Every Zodiac sign has a central set of mythic motifs and karmic patterns that tend to define the dreams of people who are strongly influenced by that sign in their birth-chart. (Look to the Ascendant, Sun Sign placement, major planetary aspects. stelliums and the Moon for clues).
I have recently been doing extensive work with a client who is both a Cancer Sun and a Cancer Ascendant as well as having Mercury and Mars in Cancer. By looking deeply at her dreams I have been able to pick out several common themes that dominate her life and which have been tremendously helpful for her in helping make more sense of the"purpose" of her current incarnation.
Cancer has long been called “the Gateway of Men” and is traditionally known as the sign that rules birth and motherhood.
The astral emblem for the sign, was originally imaged as a scarab beetle by the Ancient Egyptians rather than a crab. The scarab was seen rolling a giant dung ball across the sky while the potential for all life fecundated in its “nest.” The scarab’s dung ball contains both womb and seed and represents birth, creative potential, dreams and unformed images that spring from the collective unconscious.
Cancer is the Zodiac sign that represents a threshold crossing from the uterine waters of mother’s womb to the big, bad scary world “out there.”
Although it is typically known as the sign of Motherhood, Cancer is actually the sign of Parenthood for its ancient symbolism likens it with that which contains and nourishes the potential for all life –the seed and the womb. In this sense it contains both masculine and feminine polarities.
All new births -both literal and symbolic -need both masculine and feminine energies to help make their potential manifest. Cancer tends to struggle with actualising its masculine qualities (assertion, independence, action etc) and often has an overdeveloped feminine side that is receptive, fluid, changeable and nourishing yet finds it hard to push past the barrier of inertia into action.
It is the karmic life mission of the Cancerian individual to balance this overdeveloped feminine side by giving equal voice to their masculine side (but without dissociating from the feminine principle and all the fecundity and richness that it has to offer).
The Cancerian individual often tries to seek their under-developed masculine side in the world “out there” -either through a dominant partner, mother, child, friend or colleague. Cancerians tend to run into problems and face difficulties in these relationships if they fail to realise that they will not provide them with the lost wholeness that they are seeking.
They must learn to develop the qualities they seek within themselves and until they do, they will continue to be denied the “perfect” relationship, child, mother, job, whatever…
Ultimately, the problem that Cancer encounters is separation from the Primordial Mother -the oceanic source of life.
The reason Cancer is typically described as a pie-baking, mama loving homebody is because many Cancer-types will project the Primordial Mother onto the personal mother and will face recurring issues surrounding home/tribe/clan/roots/childhood/nostalgia/Mother/mother/motherhood. Whether or not these people have literal "issues" surrounding separation from the personal mother will differ from person to person. The point is that there will be a lifetime theme of separating from the Primordial Mother aka the Universal Source that contains no opposites, no separateness, no aloneness and no pain.
The Cancer type is terrified of cutting the umbilical cord off from Source, from Universal Oneness where all life is unformed and undifferentiated.
Cancer types long for the fusion and blissful oneness of the womb but life often does not permit Cancer to stay in these undifferentiated waters forever.
Eventually, they will be called out into the world to “incarnate” and although they may continue to return to the primal waters of life for sustenance, they will need to keep coming back to shore so they can offer the power of their creative insights to humanity.
It is easy for Cancer to stay lost in an archetypal dream-world of fantasies and illusions, refusing to make their own way in the world and finding it easier to remain submissive and reclusive –like a fetus still being replenished by universal embryonic fluid.
But Cancer cannot remain unborn forever. Sooner or later there will be a call to life, to birth, and it is often with much kicking and screaming that Cancer will be forced to make an entry into “the world of men.”
Birth and maturity must often (but not always) be achieved through some kind of deep emotional loss.
This heart-wrenching passage into real life may come to the Cancerian in many different forms but the underlying cause will be one of deep emotional loss/pain.
For example, it could be through an inability to have children, the early death of the Mother, being denied a home (or other outer trappings of “security”) or an inability to make romantic relationships work (as with the example of Katy). These painful patterns will continue to repeat themselves until the Cancer-type learns that they must be their own Mother, Father, Home, psychic container etc. They must learn that security and nourishment comes from within. If they continue to chase these “security blankets” in the outside world then the outer trappings of security will continue elude or disappoint them.
They are learning an important karmic lesson: that security, love, emotional food and nurturing must be cultivated from within.
There is tremendous creative power and potential available for people who are able to access the world of the Universal Unconscious with such ease and it is precisely this numinous gift that furnishes Cancer with its deep, endlessly fertile, restless and chaotic inner life. However, for these gifts to benefit others, they must be bought out into outer expression otherwise they are nothing more than untapped potential.
