The Decans of Cancer
Each sign of the zodiac is separated into three equal parts of ten degrees known as decans, each with their own individual character and sub-planetary ruler. As requested, I am writing a series of articles giving a deeper interpretation of what each decan means. In my fourth article, I write about the decans of Cancer, sign of the crab.
What are Decans?
I've been seeing a lot of posts circulating around astrology groups recently, claiming that, or asking if, the different months have an effect on your star sign. Is there any credence to the idea that for example, an April Taurus will behave differently than a May Taurus?
My answer is no. The months *themselves* have no effect on your star sign. However, decans do, and this applies to all planets, not just the Sun.
What are decans? Each sign is subdivided into three equal parts consisting of ten degrees, called decans. Each decan has their own individual character influenced by a secondary planetary ruler, helping astrologers to provide a fuller interpretation of each sign. For a fuller interpretation of the history of the decans and it's usage, click here.
Today, two main systems of rulership for the decans are used. There is the ancient system based on the Chaldean order of the planets, and the more modernly used rulership by triplicity. For the sake of a deeper understanding, I am going to use both.
In my last article, I wrote about the decans of Gemini, sign of the Twins. I've also written about Taurus, sign of the Bull and Aries, sign of the Ram. In this article, I am going to write about the decans of Cancer.
It's important to remember that all Cancer have the same basic soul mission. The decans don't change that. A 1st decan Cancer and 3rd decan Cancer will still probably be more alike than different. However, the decans provide more specific information about how that soul mission gets expressed.
What is Cancer?
Cancer, commonly seen as the 'fourth' sign of the zodiac, is represented by the crab. It is a cardinal water sign ruled by the Moon and exalted by Jupiter. In contrast, Saturn is in detriment here and Mars is in it's fall. The Sun's entrance into the sign of Cancer coincides with the Summer Solstice, highlighting characteristics of warmth and care. The constellation was reportedly named after the mythological crab that was sent by Hera to attack Hercules - and who was ultimately crushed by Hercules foot, illustrating the sign's tenacity in the face of vulnerability.
The cardinal modality is all about leadership, as these signs mark the solstice and equinox periods that initiate the change of season. Often, memes will pigeon-hole Cancer as a "weak" and sensitive cry baby. As a water sign, Cancer is quite sensitive indeed. It is ruled by the Moon, the ever-changing luminary representing the emotional mind, making Cancer quite moody or well, crabby - one minute, they'll be crying at the drop of a hat and the next, they'll be happy as a clam - it's emotions ebbing and flowing, like the changes of the tide. However, as a cardinal sign, Cancer is actually quite powerful. All cardinal signs seek to have control over their environment in some way and as the cardinal water sign, Cancer seeks to have control over one's emotions or perhaps a better way to phrase it would be "emotional security." This quality is further illustrated by the symbolism of the crab, an extremely soft animal, hidden and protected by its hard shell, with claws that pinch if threatened. In other words, Cancers tend to be private individuals who prefer to stay safe within their comfort zone, but just like crabs themselves, they can be aggressive if they need to be.
As the "fourth" sign of the zodiac, Cancer is associated with the four walls of the home. Building off the social nature of the previous sign, Gemini, Cancer is more selective of which contacts to keep; deepening its relationships with those close while warding off those deemed untrustworthy. Their attachments run deep: with it's claws, the sign of the crab clings onto the people, possessions and past memories it holds dear, finding it hard to move on or let things go. Crabs are, in fact, family-orientated creatures, "known to work together to provide food and protection for their family, and during mating season to find a comfortable spot for the female to release her eggs," to quote Wikipedia. Perhaps the exaltation of Jupiter - planet of expansion - highlights this loving generosity. In some ways, Cancer can be seen as a sort of "mother hen," or even a father figure, possessing control over the safety and well-being of those they seek to nurture and defend.
Their "mother-like" instincts include an almost psychic empathy and intuition, as well. As water signs, they are highly attuned to the emotional undercurrents of every interaction - an important thing to be aware of if you want to stay afloat - communicating with others through vibrations and pheromones, much like a crab does. Of course, this lack of verbiage can come off as passive-aggressive, at times, but they, in turn, get frustrated with the lack of observation and attunement from others. Similarly, crabs tend to walk sideways - or even backwards - sort of like how a Cancer tends to pull back and feel things out before they move forward with a major decision, causing them to come across as hesitant and indirect - this also perhaps, reflects Cancer's association with the past. All in all, as water signs ruled by the Moon, those born under the sign of Cancer perceive the world through a predominately emotional lens; their emotions color everything they do, every decision they make, seeking depth of meaning out of life - out of past experiences - as another form of emotional security.
