Cancer-Virgo potentially resonates with the sextile between two planets.  However, a semi-square aspect is also possible between planets in late Cancer and early Virgo and out-of-sign squares are also possible between planets in very early Cancer and very late Virgo.  Thus, the Cancer-Virgo relationship, while generally harmonious, is complex with the potential for either conflict.   Interpreting the Cancer-Virgo combination may also shed some light on a number of related symbol sets.  These include Cancer in the sixth house, Virgo in the fourth house, the Moon in Virgo, Mercury in Cancer, the Moon in the sixth house, Mercury in the fourth house and aspects between the Moon and Mercury.

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-Virgo, we have the juxtaposition of Cardinal Water and Mutable Earth.  Water and Earth are generally viewed as compatible elements while the Cardinal and Mutable modalities may be compatible or in conflict, as mutability is adaptable to Cardinal energy as well as potentially frustrating. 

With Cardinal Water and Mutable Earth, one dynamic involves water's fluidity being organized, channeled and refined through its meeting with a more solid substance.  The mutability of Earth is associated with sifting, and with structuring matter in fine and subtle ways.  The tendency in the Cancer-Virgo dynamic is for Virgo's organization of matter to act upon Cancer's flow of watery emotion.  Images for this dynamic include a French drain or water seeping through sand into an aquifer, and a river being channeled into rivulets or diverted into an irrigation field. 

When the flow of water is balanced with the earth's channeling capacity, water becomes useful and life-giving and available to many creatures.  Also, with the regard to the first image described above, it may be noted that the filtering of water through earth purifies the water, which is another role typically associated with Virgo.  However, if the flow of water is too much for the earth's capacity to bear, water may turn the granulated earth to mud or, if the flow is even more powerful, the earth's particles can be swept away as sediment either from the rushing of water over the earth acting as filter or from rivulets overflowing their banks and carrying away the fertile soil the waters had once irrigated.  In the first instance, when mud is formed, this is likely to clog the filtering mechanism which may also back up the flow of water, creating a flood.

We can see from these images that there is a tendency in the Cancer-Virgo relationship for the Virgo partner to want to shape and direct the Cancer container.  The beneficial effect of this dynamic is that, if the Cancer container feels adrift, without a clear purpose, or unable to set a direction due to being constantly swayed by their emotions, the Virgo container can channel their energy into useful directions.  One direction that may be taken is to lead the Cancer container towards an attitude of service to others.  This is highly compatible with Cancer's natural propensity to nurture and to care for others.  The Virgoan energy can help channel Cancer's "mothering" instincts away from a self-centered obsession with being needed toward a more selfless desire to be of service without expectation of a reward.  To learn to give without expecting to receive emotional compensation from the one who is served is one of the major life lessons associated with Cancer, resonating to the qualities of duty and responsibility inherent in Cancer's polar opposite, Capricorn.

Another way in which the Virgo container can shape and direct Cancer's energy is to aid the Cancer container in setting emotional boundaries.  Cancer is typically torn between the emotional fluidity associated with the water element and their need to protect and shelter their emotional vulnerability, symbolized by Cancer's glyph, the hard-shelled crab.  Negotiating a balance between emotional expression and openness, on the one hand, and a reactive tendency to wall themselves off emotionally is frequently difficult for the Cancer container.  Virgo's analytical coolness and rationality can serve as an antidote to any excessive emotionality felt by the Cancer container and can also help the Cancer container set rational emotional boundaries.  Both these aids may reduce the Cancer container's propensity for emotional overflowing and the subsequent reaction of emotional withdrawal.

When, however, Cancer's emotions do overflow their bounds, this can overwhelm the Virgo container.  Virgo, after all, is used to controlled, proper, and appropriate displays of emotion.  When confronted by an emotional tidal wave or a flood of emotions, the Virgo container may lose their grounding, even disintegrating (a negative resonance to Virgo's Piscean polarity).  A not atypical dynamic can be the classic Gargoyle-Iceman syndrome, in which a fierce outpouring of irrationality is met by retreat and withdrawal by the other (Virgo) party.

