Cancer: The Starry Crab in the Zodiac Sea

Photo by Ruvim on Pexels.com

 Most of us know our zodiac or sun sign, but what does it look like in the night sky, and what’s the story behind it? It’s that time of year again

Common associations

The pincers: Zodiac symbol of Cancer

Ruling planet: Moon (not a planet but counted as such in astrology)

Key phrase: I feel

Body: The chest, breast, heart

Birth Stone:  Stones and metals fall under the rule of planets, not signs, but through its association with the Moon, Cancer has affinity with pearls, silver and crystals.

Colour: White, silver

Tree: all trees rich in sap

Flower: Acanthus

 Tarot card: The Chariot (see how it is a shell?) Drive, Control, progress, teamwork, and the harmonizing of different elements.

The Chariot, Rider-Waite Tarot

The Astronomy

Cancer, Latin for crab, is in a dark region of the sky, the faintest constellation in the Zodiac, with only two stars above the fourth magnitude: Acubens (The Claw) and Al Tarf (The foot)

Cancer is visible in the Northern Hemisphere in the early spring, during March at 9 PM and can be seen in the Southern Hemisphere during autumn.

It’s almost impossible to see Cancer with the naked eye or even binoculars, looking between Leo, the lion, and Gemini, the twins. And it doesn’t look much like a crab at all. It’s more like a faint, upside-down Y often compared with a crayfish or lobster. It was also called the Crayfish in classical astrology, and in Egyptian astrology, The Scarab.

Whatever it’s name, it’s always been seen a creature with an exoskeleton; an arthropod, and Cancer appears to rise crab-wise; not sideways, but backwards in the zodiac. The Sun’s entry into Cancer occurs at the summer solstice,which is today.

‘Solstice,’ Latin sol stice means the Sun seems to be ‘standing still’ as it approaches this point.

Wiki: The constellation of Cancer

Cancer may be faint but it’s got a great star cluster glowing at its centre. Praesepe, or ‘The Manger’ is one of two Messier objects in Cancer, identified in 1771 by French astronomer Charles Messier.

Its modern name is The Beehive Cluster. Seen through the telescope it looks like a swarm of bees, but to the naked eye it looks like a small, fuzzy patch of light -or a tiny cloud floating through the stars.

Public Domain: The Beehive Cluster

As the sign of the Sun’s greatest elevation, Cancer was considered nearest to the highest point of heaven – and was called ‘the Gate of Men’ through which souls descended to Earth to be born.  The opposite constellation, Capricorn was the ‘Gate of the Gods’, where souls of the departed rose back to heaven. 

I knew a soul who descended through the Gate of Men and ascended again through the Gate of The Gods the same day, the day of the solstice, twenty seven years ago today. He stayed an hour and twenty five minutes. A baby soul, his name was Rowen; he was my son, and he always will be.

Cancer also contains a planetary system; 55 Cancri, containing five known planets, with possibly more awaiting discovery. 55 Cancri is about 40 light-years away, and is just about visible to the unaided eye, although you need help to find it. The innermost of its planets is a “super Earth,” a few times heavier than Earth – but none of these planets has the right surface conditions for liquid water, and life is thought not likely.

The Myth

Cancer is associated with the Twelve Labours of Hercules after he went mad, mistook his wife and children for monsters and killed them. His twelve great labours were performed in token of penance. The second of his great challenges was to kill the Hydra, a terrible water serpent but his enemy, Hera, who had always hated him as an illegitimate son (yet another one) of her husband Zeus, sent a crab to harass him while he fought the serpent. The crab faithfully did its best, nipping Hercules again and again, but he stepped on it and crushed it, or in other versions of the story killed it with his club.

Look at that crab getting right stuck in. Hera rewarded its loyalty by placing it in the heavens, but she placed it in a dark portion of the heavens with only faint stars because crabs need dark, quiet places to feel safe and at home. However, its shy, retiring placement is also the highest point in the zodiac, nearest to heaven, and the crab is the herald of the summer solstice.

The Astrology

Cancer is the fourth sign of the Zodiac and represents those born between June 20 and July 22. It is considered a water sign, and is one of the four cardinal signs, which are the signs indicating a change of season when the sun makes its annual passage into them.

Cancer is all about the shoreline, and tides, monthly and annual. Cancer is uniquely both the moon and the sun.

