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Cancer is associated with home, birth, family, and our tribe, clan or nation. It is also the sign of empathy, emotional intelligence, re-birth and mass consciousness.
The mysterious sign of Cancer is one of the quietest. It is the tiniest of constellations in the Zodiac and could easily slip by without being noticed. Yet within this tiny, silent sign are held the deepest secrets of reincarnation, for Cancer is the gateway into the physical realm. The sacred marriage of matter and spirit happens through this gateway of Cancer.
In considering the planetary rulers of Cancer, it is most important to understand what we really mean by “rulership.” What may have been considered “ruling” in times gone by, as in domination or holding power over us, is really referring to a kind of custodianship in which certain conditions that are necessary for growth and evolution to unfold are held in place. It is therefore more useful to think of planetary rulers as space-holders, providing the necessary vital conditions for specific stages of evolutionary unfoldment. Once this is understood, we can then begin to understand why, according to the Tibetan (see Esoteric Astrology, by Alice Bailey), Cancer is said to have only one true space-holder (ruler) at personality, Soul and Hierarchical level, and that is Neptune.
However, the Moon “veils” Neptune at the personality level for this stage of our evolution. In this sense, it acts almost like a filter, adjusting the energy of Neptune to something that can be utilized by humanity at this time – which is why the Moon has such a powerful effect on the masses. The true spiritual energy of Neptune is too subtle to be sensed or perceived by us at this time and, once we have fully awakened our sense-perception, we will be able to sense and fully utilise Neptunian energy. It is in Cancer that we cultivate and fine-tune our sense-perception, which is why Cancerians are so empathic and in tune with their emotional world.
Just as a gardener digs, turns, prepares and softens the hardened earth to become receptive to tender seeds, so the Moon softens our hardened hearts to become more receptive to tender spiritual energies. By creating the conditions of ebb and flow in the emotional tides of humanity, the Moon provides the masses with the experiences necessary to awaken us to our compassion and deeper sense-perception. We begin the journey of acknowledging and cultivating our sense-awareness by first of all becoming aware of our emotions.
The Moon rules the physical form, while Neptune rules spirit. In Esoteric Astrology, the Tibetan tells us that the Moon is the “Mother of All Forms,” while Neptune is the “God of the Waters.” In Cancer we have the sacred union of the Mother of all Forms (the Moon) and the God of the Waters (Neptune), which represents spirit. This is a clue to the deepest mysteries of Cancer, which is to be a gateway for spirit in physical form that is later consummated in Virgo.
…in orthodox Astrology, the Moon is substituted for Neptune
because it is the form nature which is dominant
in the longest stage of human unfoldment.
- The Tibetan
More clues to the vital role of Cancer can be found if we study The 12 Labours of Hercules: An Astrological Perspective, by Alice Bailey. In Hercules’ fourth labor, which pertains to Cancer, he rescues a doe by taking her to his heart and carrying her to the Sun Temple, whereupon she dies of a leg wound. On returning to his teacher, Hercules sees the doe standing out in the field again on the very spot where he had first seen her.
This hints at the spiritual lessons of care, loving concern and compassion in Cancer: having concern for all creatures by taking them to our hearts. It also symbolises rebirth. This story is a metaphor for the spiritual truth that (under the custodianship of the Moon) physical forms are subject to the tides of change and yet (under the custodianship of Neptune) there is a continuous influx of Spirit that remains steady within and throughout the changing forms.
The process of incarnation takes a lifetime. [It] is organic soul movement in which the higher, finer vibrations or soul aspects are continually radiated downward through the finer auric bodies into the more dense ones and then finally into the physical body. These successive energies are utilized by the individual in her growth throughout her life.
- Barbara A. Brennan, Hands of Light.
It is Neptune that sensitizes us to spirit, conditions us to receive spirit in matter, and increases our capacity for spiritual awareness. In this sense, Neptune spiritualizes whatever he touches. After the Moon has done her work, by conditioning humanity through our emotions, Neptune increases our capacity for spiritual awareness. Neptune’s reputation as an “illusionist” in mundane astrology stems from this role in challenging our attachment to and identification with appearances and form. Neptune clearly shows us how forms themselves are constantly changing and illusory in nature, so we may turn our attention inward and discover the unchanging spiritual reality that is our true nature. Neptune invites us to go within and keep our attention on that which is steady, constant, and is in fact our true nature.
In Part II, we’ll look more deeply into the Law of Rebirth, which is in the realm of Cancer.
Ruth Hadikin – Soul Astrologer