The Cancer Woman's special, astrologically delineated task is the generation, birth, and nurture of other creatures. She is the natural cosmic mother and teacher, caretaker not only of her children but of the whole suffering world.
The moon means change, growth, and decline—constant cycles of regeneration. The moon measures and determines terrestrial phases, exerting a mysterious influ ence on women's biological clocks, on vegetation, sea creatures, and bodies of water. The Cancer Woman's ruling planet has an essentially passive character, however, for it receives its light from the sun. Its most significant impact on our consciousness has been its archetypically feminine night side. The moon is seen in this role as maternal, enveloping, unconscious, and ambivalent in that it is both protective and dangerous. The devouring female, Jung's Terrible Mother, is the other side of the virginal, saintlike Mary, flawlessly captured in Michelangelo's marble Pieta.
The summer solstice launches the Cancer Woman, symbolically endowing her with a perfect potential balance between the night side, represented by her ruling planet, the moon, and her day side, symbolized in astrology by the sun. She is born with the destiny and the potential to be a woman energetic enough to provide a masculine counterweight to the dark, cyclic forces of her own feminine nature.
The Cancer Woman is maternal in the most universal sense: she is designated as caretaker of the physical and emotional realms. Carl Jung noted that the mother is in touch with the collective unconscious, the nocturnal side of life, and is the source of the Water of Life. Cancer's empathetic, sympathetic nature is maternal, and she is primarily energized by emotional urges and practical ideas centering around people she loves. The Cancer Woman embodies the anima role, in which she first bears the feminine image that every man projects upon women. She is, in fact, the collector of projections and in this sense the Eternal Woman.
Her qualities of solicitude, nourishing, care, prescience, and patience, her emotional/intuitive approach, need for roots, and ability to provide roots and protection in her turn, her feeling-dominated nature—all are quintessential^ feminine. She gets people to take care of her, but in fact she can take care of herself. She may appear to absorb the life and light from others, but in truth she provides them with endlessly regenerated images and energy from the depths of her own soul. In this, too, she is highly feminine.
She is apt to be moody, insecure, charming, introverted, ceaselessly changeable yet resistant to change; a good teacher, even a preacher; touchy, bitter, proud, resentful; conservative, dramatic, guarded but perceptive; practical, protective, inspired, and inspirational; fond of her home, ambitious, sensual, slightly melancholic, with a tendency to hysteria; possessive, envious, sometimes greedy; powerful but often subtly so; indulgent, self-protective, spoiled; vengeful, closed, fretful, begrudging; nostalgic. She is strong yet vulnerable, sexy yet maternal. In short, she is utterly, totally, one hundred percent mysteriously female.
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