Understanding Cancer and Capricorn

cancer - capricorn

In previous articles, we introduced what Zodiac Signs are; we meditated upon the Principle of Polarity operating in reality and the paradigm of Polarization conditioning our consciousness; and we talked about how astrology correlates with this. We invite you to visit these articles in order to understand what will be discussed next.

Cáncer

In this new article, we are going to explore the images, metaphors, and concepts that the Cancer – Capricorn Polar Axis represent, in order to observe how all of this can be experienced in our lives.

Capricornio

CaNCER – CAPRICORN POLAR AXIS

In the Zodiac wheel, Cancer and Capricorn are located directly across from each other: together, they form an axis.

astrology

This means that, although they may appear to be opposites based on their placement, the design in fact reveals that they are actually the extreme points of one same substance; they form a polarity.

In correspondence with this, we will observe how, at first glance, the content of these symbols may seem contradictory, but upon delving into their meaning, it becomes evident that one contains and includes the other.

What do Cancer and Capricorn symbolize?

Let’s begin by evoking some of the images and qualities that each sign represents, in order to later reflect on the inseparable link that exists between these apparent contradictions

IMPORTANT 

Remember, we are not talking about “people who are a Cancer or a Capricorn”, but about Cancer and Capricorn as what they truly are: symbols representing certain aspects of our existence.

Cancer

Element: Water

Modality: Cardinal

Ruler: Moon

What does Cancer symbolize?

Substance / Content

Internal World

Family / Clan / Sense of belonging

Past / Roots

Subjective Needs

Tenderness / Nurturing / Care / Protection

Capricorn

Element: Earth

Modality: Cardinal

Ruler: Saturn

What does Capricorn symbolize?

Container / Structure / Limit

External World

Society / Social Role

Realization / Future expectations 

Objective Law / Duty

Authority / Support / Firmness

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CANCER - CAPRICORN: POLARIZATION

This axis describes the most basic, elementary, and fundamental design in which the human experience is inscribed: the need for shelter and protection, and the need to venture into the world; our origin and our life goals, meaning where I come from and where I am going; family and society, sense of belonging, and realization in the world; the symbols of “Mother” and “Father”.

 

We tend to experience this axis in a somewhat distorted way. That is, be it in a more conscious or subconscious way, we perceive these poles as two options between which we must choose: either I stay in the safety of home, or I venture into the world sacrificing protection; either I follow my internal needs, or I do what I ‘ought to do’; either I remain childlike and ruled by emotional needs, or I harden up in order to mature.

Polarized in Cancer, we remain in our comfort zone, where we “belong” (symbolically or literally), reproducing what is known and safe. We prioritize subjective needs over other factors that also constitute our experience. We become dependent on the things and people that we love or make us feel safe. We depend on others to nourish us, to satisfy our needs. We are conditioned to reproduce known patterns, for not doing so would threaten our safety.

 

By becoming Polarized in Cancer’s subjectivity, sensitivity, tenderness, and vulnerability, the Capricorn quality turns to shadow. This means that boundaries, laws, and structures only come from outside; we project them externally. Thus, we are “supported” by what surrounds us, but we also perceive the outside world as harsh, limiting, cold, and severe. We lose our own authority and, consequently, responsibility and autonomy.

Polarized in Capricorn, on the other hand, we lose contact with our subjective needs, our emotional world, and our ability for emotional connection. We harden ourselves up to venture into the world, and we understand this armor as the elimination of vulnerability and emotional need. We associate maturity with seriousness, objectivity, and coldness.

 

However, by rejecting and denying the Cancer quality, it turns to shadow, and it unconsciously continues to operate within us. We stop repeating known patterns and responding only to our internal needs, but become subordinate to the models of the world and external demands. We continue to seek security and belonging, but this time through social roles and by doing what I “ought to”. We sacrifice all subjective needs to fulfill what is expected (over-adaptation). Here too, we lose our own authority and, therefore, responsibility and autonomy.

Yoga

In the context of yoga, we can interpret this axis in the following way: the tensions and rigidity in the body (Capricorn) may be linked to a lack of tenderness, care, and nourishment (Cancer). The physical and emotional bodies are intrinsically connected; just as physical flexibility is affected by emotional blockages, emotional health is altered by physical pleasure or pain (Vyadhi).

 

In other words, yoga teaches that our bodily tensions are not only the result of physical factors but also of emotional imbalances.

 

The practice of yoga seeks to harmonize both aspects.

CANCER - CAPRICORN: POLARITY

The fact that Cancer and Capricorn form a Polarity reveals that these qualities do not mutually exclude each other; rather, they need one another to be expressed in an integral way. Both the need for protection, nourishment, love, and care, and the need to leave that nest, to project oneself into the world and achieve autonomy, are essential parts of the human condition. Believing that we must choose between them causes unnecessary suffering, as they are indivisible. To project myself into the world, I must recognize and include my origin, my emotional base, and my subjective needs. While these could very well condition us to reproduce patterns, they are essential for our realization all the same.

 

The Cancer-Capricorn axis reminds us that ‘content’ and ‘container’ are like yin and yang; they constitute each other. The soft substance of the Cancer quality —emotional, sensitive, and vulnerable— needs the solid, structured, and objective qualities of Capricorn to contain it. Conversely, the solid structure of Capricorn needs the soft substance of Cancer to fill it with content; otherwise, it would remain empty and sterile.

 

CONCLUSION

This article aims to be an invitation to rethink our perception. It in no way seeks to morally judge, nor does it set any guidelines to follow or objectives to be achieved.

What’s interesting is to allow ourselves to perceive that often our suffering arises from a polarized understanding of reality. 

 

The Cancer-Capricorn axis invites us to perceive that realization includes developing both our own authority, which arises from personal experience (not from repeating known patterns or following social models), and the capacity for self-nurturing and care (taking responsibility for subjective needs; neither denying them nor expecting them to be met externally). In other words, it involves becoming our own Father and Mother.

 

It invites us to perceive that being incarnated means being conditioned, but these conditions do not have to be repressive limits; they are also the foundational basis for realization.

 

LIMITS DO NOT DETERMINE WHAT I CANNOT DO… IN FACT, THEY REVEAL POSSIBILITY.

 

Steph-Astróloga

Article written in collaboration with Steph S · Astrologer

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