Cancer Decan 1: Venus & the Moon
The first decan of Cancer (0 to 10 degrees of the sign) is ruled by Venus according to the Chaldean system & the Moon by triplicity. The Sun crosses this decan roughly between June 21st through July 1st.
Because it falls under the rulership of the two feminine planets, we may be tempted to think of the first decan of Cancer as representing it's "softer," traits. Romantic and relationship-orientated, these natives - being ruled by Venus - certainly do seek harmony in their surroundings and perhaps, they may be the most domestically-inclined. Regardless of how close they are to their biologically family, they may feel the need to be part of a group or "family-like" setting. Being situated on the cusp of Gemini, they are quite sociable, compared to other Cancers, craving connection and investing most of their emotional energy into their attachments to others. At times, they may even crawl out of their shell and allow themselves to be naked and vulnerable.
The waxing and waning of the Moon's rulership can make them prone to unpredictable mood swings. They may be particular sensitive to social matters, both romantic and platonic, which may cause them to overthink their interactions and worry, at times, about what other people think. Their emotional sensitivity can make them kind-hearted and empathic, skilled at helping out other people with their problems, and the influence of Venus can make them great artists, with an eye for beauty and a penchant for refined tastes, but they are just as often "lunatics" and fierce defenders of justice, for better or for worse. Like the Moon, they may go through many phases throughout the course of their lifetime, and due to such rapid changeability, one may never know what to expect from them.
Some notable fixed stars includ Tejat Prior & Tejat Prosterior as well as Mirzam & Alhena. Tejat Prior (located at 3'26 degrees Cancer) and Tejat Prosterior (located at 5'18 degrees) are situated in the left and right foot, respectively, of Castor in the Gemini constellation. Both are of the nature of Mercury & Venus, they give strength, intelligent, success, the ability to express ideas in a clear & reasonable manner, and the ability to capitalize on popularity, for better or worse. Mirzam on the other hand (located at 7'11 degrees) is a white star, of the nature of Venus, located on the left paw of the Canis Major constellation or Greater Dog. Historically, it's been known as an "Announcer of Sirius," the biggest star in the sky, because it rose shortly before Sirius in the night sky. Possibly because of this, it has been noted that many radio, TV, and media announcers have been born under this star. Meanwhile, Alhena (located at 9'06 degrees of the sign), another star of the nature of Mercury & Venus, is located in the left foot of Pollux in the Gemini constellation. It gives a strong artistic inclination, success in creative writing, and an ability to negotiate peace, finding the roots of the problem and moving on from there. Often, it's natives are refined, courteous and sweet-tempered, but for some reason, this star has also been associated with accidents to the feet.
Cancer Decan 2: Mercury & Mars (or Pluto)
The second decan of Cancer (10-20 degrees of the sign) is ruled by Mercury according to the Chaldean system & Mars by triplicity (or Pluto in modern astrology). The Sun passes through this decan roughly between July 1st and July 12th.
While it may be said that the former decan exhibits some of Cancer's more lunar or watery traits, the second decan is, perhaps, the most obviously "cardinal." It's a dog-eat-dog world, as they say, and these folks may have been forced to learn this at an early age, causing them to develop an array of defense mechanism, and an especially hard exterior. Ruled by Mercury, these folks can be quite cunning, and their defense mechanisms may involve just as much lying and secrecy as it does the overt toughness and aggressive strength typically indicated by Mars. Adaptable, chameleon-like behavior may be another method of self-protection that they employ. This defensiveness may close them off to positive experiences, at times. Especially when we take into account the modern rulership of Pluto, they may be overly suspicious and even paranoid, seeing negative intentions where there aren't any. However, these natives possess a clever and street-smart nature that helps them to avoid trouble. Furthermore, they can often be gifted story-tellers, skilled in the arts of literature and poetry.
Contrary to the typical "cry baby" stereotype, a strong emotional nature gives these natives the motivation to fight for what they want, although sometimes they don't even have to, for they possess an almost magical ability to transform situations to their benefit. This isn't to say they don't possess a certain "domestic" quality. Rather, these folks are like the matriarchs, with a "mother-like" instinct that allows them to know what's "wrong" with the people they care about without it having to be said. Their strong intuition - and ability to hear the silent undercurrents buried deep underneath the surface of our communication - helps to alert them to any dangers and act quickly accordingly. In other words, they are good at reading people, a necessary skill for protecting themselves and their loved ones.
