Cancer Season: What is worth risking?

Last Wednesday, Summer Solstice, the wheel of the year turned and we collectively entered 2023’s Cancer season.  Even though this is a collective experience the vibrant Cancer Sun is lighting up each of our charts in an individual manner. 

I think of Cancer and Dorothy Gale chanting “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home” in the iconic Wizard of Oz again and again rises to mind.   If each sign had a mantra, this seriously could be considered  Cancer’s.

At its core home is a place of belonging. A place of safety.  Ideally, a place where ideally we are nourished. 

Wherever we have the sign of Cancer placed within our charts we can see where and how we long for home, for belonging.  We can also see where we can become fixed within a certain role or experience because of its familiarity, its safety even though we have outgrown it.

Within the zodiacal circle of animals, Cancer is represented by a crab.  Crabs are very vulnerable creatures. Where we as humans have an interior skeleton, aka our bones are on the inside, crabs have an exoskeleton; their bones are on the outside. Inside they’re all soft.  Their exoskeleton protects them helping them be more invulnerable.   Crabs literally have to molt once a year because they have outgrown their shell or they will literally die. In order to do this, they have to leave their shell prior to the new shell fully forming. And there is a  period of about a week where they are intensely vulnerable while the new shell hardens (a soft-shell crab is a crab in the middle of the molting process).

Metaphorically, this speaks profoundly to the experience of Cancer. There is an experience of intense vulnerability, exquisite sensitivity, associated with the sign Cancer. It is because of this sense of exposure that where Cancer lies within our chart we will often seek security through the familiar.  We will forget to shed our shells staying in a job, a relationship, or even a role we have become comfortable living within long after we have outgrown it.  It has become a place that we go to, or dwell within that no longer nourishes us. 

As David Whyte says “We are here essentially to risk ourselves in the world. We are a form of invitation to others and to otherness, we are meant to hazard ourselves for the right thing, for the right woman or the right man, for a son or a daughter, for the right work or for a gift given against all the odds. And in all this continual risking the most profound courage may be found in the greatest risk and the greatest vulnerability of all, the simple willingness to allow ourselves to be happy along the way.

Cancer season is an invitation to risk. 

For all of its security instincts, Cancer is a cardinal sign. Cardinal signs are about initiation and instigation.  They are about beginnings. As I noted last week, the solstices and equinoxes mark the ingress into a cardinal sign. They symbolize the entrance across a threshold into a new season of our lives.  


Each year Cancer season presents an opportunity to consider what is worth hazarding ourselves for, to acknowledge what space we have outgrown, and to allow ourselves to release the old and emerge into a larger experience of ourselves and life. 




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