Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Chicken-Soup Sign Cancer: The Crab, The Scarab, Other Shelled Critters, and The Crib

by Milky Way Maid

It may crush native Cancerians' sensitive feelings to learn that the the brightest star in the constellation Cancer, Lucida, is only a fourth magnitude star. It takes a sharp eye, or a telescope, to track the passage of Cancer across the summer sky. Come to think of it, four is both the magnitude of its star and the house of the zodiac which it rules. So there may be a certain apropos quality to the number four here.

Yet dim as it was, the Egyptians used Lucida to mark the summer solstice from about 2000 BC to 1000 BC. The Egyptians did not call it the Crab, they called it the Scarab, or actually Scarabaeus. The Scarab is the sacred beetle that rolls a ball of dung around, a ball in which it has laid its eggs for the next generation. Other Egyptian sources may have called it the Stars of the Water, or the Two Turtles, according to Rupert Gleadow in The Origin of the Zodiac. (Egypt does have river turtles, which are hard shelled critters just as crabs are.)

By the time the Greek astronomer Eratosthenes wrote of this constellation, it was called the Crab. He described it as being made up of two asses and a crib. The crib portion lies near the top, between the two asses, and is named Praesepe which is Latin for "the manger". The nebula in Cancer is known as the Beehive, flanked by the two donkeys, Asellus Australis (the southern donkey) and Asellus Borealis (the northern donkey).

The image of the manger and asses was transformed into one of a Nativity scene, a manger where the baby Jesus was laid, during the Christian era.

The Cancer native might not like to show their feelings outwardly. They retreat inside their shells, or cocoon inside their homes, and watch TV or surf the web. They may sublimate them into eating or overeating. They may become toxic people who poison the atmosphere around them with their unexpressed/suppressed, unprocessed feelings.
And yet they can be the most understanding and supportive friends and parents, who soothe your brow and offer chicken soup (either literal or metaphorical). They do not generally try to solve your problems for you, though they often offer the best advice you ever got.

They are the homemakers and hoteliers and restaurateurs of the world. They know just what will make a place feel like home, and they know how to make a cold impersonal hotel room liveable when THEY are travelling. They pack a few family pictures along, and maybe a special pillow, and some tea bags, and they'll be alright.

All too often Cancer is short-changed when one is evaluating the special skills of each sign. His or her executive ability is too often unrecognized. After all, one of the biggest skills a successful homemaker has is time management. What else? Well, there's people skills, akin to personnel management or supervisory experience. Often they set budgets and weekly menus. They actually do so many tasks that there is not enough space in this column to list them all, and I don't want to give myself a headache trying to do so.

Rulerships and Keywords: Feminine. Receptive. Watery. Parts of body: stomach, breasts, nutrition, digestion, uterus. Bakeries, boats, buildings, lakes, ocean, pools, plumbing or sinks. Country, home, mom, apple pie. All water creatures but especially the tortoise, blue topaz, lychnis, green jasper, euchite, agate, chalcedony, amber, the lotus flower. The Greeks, at least according to a list by Manilius*, assigned Mercury (Hermes) to rule over Cancer. The Greeks assigned it the herbs comfrey and mandragora oficinalis.

*The full Manilius list, as recounted by Plato, is as follows: Pallas rules the woolly Ram, and Venus guards the Bull,/ Apollo has the handsome Twins, and Mercury the Crab,/ Jove, with the Mother of the Gods, himself is Leo's lord;/ The Virgin with her Ear of Corn to Ceres falls; the Scales/ to Vulcan's smithy; while to Mars the warlike Scorpion cleaves;/ The Hunter's human part Diana rules, but what's of horse/ Is ruled by Vesta, with the straitened stars of Capricorn;/ Aquarius is Juno's sign, as opposite to Jove,/ And Neptune owns the pair of Fish that in the heavens move.

It is interesting that under this regime, Libra is given to Vulcan the smithy, since it is the only man-made object among these constellations. Pallas seems apropos to Aries, since she sprang fully formed from the head of Zeus her father, and was usually clad in full armor. Venus to Taurus, and Mars to Scorpio, and Neptune to Pisces, are as we have it now, and I can understand Apollo for the Twins (His chariot is pulled by TWO horses) although Apollo's sister was Pallas Athena. Jupiter as ruler of Leo seems odd but then again Leo is the kingly sign. It's really kind of cute that they assign Ceres to Virgo; it seems so obvious. Diana also seems an obvious choice for Sag, tho we have no idea what they were thinking of by assigning Vesta to to either Sag or Capricorn. What does Vesta have to do with goats or horses or any livestock?? Tis a puzzlement indeed. And what about this Mercury rulership over Cancer? Well, Cancer's many 'hands' make her a multi-tasking demon. Other than that, nothing comes to mind.

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