Depth Astrology





This is the twenty-fifth 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, 


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 Gemini-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 4 1/4 years from now, Insha’Allah, these articles will immediately be published as an e-book for sale.


 Gemini-Cancer potentially resonates with the semi-sextile aspect between two planets.  Semi-square aspects are also possible between planets in the first half of Gemini and the last half of Cancer.  Additionally, out-of-sign sextiles can exist between planets in early Gemini and late Cancer, and out-of-sign conjunctions can exist between planets in late Gemini and early Cancer.  Thus, the Gemini-Cancer relationship can be complex and somewhat unpredictable.   Interpreting the Gemini-Cancer combination may also shed some light on a number of related symbol sets.  These include Gemini in the fourth house, Cancer in the third house, Mercury in Cancer, Mercury in the fourth house, Moon in Gemini, Moon in the third 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 Gemini-Cancer, we have the dynamic between Mutable Air and Cardinal Water.  While Water and Air are generally not viewed as harmonious elements, their relationship in Gemini and Cancer is not necessarily one of conflict but, rather, is more ambiguous or fraught with undetermined possibility.  Central to the Gemini-Cancer relationship is the dynamic between the mental realm (Air and Mercury) and the emotional realm (Water and the Moon).  These functions can be mutually supportive when Gemini and Cancer are engaged or they can be at odds with each other.  When there is a supportive relationship between the two realms, Gemini and Cancer can fill each other's voids.  The Cancer container can draw upon the mental sharpness and acuity of the Gemini container to balance Cancer's reliance on his/her/its emotions.  Gemini can draw on the emotional sensitivity and nurturing nature of Cancer to balance his/her/its dispassionate mental approach.

A simplified description of the dynamic between Gemini and Cancer would be the interplay of head and heart.  It would be easy for Gemini and Cancer containers to engage in mutual compensation, Gemini taking responsibility for the thinking and verbally communicative roles in the relationship and Cancer taking responsibility for the feeling and caring roles in the relationship.  The danger is that, while the containers support each other in their areas of weakness, this relationship encourages each container to not work to develop the opposite side of him/her/itself and encourages a more extreme development of those areas, mental or emotional, in which each container feels most at home.

This specialization can indeed be mutually beneficial to the containers.  By relying on Cancer's lead in matters of gut feeling, need to nurture, sensitivity to the feelings of others, and entry into the emotional world, Gemini obtains a surer footing in realms emotional and also gains the perspective of Cancer's emotional intelligence.  By following Gemini's lead in matters requiring quick thinking, articulate communication, perception and absorption of the facts of a situation and an objective viewpoint, Cancer gains more confidence in the mental/communicative realms and also gains insight delivered by Gemini's intellectual prowess.  However, the specialization into mental and emotional realms can also lead to each container developing a sort of tunnel vision or overreliance on their areas of approach to perceiving and interacting with the world.  Gemini would be even more inclined to live in his/her/its head while Cancer would be even more inclined to be absorbed in and ruled by his/her/its ever changing emotions.

The mental-emotional partnership between Gemini and Cancer can be a harmonious one, as long as Gemini's mental approach and Cancer's feeling approach do not contradict each other.  While Cancer may not view things objectively and think out conclusions, your feelings can confirm the outcomes that Gemini has reached and the direction in which your Gemini partner tells you to go.  Similarly, while Gemini may not feel what is the right thing to do or may not be in touch with his/her/its emotions enough to be sensitive to the emotions of another, your intellect may confirm that Cancer's feeling-based decision is actually the right one.

However, when head and heart conflict, as they often do, conflict can develop between Gemini and Cancer.  Because each has specialized in their respective realms, neither are likely to be able to see the validity of the other's position when they are in disagreement.  Gemini is likely to dig into his/her/its mental-objective position and Cancer is likely to dig into his/her/its emotional-subjective position, neither one of them budging.  Cancer is likely to wonder why his/her/its Gemini counterpart does not feel what to you is the obvious truth, while Gemini is likely to scratch his/her/its head, mystified that your Cancer counterpart cannot think things through to the obvious logical conclusion.  If the conflict intensifies, each side can marshal their stereotyped impressions of the others' modality to minimize the other--Gemini perceiving Cancer as hopelessly irrational and Cancer perceiving Gemini as coldly uncaring as you stick stubbornly to some mental construct that has nothing to do with reality.  Worse, still, if this dynamic persists, each side may actually tend to manifest these stereotypes. 

