This is the fourth installment of a new series of interpretations of the astrological symbol set. For interpretations of Planets in Signs, Planets in Houses and Planets in Aspect, please see the Depth Astrology series at the Smashwords e-publishing site, https://www.smashwords.com/books/byseries/13223 .
The dynamics of sign-to-sign relationships can be useful not only in the interpretation of compatibility charts; they can also add information to the interpretation of planetary aspects. As with other symbol set interpretations, the juxtaposition of the essential energies of each sign is the starting off point for exploring their meanings.
This series continues with
Aries-Cancer and will end with Pisces-Pisces, working around the
zodiacal wheel factorially with a
new zodiacal combination presented each month. Past month’s articles
are archived. Upon completion, some
6 1/4 years from now, Insha’Allah, these articles will
immediately be published as an e-book for sale.
Aries-Cancer, as with other cardinal sign combinations, resonates with the square aspect. Out-of-sign sextiles and trines are possible but I do not consider these to be fundamental to the dynamics that exist between these two signs.
Interpreting the Aries-Cancer combination may also shed some light on a number of related symbol sets. These include Aries in the fourth house, Cancer in the first house, Mars in the fourth house, Mars in Cancer, Moon in the first house, Moon in Aries and Mars-Moon aspects.
As a reminder, “container” is used here as a general term designating a planet whether in one’s own chart or another’s. When in another’s chart, “container” may practically be viewed to mean the other person. So that the analysis doesn’t wind up seeming too cold and depersonalized, I will sometimes use the personal pronoun (you) in lieu of the impersonal “container.” Recognize that either term can refer to a planetary energy within you or your relationship with another person.
With Aries-Cancer, we have the pairing of Cardinal Fire and Cardinal Water. Thus, the essence of the conflict inherent in these two signs lies between Fire and Water, each moving in a different “direction”—Aries toward action and Cancer toward feeling. Water and fire are inherently antagonistic. Water extinguishes fire while fire causes water to evaporate and become trapped by air. Prior to these finalities, the interaction of fire and water is likely to produce negative effects. Water, particularly if applied slowly, will cause fire to sputter and smoke, creating confusion and noxiousness. Fire, when applied to water, first brings it to a boil—too hot to sustain life and turbulent in character. Nevertheless, in proper relationship and combination, fire and water can yield benefit, just as the energy of the square can be channeled to build strength and character. Water provides relief when fire becomes too hot. Fire makes water perform work and become useful.
As we have said, the fundamental conflict associated with Aries and Cancer is between action and feeling, or emotions. From Aries’ point of view, emotions get in the way of action. Aries energy is simple and direct; Cancer, with its emotions, complicates things. For the Cancer container, any action undertaken must feel right. If it doesn’t feel right, action is blocked. Aries doesn’t care about feelings. You just want to act. So, for Aries, the emotional prerequisite for action constitutes nothing but a useless and frustrating obstacle. Cancer’s emotional caution only enflames Aries’ impatience.
When Aries displays his/her impatience, the Cancer container is likely to perceive this as insensitivity, or emotional ignorance. Furthermore, Aries’ impatient (and emotionally rash) behavior can easily feel threatening to the Cancer container. This reflects the inherent first house-fourth house conflict between the will to assert the self and the need to protect the self (and everyone to whom you have become attached). Mars, as god of war, can only cause destruction and calamity from Cancer’s viewpoint. So when the Aries container becomes too assertive, too war-like, you react, withdraw and put up your defenses. When pushed, like a cornered mother bear, you can attack with the full force of your emotional wrath. Or, you can withdraw into passive aggression, silently meeting the Aries threat with deadly emotional energy. Your Aries opponent is not likely to back down, however, with his/her own emotions suddenly ablaze. Thus, an Aries-Cancer conflict can result in some spectacular fireworks. Or, it can lead to the spectacle of the Aries container futilely spending his/her anger against a withdrawn and seemingly unresponsive crab.
Another potential dynamic of Aries-Cancer involves mutual negative perceptions and attitudes. Cancer is likely to consider the Aries freshness and impulsiveness as dangerously naïve. A typical Cancerian reaction to Aries headlong approach is to protect. This may be either self-protection (or protection of those under your care) or you may instinctively respond by wanting to protect Aries from the danger in which you see him/her putting him/herself. If the former is the case, a likely Aries response is to push forward, which will further raise your alarm bells and provoke a stronger protective reaction. If the latter is the case, the Aries container may feel s-mothered (over-protected, inhibited and controlled). Again, your Aries reaction is likely to be to try to break free and escape the limitations that Cancer is trying to impose on you “for your own good.”
