Mars in Cancer: Heart of the Werewolf

Mars in Cancer: Heart of the Werewolf

“I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up”

In traditional astrology, Mars is considered to be in his “Fall” or “Depression” in Cancer.  This means that, of all the Signs of the Zodiac, Mars functions most poorly in Cancer.

In order to fully appreciate this statement, we must make a brief segue into the relationship between a Planet and a Sign in Astrology.  A planet represents a particular role on life’s stage.  In Mars’ case, that role is the warrior.  The one who fights.  For love, sex, survival or the bloody joy of it.  The reason is up to those of us who play the role, not Mars.  He simply heralds the role.

aresoldAs Mars moves throughout the Zodiac, we see the warrior changing clothes and equipment as he is outfitted for different myths.  Mars’ journey through the Signs of the Zodiac represents the warrior’s journey into different arenas.  The Sign provides both the challenges Mars will face as well as the tools he needs to conquer those challenges.

The collection of myths which comprise the cycle the warrior walks contain both his greatest victories and most humiliating defeats.  In each Sign, Mars places a focus on a particular myth.  But, as previously stated, not all battles are of equal difficulty.  Therefore Mars performs differently in each Sign.  Some he performs beautifully in, where we see the virtues of strength, courage, and tenacity.  Unfortunately, in those Signs where Mars is especially poorly placed, we tend to see Mars’ less impressive qualities: misdirected anger, insecurity, selfishness, and crudeness.

Astrologers use one pair of terms to describe the Signs where Mars is especially effective, and another pair to describe those signs in which Mars functions poorly.  On the positive side, Mars “Rules” Scorpio and Aries, and is “Exalted” in Capricorn.  Mars rejoices in the bloody intrigue of Scorpio,  revels in the open battlefield of Aries, and he provides his most ruthless and effective performance in patient, ambitious and disciplined Capricorn.  On the flip, Mars is in his “Detriment” in Taurus and Libra, and in his “Fall” in Cancer.  Mars is far from home, and has difficulty putting his talent for conflict to much good use in Taurus’ well appointed house or in Libra’s pleasant social gathering.  In Cancer, Mars is staying at his mom’s house.  And living with Mommy does not a proud warrior make.  Just ask Norman Bates.

And so Mars is considered in his “Fall” in Cancer.  The Sign in which a planet takes its “Fall” is the setting where that planet’s character is prone to fail the most miserably because of the incompatibility of the Sign’s circumstances and the Planet’s nature.(


 What is the conflict between the nature of Mars and the circumstance that Cancer represents?  Mars’ nature brings about and resolves conflict.  He symbolizes the necessary desire of every individual to burst their confines and establish themselves as independent, reliant only upon their own will.  This desire to burst forth from behind confines has its primordial beginning with the desire to escape the womb and extends to rarefied spiritual peaks, with the desire to escape the confines of material reality altogether.

On the contrary, Cancer is the most maternal of the 12 signs of the Zodiac- it is the sign that represents the action of the Moon.  Cancer encloses Planets within it in a womb, a matrix of growth.  It directs their efforts and energies to our deepest and most sensitive foundations- to childhood, old friends, old fears and the pursuit of deep intimacy.  Here, sensitivity and care are absolutely necessary to create the firm emotional foundation which is the Sign’s purpose. .

Put simply, Cancer collects, nurtures and connects while Mars burns, severs and fights.  Therefore Mars brings conflict to the sensitive foundations Cancer represents, while those sensitive foundations attempt to stifle that conflict which is contrary to their process.

The God Who Gave Up His Sword

As we stated earlier, in each sign Mars moves through the territory of a different myth.  Different hero, different monster, different magic weapon.  With the case of Mars in Cancer, the problem is divisive conflicts in one’s emotional and physical foundations.  Civil war, culture war, family dysfunction, a problematic relationship, or an unresolved past all qualify.

