Cancer - Latin for Crab


In both the East and West, the symbol of this constellation is a Crab. Actually the word “cancer” is Latin for Crab, and the Sanskrit name for this sign is Karkata, which also literally means Crab.

So, why a crab?

A crab is very soft inside but has a hard outer shell and huge, frightening claws. Crabs are very protective of their soft inner-selves, and that’s why they have these hard outer features, and is why they “over-react” by scurrying away quickly at the first sign of the slightest danger. The above behavior of this sea creature speaks volumes about the essence of this zodiac sign.

Cancer is abundant with the desire to protect and defend the soft, interior of life. That “soft interior” can include one’s own private emotions and opinions, it can include children – who are grow inside us, are fragile and need protection. It can also include spiritual intuitions and conceptions.  As a result of her abundant intention to protect and nurture private and internal treasures, Cancer creates an exterior that is hyper-sensitive, and over-reactive; employing a facade of callous toughness or disinterest as a veil to hide one’s inner vulnerabilities.

Origin of These Traits, and Additional Details

Cancer is the home of the Moon, it belongs to her and she empowers this part of the sky. She creates the mysterious, emotional, soft interior of “the crab”. She makes the world of personal opinions and experiences the most treasured and protected things in this sign. She falls into debilitation when she traverses Scorpio, which is the 5th House from Cancer. This contributes a prominent need for Cancer think clearly and rationally without interference from emotional distortions. It also makes cancer a place where intellectual rationale tends to be defeated by the sheer force of subjective opinion and personal feelings. The Moon rises to her exaltation when in Taurus, which is the 11th House from Cancer. This contributes toward Cancer being a place where friendships and social institutions are important and positive parts of life.

The Houses of Cancer

The Sun, Mars and Jupiter are the planets who are intrinsically friendly towards Cancer. The Sun owns the 2nd House from Cancer and therefore wants to make Cancer a place where the self-identity is very interwoven with the family unit and supportive social structures. He also enhances Cancer’s potentials for financial skill and inclination. Mars owns the 5th and 10th Houses from Cancer. He therefore makes Cancer a place where there is great enthusiasm and passion to make a mark on society, and to have inventive and creative ideas. However, he is also a major part of the reason that Cancer is such a difficult place to think clearly – without the interference of passionate opinions. Jupiter owns the 6th and 9th Houses from Cancer, and therefore contributes deep interest in religious and spiritual ideas and a general love for wisdom and learning.

Mercury, Venus and Saturn are inherently antagonistic towards Cancer. Mercury owns the 3rd and 12th Houses from Cancer, and therefore makes the intellect very passionate and non-objective, which causes confusion in Cancer. Venus owns the 4th and 11th Houses, this makes Cancer a place which feels exposed in social settings and tends to avoid parties and be shy. However the friendships that exist in Cancer are particularly dear and deep. Saturn owns the 7th and 8th houses, and thus makes the shyness and privacy of Saturn border on the extreme.

The elemental makeup of Cancer is water (out of the possible earth, water, fire or air). Water is the element associated with emotions, intuitions, inner being, and spiritual awareness.

The growth pattern of Cancer is direct (out of the possible rooted, direct or oscillating). So cancer is very focused on not only protecting the “soft interior” of life, but also on nurturing it and helping it grow in a definite, positive direction.

Cancer is the 4th House of nature (being the 4th of the 12 zodiac signs). The 4th house is the home of the vulnerable inner self! It is the deepest place in the sky, connected to our ancestral roots, our mothers, our emotions and the private places in which we live.

– Vic DiCara


One Comment

  1. Baba says:

    Hi Vic,

    You have explained 9 houses (individually) out of 12 in a very informative way (as for Cancer above) . Whenever you get time, could you please do that for the remaining three as well i.e. Leo, Virgo, Capricorn.



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