Cancer has the most unfortunate name in the zodiac—after all, none of the other signs are named Influenza, Diabetes, Heart Disease, or Arthritis. The fact that they are symbolized by the Crab is also a stroke of bad luck, since they rarely get crabby unless you provoke them.
Water signs are known for being emotional, but Cancer takes it to another level. They eat, live, breathe, and sleep emotions. The fact that they are ruled by the moon, guardian of maternal energy, only compounds their emotive, sensitive, and intuitive nature. But they are also a cardinal modality, which means that they don’t simply sit around wallowing and stewing in their feelings—they take action on them by being loving, affectionate, loyal, protective, and nurturing. They sometimes do so at their own expense and even if they have nothing to gain by it except for the satisfaction of helping others.
Here are the 10 best traits of Cancer. To see their dark side, read “The 10 Worst Things About Cancers.”
Ruled over and guided by the ever-maternal moon, Cancers are born with a burning desire to help others grow, heal, and reach the outer limits of their potential. Whether it’s a younger sibling, an elderly relative, a baby, a puppy, a kitten, a goldfish, or even a simple houseplant, Cancer is ever at the ready helping to coo and caress and feed and reassure every living creature in their orbit. They will bake you cookies, send you care packages, and show up at your hospital bedside whether you’re recovering from major surgery or merely having your tonsils removed. Most amazingly of all, they will demand nothing in return except to hear that you’re feeling better.
More than any other zodiac sign, the Crab runs on emotions like cars run on gasoline and lightbulbs run on electricity. They are borderline or often flat-out psychic and can read a room’s energies the moment they enter it. If you’re feeling sad, their emotional antennae will pick up on it without either of you having to say a word. They are also highly attuned to when someone is lying or trying to manipulate them. If there was a MENSA-style organization for people with extremely high emotional intelligence, they would be its CEO.
If you are a family member, a lover, or a friend, Cancer will stick by you through thick and thin, through good times and bad times, in sickness and in health, for better or worse, until death do you part. Get used to it—you’re stuck with them like paper sticks to glue. They will never leave your side and will not betray you even if you prove to be unreliable, fickle, and untrustworthy. They might even sacrifice their own well-being, material wealth, and even sanity to make you realize that they are the one person you can rely on like a life raft in the middle of the ocean.
Although mothers are known to be loving, they are also fierce protectors of their spawn. Because of their maternal nature, Cancers are ever-vigilant to safeguard, shelter, and shield those they love from the cruelties, nastiness, sadism, brutality, indifference, and abusiveness that this world can inflict on people. If someone dares to harm even one hair on your head…or if they make a snarky comment about your looks, social status, or personality traits…or if they seek to take advantage of your kindness or naivete…out comes the Crab’s claws to grab and pinch the foolish predator to the point where they beg for mercy.
Not only does Cancer prefer to remember the good times and forget the bad times—they like keeping little mementos of everything from their past. They are often very nostalgic and may even over-romanticize the “good old days” and convince themselves they were better than they actually were. They love to collect, and sometimes even hoard, keepsakes of everywhere they’ve been and everyone they’ve ever known or loved. Their walls and desks and social-media pages will be festooned with pictures and souvenirs and sacred little relics that help them reconnect with sweet memories and comforting reminders of days gone by.
If you are lucky enough to find yourself in a romantic relationship with a Cancer, expect to be relentlessly love-bombed. They are huggy, lovey-dovey, and maybe even a little mushy. They will come up with little pet names for you, make up cute little songs for you, and bombard you with flowers, sweets, and endless surprises to ensure that things never get boring or stale. If you’re hurting either physically or emotionally, they will find a way to soothe you and ease the pain. They will spare no expense to make every day feel like Valentine’s Day for you.
The zodiac’s great homebodies, Cancers are the sign most likely to live close to where they grew up—maybe even in the same house where they grew up. Curiosity, exploration, adventurousness, and risk-taking behaviors are for other signs. Whereas others may feel like “home is where the heart is,” for Cancer, their hearts are where the home always was. They love nothing more than to create a “total environment” at home where it’s cool in the summer, warm in the winter, and everything feels cozy and safe. Their home is their sanctuary. They are the most domestic and family-oriented out of all the signs.
Water signs such as Cancer are commonly seen as highly emotional—which is true—but it’d be a mistake to infer that this means they are also fragile or even unstable. Remember—unlike air, earth, or fire, water takes the shape of anything that you pour it into. They are able to go with the flow and roll with the changes. They get knocked down, but they get up again. They may be guided by their emotions, but they are not hobbled by them. Think of the Crab’s physiology—although the flesh inside is soft and tender, it’s protected by a hard shell.
Although Cancers may not have the sharp, biting, acerbic, and often insulting sense of humor seen in standup comics, they do have a silly side that comes from their desire to make everyone around them happy. They are like clowns at a children’s hospital who find a way to take someone’s frown and turn it upside down. They have a unique knack for making even the surliest, grumpiest, and most pessimistic person see the bright side in a bad situation and have them laughing at the absurdity of it all.
If a Cancer knows you’re exhausted and need to sleep, they’ll either keep super-quiet or tiptoe out of the room. If they know you’re busy, they won’t bug you unless it’s an emergency. If they know you’re sensitive about something, they’ll never bring up the topic unless you do. If they know you need help, they’ll provide it and never ask for anything in return. If they know you’ve had a rough day or a hard life, they will go out of their way not to make it any harder. At times, it seems as if calling them the “Crab” is a misnomer—they should have been called the Angel.