When internalized, the Aries-Cancer conflict can be just as destructive. The Aries container possesses the will to act and to act immediately. The Cancer container can feel that such action is dangerous or inappropriate, or emotionally you may be drawn in a different direction that precludes the direction your Aries container desires to pursue. This double-mindedness can manifest as paralyzing indecision, feeling that what you are doing or what you have just done is not right, second thoughts and regret, feeling that you are prevented from doing what you really want (emotionally) to do, frustration at always doing the wrong thing or the thing that doesn’t really bring you satisfaction, or feeling blocked by your emotions (fear, guilt, worry) from acting as you think you should. You may also experience a pattern of feeling emotionally uncertain about an action, or having a feeling that you should not do something, doing it anyway (often impulsively), and then regretting your action.
Aries-Cancer may also play out the archetype of the warrior protecting his/her home, hearth and family. This may be a positive channelization of the Aries-Cancer energy but it is also fraught with negative potential, especially the development of co-dependent relationships. The Aries container may feel heroic by defending the homeland and family but if you are called upon too often to do this, you may begin to feel trapped in this role. If you feel bound or enslaved and controlled by the Cancer personality, you may become resentful or even mutinous. If, on the other hand, you thrive on the adrenaline rush of taking heroic action, you may continually seek out situations that place you in a combat role, ready to defend that which is precious to you. Your Cancer partner may also become attached to and dependent on the dynamics of the hero-protected relationship. Not only may this make her/him feel worthy (of being protected), loved and cared for, but she/he may also welcome the opportunity to play the Cancerian role of nurturer and care-giver as the hero returns from the wars, wounded and tired.
Of course, more positive energy dynamics can occur between the two signs. The Aries energy can be strengthened and softened through contact and interaction with the Cancer container. It can be strengthened because it will take more effort to overcome the obstacles that the Cancer container throws in the way of the action that Aries wills to take. The Aries will is strengthened not only through persistence but through maturity gained in accommodating and learning to work with the Cancer emotions. The Aries container may never fully understand the emotions, needs and motivations of the Cancer container, but you can learn to work with them. However, this will require effort and likely working through conflicts and obstacles and you may always need to be aware not to set off Cancer’s reactive pincher reflex.
Cancer can learn that it is not enough to feel; that action must sometimes be taken. Instead of always reacting to the Aries will to act, you may find ways to harness your emotions in support of the Aries container. You, yourself, may be stimulated by the Aries container to take action, even if it is only the action of expressing your emotions instead of holding them inside. Again, this will take conscious effort and may not always be easy. You may always have to control your impulse to stop the Aries container from acting or to automatically protect yourself from Aries’ assertiveness.
At a deeper level, the challenge of the Aries-Cancer combination is to reconcile the primal existential impulse to Be with the longing for the comfort and security to be found in a return to the Cosmic Womb. For the Aries container, Cancer’s withdrawal into itself, into the subconscious world, and back to a state of primal rootedness represents an existential threat—a return to a state of Not-Being. Psychologically, this can be compared to the animus’s fear of envelopment and entrapment by the anima. The Aries masculine energy fears and is wary of the Cancer feminine’s desire to domesticate the wild masculine energy, resulting in a loss of freedom and a containment of naked Beingness. For Aries, the Cosmic Womb may not be a warm place of existential security but a dark web of entanglement and danger.
For the Cancer container, on the other hand, the Aries energy represents a threat of intrusion into the safety of the subconscious womb. For the drive to Be represented by Aries can only be actualized in a state of consciousness. The bringing of fire and light into the subconscious makes it conscious, exposing it to the world and its dangers and destroying the safety that Cancer would inhabit. Aries is seen by Cancer in his role of warrior, a conqueror who would subject the world of the subconscious by making the potential manifest. Thus, on both sides, there is an inherent distrust of the energy of the other and of the consequences of interacting with that energy.
The challenge, therefore, is to heal that distrust, which can only occur through courage, acceptance and Love. The Aries container must have the courage to enter into the domain of the Cosmic Womb, to submerge into the water of emotion, accepting it on its own terms and trusting that your Being will not be destroyed or emasculated. You must go into that darkness not as a conqueror but as a warrior without arms, bravely but gently asserting and maintaining your Beingness as you, in actuality, conquer your emotional demons by surrendering to the Divine Mother. You must make the potential manifest without ripping it from its fabric. You must walk into the mines and caverns of the subconscious in a spirit of reverence and awe, all the time fighting to preserve your Beingness.
The Cancer container must
learn to accept without question, to receive the Aries
container without reaction, without fear. A quality of the
feminine Divine is Her infinite
acceptance of all creatures and of all circumstances. This is the
unconditional love of a mother for her child. You must learn that
it is through the warrior Aries, the one who acts, that you
will experience your own Being. You must allow your
potential to become manifest and you must trust that it is the
Aries energy which will unleash that potential within you,
that will dip deep into the well of the unmanifest within and
actualize this content into the world. You must have the
courage and love to give birth to your potential and to bring
to the Light that which was enclosed in the darkness.
