Author’s Note: The following observations, insights, and generalizations are derived from over forty years of examining over seventy-five thousand sets of hands.
You don’t need a Cancer sun, moon, planets, or planetary house placements to be Cancer. Feeling types have long narrow palms and long fingers, often held closely together. Healthy hands have a firm consistency with pink elastic skin. Finger joints are pliable, less stiff than Scorpio, and less supple than Pisces. Cancer head and life lines often separate at their beginnings. That symbolizes cardinal energy and independence. If the head and life lines are closely connected at their beginnings, that person has (mother issues) fears like losing control, hates being criticized, and needs approval. Cancers should never ever be taken for granted.
Cancer is sensitive. More peripheral lines add more sensitivity. Be careful what you say because they’ll remember the ‘bad’ things, even if you haven’t said any. Long gently sloping head lines blend with full pink heels of hands and embody a healthy balance between intuition, creativity, and practicality. Heart lines that gracefully curve toward the index finger personify a romantic, idealistic, and sometimes unrealistic vision of other people. I’ve observed lots of round and conical fingertips with long broad nails, loop fingerprints, and romantic heart lines. They’re intuitive communicators, sensing what’s really happening. They prefer to be frank and offer sincere handshakes.
Cancers are intuitive, empathetic, complex, and overly aware of the needs of others. They’re hard to understand because they hide their innermost selves beneath a facade of nurturing actions. Pry into their private lives and they’ll retreat into their shells. They’re cautious and vulnerable, need to be direct, although they often have to be tactful and diplomatic. The only option that makes good sense is to choose satisfying over safe. They shouldn’t avoid emotional confrontation and need to cultivate intimacy wherever and whenever they can. Feelings may swing from loving and devoted to secretive, reclusive, obsessive, and fearful of the future. When Cancers are feeling insecure, controlled, or confined, they can become dark and moody. They need to feel protected and secure before they can fully trust. Once trust is earned, loyalties run deep. You’ll see intimacy in many lines running parallel to the lifeline within the ball of thumb. Healthy family connections and close friendships nourish these folk. The more structure, organization and detail in their lives, the more stable and secure they feel.
Healthy Cancers are loving, compassionate, and devoted beings. They’re most compatible with other feeling types. They feel safest with responsible, reliable, and dependable practical types. Challenged by thinking and intuitive types, they’re nervous that they’ll be left holding the psychic garbage (and they often are) and forced to deal with the consequences when idealism, optimism, enthusiasm, and logic wane (and they do). Cancers are acutely consciousness of everyone’s emotional needs. When insecure, they can become internally secretive and over-ambitious in the outer world. Cancers work hard when income matches output. Motivated by family, good food, emotional security, and fertile soil, their instinct and mission is to nourish, protect, exercise their creative imagination, and make sure there’s plenty of good food around.
“You’ve got to play to lose”
The old guy above is the young guy with me in this picture captured forty-six years ago in a photo booth at Kennywood Amusement Park in Pittsburgh, Pa. Lloyd Wilson (Cancer), my best friend, and I met working part time at a wood, metal, and plastics model making machine workshop where we fabricated preschool children’s learning devices for the University of Pittsburgh. We met because we were making toys for ourselves on our own time. I was destined to become an industrial designer. Lloyd was a painter and sculptor. We were a couple of Peter Pans on a journey to Neverland.
Lloyd didn’t get much nurturing as a child. He developed a quick wit and sense of humor while avoiding extreme physical abuse. When his mother was happy, Lloyd was safe. When she was unhappy, she’d incite Lloyd’s rage filled father to brutally beat him. Lloyd’s mother ended up killing herself, his father was committed to a mental institution, and his favorite sister, (we met while on vacation in Florida) with two beautiful young children, a devoted husband, and seeming idyllic life, suddenly and unexpectedly blew her head off with a shotgun. It’s a paradox to have so much to give and lose.
Lloyd’s slender rectangular palms and long fingers embody his Cancer Sun, Venus, and North Node. They conjunct my Mercury in Cancer. His Gemini ascendant is exactly conjunct my vertex, which is the midpoint of my eighth house Gemini stellium. Lloyd’s head and life lines are tightly intertwined at their beginnings. That reveals his desire to feel needed and appreciated. As a sensitive child, Lloyd desperately needed love and support, but didn’t get any.
Lloyd tried hard to fix his broken parents. They were too sick to see him. Instead, they judged, criticized, and abused him. Lloyd survived without their love and approval. He thrives on appreciation. He’ll give his friends the shirt off his back, but they had better never take him for granted. Lloyd literally gave me the shirt off his back in my moment of need. I was on my way to an important meeting and got a nasty stain on my shirt. Lloyd insisted I take off my shirt and trade with him.
Cancers are collectors. Some stockpile food in case of shortage or emergency. Lloyd collects art books, literature (most well-read person I know), religious art, art supplies, tools, and clothing. When wealthy people die, their families donate clothing to Goodwill and Salvation Army. Lloyd has a keen eye for the finest designer clothing. He’s always first to pick through merchandise. As a master bargain hunter, I call Lloyd my personal dresser. We wear the same sizes. Lloyd chooses coats, suits, and jackets for me He’s gifted me with suits worth thousands of dollars that he only paid ten or fifteen dollars for. Many had never been worn.
Lloyd said to me, “People who tell the truth don’t need good memories”. I replied, “We may be bastards, but at least we’re honest”. Over fifty years of friendship continue to see many challenging lessons in humility for us. We delayed balancing our outer and inner worlds by choosing to learn the hard way. We learned that there are no shortcuts and to let go of the need to be greater than we were.
Lloyd’s extremely flexible thumbs symbolize his ability to adapt to the most horrible of circumstances. They also embody his generosity of heart and spirit. It’s very hard for Lloyd to say “NO”. I don’t know if I ever mentioned it to him, but the gold ring on the bottom middle finger of Lloyd’s unconscious hand symbolizes his need to have clear boundaries, be frugal, and to learn to say no.
Loving his anonymity, Lloyd’s artwork is created by a magical spirit who is him. Lloyd exemplifies Cancer’s most outstanding inner and outer qualities. He’s supportive, sympathetic, receptive, reflective, intuitive, imaginative, and extremely devoted to friends, family, and humanity. Lloyd Wilson is Pittsburgh’s best kept secret.