The sign of Cancer, ruled by The Moon, is a cardinal sign, herald of the seasons, announcing the arrival of summer in the northern hemisphere and winter in the southern hemisphere.

Ruled by Cancer, the Queen of Cups from the Rider-Waite Tarot

The Cancer Personality

There is no such thing in reality as THE Cancer personality. Your sun sign is the keynote but it’s not ‘The Story.’ The archetype of the Cancer personality is complex, elusive and riddled with contradictions.

Cancer stands for both mother and father. It is the zodiac sign of the nurturing parent. Cancer famously adores babies and small animals, all wild things; and struggles with separation. The empty nest can be anathema to the Cancer parent.

By Rose Maynard Barton

Cancer is the sign of hearth and home, and expanding this; tribal identity and ancestral legacy, historical, cultural and genetic. It is the sign of memory, nostalgia, sometimes regrets, and a longing to return to happy childhood haunts. Maybe a rock-pool.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Cancer’s famous subjects include Nelson Mandela.

Until next time 🙂

The Strawberry Moon, June 2020

The Full Strawberry Moon and what it means for you this month

Photo by Taner Soyler on Pexels.com

What is astrology and why do astrologers study the Moon?

Humans have been studying the Moon since at least 25 000 years ago. This is only natural. It is the closest celestial body to Earth, exerting visible effects on the tides, and on every living thing that depends for its way of living on the behaviour of the tides, and possibly a whole lot more besides, though this is debated, eg; crop growth, hormonal cycles and moods.

‘Astrology’ comes from Greek and means ‘the study of the stars.’

It’s about the search for meaning on earth as seen mirrored in the sky, seeking to understand human behaviour through the symbolic influence of planets and other celestial objects, Luna, our Moon being the closest.

Astrology began as humanity made conscious attempts to measure, record, and predict seasonal changes by paying attention to astronomical cycles. They did this largely for practical planning purposes, for example:

  • When would the wild cattle- the aurochs migrate – and they could organise a hunt?
  • When would the salmon or other fishes spawn?

Early evidence of sky-monitoring appears as markings on bones and cave walls in the Neolithic period 25,000 years ago, recording the movements of the sun, and the moon and its influence upon tides and rivers. This timekeeping led to the creation of the first written calendars in the Bronze Age 3,300 – 1200 BC by the Sumerians in the ancient Near East.

Symbolically, because it has no light of its own, The Moon represents our shadowy side, our dreams, hidden health, and the impulses that drive our behaviour whether or not we are consciously aware of them.

The Headlines

June 05, 2020          Full Moon in Sagittarius (Lunar eclipse)
June 13, 2020            Last Quarter Moon (Waning)
June 21, 2020            New Moon in Cancer (annular solar eclipse)
June 29, 2020            First Quarter Moon (Waxing)

The Full Moon occurs when the Moon is on the opposite of the Earth from the Sun on the same celestial longitude and we can see the entire illuminated portion of the Moon.

The New Moon is the first/last lunar phase when the Moon is located between the Earth and the Sun and the moon is largely invisible, hidden in the sun’s glare.

A Full Moon in Sagittarius happens in late May/early June when the lunar sky path is crossing the ninth sector of the zodiac – 240-270 degrees, containing the constellation of Sagittarius, and the sun moves into the opposite zodiac sector of Gemini. The Full moon of June 2019 was also in Sagittarius.

A New Moon in Cancer happens in late June- July when the Sun is also in the zodiac sign of Cancer.

What do the moon phases mean for you and me, symbolically?

In general terms, folklore suggests that:-

A waxing Moon building up to the Full Moon is the optimum time to grow, build, add to, make or get something. It is all about bringing something new in, or bringing something to completion or fruition. Some may perform magical summoning rituals.

A Full Moon is the optimum time to take stock and evaluate, or to gather, collect, harvest or cash in on something.

A waning Moon is the optimum time for ending something, clearing out what’s no longer wanted or needed, including unhelpful or unhealthy habits. It may mean releasing something, or even getting rid of something (someone.) Some may perform magical banishing or protection rituals.

A New Moon is the optimum time to make a decision, and start from scratch,

What is the Full Strawberry Moon?

This is strawberry harvesting time in the northern hemisphere, which before modern agriculture methods was only a very short season. These full Moon names were used during Native American and Colonial times to help track the seasons—they came from the Algonquin tribes who lived in the same areas as the Colonists.