Although I consider the natal chart to be dominant factor in the synchronicity that is the human psyche experiences with the astrological symbol set, I recognize that transits do play a role and are part of the synchronicity of life’s experience. That said, I do not make too much of transits. While they can indicate the “astrological weather” you may be experiencing, I do not put much stock in them as predictors of events.
There are a number of reasons for my position. One is my belief in the astrological symbols set as indicating potentialities based upon the essential meanings of the symbols. At the level of events on the physical plane, these potentialities are legion. Uranus square Venus can just as easily indicate coming to terms with your need to individuate in order to bring your relationship to the next level as it can indicate divorce and there are a thousand possibilities in between.
Another huge reason is my belief in the futility and uselessness of predicting the future. Christ said, “Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered” and the Qur’an states, “Not a leaf falls but with His knowledge; there is not a grain in the depths of the earth nor anything green or withered but is inscribed in a record clear for those who can read.” Yes, the future can be known (although not with certainty) but when we are all subject to our fate, which no one can change, what good does it do?
With that said, there was much excitement about the recent Grand Cross pattern in the skies, which has now passed; but the Uranus-Pluto square remains. In fact, Uranus and Pluto have been squaring each other in and out of orb since 2009 and pretty consistently since 2011. Exact squares occurred in June and September 2012, May and November 2013, and April 2014. The square will continue, mostly in separation, through 2017. If you have planets in late Pisces through mid-Aries or early to mid-Capricorn, you may have felt this (as well as some with planets in late Virgo to mid-Libra or early to mid-Cancer). If you have planets from mid-Aries to late Aries or mid-Capricorn (as well as mid- to late Libra and mid-Cancer), you may continue to feel this.
Despite the obvious political symbolism of freedom in conflict with power, I am not in the camp that sees this square as having any effect on world politics. Frankly, the world is always full of upheaval somewhere and the conflict between freedom and power is age old. That said, times may indeed seem more turbulent (the last Uranus-Pluto square was during the Great Depression) and this energy can sow the seeds of future experience of turbulence and conflict for those born with the square.
If you have planets in Aries, you may or may have experienced a certain amount of turmoil prompted by sudden changes or radical shifts. The ultimate purpose of these disruptions is to bring you to the next level of individuation. The progression of Aries is to move from the naïve, innocent experience of self to the spiritually mature realization of Self. Along the way, it is easy to get stuck at various levels of ego. With ego, there is always attachment. Although you may think you are independent and free, as long as your independence and sense of freedom is dependent on you having your own way, this is an illusion. For, as long as you are attached to outcomes, you are dependent. As the Sufi, Ibn al-`Arabi would say, you are nothing but a contingent being. Uranus’ role is to shake up those attachments, by violent earthquake if necessary. Only by losing your attachments can you be truly free and truly individuated.
The Pluto square can add another layer of turmoil to your life, one that is the result of the utter destruction your attachments. This may be conflict and turmoil that is compounding the turmoil you are feeling as a result of the Aries transit or it may occur in an area of life represented by the house in which Pluto resides. You may also feel as if something much more powerful than you is standing in your way, imprisoning you or even trying to destroy your freedom.
If you have planets in Capricorn that have or are being transited by Pluto, you may feel that what you have worked so hard to build up and had thought was permanent and secure is being destroyed. It may feel as if your world is being ripped out from underneath you and that you are falling into a deep abyss. You may feel as if you are losing control over everything for which you have worked so hard. All your attempts to regain control may only be met with more disruption, opposition and destruction.
At the same time, you may be experiencing sudden and unforeseen changes in the area of life symbolized by the house through which Uranus is traveling in your chart. You may experience separations, whether this is an urge to separate that you are feeling or involuntary. You may also feel an urge to escape or be free, particularly from the situation you are experiencing as a result of the Pluto transit.
You are likely to experience tensions and conflict that involve control issues, separation and freedom. The Uranian energy may be pushing your Aries function to be free while the Plutonian energy may be holding on to what is being pulverized and collapsing all around you. If you remain in the conflict of the square, trying to assert your freedom, on the one hand and trying to control everything and everyone around you (or just trying to gain some control over your situation), you are likely to find that you can obtain neither and that you remain powerless against the forces that are grinding you down, pushed and buffeted by changes in your life and bound to your attachments.
The key to true liberation and to regaining power and control is surrender. Surrender to life’s inevitabilities, to your karmic destiny, to the necessity of detachment, will allow you to accept all that is going on in your life. By surrendering, by admitting defeat, you stop struggling against what you cannot change, against that over which you have no control. This allows you to go deeper and higher, to a place where you can merge and feel at One with that Power that will do with you what It will regardless of your ego’s desires.
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