It’s Cancer Season—run for cover! Summer is where the shit gets serious. Yes, yes, Summer Solstice brings the Sun to its peak in the Northern Hemisphere. The longest day and the longest night. But do you know what defines a peak? The climb—and descent. It’s all down from here, Darlings.
Libra may be when the scales tip into darkness, but Cancer marks the way down. Savor those rollicking days of Summer. Capture them in a photo. Because the good times are fleeting. While the rest of us are out swimming and BBQing and indulging in myriad other pleasures of the hot season, the Zodiac’s Crab is taking shelter. Because it knows.
It knows in that broody, deep, intuitive way that only the Moon knows. The kind of knowing that precedes language. The ‘feel it deep in your bones’ knowing that what one loves must be protected at all costs—that the world is a harsh and ever-changing place.
Cancer seeks stability, longs for the brief moment of equilibrium. As Astrologer Spencer Michaud pointed out to me recently: it’s the yearning for the Sun at its highest point in the sky. The calling to return to a time, a feeling, an ideal. This is what the crab takes into its shell to protect and nurture, keep safe from the water’s fluctuations.
There’s a nostalgic quality to Cancer, and often Natives of this sign possess the rare ability to bring past into present. Think of musician Jack White’s Graceland inspired Paradise, Third Man Records. Behind the vintage aesthetic is a fierce dedication to the peak sensory moment that builds a record factory just to preserve the perfect sound! And then fills the space with relics—rare records and furniture, an early model electric car.
That’s a lot of work to capture a feeling. Not the order and detailed work of Virgo— or even the steady grind of Capricorn work. It’s the drive for intangible perfection, for the way playing a record makes one feel. The physical touch of vinyl, the richness of sound…a place and time imprinted onto an object to access again and again.
And here we are: each of us starting our journey through the sign of Cancer. As the days unfold, we may find ourselves sitting with our own longing—for a moment in time, a vision that never developed as we wished. Perhaps the last thirteen or so months of our lives, marked by global pandemic.
What follows are twelve thoughts for the season. Remember them on the good days, and keep them close on the bad ones. As always, read for your Rising Sign—your Sun or your Moon. Read them all and see what sticks because why not?
When the ground beneath your feet dissolves into Ocean, find stillness in the waves crashing against your legs and remember that you come from a vast, salty, place. And if you feel like crying, that’s encouraged.
The poet Jack Spicer spoke of channeling poems. Sometimes he’d have to wait around frustrated drunk for 12 hours until the words emerged. Something is trying to come through. Make way for it or choke.
If it feels like you are carrying a swimming pool or a small lake or even an ocean on your back that’s because you are. Turn around and take a dip. The sharks have recently left these waters. Steal a moment to cultivate stillness and enjoy.
In between it’s delightful to lose oneself in a trance or sleep so soundly you wake the dead in your dreams. There’s a heaviness that comes with knowing that one never forgets. Go away, go away, go away. Just don’t forget the way back.
Once a year the Dropbox of your mind reaches capacity and you have to erase some files to make room for new memories because your mind is not a computer, and you can’t just buy more space. There’s a lot of scary trash to remember and discard but some forgotten gems too! Hold onto those.
It feels like a good day for a picnic—a well packed, blanketed and sprawling picnic with everyone you’ve ever known. Feasting on memories and bubbling conversation. Does everyone have enough to drink? It takes a lot of work to look so cold and feel so warm inside.
How to wake up in a dream: look at your hands. Remind yourself that you’re not naked, they’re naked. The reason they’re staring is because you are a glowing orb of white light with a jello center bounce house. The inhabitants visit you in their spare time. It’s hard being the buoyant center of attention.
“This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.”
— TS Eliot
The Hollow Men
One horse tripped on another and they all fell dominos down the mountain and into the river. Wading through the hot of summer, take a siesta lest your mind starts to steam. Soon, it will fall again and winter with crisp air to wonder once more. You can make it through these bright times.
When you look in the mirror where you expect to see a Sea Goat you find a tiny crab with a raincoat and dimpled cheeks. It invites you into its shell for records and marmalade jam on crisps. You smile and set your head against a pillowed wall and thank goodness for your lunch break.
Does it ever feel like you’re a data scientist working in a memory factory? Each morning you empty your suitcase and by the time you head for home it's full of water again? Have you ever been electrocuted by the lightning bolts in your head? Remember that new thoughts are formed of old matter.
There is no peak moment because it's all one moment. Everything that ever was is happening now—and will happen again. And again and again. Summer’s such a delight! The gardening and swimming and star gazing and whatnot. As good a time as any to crack the shell into finely ground pieces and add to the compost.