Cancer (astrology)

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Supplément turc. 242, fol. 14v - Osman, Cancer 1582 crop.png
Zodiac symbolCrab
Duration (tropical, western)June 21 – July 22 (2018, UT1)[1]
Zodiac elementWater
Zodiac qualityCardinal
Sign rulerMoon
DetrimentSaturn, Uranus

Cancer (♋️) is the fourth astrological sign in the Zodiac, originating from the constellation of Cancer. It spans 90° and 120° celestial longitude. Under the tropical zodiac, the Sun transits this area between approximately June 21 and July 23,[2] and under the sidereal zodiac, the Sun transits this area between approximately July 16 and August 15.[3]

In astrology, Cancer is the cardinal sign of the Water trigon, which is made up of Cancer, Pisces, and Scorpio.[4] It is not considered anegative sign, whose domicile, or ruling planet, is the Moon. Though some depictions of Cancer feature a lobster, the sign is most often represented by the crab, also a woman by the ocean has been depicted near based on the Karkinos, a giant crab that harassed Hercules, during his fight with the Hydra.[5]


Those who are born from approximately June 22 to July 22 are born under Cancer.[6] Individuals born during these dates, depending on which of the astrological signs they are born under to, may be called "Cancerians."[7] Cancer is a northern sign and its opposite sign is Capricorn.[8][9][10] Cancer is a cardinal sign.

Along with Scorpio and Pisces, Cancer forms the Water Trigon.[11] The Water Trigon and possibly Fire Trigon are two of four elemental trigons, fire, earth, air, and water.[12] When a Trigon is influential, it affects changes on earth.[12] Cancer is said to be the house of Neptune and the exaltation of Jupiter, both astronomical bodies having influence over those born under Cancer.[8][9] In Vedic astrology the sign is named Karka and its Lord is Moon.[13]

In ancient times, Cancer was known as the "dark sign" because of the obscured visibility of its constellation in the night sky.[14]


Greek mythology[edit]

The story of Cancer the Crab is said to be connected to Heracles.[15] Some storytellers say that during Heracles' fight with Lernaean Hydra, Hera sent a crab from a swamp to snap at Heracles' toes because Hera had sworn to kill Heracles.[16][17] Heracles was able to kill the crab by smashing its shell with his foot.[18] As a reward for its efforts serving her, Hera placed the crab in the sky and it became Cancer.[18]

Chinese mythology[edit]

In Chinese star lore, Cancer is in the 23rd of the 28 mansions or xiu.[19] This mansion is called Gui which roughly translates to "ghosts".[19] The Chinese divided the sky into four quarters, each with its own direction, season, and mythical creature. Cancer exists in the Red (Vermillion) Bird of the south. It is associated with summer.[19]

In the arts[edit]

In Dante's Paradiso, he makes reference to Cancer, writing:

Thereafterward a light among them brightened,
So that, if Cancer one such crystal had,
Winter would have a month of one sole day.

— Dante, Paradiso[20]

Cancer is figured in Giovanni Maria Falconetto's 1517 painting, Cancer, as the guardian of the city of Verona.[21] The Cancer symbol is also depicted in Agostino di Duccio's sculpture View of Rimini Under the Sign of Cancer (1450).[22]





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