The Cancerian character is the least clear-cut of all those associated with the signs of the zodiac. It can range from the timid, dull, shy and withdrawn to the most brilliant, and famous Cancerians are to be found through the whole range of human activity. It is a fundamentally conservative and home-loving nature, appreciating the nest like quality of a secure base to which the male can retire when he needs a respite from the stresses of life, and in which the Cancerian woman can exercise her strong maternal instincts. The latter tends to like and to have a large family. `Nest like’ is an appropriate adjective for the Cancerian home, for its inhabitants tend to favor the dark, mysterious but comfortable type of house which has something of the air of a den about it, a place which belongs to the family rather than existing as a showcase to impress visitors.
That is not to say that the Cancerian is unsociable, just that for them there is a time to socialize and a time to be solitary, and this is part of the apparent contradiction in their nature. Outwardly they can appear formidable – thick-skinned, unemotional, uncompromising, obstinately tenacious, purposeful, energetic, shrewd, intuitive and wise, sometimes with a philosophical profundity of thought verging on inspiration. Their intimates, however, may see a very different character, one with a sympathetic and kindly sensitivity to other people, especially those they love. They are able to identify with the situations of others because of the keenness of their imaginations. They are often over-imaginative and prone to fantasy, sometimes trying to shape their lives to fit some romantic ideal. They are appreciative of art and literature, and especially of drama, where the spectacle and ebb and flow of action and feeling particularly excite them. They may themselves possess considerable literary, artistic or oratorical talent. Their sharp ears and talent for mimicry can sometimes give them success on the stage, though their tendency to be emotional may make them overact. Interestingly – because they give the impression of being down-to-earth – they are often fascinated by the occult and are more open to psychic influence than the average. If they can reconcile the personal conflict of their urge to be outgoing with the reserve that causes them to withdraw into themselves, then at best they can inspire a generation, especially the youthful part of it, by their idealism. A job in which they can express this, and in which they can do well, would be as a leader in a youth organization.
In their personal relationships they are mentally a mixture of toughness and softness, often emotional and romantic to the point of sentimentality in their fantasies; but in real life and in marriage, their loving is not so sentimental but tenaciously loyal. Even if they have affairs (and they may do so, for the male in particular is open to sensual stimulation), their first loyalty remains to spouse and family, of whom they regard themselves as the protector. Both the Cancerian man and woman love unreservedly, giving much and asking little in return – in fact, one of the most important lessons they have to learn is how to receive gracefully. They are too easily influenced by those they love and admire, and swayed by the emotion of the moment. They are also loyal friends, the negative side of their faithfulness being clannishness, the narrow patriotism of “my country right or wrong”; and closing ranks in suspicion and coldness toward outsiders.
Cancerians have a retentive memory, particularly for emotionally laden events, which they can recall in detail for years afterwards. they are strongly governed by childhood memories and since they live intensely in the past in memory and in the future in imagination, a chance meeting with someone for whom they had an unrequited love, even if they thought they had conquered the feeling, will easily rouse the emotion all over again.
The Cancerian has many potential faults. They can be untidy, sulky, devious, moody, inclined to self-pity because of an inferiority complex, brood on insults (very often imagined), yet are easily flattered. They can be tactless and difficult yet, because they are normally ambitious, they will curry favor by floating with majority opinions, outlooks and fashions of the day. As a result they often change their opinions and loyalties and, indeed, their occupations, and lack stability. They are easily corrupted and, because they are convincing romanticizers, can make successful confidence tricksters. Their romanticism in another sense make them ardent supporters of causes, for example a football team with whose heroes they can identify in a world of fantasy.