The Sun entered Cancer at 2:24 pm Wednesday June 21 AEST. To mark the arrival of Cancer Season here’s an excerpt from the Cancer chapter of my book Signs of the Zodiac: Clothing of the Self
“Everyday someone new cries out for understanding and compassion. Listen to the sound. Hear the call as if it was beautiful music. I can assure you that the greatest rewards in your whole life will come from opening your heart to those in need.”
– Elizabeth Kubler Ross
“Wherever one feels at home with peace and tranquility, it is there that he finds his home land. Wherever I go I find my Tibet.”
– Dalai Lama
A deep longing in all Cancerians is to find their true home, a place where they truly belong. For many this is with their family and place of origin, but not uncommonly this is precisely not the case. For such estranged Cancerians, ‘strangers in a strange land’, it may take much inner and outer journeying before they come to realize that ‘home is where the heart is’.
“I am a voluntary exile who is at home everywhere except at home” – Henry Miller
For others, undertaking nothing less than a life long spiritual quest maybe necessary to discover their true home, which for some could be expressed as a coming home to God. These famous lines of William Wordsworth may then inspire: “Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting / The soul that rises with us, our life’s star / Hath had elsewhere its setting / And cometh from afar / Not in entire forgetfulness / And not in entire nakedness / But trailing clouds of glory do we come / From God who is our home.” Or, more succinctly: “Our destiny, our being’s heart and home / Is with infinitude, and only there.”
For yet other Cancerians, like that sage of the interior journey, Herman Hesse, the quest involves undertaking a Journey to the East, home to the Himalayan heights of consciousness, whether that be through philosophy, religion or actual physical travel. He gives wise counsel to questers in these poetic lines: “Serenely let us move to distant places / And let no sentiment of home detain us / The Cosmic Spirit seeks not to restrain us / But lifts us stage by stage to wider spaces / If we accept a home of our own making / Familiar habit makes for indolence / We must prepare for parting and leave taking / Or else remain the slaves of permanence.”
On the quest it is a blessed Cancerian who has trust in the benevolence of the Great Mother, knowing the bosom of Existence is available at all times to provide succour on the long and winding road home. Such blessed ones, secure and at peace within themselves, are happily free from the anxious need to have a safe harbour to retreat to before they will venture out into the big wide ocean of life in their vulnerable little ego-boats.
Sadly, many Cancerians are not blessed with such trust in life. More commonly, they tend to be wary, apprehensive, and clannish. Such types prefer to live within the secure confines of a protective inner circle of family and close friends, and to view the outside world through the prism of threat, suspicion, or indifference. Alas therefore, only the privileged few get to experience the tender love and care that Cancer bestows so bountifully on its own. Almost inevitably, this nourishing emotional diet creates bonds of attachment and dependency, which attachment, especially between parent and child, is the classical Cancerian dragon to slay. The words of Kahil Gibran provide a moving counterpoint: “Your children are not your children / They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself / They come through you, but not from you / And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.”
A more humorously cynical view is the following: “Parents are like innkeepers at the crossroads / Children are the travellers who use the facilities and move on.” And further to the theme, these astute lines of Oscar Wilde are worth reflecting upon: “Children begin by loving their parents; after a time they judge them; rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.”
Another Cancerian shadow quality is neediness, especially the need to be needed. This need can be quite poisonous in effect when not consciously acknowledged, for under the guise of loving concern it maybe used to create and prolong dependency in children, lovers and those in need of care. Pioneering conscious dying advocate, Elizabeth Kubler Ross, speaking of the overprotective mother of a child dying of cancer expresses the essential issue: “She had not yet learnt the love that could say no to it’s own needs.”
And, in a similar vein, consider these wise words of psycho-analytic sage, Erich Fromm: “The mother-child relationship is paradoxical, and in a sense, tragic. It requires the most intense love on the mother’s side, yet this very love must help the child grow away from the mother, and to become fully independent.”