The power that Mars provides most easily is that of division- the ax, the sword, the knife.  In the case of the problem provided by Mars in Cancer, further division is of no value.  It exacerbates the issue rather than solving it.  In Cancer, Mars approaches his most difficult lesson- how to unify.  Deep reconciliation and connection are priorities here.  This is a job for neither the sword nor the ax.

In the book, “Astromythology” (Llewelyn, 2004), Raven Kaldera assigns a different mythological figure to each combination of Planet and Sign, for a total of 120 combinations.  In this handy tome, Kaldera assigns Mars in Cancer to Frey, a god from the Norse pantheon who gives up his sword in exchange for love.  Though I take issue with some of the assignments in this book, this one is spot on.

Frey gave up his sword in exchange for love.  The strength to assert individuality and personal power is a fine thing.  But in order to create a foundation of comfort and intimacy, the sword must be sheathed.  That is a job for weavers, not warriors.  Here Mars denies his nature in order to defend what is important.  In this case, from himself.

I Was A Teenage Werewolf

But the story does not end with Frey’s noble sacrifice.  The energy of aggression and independence submits to the ideal of defending what truly matters.  But that energy does not disappear.  It goes underground.  And here we come to another important figure in the mythology of Mars in Cancer- the Werewolf.

I_Was_A_Teenage_Werewolf-posterIn the many tellings of the story of the Werewolf, the suspected monster is often especially weak and powerless in his standard human form.  Whereas after he undergoes his transformation into the Werewolf he becomes a heaving, hairy tribute to manly power.  This, friends, is Mars in Cancer too.   In the Sign of the Crab, the most primitive form of life, Mars connects with the primal and uncivilized strata of aggressive instinct that the Werewolf represents.  In Cancer, Mars taps directly into the primordial pool of blood and bathes in the glory of it.  Because it is too primitive and too powerful to be of much use in the modern world, the connection to this reservoir is suppressed.  And here is the conflict with our foundations that is the very character of Mars in Cancer.

The Werewolf illustrates the contradictory alienation and addiction that modern people feel toward raw aggressive potency.  But the Werewolf is not the only character that does this.  As Stephen King points out in his book on the horror genre, “Danse Macabre” (Everett House, 1981)  Jekyll and Hyde is essentially a werewolf story, and so is the Incredible Hulk.

If we refer back to the Norse Myth from whence our swordless warrior, Frey, comes, we find our friend the wolf playing a center stage role. The great wolf, Fenrir, who lies safely chained beneath the earth, will one day break free and swallow the Sun and the Moon.  This event heralds the Norse version of the end times- Ragnarok.

And so bad horror movies repeat the same symbolic fears encoded into Norse mythology, the fear of the wolf.

War Stories

If we search human stories for the motif of “the warrior at home,” we come up with 10, 001 anecdotes.  The soldier, having learned war, comes home to a family he fought for, only to find that he has forgotten how to be part of it. Explosions of anger, frustration and hurt occur. Unprocessed experiences destabilize both the soldier and his family. He is at his finest when the shit is flying, but cannot exist in the peace his victory creates.

“The warrior at home” is also “the warrior who fights to defend his home.”  Just as in the mythology of Mars in Cancer, we have the soldier at his most vulnerable and his most fierce.  When the enemy is already in one’s country or house, and one’s very way of life is threatened, the warrior’s willingness to fight is at an all-time high, in proportion to his vulnerability.  Here is Mars at his most fanatical and disadvantaged.

Which brings us to another illustration of Mars in Cancer’s mythological complex- civil war.  In the microcosm, Mars in Cancer creates angry rifts within a family.  If the country is a macrocosm of the family, then the internal feud is a civil war.  Again, the situation of Mars in Cancer is supremely disadvantaged- in an ugly family conflict, or a bloody civil war, neither side truly triumphs.  Aggressive efforts destroy the very foundations fought for.

