Depth Astrology



A Note to Readers: Those of you who have purchased my book, Depth Astrology: An Astrological Handbook, I could use some reviews!  You can post reviews on Smashwords, Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  That would be very helpful in spreading the word.  Thank you.  -- Gargatholil



This is the fortieth installment of a series of sign-to-sign 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 Cancer-Aquarius 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 3 1/4 years from now, Insha’Allah, these articles will immediately be published as an e-book for sale. 


Cancer-Aquarius potentially resonates with the quincunx between two planets.  However, an out-of-sign opposition aspect is also possible between planets in very late Cancer and very early Aquarius or an out-of-sign trine between planets in very early Cancer and very late Aquarius.  Thus, the Cancer-Aquarius relationship is, for the most part, one that bears the potential for crisis or indifference but can also produce contradictions or harmony.   Interpreting the Cancer-Aquarius combination may also shed some light on a number of related symbol sets.  These include Cancer in the eleventh house, Aquarius in the fourth house, the Moon in Aquarius, Uranus in Cancer, the Moon in the eleventh house, Uranus in the fourth house and aspects between the Moon and Uranus.

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-Aquarius, we have the juxtaposition of a Cardinal Water sign and a Fixed Air sign.  The Water and Air elements are generally viewed as incompatible, as are the Cardinal and Fixed modalities.  However, the quincunx relationship does not so much indicate conflict as it does a lack of engagement or integration between the energies associated with each sign.  The lack of integration eventually leads to a crisis that is the result of a failure of the two containers to engage and that crisis can only be resolved through an integration of the energies associated with the two signs.

An image that can be associated with Cancer-Aquarius is the open ocean on a crisp, moonless night with an absolutely clear sky.  The stars above are like crystals but the motion of the waves obscures their reflection.  Two great entities, the sea and the sky, remain separate and unaware of each other.  The Cancer container lives in their emotional world while the Aquarian container lives in the world of ideas.  The two containers may live side by side but there is little real contact or communication between them.  This is not a state of conflict or animosity but, rather, one of indifference.

To the extent that the two containers turn towards each other it is likely to be in puzzlement and acknowledged lack of understanding.  The Aquarian container will generally fail to understand the emotional realities that drive Cancerian behavior.  The emotional landscape in which the Cancer container dwells is, in most cases, foreign territory to them.  A frequent response to their lack of understanding of what motivates the Cancer container is a shrug.  For the Cancer container's part, the Aquarian propensity to be governed by their firm beliefs is a mystery as well.  The attraction to ideas, whether this be for a cause, a point of differentiation, or simply for the sake of argument, usually will simply not be there for the Cancer container.  How their Aquarian counterpart can consistently not respond to feelings and emotion (except their passion for ideas) is beyond you.

While generally pursuing separate paths and acting independently of each other, the Cancer and Aquarius containers can be supportive of each other through a useful division of labor.  In this arrangement, the Cancer container is responsible for managing the entity's  feelings
(entity meaning either relationship or psyche), providing care and nurturing, and responding to potential dangers in the environment.  The Aquarian container generally will take on responsibility for interactions with the wider world which may include social responsibility and development of an attitude towards society and its institutions, forming common cause with others, and determining what belief structures serve the best interest of the entity. 

The lack of interaction of the basic emotions and the highly structured intellect, symbolized in the quincunx relationship between Cardinal Water and Fixed Air can periodically cause crises to erupt which call for the integration of these two disparate forces.  Such crises will generally occur when the lack of integration causes an imbalance in the relationship between the two containers to occur.  One possible dynamic is that the emotional needs of the Cancer container become so great that the failure of the Aquarian container to respond to those needs becomes problematic and a source of tension.  The growing emotional neediness of the Cancer container may have been aggravated by the persistent emotional distancing displayed by their Aquarius counterpart.  It is quite possible that the crisis is triggered by a particularly insensitive response or action from the Aquarian side which emotionally wounds the Cancer container, provoking an emotionally aggressive (or passive-aggressive) response directed toward the Aquarian container. 

