Cancer Constellation Meaning

Constellation Cancer Astrology

Cancer Constellation [Stellarium]

Constellation Cancer Astrology

Constellation Cancer the Crab, is an ecliptic constellation laying between constellation Gemini and constellation Leo. It spans 14 degrees longitude in the zodiac sign Leo. The Cancer constellation contains six named fixed stars.

Cancer Constellation Fixed Stars

2000BStar NameMag.Orb
04 ♌ 15βTarf, Al Tarf3.531°20′
05 ♌ 20ζTegmine4.671°00′
06 ♌ 20ιZubanah, Decapoda4.031°00′
07 ♌ 16M44Praesepe, Beehive Cluster3.701°10′
07 ♌ 32γAsellus Borealis4.661°00′
08 ♌ 43δAsellus Australis3.941°10′
13 ♌ 12ξNahn5.151°00′
13 ♌ 38αAcubens, Sertan4.261°00′

Cancer Constellation gives a need for congenial surroundings. Excess emotions should be avoided, restlessness should be overcome. The marriage partner should be such that they are a good home builder and do all in their power to make your home surroundings comfortable. Impulses should be continued in all matters. Does not like too many restrictions. Generally of a retiring nature, may prefer a certain amount of solitude.

Negatively aspected, can find life a real problem, full of difficulties. Can be directionless, timid, touchy and develop an inferiority complex, seeking security and something to pin their hopes upon, a great love of times gone by and home to them merely offers a safe haven. Can tend to drift along, lacking enterprise.

Positive Keywords: Self-reliant, compassionate, maternal, sympathetic, industrious, sensitive, idealistic, retiring nature.

Negative Keywords: Eccentric, impulsive, selfish, sensational, clinging, overly emotional. [1]

This constellation represents the crab that bit the heel of Hercules during his fight with the Lernean Hydra, and was placed among the stars in gratitude by Juno, the enemy of Hercules. Ptolemy’s observations are as follows: “The two stars in the eyes of Cancer are of the same influence as Mercury, and are also moderately like Mars. Those in the claws are like Saturn and Mercury.” By the Kabalists Cancer is associated with the Hebrew letter Tzaddi and the 18th Tarot Trump “The Moon.” [2]

Cancer, the Crab…lies next to Gemini on the east, and is popularly recognized by its distinguishing feature, the Beehive, ancient Presaepe… It is the most inconspicuous figure in the zodiac, and mythology apologizes for its being there by the story that when the Crab was crushed by Hercules, for pinching his toes during his contest with the Hydra in the marsh of Lerna, Juno exalted it to the sky; whence Columella called it Lernaeus. Yet few heavenly signs have been subjects of more attention in early days, and few better determined; for, according to Chaldaean and Platonist philosophy, it was the supposed Gate of Men through which souls descended from heaven into human bodies.

In astrology, with Scorpio and Pisces, it was the Watery Trigon; and has been the House of the Moon, from the early belief that this luminary was located here at the creation; and the Horoscope of the World, as being, of all the signs, nearest to the zenith. It was one of the unfortunate signs, governing the human breast and stomach; and reigned over Scotland, Holland, Zealand, Burgundy, Africa (especially over Algiers, Tripoli, and Tunis), and the cities of Constantinople and New York. In the times of Manilius it ruled India and Aethiopia, but he termed it a fruitful sign. Its colors were green and russet; and early fable attributed its guardianship to the god Mercury, whence its title Mercurii Sidus. When the sun was within its boundaries every thunder-storm would cause commotions, famine, and locusts; and Berossos asserted that the earth was to be submerged when all the planets met in Cancer, and consumed by fire when they met in Capricorn. But this was a reversal of the astrologers’ rule; for, as Pascal wrote: “They only assign good fortune with rare conjunctions of the stars, and this is how their predictions rarely fail.”…

Showing but few stars, and its lucida being less than a 4th-magnitude, it was the Dark Sign, quaintly described as black and without eyes…Our figure appears on the round zodiac of Denderah, but in the location of Leo Minor… The symbol of the sign, , probably is “the remains of the representation of some such creature,” but it is also referred to the two Asses (gamma, Asellus Borealis, and delta, Asellus Australis) that took part in the conflict of the gods with the giants on the peninsula of the Macedonian Pallene, the early Phlegra, afterwards rewarded by a resting-place in the sky on either side of the Manger. [3]

