Cancer-Pisces potentially resonates with the trine between two planets.  However, an out-of-sign quincunx aspect is also possible between planets in very late Cancer and very early Pisces or an out-of-sign square may occur between planets in very early Cancer and very late Pisces.  Thus, the Cancer-Pisces relationship, while for the most part marked by harmony, is one that still bears the potential for crisis or conflict.   Interpreting the Cancer-Pisces combination may also shed some light on a number of related symbol sets.  These include Cancer in the twelfth house, Pisces in the fourth house, the Moon in Pisces, Neptune in Cancer, the Moon in the twelfth house, Neptune in the fourth house and aspects between the Moon and Neptune.

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-Pisces, we have the juxtaposition of the Cardinal and Mutable Water signs.  Thus, elementally, the two signs are viewed as very compatible.  With regard to their modalities, because the Mutable modality contains the energy of the Cardinal modality, this forms another basis for compatibility between the two signs, although the fluctuating movement of the Mutable element can also present a point of conflict with the Cardinal modality's constant forward motion. 

Water, associated with emotionality, binds the two signs together.  Containers in these signs share a basic orientation to the world and to the psyche--that of feeling and intuitive perception.  Thus, there is often a natural understanding between the Cancer and Pisces containers that is grounded in that shared sensitivity to the emotional body. 

Images that can be associated with Cancer-Pisces are the waves upon the open, boundless ocean and a wide river flowing into the sea.  The first image emphasizes the commonality that the emotional underpinning provides.  Yet, due to their modal differences, the qualities of that emotional fabric are not the same.  The Cancerian waves are always in motion, as are the emotions of the Cancer container.  The Piscean sea is also never still, but its movement is more subtle and hidden, comprised of strong, inner currents.  With respect to the waves of the ocean, the ocean is ever generating and ever receptive.  This points to an intimate emotional relationship between Cancer and Pisces containers in which the Pisces container tends to become the emotional dominant, though in subtle ways.  For the Cancerian emotional waves seem to be independent of the ocean but are shaped by the ocean currents and the contours of the ocean floor.  Thus, it is often the case that when Cancer and Pisces share emotional space, the form of the emotions experienced by the Cancer container are more shaped by the emotional seascape of the Pisces container than the other way around.

From one point of view, then, the Cancer container seems to be dealing with the emotional content of the Pisces container much of the time.  It is likely that your emotions are often shaped in response to subtle emotional cues that emanate from your Pisces counterpart.  It may not be easy to discern the underlying emotional motivations that produce those cues or even to confidently identify those cues.  Fortunately, you may rely on your own well-tuned emotional response mechanisms to pick up and react to the needs and emotional signals of your Piscean partner.  This generally requires sensitivity and attention, since the quality of the Piscean emotional fabric is usually constantly shifting and changing.  Thus, if your own emotional receptivity is damaged or impaired, there is likely to be constant cross-purposing and missed emotional cues producing emotional miscommunication.

Seen from another viewpoint, however, it is the Piscean container who is responsive and sensitive to the emotional states and changing moods of the Cancer container.  For, as the waves arise from the ocean and are received back into the ocean, Pisces may stand ever receptive to the emotional needs and expressions of their Cancer counterpart.  Thus, a common theme in the Cancer-Pisces relationship is often the unlimited understanding and emotional acceptance that the Piscean container is capable of offering to the Cancer container.  Whatever the Cancerian mood, whatever the emotional reaction displayed by the Cancer container, you are able to take this in and absorb it.  Thus, while Cancer may nurture others in their mothering way, a Pisces container may provide the ultimate field of nurture and repose for the Cancer container. 

We can see that, while both containers are capable of high levels of emotional sensitivity and responsiveness, the quality and intention of this activity tends to be different for the two containers.  The responsiveness of the Piscean container tends to be more passive, more adaptable and flexible toward the Cancer container.  The responsiveness of the Cancer container tends to be more active, or reactive, either engaging their Piscean counterpart's emotional cues, or unconsciously being shaped by the content emoted by their Piscean partner (this Cancerian reaction may seem passive because it is unconscious, but it is actually an active response). 