Beyond Monsters and Heroes

In Cancer, Mars is in his Fall.  His most difficult trial.  Possessed of both a selfless aspiration to surrender power to love and a deep, primal connection to the roots of aggression, Mars is placed on the merciless cross of his own extremes.  Neither the symbolic castration of losing his sword nor the bloody joy of regression are real answers for the problem that Mars in Cancer poses.  The question is how to prevent aggressive drives from damaging what one is sworn to defend without losing the positive virtues that Mars and his attendant energies provide.

Beset with as many problems as it is, what positive quality does the power of Mars in Cancer have?  By reconciling internal conflicts, it unifies its foundations.  A strong and coherent foundation is power.

In considering Mars in Cancer, I consulted the I Ching, the Book of Changes.  The result was Hexagram 45 Assembling, changing into Hexagram 7 Collective Force, alternately titled The Army. Although numberless commentaries and descriptions exist for these configurations, the titles speak for themselves.

Working out the conflicts between people is necessary in order to create powerful bonds.  Powerful bonds between people allow them to act as a collective unit, pooling their energy and resources together in order to accomplish what no individual can.  Think Voltron, think Constructicons.  This  vision of Assembling into a Collective Force.

To paraphrase Confucius:  Two people unified become a family.  Families, unified, become a tribe.  Tribes unified become a people.  When peoples unite… well, that doesn’t really happen, does it?

  (Originally published October 2007, modified August 2011 and July 2013)


Austin Coppock is a writer, esotericist and astrologer based in Ashland, OR. He published paperback Almanacs from 2011-15 but began posting his prognostications online last year, referring to his collection of weekly, monthly, yearly essays and daily delineations as “The Online Almanac”. This work is made possible by his supporters on Patreon. Austin was President of the non-profit organization “Association for Young Astrologers” from 2012-2016. His most recent book is “36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans”, published by Three Hands Press.


  1. Lex 8 years ago

    wow, I really enjoyed reading this. I have Mars in Cancer, I also have Venus in Virgo, I’m also a Leo Sun Pisces Moon… I suppose everything about me echoes extremes, just like what you’ve written here. Thanks, it was greatly appreciated.

  2. Karynadm 7 years ago

    scorp sun with cancer moon is deciding to withdraw from outward battles this month and do inner unifying where conflicts lie.

  3. Austin 7 years ago

    Mars in Cancer natives- I’d love to hear your opinion on this piece.


    • Ben Higbie 7 years ago

      I’m no native of Martian Cancer, but I’ll say one thing in defense of the combative crab.  He’s probably good at protecting his privacy and family life.  Crabs are tough little beasties, with claws.  They’re soft on the inside, but right tough on the exterior.  And I feel crabbier already.

    • Jessica Potter 2 years ago

      I wish I understood it. I’ve got this in my chart and I’m trying hard to grasp it. Every interpretation seems so far away from anything I feel or experience.
      It seems just to say that we have to resolve some deep inner conflict with our pasts or our people, and I can’t make sense of that for me. I’m not from any culture and I don’t have any unresolved past relationships.
      I also wonder what the interpretation becomes after one resolves the crux of this take on it. Is there a second reading for those of us who’ve done the work and don’t have the challenges you mention?

    • Tanya 2 years ago

      I have Mars in Cancer conjunct Saturn and Midheaven, square my Libra rising, and squaring my Uranus in Scorpio. Moon & Pluto conjunct in Libra; Sun, Venus, and Jupiter in Taurus. For me Mars in Cancer makes life full of lots of ups and downs. I feel everything so strongly & can cry so easily, moved by joy or sadness. I’m sweet but if someone hurts my feelings, I become cold and evil and want them to hurt as much as they hurt me. I feel like Mars in Cancer is like boiling water.
      Some of this could be influenced by my other planets and aspects though.

      • Simone 8 months ago

        Hit the nail on the head, I also have this placement & yes I’m sweet & caring but can also be the extreme opposite with no apologies

      • Shiba 6 months ago

        ”I’m sweet but if someone hurts my feelings, I become cold and evil and want them to hurt as much as they hurt me. I feel like Mars in Cancer is like boiling water”. so fucking true it’s like i become heartless monster and i’m not even sorry for my behavior after that and i cut off people.

