Cancer: Your Ultimate Guide To The Zodiac Sign

Cancer season marks the start of summer in the northern hemisphere and belongs to those born between June 21 and July 22. Cancers are known for their deep intuition, rich inner circles, and reserved and sensitive natures. They're the least showy or dramatic of the astrological signs and possess an innate ability to give people exactly what they need to be happy. No one has a bigger heart than Cancer, and no one will sacrifice their own happiness for the well-being of others more.

As the fourth sign of the zodiac calendar, Cancer season is all about softness, comfort, and kindness. Their maternal energy seeps into everything they do, giving them an air of sensitivity, security, and understanding that draws people to them like moths to a flame. For those not born under the Cancer sign, this month-long period offers a reprieve from the social, semi-chaotic energy of Gemini season and lays the groundwork for the creative pursuits and larger-than-life enthusiasm Leo season inspires. Cancers have their flaws, just like every other sign, although their personalities are a bit more contradictory than others. But if you are lucky enough to know a Cancer, you will never want for a more loyal friend or a more loving partner.

Cancer's symbol is the crab

With their sensitive nature and fear of vulnerability, it makes sense that Cancer is symbolized by the crab. Although they are generally sweet and nurturing souls, Cancers tend to hide both their grief and their best selves behind a hard, reserved outer shell. They exist in a fluid state between the material and emotional worlds, finding as much comfort in deep conversation as they do in luxury home furnishings. They will also not hesitate to use their claws and lash out at those who seek to harm their loved ones or disrupt their sanctuary.

In the night sky, the Cancer constellation lies between Leo and Gemini and resembles an upside-down Y. Like most constellations, the crab's journey into the heavens can be traced back to ancient Greek mythology. As the story goes, Heracles, the son of Zeus and a mortal woman, was cursed into a fit of murderous madness by Hera, the jealous queen of the Olympian gods. As penance for his crimes, Heracles was instructed to perform 12 labors. One of these labors was to kill the Hydra of Lerna, a multi-headed serpent tormenting a nearby city. As Heracles battled the monster, Hera sent a giant crab into the fray to bite Heracles and distract him. Despite her meddling, Heracles succeeded in killing both beasts. "To repay the creature for their help, the goddess put the crab up in the sky to honor it," Jean Creighton, director of UW-Milwaukee's Manfred Olson Planetarium, tells WUWM.

The cardinal water sign

Cancer is the cardinal sign of the water triplicity and the kickoff to the summer season. Generally, cardinal signs are people with big ideas and leadership qualities that put projects into motion. They are surrounded by an air of independence, restlessness, and self-motivation. As a water cardinal sign, Cancers tend to engage with the world in a way that is more subtle and imaginative than their cardinal counterparts. Rather than dominating others with their enthusiasm, forging new paths, or initiating activities with an end goal in mind, Cancer's cardinal qualities are focused more on self-awareness and exploration of one's emotions. This unique understanding of emotional needs helps Cancers quietly conquer their own ambitions and maintain a strong level of independence.

The psychic perceptions and intense emotions Cancer experiences are thanks to their formless, flowing water element energy. In a single day, Cancer can experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, a range which can be exhausting but also allows for the creation of truly magnificent music and art. They always seem to have a sense of what another person is really thinking or feeling, as well. Cancers are giving and compassionate water signs, with strong, pure hearts that make them too sentimental for their own good.

The emotive, nurturing moon rules Cancer

In astrology, the moon is the planetary ruler of Cancer. The heavenly silver orb is associated with feminine energy, nurturing relationships, and gut reactions or feelings. It is a driver of sentimentality, introspection, and protection, as well as moodiness and irrationality. The moon is also a spiritual expression of the deepest self and imagination, which often correlates to Cancer's affinity for making music, art, and other creative works. As a supporter of the past and tradition, the moon influences Cancer to hold onto meaningful traditions and simultaneously fuels the sign's grudge-holding behaviors.

"The moon heavily influences your interpersonal relationships, as well as how you intuitively see the world around you," astrologer Lauren Ash explains to Bustle. For Cancers, this usually accounts for the sign's powerful ability to build trust with others and showcase their incredible loyalty. It is responsible for the expansive emotional sensitivity this sign possesses, as well as their penchant for taking on other people's problems.

