Cancer: June 21 - July 21

Cancer Characteristics

Cancer characteristics center around the phrase 'I feel'. The hard-shelled, soft-centered, sideways-moving crab reveals key characteristics and provides insight into this guarded zodiac sign. The Cancer sign is known to be emotional, sensitive, nurturing, and family oriented.

The Moon rules Cancer. Not surprising, the sign ruled by the heavenly body that influences the tides is one of three water signs of the zodiac.

Issues of home, family, childhood, parenting, emotions and the past play a dominant role in the lives of people born when the Sun passes through this sign. This can manifest in a variety of ways, both positive and negative.

Some famous Cancers whose lives reflect these themes include the Dalai Lama, Courtney Love, Bill Cosby, Nadya Suleman (the Octomom), Princess Diana, Lizzie Borden and Henry VIII.


Like the crab, living where the water meets the shore, the waves of their own emotion constantly lap against Cancer's everyday life. It is a Cancer characteristic to be incredibly moody, changing from optimistic to depressed, from loving to angry, according to some mysterious inner tidal change. When this happens, they often lash out verbally without any explanation.

Cancer characteristically presents a smooth shell. They can appear impermeable, but that usually masks a hidden vulnerability. This often makes them rather conservative in their choice of friends, as they may perceive outsiders as dangerous. A Cancer who feels threatened can lash out with one pinching claw, and then scuttle away sideways.

If they feel hurt by someone whom they have trusted, they retreat into their shells. The tendency to withdraw or use indirect maneuvers makes them appear unreliable or even dishonest to those some people.


On the other hand, a Cancer whose life provides the security this sign craves can offer empathy and generosity to those around them.

Their awareness of their own vulnerability can make them sensitive to other people's emotional needs, enabling them to characteristically offer a balm of kindness for the wounds their spouses or friends have experienced.


Cancers feel a deep need to nurture and may have children at an early age. Some Cancers choose a career related to children in some way-as a day care providers, pediatricians, teachers or children's book writers, for example.

It is a Cancer characteristic for crabs who do not become parents to take an active role in the lives of nieces and nephews. Some of them express their nurturing instincts through their relationships with animals.

Family Oriented

A key Cancer characteristic is a deep emotional bond to their families. Even Crabs who have experienced family dysfunction, trauma and quarrels, will exhibit this familial connection through talking frequently about the wounds they experienced during childhood.

Sometimes these early emotional wounds leave them eternally seeking a new, happy family. They may subtly create a parent-child dynamic with a spouse or a close friend. Cancers who do not fit their family's norm and who see themselves as the "black sheep" of the clan often find a way to re-establish family closeness as they grow older.

Other times this happens through finally finding a partner who satisfies the Cancer's needs yet still fits the family's image of a suitable mate. Sometimes this happens through the Cancer taking on the role of protector and rushing to defend estranged parents and siblings from outsiders.