  4. Faith Marcus 7 years ago

    My Mars in is Cancer, as well as my Sun and Venus….needless to say, I am in an immense inner battle….this article really resonates…thank you 🙂

    • Victoria108 6 years ago

      Hi, I have the same in my chart. But… i give up and I exchanged the sword for love and IT IS BEAUTIFUUUUUL :))))) It was a realy big chellenge, but worth vistories 🙂

  5. swaqless 5 years ago

    I’m a Gemini/Taurus sun with a pisces 21 deg rising, mars cancer 14 deg, and capricorn 01 moon. how bad is that?

  6. rachaelro 5 years ago

    @Austin I have Mars in Cancer in the 5th. This piece definitely resonants. I have a civil war going on in my own mind. “Placed on the merciless cross of his own extremes”. I struggle with this. And like you say, I must find inner harmony to balance these two. “By reconciling internal conflicts”. This is a great piece which I continually find myself referring back to. Thanks again.

  7. ChrisMisvader 5 years ago

    Interesting you mentioned that Stephen King notes a werewolf correlation. King has Mars in Cancer, perhaps he speaks from experience.
    Some others with this truly horrible position: Joe Cocker, Richard Gere, Anjelica Huston, Cheryl Ladd, Anne Morrow Lindbergh (Sun, Moon, Mercury, and Mars in Cancer), Keanu Reeves, Adrian Fourie from, Donald Sutherland (Sun, Mercury, and Mars in Cancer), Jean-Claude Van Damme and my favorite, Robert Smith of The Cure.

  8. JunBug 5 years ago

    Profound insightful helpful & somethin i was ponderin to day b4 i read this is…wanna share wit U<>.being a farmer that becOMes a soulJah when necessary to defend fam etc..Not 4 hire..the Martian patriarchal warrior..the Protector of life preciousness warrior* Ma Ma bear warrior*would that b a healin  4 this configuration…??or benificial blend of these energies HHmmm??Many tnx 4 yr shared insites*

  9. JoshCautley 5 years ago

    hmm, as someone with moon conjunct mars (aquarius) i think i feel a relation.. fascinating stuff by the way!

  10. Pooka 5 years ago

    Poor Mars must trade in his katana for a Mont Blanc pen. 
    The fearsome xenomorph clings to its hive and queen. 
    The modern home is built around the burning fire. 
    Release the kraken!

  11. JPeterson 5 years ago

    And now I understand why I feel and have felt like a werewolf for the past several days. Lots of emotional work to tend! 
    Thank you Austin for your thorough and poignant telling of this phase. Your descriptions are always so spot on in depicting the emotional undercurrent of each phase and it really helps me prepare for what I need to address as I navigate through.

  12. tanya0510 4 years ago

    Interesting to find this article since I’ve always said that I’m half werewolf, half vampire (Moon & Pluto in 12th house)… I’m a Taurus with Mars conjunct Saturn & midheaven in Cancer in the 10th house. Having Mars in Cancer is great & sucks at the same time. It creates this amazing vulnerability & sensitivity, which is good for begin an artist, but then our actions are defined by our moods. If I don’t feel like it, I don’t wanna do it. Changeable. And fiercely violent when emotionally hurt. I compare Mars in Cancer to boiling water. Mars is the heat, Cancer is the water.

  13. mathiasskold61 3 years ago

    “The question is how to prevent aggressive drives from damaging what one is sworn to defend
    without losing the positive virtues that Mars […] provide.”
    Yes. I have Mars in Cancer and this piece puts the finger on something I´m grappling with all my life. 
    Takes a lifetime to figure out, I´m beginning to understand.
    How the hell to fight and not to fight? 
    It brings a searing division and a checkmate standstill.

    Hot shame in laying down your sword- the utter meaninglessness in picking it up again. 
    The pride of the centurion- Bow down peasants!! or lose your heads-
    A roar turning to whine.
    The monk´s hunger for God´s love and that of all fellow beings.
    The powerlessness- the hope. 
    A koan of the soul?

