Chapter 7

Water Signs: Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces

In This Chapter

bulletContemplating Cancer

bulletObserving Scorpio

bulletPondering Pisces

I have often wondered: If it were possible to choose my sign, what would I want to be? Rams have tons of energy, but they can be clueless. Geminis sparkle, but they try so hard, it’s exhausting to contemplate. Capricorns have traits I wish I possessed, but they have a rough time loosening up. And so it goes around the zodiac, each sign in turn presenting its attractions and its liabilities. I don’t know what I’d pick.

I do know this: I wouldn’t choose to be a water sign. Don’t get me wrong: I adore people who were born under water signs, and I treasure the (abundant) water in my own chart. I also know that water represents emotion, and those born under its influence tend to be swamped by their sentiments. Profoundly sensitive, they’re vulnerable and reactive, first responders on the most human front of all. They’re also hugely intuitive and occasionally psychic with what some commentators have suggested is a deep spiritual bent.

But is it easy to be a water sign? All things being equal, I’d rather be a Leo.

The water signs, which are known for their emotional responsiveness, include the following:

bulletCancer the Crab (June 21 to July 22), the sign of cardinal water. Cancer is famed for its emotional acuity, sympathetic nature, and love of home.

bulletScorpio the Scorpion (October 23 to November 21), the sign of fixed water. Scorpio is recognized for its intensity, magnetism, and ability to burrow deep, both psychologically and intellectually.

bulletPisces the Fish (February 19 to March 19), the sign of mutable water. Ruled by elusive Neptune, Pisces is compassionate, impressionable, gentle, and imaginative.

The water signs share an emotional sensitivity and a well-developed sense of intuition. If water is your element, this chapter describes you. In these pages, I present your most commendable traits and your most pitiful ones, along with information about relationships and work.


In addition to its element, each sign is assigned a polarity (positive or negative) and a quality (cardinal, fixed, or mutable). For more about these terms, flip to Chapter 1. Also, don’t forget to check out Chapter 1 if you were born on the cusp of any of these signs — meaning the first or last day.

Cancer the Crab: June 21–July 22

Ruled by the ever-changing Moon, you’re introspective, intuitive, security-conscious, and exceedingly aware of your emotional environment. You’re also determined to conquer your vulnerabilities and achieve your goals.

The glyph of Cancer (see Figure 7-1) represents the breasts (and hence the mother), the claws of the crab, and the fluid nature of emotion.

Figure 7-1: The symbol of Cancer the Crab.


The sunny side

You embody an intriguing paradox. Because you’re a water sign, you’re emotionally wide open with an intense inner focus. Because you’re also a cardinal sign, you’re enterprising and ambitious, with a strong outer focus. No wonder you’re known for your fluctuating moods. Your emotional sensitivity is one of your greatest assets. It serves as a barometer to the atmosphere around you, and the more tuned into it you are, the better. You’re shrewd and insightful. When you trust your intuition enough to act in accordance with it, you can steer in any direction and navigate through the roughest storm.

You also maintain a strong tie to the past, both personal and historical, and you have a powerful longing for home, family, domestic tranquility, and emotional security. Loyal, affectionate, kind, and supportive, you never give up on someone you love — and if that means clinging or being overprotective, so be it. Your ability to nurture others parallels your need to care for and comfort yourself.

At the same time, you’re intent on initiating activity. Whatever your emotions may be, you don’t let them stop you from setting far-reaching goals and resolutely going after them. Your determination is extraordinary. Despite your doubts and insecurities, you forge ahead valiantly, though not without some tears along the way. At your best, your internal awareness supports your outer ambition, just as your knowledge of the past forms a sturdy foundation for your forays into the future. The fact that you have the best memory on the planet is yet another strength.

The sorry side

Picture the crab. Vulnerable and soft within its protective armor, it approaches its target sideways and, when frightened, scuttles back into its shell. You do the same. Fretful and high-strung, afraid of addressing a problem directly, you defend yourself well — sometimes to your own detriment. At times you’re so defensive, so imprisoned by your anxieties, that movement becomes impossible. You withdraw or enter a state of total denial, where you become unreachable. At your worst, your need for security paralyzes you.

