Cancer is a water sign and this month, here in Europe, particularly in Germany, the flooding has been catastrophic. And more rain fell in central China in an hour than those fatal three days in Germany. People in Zhengzhou were trapped in shoulder-high water on subway trains. It must have been terrifying, and many didn’t make it. The power of water has caused damage, loss, death and heartbreak. My heart goes out to all those people whose lives have been devastated by the floods. Many have lost everything, including loved ones. The damage is unbelievable. And perhaps a real wake-up call as to how we should value the earth and all her creatures, including ourselves.
I have been thinking about a Cancerian theme all this month. Protection.
It has often been said that the Moon, linked to the sign Cancer, protects the earth from damage, for example by asteroids. And it has oft been cited in astrology classes in the past that the craters on the Moon attest to this. However, apparently the earth has collided with other celestial objects just as often as the Moon has. The earth, having an atmosphere, manages to disguise the scars, whereas the Moon proudly shows her wounds!
Although she might not protect the earth physically, the Moon shines her light at night, protecting us from darkness where danger can lurk.
The crab, lobster or crayfish
Zodiacal Cancer is depicted by different creatures in different languages, but whatever animal represents this sign, they all have protective shells, leading to the link between the theme of protection with the sign of Cancer and the Moon. But we don’t have shells, so what does protection mean for us? And from whom and what do we need protection?
All living creatures need shelter and to be protected from harm. We all need food too, another Cancerian theme. So food and a safe place to live are basic requirements. As babies, throughout our history, our parents managed to find shelter and food in nature. Caves, trees, and hidden places gave shelter from the elements and fire provided warmth.
Food came from plants or animals lower down the food chain. We learned how to survive through observing nature, and like many indigenous tribes still today, we lived in harmony with the natural world. There was a balance. We took what we needed and left the rest, and that gave some form of protection, knowing there would be more of whatever we needed when we needed it. Sadly, millions of people don’t have any kind of protection today.
As babies, most of us are protected by our parents, to the best of their abilities. Parents see that as a responsibility, even if it’s sometimes very hard to achieve. The parenting gene kicks in, especially for mothers who have the ability to breastfeed. Nature provides the perfect food! Fathers offer a different kind of protection. Many men still feel they have to ‘bring home the bacon’. And providing a physically safe space is important for all parents or guardians — where humans are concerned anyway! And yes, OK, some animals.
But kids grow up
And so we come to the eternal question: “When are kids old enough to protect and take care of themselves?” These days, many are forced into doing this at very young ages, through war or death, or because parents can’t cope for whatever reason. It is a scenario that seldom ends well when children are very young unless they are lucky enough to be taken in by loving people. Without that, they are not protected from harm caused by starvation, slavery, violence or prostitution, to name but a few horrors.
That tricky ‘when’ question
Apart from people in these circumstances, most parents do their best. But when to let go? When can children really decide for themselves? It’s an age-old problem with no set answer. Different countries have varying ‘ages of consent’. Some children are still ‘young’ at 21 and some are ‘old or worldly wise’ at 11! We don’t celebrate rites of passage any more in most cultures, so there is no guidance.
Some parents never let go! They have perhaps over-protected their children and now need protection themselves. I have had clients in their sixties, still suffering under parents’ authoritative behaviour. I’m not sure that’s about protection though! My ethical code as an astrologer sets an age limit of 12 for when children have to give permission for parents to discuss their charts. I agree with this, and I would rather children over the age of 12 come to see me alone, so that parents can’t interfere! But of course every child is different, and many teenagers want parents to come with them for an astrology session.
And let’s face it, clients of any age need protection from some astrologers!
In one system I use, the Cancer period runs from age 18 to age 24. I always describe this as the ‘building your own nest’ phase. Sometimes this is achieved with comings and goings from parents’ houses, but this system would suggest we are really only fully ready to protect ourselves at age 24! With many decisions before that of course.
