Author’s Note: The following observations, insights, and generalizations are derived from over forty years of study and from reading many tens of thousands of hands.
You don’t need a Cancer sun, moon, planets, or planetary house placements to be a Cancer. All feeling types have long narrow palms and long fingers ~ often held closely together. Healthy Cancer hands are firm and consistent with pink elastic skin. Finger joints are pliable, less stiff than Scorpio, and less supple than Pisces. Cancer head and life lines tend to separate at their beginnings on pure types. If the head and life lines are closely connected at their beginnings, the individual has (mother) issues around losing control, fear of criticism, and need for approval. These folk should never ever be taken for granted.
Cancer is sensitive. More peripheral lines add even more sensitivity. You must be careful what you say as they will remember the ‘bad’ things, even if you haven’t said any. Long gently sloping head lines are synergistic 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 or conical fingertips with long broad nails and loop fingerprints on Cancer types. They’re very intuitive, good communicators, and prefer to be frank whenever possible. Stable Cancers offer firm sincere handshakes.
Cancers are intuitive, empathetic, complex, and well aware of the needs of others. They can be hard to understand because they hide their most vulnerable selves beneath a facade of nurturing actions. Try to pry into their private lives and they’ll retreat into their shells. Cautious and vulnerable, Cancer needs to be direct, rather than tactful and diplomatic. In the final analysis, the only thing that makes sense for them is to choose satisfying over safe and not try to avoid emotional confrontation. They must cultivate intimacy wherever and whenever they can. Their feelings may swing from loving and devoted to secretive, reclusive, obsessive, and fearful of the future. When Cancers are feeling controlled or confined, they can become dark and moody. They must feel protected and secure before they can fully trust. Once trust is earned, loyalties run deep. You’ll see intimacy in the many lines running parallel to the lifeline within the ball of thumb. Healthy family connections and close friendships nourish them. The more structure, organization and detail in their lives, the more stable and secure their feelings.
Healthy Cancers are loving, compassionate, and devoted beings. They’re most compatible with other feeling types. They feel most safe with responsible, reliable, and dependable practical types. They’re sorely challenged by thinking and intuitive types. They’re nervous they’ll be left holding the psychic garbage bag (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 feeling insecure, they can become internally secretive while becoming externally over-ambitious. Cancers work hardest when income matches output. Motivated by good food, emotional security, and fertile soil, their main mission is to nourish their family, protect their home, and exercise their creative imaginations.
Demeter, Greek goddess of grain and the harvest, is a combination of Virgo and an overprotective Cancer mother. When Pluto abducted Persephone, Demeter pleaded to her siblings for help, but ended up exercising her power over both gods and man by creating winter (death) in order to negotiate Persephone’s return.
“You’ve got to play to lose”
The old guy above is the young guy with me in this picture captured forty-five years ago in a photo booth at Kennywood Amusement Park in Pittsburgh, Pa. My best friend, Lloyd Wilson (Cancer) and I met while working part time at a wood, metal, and plastics model making machine shop where we fabricated preschool children’s learning devices for the University of Pittsburgh. We made toys for ourselves on our own time. Soon to graduate from different colleges, I was destined to become an industrial designer. Lloyd would continue to be an artist. We were a couple of Peter Pans on our way to Neverland.
Lloyd didn’t get much nurturing as a child. He developed his quick wit and sense of humor while trying to avoid 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 sadly committed suicide, his father was committed to a mental institution, and his beautiful sister, (who I’d met while on vacation in Florida) with two young children, a great husband, and apparently idyllic life, suddenly and unexpectedly blew her head off with a shotgun. Lloyd’s slender rectangular palms and long fingers embody his Cancer Sun, Venus, and North Node, which is conjunct my Mercury. His Gemini ascendant is exactly conjunct my vertex and is the midpoint of my eighth house planetary stellium in Gemini. Lloyd’s head and life lines are tightly intertwined at their beginnings. It reveals his desire to feel needed and appreciated. Lloyd was a sensitive child who needed love and support, but didn’t get any.
Lloyd tried hard to fix his broken parents, but they were too sick to support him. Instead, they judged, criticized, and abused him. Lloyd somehow survived without anyone’s approval, though he thrives on appreciation. He’ll give his friends the shirt off his back, but they had better never take him for granted. Lloyd has literally given 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. Before I could blink, Lloyd took off his shirt and traded with me.
Cancers are collectors. Some stockpile food in case of shortage or emergency. Lloyd collects art books, literature (he’s the most well-read person I know), religious art, art supplies, tools, and clothing. When wealthy people die, their families donate clothing to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Lloyd has a keen eye for the finest designer clothing. He’s always first to pick through the merchandise. He’s a master bargain hunter. I call him my personal dresser. We wear the same sizes. Lloyd chooses coats, suits, and jackets with me in mind. He has gifted me with suits worth thousands of dollars that he paid ten or fifteen dollars for. Many had never been worn.
Lloyd would say to me, “People who tell the truth don’t need good memories”. I’d reply, “We may be bastards, but at least we’re honest”. Over fifty years of friendship have witnessed many challenging lessons in humility for us. We managed to delay balancing our outer and inner worlds by always choosing to learn the hard way. We finally had to learn that there were no shortcuts and to let go of our need to be greater than we were.
Lloyd’s extremely flexible thumbs symbolize his ability to adapt to horrible circumstances. They also embody his generosity of heart and spirit. It’s very hard for Lloyd to say “NO”. He likely doesn’t realize it, but the gold ring on the bottom middle finger of Lloyd’s unconscious hand symbolizes his need to have clear boundaries, be frugal, and not give everything away.
Lloyd Wilson is Pittsburgh’s best kept secret because he loves his anonymity. His artwork reveals a magical spirit, but few will truly get to know him. Lloyd personifies Cancer’s best qualities. He’s supportive, sympathetic, receptive, reflective, intuitive, imaginative, and extremely devoted to friends and family.