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Cancer and Cancer Rising: We Are Equal Beings (If We Remember)

LIFE IS ABOUT relationships. By now, particularly right now, you have figured that out: and that there is no escaping this fact, no matter where we hide, in our minds or in the world. We exist in relationship to other and otherness and existence itself.


Humans can play a little game and pretend not to need one another. We can pretend to have nothing to offer, or that we don’t matter. We can make believe that we are lonely little islands of consciousness until the Sun goes nova, but on this plane of reality, existence comes in the form of shared existence. This is true no matter how good or bad we think we are at relationships; how successful or unsuccessful.

We don’t really know our own gifts, or our shortcomings. Most of what we do in our intimate relationships is try to follow choreography: the rules of dating, the goal of marriage, the use of partnering as primarily an economic tool rather than a growth opportunity, and so on. Even commerce is a form of relationship, and one of the most important: it’s not about the contact of true intimacy.

Whatever may have been your intended life mission, relationships now move into the high-resolution focus that is inherent to conscious human existence.

As one born under the sign Cancer, you tend to seek security and need a container for your intimate bonding. Yet the Moon speaks of a need for nourishment, contact, warmth and the opportunity to nourish others. Part of the challenge of being born under the sign associated with the Moon is that it implies constant variables of the kind that defy your need for containment.

Your relationship angle is represented by Capricorn, which suggests that you tend to seek the structure that you need from others, a little like a hermit crab takes up the shell of another creature. This is natural enough, even necessary, for a water sign. All the water signs are opposed by earth signs. We need them and they need us. The key is to create situations that are balanced; that we can sustain and that provide what we need. I am aware that in this world, that’s extremely difficult.

Capricorn gives us an image of your reliance on traditional modes of relationship, which are themselves challenging enough; but in the times we are living, where the months go by like dog years, it’s particularly difficult to create stability. What we need is to be able to stay inwardly centered in the midst of constant change and stress.

Often what happens in unstable times is a form of reactionary thinking: of clinging to the past. But this, as you may be noticing, is not working anymore.

Liberation from the Past

The transits of 2009 and indeed for the foreseeable future describe a situation where your relationships become the places where you free yourself from the kinds of social bindings that have held you down and in truth held you to the past. The thing about change, Pluto-styled, is that it really means change.

Imagine that Pluto working its way across Capricorn is about you dismantling every idea you ever had about relationship: that it’s supposed to be about marriage, that certain kinds are right and others are wrong, that people must be of a certain variety or they are unacceptable, and that there are specific rules and laws beyond the only one that matters, honest communication.

Let’s start with that. The truth is that you are inclined to live by certain agreements that might have worked well enough 100 years ago, which did not work so well 40 years ago and which are seriously strained today. There can be an enormous burden of guilt associated with letting go of the expectations of our parents and grandparents and even our siblings.

To put it mildly, we live in a world where people are silenced, particularly women. Resentments ferment in that silence, and gossip and criticism that is really self-criticism.

Men are not usually silenced, but are generally taught to communicate in a way that is not inherently about making contact.

We gradually have the confidence stripped from us that would lead us to open our mouths and speak up for what we feel, what we want or to offer what we have to give. We are taught to speak to people through our prejudices and not listen to them for who they are. We are taught to be who we think others expect us to be. We are taught to both lie and believe lies; none of this will serve you any longer.

It won’t work because Pluto, once you notice that it’s there, works directly and on a deep level. Pluto often operates through ultimatum. Do this, and this productive thing will happen, versus don’t do this, and this damage will come. This comes in many forms and shades, but the transaction is clear. It’s a free choice made under duress. Usually that is what it takes to get a person to move. After a while, we learn to get ahead of Pluto and start making the changes that are implied long in advance.

Pluto has a destructive quality at times, and there is always a death element. Part of that involves the need to reorient yourself in your relationships; which may mean within a particular relationship, and within your concepts of relationship. It is surprising and can be challenging to see the extent to which our own ego structures are invested in, and exist as a result of, our ideas about relationships. When those change, we change. And change is one of those things that our particular version of human resists the most. If you’re wondering why it is that changing relationships is so agonizing for you and for so many other people, this offers a clue. And if you wonder why it’s so easy to “lose yourself” in a relationship, this will help.

The freedom that Pluto is offering you comes at the cost of vulnerability. Most people are taught to hide in social structure and structure of all kinds. We depend on it as if our lives depended on it. How many people equate sex with marriage, certified relationship and cohabitation? On some level, everyone does, or claims to. There is the ever-present supposed responsibility factor. And there is the insidious issue of what would mother/father/family think?

A Creative and Destructive Force

This force of Pluto is both creative and destructive: you need to guide it, you need to make decisions, and you need to do a lot of remembering. If I may sum up the theme in one sentence, it is the necessity to learn that you are equal to the people around you, no matter how much power they may seem to have in your life. Equality is an extremely difficult concept to grasp, and there is a case to be made that it does not actually exist. Like any cosmic law, it exists in potential first, and then it exists in the minds of those who are conscious of it and maintain that awareness like a mental and emotional yoga.

