The Cancer-Capricorn Polarity

Posted on January 10, 2011
Posted by Kevin DeCapite


In truth, no astrological sign exists by itself. To properly understand one sign, one must also understand its opposite one. This principle can be seen operating well in signs of Cancer and Capricorn. So, let’s take a deeper look.

Duality, conflict, and opposition.  There would be no spark of life without the dance of attraction and repulsion.  One cannot be known without the other.  Isn’t that the whole point?  Happiness has no meaning if there was no sadness to compare it to.  What is love without hate?  Life without death?  Man without woman?

Think of the circle: inside, yin and yang forever swirl and rise from each other.  It’s easy to see that part– the yin and yang.  For me, it’s the circle they reside within that beckons.  In the midst of all their twisting and turning and gyration… they are part of the same thing.  They are working together to achieve a balance.

The Nature of Cancer

Cancer begins the first day of summer.  The world is full and ripe.  The maiden is no longer the maiden, but the mother.  She has fully embraced her feminine sensuality and is filled to the brim, internally experiencing the peak of her creative juices.  The primal blood connection of ancestry and DNA whisper their secrets to her.  She wants to bring her loved ones close to her and nurture them.  Feelings of closeness are natural to her, as she brings you to her breast to drink the milk of life she herself has produced.  She is self-contained in her psyche, which she protects well, for her internal emotional landscapes are deeply private and personal.

 The Nature of Capricorn

Capricorn.  First day of winter.  Everything appears to die.  It is a retreat to renewal and transformation, an internal nurturing.  The surface may seem barren and cold, but inside things are growing and gestating, gathering their creative force to again break free at winter’s end.  The mother is now the crone, done with child-rearing and immediate familial bonds.  She is now more concerned with how her wisdom has ripened inside of her and what she can bring to the community.  The world at large is her family.   She remembers the secrets of life and death whispered to her through the blood magic of feminine creation, though they take a less personal meaning now.  What was once subjective and emotional is now pure earthly power, and the earth may be our giver of life but she is also takes it away.  One cannot escape gravity and time.  Capricorn comprehends and values the magic of time cycles.

 Polarity – Two Sides of the Same Coin

 What is it exactly that these two signs are working to together?  How does their opposing nature merge together in the same goal?  Cancer represents the internal world, the deepest emotional strengths and weaknesses of one’s psyche.  Capricorn represents the external world, and moving forward for the greater good despite one’s emotional orientation.  It’s not that Capricorn doesn’t have emotions, but it knows that it has to ‘get over it’ – there is a job to be done that is far beyond the importance of self-hood.  And Cancer is not rendered immobile by their emotions, but pushed by them to work out their pleasures and pains.  Both are visionary (cardinal signs), and inevitably want to share themselves with the whole, despite how potentially scary that can seem.

It’s funny how I’ve seen people from these ‘opposite’ signs exhibit identical fears of being seen, or, conversely, the ability to be completely grounded and unashamed to show exactly who they are.  I can think of two female performers as an example to this.  The poet/musician Patti Smith, a Capricorn (December 30), unabashedly shares herself and her vision.  As does the sensual, even downright raunchy Cancer, Lil Kim (July 11).  I have great admiration for both of these women, for the same reason that they are unapologetic about who they are. 

What this pair can magically realize is the importance of feeling in love with themselves, and that they themselves are their most intimate partner.  This is not the ascendant/descendant axis, pertaining to self and other.  This is the nadir/midheaven.  This is all about your own spine, how you stand tall, and how one relates to themselves and the divine.  In falling in love completely with themselves and what an amazing gift the sensuality of their body is, completely trusting their own emotional (water/Cancer) and biological (earth/Capricorn) needs, they will be more capable to trust and share with others.

The Cancerian fourth house can be likened to the base of the spine, and the Capricornian tenth house to the crown of the head.  We remain grounded here on earth as we also receive divine inspiration from the heavens.  The lesson of personal/impersonal is this: it’s not always about you, it’s about what comes through you.  You are a vessel, letting the kundalini flame radiate through you.   What a joy to feel it in your body in only the way you feel it – there is the personal aspect of the polarity.  These after all are physical, feminine signs.  The emphasis is on enjoying the emotional dimensions of earthy sensuality.   Many women can relate with the pleasures of the flesh being a gift and nothing to condemn, especially this pair.  The language and expression of the body (spinal movement and control) is of utmost important to these two.

What a perfect metaphor for Cancer-Capricorn: the kundalini shakti, the ultimate in feminine power.  She is the priestess-queen dancing for the tribe, the link to the gods, lost in her own personal ecstatic connection to divinity.  She grounds, she holds space, she is the spiritual leader that must remain poised to direct her clan.  Yet she must not be too cold and self-oriented, for they seek her love and compassionate guidance as well. 

To remain attached and unattached at the same time is the balancing act.  She knows each member of her tribe is unique and loveable, but this is also why she knows they are all the same.  Blending and blurring into one another, the serpent overtakes us.  It shows us its secret – the entire universe is contained within us, do not wait for death to experience this.  She says. “Live, revel in the Dionysian madness of sensual life!  Enjoy the ultimate gift – your body!  Let it burn the mind away until we are nothing but the dancer riding on its wave.”

There is much, much more that could be said about this polarity.  But as a 4th house sun Capricorn, I much rather deliver my messages in person.

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5 responses to “The Cancer-Capricorn Polarity”

  1.' asiya says:

    this was such a beautiful article.

  2.' sonya says:

    love.. power to the cancerian/capricorn polarity!

  3.' Isabelle Flaherty says:

    Rayne, Your article did strike a cord. I am not savvy enough to fully explain my sign but I am strongly Cancer with Libra rising and Moon in Aquarious. I was just today writing to a former HS classmate (we did not, however, know each other in HS) that I can sometimes give mixed messages because I am both very Cancerian. (I love to bake, make a home, love babies [mine are now 25, a Libra daughter and twin 22 year old boys, Leo’s], love being a mom, etc.) On the other hand, I am also considered outspoken, forthright, even aggressive and a risk taker. Raised by a strong mom who had 6 strong, older (but one) role model sisters and only one sister myself, I was raised to have the aspirations usually assigned only to boys of my generation. While my dad provided unconditional love and was physically strong and tall, our home was more matriarchal. I have always felt the push/pull of that duality. I am also strongly affected by lunar happenings. Interesting to consider the Cancer/Capricorn duality. Thanks, Isabelle

  4.' Carol says:

    Bravo Rayne! Great expression of the Capricorn-Cancer polarity!

  5.' eileen says:

    In dancing barefoot.

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