CancerCapricorn

Cancer-Capricorn potentially resonates with the opposition between two planets.  However, an out-of-sign quincunx aspect is also possible between planets in very late Cancer and very early Capricorn or between planets in very early Cancer and very late Capricorn.  Thus, the Cancer-Capricorn relationship for the most part bears the hallmarks of the relationship between opposites but can also contain the potential for crisis and stress.   Interpreting the Cancer-Capricorn combination may also shed some light on a number of related symbol sets.  These include Cancer in the tenth house, Capricorn in the fourth house, the Moon in Capricorn, Saturn in Cancer, the Moon in the tenth house, Saturn in the fourth house and aspects between the Moon and Saturn.

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 Cancer-Capricorn, we have the juxtaposition of two Cardinal signs, one a Water sign and the other an Earth sign.  The Water and Earth elements are generally viewed as compatible with each other but, in opposition, there is potential for conflict as well as for balance and resolution.  Because both signs are in Cardinal modality, each can be expected to be forceful, or at least forthright, in expressing the qualities of their respective elements.

Images that can be associated with Cancer-Capricorn may include the ocean with a rock-face cliff shoreline; a mountain lake; a river running through a canyon, sometimes slow-moving, sometimes swift and sometimes creating rapids; and a reflecting pool in front of an office building.  All of these images have in common the stark contrast between fluid and ever-changing water and solidity.  This is particularly evident in the first image.  We have the Cancerian emotional ocean coming in contact with the stoic Capricornian rock cliffs.  Crash as they may, the Capricorn container can handle Cancer's emotional waves, though not with the empathy that the Cancer container may want.  Instead, the Capricorn container is likely to meet your emotions with reason and practical suggestions.  This can either result in conflict or be a source of balance and perspective.  Much depends upon how much ego you have invested in your emotions.  For instance, a Cancer container may use a display of emotion as a signal for various needs--the need for validation, the need for care and nurturing, or the need for attention.  Frequently, particularly from a more rationally-based perspective, this is not a straightforward approach but may have the appearance of a ruse.  Failure of the party to whom your emotions are directed to have the desired response is likely to provoke a negative emotional reaction.  This may take the form of hurt feelings, sulking self-pity, or anger.

On the other hand, if the Cancer container is receptive to receiving help to calm their emotional storm, and particularly if the Capricorn container is somewhat skilled in the art of communication (perhaps some Air influence or interaction with Venus or Mercury), the outcome of such an encounter may be more positive.  The Capricorn container may be able to reframe the emotional content being expressed by their Cancer counterpart.  For instance, you may be able to explain that the worries of your Cancer partner are groundless, or that someone did not intend to hurt their feelings.  Again, the success of such an approach depends upon the Cancer container being willing to let go of negative emotional content.

Another manifestation of balance in the Cancer-Capricorn relationship occurs when the two containers partner to express the positive qualities associated with their respective temperaments.  This is a sort of division of labor.  In this dynamic, the Cancer container handles the empathic and feeling work of the pair, while the Capricorn container plans and set goals, rationally pursues them and takes a practical approach.  When reaching their shared goals requires emotional skills, the Cancer partner will generally come to the fore.  In order to give Cancer's intuition concrete form, or to build a strong protective structure within which their Cancer partner can safely nurture, the Capricorn container will often take the lead.

This theme of demonstrable feeling tied together with practical action runs through the Cancer-Capricorn relationship.  As with the opposition aspect itself, the meeting of these two forces can either be "versus" or "complemented by," and which predominates will determine whether the Cancer-Capricorn interaction is productive or difficult.  In a "versus" dynamic, the expression of the qualities of one container will be met with opposition from the other container.  Thus, when the Cancer container is pulled in one direction by their feelings or intuition, the Capricorn container will assert a rational, practical reason for not going in that direction.  When the Capricorn container proposes taking the next logical step towards their goal, the Cancer container may object that this doesn't feel right.  On the other hand, if the "complemented by" dynamic is operating, when the Cancer container wishes to pursue their intuition or feelings, the Capricorn container may respond by laying out a plan so that the Cancer container can get to where they want to go.  When the Capricorn container prepares a next move to reach their goal, the Cancer container may counsel you. providing intuitive guidance or advice on how to negotiate the feelings of those with whom you must deal in the matter.

