When I was in junior high and obsessed with reading my horoscope in Sassy magazine (RIP), I always secretly wished that I hadn’t been born a Cancer. Every zodiac sign has its requisite shadow traits, but I felt Cancer especially had a lacking reputation; Cancers are known for being moody homebodies with a hard shell—and who wants to hang out with that girl? (Cancer literally translates to “crab” in Latin.) But as I’ve learned more about astrology, I’ve made peace with my Cancer traits, because I know there’s so much more to the sign than its few unflattering stereotypes suggest.
Astrologer and women’s empowerment coach Natalia Benson agrees there’s a lot to love about those born between June 21 and July 22. “Cancer is a very interesting, complex sign,” she says. “Cancers are protective, nurturing, and very emotionally intelligent. They have a strong intuition and are really good at making money and building it, because they are so focused on security.” And since Cancer is ruled by the moon, the sign is prone to experiencing lots of emotional highs and lows. “The moon represents our emotional, intimate nature, and it changes signs every one-and-a-half to two days,” says Benson. “If your ruling planetary body was shifting zodiac signs every other day, you’d probably be moody too.” This lunar link also means Cancers are deeply affected by their moon signs.
Your moon sign is—surprise, surprise—the sign the moon was in when you were born, and it’s representative of your inner self, your subconscious urges, and your emotional life; stuff you don’t tend to show other people. To find out your moon sign, you just need to enter your birth time, place, and location into a zodiac chart calculator.
Since Cancer is ruled by the moon, the sign is prone to experiencing lots of emotional highs and lows. This lunar link also means Cancers are deeply affected by their moon signs.
Not only does your moon sign give you insight into your inner world, but as Benson explains below, it also adds a layer of depth to your sun sign interpretation. Because despite what dozens of overly simplistic astrology memes would have you believe, most Cancers (myself included!) actually don’t choose to spend their Friday nights crying under a weighted blanket. Below, check out how your moon sign provides nuance to your Cancer traits.
When the mood swings of a Cancer meet the fiery spirit of an Aries, sparks are likely to fly—and not necessarily in the rom-com, meet-cute sense. “Because Cancers are so sensitive, they can keep things to themselves, but a Cancer with an Aries moon is going to have a more direct emoting style,” says Benson. “They may even have to be mindful of anger and having a temper.” Her advice: Be aware of your emotional reactions and check yourself before you wreck yourself.
Taurus is one of the most grounded signs of the zodiac, so this moon placement can help keep Cancers from getting swept away in a hurricane of feelings. “Cancers are already quite patient as a sun sign, but having a Taurus moon can make them sit back and feel into their emotionality.” says Benson. Both of these signs are super stubborn, she adds. So if you’ve got this combo in your chart, avoid the temptation to get stuck in your ways.
“A Gemini moon brings the emotions up into the intellect. ,” says Benson. “They’ll take a little space from their sensitivity and analyze their emotions more than a Cancer with a fire or water sign moon.” Just don’t get caught up in over-analyzing, says Benson—it’s important to let yourself feel your feelings in order to process them.
A double Cancer has Atlantis-level emotional depth—as Benson points out, this person is likely to be super empathic and feel what others feel. But there’s definitely a risk of drowning in all that watery energy. So how to deal? “A Cancer with a Cancer moon needs to have good boundaries and really get in tune with when to say no and yes,” says Benson. “Be sure not to over-give and overdo for others.”
A Leo moon lends a little bit of sunshine to the typical Cancer traits. “When they feel safe, this Cancer doesn’t mind getting out of their comfort zone and being the center of attention,” says Benson. “A Leo moon wants to feel passion and emotional connectivity with the people in their lives.” In other words, that crab shell starts to break down when a Leo moon’s in the mix.
Cancers are fiercely protective of their closest friends and family, and that inner circle is especially tight for a Cancer with a Virgo moon. “This Cancer is very selective about who’s in their emotional sphere,” says Benson. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re an open book. “You feel like you know them and they’re putting everything on the table, but there are things they keep to themselves,” she adds.
Libra rules intimate relationships, so this type of Cancer is likely to direct their mama-bear vibes toward their partner—and since Libra is all about balance, this Cancer might not experience the intense mood swings characteristic of their sign. “At the very least, this person will be able to weigh both sides of a situation, especially when it comes to relationships,” says Benson. “They may not be very emotionally vulnerable, but they’ll be very reliable.”
This is one of the most complementary—and, let’s be honest, intense—sun-and-moon sign pairings, according to Benson. “Cancer and Scorpio work really well together,” she says. “Cancer represents feminine, receptive energy and Scorpio is a masculine, penetrative energy.” Put ’em together, and you’ve got a Cancer with rock-solid boundaries and a no-BS attitude who will do anything to protect their loved ones.
“A Sagittarius moon is a very light, playful sort of moon, and Cancer is a sign that rules childhood and the past,” says Benson. “With this combination, the Cancer can have a childlike energy to them when they feel safe. They may be silly, lighthearted, and not take themselves too seriously.” Just watch out for the flip side—tantrums that may result when Sag’s fiery energy and Cancer’s sensitivity collide.
Capricorn isn’t known for being sentimental or emotionally effusive, so this combination dials down those Cancer traits. “A Capricorn moon can give a very grounded, serious tone to the emotions,” says Benson. “They may be more stimulated by work and getting to the top. This Cancer will care very much about what they’re creating in the world and what kind of legacy they’re leaving for their family.”
As an air sign, an Aquarius moon can be independent and a little emotionally detached. But with a nurturing Cancer sun in the mix, this person has major humanitarian potential. “This moon can align a Cancer with wanting to be of service in the world. Working in an organization that’s aligned with values they agree with would make them feel very inspired,” Benson says. Princess Diana had this sun-moon combination—need I say more?
Both Cancer and Pisces are highly intuitive water signs, so when you put them together, it can result in an energy that borders on psychic. “A Pisces moon gives a very spiritual, empathic energy to Cancer,” says Benson. “They need to be mindful of where they end and others begin.” Energy-clearing practices are important for this Cancer, she adds—think yoga, meditation, salt baths, or grounding with crystals like tourmaline or hematite.