The vaccine dilemma
This issue has been sharply brought into focus with the discussion about vaccinating children against the Coronavirus. In the Netherlands, children from age 12 can override parents’ wishes as to whether to be vaccinated or not. As long as children are seen to have decided rationally — whatever the hell that means — they can make the choice. The argument given for vaccination is usually that children don’t need it for themselves, unless they are in the vulnerable category, but it’s for the good of the populace. More on this later. So what does protection mean here?
The question for me is who should decide. When I was 12, I just wanted to do what all the other kids were doing. Cancer rules children and it is a sign that loves to fit in. For adults it’s hard enough to get information that is clear and reliable enough to make a judgement about getting vaccinated — see my last post on Narrative control. So how teenagers can do this is just as tricky. Does vaccination protect? Or does not having the vaccination protect? Can we rely on nature if we are healthy? The jury seems to be still out on this if you believe the media.
The human body
Our bodies are an extraordinary piece of design. Our skin may not be a shell, but it is a pretty amazing protective coating. We have systems designed to get rid of toxins, and to protect our vital organs, for example in extreme cold. We also have immune systems that learn. Nature can protect us if we let it, but many bodies are no longer functioning to full potential. We have interfered so much with food and environments, and used so many medical interventions, that we no longer can protect ourselves naturally. I think it’s time to let nature protect us. But this needs to be mutual. We need to respect and protect her. We all belong to the earth family.
Other types of individual protection
The discussion so far is mostly about physical issues and bodily integrity. But what about protection of wishes, ideas and religious views? A case in point this month has been that of Britney Spears. When she burst onto the stage age 16 in 1998, she became very successful. However, by 2008, her mental health issues became so worrying that her father was granted conservatorship over her career, estate and financial affairs. Now at age 39 (an interesting age in the Huber Life clock method) she wants out of this arrangement and the case will go to court in September. She claims her father is abusing his power.
With the Sun in Sagittarius and the Moon in Aquarius, Britney certainly would want her freedom. The potential for her to look after her own finances with Venus in Capricorn is there, but of course her background affects whether she can actually do this. I think she would experience her father as controlling (for astrologers Sun semi-square Pluto). It looks like she had a tough early life, so that hasn’t helped with her development.
I think the Moon in a horoscope can identify what makes us feel safe. For Britney with Moon in Aquarius, this means she needs to know and understand what is going on. And she needs the truth.
A critical point for Britney
At 39, she is in the 7th Libra phase using the life clock system. This is a critical point for relationships and often ends in ‘divorce’. So it is fitting that she wants to get rid of her father’s influence and become her own person. At this point in this system she has also reached Saturn, a time to be a grown-up and take back authority. She is ready to do this. Perhaps she needed to be protected from her own rebellious Moon when she was younger. With Mars in 12 it has taken her a while to find her ‘inner warrior’ and stick up for herself. She can now protect herself and live her life with her own ideas and beliefs. I hope it works out well for her.
Planets in the sky this year are also showing the timing is right. To name a couple of obvious ones: Pluto on her Venus suggests it’s time she took back control of her finances, and Saturn over her Moon points to a time when she is ready to take responsibility for her own needs.
So how does the Cancer principle work for groups? Of course families take care of their own — well mostly. When this works positively, there is safety in being home among family members, knowing they have got your interests at heart, despite any arguments. But when this goes too far, the crab’s claws can hang on too tightly and become the devouring family. The situation of Princess Latifa is a case in point. She claims she is being held captive by her father, the ruler of Dubai.
Nepotism is also a way this can work. But too much fitting in and belonging means we never develop our own protective shields. Sometimes we need to break free of families or other groups, to learn and grow from our mistakes and discover what we consider to be safe.
There can be competing groups. Family feuds that last for generations, à la Romeo and Juliet. What is needed for this archetype to work well, is that individual protection must extend to families, neighbourhoods and groups. This seems only to happen when there are disasters, such as floods, when help with shelter, food and clothing has come from others. Perhaps we are learning how this archetype can be extended to groups, and how protective bubbles can be formed for any types of danger, physical or emotional.