In Europe we have traditionally nicknamed this moon the Honey Moon…first crops of honey, and gifts of honey were presented to newly-wed couples…hence the term honeymoon.

The month of June is the most popular month for weddings, and it is no coincidence that it gets its name from the classical goddess of marriage, Juno (also called Hera in Greek mythology.)

Photo by Asad Photo Maldives on Pexels.com

A strawberry moon sounds very nice indeed. But what about this one?

Sadly, probably not this time, at least not in public life in the US, and to a superficially lesser extent in the UK, with major talks coming up with the EU. And now we are days away from the lunar eclipse, when an energy peak of this kind may theoretically be expected.

Full Moon in Sagittarius

The major Arcana Tarot card associated with the zodiac sign of Sagittarius is Temperance; traditional meanings: healing, balance, timing, waiting, diplomacy, moderation

The Rider-Waite Tarot

The court card associated with Sagittarius is the Knight of Wands: traditional meanings: energy, initiative, adventures, new ventures in study, marketing, the media, travel, writing, performing arts, disruption, gossip and fighting.

What does this mean for me and you?

Temperance is generally a deeply optimistic card, just as Sagittarius is an upbeat and optimistic sign of the zodiac, full of  fun and ‘can do’ energy,’ if somewhat impulsive on occasion. We can get a lot done and have a few laughs.

That’s the brighter side of this June full moon.  

BUT this will be a lunar eclipse, a Gemini-Sagittarius eclipse, plus, the planets Mars and Venus go retrograde this month, and Mercury went retrograde last month, and this all translates as volatile, potentially quarrelsome or even warlike energy. There is frustration here. Sagittarius is the desire for travel, and right now, that’s an urge that can’t be satisfied for a lot of people who would normally be making travel plans by now, or looking forward to summer travel. This is an eclipse with a focus on discontent.

Globally and historically, astrologers have correlated these sorts of planetary combinations with events of war, and with earthquakes.

At home there could be an unusual degree of tension, or sudden eruptions of anger.

Take a deep breath and count to ten before starting or responding to any arguments. A lot of people are a little out of sorts.Some are way, way out of sorts.

Likewise, we could overdo things around this Full Moon, eating or drinking. We could even overdo the exercise if we’re not careful, and hurt ourselves.

Do your own thing but ‘gently does it.’

Speaking of which, will there be a second wave of #Covid19 in the wake of starting the release of the lock-down? Logically, that would seem almost inevitable as the price of returning to normal, although my cards have been indicating small spikes of increased infections rather than a second wave as such, between today and 21 June, as we are trundling along just below the critical R rate of 1.

If we do have to return to lock-down in the UK because of lack of proper self management, well, Cancer is the card of staying at home…and the card of the New Moon 21 June is in Cancer. This date or thereabouts looks like the next turning point one way and another.

The world is not a designated safe space for any single living creature. Safety is the greatest illusion of all in the modern bubble. There is only ever risk mitigation, and if we really want freedom, and not just to talk about it, we must be prepared to manage it for ourselves. The alternative is to have it managed for us, with or without our consent, and even then, regardless of what we think about that prospect, it is still no guarantee of safety.

So then.

Will the UK have to go back into strict lockdown?

Line of Five Reading: King of Hearts (yes)- 5 Spades (no)- 7 Clubs (no)– 3 Clubs (no)- Queen Diamonds (yes)

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The crux card here is the 7 of Clubs, the work card, a difficult, erratic card of holding one’s own, the need for the nation to go back to work, and also a card of moral courage in the face of heated opposition, and even, in modern parlance ‘trolls’ and ‘haters’.

A return to the original terms of lock-down looks like a 2/5 chance. So, definitely possible. We wish it was a 0/5 or a 1/5. But it’s not a 4/5 or 5/5, so not looking highly probable. There might be a close call as the R rate pushes up to 1 again, or it may even rise higher, in which case it may be sufficiently briefly, that we only just escape a further lock-down.

Those who are at a statistically low risk, they need to think more about the way they move around, and use extra careful public hygiene. Those at a statistically high risk know who they are, and need to keep their guard up, and be careful where they go, and when.

Napoleon may not have meant it as a compliment when he said we were a nation of shopkeepers, but still, we need to keep it that way. The alternatives are too bleak to contemplate.

Small is beautiful, and so is local.

