THE ARCHETYPE OF MOTHERHOOD
Mysterious and moody Cancer ruled by the mysterious watery Moon and with expansive and benevolent Jupiter as exalted ruler. As a water sign, your essential nature will include the characteristics of water—deep lakes, rushing rivers, soft mists, stormy seas, flooding rains. Because of your soul connection to the ocean and all the mysteries contained within the waters and its extremes of mood (from dark and wild to calm and crystal clear), you will find your muse there. You are drawn to express yourself through the arts—visual, literary, dramatic, and/or musical.
Dreams often will rise out of the depths of the ocean of unconsciousness, unseen creatures and visions, all hiding from awareness until they appear, often without your bidding. These lie at the source of your mood swings and are likely to provide muse for your artistic gift. You might not always understand what causes you to fall into particular states of mind. Or, how to account for it when you become overwhelmed by feelings.
Like Aries, Cancer is Cardinal, which means you move towards your goals or ambitions in an assertive manner, greeting restrictions as challenges rather than obstacles. You will be considerate, as a rule, in the manner of your approach, wishing to be kind and gracious, rather than brash. Though often, as with the crab, the image for Cancer, you might tend to be "crabby" if your mood is low or someone (usually someone close like a family member) rubs you the wrong way.
Like the crab you might tend to move towards a person sideways or through the back door, hoping not to be seen, or wishing to soften the message you bring, especially if whomever you are approaching might be against your plan. As example, Hera, the wife of Zeus, did not like the great Heracles and wanted him to fail at his twelve labors. Hera asks the crab to disrupt Heracles. Devoted to the wife of Zeus, a mother figurehead in her own right, the crab obliges. She sidles up to Heracles from behind while he is battling with the Hydra, and she pinches him in the heel. He stomps on her and that is the end of that. (The crab's shell is easily broken.) Hers was a losing battle from the start.
But if you are devoted to another, as the crab was to Hera—a dear friend, your boss, your spouse, or even your spiritual leader—you will attempt the impossible when requested of you. Such is often the nature of motherhood. Often your sideways approach turns out well. Oftentimes no one will even know how you managed. Meanwhile, back to the story of Heracles, Hera rewards the crab for her valiant effort and her devotion, by making her immortal. And so is it, the crab lives forever in the heavens above as the constellation of Cancer. Immortality might very well be the best reward you could ever imagine for your devotion and for your artistic expression, as well through the difficult and joyous tasks of mothering, or fathering as a mother would.
Cancers are often known to care for others. In the magical film "The Blue Butterfly" (based on a true story) we witness a classical Cancerian woman, a nurturing and affectionate mother portrayed by Pascale Bussieres (who was herself born under the sign of Cancer). She convinces a curmudgeonly entomologist, played by William Hurt, to go on a Blue Butterfly hunting expedition. Filmed in lush rain forests, the tale features the mother's terminally ill 10-year-old son whose dream is to catch the most beautiful butterfly on Earth, the mythic and elusive Blue Morpho. The boy believes the butterfly will heal him. A dramatic adventure story about courage, redemption and love.
You, as Cancer, might love tending to others as a massage therapist. Or maybe you work with abused women, or run a cozy gourmet restaurant. Your home might be filled with the smells of bread baking or other delectable cooking odors. You welcome friends or relatives at your door with a warm hug. Your soft body (under the sometimes-scary crab shell) offers an embrace deep with feeling and warmth.
Mary the Mother of God personifies the Archetype of Motherhood in its highest expression. As is Amma, the "Hugging Saint," a humanitarian and spiritual leader from India who spearheads a vast network of charitable activities. Also known as Mother, Amma lives to serve humankind and all of nature.
Motherhood is filled with complexity. Your mother might not have fulfilled the expectation of motherly nurturing. Nor do you as mother of your own children. The cold and watery moon that rules Cancer, remains mysterious and always changing. Cancer's mood swings are always in motion like the waves on the surface of the sea. We get clues from the ever-changing moon and her magnetic force over the ocean tides, that there are a multitude of potential expressions hidden in the Archetype of Motherhood. After all, the Universal Mother created the world with infinite potentials, and so she nurtures the gruesome and the agreeable—mothers of all descriptions.
The birth mother often goes missing from fairytales. And in come the other mothers—the stepmothers, the fairy godmothers, the wicked witches (some posing as mothers). Sometimes the good birth mother dies at birth or shortly after. The Archetype of Motherhood is filled with intricacies. The Russian fairytale featuring the beautiful girl Vasalisa and frightening witch Baba Yaga helps to illumine the depth and breadth of this archetype, painting in the infinite colors of motherhood, including its shadows and craggy corners. (Now you're going to have to read my book when it comes out, Your Bright and Shining Star: How to Weave Story and Archeytype into your Astrological Readings.