When Mars is in Cancer, the native is driven by their deepest desires for safety, love, and domestic stability. Typically, the person’s energy levels are cyclical and strongly impacted by their mood. Anyone born with this position has a soft, delicate, and subdued style of expressing their own individual needs and wants. This placement is at its most effective when surrounded by those who can encourage and back it. They will use indirection to make their point and will want to avoid direct conflict at all costs. In order to avoid hurting the feelings of those closest to them, they often refrain from expressing how they truly feel or voicing what they need. Mars in Cancer is hesitant to take the initiative out of uncertainty and anxiety; they may also dislike aggression and competition, which can erode their confidence and make them feel powerless.
A Cancerian Mars can cause strife at home and make the native defensive, sulky, and manipulative. Putting other people’s needs before their own might lead to resentment. People who bottle up their emotions, such rage, are more likely to harbour grudges towards those who have wronged them. Whether newlyweds or long-marrieds, domestic strife can arise at any time. Some people who a have this placement have a strong preference for home bliss and a want to start a family, while many others find it easy to assume the position of mother or primary carer, driven by a desire to provide for their children and satisfy their own emotional needs. This sign’s emotional sensitivity may come out in the form of anger when they aren’t given the care and attention they require or when they feel threatened in any way.
Mars in Cancer is determined to succeed no matter what, but it’s easily deterred by criticism or rejection, so it moves slowly. Just like a crab, they’ll come at their goal from an unusual angle. Mars in this area is most assertive when it feels safe; when it does, it fights for or against family, roots, and tradition. They may be known for their strong emotions, like patriotism and loyalty, but their actions aren’t always guided by what’s in their own best interest. Cancer rules the digestive tract, thus stomach problems like indigestion, ulcers, and hypersensitivity are typical when these individuals are upset.
A man with this placement may become possessive and overprotective if he feels that his partner’s infidelity threatens his sense of safety or violates his sense of belonging. Men with this positions who are also good providers, affectionate, and nurturers may find that women are magnetically drawn to them. This combination is notorious for its smouldering moods; individuals of this dynamic are prone to outbursts and can pull others down with them when they feel guilty or hurt. Mars in Cancer has a strong need for emotional security, is quickly hurt emotionally, and may be a difficult person to be around because of their poor moods, pouting, and sensitivity to slights. That they are wanted and needed, and most importantly, that they are safe, are three things that these individuals are looking for love in a sexual relationship.
Sometimes Mars in Cancer feels vulnerable and weak and has a hard time coping with their great sensitivity in this area since they tend to take attacks personally and react in an overly defensive manner once their feelings are engaged. They’ll want to take care of their loved ones and make sure they have all they need. The individual is a ferocious protector of their loved ones and, at the same time, can be a great softie, sentimentalist, or romantic dreamer.
“If you really want to understand Mars in Cancer, spend some time observing a crab. Some years ago I watched one coaxed out of its hiding place by a bait. It moved cautiously forward, and then rushed back to its underwater hole. Then, after a time, it sidled forward from another angle, and again quickly scuttled back. When it did finally grab the bait, it moved with astonishing speed and force, claws opening closing down on the food, and then it disappeared for good in a cloud of unsettled water. Think of that crab when it annually loses its shell, and spends a brief time utterly without protection. Mars in Cancer hearkens back to a time when we were utterly vulnerable, unable to survive without a mother’s care. Somehow this Mars placement never loses its sense of vulnerability. It often leads to inner work, because it demands the integration of feeling and action with a real dialogue between the masculine and feminine sides of the self. Have you noticed that most us feel wounded in some way? Our hurts and grievances tend to be at the centre of our interpretation of the world…Those with Mars in Cancer usually don’t intentionally want to hurt others, but their defensiveness can come across as moodiness or nastiness.” The Mars Quartet: Four Seminars on the Astrology of the Red Planet