Cancer is the first sign denoting true manifestation, or life, because all biological entities require water in order to exist. As the 4th sign it carries the numerological significance of the number 4. If we divide the 360 degrees of circle by 4 we get a perfect square possessing 90 degree sides. This is the most unstable of shapes and manifested physical existence is the most unstable of places, such is the struggle of Cancer wherein we find the drive to manifest concretely that which was previously pure potential.
Cancer is a sign of focalization. It moves outward so as to build a firm foundation and feel secure. Water signs deal with feelings and emotions, and in Cancer these feelings are generated as a mechanism of adaptation in form, to other forms. In Cancer the need for emotional security as an individualized entity is at its most high and thus this is the most egotistical of the signs. In Gemini we had the organization and classification of the sensory data experienced in the Taurus phase. Now in Cancer we have the emotional attachment to those ideas and experiences. This emotional attachment binds abstract being (Soul or Spirit) to the world of forms or embodied existence. Out of the flow of information which Gemini is happy to observe, to organize, to play with and in, Cancer will instead grab various pieces of these experiences so as to construct an identity. Many ancient teachings tell us that we are drawn into manifestation by our desire (Taurus) for those things we are attached to (Cancer). The Cancer phase symbolizes how we are drawn to some ideas while we repel others, and those that we are drawn to we equate with ourselves while those we scorn we regard as different or not-self.
Thus Cancer is the time-binding aspect of the cycle of conscious existence because it is where attachments to the flow of events, things and people occurs concretely for the first time. The Cancer type is highly emotional, introverted, nurturing, nostalgic, and intuitive. They tend to be psychically very open and overly sensitive on a very personal level. They become attached easily and are always at work constructing a safe haven. The question is will that haven be one that shuts light out or one open on all sides to the penetrating nature of Spirit?
This is the Moon's domicile and the Moon properly refers to the inner world of the native and his/her ability to adapt to changing circumstances and foreign environments. The Moon has also much to do with our cravings or appetites, and in this sense the Moon is the personality or that part of us which is most bound to form. The Moon reflects the solar light making it perceptible to Man. The Moon is the mother of forms and lord of the tides. Jupiter is exalted in Cancer and as we said above Cancer is symbolically where things are embodied in form, and thus it is the apex of multiplicity, that place where the longest day meets the shortest night. The daytime is a symbol of the manifested cosmos, while the nightime is the symbol of the unmanifest or potential cosmos. Throughout the yearly cycle one waxes while the other wanes. Jupiter is the planet of abundance and expansion and his exaltation in this sign of attachment and craving is illustrative of that moment when the One actually becomes the many, itself a great mystery.
Qualities: Cardinal, Water
Season: Summer (Solstice)
Planets: Moon (ruler), Jupiter (exalted)
Body Part: Breast/Lungs
Needs to feel emotionally safe and secure at all times
Motherly or heavily influenced by the Mother
Prefers the personal/private to the impersonal/social
Powerful feeling nature
At times can be almost bi-polar in terms of mood
Note: For each sign there is a list of basic qualities and then an Esoteric elaboration. The Esoteric elaborations should ideally be read in the order of the signs, from Aries to Pisces, so that the context for what is said for each sign can be properly understood.