There is, of course, potential for dysfunctional dynamics to occur between the Cancer and Piscean containers through the interplay of emotional response.  For a less evolved and insecure Piscean container, there are limits to their unreserved capacity to take in the emotional needs of their Cancer counterpart.  These limits are determined by their own subconscious, unmet and unexpressed needs.  The ability of Pisces to emotionally manipulate others (usually with their motivations unacknowledged or denied) is infamous.  The emotional attunement between the Piscean and Cancer containers makes the Cancer container more vulnerable to this subtle manipulation, especially if the Cancer container's nurturing drive is transformed through ego-insecurity into a need to feel needed.  Co-dependency is an easy outcome to imagine resulting from a dysfunctional Cancer-Pisces dynamic.  It is also easy to see a dynamic developing where each container consciously or unconsciously attempts to manipulate the other to its ends using emotional hooks, with resentment developing on both sides.

The image of a broad river flowing into the sea presents another perspective on the Cancer-Pisces relationship.  Here, again, the receptivity of the Piscean container is emphasized but, also, the ability of the Cancer container to feed emotional content to the Pisces container may be present.  As the river water is a source of nutrient for the life of the ocean, so the Cancer container has the capacity to emotionally enrich the life of their Piscean partner.  This image also suggests the ability of the Cancer container to meet the needs, especially the emotional needs, of their Piscean counterpart. 

For the Cancer container, on the other hand, the Piscean ocean represents the source to which it longs to return.  Thus, a Piscean partner can feel, not only like a soul-mate, but one who can respond to their deepest yearnings and need for emotional connection.  To the Cancer container, their Piscean partner may feel like an all-embracing, unconditional sea of safety, acceptance and ultimate home.  For the Piscean container, on the other hand, their Cancer partner may be welcomed as if a long lost child
finally returning. 

The river-sea image also suggests a more complex relationship between Cancer and Pisces, for where river meets ocean is the interface between the fresh and salt waters.  It is not often a constant and direct flow of one water into the other but a negotiation producing its own currents and eddies and affected by the ebb and flow of the tides.  Thus, this image suggests the potential for differing emotional perspectives or qualities that need to be integrated through compromise and give-and-take.  Ultimately, it would seem, the Cancerian emotional content needs to be absorbed into the Piscean medium.  Whether this is a natural emotional ascendancy on the part of the Piscean container or the necessity of the Piscean container to accept the emotions of their Cancer partner will be worked out through the integration of the two emotional worlds.

Returning to the image of the waves on the open sea provides another insight into the Cancer-Pisces relationship--one based on the dichotomy between the personal and the universal.  This relates to the fourth house-twelfth house dynamic associated with the Cancer-Pisces relationship.  For each wave thinks itself a unique being and is concerned with its own separateness from the ocean when, in actuality, it is nothing more than a part of the ocean.  The interaction between the personal orientation of the Cancer container and the more universal orientation of the Pisces container may be worked out in harmony or conflict.  Of course, this is not to say that Pisces, particularly in a state of insecurity, does not orient towards the world from a personal perspective.  Yet, when the Cancer and Piscean containers interact, there is potential for the Piscean container to move toward the universal pole, relative to the Cancer container.

When in harmony, the two perspectives may complement each other.  The Piscean tendency to neglect themself can be balanced by the Cancer container's admonitions to take care of yourself.  Of course, care should be taken that Cancer's concern for Pisces' well-being does not promote dependency.  Cancer may infuse an awareness of and concern for the personal into the consciousness of the Pisces container.  This can help the Piscean container focus, as well, drawing the Pisces container into the mundane world and even, perhaps, helping them to establish a routine.  Generally, the Cancer influence on Pisces is to draw the Piscean container out of the vague and boundariless world of their own emotional preoccupation into a more defined and applied world in which, among other things, they may become more aware of the consequences of their [emotional] actions on others. 

The Piscean energy absorbed by the Cancer container may have the opposite effect--drawing the Cancer container out of their emotional shell, and out of their almost exclusive concern with those within the boundaries of their nuclear existence, to broaden their awareness, especially their emotional awareness, of the world around them.  This can, among other things, engage the Cancer container in a more compassionate attitude toward those with whom they have no close connection.  This may also lead to a less reactive pattern of response by the Cancer container, as a lowering of their boundary defenses increases their capacity for empathy.  Effectively, Cancer's definition and experience of family is expanded.

