Loading up the van with backpacks the size of small people, I helped my family make their way to Yosemite. As fun as they made it sound, those midget troopers lugging around an extra person on their backs, they were clearly gearing up for an adventure of a lifetime and said such. I, on the other hand, wanted a facial. I reminded them to think of my dewy pores covered in chamomile and orange blossoms while they faced their fear of death on a slab of granite. Suckers. I was looking forward to the alone time, the solitude, the slowing down after a month of Gemini madness where one’s only choice in life seems to be respond, adapt, respond. Following on the heels of inconstancy, I craved constancy, a long, drawn out and prolonged pause, to deeply assimilate my recent life experiences, read: a whirl of happenings, with the need to restore my inner self and spend time with the gentler sex, my woman friends. If anyone were to ask me during the past month what I most desired it would be: “I need ALONE TIME!” Isn’t this every Cancer’s battle cry?

We all need a womb of one’s own, a time and place to settle down and nourish oneself. This begins with gentle inquiry, asking a simple question “how do I feel?” and “what do I need?” and “what would feel good right now?” but many of us don’t get even that far. We might welcome the season of Cancer. The compulsive doing, is compulsive for a reason, mainly it feeds the monkey-mind the constant stimulation that reassures the ego “IT’s alive!” We do live in a culture that equates worldly activity with personhood, striving with achievement, and accomplishment with…money. When we’re still with our self, we can act from a place of peace.

As I feel my type A friends grow palpably anxious, this is not to say all activity toward building up is for naught. We aren’t lazy people and these aren’t lazy times. Cancer people, and Cancer times are creatively driven, albeit toward distinctly feminine interests: food, nourishment, family, and healing. We might discover that by emptying and filling our emotional well, we can become more effective people. Also, if we want the emotional security we crave we’re also willing to work hard to relax so we can locate what it is we want. Sometimes hanging out with home & hearth, our families do this, but recognize they are also apart of the Cancerian engine. Judging from the million and one social, professional and domestic obligations on any given weekend in my own, although we’d like it to be – the home isn’t always a resting place. A good night’s sleep, or sitting in the solitary stillness of quiet, can be wickedly restorative.

As a Cancer person, talking about myself is a bit like trying to look outside the looking glass from the inside. I’m the first to admit Cancers are not the first astrological sign on the zodiac party evite, but am still a bit mystified by this. I remember a conversation before my husband and I married, when he, all puffed up about his knowledge of astrology made the uncouth remark, ‘I think of all people in the zodiac, Cancer’s have it the worst.’ I smiled, perhaps a little too smugly. ‘Uh-oh, let me guess. You’re a Cancer?’ He followed up with an apologetic email. It wasn’t the first time I’d heard this. While Cancer sensibilities easily recover from these silly, innocent slights, what we can’t recover from is not enough down time, healthy food, sleep, and tender loving care. I’m telling you, it ramrods our ability to be contributing functional members of society and reduces us to tears. A malnourished Cancer is a site for sore eyes.

We do cry like babies. But it’s because we’re out of balance. I recognize this can make a more airy or fiery sign run for their umbrellas, hence the lack of party invitations. Understand, my emotional needs aren’t arbitrary, and they don’t respond kindly to being shoved into an overly busy life. They let me, and you, know this in no uncertain terms. Returning from a recent trip, I cried at every airplane movie no matter that they were comedies. I recognized this was a real emotional back-up because I had simply not been eating well. That said, many of my girlfriends report heavy weeping weather during Cancer Sun season. Similarly, without self-reflection time, or any number of needs being unmet, I will turn into a triple headed hydra or a ghost of my former self – depending. I recognize it’s my job to recognize them, but you try figuring things out when you’ve got low blood sugar, then call me. During these times, occasionally I come to, and remember…I am more than my feelings. However, when I’m content and well-nourished on all fronts, I become a Goddess. I become, as Marcello, in the great line in La Dolce Vita said, the first woman on the first day of creation. Mother, sister, lover, friend, angel, devil, earth, home. Just think of Giselle Bundchen, a Cancer born Goddess. A Goddess is born!

