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.