child relationship dominates Cancerians' emotional lives. The dynamic may play out in a variety of ways, with the Cancerian taking the role of the good or bad mother, good or naughty child. In the child mode, Cancerians hunger for love; there is never enough to satisfy them. But they always feel compelled to doubt it, and therefore test it, seeing how much a friend or partner can endure before withdrawing or witholding love. In this regard, the generally unagressive Cancer can sometimes be the pushiest of signs - as history witnessed in King Henry VIII.

The cancerian man is very likely to be attached to his mother. In his adult life, he may be greatly in need of security,protection, tenderness, domestic harmony, ritual and routine.

The Cancerian woman gravitates toward traditional roles of wife and mother, seeking outlets for her strong maternal instincts and love of hearth and home. She is talented at creating a homey, protective atmosphere, a place of refuge - whether actually at home, or with her colleagues at work.

At their best, Cancerians of both sexes are among the most loving of people, profoundly intuitive, and quick to grasp and respond to the emotional needs of others. They inspire and nurture growth. It is Cancerians' task to find safe haven in which their sign's exquisite sensitivity can bloom and flourish. Otherwise, the crab my find itself dominated by the prickly, grasping side of its nature.

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