Cancer (Zodiac) and Depression

Cancer (Zodiac) and Depression

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The Cancer Zodiac sign has to deal with sharing a name with a dreaded disease, and the reputation of being a big baby.  Cancers are ultra sensitive feelers and known to suffer from depression more than other signs.  

As a Cancer myself, I've lived with depression as a tidal thing, that at times has totally dragged me under.  Like the other water signs Scorpio and especially Pisces, the emotional nature of Cancer puts them at odds with modern life.  

A Cancer that tries to pretend that they're okay with situations that disturb them, go underground with feelings, and that's when things go bad.  If a young Cancer is lucky, they have parents that support their uniquely attuned nature.  But if Cancer feels under attack for being 'weak,' they build up defenses and numb their feelings, and that leads to a deepening of the depression.  

Living by the Moon - Inside Out, Not Outside In 

It's not easy being a Cancer, and Donna Cunningham (a Moonchild herself) notes it's not a popular sign.

Donna writes on SkyWriter, "A world rigidly organized around corporations and productivity is biased against people who are too emotional, too hung up in the past, too attached to Mom, too fond of food, and too openly insecure. Cancerians who have those qualities stir up unwanted feelings others are trying hard to contain in order to survive their dehumanized jobs."

Cancer's lunar traits make them scapegoats, Donna writes, in a world that labels Crab traits as neurotic. Or as she implies, Cancer too often reminds them of what they're trying to stuff down -- their feelings, sensitivities, yearnings for what's been lost, etc.

The Moonchild that finds the strength to live in sync with their true rhythms grows confident and better able to cope.  And that's when they are able to reach their potential, though they can always seem at odds with the pace of life, swimming in an alternate current.  

This is true of all the signs, but for Cancer, they are moving against a powerful mainstream.  A key is to cultivate all things watery to honor that rhythm.

The Emotional Hunger and Eating Disorders 

I struggled with bulimia starting in my early teens, and looking back, it was to do with the lack of empathy for who I was.  This led to a need to feed myself and feel full.  

There was also a lot of external judgment about looks, both from my Mother and the culture in general.  And since I wanted to be accepted, I really wanted to be considered attractive, and that meant losing weight.  

A misguided therapist told me in college that bulimia had no cure, and today that seems a shocking thing to say -- and in my case, proven untrue.  Over time, I healed myself by slowly gaining a sense of self and by learning to mother myself.  

A Moonchild who is emotionally neglected as a child -- or abused -- has a mountain to climb.  I know at times my collected emotional pain was life-threatening, and this sign could be more vulnerable to suicide.  ​

Cancer (Sun) has a compelling link to food and nourishment, and this can become a strength over time.  Each meal can become an act of self-care, by making healthy choices, and a time to take a break from the day, too.   

Homesickness and the Past

A Cancer in trouble will fixate -- and seem to really live -- in the past.  It's already the sign of subjective reality, i.e. living in your own world.  And the imagination of the Moonchild is legendary.  

All this is a recipe for denial, and living in fantasy land.  This goes into dark territory when imagined wrongs of others are fed and animated, and become nightmares, blown all out of proportion.  

Cancers can also escape into nostalgia for an idealized past that never was.  You might say it all points to a need for a Home Sweet Home, where they are loved and can feel a family-like sense of belonging.

Cancers benefit from learning to cleanse the space, like with sage, and practice psychic hygiene.  I know a bit about that, as a Crab that grew up with two Crab parents!  The Cancer child is a sponge, taking in all that's said, and all the feelings, too.  And there's often no way to share it, causing a great build up, and overwhelm leading to numbness.

When a Cancer is numb and "shut down," that's a sign of being depressed.  The Cancer child can become the holder of the emotional baggage somehow, with their own identity submerged.  

This can lead to a strange mix of dependency on friends, and cauterized actions at other times.  A Cancer might "use" a friend as a lifeline, but then cut them off coldly, if there's a friendly or more stimulating port in the storm.  


Cancers find healing when they stop denying their natural rhythm and rearrange their lives to support these traits.  For example, many Cancers perform better in jobs where they can work when the mood hits, and are not on an externally imposed schedule.  

The Moonchild is always a child, and it's healing to bring a patient attitude to that dimension, like you would for say, a toddler.  Sometimes you just gotta let it be -- to cry, to laugh, to grieve, to be sullen.  

Since Cancer is so subjective, it really helps this sign to have mediums to share the visuals and emotional impressions of their inner life.  It's a triumph when the personal becomes shared as the universal, and Cancer feels less alone.  

Embrace your domesticity, and defy the current programming away from family, tradition, and roots. These are the strengths of Cancer, and fortify this sign with what's timeless.  

Cancers can stay healthy with the power of the water element, by spending time by the sea or with hydrotherapy.