The fourth house is traditionally ruled by Cancer

With their nurturing hearts and protective, caretaker roles, Cancer perfectly embodies the fourth astrological house. Also known as the house of home, the fourth house is associated with a person's origins, including their ancestry, nurturing parents and grandparents, and the foundation of family. There are elements of a person's cultural roots embedded in the framework of the fourth house, which can be tied to the sign's value of history and tradition. This house also focuses on how a person feels safe in the world and therefore indicates the type of home life that person may seek to build for themself as an adult.

Although the fourth house may indicate the physical structure that "home" falls under, it also deals with an individual's personal concept of home. This includes the personal relationships and bonds that make both meaningful and insignificant places feel safe, like the chosen family or beloved pets that help transform the emptiest of rooms into peaceful, sacred spaces one can always find shelter in.

Cancers are self-aware, protective, and maternal

Plenty of people struggle to know who they are and fail to appreciate the unique combination of strengths and weaknesses that make up their personalities. This isn't a problem for the maddeningly self-aware Cancer. This sign has no problem understanding why they act the way they do, even if it may not make sense to anyone else. They follow their intuition when making important decisions, which helps keep them aligned with their goals and values.

Cancers heartily embrace their protective "mama bear" energy. The happiness of friends and family members is of the utmost importance to these celestial crabs. They will go to the ends of the earth for those they love. While they don't like to directly engage in conflict, either for themselves or others, they aren't so tenderhearted that they can't put up a good fight now and again. However, their attentive natures can sometimes bleed into overprotective territory. They can be a bit controlling because they believe that they can care for others best when they are pulling the strings. Cancers are also protective of themselves. If they feel wronged or disrespected, a Cancer will stew behind their hard, cold shell for the rest of time and refuse to forgive.

Cancers can be highly sensitive, moody, and emotional

Cancers feel everything, all of the time. They are walking heartbeats with teeth and hair, receptive to all of the world's hurts and prone to carrying the emotions of others alongside their own. "[Cancers] are sensitive and shy," relationship astrologer Anna Kovach tells BestLife. "They can be introverted and will wait for others to initiate conversation or to make the first move in love and romance. Like the crab that is their symbol, they remain hiding in their shell until they feel secure enough to show their true selves."

It isn't uncommon for a Cancer to feel utter joy one moment and need to suppress the urge to bite someone's head off the next. As a result, they have a reputation for being moody and crabby. Their varied moods are heavily influenced by their surroundings and the feelings of others. It isn't uncommon for Cancers to exhibit passive-aggressive, clingy, or isolating behaviors in their quest for emotional security. Despite their intense mood swings and need to share their feelings with others, Cancer will often pretend they are okay when they aren't. Negative emotions, such as grief, anger, and lasting sorrow, feel too burdensome to put on other people, so Cancer keeps them buried deep down instead. Regardless of their emotional state, Cancers are resilient creatures with a powerful desire to persevere.

Cancers are nostalgic homebodies

Although stability and routine are typical characteristics associated with fixed signs like Taurus, Cancers have a touch of stubborn fire burning alongside all of that emotion. They are major traditionalists that despise the discomfort of change and the shock of surprise. You never want to throw this sign a surprise birthday party, for example, or whisk them away on a spontaneous trip. Cancer much prefers withdrawing into what is predictable and safe, not for fear of experiencing something new, but because they just like knowing what is going to happen. Throwing house parties isn't really a Cancer's thing either, but they do make good hosts. "[They will] cook an incredible meal, maintain a clean space, and find meaningful and intimate ways to connect with guests," astrologer Danny Santos tells BestLife.

Cancer also loves being cozy in the comfort of home. This sign puts endless effort into making their home safe, inviting, and a comfortable space where they can relax and unwind from the stress of taking care of other people. Every item in a Cancer home has a special memory attached to it. They are collectors — and sometimes pack rats — who can find meaning in the most insignificant of items. Cancers often have shoeboxes full of old letters, ticket stubs, and birthday cards they can't bear to part with.

Cancer is represented by The Chariot tarot card

In a tarot reading, Cancer is represented by The Chariot tarot card. The card shows a crowned warrior standing inside a chariot. The warrior wears armor embedded with moons and alchemical symbols to represent spiritual transformation and intuition. A river flows behind the warrior, indicating a symbolic need to pursue goals while simultaneously adapting to the changing forces of life. Leading the chariot are two sphinxes, which represent the opposing forces of light and dark.