Still another form of shaping and directing that may be undertaken by the Virgo container toward their Cancer counterpart is purification.  This may take a variety of forms.  One form is for the Virgo container to bring Cancer's unprocessed subconscious emotional content into consciousness, where it can be intentionally analyzed and rationally contained and normalized.  This is a purification in the sense of clarifying unclear, hidden or confused emotions.  There may be resistance on the part of the Cancer container to this form of purification if the Cancer container reacts to your analytical prodding by wanting to protect their vulnerable emotional body.  If this occurs, the Cancer container can disengage but this is likely to result in their bottling up their emotions, which increases the likelihood that they will at some point burst out in a flood.

A second manifestation of the purification dynamic existing between Virgo and Cancer involves Virgo's tendency to criticize and correct others.  While there is always the possibility that such criticism is a projection of the Virgo container's own need to undergo self-refinement, this form of shaping and guidance can also occur with good intentions.  If the Cancer container is spiritually mature and intent on becoming whole and fully self-actualized, they can be very receptive to suggestions for improvement coming from their Virgo partner.  An archetype for this dynamic would be the relationship of the spiritual director to their charge.  However, this dynamic also risks the development of negative syndromes.  If the Cancer container is insecure, needy and prone to self-pity, their receptivity to Virgo's criticism may reinforce their own self-critical tendencies, exacerbating guilt and similar conditioned self-destructive responses.  Of course, the Cancer container may react to your efforts to direct them toward self-improvement by perceiving your suggestions as attacks and reverting to Cancer self-protective mode, as well.

A third form of purification dynamic between the Virgo and Cancer containers involves Virgo's impulse to apply reason in order to control and subdue Cancer's reactive behavior (which is frequently emotionally charged).  This dynamic also relates to the interaction between the ruling planets of the two signs, the Mood (the emotional base) and Mercury (the intellect).  Most likely, the Virgo container will try to deal with what they perceive to be Cancer's irrationality through the imposition of rules and regulation.  The goal is to transform the Cancer container's "improper" behavior into "proper" behavior.  Unless you perceive your Virgo counterpart's efforts to be for your own good, or unless you are unhealthily submissive, you are likely to react defensively to these efforts, rejecting the restrictions that the Virgo container would place on you.  You may perceive, correctly or incorrectly, that your Virgo counterpart is over-reacting to your feeling-based responses.  You may feel that they fail to understand and appreciate the subtlety and nuance of your responses to the circumstances your feel--that your Virgo counterpart has little emotional intelligence.  The rules and conventions that your Virgo counterpart would like you to follow may also make you feel vulnerable (particularly to being controlled), triggering a defensive reaction.  However, if the Cancer container's emotions really are out of control much of the time, then the persistent efforts by their Virgo counterpart to correct, guide and channel your emotional behavior into acceptable modes of expression can be therapeutic with positive results over time as your gradually learn to control your own emotions.

We can now explore some of the images we conceived at the beginning of this discussion from the standpoint of the benefits that Cancer may bring to Virgo.  Without the life-giving waters brought into the relationship by Cancer, Virgo can be sterile, cold and unfeeling.  When irrigated, however, the desert can bloom.  Cancer provides the Virgo container with emotional connection.  This emotional connectivity not only enriches the experience of the Virgo container (by opening up a whole new world of possibility), it also facilitates the actualization of the Virgoan framework or plan from a mental analytical concept into practical application.  Thus, the emotional intelligence endowed in the Cancer container allows Virgo's intention to more easily become implemented and useful because it supplies the added dimension of an emotional connection.  Through your connection with your Cancer counterpart, you can become more complete.  It allows the Virgin to be productive and fruitful without giving birth and violating their virginity.

One manifestation of this concept is a cooperation that can form between the Virgo and Cancer containers in which the role of the Virgo container is to plan, organize and attend to all the details of an undertaking while the Cancer container plays "mother" to the project, nurturing, caring, and protecting the joint endeavor.  This often involves the Cancer container handling the emotional aspects of the endeavor--making sure that everyone is satisfied and that everyone's emotional needs are being attended to, while the Virgo container makes sure that all of the practical details are being addressed.  Both are necessary.  Cancer's role is akin to oiling the machinery so that the friction between the moving parts does not result in overheating.  Virgo, left to themselves, can completely overlook this important dimension of enterprise. 