New Moon in Cancer

The Chariot from The Gilded Tarot, Ciro Marchetti

The major Arcana Tarot card associated with Cancer is The Chariot: traditional meanings, victory, progress, ambition, determination, self control, teamwork, but also lack of self control, waging war, riots, and disruption.

The Chariot itself is the shell – the carapace of the Crab. Cancer may be seen as gentle, but it is also a hunter. Children must be provided for.

The court card is The Queen of Cups; motherhood, children, home and family, the arts. Here it refers to homeschooling too. This is in general a gentle, reflective card. 

However, this new moon will be a lunar eclipse, and Venus, retrograde during this new moon, is famous as the classical goddess of love and beauty but is also the hottest planet, hotter even than Mercury. Mars is famous as the god and planet of warlike energy. Homeschooling might struggle somewhat today, parents and children tired and fractious. Astrologically this influence eases after 25 June when Venus goes stationary, and things flow more calmly.

What does this mean for me and you?

Where the Full Moon in general brings a peak or a re-boosting of energy and initiative, the New Moon in general represents a time of greater introspection and a pause for reflection. This seems especially the case during this New Moon.

This annular solar eclipse suggests this may not be business as usual in New Moon terms. There could be offers or surprises, and these seem most likely close to home; new developments, perhaps news of a baby on the way, or an unexpected call from a relative or old friend you haven’t spoken with in a long while.

The full moon this year additionally falls on a day designated Father’s Day in the UK. The ultimate Tarot card of fathers and fatherhood is the Emperor card.

This is also the card of government, Law and Order and the Army, whose members and officers are citizens too, and whose ultimate duty is to protect the people of their nation states, and to protect and promote their collective interests, in whichever country, under whatever government.

These are all coming in for exceptionally heavy stick at present, struggling in their different ways with not only arenas of political difficulty, but a pandemic of unproven origin and peculiar aetiology. Covid19 is now suspected to be a vascular disease as opposed to a strictly respiratory disease; a veritable viral Frankenstein.

Failures and frailties notwithstanding, I will still convey my respectful greetings to all that is the very best in The Emperor as embodied in the Tarot.

Read more about The Emperor here

We’re all on the road together, you and me.

The Humming from Enya

Until next time 🙂

A Pendulum Prediction: Tunnel Vision

Depiction of Hannibal and his army crossing th...
Depiction of Hannibal and his army crossing the Alps during the Second Punic War. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently returned from an overseas family vacation driving in Europe, marginally more relaxing than crossing the Alps with Hannibal. OK, it was intense, but let’s keep a sense of proportion. It was nothing like marching with Hannibal. I had scrambled eggs for breakfast every day, once with chopped chives. The sun shone all week. It was instructive, it made a change, and my husband, Il Matrimonio, was in seventh heaven; king of the road in his lovely new black shiny car that he, ahem, loves.

Below we have the The Chariot card from The Gilded Tarot, representing progress, teamwork, ambition, and literally, a vehicle. Image by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti.

chariot card gilded

Yes, it was Chariot time. What else could one do, but belt up, pray not to need the loo in a hurry; no joke if you’re having to use a wheelchair for any reason, and look and learn?

There was plenty to see; Reims Cathedral, the snowy summit of the Eiger, the battlefields of Ypres. No goats in Switzerland. Perhaps because it was still hot, they were still up on the high pastures. No ghosts in Ypres, or in Polygon Wood, where Kiwis, Aussies and Brits lie, all brothers together, though I wouldn’t have been surprised to have seen one, standing waist high in the tall green fields.

No risk of mal- de- mer, we had gone through the Channel Tunnel. Quick and easy, no fuss,  sitting, working up our best French, and in some cases, spoof French, to be spat out 25 minutes in La Belle France.

The course of the Channel Tunnel (English).
The course of the Channel Tunnel (English). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On the return trip, however, there occurred a minor delay. We had made the crossing. The train had slowed right down. We’d had the announcements thanking us for travelling Euro-Tunnel, and were doing up our seat-belts ready to stop and drive off, when abruptly the train stopped, the lights went out and we were trapped in the dark in the belly of this vast tin-can underwater snake.

We heard announcements and apologies to the effect that power had been lost, preventing us from reaching the platform at Ashford, but hopefully it wouldn’t be long before power was restored.