The two perspectives--personal and universal--can also be a source of friction between the two containers.  This may occur when the vulnerabilities of each container are triggered and threatened by the other's manifestation of the opposing perspective.  The Cancer container's sense of security is often built around their commitment to the personal, particularly their commitment to protect who is "theirs."  When they are called upon by their Pisces partner to let down their boundaries, they may react even more defensively.  Such a reaction may especially be provoked when the Pisces container acts from their standpoint of universality and boundarilessness
within a mutual situation, essentially threatening to overthrown your boundaries without even asking permission. 

On the other hand, the Pisces container may become annoyed at their Cancer counterpart's insistence on focusing on their personal world.  It may be easy for you to see your Cancer partner as small-minded and selfish, lacking compassion for the plight of others.  Another dynamic may occur if Cancer's commitment to their personal world triggers your own insecurities about where you stand in relation to the world.  Your lack of commitment to a personal self or to any particular point of view may be symptomatic of an existential vulnerability.  If you have failed to find or build a suitable ego-construct, the comfort with which your Cancer partner establishes themself in the world may trigger your insecurity about who you are.  This in turn may very well cause you to engage in any number of Piscean defense mechanisms designed to protect your fragile ego.  Meanwhile, your Cancer counterpart may perceive and react to your lack of commitment to a core self (and the various accoutremental values and beliefs) with disdain, distrust, or by exploiting your vulnerability, particularly through the use of emotional hooks.

Looking at the ruling planets of these two signs can also throw light on the relationship between Cancer and Pisces containers.  The Moon-Neptune relationship suggests both emotional compatibility and emotional development through the relationship of the two containers.  The Moon and Neptune symbolize two ends of an emotional continuum.  The Moon symbolizes our basic emotions, or emotional base (emotional rootedness).  This is where we all start and is our default emotional response toward our environment.  Neptune symbolizes the more refined and elevated emotional sphere.  In counterpoint to Virgo/6th house, this state is arrived at through a process of emotional purification.  In Neptunian fashion, this emotional transformation occurs through the dissolution of the baser emotions, the weakening of our emotional attachments, and transcending the ego-based emotions.  If the ego does not resist, this is a natural progression of emotional development and there need be no conflict and little stress as this process occurs.

On a practical level, there is no reason that these two levels of emotional operation cannot co-exist in harmony, as long as the energies associated with the ruling planets (and signs) are expressed positively.  In fact, in order to maintain a harmonious existence in the world (on the Earth-plane), the individual must continue to function at both ends of the emotional spectrum.  If the Cancer/Moon energy is not allowed to express itself, the Pisces/Neptunian energy will cause you to become ungrounded--spacey, emotionally confused, unrealistic, and living in a fantasy (all dysfunctional manifestations of the Neptune/Pisces energy).  Thus, a balance between the Cancer and Pisces containers is critically important. 

In a balanced relationship, the Cancer container will draw the Pisces container into a more personally-focused world where their Neptunian tendency toward detachment from the world can be recentered.  Of course, it is possible for you to maintain a refined attitude of emotional detachment from the world while recognizing the importance of attending to its routine demands--participating in the life of the home, attending to family obligations, and being emotionally compassionate, caring and attentive.  This is a high ideal--living in the world but not being of it--but it is attainable through the interaction of Cancer and Pisces.  Of course, there are various stages of moving toward this ideal and the grounding of the Piscean container in the world of Cancerian duty and attachment may be a starting place for a gradual healthy emotional refinement and detachment for the Pisces container.

The influence of Pisces on Cancer also can draw the Cancer container towards this ideal.  An evolved Pisces container can gently lead their Cancer counterpart toward a loosening of the bonds of emotional attachment and emotional need.  The Cancer container may learn, through the influence of their Pisces counterpart, to serve and provide nurturing care in a selfless spirit, rather than to fill an emotional need to feel needed, wanted and loved.  If there is ego resistance, however, these lessons may be imparted through less harmonious means.  Neptune's proclivity for forcing transformation through dissolution, collapse, disillusionment or loss may manifest in unconscious "games" played by the Piscean container that result in the Cancer container's experience of frustration or sorrow leading to unpleasant emotional detachments. 