Opposites at work
These archetypes always have shades of their opposite signs. So within Cancer, there is always the ‘shadow’ side of Capricorn. Cancer and Capricorn are known as the parenting pair, although opinions are divided as to which one is mother and which is father, not that that really matters these days, as roles have changed through the ages.
The trick to getting the ‘protection vs. own responsibility’ right is having them in balance and switching at appropriate times. Capricorn is about responsibility. We need to move from getting protection from others, to taking on responsibility for our own protection. And we need to let go of over-protectiveness and let others take responsibility. When our parents get older the roles might be reversed, then we may need to protect our parents or elders in society. There is a Cancerian social responsibility to protect the vulnerable.
You might say that a country is an even bigger group. The Coronavirus has put protection at the top of the agenda. However, here we see the same problems magnified. Leaders of many countries try to protect only their own citizens. We can see this in the way vaccines have been apportioned. And some have decided to become ‘islands’. New Zealand and Australia are trying to keep their countries Covid-free to protect their citizens. Virtually no-one is allowed in without adhering to strict rules (Capricorn).
Although they might say that isolation is protection (a strategy used by many countries for individuals) and that it helps the world in stopping the spread, it is a cruel way to protect. People need a sense of belonging — to families, to companies, to groups, to countries but also to the world. We are all global citizens these days. Apart from the harshness of these rules, it is quite clear that countries will all have to find other more Cancerian ways to provide protection for their citizens and live alongside the Coronavirus.
Other forms of protection
Of course, governments have responsibilities for larger threats than we can deal with alone or as a family or village. Floods and fires have highlighted the need to have homes that are safe to live in. This means dealing with the environment and making sensible rules for buildings. Not building on flood plains and not using dangerous cladding or other unsafe building materials. Plans need to be made to address threats both natural and man-made. Including climate change. And to check that rules are followed and citizens are heard when they have genuine worries. So many homes have been lost recently due to total lack of responsibility by governing bodies. Even when steps have been taken, it has often been too little, too late.
Protection shouldn’t divide
Cancer is an emotional sign. Protection is not only about rules and doing things. Protection requires listening to emotional needs. We need to feel we are being cared for and are being sheltered from danger, but we need to be given our own responsibility to do this. It isn’t balanced to place the total burden (Saturn) on the strong to protect the vulnerable, when it involves very strict protocols. And individual rights need to be honoured. Children don’t need vaccinations against Covid, and most people don’t need to stay home.
The way this dynamic has worked during the pandemic is that we have had the worst of Capricorn and the worst of Cancer. The Capricorn side has created fear instead of responsibility. People following rules because they are afraid. Cancer has turned into nationalism. And believing that we need to be isolated from the sick, just when they need us most. A Cancerian person would never do that. Cancer is a strong sign and fiercely protective and nurturing when one of her own is threatened or ill.
May we extend that fierce protectiveness to all. And may we be given the credit for making our own responsible choices, even if we make mistakes.
Interesting websites of the month
A bit of astronomy: Earth and Moon Once Shared a Magnetic Shield, Protecting Their Atmospheres
A list of zodiac signs in different languages just for fun.
As an extra for photographers: How to photograph the Moon
Britney Spears : 2 December 1981, 1:30, McComb, Mississippi, US. A rating.
Quote of the month
“Protection and security are only valuable if they do not cramp life excessively. ” Carl Jung
Peter R. de Vries was a crime journalist who was recently murdered in cold blood here in Amsterdam. According to reports, among others from Thomas Bruning of the Dutch Society of Journalists, he had said that although he knew he was in danger he didn’t want protection because: “He didn’t want his life ruled by heavy protection. He wasn’t prepared to work with security programs because they limited his personal freedom too much.” May he rest in peace.