Yet there’s no avoiding your powerful emotions, which can wash over you as suddenly as a tidal wave. Those moments of sheer emotion are an indelible part of who you are, and you don’t always deal with them well. With other people, you can be stunningly possessive and demanding. Spurred by your fear of being abandoned, you cling ferociously, holding on to relationships — and jobs — way past their expiration dates.

Avoiding the quicksand of insecurity and the snake pit of depression are challenges you must confront; getting to the bottom of your deepest fears and complicated psyche is another.


As the most maternal sign in the zodiac, Cancer has an instinct for closeness that few signs can equal. The family you were born into never ceases to play a central role in your consciousness, whether positive or negative (or, more likely, a confusing amalgamation of both). You lavish attention on friends and lovers alike, and in the absence of a committed romantic partner, you turn friends into family. Children claim a special place in your heart.

Love affairs absorb you, but you’re most comfortable in a committed, traditional relationship. Shyer than you appear to be, you long for someone with whom you share a soul connection. When you feel cherished and recognized, you’re utterly devoted and supportive. When you feel insecure, it’s another matter. Fearful of being alone and yet unwilling to engage in conflict, you hold on too tightly for too long. When a relationship falls apart, you’re devastated, even if you’re the one who made the decision. You withdraw into the safety of your shell. Many tears are shed. And then — it’s amazing — you’re fine. Although astrologers always say that the Crab moves sideways (and I’ve said it myself), it’s not always true. Sometimes you move forward with giant strides. I have seen Cancer soar from abject misery to honeymoon cruise within a matter of months. In romance, as in other areas, your ability to take action and to recognize opportunities pays off.

For more on your relationships with other signs, turn to Chapter 15.


It’s true that yours is the sign of domesticity. That doesn’t mean you want to stay home all the time making tea and crumpets. As a cardinal sign, you’re happiest when you’re actively involved in the world. You shine in fields that rely on your emotional sensitivity. You excel in medicine, teaching, social work, child psychology, marriage counseling, and any other form of therapy. Because you have a deep love of home (and house), you can also succeed at real estate, architecture, cooking, restaurant management, and so on. Finally, thanks to your interest in the past, you’re drawn to history, antiques, and museum work. You’re great with children. You’re also supremely responsive to the elderly and would do well in geriatrics. Whatever you do, it must offer fulfillment as well as material security. Your occupation needs to captivate you, and there’s no reason to settle for anything less.

Despite your doubts and hesitations, taking the initiative is your best move. Within an organization, you quickly form alliances and generally rise to a position of leadership. You’re well-organized and energetic, but you also become emotionally involved in your work, and you tend to take it home with you. It helps to find a mentor. Establishing a personal tie with someone who has the authority and expertise you lack can fortify and reassure you. Similarly, after you have accumulated some experience, you find it gratifying to become a mentor.


If you work with or for a Cancerian, be prepared to give your all. Crabs try to create family, even at the office. They want to forge strong connections and therefore try to create a positive atmosphere. At least in theory, the office door will be open, and criticism will be constructive. If you need help, say so. (They tend to slip into a parental role.) If you have a legitimate complaint, address it in a private meeting. But don’t sneak around complaining to one and all behind your boss’s back. Cancerians may hide their emotions, but they’re astute enough to sense betrayal.


Classic Crabs

bulletKevin Bacon, Pamela Lee Anderson (Moon in Aries)

bulletMeryl Streep, Frida Kahlo, Lindsay Lohan (Moon in Taurus)

bulletHenry David Thoreau (Moon in Gemini)

bulletTom Cruise, Harrison Ford, Courtney Love (Moon in Cancer)

bulletTom Hanks (Moon in Leo)

bulletThe Dalai Lama (Moon in Virgo)

bulletTwyla Tharp (Moon in Libra)

bulletRembrandt van Rijn, Gisele Bundchen (Moon in Scorpio)

bulletRubén Blades (Moon in Sagittarius)

bulletJohn Glenn, Ernest Hemingway (Moon in Capricorn)

bulletPrincess Diana (Moon in Aquarius)

bulletRobin Williams (Moon in Pisces)

Scorpio the Scorpion: October 23– November 21

Intensity is the key to Scorpio. Ruled by Pluto, the (dwarf) planet of transformation, you’re a compelling personality — and a creature of extremes. Emotionally or otherwise, in fact or in fancy, you live on the edge.