There are more Goddesses associated with Cancer than I can count on one hand; in fact all Goddesses falls under this domain, because of her connection to the lunar cycle. The personal sign of Cancer, also has a mystical side, where healing, magic and harvest reign supreme. There are reasons for the spiritual connection. The Chaldeans considered Cancer the portal from which all Souls descended from heaven and assumed human form, correlating perfectly with the pro-creative, fertile aspect of this sign. The Greek new year began at the solstice, when the Sun entered Cancer. This makes sense to me – can you feel the personal renewal available to you right now? The Tarot Card “Change” is the Cancer card, describing the rapid growth potential available to every Cancer, and to everyone during Cancer season. The symbol of Cancer, the yin-yang, is the female ovum and male sperm coming together. Have sex. Lots of it. Or create, grow, nourish, and nurture any life form that supports you. Your pick.

This Cancer New Moon increases the potency of any nourishing act you can do for your self, tenfold. By pulling back from outward growth, you can profoundly, personally integrate. The nurturing you do now will fuel you up for the times ahead. Take the time to appreciate what it is you need. Consider your food supply. Do an emotional download. Contemplate how you’re feeling. Follow your feelings. Say hi to the family. Slow down. And if the emotional activity of the Cancer season resembles a sea at high tide, I’ve discovered it helps to pipe in oxygen from a reliable spiritual Source. Take it from a Cancer.

More notes from inside the womb:

Heavy emotions induce labor pains. In myth, Hera sends the Crab to bit Hercules feet, to distract him from his labors – and the Crab gets crushed. It’s all too easy to get emotionally crushed in the process of sharing, or emotinally sabotaged. Sharing one’s emotions is risky, bringing up all sorts of distractions – defenses, patterns, negative feedback, attachment to a reaction etc. As human beings we’re also programmed to interpret someone else’s emotional needs or passionate feelings as a reflected shortcoming of what oneself has been unable to provide. Part of the problem is we’ve waited far too long to share and now we’re far too needy and passionate about what it is that could’ve gone off cleanly without a hitch. Now our simple needs are far too loaded to choke out. LSS, keep your emotional requests clean & simple but by all means, make them.

The Ugly, Devouring Mother. Yes there’s another side to Cancer, a not so sweet side. Cancer is the mother, with all her icky guilt and self-sacrifice, reflected in another line in La Dolce Vita, I don’t believe in your aggressive, sticky, maternal love! I don’t want it, I have no use for it! This isn’t love, it’s brutalization! A man who agrees to live like this is a finished man, he’s nothing but a worm! Yuck.

Insensitivity does not rock. Insensitivity basically originates from like one-twelfth of the world. Oh, is there a reason for our moodiness, our Crabby claw-like intense attachment to our own very emotional perceptions? Yes. We’re too sensitive for our own good. We know this. So many of us take it like a champ, either distancing our selves from the users, abusers and energy drainers, or grow comfortably numb to a situation we feel all too deeply. Sometimes you’ve just got to cut the cord.

Sensitivity rules. Cancer New Moon is very much like a pregnant mom who needs to take care of the growing seed inside and shield it from inquiring minds, anxiety causing situations or premature plans. There’s nothing wrong with guarding our feelings or the new seed. In fact, if you new life is growing inside you it’s a good time to tune out and pull within. Give your self the privacy and care you would a pregnant mother.

Our challenge is to feel feelings as simply information. Not personal indictments, tragedies or the like. We shan’t think too much about things either, and in a rational world that prescribes intelligence as an answer to every malady, the most important information we need to understand is in our gut. May the gut guide you.

Families are cool, sometimes. Dysfunctional families generously provide the fodder for ephemeral contemplations on the nature of reality, our ad nauseum exploration on how they hurt us hopefully leads to spiritual growth, and healing. For others, the family is about loaded as your typical soap opera and provides endless hours of entertainment. Ultimately every family has something to teach. Understandably, there are many emotional gypsies among us.