One quality that Cancer and Capricorn have in common is a protective nature.  For Cancer, the focus of their protection is on the personal--protecting their emotional vulnerability,and protecting their family or others who may be in their charge.  For Capricorn, the focus of their protection is on the systemic--protecting their reputation and protecting the edifice that they are constructing or the work involved in reaching whatever goal they are pursuing.  It is possible, of course, that these two foci may not be aligned and that the protective efforts of one container leaves the other exposed.  When this occurs, of course, there is likely to be conflict between the two containers and, since this involves matters that are core needs for each, the conflict can be intense.  However, it is probable that the Cancer and Capricorn foci will be aligned and that the protective attitudes of the two containers will support each other.

To understand why this is likely, we can examine the parental archetypes associated with each sign.  Cancer, of course, personifies the Mother archetype while Capricorn personifies the Father archetype.  The Cancer and Capricorn expressions of these parental archetypes manifest in the traditional gender roles found in our society.  The Cancerian archetypal role is to protect the hearth and home.  While in extreme circumstances, this can involve protection of the family from external threats (provoking reactive aggressive/Crab pincer or defensive/withdrawal into the Crab shell responses), the more frequent Cancerian protective mode involves protecting the family from the internal threats of neglect, discord and confusion.  This is accomplished through the establishment of emotional order and predictable routine.

The Capricorn container's protective role is exemplified by the traditional father/bread winner role.  While there are echoes of the other Earth signs in the bread winner role, the Capricornian element is seen in the father going out into the world to make his mark and, thus, provide for his family.  The father/Capricorn protects his family from want and ruin, establishing the materially secure base upon which the emotional security of the home can be built.  It is ultimately for the Cancer partner that the Capricorn container engages with the world.  Beyond direct provision, Capricorn in their traditional father role engages in activities that protect the entire social and economic edifice from disintegration by continually advancing its progress.  This edifice, in turn, supports and protects the bread winning activities more directly protective of the Cancer home.  Correspondingly, it is the emotional stability of their home that facilitates the father/Capricorn to engage productively with the world.  We can conceive the entire arrangement being symbolized by a lake that is protected by surrounding mountain peaks.

It should be noted that if the connection between Capricornian responsibility and the Cancerian home is broken, the efforts and ambitions of the Capricorn container are likely to become ego-dominated.  This increases the likelihood that the Capricorn container will exhibit such qualities as ruthlessness and insensitivity.  These qualities are threatening to the emotionally sensitive Cancer container who is, then, likely to react defensively.  Similarly, if the Cancerian responsibility to emotionally support the Capricorn container is forsaken, the activities of the Cancer container become ego-based.  This is likely to lead to the Cancer container becoming emotionally self-indulgent and excessively needy.  The Capricorn container may then react dismissively or become irritated or angry at the irrational and impractical behavior being exhibited by their Cancer partner.

Another characteristic that tends to be shared by Cancer and Capricorn is caution.  This is an outgrowth of the protective dynamic active in both signs.  The Cancer container tends to be cautious about overstepping boundaries.  Crossing boundaries can be associated with roaming too far from home and, thus, exposing their charge to predatory or accidental danger.  Crossing emotional boundaries can lead to unpleasant or threatening reactions and may cause emotional chaos and confusion (insecurity).  Capricorn's caution tends to stem from practical concerns.  The Capricorn container generally is cautious about the next step, wanting to be sure that it will advance, rather than sabotage, their interests and reach their goal.  The Capricorn Goat will want to be certain that their footing is sure before making an advance.  Breaking rules entails risk and Capricorn, generally, is risk adverse so as to protect what they have achieved.  Thus, containers in both signs tend to be fundamentally conservative (in the sense of following norms, adhering to the tried and true, and avoiding hasty change). 

Usually, the caution associated with the two signs will be a point of commonality, bonding the two containers in mutual affinity and support.  However, there is potential for conflict when caution is exaggerated and this exaggeration works against the interests of the other container.  For instance, when Cancer's reluctance to cross boundaries or go far afield from home causes them to hold back their Capricorn partner from advancing toward their goal, conflict is likely to develop.  Conflict may also develop when the Capricorn container hesitates to act due to their uncertainty and worry about whether they are making the right choice, while the Cancer container's feelings and intuition are strongly pointing to follow a certain direction.   

