If you're that person *everyone* gravitates toward when they need some support, whether to talk stuff out or just for a hug, well, it's probably because you're a Cancer. And sure, your Sun sign doesn’t completely spell out your astrological personality, but it does have a lot to do with the way you think and act, along with other important elements like your natal and progressed charts, your Moon sign, and your Saturn return.
But for now, just know this: Cancer season is usually from June 21 through July 21, which means the personality traits most strongly associated with your sign will shine extra bright during that month. What are those traits, exactly? "Being a Cancer means being emotional, creative, intuitive, and very attuned to the rhythms of the moon," says Narayana Montúfar, senior astrologer at Astrology.com. Cancer signs have very changeable moods, too, which means they require lots of self-care in order to maintain their personal comfort, Montúfar notes.
Meet the experts: Narayana Montúfar is an astrologer, artist, and writer, and the author of Moon Signs: Unlock Your Inner Luminary Power, who currently serves as the Senior Astrologer of Astrology.com and Horoscope.com; Linda Joyce is a writer, lecturer, life-coach, and certified astrologer; Donna Page is a certified astrologer in Atlanta.
Now, you probably have a solid idea of what it means to be a Cancer from living your life, but there’s some pretty crucial info you might have missed about what exactly it means to identify with your sign. (There’s always more to it—including the fact that Cancers are Cardinal signs, too!) Ahead, learn about the eight major traits all Cancers have in common, what it means to be a cardinal and water sign at the same time, plus which signs Cancers are most compatible with, according to expert astrologers.
1. You can be a little moody at times.
They’ll even admit it to you: Cancers can be pretty emotional. "Cancer is the only sign ruled by the moon, which goes through phases and changes signs more than any other planet," explains Montúfar. "This means that they constantly need to adjust to what Mama Luna is doing at any given time." In short, it can be hard for Cancers to be rational when their feelings are in flux. "The mind does not have access to the power of the emotions and therefore it mistrusts them," says certified astrologer Linda Joyce. This Cancer tendency might lead to outbursts or abandonment of rationale if prompted, Joyce explains.
2. You’re super resilient.
"People always call Cancer natives very emotional, which is true, but they often forget that this zodiac sign is incredibly resilient as well," explains Montúfar. So even if you let your feelings get the best of you sometimes, you’re always going to persevere through any internal turmoil (translation: you get sh*t done!). Plus, your resilience allows you to go through ideas until you find the "right" resolution. "Like its animal sign (the crab) depicts, Cancers walk sideways, which means that they know how to approach complex issues from a completely different perspective," says Montúfar. Noted!
3. You’re the unifier of the group.
"The gift of Cancer is that it does not understand separateness," Joyce says. "All is one. A person with good Cancer energy is someone who can appeal to large groups of people and make them feel that they are connected, that they have something in common." So yep, this makes being a Cancer something that’s beneficial for people like politicians, team captains, or salesmen-types—all of whom need to bring many together in order to experience successes or a general happy equilibrium.
4. You’re a born nurturer.
You’re happiest when you have something—or someone—to care for, whether it’s a puppy, person, or plant (hey, succulents need love, too!), according to Donna Page, a certified astrologer in Atlanta. "Cancer is the sign representative of the mother, as well as family, roots, and ancestral lineage, so it’s in these natives' nature to want to protect what matters most to them," adds Montúfar.
And in relationships, you’re the one who is always doling out back rubs after a long day or answering late-night emotional support texts, Page explains. You don’t necessarily get back all of the awesomeness you give but, in general, you’re okay with that.
5. You’re not always upfront about your feelings.
Despite the fact that you dole out comfort to people like it’s candy, it can take a little time to squeeze out how you really, truly feel about someone. "Cancer is the sign that takes the longest to get to know," explains Montúfar. So yes, while Cancers take a while to open up, once they do, know they will give you all their attention.
"They do this as a defense mechanism, because when they fall in love, for example, they fall hard and tend to get clingy," explains Montúfar. TL;DR, you’re scared of getting hurt—and fair! Crabs have a hard shell, after all, so you've gotta get comfortable before you come out of it.
6. You’re sensitive AF.
You have an amazing ability to understand the emotional needs of people, whether they’re in your inner circle or not, Page explains. And, with that, you can respond quickly if you feel like someone needs a mental boost. On the flipside, that also means you’re totally prone to bawling whenever you catch an ASPCA commercial on TV, says Page.
You just have a lot of feelings, and there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, it might even benefit you. "Cancers are big empaths who feel a deep need to take care of people," says Montúfar. Basically, your willingness and sensitivity toward caring for people won’t go unnoticed by others, and odds are you’ll build a great support network just by being yourself.
7. You like to collect stuff.
Whether it’s your collection of Beyoncé concert tees or your lifelong goal to get every single nail polish color ever made, this is definitely a Cancer thing. You don’t necessarily care how much this stuff is worth—you just really, really like pulling things together.
