“Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts. “
– Oliver Wendell Holmes
There’s no place like home – it’s more than just the iconic closing line from a film classic. It’s a universal truism that describes the presence and power symbolized in a word. Nothing can compare with the feelings that fill us from our home – be it a historical place to which we fondly celebrate our formative years, or simply that nest to which we descend at the end of the day where we find a comfort and rest unparalleled.
We’ve barely begun the astrological journey of the mandala, scratching the surface with the entrance of the four modalities. Fire burst forth with the energetic birth of Aries, Earth built sustenance with solid Taurus, and Air found flight with the power of thought and communication in Gemini. Yet there seems to be a dramatic shift with Cancer, the first of the Water Signs – the first to depart from purely survival driven motivations and descend in to the realm of human emotions. They plunge into uncharted waters to retrieve the treasure chest of human emotions – full of fragile and precious gems. They have a deep longing to experience a genuine and heartfelt connection with others. Limitations of language have now proved insufficient to effectively express the feelings now coming forth, so affectionate gestures arise – the subtleties expressed in the brush of a hand, and arm around your shoulder. They’re natural huggers, like giant stuffed animals just begging for a squeeze. I have a Cancer friend who’s just so squeezable he’s forever earned the title of ‘Squishy’. (Big call out to Squishy — Group squish!)
But being a cardinal sign, dare we not forget they are still pioneers in their field. That prized treasure chest can feel more like a Pandora’s Box when they are navigating their way in the world of human connection. Riding on a wave of emotional outpouring can feel more like a white rafting expedition. Think back to the last time you professed your love to another and the terrifying vulnerability will come rushing back in a flash. With Cancer’s intense feeling also comes deep awareness of the potentiality for pain and loss. Their intuitive abilities and caring nature can leave them with a deep disappointment, or possibly open to manipulation, hence their need to develop skill of selective protection and the ability to let go, which can be a Herculean exercise for Cancer. When a heartfelt opening is made it may feel like a direct connection to another soul, like finding a kindred spirit in hostile lands. Cancers are willing to offer the depths of their heart to risk tapping that lifeblood, to experience a divine union that makes us all feel life can be transcendent. Others call them moody and shy, but when one has truly loved deeply, the love remains. I don’t care what anyone says — you don’t stop loving. They understand the binding ties of the heartstrings once they let others into their world. Such a loss feels more like an amputation. Is it any wonder they can stand off in protective trepidation.
Cancer rules the Fourth House, the very foundation of our charts. It is this point that astrologers have referred to as the ‘soul’s doorway’. Much like the womb of our mother, this is the source of all life and our gateway into existence. It is in this ‘home’ of our chart where we garnered a sense of purpose, of belonging; where we feel safe enough to finally shed the shell we feel we need to survive in the ‘real world’. Because of this, Cancers are deeply influenced by their family of origin, as these early formative years ‘set the tone’ for our ability to respond to life. It is the wise parent who realizes the profound potential of their role. They have the potential to vastly increases a child’s ability to courageously face challenges and take risks in life when they’re reinforced with an internal arsenal of wellbeing. A supportive home environment imbues their developing outlook and reactions to the unpredictability of life, which they face with a greater confidence. Drawing on a nostalgic self-assurance, not only can they become more fluid, but they seem to carry an aura of tranquility around them. Feeling safe and nurtured, they become naturally expressive, compelled to share – one of the most habitual of Cancerian traits. More than anything, they’re comfortable, like that overstuffed easy chair you could lose yourself in during a languorous nap.
Diana, Princess of Wales (July 1st) was more than royalty, she was “the People’s Princess”. Her warm and inviting nature was uncharacteristic of the nobility she married into, and endeared her to not only her country, but the world. Her work with children spanned her life, from kindergarten teacher, to the fiercely devoted and affectionate upbringing of her two sons. She became the epitome of compassion, funneling her influence into many charitable organizations, working with AIDS, the homeless, drug addiction and particularly children, through her service as President of a London children’s hospital and her efforts to ban landmines. Her tragically early and untimely death left thousands numb in mourning.
Bill Cosby ( July 12th) enjoyed a long career in comedy, but is best known from his highly ranked eponymous sitcom The Cosby Show. Cosby was inspired to create a wholesome, family-oriented show in repose to what he saw as the increasingly violent and vulgar broadcasting of the time. His portrayal of Cliff Huxtable was filled with both humor and a stern, loving wisdom, largely drawn from his own life experiences as the father of four children. Since then he has been an advocate for the importance of education, occasionally garnering controversy for outspoken public remarks critical of African American parenting, which prioritize sports instead of education, and ‘failing to inculcate proper standards of moral behavior’. Though criticized by some, he’s clearly expressed his motivation is for a more nurturing and supportive environment for a race riddled by violence.
Looking over the impressive resume of Tom Hanks (July 9th), it seems almost striking for an actor to have been given so many opportunities to play such a wide range of roles. What began as a healthy career playing the amiable, goofy, yet charming characters, he could have simply continued to dominate the genre of popular light romantic comedies. Yet he’s branched out into dramatic portrayals in powerful films like Philadelphia, The Green Mile and Saving Private Ryan – often times seeming almost miscast. It’s more than just talent – perhaps it’s due to the fact that he’s just so damn likable. He emanates a simple and heartfelt sincerity and kindness that draws audiences en masse and makes him im possible to dislike. These qualities were personified most clearly in his Oscar winning turn as Forrest Gump, an idealistic simpleton who lived by a philosophy of his mama’s advice. Also in crablike fashion he starred in a number of films where he struggled to find a way home – Big (from being in a man’s body back to a boy), Apollo 13 (back to Earth) and Cast Away (back from a deserted island). Beloved by colleagues and audiences alike, he has a reputation as one of the nicest people in entertainment. In fact, I’ve never heard an ill word spoken about the man. I don’t know about you, but I have this overwhelming urge to bake him a pie.
I have a sign hanging above my front door that reads Kindness 365, a touchstone as I venture out to rub elbows with my fellows – obviously more goal than achievement. What can I say — what is instinctual for Cancers requires daily reminders for some of us, like strings tied around our fingers. How lovely it would be for generosity to be so automatic; to give so freely of oneself without feeling bereft or resentful. While so many are selective with our generosity, as if it were a scarce resource, Cancers pour from a perpetual well of compassion and understanding. What’s more, they feed on it. Perhaps they have a knowing of the power of kindness, which even in the simplest of acts can have the most profound impact. How easy is it to offer a compliment, an expression of thanks, make a genuine inquiry about another’s feelings. The card that arrives in the mail that lightens your soul on a day when you needed it the most. As Henry David Thoreau said, “Goodness is the only investment that never fails.” They emanate an inviting ease and with luminous warmth, like hearth fires beckoning us home, they offer up a safe haven to which we can always return to for acceptance, peace and rejuvenation.