Pioneering / Homebuilding / Settling / Tribalization / Leadership / Consolidation
I will faithfully lead my family, across oceans and deserts if needs be, to find our tribal home, where we belong
Cancer is receptive, insightful, instinctive and responsive, having keen psychic sensitivity, and able to absorb and retain emotional impressions; it is caring, gentle, relaxing and delicate, and needs warmth, intimacy and unguarded closeness. Cancer is a pioneer; it will risk danger and discomfort to escape conditions that deny a person the possibility of feeling at home in their environment. People need more than food and shelter – to create a home includes the psychological aspect; each member must be allowed significant emotional expression without risk of exclusion. A child’s first efforts and an adult’s need for rest and recuperation must be supported at home more than anywhere else – or it is not a home for them.
Parental instincts run very strong, with nurture and protection highly prioritized, expressed by providing a secure and pleasant domestic environment, and a legacy of sanctuary that can be passed on – to and through the family. A solitary home does not reach the desired depths, and if further deepening is to occur then neighbourhood needs to develop. People settle – and codes of behaviour, terms of involvement, exchanges of skills and resources, and all the many intricacies of social life emerge, as the various individuals and family units brush up against one another. Differences cause friction, and understandings settle matters.
Relaxing into the community spirit, another level of rapport is established and the sense of belonging is extended to embrace the clan and tribe, by using shared rituals to create firm bonds that unite people who do not share meals and campfires. Principles and practices are raised beyond expediency and celebrated to the level of sacredness, then gradually formed into heritage. By honouring the old and simultaneously nurturing the young, a lineage is energized that can access both the deepest wisdom and the most vibrant creativity available to the community. It is this that generates the profoundly meaningful sense of belonging that we yearn for. As much as the young feel they belong to the past, the old also feel they belong to the future. In service to each other, old and young alike can reach their highest and deepest levels of self-expression.
Sometimes events and periods arise when one voice must speak for all, to bind together a group when there are conflicting opinions. Such disunity of outlook is not a problem during easy times, yet can be an extinction-level event when troubles loom. A leader is thrown up by the group when needs arise. Such a leader is empathic with the quintessential nature of the community, and wins support by dint of charismatic personality rather than animal power, sharp intellect or practical wisdom. The decision process is often based on lateral thinking, and can include hesitancy, a sideward approach to things, and incomprehensible strategy based on feelings rather than ideas. When real interests are felt to be at stake, and driven by the need to safeguard their loved ones, Cancer will hold on to the bitter end with great tenacity, refusing to let go of what is seen as material securities or emotional investments.
To consolidate a sense of belonging to the wider group requires fidelity. Anyone who breaks faith with the rules, traditions, and obligations will feel the cold wind of exclusion. Yet the faithful enjoy the privilege of relaxing, less fearful of the storms of nature and more concerned with their own stormy inner feelings. For as we keep faith with society’s needs by balancing inner and outer, older and younger, we are still mysteriously aware that the animal nature within us could destroy the fragile peace were it allowed to break out.
The Expressions of Cancer
Cancer 1 – 5
The development of the American nation illustrates how, in order to find a safe, wholesome place to raise families, it is often necessary to face the dangerous unknown – crossing an ocean or land-mass to do so. Even when metaphorically the oceans and continents are experienced within, such journeys can bring us into strange associations, and require us to adapt to extreme challenges.
To open up new territory, whether figurative or actual, involves a degree of recklessness, and this must be more than matched by an ability to control situations; we have to organize resources and events creatively and effectively. Adventures must be attempted with careful forethought and an overview of the bigger picture so that unimportant issues are assimilated, yet potentially destructive problems are avoided. A river’s path is fluid and yet irresistible; obstacles serve to make it grow stronger and clearer of purpose. So too, our personal weaknesses must be overcome so that, by example, we can lead those who would willingly follow. Powers of persuasion need to be brought to a high degree to justify actions that could easily be misunderstood.