     Thanks for posting this text, helpful in getting a grip.

  14. Maritza 3 years ago

    Great Article. Ironically, I’ve always felt attracted/related to werewolves in stories. I think part of me always identified with their internal struggle. Great imagery!
    Sun in Taurus
    Moon in Pisces
    Mars in Cancer

  15. TriggerBlue 2 years ago

    Probably my all-time favorite astrology article. Every now and then I read it again. Resonates a lot.
    The end could maybe have been worked out more but I like the “strong foundation” part.
    To me that points very deep in spirit and psyche ( And, yeah!, physically, too… That´s the part I tend to skip…)
    Have been taking up zen lately, as a final attempt at consistent spiritual work. No coincidence probably, in this regard.
    The soldier (samuari), putting the sword to the side, sitting down, doing war where it´s really at.

  16. JJ 2 years ago

    I have Mars in Cancer in the 7th house AND it’s square to Jupiter as well… (Yep! (If you know what I’m talking about))
    People might expect people with this placement to be ‘wimps’ (i.e. the warrior in the kitchen bullshit) but, and I’m saying this from experience, this is a very, very, very, deeply aggressive Mars. With Cancer Mars, aggression is expressed inwardly before being expressed outwardly, (usually explosively…) It’s an insidious placement, really, an unhealthy way of expressing aggression that negatively affects the person who has it. It won’t be that noticeable behind your calm, peacekeeping demeanour, but it’s there, always. It really is the werewolf. A lot of criminals have this placement.

  17. Karen Maxon 2 years ago

    Most excellent article, Austin. It resonates with this Mars in Cancer native. I’ve been listening to you regularly on The Astrology Podcast, and am visiting your site today for the first time.

    I have Sun, Mars, Uranus and Vesta in Cancer 6th house, all ruled by a Virgo 8th house Moon, which is in turn squared and ruled by Mercury Rx/Venus in Gemini.

    The werewolf analogy is apt. My worst rages (and I do mean RAGES) have been at home and in my workplace, against my family, against myself, and against my co-workers (who tend to become my closest friends.) “Put simply, Cancer collects, nurtures and connects while Mars burns, severs and fights. Therefore Mars brings conflict to the sensitive foundations Cancer represents, while those sensitive foundations attempt to stifle that conflict which is contrary to their process.” The people and places most important to me are the people and places I rail most against. You cannot make this stuff up.

    I also have difficulty connecting my head, heart and hands. It’s tough turning ideas into action. I get balled up in analysis and it makes for a lot of frustration and pent up energy.

    That guy above cracks me up, calling this a “truly horrible position.” Maybe it’s why I love Stephen King! Sometimes I do feel completely nuts. My mother could never understand my werewolf tendencies, and in my teens took me to psychologists. I’m sixty now and have done much deep shadow work, gaining perspective on those violent upwellings.

    I have Aquarius asecendant, and come off as friendly, somewhat geeky, scatter-brained. That Cancer murk is hidden deep. Folks who don’t know me well — and only a very few do — are shocked when they hear tales. Or when they hear me cuss like a sailor.

    Thanks for the perspective. Best writing I’ve ever read on Mars in Cancer.

  18. Kate 2 years ago

    I have natal Mars in Cancer 11th. Inconjunct my South Node and Neptune in Sag 4th, which also happen to be the Galactic Center. I’m also a Moon in Cancer 11th, not conjunct Mars. And I also have Uranus Rx and Jupiter in Sag on my IC. Sun is in Leo 12th, so a bit less….Leo than Leo Sun in most other places. This article is absolute truth in my life. Add to that a 4th/10th nodal axis and ka-bam! Growing up, it was a battlefield every single day. Civil war? Absolutely! My mom and only sibling also have Mars in Cancer, and what you said about the promordial emerging from the womb really brought something to light for me. I was born 10 days past my due date. My mother was 10 days late also. My sister was also born 10 days late. So interesting! (They are both water Moons, like myself too.)