As you encounter The Other time and time again and feel the power they have in your life, remember: this is nothing new. It was merely concealed from view. So, too, was the constructive potential of being able to meet others face-to-face. One of the themes here is shifting your relationships off of the plane of parent-child setups. The world as we know it is constructed primarily of this type of relationship. Once you become aware of this, you will be fairly well stunned.

I suggest you explore a psychological model called Transactional Analysis, which divides human interactions into several basic models, comprised of three ego states: Adult, Child and Parent. The strength of Capricorn in your chart suggests that you typically find yourself in situations where at least one of the ego states involves a Parent-type transaction, such as Parent-Child. This is, for example, as contrasted with (for example) Adult-Adult transactions where both parties are presumed to be equal and making decisions under their own power.

One learning goal of Pluto in Capricorn for you is taking the Adult role in every transaction. Part of that involves recognizing when you are being backed into the role of a Child, or when you express a tendency to take on that role yourself.

The convenient part is that the circumstances of your life are going to make this easy enough: when you feel powerless, voila, you are in the role of a Child. When you are expressing authority over another person, you are in the role of a Parent. When you are in clear transactions that involve fair negotiation, self-responsibility and spoken agreements that honor the whole situation, you are in the role of an Adult. I would remind you how unpopular Adult-Adult transactions are, despite most people claiming to be an Adult.

You might console yourself with the reminder that our whole society is structured in such a way as to encourage people to be helpless, or specifically engineered to do so, but that is not really comforting. The struggle for maturity and its first cousin, equity, can seem like crawling up to the top of a pile of garbage naked, and in many ways, it is.

The Quest For Clarity

Relationships happen in many houses, and another important one is the 8th, the house of shared resources, contracts and agreements. For you this is Aquarius, which suggests that while your relationships may lean toward traditional forms, in your deeper values you are a socialist.

In other words, you are someone who thrives on the sharing of resources, which in part can work because you feel you have plenty to offer. I’m not speaking about political socialism but rather an egalitarian notion that there is enough for everyone, so let’s make it happen.

This can only work with clear agreements. Everyone has to offer what they have, and in your life this is a point of frustration because on our planet most people are takers and not givers. In order to not do most of the giving, you will need to become a careful and skilled observer of human nature, and more to the point, a negotiator.

Neptune in your 8th house, Aquarius, for the past 10 years has encouraged you to be a generous person, to a fault. The fault is becoming all too obvious now as Chiron is closing in for a conjunction on Neptune, giving you the power of perception to see your agreements for what they are. Pluto through your 7th house is giving you the power to change the situations that are rooted in the past, which I am certain you have already started to feel: in particular, as strength to make the changes in your life that you need to make.

These processes will all work in tandem. At times it may seem like you have to negotiate every last detail of every last arrangement in your life. I propose that you will need to do this for as long as it takes to get the process into your mental and emotional patterns; till you can spot the people who are inherently unclear and unwilling to be clear, and figure out what to do about them. It will persist until the residue of the past decade of your life is at least cleaned up to the point where you can see the surfaces of your being: in particular, the surfaces where you come into contact with others.

For the past 10 years, Neptune in Aquarius has arrived as a kind of fog that has obscured your ability to be clear in your agreements. This is an extension of the usual “sign without reading” and “click if you agree”-type arrangements for which the world is famous. Neptune in the 8th is the classic astrology of not understanding the agreements you live by; of having those agreements obscured by confusion or denial; and in the worst situations, of outright deception. Indeed, you have been particularly vulnerable to this, a fact that I am sure you have noticed on several key occasions, particularly if you are around the age of 40 and experiencing your natal Neptune square Neptune.

As these years have progressed — particularly since 2005 — you have discovered the necessity to understand just what it is you are agreeing to, and just what others are agreeing to when they relate to you. This is when Chiron arrived in your 8th solar house. Despite having some less savory keywords, the concept of Chiron involves awareness. If Chiron is about healing, then it is healing through awareness and raising awareness through a process of healing yourself. Indeed, it is almost a binary concept: awareness and healing; but I feel that awareness is the actual key.

Barbara Hand Clow gives a magnificent image for how Chiron works with the energy of Neptune: like a funnel collecting rainwater. I have another image: the lens of a movie projector. The light shining through the film would create nothing more than an amorphous image on the screen, no matter how much talent and money went into the production. Add a lens and you can actually focus the image and see the movie.

I would propose that if you actually work for clarity in your sexual and financial relationships, if you are honest, true to yourself and insist on clarity and truth from others, you will immediately begin to reap the rewards of this process. You have to have faith, but just a little. Mostly the kind of faith you need to have is courage: the courage to state your truth and hold others to their truth.