It is by awakening the unexpressed masculine principle that these gifts may finally be bought into fruition. Divine gifts can only be utilised if a conscious effort is made to “give birth” to the poetic, creative impressions that will allow Cancers to fulfill their unique potential.
Cancerian Dream Themes Seem to Revolve Around:
-Birth (not only literal births but births on a symbolic level as well)
-Houses, homes, buildings, structures (symbols of the Self, and of our own psychic structures)
-Young, tender, fragile things that need nurturing and sustenance
-Fear of moving forward: feeling stuck
-Fears around conscious self-expression
-Undervalued and unexpressed masculine side
-Overdeveloped and crippling feminine side that results in inaction, excessive fluidity (no structure/action), receptivity (without acting on received insights and sharing/expressing these impressions with the outside world)
-It is often through the feminine principle that Cancerians can achieve great things in life for it is through the feminine acts of nurturing and birth that the formlessness of the feminine principle can be given masculine structure and conscious expression
-Being both the womb and the seed: Mother and Father, caretaker and invalid, nurturer and nurtured one
-Allowing their powerful creative impressions and insights to be expressed consciously rather than remaining “stuck in the birth canal”
Below are a few of the dreams that Katy, my Cancerian client shared with me over the course of our work together. Feel free to either skim through them, read them in depth or skip them all together. Either way, enjoy!
An In-depth Interpretation of One of Katy's Dreams as part of an Investigation into Dream Themes Common for Cancers: A Case Study
By shedding light on Katy's dreams, I am hoping that our work together may help people come to a better understanding of the art of dream interpretation.
For a step-by-step approach on how to interpret your dreams using an easy three-step method, click here.
In early March 2017 Katy shared a dream with me that featured the number 3 in it.
Sun sign: Cancer
Rising sign: Cancer
I am home at my parents house and have just received the unsettling news that my ex-boyfriend is on his way over (we are still together in the dream but our relationship is contentious and I do NOT want to see him). I go and look through my closet and find some of his clothes in there. Strangely, they are hanging up on the same hanger as my clothes so there are layers of his shirts and layers of my shirts hanging there together. I take one of his cardigans and wear it and pace around the house anxiously awaiting his arrival. My parents are anxious as well. When he arrives he doesn’t say anything. He has a sad, knowing look in his eyes and he hands me a piece of cardboard with three stars drawn on it in the shape of a triangle. He then hands me a box of coloured pencils. I open the tin and the colours are all beautiful and bright, some of them have been used and are now blunt and there is a sharpener in there with pencil shavings everywhere. He walks away looking behind him and gazing at me with the same anxious/sad/knowing look in his eyes. He smiles at me one last time and is gone.
Katy had come to me for a combined tarot and astrology reading. She had broken up with her controlling, abusive, emotionally demanding boyfriend about 3 and a half months before having this dream.
She had initially been extremely heartbroken about the break up and was coping with it by shutting herself off from other men and comfort eating.
By the time she had the dream she was slowly starting to come to terms with the break up and was starting to get on with her life.
Although she was the one who instigated the break up, she had initially pinned a lot of hope onto the relationship (she is a self-confessed “hopeless romantic” with delusional ideals about relationships and love in general).
She and her boyfriend had recently moved in together and there was even talk of marriage and kids. She claimed that he had once been her knight in shining armour, and she felt like their relationship was saving her from all the hurts and disappointments in the world –saving her, in other words, from becoming an individual in her own right, on her own terms.
She told me there had been a long past of martyrdom and idealisation in her relationships –where she played second fiddle to the men she adored, forgetting totally about her own self-development and her own individual needs.
Right before having this dream, Katy had recently returned from a yoga retreat in Sri Lanka where an imbalance between her masculine/feminine side was pointed out to her by one of her yoga teachers.
He told her that her feminine side (left side, yin, ida nadi) was overdeveloped and that she needed to keep up a regular yoga practice to help bring more balance to her personality by developing her masculine side (right side, yang, pingala nadi).
The yoga teacher also pointed out that the fingers on her left hand were probably larger than her right hand. Katy had never noticed this before and when she compared both hands she noticed, to her abject shock and horror, that her teacher was right and that her left hand was markedly bigger than her right hand!
She also noticed that the left side of her body was a lot more flexible than her right side.