How long would it be, I wondered? My tarot cards were in my suitcase, but I had my pendulum in my handbag. I held the pendulum, suspending it over my lap and asked, ‘how long till we move? Will it be 5 minutes?’

The pendulum dithered, then began to move in a circle, anti-clockwise. For me, that always means ‘no.’

It wasn’t the answer I was hoping for. So what. That’s the risk in consulting oracles.

‘How long till we move?’ I asked again. ‘Will it be 10 minutes?’ The pendulum hesitated, then began to swing clockwise. For me, that always means yes.

‘Only ten more minutes, with any luck,’ I said to Il Matrimonio, as he sat, tapping his fingers on the steering wheel, in-between kissing it, or wishing he could.

‘Are we there, yet?’ the teen piped up, stirring it from the back of the car.

Il Matrimonio glanced at his watch, to monitor the prediction, and this is why I am able to tell you, the lights came back on, the power was back, and the train began to move, 9 minutes and 50 seconds later.

Anyone can learn to dowse. It’s not magic. OK, it is. It’s everyday human magic. You won’t always get it right. I don’t, but it’s one of those things you get better at with practice.

There are lots of books on the subject, and plenty of how-to articles on-line. No need to spend money to mobilize this magic. You don’t even need to buy a pendulum. You can use a ring on a string, or even a threaded needle, stuck into a cork. You need a cord or string for there to be that crucial swing, when gravity gets hold of the body twitch, when it comes, that’s the answer needing translation, the non-verbal reply coming from your central nervous system.

What you need to do is decide in advance what movement shall mean ‘yes’, what movement shall mean ‘no’, and what shall represent ‘don’t know’, or ‘ask again later.’

Then ask your question, relax, and trust yourself. Learning to trust yourself, that’s the hardest thing you have to teach yourself, if it doesn’t come naturally. It is the challenge in learning Tarot, it is the challenge in using the insights provided by dreams. It is the challenge in learning to believe yourself, and not beat yourself up when you take an instant ‘unfair’ like or dislike to someone or something. Have you ever felt like that and reasoned yourself out of it, only to come full circle?

Your first feeling is the one to trust. It can save much time, energy, heartache, or even money.

You know more than you know you know. Why don’t they teach this in school?

Tunnel

The use of divinatory tools is largely a means of silencing the counter-arguments of the know-it-all front brain. The conscious attention goes to the tool, creating a tiny oasis of stillness in which to more easily connect with the silent voice of the body’s primary intelligence; instinct.

It trumps tunnel vision, any time. Unless, perhaps, it’s a vision in a tunnel.

Until next time 🙂

Practical Tarot:The Chariot

I find a 4 card spread is a neat but comprehensive way of quickly opening a reading, I think of it as ‘taking someone’s temperature’ Tarot-style…

North card. Material Affairs, home, work, health etc

West Card: Relationships, spiritual matters, mood.

South Card: Career, ambitions, passions, energy levels

East Card: Thoughts, intellectual preoccupations, planning.

A central card or simply an extra card placed alongside may be used to identify the question or concern that is the motivation for coming to the reading.

This may or may not be logged in the forefront of the client’s conscious thinking at the reading’s outset and may emerge later. Don’t be put off too much if you’re new to reading, share the meaning of a card and a client refutes it. Don’t argue, accept the rebuttal and wait…very often it will emerge during the reading that the Tarot was right, and the client just needed a little more thinking time or to settle into the conversation first.

In the North I drew The Chariot Reversed. A card of Travel, Transport, Ambition, Partnership, Cohesion, Teamwork, Success achieved through focus and determination.  Being drawn Reversed…was he currently experiencing trouble with transport or a sense of dissatisfaction with his job?

Not with transport he said, looking baffled. Yes, to the dissatisfaction at work question.   He was a building labourer, a skilled one, and that was OK, he liked the work, but he had a hunger for learning, and a taste in reading and curiosity in metaphysical matters that he found was not readily understood by his work mates.

This formed the greater part of the discussion that followed.

But for now that did not seem to be all of ‘it’…what about his car or van, I asked? This was probably not a serious problem, positive surrounding cards indicated it as a passing concern, but it was lodged in the material and financial department of this small spread. 

The MOT was due on it the following week, he said, and he was not looking forward to the bill one bit.

Aha. The Tarot was picking up on basics. And so it should.

The Chariot from the Swiss IJJ Tarot.