Cancer is a zodiacal sign, which the Sun transits from approximately June 22 to July 22. Its name is derived from the astronomical constellation of Cancer, which is Latin for ‘crab’ or ‘crayfish’. The myth of Heracles is associated to the sign, a Greek hero who is the son of divine Zeus and human Alcmena, queen of Thebes. Goddess Hera, Zeus’ jealous wife, hates the fruit of her husband’s betrayal and harasses him in her own way. She drives him crazy for rage and leads him to kill his wife and children, then hinders him when he has to perform twelve frightening labours to atone for his sin. This part of the myth conveys the effort that Cancerians must make to let go of their world of origin, represented by childhood and the mother, to face the perils of real life. Although the adult Cancer is an eternal child craving for protection, they love their privacy and home comforts: it is no coincidence that the animal that represents them, the crab, uses its shell as its home.
Among the labours that Heracles has to perform, the one of the Hydra represents the sign. The Hydra is a serpent-like water monster with many heads that terrifies the city of Lerna. The monster grows two new heads each time a head is cut off and it represents the fertility of the sign, which has a natural motherly soul. To defeat the Hydra, Heracles has to burn its heads one by one with a glowing ember. When Heracles has almost completed the task, Hera sends a big crab that fiercely bites the heel of the hero to make him lose his balance. Heracles tramples over it and kills it, succeeding in slaying the monster. Hera, to thank the crab for its sacrifice, puts it into the sky as a constellation. Born at the beginning of Summer, when the sun, at its maximum brightness, starts going backwards exactly like a crayfish, Cancerians look at their past with nostalgia. Among people born under the sign of Cancer are the refined Italian designer Giorgio Armani, nostalgic French writer Marcel Proust and the sensitive British princess Lady Diana Spencer.