The saving grace, however, in a Gemini-Cancer conflict is that Gemini is apt as not to lose interest in the argument and move on to something else, abandoning the field to Cancer.  This, however, may feel to Cancer as if Gemini just doesn't care about something that is important to him/her.  The end result may be that Cancer gets his/her feelings hurt and feels abandoned while Gemini wonders what all the emotional fuss is about.

We can now look at how the elements, Air and Water, interact in the Gemini-Cancer relationship.  The most signal quality of Water in Cancer is its rhythmic undulation, attracted and repelled by the Moon's gravity.  The Gemini quality of Air is also not still, though its movement is somewhat unpredictable rather than rhythmic.  Still the Cardinal quality of motion is closer to the mutable quality of change in Cancer than in any other Cardinal sign.  Thus, there is certainly the opportunity for Gemini and Cancer to mutually understand each other with regard to their changeableness.  Gemini, being able to change from one state or one interest to another so quickly, may be able to empathize or at least accept Cancer's changing moods.  Cancer, experiencing his/her/its own mood swings, may likewise be able to empathize and accept when Gemini abruptly changes course. 

There is also potential for friction between the containers of the two signs over the way in which they express and engage in change.  An appropriate image here is of water being whipped into whitecaps and choppiness by a strong, fickle wind.  While Cancer's moods can change, while he/she/it is in a particular state, it would like to remain there in its new state, constant and absorbed.  If Gemini is constantly flitting, this can disturb Cancer's serenity and the most likely outcome is for Cancer to become emotionally upset.

Cancerian rhythms also suggest a deep connection to the passage of time and to the proper timing of events (the Moon is often used in traditional societies to time the planting and harvesting of crops) and, by extension, the recognition of the proper time and place for all things in life.  Gemini is not patient and inclines to do things when and where his/her/its will arises.  This, then, can be another point of conflict between Gemini and Cancer, with Cancer becoming upset and frustrated at Gemini's disregard and insensitivity to the proper time while Gemini sees Cancer's insistence on following the rhythmical norms of society as a constraint on your freedom.

We can also look to the glyphs of the two signs for insight into how their energies combine.  Cancer's glyph, traditionally interpreted as its constellation, the Crab, is open to a more abstract interpretation.  Similar to the Pisces fish, or the Tao symbol, we can see the Cancer glyph as two opposite energies constantly circle each other.  This symbol of duality resonates with the duality expressed in Gemini's glyph, the Twins.  This, then, becomes another point of potential empathy between the two signs.  Both can recognize that there are no absolutes, that only change is constant.  Cancer experiences this in the emotional realm and Gemini in the mental realm.  This realization can allow each sign to be more accommodating, particularly to each other.

Duality is not always perceived as the ground for relativism, however.  It can equally be the basis for a polarized worldview, in which case you are apt to struggle with contests between light and dark, good and evil.  For Cancer, these struggles are emotional and may manifest in emotional highs and lows or struggles against depression.  They may also take on a religious context in terms of battles between forces of righteousness and sinfulness.  For Gemini, any such dualistic battles are likely to be fought in the mental realm--moral dilemmas and difficult choices between what is right and what is wrong.  Expressions of this conflict involving religiosity are more likely to involve proselytizing or preaching or other forms of argumentation.  When Cancer and Gemini share these struggles, they can be understanding and supportive of each other.  However, when one's approach is dogmatic and the other's is relativistic, conflict is apt to ensue.

Another interpretation of the Cancer glyph that resonates with several of its Moon-associated qualities is as a representation of a woman's upper body, specifically her breasts and arms outstretched to embrace and nurture.  The Gemini Twins then may take on the characteristic of twin babes or twin youth, in keeping with the puer qualities that are sometimes associated with Gemini.  This can suggest a Gemini-Cancer relationship in which Cancer takes on the maternal role and Gemini adopts the role of the nurtured and protected child.  While we may long to be nurtured, this dynamic occurring between two adults is fraught with dysfunctional possibility.  Co-dependence, martyrdom, and enabling particularly of irresponsible behavior are just some of the unhealthy roles that can manifest in a relationship dominated by this dynamic.  Of course, a healthy relationship based upon the interchange of nurturing and fresh, innocent energies is possible but requires attention to keeping the dynamics of this relationship healthy. 

