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Astrologically Cancer is represented by a crab, a creature with a hard-outer-shell, and a soft and tender underbelly. The Cancerian is easily bruised by life and prone to seeking self-protection. Within Cancer is a profound sensitivity, and he needs to know that you are dependable, and can be relied upon before opening up. If this is the man in your life and he is a Cancerian, well, he needs to feel secure above all and fears being rejected. This man needs constant emotional reassurances, and before venturing outside and sharing his emotional self, he first asks: “Is it safe?” And since the Cancer man carries around his home wherever he travels, it usually means that he needs to feel emotionally safe and protected and dreads the prospect of getting hurt. If Cancer feels insecure expect the shell to be tougher, and he will most likely project a hard, crabby exterior on the outside.

Now, the Cancer man can have moods that rival any female’s, but sometimes his moody, broody and self-protective nature is kinda sexy. As long as he doesn’t act like a big baby, and doesn’t run to momma every time something goes wrong. Overall, he needs emotional trust and the development of binding emotional attachments to people. Some TLC is always deeply appreciated, and he needs to feel that you really do understand. However, do be aware that his moods shift regularly, and there is a constant flow of desires, feelings, fears, and premonitions that bathe him. Perhaps luring him away through his creative and deeply vivid, imaginative nature and prophetic dreams is the best way to bring him back.

“He like the crab inhabits the patch of sand midway between the mysterious ocean and the dry land of ordinary life. Ideas and images come to him, and he gives birth to them. Then the tide recedes, and for a time he is stranded. The process begins again.” Astrology for Lovers

Cancer is the homebody of the zodiac, and when feeling threatened retreats into an inner ocean of emotion. He is also protective and nurturing of others, and senses when they are feeling vulnerable to life. If you are very important to him he will ensure that you feel safe at all times but he is also a bit of a worrier and if you don’t return his call he will begin to imagine the worst has happened to you. The Cancer man will always want to make sure that you are tucked away safe and secure. He will do whatever it takes to defend anyone or anything that’s of value to him, and he is the ultimate protector and defender of the zodiac. You may find, however, that he clings to you too tightly as if it is the last time, and is constantly on the lookout for any threats.

Respecting his security needs and his needs for privacy, withdrawal and retreat and understanding the deep and powerful emotions that reside under the surface will help coax him out of his shell. Cancer needs time away from the world, and this allows him to replenish emotionally, swimming about in his imagination, feelings, and moods. The Moon is the dictator of the tides and of human emotions, and so everything out there potentially affects him in extreme ways on an inner level, and he is subjected constantly to the ebbs and flows of the emotions that run through his being. A negative emotion has his stomach tied up in an anxious knot, and challenging aspects to his Cancer planet/s can make his insecurity even worse. The establishment of a nurturing and nourishing relationship will gain his confidence and allow his soft and emotional center to be fully expressed. You could even climb into his shell and get cozy, and you can both take care of each other.

According to Liz Greene:

I don’t think Cancer is about domesticity at all. If you are a Cancer and elect to identify with the mother, then you must find the son somewhere externally in your life. This can be someone with whom you are involved in a relationship where for a while he is your lover and then he goes away. Or the son may be an inner son, a creature of inspiration, which blossoms for a while and then mysteriously disappears and goes back into darkness and stagnation and depression until it’s time for his rebirth. If you elect to identify with the son, which is the case with many Cancerian men, then you must find the mother somewhere in your life. She may appear as the actual mother, or the woman with whom you are involved. She can also be the power of your own emotions and instincts which are sometimes life-giving and then threaten to destroy you.