The glyph of Scorpio (see Figure 7-2) represents the male genitals or the piercing barb of the Scorpion’s tail.

Figure 7-2: The symbol of the Scorpion.


The sunny side

Vibrant, magnetic, and passionate, you’re a person of depth and complexity who participates in life fully. You’re perceptive and sensual, and your senses are alert. So are your powers of observation. As a Scorpio, you’re aware of the spoken message as well as the subtext and the body language, and you can’t help relishing the melodrama of it all. Your insights into human psychology are discerning, in part because you have such a wide range of experience. Your mood seesaws between ecstatic heights and nightmarish depths, and there’s hardly an emotion that you haven’t felt right down to your soul. You’re also curious about other people. Although you value your privacy and are often quite reticent, you’re skilled at ferreting out the secrets of others. Mysteries fascinate you, which is why astrology books inevitably recommend that Scorpios become detectives or spies.

Here’s another positive trait: You’re determined. When you apply yourself, your willpower is astonishing (although you can also take it too far: Eating disorders are a blight on your sign). You’re resourceful, too. You make careful plans, and if the time’s not right, you wait. You don’t ever give up. You aim for the highest — or the lowest. That’s why, unlike any other sign, Scorpio has three symbols: the scorpion, which crawls through the dust; the eagle, which soars through the air; and the phoenix, which burns itself up in the heat of its passion and is reborn. Like that mythical bird, you have the ability to rejuvenate yourself.

The sorry side

Let me be honest: Scorpio has some deeply nasty traits. You can be obsessive, jealous, secretive, manipulative, and arrogant. You have an exceedingly wicked tongue. You know how to wound, and if you’re backed into a corner, you don’t hesitate to do so. Once you decide that you’ve been crossed, you’re unforgiving. You can be vengeful, spiteful, and disturbingly cold-hearted — or so it appears. When Scorpio (sign of Charles Manson) is bad, it’s downright scary.

But in my experience, most Scorpions keep that side of their personalities under wraps. Instead, you struggle with depression. When times are tough, you plummet to the bottom of the sea. Other signs don’t begin to comprehend the bleak despair that pulls you down. Yet this is an essential component of being a Scorpio. It works like this: You sink into darkness, claw your way through the underworld of the psyche, and wrestle with your own worst qualities and darkest fears. And then you emerge. Before Pluto was discovered in 1930, astrologers regarded Mars, the planet of war (and desire), as the ruler of Scorpio. And indeed, you pursue your demons like a warrior, fighting relentlessly, even against addiction and other tribulations. In your quest for renewal and transformation, you’re unflinching.


No one said relationships were easy. That’s because casual liaisons don’t satisfy you. Even your friendships are serious. Growing up, you understood the concept of blood brothers or sisters (even if you never found a friend who qualified), and you longed for that kind of connection. As an adult, you still want to bond on the deepest of levels. That’s especially true in your romantic life. Ardent, mysterious, and magnetic, you long for blazing sex, conversation that breaks all barriers, and total immersion. When you fall in love, it’s theatrical and impassioned — a drama for the ages.

At its finest, that intensity helps you create the kind of fully intertwined partnership you crave. At its worst, it causes you to become suspicious, possessive, and resentful. Issues of power and control arise, and you can become painfully obsessive. When you feel injured or when a relationship is disintegrating, you unleash the deadly sting for which the scorpion is famous. If you cut someone off, it’s forever. No one feels ecstasy the way you do; and no one suffers more.

Finally, I want to point out that, despite your desire to mind-meld with another human being, Scorpio also requires privacy. Without it, your peace of mind unravels, and anyone involved with you must understand that. Solitude, like sex, is a necessity.

Wondering how you get along with other signs? Turn to Chapter 15.


