Cancer is the astrological representative of infancy and early childhood, especially the oral period of the first one or two years of life, at the end of which we are torn from the padded, relatively comfortable and merciful existence into the world of “out there”. It’s hard not to address the relation between a woman’s lunar Cancer menstrual cycles (28-29 days) as progressing in match with the moon’s cycle. In the historical past these cycles were perpetuated in lunar ceremonies and myths. Because of the fixed cycles in the lunar-feminine-maternal dimension, it has turned into one of the laws of nature.
The sign’s keywords: Mother, womb, breasts, memory, history, eyes, feeding, breastfeeding, home, sugar, family, photography, appearance, past, moon, patriotism, legacy. Cancer is the archetype of the past and the memory; therefore it is a key component in our personal identity. Our memory preserves the chronological timeline that shows up in the polar Capricorn. Cancer and Capricorn involve each other in an inseparable two-way flow of spiritual energy.
Time (Chronos – Capricorn) builds in our subconscious memory, memory reaffirms the aspect of time and it is hard to separate the two. The English philosopher John Locke claimed: “Memory is the key to personal identity more than anything else – the fact I carry in me the awareness of my outcomes is what makes me what I am”. Identity is actually memory of continuity, time and belonging.
In the Cancer sign lies the psychological-intuitive recognition that time has a powerful grasp of the soul, not something that passes and gets forgotten… The events of early childhood are engraved deep in the soul of the individual and continue to generate mental load even in the years beyond. Moreover, as years go by, the memories might receive a hurtful and difficult interpretation as one understands and is aware exactly why the events happened and the familial or other circumstances. A three, four or five year old kid, is not yet aware enough of linear time, and their experiences, especially during contact with their mother or the lack there, sink into a sort of black hole devoid of time and conscience. This black hole is a type of eternality in the soul. Energy exists in the form of one memory or another, so that the event is unknown to us, or we are unaware of it, making it eternal, inaccessible and powerful. The lack of a treatment or solution causes it to be eternal.
This type of astrological viewing reaffirms the psychoanalytic claim of Melanie Klein and Oralists from the 30’s, which state that blame – polar Capricorn – is transferred by the mother to the breastfeeding baby (therefore supporting and reaffirming the polar aspect and tension that exists in signs) even in the early oral stage accompanied with incest sexual feelings toward her child. Feelings of this type hold a sexual energy that is transmitted to the child and picked up by them.
The compensation of the polar Capricorn’s stubbornness to the cancer won’t be late to show, as the oedipal process occurs as a step in the oral Cancer development. Melanie Klein was determined in Cancer Capricorn fashion that the Capricorn superego, meaning conscience and guilt, created from oedipal tendencies, as a result of Cancer frustration a child feels when weaning. These show at the end of the first year and at the beginning of the second year of the child’s life. The deprivation created when the Cancer breast is abstained from the baby or depleted, during that dawn of life, form beginnings of feelings of entrapment and restriction, a sort of polar Capricorn shrinkage. This is how we lost our good old mother in “Alabama Song”.
This dialectic between the signs Cancer and Capricorn is intrinsic and prime, which is the reason it is so powerful. Our lives begin in a dimension of dim Cancer memory or even lack of any memory. It is truly a type of paradoxical polarity between attraction and repulsion, commitment and taboo, mercy and comfort against disconnect and deprivation. These are the deep conflicts in our souls in the Capricorn-Cancer aspect.
In this point of view, the Cancer past is a dynamic experience, renewing events or other kinds of states, at any point, as normal life continues on; activating the Cancer’s representation conserved in our souls (the factors of the Zodiac cycle are a type of conserving representatives). In Italo Calvino’s novel “Invisible Cities” (1972), Marco Polo discusses with the Mongolian leader Kublai Khan (1216-1294), about how the past clarifies the present and the future. Marco Polo intuitively senses the polar cycle of the Cancer-Capricorn as a mental pendulum. If memory has the property of passion and yearning, it becomes a powerful present. According to Polo, we venture forward to relieve our past, even if we don’t understand or know it. The venture forward is a venture backwards into our personal Cancer past. Cancer-Capricorn is an inseparable entanglement of past-present-future. In Marco Polo’s case, his travels in cities hidden from the eye are intended to understand Venice and the meaning of his life. It is a journey through memory. As for the figure of the mother, a baby’s first self-image is constructed from the mother’s face and the way she looks at the baby. In actuality the aspect of appearance, associated astrologically with the moon, is at play here. The mother’s facial expressions, expressing calm or disrupt, happiness or anger, teach the baby to identify his feelings, reflecting in the face of the mother in lunar-reflective fashion. The mother’s face sculpts the baby’s personality as he sees her and itself as one entity. According to psychoanalytic theory, Cancer is seen in the mother’s figure as a first mirror. This lunar Cancer mirror builds the foundation of comparison in a joint creation between the mother and the baby, much like paintings in the beginning of the renaissance era, describing Mary and Jesus looking into each other’s eyes.
The famous painter Rembrandt (15.7.1606) is a Cancer that expressed the polar Capricorn in his artworks. Each of Rembrandt’s paintings involve figures and events from the Bible or the New Testament (The religious aspect relating astrologically with Capricorn) such as Petrus in the prisoner’s chamber, Philistines gouging out Samson’s eyes, Bat Sheva taking a bath on the rooftop and the stoning of Saint Stephen. Cancer is the dream of returning home. The root of the word ‘nostalgia’ is in the Greek words: “Nostus” – return, and “Algus” – Suffering, meaning suffering that derives by an unfulfilled longing for home.