Ruled by the maternal moon, the sensitive, sentimental Crab always has your back.

By Maressa Brown
Updated May 11, 2020 @ 5:00 pm
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Once the Summer Solstice ushers in the longest, most sunshine-filled days of the year, it’s apparent that Cancer season has kicked off. Annually, approximately between June 21 and July 22, the sun moves through the fourth sign of the zodiac, Cancer, symbolized by the crab.

For many, the first joyful four weeks of summer are spent with family and friends at a local beach or pool, snacking on favorite seasonal foods (hello, BBQ). This life-loving vibe is influenced by Cancer, a water sign associated with organic sensuality, sentimentality, and an appreciation for life’s simple pleasures, especially food and family. These traits are owed to Cancer’s ruling celestial body, the moon, known not only for its gravitational pull (which influences the tides) but its ability to guide our emotions and intuition, sense of security and safety, as well as our instincts.

A few deeply feeling, compassionate, and endlessly entertaining Crabs: Mindy Kaling, Kristen Bell, Priyanka Chopra, Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, Solange, Tess Holliday, Lana Del Rey, Malala Yousafzai, Elizabeth Warren, and Margot Robbie. These celebs are astrologically wired to channel their intense emotions to caring for others and expressing a unique understanding of the human condition and heart.

Here, everything you need to know about the sentimental, giving, and endearing sign.

Cancer Personality Traits

Those born between June 21 and July 22 can generally conclude that their sun sign is Cancer. (It’s not definitive, because the sun moves between signs on different days annually.) Also note that while we tend to refer to ourselves as our sun sign, it’s just one detail of a natal chart, which is basically a unique snapshot of the sky when you were born. But it’s a detail that helps color your core sense of self, identity, personal style, self-esteem, and confidence.

The homebody of the zodiac

Typical sun in Cancer traits include being nurturing, sensitive, compassionate, self-protective, security-seeking and offering, loving, and displaying a goofy, ingratiating sense of humor. These characteristics reflect themes covered by the Fourth House of Home Life, which Cancer rules. The Fourth House covers our domestic lives, our nests, how we were parented and might parent (literally or figuratively) in our lives, and emotions and memories from childhood that might color your current reality.

The natural-born caregiver

Since the emotional, maternal moon influences Cancer’s personality so intensely, the water sign tends to prioritize — and occasionally twist themselves into knots — to make most people in their life feel even slightly more comfortable and secure. They’ll pour their heart into caring for plants and pets just as much as they do loved ones. Cooking or baking meals and treats with a ton of love is their specialty, but if a moment calls for a sentimental card, bouquet of flowers, or FaceTime catch-up session, they’ll be all in on that as well. And while they’re loyal to the core and will always show up for their friends, family comes first for these heartfelt homebodies.

The cardinal water sign

Every sign is assigned a quality (cardinal, mutable, or fixed), which explains the sign’s basic energy. There’s a cardinal, mutable, and fixed sign within every element (fire, earth, air, water). Cancer is the cardinal one of the water group, which gives them a go-getter, big picture-planning perspective. They’re able to think in an artistic, ambitious way, which means they’re naturals at initiating bold plans.

Cancer's best personality traits:

Compassionate, often sweet, always deeply feeling, and capable of cracking up their inner circle with their an offbeat or goofy sense of humor, you can rely on the Cancers in your life to offer a shoulder to cry on and freshly baked cookies. They are the zodiac’s purveyors of care packages, sentimental emoji-peppered emails, and warm-hearted talks over a steaming mug of chamomile tea. They’re your obvious date for that food truck crawl, the friend who won’t question a random rant about that eighth-grade crush, or the thoughtful, emotionally present lover you can rely on for nonstop snuggle sessions and an unconditional stream of mushy words.

Cancer's worst personality traits:

Cancer’s intense connection to their emotions doesn’t come without its negative side, which is a tendency to be moody and snappy (they are the Crab, after all) when rubbed the wrong way in a particularly sensitive, agitated state. Whether they’re worked up or drowning in their feelings, often as a result of feeling that their giving nature has been taken advantage of, they’ll be quick to retreat into their shell. They may make a sharp-toned remark before throwing their phone on ‘do not disturb’ and brooding away. The fix for Cancer’s most sour mood is an opportunity to rest, recharge, and perhaps even ruminate a bit before turning their compassionate heart back over to everyone they come in contact with.

What Cancers Are Like in Love & Bed

Cancer's romance style

If your date sings the praises of their loved ones often, is always daydreaming about the perfect summer day spent near the water, and already has names picked out for their fur babies or future kids, you might be seeing someone born under the influence of emotional, loving, family-oriented Cancer energy. The water sign can’t help but wear their heart on their sleeve, which is all too apparent when they flirt. They’re just bursting with so much love to give, and they’ve likely dreamed of their fairy tale ideal partner — and by extension, home life — since childhood. Their happy place is home, so there’s nothing more romantic to them than finding someone who fits well into their domestic world. Anyone hoping to build a future with the Crab would do well to hit it off with their loved ones and show appreciation for life’s simple joys that can be enjoyed from the comfort of home.

That said, Cancer’s perfect date is one that allows for plenty of comfort and is filled with sensual pleasures. They’re the master of the ultimate date night in, pumped to fill their fridge with gourmet ingredients they’ll whip into an Instagram-worthy, memorable meal. If they’re the type of Cancer foodie who prefers to order out, they’ll ensure you’re digging into the best tacos or Thai available. While they’re affable and up for wider socializing, they might prefer to have their VIPs over for wine and a few rounds of Cards Against Humanity, as opposed to going out to a bar or club.