The latter circumstance hints at another set of qualities that can exist either in conflict or in mutual support--Cancerian fluidity and Capricornian rigidity.  This also relates to the qualities of the planetary rulers of the two signs.  It is symbolized in the image of a river running through a canyon.  The river changes its nature, adapting to the environment of the riverbed while the walls of the canyon are unchanging in their solid witness.  On the one hand, the Capricorn container can be a stabilizing force for the Cancer container, holding in check your emotional outpourings and establishing a consistent environment to allow your changing moods to come and go without causing undue disruption.  Your Cancer adaptability can also help your Capricorn partner when they become too rigid in their outlook and in their ways by coaxing them to be more responsive and, thus, helping them to achieve their goals when being overly rigid would act as an impediment.

On the other hand, the two containers can easily react against each others' opposing qualities.  You may become annoyed at your Capricorn partner's lack of adaptability.  Your Capricorn partner may become disturbed and thrown off balance by your changing emotions and emotionally influenced directions.  There may be a constant battle between taking a fluid, feeling/guided approach and sticking to a set plan.  This conflict may be compounded by each container's sense of protectiveness, with the Cancer container feeling that adapting to the circumstances and following their gut instinct is necessary to protect against threat and danger, while the Capricorn container is adamant that deviation from the plan or not following the rules is a sure path to disaster.

Another pair of opposites manifested in the Cancer-Capricorn relationship is symbolized by the office building and the reflecting pool.  This is the dynamic between emotional response and practicality.  The reflecting pool symbolizes the receptivity and response mode of the Cancer container.  This mode is governed by feeling and emotion and, especially to the Capricorn container, appears to act irrationally (not according to reason, but according what feels right or, in some cases, according to your emotional state).  The office building symbolizes Capricornian practicality, which is governed by reasoned thought.  Again, these two modes can exist either in conflict or as complements to each other.  If acting as complements, the emotional state of the Cancer container and the practical considerations of the Capricorn container will balance each other.  If in conflict, there is likely to be a battle of wills over which mode will predominate.

Looking at the ruling planets of these two signs can also throw light on the relationship between Cancer and Capricorn containers.  The Moon-Saturn relationship reflects several of the themes we have discussed above.  The Moon is associated with all things maternal and Saturn is associated with the patriarchal paternal.  While these roles are essentially complementary, they can also come into conflict, particularly when one or the other tries to assert their authority beyond their proper sphere.  Thus, the Cancer and Capricorn containers can work together in cooperative harmony when each expresses those qualities innate to themself and allows the other to do so, as well.  However, when either one begins to assert the superiority or supremacy of their mode of operation or expression, conflict is likely to result.  This may occur when the Cancer container tries to use their emotional power to dominate their Capricorn partner or when the Capricorn container attempts to assert a set of rules in order to dominate their Cancer partner. 

The Moon-Saturn relationship also highlights a fundamental point of potential conflict between Cancer and Capricorn--the essential emotional grounding of Cancer and the frequent inability of the Capricorn container to relate emotionally.  The Moon, of course, symbolizes our basic emotional framework.  Saturn has virtually no emotional function.  It's function is to restrict, constrain, structure and support.  Practically the only "emotions" that can be associated with Saturn are negative (negative in the sense of absent, not evil)--dryness, patience, tenacity, discipline, objectivity.  However, the Saturnian function can elicit an emotional response when we feel the effects of the Saturnian function as negative (now, in the sense of not to our liking).  These emotions include frustration, insecurity, resentment and pain.  I would argue, however, that the Saturn function is not the locus of these emotions.  Rather, it is the interaction of the Saturn function with our emotional body that causes these emotions to arise.  Thus, interactions between Saturn and the Moon provide plenty of potential to experience negative emotional qualities in response to our rejection or resistance to the lessons that the Saturn function is pressing on us. 

So, we have two basic potential problems in the Cancer-Capricorn relationship.  The first is the inability of the two containers to understand each other.  To the extent that the Capricorn container assimilates the emotional detachment associated with Saturn, it can be difficult or almost impossible for you to understand, appreciate and properly respond to the emotional life of the Cancer container.  Similarly, the Cancer container is apt not to comprehend how their Capricorn counterpart can be so untouched by emotion.  The only solution to this dilemma probably lies in the discovery within oneself and the integration of the the opposite quality within your psyche--the discovery and integration of the emotional function for the Capricorn container and the discovery and integration of emotional detachment for the Cancer container.