Here was literal physical evidence that Katy had an overdeveloped feminine side and a completely undervalued, undeveloped masculine side. When she next looked at a photo of herself she noticed that the left side of her face was more pronounced than her right and that all her features slanted up towards the left side of her face.
The Interpretation of Katy’s Dream
Step One: Time Frame:
Katy dreamed of a house that she had lived in until she was 15 and so the program she is running is one from the past.
Step Two: How the Problem is Manifesting in Katy’s Life:
Katy is deeply unbalanced and has lived her life almost exclusively from her feminine side (this pattern is deeply entrenched, which is suggested by the dream’s location in an old house).
The reason we know that this dream pertains to Katy’s masculine/feminine imbalance is because both her mother and father were there. Mothers/fathers, men/women in dreams are almost always an indication that our masculine/feminine polarity is being called into question rather than representing literal people or our actual mother and father.
Katy has tended to give all her power away to her boyfriends thereby suppressing her own masculine side (i.e. the development of her individuality/spirit/willpower).
This pattern came to a head in her last relationship and the underlying reason that it ended was because it was the only way she could learn that she was giving away her power (and short-changing herself in the process).
It is only in solitude that the inner voice can be heard and it is only by being single that Katy can finally learn that it is only she who can act as both mother and father to herself. This dream seems to be giving Katy a very encouraging message: she is finally in balance and looking after her own needs (although there is still work to be done).
Katy’s inner balance is also represented by the layers of male and female clothes (clothes =the roles we play in life) hanging on top of one another in her closet and by her choice to put on her ex-boyfriend’s cardigan (donning masculine clothing= embodying masculine principles).
This shows that she is now starting to balance her masculine and feminine sides (i.e. assertion and receptivity). She is starting to blend these two polarities in a harmonious way, paying homage to both of them.
The fear she displays at the impending arrival of her ex-boyfriend shows that she is still a little uncomfortable with expressing her masculine side and that she fears allowing it to shine fourth –she still feels she must suppress it or hide from it, although she has come a long way and she’s doing a good job at integrating rather than polarising these two opposing forces.
She still has the tendency to see masculinity as something outside of herself rather than something within. Fearing her ex-boyfriend shows that she feels that her own masculinity is something to be feared, rather than something that should be encouraged to flourish in her psyche.
The good news is that she is improving (wearing masculine clothing).
Step Three: How to resolve the problem:
Katy told me that although she is still upset about the break up of this relationship, the dream seems to be offering her some promising news.
The cardboard with the drawing of the three stars on it suggests that now she is single she is free to get on with her own development (which the relationship was hindering and suppressing).
This is represented by the number 3, which always suggests a process of integration, a birth, new beginnings.
She has moved beyond the stasis of the 2 (opposition, balance) to create something new (3). She is now in the process of integrating her masculine and feminine sides, which will ultimately lead towards new beginnings, a new reality.
This is what the gift of the colouring pencils shows: now that she is successfully integrating her masculine and feminine sides (which is the “gift” or lesson of her broken relationship) she is free to express herself creatively.
The break up has taught (and is teaching) Katy about realising her own needs. If she’d stayed in the relationship she would have been curtailing and suppressing her own spiritual growth and she would have continued to live out her unlived masculine side via projection.
Now that she does not have the crutch of the relationship anymore she is developing her masculine side in her own right. This is a spiritual dream with a spiritual message (the number 3 always represents a spiritual message in dreams) and the colouring pencils suggest the potential for improved creative self-expression now that the relationship has run its course.
The triangle is considered the first perfect form because it is the first shape that can be constructed with straight lines. It is also a religious symbol of the trinity, the three parts of the Divinity that are the moving creative forces behind manifestation.
The triangle also represents a gathering of universal creative energies and the colouring pencils provide her the tools with which to actualise her creative potential.
Masculine, active self-expression (colouring pencils) now lies solely in her hands. Her break-up, in other words, has provided her with all the tools she needs to actualise her creative potential.
Pyramids (triangles) generate awesome amounts of creative energy and are considered to be giant electrical conductors, accumulators of creative energy awaiting release.
This dream represents Katy’s spiritual, creative emancipation.
In esoteric doctrine, the Great Pyramid of Giza is considered to be an initiation temple rather than pharaoh’s tomb, which suggests that Katy is being initiated into a new level of awareness.
The appearance of stars in the dream suggests that Katy is going through profound changes in her life (stars = changes) and, that her senses are being elevated as she moves into a higher level of awareness (reinforced by the number three).
Stars also suggest that things are changing for the better and that Katy is heading in the right direction.
If you would like to read more about the work I did with Katy, you can do so by clicking here.
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