Some fixed stars include Sirius, Canopis, Wasat, and Propus. Sirius (located at 14'05 degrees Cancer) is arguably the most famous star in the sky and most definitely the brightest. Known as "the Dog Star," Sirius is located in the constellation of Canis Major, the Greater Dog. Of the nature of Jupiter & Mars, it gives honor, wealth, passion, faithfulness, resentment and devotion. Those born under this star are often guardians, curators, and often famous or otherwise creative personalities. Canopus, the second brightest star, is right next to it (at 14'58 degrees). Of the nature of Saturn & Jupiter, this star is located in the Argo Constellation, and gives piety, conservatism, an expansive scope of knowledge, voyages, educational work, and changes of evil into good. According to Astrology King, many writers and film actors are born under this star, especially those who've had to travel for their position. Wasat (located at 18'31 degrees), on the other hand, has a much more destructive reputation. Of the nature of Saturn, this star, located on the right elbow of Castor in the Gemini constellation, is associated with chemicals, gas, posions, and those born under it are thoughtful, melancholy, anxious, and liable to disgrace. This connection is connected with building, mines and minerals, but also violence and maleviolence. Meanwhile, the nearby Propus (19'01 degrees), located between the two Gemini Twins, is of the nature of Mercury & Venus and indicates a love of poetry, painting & teaching, as well as intelligence, in it's natives.
Cancer Decan 3: the Moon & Jupiter
The third decan of Cancer (20-30 degrees of the sign) is ruled by The Moon according to the Chaldean system & Jupiter (or Neptune in modern astrology) by triplicity. The Sun passes through this decan roughly between July 12th and July 22nd.
Ruled by the Moon, which is domicile in the sign of Cancer, and Jupiter, which is exalted, it is tempting to say that those born under this sign are the most stereotypically "Cancerian" of the Cancers. Whether this is really the case or not, I'm not sure, but since Jupiter expands whatever it touches, these folks do tend to have exaggerated emotions. Prone to extreme mood swings and various ups and downs, on one hand, their personal emotions can consume them so deeply that they may come off as self-involved or even-self absorbed. It is no wonder, then, that this decan is situated on the cusp of Leo. On the flip side, however, Jupiter's exalted rulership can also make them quite generous and caring, perhaps giving to others as a way to make up for what was taken from themselves. The modern influence of Neptune may even make them a bit too giving, perhaps codependent and clingy. Sensitive and empathic, it's possible that some of these folks may lack boundaries at times, trusting the wrong people and falling susceptible to influence, which on that note, given their habit of over-doing things and going to extremes, it is advisable that these natives avoid substances, which may be used as an unhealthy form of escapism.
On a more positive note, however, such a larger-than-life nature can make these natives quite entertaining to be around. They tend to possess an amazing sense of humor and a profound optimism that keeps them moving forward, throughout their darker moods, interpreting every event as a learning experience. As Jupiter is the planet of expansion and growth, these folks are always striving to live life to the fullest, wanting to feel everything no matter how painful, and always striving to become a better version of themselves. The modern rulership of Neptune amplifies this quest for meaning. As water signs, they are constantly on the look out for deeper truths, unburying what is hidden. They can be quite spiritual too; interested in all things mysterious and psychic but most of all, they are concerned with the personal and emotional truths, the subjective understandings, that explain and give meaning to their various ups and downs.
Some fixed stars include Castor, Pollux, and Procyon. Castor (located at 20'14 degrees) is a binary star in the head of the North Twin in the Gemini constellation. Of the nature of Mercury, this star represents the mortal twin skilled in taming and managing horses. In addition to a fondness for horses, this star indicates a strong intellect, success in law, many travels, mischieviousness, and sudden fortune followed by a fall. Pollux (at 23'13 degrees) is the immortal twin of the Gemini constellation. This star is of the nature of Mars and indicates a crafty, brave, rash and sometimes cruel nature, as well as a love of boxing. Procyon (at 25'47 degrees) is the brightest star located in Canis Minor, the constellation of the Lesser Dog. Of the nature of Mercury & Mars, those born under this star are often said to be careless, crafty, easily angered, saucy, giddy, timid and/or proud.
About the Creator
My name’s Kait. I would define myself mainly as a truth seeker. I write about a lot of things, primarily astrology, religion & spirituality, relationships and social issues.
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
Compelling and original writing
Creative use of language & vocab
Easy to read and follow
Well-structured & engaging content
Expert insights and opinions
Arguments were carefully researched and presented
Niche topic & fresh perspectives
Heartfelt and relatable
The story invoked strong personal emotions
On-point and relevant
Writing reflected the title & theme
This was such an interesting read!
as a Cancer myself, this was interesting where i fall in the decan area(3rd). though my personality seems to fall more into the Chinese and Native American zodiacs, this is a very good piece, good job!
Excellent work and topic. I enjoyed reading this. I am also a spiritualist (clairvoyant), not astrology but I appreciate the work that went into this!! Do you do charts for people? You should. Great work.