This card is generally a symbol of overcoming obstacles, ambition, willpower, determination, and focus, traits that align with the zodiac's cardinal qualities. When upright, The Chariot can be a symbol of the need to keep one's composure and maintain self-confidence. It can also be interpreted as a person feeling emotionally vulnerable or finding a balance between their logical and emotional sides. In the context of love and relationships, The Chariot card suggests resolving challenges and the need for balance between opposing forces. If The Chariot is reversed, it can symbolize a lack of direction or powerlessness. It may indicate a need to take control over aspects of your life that bring you anger and frustration or cause you to lash out in aggression. This card is also a sign that you need to draw clearer boundaries between yourself and the people in your life.

The best professions for Cancer

Cancers are loyal employees and supportive co-workers who continually harness their strong work ethic to produce quality work. A Cancer that is new to the team may be quiet and reserved at first, but as they warm up, they unveil incredible ideas and prove to be invaluable members of decision-making processes. "They are inherently ambitious," astrologer Wade Caves tells USA Today. "You're going to find a Cancer type mentality anywhere where the dream and the idea is to expand or to grow. They tend to shine in scenarios where they can kick something off and then continue to inspire, but not necessarily have to be the one to sit with every last detail of executing."

No one profession is more or less suitable to a Cancer's adaptable energy and professional strengths. However, they do require a job that allows them to be creative, compassionate, and part of a community. As natural caretakers and self-sacrificers, Cancers make wonderful doctors, nurses, teachers, and social workers. They also take great comfort in baking, cooking, and general food prep and would do well in restaurant management roles or the dietetics and nutrition fields.

What makes a Cancer happy?

Other people's happiness fills Cancer with joy, as does bringing people together in the community. "The gift of Cancer is that it does not understand separateness," certified astrologer Linda Joyce tells Women's Health. "All is one. A person with good Cancer energy is someone who can appeal to large groups of people and make them feel that they are connected, that they have something in common." Cancer values genuine, emotional connections with other people and animals. They don't feel truly happy without them.

"A Cancer needs to feel at home, no matter what their living situation may be," Rachel Lang, an intuitive astrologer, tells Well+Good. "They need to feel secure in relationships so they can feel safe in being vulnerable and opening up. They need to have a sense of family." Family always comes first for Cancers, be they blood relatives or chosen family. Being in the presence of their loved ones always puts a smile on their face and a peaceful feeling in their anxious hearts.

How do Cancer men and women differ?

A Cancer woman is sympathetic, thoughtful, sentimental, and wise. There is an ethereal quality about her that enchants and intrigues. Her soul is a complex mixture of passion and peace, fierceness and sensitivity, traits that make her occasionally melodramatic but mighty interesting. Although she has many emotions, she is in touch with each. She's a people pleaser, but she can spot a fake or a phony from miles away and will cut people out of her life who betray her trust. Home is her favorite place to be.

The saying "still waters run deep" aptly describes a Cancer man. Reserved, chivalrous, and considerate, he is in touch with his emotions and has a giving heart. He can charm a smile out of even the crankiest of people. He is also deeply nostalgic. It can be difficult to get a Cancer man to embrace the here and now because he's attached to memories and the romantic notions he dreams up. It can take a while to break through the moody, protective shell he wears, but underneath lies a wonderful sense of humor and a fun-loving personality.

In romantic relationships, Cancer women are major flirts but prefer to be in a long-term relationship. They are protective of their relationship and their partner and may exhibit clingy or jealous behaviors. Cancer men are loyal and lavish their partners with love and affection. They are dedicated to their relationship and can always be relied upon for support.

Cancers are loyal friends who bring people together

No astrological sign is as fiercely devoted to their friends as Cancer. They aren't overly social individuals, preferring to keep a small handful of close friends they can be truly vulnerable with. These friends often become Cancer's chosen family and can usually be found gathering in Cancer's cozy abode for regular friend dinners and movie nights. Emotional connections with friends and sharing a foundation of trust are important to Cancers.

As caretakers and nurturers, Cancer looks after their tribe and will never turn away a friend in need. No problem is too big or too small to bring to a Cancer friend. Regardless of what may be going on in their own lives, Cancers will drop everything to give everyone in their circle support, love, a joke, or a shoulder to cry on. However, if a Cancer friend feels neglected, ignored, or used, they may break off the friendship without a second thought.