At first these may seem like something other than Adult-Adult relationships. Try approaching the situations around you from an adult mode, clearly stating your position. The people that respond as adults are the most likely to be your actual friends and comrades.

Jupiter coming through this house for the next 12 months — beginning Jan. 5 — is going to present you with many opportunities for success and gain. Jupiter will spend much of the time close to the Chiron-Neptune alignment, suggesting that as you devote yourself to clarity and truth, the rewards will come to you.

One thing I feel confident forecasting is this. If you are in debt, you are likely to find an opportunity to get out of debt this year. I can’t tell you quite what form it will take. I can tell you that it’s likely to come in the form of assistance offered by a collective body, organization or the closest thing to a tribal entity that we have here in the Western world. It could be a form of tax relief or debt forgiveness; look into all options thoroughly and with a sense of optimism that you will find the right thing. It may be some action you take collectively with your friends and it may be a business partnership.

It all looks good as long as you know exactly what you are agreeing to when you sign; and if possible, you need to be the one who writes the contract. Do this as a matter of principle; of taking charge; of setting the terms in the first instance. If the contract is for a larger gig than you’ve ever had, work with an attorney and make sure you sign when Mercury is direct.

Understanding Individuality and Group Dynamics

I would like to add one more bit of information about your 8th solar house, which is where some of the most important and helpful developments of your life take place this year. The 8th is the house of shared resources, which include the values we have in common with others.

In the 8th, there is always someone else involved. Because you have Aquarius in this house, there tend to be a lot of people involved, because Aquarius is the sign of groups. Our economy is based on one-on-one relationships, including marriage; and ones involving massive groups, like large companies.

To the greatest extent possible, you need to keep your emphasis on small group relationships and, if you are involved with one-to-one relationships, situations that are open to the influence and involvement of others. Any isolating situation is likely to crumble under the influence of this astrology.

The struggle that most people have within group dynamics is specifically an integrity issue: the inability to “be oneself” in them. You’ve been working on this for a long time, and I am sure there have been many moments when you felt like you were fighting an utterly losing struggle. You have found yourself influenced or swindled or snowed over; more than once you have been made the victim of your own ideals.

Yet you have learned much more than you think, and you have had a more profound influence on your environment than you may think as well.

Your Professional Life: Time for the Eight-Year Review

One of the places you are the most daring and innovative is in your professional life. But every eight years or so, this comes under a review phase where you get to focus on a new set of goals with a high level of visibility. It’s a moment when you can put your own goals first and let your group conscious leanings take a rest. This is a rare time and I suggest you use it well.

The astrology is about Venus making a retrograde in your house of career and reputation, which is another way of saying that you will experience the benefits of Venus being here for about five months — from early February through early June.

A retrograde involves a planet making a series of turns of direction, which symbolize aspects of your review process. Basically, this is an experiment in how you feel about your visibility in the world. I can pretty much assure you that this is the year you will figure out just how to work your public image.

I’m assuming you think about this kind of thing. If you don’t, it’s time. You have a public image and a relationship to the public, and you need to get it working. It’s a relationship like any other, and for you, like most other things, it’s someplace you give from yourself deeply. One of the things you’re going to find out is how deeply; and how necessary that is. The part that you may not see is how nourishing it is to you; how much energy you draw strength from even though you may not be aware of it.

I suggest you spend some time reviewing what was happening for you eight years ago and see what you can learn from the endeavor. That would be around 2001. Oh, that year. Well, that was a turning point for you. Actually, it may be the year that work went from going terribly to going pretty good, though between the Sept. 11 thing and so much personal stress — really, incredible personal stress — I suggest you take a moment and marvel at just how well you did under how much stress.

You are under less stress today, but you have more responsibility. You know more. Your talents are more refined. You’re stronger. Now you merely need to understand the nature of power. Part of that involves negotiation, and part of it involves being a compelling enough person to get your way with others on respectful terms.

One Final Bit

There is a week during the Venus retrograde, in fact the week when Venus stations direct, that you get a special gift of insight into the way the psychology of your parents holds you back from meeting your highest goals; and from having that real sense of destiny over who you are. The dates to watch are between April 12 and 24.

This will be a busy and compelling springtime for you, but I suggest you keep these dates in mind. They represent a strange and beautiful moment when you get to penetrate a veil or what is sometimes called a glass ceiling. You will get a taste of what it’s like to actually see the psychology in action that holds you back, and quickly, from that place; make the adjustments you need to let go of someone else’s definition of who you are supposed to be.

The most important thing that you hold in your heart and soul, in that moment, is the vision of who you want to be. For some people this is easy and for some it is extraordinarily difficult. Rarely will it be easy to hold the vision and have it be the right vision. Take some time with it. Hold it clearly in mind. See it as you would see the shape of a mountain against a clear, bright sky.

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