This type of crisis focuses on the Aquarian container's need to acknowledge the validity of the emotional world and the need for them to integrate that world into their own psyche.   If you cannot actually feel emotion, at least you can acknowledge its existence and its importance in others and you can pretend empathy.  On the part of the Cancer container, this type of crisis may call upon you to integrate Aquarian qualities of independence and self-responsibility into your own psyche.  The goal there is to become less emotionally needy and dependent on others' reactions.

A crisis can also be erupt when the Cancer container blindly follows their emotional impulses without any regard for principle or any governing intellectual framework, or when the Aquarian container acts purely from principle or firmly held belief without any regard to the feelings of others or the emotional consequences of their actions or stance.  The former requires the Cancer container to integrate Aquarian ideals and moral responsibility in order to control unrestrained emotion.  The latter requires the Aquarian container to integrate Cancerian emotional sensitivity into their decision-making framework in order to humanize their ideals.  A crisis may also occur that requires the two containers to work together cooperatively, each acknowledging the strength and value of the others' qualities.  Doing so will achieve the same ends as discussed above.

Looking at the ruling planets of these two signs can also throw light on the relationship between Cancer and Aquarius containers.  The Moon-Uranus relationship suggests instability and the need for transformation, though the natural quincunx between Cancer and Aquarius also suggests that those conditions may only manifest during periods of crisis.  A number of themes are also suggested when exploring the Moon-Uranus dynamic. 

One of these themes revolves around the axis of freedom versus security.  Reinforced by the energy associated with Cancer's glyph, the Crab, the Moon is associated with a protective environment--home, family, motherhood.  Cancer is, thus, naturally protective and concerned with providing (and remaining in) security.  Thus, the Cancer container is likely to be cautious and conservative in disposition.  Uranus, on the other hand, is associated with freedom, particularly freedom from convention and the freedom to be different, as well as the freedom to change and to exert one's will unhampered by constraint or restraint.  Because of the natural Cancer-Aquarius quincunx, open conflict between these two opposing energies is unlikely most of the time (unless the containers are in out-of-sign opposition).  The potential for conflict will usually be resolved through a "live and let live" agreement between the two containers: Cancer will allow Aquarius the freedom they require as long as this does not jeopardize Cancer's need for security; and Aquarius will not shake things up for the Cancer container as long as your need for security does not place obstacles to Aquarius expressing their free will. 

A crisis is most likely to erupt when these boundaries or agreements are violated, which may occur when one or the other container's need for security or freedom leads to unbalanced behavior.  The resolution to the crisis is to be found in the integration of the two dissonants.  This involves a recognition by the Aquarian container that freedom has boundaries which need to be protected and that freedom can only continue to flourish when in a secure environment.  Thus, the Aquarian container must come to terms with sacrificing a level of freedom in order to establish the level of security that will enable you to continue to exercise freedom.  Sometimes, this may be a lesson learned when the consequences of "absolute" freedom--instability and chaos-themselves become effective constraints on your freedom. 

For the Cancer container, the crisis may arrive when your efforts to ensure security and safety for yourself and your charges become a self-made prison.  The question then arises, what purpose does security serve?  If you do not adjust your imposition of protective measures to allow for more freedom, your security is likely to be overthrown by Aquarian rebellious reaction.  This destabilization of your secure environment, however, begins the cycle over again, the lesson of properly integrating freedom not having been learned.

Closely related to the freedom-security axis are the conforming-differentiating and attachment-detachment axes.  One of the ways in which Cancer ensures security is through conformity to the norm--remaining invisible and doing nothing to provoke the wrath of the super-ego.  The Moon is associated with the vast unconscious, out of which undifferentiated consciousness initially springs.  It is the repository of the collective and of the primal subconscious emotions that enforce tribalistic conformism.  Uranus, on the other hand, symbolizes the breaking away from the conformity of the collective and the differentiation of the individual.  This differentiation frequently occurs through the adoption of unconventional attitudes and behavior, a hall-mark of the Uranus/Aquarian energy. 