Scorpio brings energy and ambition to the workplace, and your goals are generally of the highest order (though, for the record, I must acknowledge that Scorpios can also be adept as scam artists, drug dealers, and low-level thugs). Astute and insightful, you make a fantastic advocate for anyone in need. Plus, you’re a fighter. You’re also fascinated by power and money, which gives you the motivation to excel at business (think of Bill Gates) or politics (consider Hillary Clinton). Whatever field you find yourself in, trivialities don’t interest you. Nor do you have to be center stage (unless, of course, you have a lot of Leo in your chart). But you do need to be involved in an enterprise that matters. Scientific research, surgery, various kinds of counseling, community organizing, investigative reporting, investment banking, politics, and various aspects of psychology all come to mind. As I noted earlier, detective and spy are two positions traditionally considered Scorpionic. But did I mention mortician? Magician? Obituary writer? Mystery writer? Guru? Poet? Greatest artist of the 20th century (Picasso)? The list goes on and on.


If you work with or for a Scorpio, you’ll see what it means to be committed. Industrious, disciplined, and demanding, Scorpios know how to concentrate (unless, of course, they can’t, in which case, you get to see the miserable, sulky Scorpio). Because they know how to keep a secret, you can trust Scorpios with yours. But they’re also inscrutable. They nurture their accomplices — and demolish their enemies. If you have a Scorpio boss, do your best — and don’t try any fancy stuff. She’ll see it coming, and you’ll pay for your presumption. No one, and I mean no one, wants to have a Scorpio for an enemy.


Classic Scorpions

bulletBill Gates, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sally Field (Moon in Aries)

bulletDemi Moore, Prince Charles (Moon in Taurus)

bulletBonnie Raitt, Goldie Hawn (Moon in Gemini)

bulletCondoleezza Rice, Keith Urban (Moon in Cancer)

bulletJulia Roberts, Kurt Vonnegut (Moon in Leo)

bulletJodie Foster, Sean Combs, Matthew McConaughey (Moon in Virgo)

bulletLeonardo DiCaprio, Billie Jean King, Sylvia Plath (Moon in Libra)

bulletk.d. lang, Björk, Whoopi Goldberg (Moon in Scorpio)

bulletPablo Picasso, Larry King, Kelly Osbourne (Moon in Sagittarius)

bulletGeorge Eliot, Anne Tyler, Bernard-Henri Lévy (Moon in Capricorn)

bulletCalista Flockhart, Neil Young (Moon in Aquarius)

bulletHillary Rodham Clinton, Joni Mitchell (Moon in Pisces)

Pisces the Fish: February 19–March 19

Yours is the sign of dreams, imagination, poetry, and matters of the spirit. Ruled by mysterious Neptune, the planet of glamour and illusion, your challenge is to find a way to live in a workaday world when you have an out-of-this-world sensibility.

The glyph of Pisces (see Figure 7-3) connotes two forms of experience, internal and external. Alternatively, it represents two fish tied together. When they cooperate, they navigate their watery domain with ease. When they pull in opposite directions, neither gets anywhere.

Figure 7-3: The symbol of Pisces the Fish.


The sunny side

You want sensitive? Pisces is sensitive. Every tiny bounce in the emotional weather sends your internal compass into a spin. Sympathetic and receptive, you receive a constant barrage of impressions and information, and you can be weirdly psychic. But protecting yourself is difficult because you lack boundaries. All your membranes are permeable. When the people upstairs have a fight, you feel battered. When bad things happen to good people, you’re horrified. And when good things happen to people you love, you rejoice. (It’s one of your most magnificent traits.) You’re generous, big-hearted, insightful, and truly compassionate. You’re also innately spiritual.

Another strength is your powerful imagination. Your dreams (and daydreams) can be a vivid source of inspiration and even problem-solving. Your intuition is equally powerful. You sense what’s going on way before it registers on the seismograph. But you can also become trapped in a web of illusion (see the upcoming section, “The sorry side”). At your intuitive best, your refusal to get hung up on the limitations of reality enables you to leap over obstacles and to make surprising breakthroughs and turnarounds. Unlike more “realistic” signs, you embrace change and are willing to take enormous risks. Often your gambles succeed. When they don’t, you’re philosophical about it. As Albert Einstein, a prototypical Pisces, said, “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”

The sorry side

At your out-to-lunch worst, you’re gullible in the extreme, irrational, and so easily hurt that you’re practically an open wound. Because the requirements of ordinary life can overwhelm you, you’re prone to wishful thinking and outright fantasy, often combined with a sense of entitlement that boggles the mind. Indecisive and weak, you’re readily deceived.