Regarding the Crab and the Twins, if we look at the relationship between the human and the crustacean communities, the dominant theme would seem to be the need of the latter for protection against the former.  This highlights how easily the Cancer container may have his/her feelings hurt by an emotionally unaware Gemini.  To the extent that humans catch and consume crabs, this would suggest a danger that the giving, nurturing nature of Cancer may be taken for granted by Gemini.  Having little affinity with the emotional realm, Gemini can be unappreciative of the sacrifices that a Cancer container may make in order to sustain his/her Gemini partner emotionally.  When this lack of appreciation or even recognition by Gemini is perceived by Cancer, it can be the cause of resentment and hurt feelings.

We can now examine the relationship between Gemini and Cancer through their rulers, Mercury and the Moon.  Here, we return to the central dynamic exhibited between Gemini and Cancer--that between the mental realm and the emotional realm.  Both Mercury and the Moon represent functions that are basic to the intellect and the emotions, respectively.  Without the fundamental roles associated with Mercury and the Moon, there is no mental or emotional processing in the human psyche.  A fundamental human challenge is the integration of these two realms in the psyche.  Though this task is most acutely embedded in the Gemini-Scorpio (quincunx) relationship (and to a certain extent, though at another level, in the Cancer-Aquarius relationship), Gemini and Cancer are also uniquely positioned to undertake this integrative function.  When the containers involved are internal (in the natal chart), a psychological integration of the mental/communicative and basic emotional functions is indicated.  When the containers are external (in a synastry chart), the process of mental and emotional integration is played out through the relationship between the two containers. 

Thus, the interaction between Gemini and Cancer containers is apt to be marked by a continual feeling out (or staking out) of the realms of the intellect and the heart.  This may involve finding areas of mutual interest or connection, defending claimed emotional or intellectual turf, testing to see where the boundaries between intellectual and emotional dominance may lie, finding ways in which to resolve conflicts between the intellect and the heart, developing pathways through which emotions and feelings can be communicated verbally, developing pathways through which emotions can be intellectually understood and through which intellectual formulations can be emotionally perceived and translated, and/or finding channels through which the emotional and mental functions can communicate, cooperate and enhance each other.

The juxtaposition of Mercury and the Moon also highlights how very different the qualities and energies of Gemini and Cancer actually are.  Mercury/Gemini is quick, cool, objective, mental, verbally communicative, potentially nervous but otherwise tending to be fearless, curious and open.  The Moon/Cancer is slow and rhythmic, warm, subjective, emotional, communicating through feelings (and expecting others to intuitively pick up on these subtle messages), potentially brave in protective mode but otherwise apprehensive, content and focused on domestic priorities, and relatively closed and protective.  Again, the different qualities exhibited by Gemini and Cancer can lead to the two containers supporting and enhancing the capabilities of each other or engaging in competition and conflict over which set of qualities will be dominant.

Some of these points of difference bear further exploration.  One is the differing styles of communication, which can lead to friction through difficulty in understanding each other or even receiving each others' messages.  Gemini is most likely to exhibit and expect direct and explicit communication, objectified in words with clear meanings.  Gemini communication may not be heavy with meaning but whatever meaning is to be conveyed will usually be conveyed clearly and matter-of-factly.  Cancer, on the other hand, is apt to communicate using subtle cues meant to convey emotional states.  Verbal communication is apt to be nuanced.  Furthermore, what the Cancer container wishes to communicate may not be the literal meaning of the words he/she speaks.  Gemini may respond with "say what you mean and mean what you say" but this dictum does not apply to Cancer (and, perhaps, the Cancer container is incapable of following or even really understanding this request--or even further, rejecting such a simplistic mode of communication as inadequate to express the full range of emotional content that communication (from the Cancerian point of view) should contain).  In fact, the Cancer container may so much expect that communication will necessarily contain a layer of emotional content, he/she may read meaning and nuance into the words spoken by a Gemini that Gemini has no intention of conveying.  Thus, there is tremendous potential for misunderstanding and missed messages unless each attempts to learn the communication language of the other. 

Another area of difference that can separate a Gemini and Cancer container is their respective foci.  Gemini typically is interested in the world about him/her, compelled to experience and explore whatever is around him/her.  In doing so, he/she/it moves from one locus of experience to another, never focused on one thing for very long.  This pattern is consistent with Gemini's famous lack of commitment.

Cancer's focus, typically, is a withdrawal from the world into things domestic--home, family and interior emotional life.  Curiosity does not generally compel the Cancer container.  Therefore, Cancer is likely to have little interest in what fascinates and occupies his/her/its Gemini counterpart.  In fact, you may find this to be more than a little distracting and annoying, and you may also perceive Gemini's lack of commitment as a threat to the well-being of your household, particularly if you are relying on Gemini to be responsible for contributing to the care and maintenance of your home and family. 

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

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