Cancer 6 – 10
A home unites a collection of individuals into a group destiny by dealing effectively with concerns about security on physical and emotional levels. There are many aspects to homebuilding, and to realize each requires very careful attention, using whatever resources are available, and enlisting the potential of all members to help out.
Feeling supported and nourished on all levels, secure individuals can rise, since they are potentially made lighter of spirit, refreshed by the opportunity to dream, and the solid support that home gives. This tends to be dramatized as a journey, from a lower to a higher realization of potential, and can give life a delightful sparkling quality. A playful individuality, and more fulfilling expressions of self, can easily arise out of the wholesomeness born of being freed from the debilitating drag of base-level survival requirements.
Cancer 11 – 15
People tend to settle down together in pairs, in families, as tribes and nations. This fact is not at all startling and is usually associated with advantages to do with combined strength, sanctuary and succour. However, we can also see how this process is entirely necessary to support the greatest degree of differentiation and refinement of the individuality of each member of the community. A person typically tries out variations of possible personal characteristics in order to inhabit their truest or most convenient persona. It’s much safer, and probably more effective, to do this within a homely setting.
Influences passed down from mother to child supply much of the psychological material that binds a person to their ancestral heritage, supporting personal optimization. The need to have some control over our physical environment serves to straighten out any overly-fanciful aspects of behaviour, and underlines the importance of following solid advice from older generations. This guidance consolidates our emotional resourcefulness, and helps to lead towards rich rewards, and the fulfilment of expectations.
Cancer 16 – 20
As a group settles, it becomes able to access a closer awareness of the hidden ideals that have somewhat mysteriously drawn together its members. These principles, once felt or implied, become an explicit code that equates to DNA. As much as seeds unfold to give rise to unique versions of potentialities, so the people within the group, shaped by its ideals, grow into individual expressions of a general type. This is no vague philosophical promise; this is borne out by survival issues. Growing members must be provided for, and the complex social organism that unfolds to deal with this is a fundament of the code.
The more spiritual dimension of the code takes the form of ritual and ceremony. Across the nation, people sanctify special things in life – birth, marriage and death – with similar formalities, and such rituals have a strong binding force that, very effectively, allows homesteaders to identify with their tribe. This has profound psychological and practical consequences. Cooperation is taken to a more exalted state when linked to both the earth and the heavens, as indeed it needs to be if settlers are to survive and prosper. Because it speaks to a very deep need, this continues to have importance well after the settling first takes place, in fact indefinitely.
Cancer 21 – 25
Whereas the more outgoing type of individual will lead by calling others to follow, there is another strategy, which we associate with the more responsive type. This leader, having perfected various softer skills and intelligent insights, knows how to wait. A time will come and they will be awakened to respond to an inner feeling that their destiny is to serve the tribe by guiding it through difficult times. A wide knowledge of the ability of others, coupled with the means to inspire and persuade, expands the resources available to the leader. Added to this is an easy intuitive sense of which of the possible options is likelier to produce the better community result. The influence of this type of captain depends upon popularity and empathy – they need to be seen as truly representative of the underlying feelings of the group at large, in keeping with the times and codes of the community.
Cancer 26 – 30
There are quiet periods, when the weary will take their well-earned rest, and there are stormy times when emotions run high and life gets very intense. We human beings are strongly influenced by our passions and need to restrain ourselves from over-indulgences of all kinds, especially when personal or communal feelings are at high tide. Never too relaxed, never too tense – or there is real and significant danger that threatens the tribe. The indirect force that moderates these extremes of sentiment shows in various ways. These include fellow feeling and the willingness to see another’s point of view – also a general loyalty to family and tribe, and faithfulness to its binding ideal.
Here we go beyond the earth-bound concerns of survival to the highly spiritual alignment that is capable of consolidating a disparate number of people into a unified whole. Eventually, by sharing day-to-day trials and celebrations over the years, we somehow become part of one another – in every sense, whether practical or spiritual. This is the goal of Cancer – to be an integral part of a higher organism, to belong legitimately to something held together by a level of rapport so deep that it is prayerful.