Cancer and Taurus are a perfect match

Bullheaded Taurus and sweet Cancer are a match made in heaven. In romantic relationships, this pair shares a secure, comfortable, and genuinely happy life full of peace. They connect over mutual interests, such as food, good wine, and staying in on Friday nights to cuddle. They also build beautiful homes together thanks to Taureans' love of luxury and material goods and Cancerians' desire for coziness and comfort. The unique strengths of both signs complement one another well. Taurus can provide the security Cancer desires while Cancer helps Taurus express their emotions more freely. Taurus also grounds Cancer. Each wants to take care of their partner and be of service in any way they can to ensure their happiness.

Both signs are sensitive and can be easily triggered by the other's weaker traits. Once a Taurus makes up their mind, it is impossible to change it. This doesn't always bode well for free-flowing Cancer who makes intuitive, gut decisions. However, bickering and intense fights aren't really a problem for this gentle, drama-free couple. Passive aggression and the occasional bout of silent treatment are their preferred methods for dealing with conflict, but a structured, caring conversation usually follows. No matter what obstacles stand in their way, Taurus and Cancer will always figure out a way to overcome them together.

Cancer and Pisces just get each other

No one gets a Cancer quite like another water sign, which makes Pisces a perfect companion. Like Cancer, Pisces is emotional, sensitive, and goes with the flow. The two signs also share a magnetic otherworldliness and semi-contradictory character traits that can make them difficult to truly understand. Pisces are gentle, vulnerable, and introverted creatures that spend a lot of time in their own heads. Their powerful imaginations and perpetual daydreaming may occasionally cause ambitious, driven Cancer to feel some annoyance. However, Pisces helps Cancer loosen their grip on the past and look to the future. They are also naturals when it comes to romance and never fail to show Cancer affection or appreciation.

Both Cancer and Pisces understand what it feels like to feel everything all at once. This is a couple that feels comfortable expressing their fluctuating moods with one another, knowing full well that they never have to explain the sudden shifts. Furthermore, both signs are extremely compassionate and empathetic. Normally Pisces and Cancer use these traits to take care of others, but they both understand how hard it is to pour from an empty cup. Together, they encourage one another to rest and protect their personal boundaries.

Cancer and Gemini are better off as friends

Gemini is one sign that Cancer struggles to connect with romantically. The Twins are a force of energy and chaos that chill Cancer just doesn't know what to do with. Gemini hates being alone and would prefer to spend all of their free time socializing and having a great time. Cancer's idea of a good time is curling up with a good book, listening to a favorite podcast, or enjoying a delicious home-cooked meal with their partner.

These signs also have different long-term goals that can make a romantic partnership difficult to maintain. Cancer tends to focus on career and family, whereas free-spirited Gemini dreams of meeting new people and experiencing outlandish adventures. The unpredictability of a Gemini personality is also agonizing to the consistent, comfort-loving Cancer.

Despite their many differences, these two signs have enough in common that they can foster a strong, lifelong friendship. They both share a sharp intellect and strong powers of observation, a gift they use to size new people up before welcoming them into their lives. Gemini also possesses wonderful listening and communication skills. "Gemini is the friend who can offer solutions or ways to adapt, keep it light, or even crack jokes, They can talk about it in a way that gives Cancer a birds-eye view or a different perspective," astrologer Molly Pennington tells mbg. In return for this kindness, Cancer can help Gemini open up and thoughtfully express their oft-ignored feelings.

Celebrities like Mindy Kaling, Ariana Grande, and Meryl Streep are Cancers

With their extraordinary range and incredible talents, Cancers have appeared throughout history in a variety of industries and roles. Contrary to popular belief, not all actors and actresses are attention-seeking Leos or dramatic Geminis. This sign may be naturally shy and introverted, but they come alive in front of an audience. Cancer's ability to empathize with others, as well as their deep understanding of the emotional spectrum, helps them unwrap the complex characters they portray, providing their audiences with believable performances. Talented actresses like Mindy Kaling, Busy Phillips, and Meryl Streep were all born during Cancer season, as were Selena Gomez, Sandra Oh, Tom Hanks, and Nick Offerman.

Notable musical performers and songwriters, such as Lana Del Rey, Ariana Grande, Solange, and Missy Elliot, are also Cancers. Famous royals, including both King Henry VIII and Princess Diana Spencer, were Cancers. Mother Jones, a nurturing worker's rights activist and female education activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai are both Cancer women who protect and defend the rights of their people.