Looking at the ruling planets of these two signs can also throw light on the relationship between Cancer and Virgo containers.  The Moon is the primary planet symbolizing the emotional functions of the psyche.  The Moon is associated with the subconscious emotional base, the well from which all emotional activity springs.  This includes emotional reactivity and habitual conditioning, which is an activity residing in the subconscious.  Mercury, Virgo's ruler, is the primary planet symbolizing the mental functions of the psyche, including the intellect and reason.  On the one hand, these are typically opposing components of the psyche and, therefore, can often be in conflict.  The Virgo container is inclined to view reason and rationality as the natural governing principle for behavior in the world.  Thus, when confronted by Cancerian irrationality, the Virgo container is likely to react negatively or patronizingly and to try to impose their concept of rational order on the Cancer container.  The Cancer container, on the other hand, is inclined to view feeling as the natural governing principle guiding behavior in the world.  The Cancer container is likely to dismiss the conclusions of the intellect (or Virgo container) when they feel differently.  Internally, this conflict can manifest as classic head versus heart dynamic. 

However, although either intellect or emotion may predominate in any given individual or relationship, a balanced and healthy psyche must incorporate and integrate both functions.  Thus, the pairing of Cancer and Virgo can be viewed as a relationship offering opportunities for balance and cooperation between the emotionally dominated and mentally dominated containers.  This requires development of the art of "listening," that is, listening with all of our senses and organs of receptivity.  Both Cancer and Virgo contain the innate apparatus for developing communication sensitivity.  Cancer's feeling mode is naturally receptive.  The challenges for developing communication sensitivity for Cancer are: 1) to disarm the Cancerian protective instinct which can block receptivity when the Cancer container feels too vulnerable and 2) to train your natural receptivity to be sensitive to mental and intellectual communication, to realize that words carry literal meaning that must be recognized and respected and to accept the validity of the intellect.  Virgo's analytical mode is also naturally receptive.  The first step of analysis is to gather the facts, which requires awareness and receptivity toward your environment.  The challenges for developing communication sensitivity for Virgo are to expand this awareness to include receptivity to emotional content and to refrain from pigeon holing the perceived emotions into predetermined categories. 

When the Cancer-Virgo energies are balanced and integrated, the result can be a profound wholeness.  There can be a combination of intuitive feeling augmented by analytical reasoning, or an intuitive analytical capability combined with rationally controlled emotions, or profound self-insight into your emotions combined with a highly responsive intellect. 

Finally, we can view the Cancer-Virgo dynamic through the lens of their respective glyphs.  One element of commonality between the Cancer crab and the Virgin is the motif of protection.  For Cancer, this is protection of their emotional vulnerability; for Virgo this is protection of their ideal of purity.  There is potential for containers in each sign to trigger the others' need for protection.  The Cancer' container can retreat into their protective shell in response to criticism coming from the Virgo container, whether intended or not.  The Virgo container can view Cancer's unregulated emotions as a pollutant to their rational and orderly world.  This may lead to a mutual withdrawal on the part of the Cancer and Virgo containers, which removes the irritant for both. 

We can also see that the mutual affinity for entering into a protective mode could bring the Cancer and Virgo containers closer together if they are sufficiently bonded so that each watches out for the interests of the other.  Particularly if the Virgo container has integrated the emotional content of their psyche, you can incorporate your Cancer counterpart's emotional state as "virgin territory" to be defended from violation.  The Cancer container can provide a nurturing and protected atmosphere within which the Virgo container may operate feeling secure that your sense of order will not be disrupted.

The Cancer glyph can represent another image, however--a pair of female breasts.  The Cancer-Virgo relationship can then be seen as a relationship between two aspects of feminine archetype--virgin potential and fruitful manifestation.  While Earth-element Virgo certainly is capable of practically implementing their plans, there can be a certain aloofness or rigidity in Virgo that may inhibit the full and effective manifestation of concept from the mental realm of idea to the physical realm of realized concept.  Cancer is generally not loathe to plunge into the sometimes messy waters of the world.  A Cardinal sign, Cancer is apt to get things done through nurturing something along, mothering and protecting it as it develops and establishes itself.  Virgo is always there to offer practical advice and guidance but Cancer will often do the work of birthing a concept into reality. 

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

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