Cancer's sexual style

Cancer’s extremely sensual, sentimental nature can’t help but come through between the sheets. Just as they lead with their heart in most other areas of life, they ideally need to feel a special connection with a partner in order to enjoy sex. In fact, the more they care and feel attached, the more turned on they’ll be. Activities that bolster connection — like sharing amazing food, talking about your most deep-rooted emotions, watching a classic flick, or spending quality time with loved ones — can set the stage for a memorable makeout session, followed by thoughtful, romantic lovemaking. But they’re not only about soft and sweet sex. As an ambitious cardinal sign, they don’t mind taking the reins and might even display a gentle, dominant side. They’ll enjoy being on top and spending lots of time kissing (one of their fave sex acts, TBH) and exploring a wide variety of ways to tease and please their lover. Remember, they’re givers, and that M.O. absolutely translates in bed.

Cancer Compatibility

Wondering how Cancer matches up with your sign as a friend, a lover, a colleague, or in terms of any other one-on-one relationship? Here, their most simpatico partners as well as clash-prone pairings:

Signs most compatible with Cancer:

Signs that share the same element tend to be the most in sync (e.g. two earth signs, like Taurus and Capricorn). This is especially the case for two water signs, both of whom lead with their emotions.

Water is also traditionally compatible with earth, because the two elements complement one another. The two elements share certain attributes, like being loyal, service-oriented, and invested in nurturing their home life. That said, a Cancer often sparks with a fellow family-oriented, sensual Scorpio, empathetic Pisces, or similarly sensitive caregiver Virgo.

Signs least compatible with cancer:

As with most of the zodiac signs, opposites can attract — and Cancer and Capricorn often connect on their shared love of dominating in their professional world and building a gratifying domestic life. But because both are cardinal and intensely ambitious, they feel like they’re not truly seeing one another or find themselves resentful that they’re not one another’s top priority.

Cancer is also square (the most challenging angle that can exist between two signs) conflict-averse air sign Libra and competitive fire sign Aries. Unless they have other positive aspects in their natal charts, Cancer can respect these two other cardinal signs for their bold, visionary perspectives on life, but they’ll struggle to find harmony emotionally.

What If You Have Cancer Elsewhere in Your Chart?

As mentioned previously, the sun sign is one of many aspects of a natal chart. When you were born, the moon and all the planets in our solar system were in one of the 12 signs and a particular position — all of which help to inform your personality and areas of your life. Here’s what it means if Cancer shows up in any of the main areas of your chart:

Cancer Moon

The moon, which spends about two to three days in each sign, influences your emotions and intuition. If it was in Cancer at the time of your birth, it’s easy for you to get swept up in your feelings. You also take a lot of pride in caring for your nearest and dearest. And while just about anyone born under a strong Cancer influence will feel the moon phases, you’re especially sensitive.

Cancer Mercury

Mercury, which spends about two to three weeks in a sign, shapes your communication style. If it was in Cancer when you were born, it’s not tough for you to put what’s in your heart into words. You’re likely also a natural comedian, finding a lot of happiness in your ability to make loved ones smile or laugh until they cry with your very human, silly, occasionally slapstick-oriented sense of humor. (It’s no surprise so many comedians — including Mindy Kaling, Will Ferrell, Larry David, and Michelle Wolf— are Cancers.)

Cancer Venus

Venus, which remains in a sign for about three to five weeks, influences how you behave in relationships and how you attract others. If you were born with the planet of love and beauty in Cancer, you’re likely quite sentimental, making scrapbooks or memory boxes filled with theater tickets, dried roses, and love notes. Old-school romantic details from love letters to candlelit dinners are your jam. And your style is classic, too. (Think soft colors, timeless sundresses, and that decade-old jean jacket you can’t live without.)

Cancer Mars

Mars, which remains in a sign for six or seven weeks, affects your energy, strength, sexual style, and how you experience courage. If you were born while the fiery, dynamic, fighter planet was in cardinal, watery Cancer, you’re fiercely protective of people you care about and feel like you need to be centered in your emotions in order to complete whatever tasks are on your to-do list. While working with others, you tend to value productivity and big picture thinking, and you’ll often volunteer or be tapped to mentor someone who’s more junior.

Cancer Ascendant (or Rising)

Your ascendant or rising sign influences how you present yourself to the world. As a Cancer ascendant, you come off as nurturing, heartfelt, genuine, sympathetic, and gentle. Your compassion and emotional generosity are unparalleled.

Upcoming Astrological Highlights for Cancer

June 20-21:

The new moon and solar eclipse in Cancer (occurring on the 20th on the west coast, 21st on the east) is a rare opportunity for you to get clear on a long-term goal and embrace dynamic change in your life to make it a reality. Although a typical new moon is an opportunity to zero in on a goal and push ahead, eclipses have a way of setting off major shifts on their own. Your job is to embrace change and find the most effective way to harness it to make dreams a reality.

July 4:

While the sun moves through your sign, eclipse season will bring another game-changing event in the form of the full moon and lunar eclipse in your seventh house of partnership. While the solar eclipse was all about shaping your personal brand, you’re called now to think about your one-on-one relationships and themes of reciprocity and balance. You’ll ask yourself what needs to change for you to feel more satisfied and centered in your closest bonds? Once when you land on your answer, you might face a dramatic, crucial culmination point.

August 7 - September 6:

Venus, the planet of romance, beauty, and money, moves through your sign during this period, making it a sweet, joyful time for bonding with loved ones and friends, pouring your heart into creative projects (which could translate to financial rewards, if you play your cards right), and soaking up the last moments of warm, fuzzy, romantic summertime.

December 29:

The year comes to a close with a full moon in your sign, urging you to cross the finish line on a passion project or to feel a sense of closure on a significant chapter in your life (perhaps one started around the June 20-21 eclipse). Though you might be swept up in holiday celebrations and family time, prioritizing self-care is key to getting a clear read on all of those feels — before figuring out your next move.