Constellation Cancer Astrology

Constellation Cancer [Urania’s Mirror]

Shining at the hinge of the year by the blazing turning point which, when recalled, the Sun rounds in his course on high, the Crab occupies a joint of heaven and bends back the length of day. Of a grasping spirit and unwilling to give itself in service the Crab distributes many kinds of gain, and skill in making profits; he enables a man to carry his investment of foreign merchandise from city to city and, with an eye on steep rises in the price of corn, to risk his money upon sea-winds; to sell the world’s produce to the world, to establish commercial ties between so many unknown lands, to search out under foreign skies fresh sources of gain, and from the high price of his goods to amass sudden wealth. With heaven’s favor, he also sells seasons of idleness at rates of interest to his liking, wishing the swift passage of time to add to the principal. His is a shrewd nature, and he is ready to fight for his profits. [4]

With regard to the sign of CANCER, one thing is certain, that we have not got the original picture, or anything like it. It does not agree with the names either of its three constellations which have come down to us, or of its stars. In the ancient Denderah Zodiac it is represented as a Scarabaeus, or sacred beetle. * In the Zodiac of Esneh and in a Hindu Zodiac (400 BC) it is the same. * The Scarabaeus, passing its early existence as a worm of the earth, and thence issuing as a winged denizen of heaven, was held sacred by the Egyptians as an emblem of the resurrection of the body.

According to the Greeks, Jupiter placed this Crab among the signs of the Zodiac. In Sir William Jones’s Oriental Zodiac we meet with a crab, and an Egyptian Zodiac found at Rome bears also the crab in this sign. The more ancient Egyptians placed Hermanubis, or Hermes, with the head of an ibis or hawk, as the symbol of the sign now allotted to CANCER. The Denderah name is Klaria, or the cattle-folds, and in this name we have the key to the meaning of the sign, and to the subject of this chapter.

The Arabic name is Al Sartan, which means who holds or binds, and may be from the Hebrew to bind together (Gen 49:11). There is no ancient Hebrew word known for the crab. It was classed with many other unclean creatures, and would be included in the general term “vermin.” The Syriac, Sartano, means the same. The Greek name is Karkinos, which means holding or encircling, as does the Latin, Cancer, and hence is applied to the crab. In the word Khan, we have the traveler’s rest or inn; while Ker or Cer is the Arabic for encircling. The ancient Akkadian name of the month is Su-kul-na, the seizer or possessor of seed.

The sign contains 83 stars, one of which is of the 3rd magnitude, and seven are of the 4th magnitude, and the remainder of inferior magnitudes. In the center of the Sign there is a remarkably bright cluster of stars, so bright that they can be sometimes seen with the naked eye. It looks like a comet, and is made up of a great multitude of stars. Modern astronomers have called it the Beehive. But its ancient name has come down to us as Praesepe, which means a multitude, offspring.

The brightest star, ζ (in the tail), is called Tegmine, holding. The star α (or α1 and α2), in the lower large claw, is called Acubene, which, in Hebrew and Arabic, means the sheltering or hiding-place. Another is named Ma’alaph (Arabic), assembled thousands; Al Himarein (Arabic), the kids or lambs. North and south of the nebula Praesepe are two stars, which Orientalists speak of by a name evidently of some antiquity. Asellus means an Ass, and one was called Asellus Boreas, the northern Ass; while the other, Asellus Australis, is the southern Ass. The Ass was the emblem of Typhon, the king who smites or is smitten. [5]


  1. The Power of the Fixed Stars, Joseph E. Rigor, 1979, p.95.
  2. Fixed Stars and Constellations in Astrology, Vivian E. Robson, 1923, p.33.
  3. Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning, Richard H. Allen, 1889, p.107-111.
  4. Astronomica, Manilius, 1st century AD, book 4, p.235.
  5. The Witness of the Stars, E. W. Bullinger, 35. Cancer (the Crab).

4 thoughts on “Cancer Constellation Meaning

  1. Hi Jamie,

    I am trying to learn more about fixed star astrology as I feel the insights are much greater than the sign-based astrology I have been brought up with. Your website is a wonderful resource! Thank you!

    I am currently trying to find out more about fixed star tegmen/tegmine which I see included in charts I am studying – but not mentioned in interpretive form anywhere on the internet. Do you know the reason for this? Or indeed where I might find more information on it?

    Many thanks in advance, and again thank you for all the information you do include on your site. It really is so useful!


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