Again, the default model for negotiating this axis between the Cancer and Aquarian containers is live and let live.  The Cancer container will express the conformist side of the entity and the Aquarian container will express the unconventional side of the entity.  A crisis may erupt when there is an intrusion of one behavior on the other's lifestyle.  The Aquarian container may want to pull their Cancer counterpart into a more unconventional lifestyle or the Cancer container may want their Aquarian counterpart to become more conformist.  These initiatives may be triggered when either container becomes too extreme in their adherence to either conformity or nonconformity.  Or, the unconventional behavior of the Aquarian container may threaten the conformist security of the Cancer container.  Likewise, the insistence on conformity by the Cancer container may lead the Aquarian container to feel that they cannot be themself in the presence of the Cancer container.  Regardless, the resolution of the crisis requires an integration of the two axis poles.  The Cancer container must learn to at least accept, if not embrace the unconventionality of their Aquarian counterpart and even to break away from strict conformity, themself.  The Aquarian container's challenge is to recognize when it is appropriate to express their nonconformity and when circumstances demand a more conformist behavior on their part.

Another aspect of the conforming-differentiating dichotomy involves the differing perspectives on the collective associated with Cancer and Aquarius.  The Moon symbolizes the collective in its unconscious, conditioned state.  An archetype associated with this state is the common wo/man.  Uranus symbolizes the collective as a bother/sisterhood of unique individuals existing in egalite, fraternite, liberte.  The Universal Man (excuse the gender labeling) is an archetype associated with this state.  The quincunxian resolution demands that the archetype of the common wo/man be integrated with the archetype of the Universal Man.  This entails a recognition of the potential for the evolution of the common wo/man into the Universal Man, or the microcosmic common wo/man containing and being contained in the macrocosmic Universal Man.

Such a quincunxian crisis may arise due to Aquarian arrogance toward the Cancerian "masses"  or it may arise due to Cancerian phobia towards the more enlightened attitudes of those the Cancer container perceives as the elite.  While, collectively, the political dimensions of this disconnect are palpable, this state of antipathy can also exist on the personal level.  Overcoming the stereotypes of the ignorant masses and the privileged, out-of-touch elites is a challenge both at the collective and the personal levels.  (Note that the Sibly chart of the United States has Moon in Aquarius.)  One image for the resolution of this crisis is Aquarius bending down to lift up the Cancerian common wo/man, transforming the Cancer container into the Universal Man through your coming to the level of the Cancerian collective.  Christian doctrine presents another image for this process--the Christ born in the human form for the purpose of bringing salvation/transformation to humanity.

Attachment, which is the glue that binds mother to child and family, generally, is also associated with the Moon and Cancer.  While the Moon's energy attaches the soul to people and conditions, Uranus is the force that detaches us from whatever we are attached to.  This expresses itself in the Aquarian quality of a detached attitude, while for Cancer the Moon's attachment energy manifests as care and bonding.  The two containers may co-exist each in their element as long as the demands of the attachment-detachment axis are not directed toward the other container.  Such a demand may be focused on their relationship or it may be in relation to some mutual necessity.  The Cancer container may feel attached to the Aquarian container while the Aquarian container feels emotionally detached from the Cancer container and all may be well if the issue is not pressed.  However, if the Cancer container begins to feel insecure about the insufficiently attached Aquarian container and demands more emotional commitment from them, or if the Aquarian container feels the Cancerian container's attachment as too binding and begins to push them away, a crisis is likely to ensue.  A crisis may also ensue if the Cancer container perceives your detachment concerning something to which they are deeply attached as neglect, or if you perceive your Cancer counterpart's attachment to some other person, situation or object as too controlling.  Again, the resolution to such a crisis lies in the integration of the opposite pole by the container who is lacking in that quality.

