Happy Birthday, Cancer!

Although inconspicuous in the heavens, the constellation of the Crab hails the most significant turning point of the year!

When the Sun reaches its zenith on the summer solstice, it enters the sign of Cancer. It is the longest day of the year and a time to celebrate.

Since the dawn of civilization, people around the world have marked this annual turning point with rituals, ceremonies and merry-making. Traditionally, it was thought of as a magical time – when the veils between the worlds are thin and sprites and spirits pass easily between them.

Mythology

In Babylonian mythology, the sign of Cancer signified the doorway through which souls must travel on their way to their next reincarnation. The Celts also saw it as a threshold. The summer solstice was the holy day of the Oak King. In the Celtic tree alphabet, the oak is represented by the letter D – ‘duir’ for ‘door, threshold’, which expresses the same idea.
In Astrology, the sign of Cancer is closely associated with the primordial ocean as the source of all life. Its ebb and flow reflect the waxing and waning of the Moon, Cancer’s ‘ruling planet’.

The Moon – Cancer’s ruling planet

The Moon represents the domain of feeling, intuition and imagination. It signifies the principles of reflection and changeability. The ocean is always in motion. Yet, its depth is mysterious and unfathomable.

Likewise, the crab often does not know its inner currents: They just respond but see no need to intellectualize or to explain them.

The crab, a creature of two worlds

The crab makes its home on the shoreline. It lives both on the land and in the sea. Its sensitive inner world is shielded by a strong protective shell. They do not easily trust, and their defences are up much of the time. The crab’s claws are apt to snap with or without provocation. Some carry their homes on their backs to always have access to a safe space when danger threatens. Once their trust has been earned, they will never waver, but they also expect absolute loyalty in return.