    Beyond that even, I now have four children of my own, and the clearly familiar patterns haven’t diffused much at all, just kind of morphed into other manifestations. My two oldest kids have Cap/Cancer interceptions in 2nd/8th (the natural Taurus/Scorpio houses, which I have Scorpio/Taurus intercepted myself, Scorpio being both of their Ascendants.) My third child has SN Cancer/NN Capricorn. My two Cancer/Cap interception kids (both water Moons) were born in unusually difficult and traumatic birth processes. There are so many patterns! If ever one doubts the existence of karmic playout, he needs look no further than the charts of a family.

  19. Jacob 2 years ago

    Ive never related so much to a Mars in cancer post. You’re definitely on point as the title sums it up. I’m a leo ascendant, Mars in Cancer, and my moon in Aries. I’ve always had a sense of this raw fighting energy in me that I just knew (dont ask, dont know how) would not be good for anyone who pushed my buttons. I’ve been in quite a few instances that have left my button pushers in states of shock and awe, wishing they could turn back time just a few moments before their “ignorant ego driven interaction” with me, and me..brooding and feeling terrible for the damage that was caused to them due to their own idiocy and hating myself even more for what I did :/

    This one time, I got into a stupid arguement with a so called “cool guy” in a certain crowd at a party. If you saw the 2 of us side by side, people would definitely place all bets on him because the guy was bigger than me He suggested we “step outside to talk” as he put his arm around my shoulder, I reciprocated with agreement and patted his stomach. All of a sudden the guy surprises me with a back hand across my face, blood falls from my nose and all I’m focusing on is him. I jump on his back, punching him 5 times on the side of his skull, then 2 bouncers pulled me off and was restraining me (bouncers who knew me and who were twice my size), released myself from their grip, grabbed the “cool guy” again and punched him another 5 times on his face until the fight got broken up, he was asked to leave, and my girlfriend came to calm me down…I only came to my sense when she just came in and grabbed my face and told me to look at her. Few minutes later I’m told, the guy was standing outside the gate of the venue completely flabbergasted and in pain sipping from a bottle. Everyone were shocked (including me) to see what I had done. All of this happened within 5 minutes.

    Bumped into the guy a few months later, I apologized to him because I felt bad, and we smoked a joint respect now 🙂

    Long story short. Imagine someone walks into a dark cave that is filled gun powder, then strikes a match to see what’s around until it’s too late…

    P.S – I’ve always related myself to a werewolf when I watched werewolf and vampire movies, because once beast mode comes on…I’ll go for he kill!
    Also I do have a suggestion for people needing to manage this energy placement…Practicing any form of martial arts really helps..Try it and you’ll know what I mean, because martial arts isnt about fighting by itself but also a form of activating/decipating different energy points across the body and…It’s also a spiritual foundation!

  20. Aimee 2 years ago

    I’ve dated men with this placement and I married to one. It’s lovely and tender, but yes, passive-aggressive. It’s all the things you’ve written. There’s an energy to it that seems conflicted and self-denying. My Venus is in Aries, Mars in Capricorn.

  21. Aeldarie 2 years ago

    This article is very insightful and helps me to understand more about my own Mars in Cancer/2nd house. My North Node is also in the 2nd house, but not conjunct Mars, and it’s in Leo, rather than Cancer. Also, the comment above about the xenomorph and the hive mind pointed me right back to my Saturn conjunct South Node in Aquarius/8th house. Mars being in Cancer, that “motherly” sign, also points me down to my early childhood with 4th house Pluto in Virgo conjunct IC and Sun conjunct Black Moon Lilith/4th house in Libra. Families are never perfect, are they? That Mars energy has had me arguing with my family about their “values” (2nd house) for years. It’s actually sort of a relief to realize that I can lay down my sword. I’m in my 50’s now, and realizing that I was the strong one in my family all along and they can’t take anything away from me — but I can afford to be magnanimous. My Leo North Node warmth and generosity are a far better way to get my message across. Thanks for this great analysis and writing.