Another dynamic involving the Moon and Uranus revolves around change.  Change is a quality present in both Cancer and Aquarius yet the two signs relate to change in very different ways.  The Moon's association with the tides symbolizes the rhythmic patterns of change associated with Cancer.  In Cancer, change is produced by undulation, so that the tendency is to return to a previous state.  Thus, in Cancer, change is a constant and there is often little change in the rhythmic pattern or the range of emotional expression within which changing states occur.  Ironically, though Aquarius is a Fixed sign, the impetus of change associated with Uranus is progressive.  One description of Uranus' core function is transformation through change.  Uranus produces change which is meant to dislodge us from our Saturnian structures.  Even when Aquarian change appears to be change for change's sake, we can see the underlying progressivity here because this behavior is merely an ego defense mechanism against the real change that will break down the ego structure.

Normally, there would be separation within the entity between these two types of engagement with change.  The Cancer container would go through their cycles of changing emotional states in the sphere (symbolized by the house placement of the Cancer container) in which the Cancer container is operating and, similarly, the Aquarius container would experience the progressive changes associated with Uranus in the sphere in which they are operating.  A crisis would occur when there is interference of one sphere upon the other, causing an imbalance and a need for integration of the two modes of change. 

This may occur if the Cancer container descends into a cycle of emotional negativity which is perceived by the Aquarian container as an unacceptable state, either from the Aquarian container's rational perspective or out of care and compassion.  It is likely that the Aquarian container's initial reaction may be from their rational perspective, rejecting the irrationality of the Cancer container's negative emotional loop.  The Aquarian container may decide that the Cancer container needs to transform in order to break this cycle and, indeed, the crisis calls upon the Cancer container to integrate the Uranian/Aquarian function within their psyche and undergo such a transformation.  However, before Cancer container can be convinced by their Aquarius counterpart, the Aquarian container, themself, must come to understand the cyclical change experienced by the Cancer container through integrating the Cancerian qualities of empathy, caring and compassion.  Only then will the two containers be able to work successfully to affect the needed transformation.

A crisis may also occur when the pace of progressive change experienced by the Aquarian container is too fast and becomes destabilizing to the psyche.  This can create both mental and emotional turmoil and the challenge for the Aquarian container is to recenter themself.  Establishing a rhythmic pattern or ritual is one means of attaining centering and this requires an attunement by the Aquarian container to the Cancerian energy.  In order to provide the level of ritual that will be useful to the Aquarian container, the Cancer container must rise above the level of routine to embrace a more Aquarian perspective on the Cancer/Moon energy.

Finally, we can view the Cancer-Aquarius dynamic through the lens of their respective glyphs.  Here we have the Crab and Aquarian Water Bearer (or Water Pourer).  At first, there seems to be nothing in common between these two glyphs.  Certainly, the crustacean is not a candidate for the Enlightenment that the Aquarian glyph potentially offers.  The Water Pourer does not walk along the shore of the ocean nor does they go down onto the ocean floor.  When we consider the Cancer glyph to be a mother's breasts, we can see a connecting thread appear, for both are involved in the act of selfless giving.  Yet, the purpose of each's giving is divergent.  When Cancer's glyph becomes a representation of the Tao, the enigma of the unity of duality, we can see a stronger connection if we view the ultimate end of Aquarian enlightenment to be a Cancerian realization of that Unchanging State. 

This sequence, perhaps, in itself describes an evolution of the relationship between Cancer and Aquarius.  At the Crab level, the Cancer and Aquarian containers remain separate and distant from each other.  At the Mammary level, there is some realization of potential commonality and a recognition of the need for further integration.  At the level of the Tao, that integration has been achieved.  The transformation of the two signs has been accomplished (note that the Cancer-Aquarius quincunx, from the Cancer point, represents the transformative wing of the dual quincunx). 

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