The second problem is the potential for negative emotions and emotional pain to result from the interactions between the Capricorn and Cancer containers.  By definition of the dynamic discussed above, it will almost always be the Cancer container who feels or experiences the negative emotional state in response to the actions and attitudes of the Capricorn container.  The Capricorn container may, rightly, believe and express that "it's your problem, not mine" when confronted with the distressed emotional state of their Cancer counterpart.  "Rightly" but not sensitively, for it is true that the negative reaction to the Capricornian/Saturnian qualities motivating the actions and attitudes of the Capricorn container is grounded in an ego state that rebels against restriction, limitation and deprivation.  If this dynamic is to be remedied, one (or both) of two things must occur.  Either the Cancer container must work through their resistance to the Saturnian function and raise their consciousness to a level that can cheerfully accept the karmic lessons that Saturn bears; or the Capricorn container can develop greater sensitivity to the effects that their Saturnian side inflicts on their Cancerian counterpart and control this aspect of themselves to avoid causing pain and suffering to the Cancer container.   Sometimes, however, the Capricorn container may simply be the vehicle through which those karmic lessons that their Cancer counterpart must experience, with the Capricorn container not having any real control over the situation.

Another Moon-Saturn dynamic involves the relationship between rhythm and steady state.  The constantly undulating motion associated with the Moon can be seen as interfering with the state of consistency and stability associated with Saturn.  Thus, the Capricorn container may feel a good bit of annoyance at the Cancer container's changing moods and/or the adjustments made at various points in their rhythmic cycle.  This may elicit a response by Capricorn to want to control their Cancer counterpart in order to assert their preference for uniformity and conformity. 

However, a positive expression of this dynamic is also possible.  This proceeds from Saturn's constructive and supportive role.  The Capricorn container can create and enforce boundaries within which the Cancer container can safely operate, thus containing and regularizing the cyclical fluctuations experienced by the Cancer container.  

Finally, we can view the Cancer-Capricorn dynamic through the lens of their respective glyphs.  Here we have the Crab and the Mountain Goat.  One buries themself in the sand in order to hide and protect themself; the other carefully negotiates sometimes treacherous paths in order to scale the mountain heights.  This contrasts the Cancer comfort level being more withdrawn and introverted (unless they are busied with the circumscribed environment of home, family or dependents) with the Capricorn comfort level of facing the challenge and entering the world-sphere for the sake of achievement.  The Capricorn container is certainly not extroverted in the way that Sagittarius generally is, but compared to the Cancer container they represent the outgoing end of that continuum.  This dynamic works more toward harmony and balance than it does toward conflict.  You are not likely to want to drag your Cancer partner to a social function, unless their attendance serves a purpose of advancing your own ambitions.  However, the dynamic is well-suited to the traditional paternal-maternal roles discussed above.  The Cancer Crab is usually perfectly content to allow the Capricorn Goat to scale the heights toward success while remaining safe and secure in a more protected environment.

We can also look at the ways in which the crab and mountain goat protect themselves to derive further insight into the Cancer-Capricorn relationship.  The crab's defenses are either to scurry out of the way of danger or to use their pincers to surprise attack their enemy.  The mountain goat similarly would prefer a passive defense--cautiously and practically avoiding a situation that may put them in danger or at risk of attack.  If they must defend themselves, however, their approach is more straightforward--using their horns and hoofs to injure or drive away their enemy.  One can imagine that the Capricorn container could become annoyed that their Cancer counterpart gets themself into situations in which they must either retreat or snipe in order to extricate themselves.  This annoyance is probably compounded by the Capricorn container's tendency to react to threat by forthrightly standing their ground.  This real or implied criticism can also provoke a resentful reaction on the part of the Cancer container.  On the other hand, the protective instinct of the Capricorn container can be activated to stand up and defend their Cancer partner, while the Cancer container's preference to withdraw from a fight can sometimes dissuade their  Capricorn partner from engaging in an unwise conflict.

Of course, all of the Cancer-Capricorn dynamics can play out internally, as well as between two people.  The Cancer-Capricorn energy will also be modulated by the planets involved, whether in your own chart or someone else’s.  The depositorships of the Moon and Saturn may also come into play.  -- Gargatholil             
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