The main thing Cancers collect, though? Memories. "Cancer natives have a lasting memory," says Montúfar "They literally remember every experience, person, and detail. These are people who can store a lot of information inside their psyche, which is why they sometimes get so nostalgic about the past."Apologies for being cheesy but… you like taking in the moment and then afterward, carrying it with you forever.
8. You’re a little reserved.
You’re not shy, per se, but you definitely don’t feel the need to be dancing on tables at 1 a.m. or anything (no judgment to your Gemini friend who does, of course!). While you’re cool with a big social network, you tend to really focus on the smaller crew you know you can trust, Page explains.
"Cancer natives are also very security-driven because they have high standards when it comes to material things," Montúfar adds. "They need to feel safe and sure that they will be able to provide for their family," So, if a Cancer comes off as reserved, it’s because they’re focused on self-preservation—they need to heavily vet you before they let you in their sphere of safety and security.
Cancer Sign Compatibility
When it comes to friendships and relationships, Cancers need to be with someone who can get deep with them. “A lot of the times what I've seen is that Cancer people give a little bit too much in their relationships because they're so empathetic,” says Montúfar. “They often need to be reminded that it has to go both ways.”
Cancers are super compatible with other water signs like Scorpio and Pisces, as well as Taurus and Virgo, earth signs. “Scorpio and Pisces are kind of on the same wavelength when it comes to emotional depth,” says Montúfar. “They share the element of water and they just feel emotion with intention.” Basically, “too much, too soon” doesn’t exist between these signs.
Then it makes sense as to why they get along well with Taurus and Virgo too. “Water mixes really well with earth,” she adds. “So with those two signs, Cancer just can build something really meaningful.”
On the other hand, they don’t get along so well with the other Cardinal signs—read on for what exactly that means—Libra, Aries, and Capricorn. This is because Cardinal signs all like to take the lead in their relationships. “They kind of wanna have control of the situation or control of the friendship,” Montúfar says. So when you have two of these signs together…well, it’s not exactly smooth sailing.
Cancer Is A Cardinal Sign
Western astrology is based on the Cardinal points, Montúfar says, which means that on the day the sun enter enters Aries, it's the spring equinox, and on the day that the sun enters Cancer is the summer solstice. Same with the latter half of the year—the day the sun enters Libra is the fall equinox and the day the sun enters Capricorn is the winter solstice.
All of that is to say that Cardinal signs are very important because they literally signal a new season…which translates directly into their character traits. “It's initiatory, it's acting, it's leading, it's charging ahead, it's impulsive, it's ambitious,” she adds.
Cancer Is A Water Sign
But it’s also a water sign. (The only sign to be both!) Water signs are perhaps the best known for being a tad on the emotional side. However, “in the natural world, water is the strongest of elements,” Montúfar adds, meaning they’re also super resilient, and maybe even a bit psychic. Water signs are also not the least bit superficial, and they’re slow to open up to others because they don’t want to get hurt. But once they’re comfortable, water signs can be “hot and heavy” and committed in their relationships and friendships.
Cancers In The Workplace
Good news for Cancers—you have a lot of strengths when it comes to the workforce. “A lot of Cancer people are very successful,” Montúfar says. Usually working in positions of management, they’re great at starting projects and taking initiative (so they make great bosses), connecting to their instincts (which makes them great at hiring people), and leading with emotion. But there’s a reason behind it. “They're very ambitious because they wanna have security, they wanna build a family,” she explains.
It’s also common to find Cancers working in fields having to do with caretaking, like in hospitals or schools, because they’re aligned with being nurturing and family oriented. Around coworkers, Cancers are very caring, but they’re also empathetic. “They will play the role of mom or they play the role of big sister, which is sweet,” Montúfar explains. “But it can also be a weakness as well because they literally feel if you are sad.”
But no one’s perfect—and here's where that moodiness comes in—Cancers can be moody because they’re the only sign that’s ruled by the moon. Since "the moon changes moods every single day many times over throughout the day,” it really affects them, Montúfar says. But they can turn it around quickly once they realize it. They can also be a tad bossy and make decisions quickly based on impulse—but they can’t help that they’re so into their work!
Madeline Howard is a writer, editor, and creative based in Brooklyn. Her work has been published in Esquire, Nylon, Cosmopolitan, and more. Among other things, she was formerly an editor at Women’s Health. Subscribe to her newsletter ‘hey howie’ at madelinehoward.substack.com.
Addison Aloian (she/her) is an editorial assistant at Women’s Health. When she’s not writing about all things pop culture, health, beauty, and fashion, she loves hitting leg day at the gym, shopping at Trader Joe’s, and watching whichever hockey game is on TV. Her work has also appeared in Allure, StyleCaster, L’Officiel USA, V Magazine, and Modern Luxury Media.