a shell is not a wall (welcome the sun in cancer)
I was deep in it. in the sea of my emotional body. it was as if i was plummeted into the collected cobwebs that were tangled around dark caves inside my chest. i cried from firmly embedded, memories that I had allowed a thick wall to form over. all to protect this well of pain locked, like a heavy stone. these tears were purging out years of suppression. it was murky, and i had no choice but to surrender to the fast rapids of emotion. a powerful invitation and shocking reminder that i had to be with myself unconditionally. to shine light on the blind spots, the shadow self. one could call this the subconscious.
a big shift from the airy sign of gemini, the sun moved into the first water sign on June 20th. the solstice. here in the northern hemisphere, that is the day with the most sunlight. the sign of cancer has to do with the manifestation of these things we call emotions. it follows fourth in the story, after Aries (fire), Taurus (earth), and Gemini (air). I have often wondered WHY it "works" this way. why we begin with fire and move through the elements in this way. of course, it is only one model of looking at the whole thing.
to help you understand the purpose of cancerian energy, it is helpful to go through the story of the signs. first, we are born. Aries is associated with birth and entry into the physical world in my eyes. Taurus follows and asks us what is useful. what are the physical things in our environment that will help us survive? what does it mean to identify something as being OURS, and what do our belongings reflect about us? how do we get in tune with our senses, our bodies, and experience what is pleasurable/unpleasurable? Gemini is how we learn to communicate. it is about language. to ask those in our environment what we need. to learn the basic skills in school, perhaps. think "how-to". taking in information. reading and listening and asking questions.
then there is integration. there is the question of what safety is. do we have a roof over our head? do we have a place where we can discover what's inside these bodies, minds, souls? yes, this is associated with a physical place. having a room that reflects our current artistic preference as well as a comfortable bed, places to keep our favourite things that remind us of who we are at the core. (May I mention that taurus can also be about having a physical home. but i feel that taurus shelter is more about the first layer of this safety. not concerned with what keeps us emotionally secure, but more physically)
often, once we have a space that feels emotionally good, whether that be a spot in the forest, the couch, or sitting face to face with someone who can FEEL into us, that allows for a journey. for a deepening into whatever arises. cancer and the fourth house have to do with the mother. often the fourth house can tell stories about what the maternal figure(s) in our life are like. as well as this, i am discovering that it branches into how we have learned to nurture and care for ourselves. cancer is a very private place. to develop a relationship to our inner child and fully listen to him/her. to "mother" ourselves in a way that we may have never quite received. to trust that our bodies have inherent wisdom and stories stored in them that often, our minds cannot begin to comprehend.
the crab has a shell and an extremely squishy interior. what is the purpose of this shell? why is it that we can't all walk around, gooey and open all the time? one of my purposes in this life has to do with the radical embracing of raw emotion. to not be afraid of taking up space, whether that means crying in front of others, directly asking for comfort, or taking a hot bath in the name of self-care.
however, there is a tendency for extremes in our culture. and as humans. we grasp onto concepts and ideas and our ego can hold onto things that define us for dear life. it is seen as bad or shameful to express emotion radically. so in no way do i wish to suppress this expression. but there must be something to meet that expression of the squishiness. we must keep ourselves safe and held. I often tell clients, who may feel "bad" for not being more expressive, that it's important to take steps. you can't jump from being completely closed to suddenly crying to your co-workers. you must ask yourself what is actually in-alignment for you in each moment.
which is why the concept of a shell is so crucial. look at the shell around the crab. it is a hard shell that holds a fleshy interior. but you still see the shape of the crab. it is how we know crabs to be. if they crawled around without this shell, they wouldn't last very long.
so I reflected on this archetype of a shell. in times when i was deep in suffering, i subconsciously had a shell that simply blocked everything from entering and exiting. whether this be creating art, receiving and giving love, or asserting what i needed in a heartfelt way. (it's all related!) what followed that was usually a complete and utter release. i had associated badness with the shell itself and walked around life completely raw. sure, on some level it felt good to melt into everything and everyone else. this truth of oneness serves us at some points. but with this also came extreme indecision, not knowing myself, and flailing out in every direction to be defined by the shell of anything else. my power was bleeding out on all sides.
but back to this idea of extremes. what is a boundary? a boundary is not a wall. it is what defines you from the rest of the world. i have struggled to find a middle ground between being open and being closed. violently thrashing between the two.
if I am to offer any solution to this madness, it is to inquire about your own boundaries. to literally sit down and write a list of what you KNOW you are/aren't comfortable with. for me, I KNOW I need a certain amount of sleep every night. I know I need to have a certain amount of alone time. to be in nature, to move my body and unplug from electronics sometimes. these are the things I know stay pretty consistent.
However, boundaries morph. they are not always so clear, and I believe that to define them requires a fine balance and capacity to listen to your intuition...especially with other people. this is why we make friends with our emotional bodies. (easier said than done. but it's a muscle). if you think you SHOULD feel comfortable being touched in a certain way by someone, but feel yourself pull away, that's an immediate signal of a boundary. it is my belief that it is necessary to communicate those boundaries. if it comes from a triggered place of needing to assert it RIGHT NOW, that's usually a sign that a boundary had been intruded a while back. now meet WALLS and defensiveness.
it's my belief that those in our life who can truly be there for us will respect those boundaries. if they can't respect that and lash out, it's time to question the types of people you want to surround yourself with. when we know people will respect the "shell" around us, deeper intimacy is often created.
and this is the next evolution of cancer. this dance between the different layers of the shell and the squishy interior. we could also look at it like an onion. intimacy is about these layers, about a constant conversation with yourself about the level of exposure that feels emotionally good.
so keep these themes in mind while the sun is in cancer. with all of this work I put out, i wouldn't be inspired to write about these things or make videos or songs if these weren't also waves I'm riding.
cancer reminds us to live from our hearts. to enjoy and to experience the incredible miracle of feeling. it is one of the great gifts of consciousness to be present with emotion and to reap the art, music, and inspiration that comes out of those murky places. the answers lie within our hearts, in the eyes of the child, in the abundant summer flowers...love is the most powerful force in this universe. so follow it.