As noted above, emotional qualities associated with both signs enable the containers in these signs to form an emotional bond and be sensitive to each others' emotional needs and cues.  It is often the case that the Pisces container will learn to predict the changing moods of their Cancer counterpart.  Regardless, you are likely to easily adapt to the emotional changes experienced by your Cancer partner and to roll with their reactions.  You may need to guard against the danger of becoming too passively accommodating to Cancerian emotional outbursts if these become abusive.  A dysfunctional relationship can occur if your Piscean insecurities result in you adopting the martyr pose toward a demanding and negatively reacting Cancer container.  The necessary balance between the two signs will be disrupted if the Cancer container becomes emotionally dominant over a submissive Pisces container.  

Finally, we can view the Cancer-Pisces dynamic through the lens of their respective glyphs.  Here we have the Crab and Two Fish, both denizens of the water environment. This is another symbol of the basic compatibility of the two signs, rooted in their shared natural attunement to the Water element (the emotional world).  The Crab can do something that the Fish is incapable of, however--survive on land near the ocean's shore.  This symbolizes Cancer's attunement to the material world, as opposed to Pisces' attunement to the otherworldly.  We have discussed the need for balance between the two worlds above. 

The juxtaposition of the Crab and the Fish brings into relief, however, the difficulties that the Pisces container naturally has acclimating to the world of material existence, for a fish flounders when taken out of the water.  Though balance must be learned by the Piscean container, they must always remain immersed in the astral element if they are to remain healthy.  When Pisces ventures out onto the shore of the material world, they risk becoming dysfunctional as they try to reconcile the needs of the ego (relating to the world of need and satisfaction) with the reality of the ego's illusory nature.  Of course, one can say that this is a risk present with Pisces' involvement with any sign but it is particularly brought to the surface when juxtaposed to Cancer, whose commonality only highlights their different relationships to the material world.  This is another part of the balance that must be found by the Piscean container when interacting with Cancer--learning to function in the material world without becoming separate from the ocean of non-materiality. 

With respect to Cancer, we can see in its glyph the image of being thrown up on the shore of Existence by the Ocean of the Unmanifest.  Thus, we see that Cancer's Home, also, is in that same Ocean that is the realm of their Piscean counterpart.  Spiritually, the Pisces container is calling the Cancer container back to their Origin.  This can present a crises for the Cancer container, for the Crab, in order to not be baked by the Sun, has burrowed into the sands of material existence and may be fearful to abandon the protection of their ego-constructed world.  Yet Cancer's return to the Ocean of Immateriality is rooted in its inner nature.  Ultimately, the ocean's tide will sweep the land-tossed crab back into the ocean.  Ultimately, the soul returns to her Origin.  The Crab's time upon the shore, however, is subject to time's plasticity, which is the basis of its illusion.  The Cancer crab may inhabit the bubble of Time for an eternity.  Can the touch of a Piscean container aid in Cancer's quest to return to their Mother-womb, Ocean-Source?  Perhaps.

Both the Cancer glyph and the Pisces glyph are also prime symbols of Duality.  At the level of mundane existence, both share in the struggles arising out of the condition of duality in the world.  For the Cancer container, duality is manifested as cyclicity--the changing of moods; the cycle of stimulation and response; the comforting, repetitive routine associated with home and family (and the trap that this can become).  For the Pisces container, duality tends to manifest as opposing forces, resulting in uncertainty regarding direction or values, deftness at dealing with paradox or contradiction (which may involve deceit or succumbing to illusion), or the struggle to reconcile opposing tendencies.  To the extent that both containers are consciously dealing with these problems of duality, each may lend support to the other.  However, if they are resisting this task or unconscious of the forces of duality, they may become involved in emotional or psychological entanglements that pull both down into negative patterns of thought, emotion and behavior.

At a more elevated level, there is commonality between the two glyphs--Cancer's representing the paradoxical relationship of dualistic polarity as symbolized in the representation of the Tao, and Pisces' representing the parallel upward/inward and downward/outward flows of Divine Energy.  Both point, in their ways, to the essential problem of human existence--the resolution of Duality into Unity.  Thus, the Cancer-Pisces relationship at its highest level can signify a deep partnership in the spiritual undertaking.

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