Cancer Symbol and Meanings

Patricia Lantz C.Ht.
Cancer symbol is the crab

Cancer is a water sign and is ruled by the Moon. It's one of the four cardinal signs that mark the turning of the seasons. The word cancer is Latin for crab. Cancer is associated with a crab through the Greek and Roman traditions.

Cancer: The Crab

The Crab, the animal symbol for Cancer, has some distinguishing characteristics that give insight into a Cancer's behavior.

Crabs are:

  • Shy and sensitive creatures of the night whose lives are ruled by the Moon
  • Watchful and evasive, they can step backward, one or two steps sideways and then without warning be all over the place
  • Self-protective and quick to retreat into their shells if they feel threatened
  • Have the power to cling with great tenacity and won't quickly or easily let go of anything they get their claws into

Cancer's Glyph

The glyph that represents Cancer looks like the number 69 set on its side. You could say it's just a simplified drawing of the crab's rounded shape and two big claws, but its meanings are much more vibrant.


Cancer's glyph has varied interpretations, but all say something about the caretaking, nurturing, and protective nature of the astrological sign of Cancer.

  • The numerology of the number 69 indicates yin and Yang. It also resonates with the true essence of home and is active in directing and maintaining harmony among family and extended family members.
  • It's said that the circles in Cancer's glyph represent a mother's breast and the curved lines represent her protective arms and nurturing nature.
  • Some astrologers believed that the glyph represents the Sun and Moon phases; the two circles represent the new and full moons connected by the two arches of crescent moons.


Astrology is a symbolic language that tells a story written in symbols. Astrologers translate its ancient symbols into words. Each glyph has a specific theme, and when an astrologer sees Cancer's glyph, they translate it into words such as emotional, sensitivity, self-protective, home, family, and heritage.

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Cancer Symbol and Meanings