kids encyclopedia robot

Cancer (astrology) facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Cancer
Supplément turc. 242, fol. 14v - Osman, Cancer 1582 crop.png
Cancer.jpg
Zodiac symbol Crab
Duration (tropical, western) Script error: No such module "Zodiac date". (2020, UT1)
Constellation Cancer
Zodiac element Water
Zodiac quality Cardinal
Sign ruler Moon
Detriment Saturn
Exaltation Jupiter
Fall Mars
AriesTaurusGeminiCancerLeoVirgoLibraScorpioSagittariusCapricornAquariusPisces

Cancer (♋︎) is the fourth astrological sign in the Zodiac, originating from the constellation of Cancer. It spans from 90° to 120° celestial longitude. The Sun transited this area between approximately June 22 and July 22, and in the modern era, the Sun transits this area between approximately July 21 and August 9.

In astrology, Cancer is the cardinal sign of the Water trigon, which is made up of Cancer, Pisces, and Scorpio. It is one of the six negative signs, and its ruling planet is the Moon. Though some depictions of Cancer feature a lobster, the sign is most often represented by the crab, based on the Karkinos.

Background

Cancer is the fourth sign of the zodiac, which the sun enters at the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, on approximately June 21. Those who are born from approximately June 21 to July 22 (depending upon the year) are born under Cancer. Individuals born during these dates, depending on which system of astrology they subscribe to, may be called "Cancerians." Cancer is a northern sign and its opposite sign is Capricorn. Cancer is a cardinal sign.

Water is the element associated with Cancer, and, alongside Scorpio and Pisces, it forms the water trigon. The water trigon is one of four elemental trigons in the zodiac, with the other three being fire, earth, and air. When a trigon is influential, it is said to affect changes on earth. Cancer is said to be the house of Neptune and the exaltation of Jupiter, both astronomical bodies over those born under Cancer. Its ruling planet is the Moon.

Mythology

In Vedic astrology the sign of Cancer is named Karka and its Lord is Moon. Divine associations with Cancer in Renaissance astrology are Luna/Diana, both goddesses that represent the Moon, Cancer's ruling planet.

Early history

"Cancer" is an ancient word of Indo-European origin, derived from a root meaning "to scratch." In ancient Egypt, the sign of Cancer was conceived as a scarab beetle, while in Mesopotamia it was represented by a turtle. In each case, the animal representative of the sign was perceived as "pushing" the sun across the heavens, initiating the summer solstice.

In modern times, it is the scientific Latin genus name for "crab", though it has been used to describe numerous species of shellfish in classical usage. According to Greek myth, the symbol of Cancer—often a crab, though sometimes a lobster—is based on the Karkinos (Greek: "Cancer"), a crab crushed under the foot of Hercules, and whose remains were placed in the sky by Hera, forming the Cancer constellation. In Roman variations of the story, it is Juno—Hera's counterpart in Roman mythology—who places the crab in the sky. Naturalist Richard Hinckley Allen, in 1899, deemed Cancer the "most inconspicuous figure in the zodiac," adding that its mythology "apologizes for its being there by the story that when the Crab was crushed by Hercules, for pinching his toes during a contest with the Hydra in the Marsh of Lerna, Juno exalted it to the sky."

In the arts

During the Middle Ages, the zodiacal symbol of Cancer was included in devotional books and incorporated into monumental sculptures. The depiction of Cancer as a crab is most prevalent in Mediterranean and Western European art.

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

Cancer is figured in Giovanni Maria Falconetto's 1517 painting, Cancer, as the guardian of the city of Verona. The Cancer symbol is also depicted in Agostino di Duccio's sculpture View of Rimini Under the Sign of Cancer (1450). In Giorgio Vasari's fresco, the Chamber of Fortune, Cancer is represented in the northern compartment of the ceiling, pictured by Diana, holding the moon, along with a crab.

Images for kids

kids search engine
Cancer (astrology) Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.