Archetypes: The Mother, The Healer, The Invisible Man.
Cancer is a water sign and correlates with emotionality, restlessness, and sensitivity. As one of the cardinal signs, it is active and promotes change. Thus we can expect people with Cancer emphasized in their horoscopes would be marked by activity based on feeling. The sign is ruled by the Moon, eternal symbol of mood and change. Overall, then, Cancerians are sensitive people given to fluctuations of mood whose actions are governed by the emotional tenor of a situation.
They are the most sensitive and protective of all signs, even though they may try to put up a show of hard-shelled sophistication. This protectiveness appears to stem from the astrological significance of the Moon with reference to home and mother. By nature they tend to highly value the idea of home as a place of shelter, of refuge and a parentally protective instinct is highly develop in Cancers of sexes. They tend to extend their protective interest to themselves and those who can be considered as theirs. In the latter class are included "things" as well as people. That is, they are as defensive about their ideas and possessions as they are about those who are close to them.
Since the Moon relates to change as well, they experience a certain restlessness. Unlike Taurus, they are never quite satisfied with the status quo and, as a result, are forever looking for changes they can make that will better their own interests. Thus they may change their opinion, their job, or their home if they can find a better one. They do not rush to meet problems and have a characteristic way of coping with them. Instead of attacking the problem itself, they attempt to find the cause and pick away at it until it has been destroyed. They are inherently cautious and will never give a problem a chance to destroy them before they can eliminate it by that means. If someone holds an idea which they feel does not reflect favorably on they, they will conduct an exhaustive interrogation to determine the cause of this opinion so that they can then pick it to pieces. Thus the unkind accuse them of nagging.
They are very tenacious. They will not let a problem rest until they have found a way of eliminating it. Whenever they have undertaken a certain task they will stick to it until it is completed. If they have an obligation to someone, they will not rest until it is discharged. It is that latter principle that is probably responsible for their humaneness. When someone close to them is in distress, their emotional sensitivity makes them aware of a responsibility. Intuitively they respond with their typically protective instinct and spread their defensive cloak over them.
In two ways, Cancerians are very like Taureans. First, they are not at all afraid of hard work; second, they like to accumulate possessions. But in work they are not as capable of sustained effort over a long period of time in the same way as the Taureans, and possessions are not accumulated as security symbols, but rather simply as the result of an instinct to accumulate things, or to let them accumulate. Some Cancerians dwell amidst a clutter of useless odds and ends which they can never bring themselves to throw away.
In general, their strongest instincts are to protect and conserve, but they do this within a sphere of personal interest. Where there is an emotional involvement, this instinct comes to the fore; otherwise, it does not. They have very little concern with things to which they have no emotional tie. They think in terms of their home, their relatives and friends, their employer, their coworkers, their company, their city, their country, and so forth. What falls outside of the circle of their-ness means very little to them.
Ruler and Element: Moon - Water
Colors: silvery white, sea-foam green
Gem: Blue sapphire, moonstone, mother-of-pearl
Flowers: All lilies, lily of the valley, water lily, lotus, all white flowers
Scents: Lily of the Valley