But that’s not the most serious problem. More often, you delude yourself by simply refusing to accept reality. Your grasp of reality is tenuous at best, and you often refuse to accept even a little responsibility for your situation. Even when you’re miserable, your passivity can bypass all reason. Instead of taking action when you’re feeling trapped, you wait to be rescued, often sinking into a melancholy pattern of brooding and procrastination. (I’ve seen men do this as well as women, by the way.) Moreover, when your efforts come to nothing or your dreams are thwarted, you tend to be overcome by lethargy, self-pity, depression, guilt, or resentment. Sleep — too little or, more commonly, too much — can defeat your most heartfelt resolutions. And did I mention substance abuse? Let’s just say that you’re susceptible. More than most, you’re your own worst enemy. And, more than most, you have the capacity to turn your circumstances (and your attitude) around.


A faithful, generous friend, a whimsical, starry-eyed lover, and a tender spouse, you have a certain sweetness that can’t be denied, and your ability to love is without equal. You see the best in those you care for, even when they don’t see it themselves, and you delight in cheering them on, in part because you crave that kind of encouragement yourself.

A genuine romantic, you yearn to be swept away — and supported — in true Hollywood style. You’re also capable of falling for a homeless bum just because you sense the potential beneath the plastic poncho. Friends may object. But once your feelings are engaged, your ability to make rational judgments evaporates like mist. As you wander around in the fog of infatuation, totally lost, you spin a fantasy that enables you to ignore unmistakable flaws (alcoholism and infidelity, say). It’s a strange phenomenon: You’re supremely responsive to other people. In many situations, your intuition is flawless. Yet at other times, you suffer from a dangerous Piscean malady: a deep-seated, willful refusal to face reality. For Pisces, seeing clearly is always a worthy goal.

For a glance at your relationships with other signs, turn to Chapter 15.


In Utopia, these are a few of the jobs that Pisces would happily hold: poet, artist, musician, clairvoyant, palm reader, sailor, filmmaker, actor, wine taster, spiritual healer, hypnotist, yoga teacher — and anything concerning tropical fish, the ocean, or ballet.

Given those career choices, you may expect Pisces to be a failure in the real world. But you’d be wrong. It turns out that Pisces is strangely adept at handling enormous sums of money. According to a 1995 study done by Forbes Magazine, more of the 400 richest Americans are Pisceans than any other sign. Why would that be? Well, you really do have a creative mind. It’s not just a matter of coloring outside the lines; you have the ability to toss the book aside and design something completely original. Plus, unlike more realistic signs (Capricorn, for example), you dream big. If you can harness that vision to an old-fashioned work ethic, you can accomplish anything. If your job also benefits humanity, you’ll be even happier. Pisces aspires to be of service, and you’ll feel better about yourself if you are. That’s why, besides the utopian trades in the previous paragraph, you may want to consider medicine, social work, philanthropy, education, environmentalism, cuisine, oceanography, and — yes — finance.


If you work with or for a Pisces, stay tuned — and I mean every minute. Any bad vibes you detect, Pisces notices too. Sympathetic and broad-minded, Pisceans support their staff and don’t get stuck on minor points. But they’re strivers, both more opportunistic and less secure than they may appear. If a Piscean senses dissension in the ranks or anything less than total loyalty, you’ll be fish food.


Classic Pisceans

bulletEva Longoria, Galileo Galilei (Moon in Aries)

bulletEdgar Casey, Bobby Fischer (Moon in Taurus)

bulletLee Radziwill, Benicio del Toro, W. H. Auden (Moon in Gemini)

bulletKurt Cobain, Drew Barrymore (Moon in Cancer)

bulletPaula Zahn, Ralph Nader, Queen Latifah (Moon in Leo)

bulletGabriel Garcia Marquez, Jack Kerouac (Moon in Virgo)

bulletNat King Cole, Patty Hearst (Moon in Libra)

bulletElizabeth Taylor, Johnny Cash (Moon in Scorpio)

bulletAlbert Einstein, Sharon Stone (Moon in Sagittarius)

bulletAnais Nin, Philip Roth (Moon in Capricorn)

bulletGlenn Close, Carson McCullers (Moon in Aquarius)

bulletMichelangelo, Steve Jobs (Moon in Pisces)

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