  22. Jacqueline Ross 2 years ago

    I personally am a Sun in gemini, scorpio rising, venus in cancer, and mars in cancer. To say I’m conflicted is an understatement. This made so much sense to me. I definitely have that primal energy that I have no idea what to do with but also love to nurture. It is a hardship and I can come off confusing to the people I love.

  23. Mora 1 year ago

    Hello Austin, thank you for this article. It has shed some light on this placement for me. I am a Pisces Sun, Cancer Rising, Cancer Moon and Cancer Mars. Water, Water everywhere, but naught a drop to drink. Due to the heavy Cancer influence in my chart, it is difficult to discern what role Mars has played in my life. Some of what you describe is spot on, while other things do not seem to really apply. Unfortunately, my Mars is also heavily aspected, so the way this has manifested in my life is rather convoluted. There are unresolved issues and some family dysfunction, but mostly in my birth family. My parents were interracial–one Asian, One Caucasian–so the cultural conflicts you mentioned certainly existed. My sister and Father passed away within a fairly short period of one another while I was a young adult and this effectively split my life into two distinct sections–before and after. My own family, the one I have created, are close and relationships are not contentious. We work well together but all of us are fairly independent and, at times, too self-directed, which does not seem terribly Cancerian (Virgo in the 4th influence, perhaps?). There is not much in the way of cultural conflict in my life these days, unless you count our progressive stance on social issues and politics in conflict with many of our near neighbors. This has not manifested as any real problem, though. Does this mean that some of the energies of Mars in Cancer have been successfully harmonized? On a personal level, I am very slow to anger but my temper can be quite terrible when I am pushed too far. Generally speaking, I react in a fairly rational way. I am almost never impulsive or emotionally reactive. I would say that I am a loving person and rather gentle, most of the time, but I definitely feel like I lack the hyper-sensitivity attributed not only to Cancer, but also to my Pisces Sun. The Libras, Leos, Tauruses and Virgos around me surpass me in emotional sensitivity every time. It is true, however, that I can be pretty defensive sometimes, but usually only when defending someone else. Otherwise, I’m pretty difficult to ruffle. Interestingly, in spite of my very watery nature, I can be, and usually am, rather detached emotionally. I understand others’ emotions intuitively, but I am a very logical person and am often told so by others. It seems like I shouldn’t be with these super-watery natal placements. I guess I’m a bit weird that way.

  24. Mark 1 year ago

    Hi Austin, I’m a little new to astrology but wow did this resonate with me. I’m sun in Leo moon in Leo, Libra ascendant, Mars in Cancer. I feel cursed lol. I have a fuse a mile long but when I let go I want to kill you literally. No jokes it’s only been a few lucky situations, where friends manage to hold me back otherwise I’m sure I’d be banged up. I just don’t know when to stop. I never remember much. I’ve questioned my sanity and often have wondered if a psychologist would help but I’m too stubborn. Having said that it takes me ages to lose it. I’m VERY protective of close friends and family. I’m crap with relationships and nearly always self destruct. Inner turmoil is an understatement. But thanks for the post, this helped a lot in trying to understand myself. By the way my birthday is 26th July which I’ve been told is Carl Jungs birthday. I can read a persons character normally really easy. Any thoughts? Thanks Mark.

    • Tommy 1 year ago

      Mark, I know what youre going through. I’m a Leo sun but with Capricorn moon and my mars is conjunct my ascendant in 2nd decan cancer. My temper is very similar to yours. I don’t let anything bother me unless me, my family, my work are fucked with. The number 1 thing that makes me crazy tho is disloyalty. I go fuckin crazy because it hurts the most when you trust someone and they fuck you over when you don’t deserve it. Those four things are fucked with and nothing can stop me to get my revenge. And my revenge is wicked. As far as people that aren’t close, I don’t get that angry because I expect for there to be scumbags out in the world. I have rarely trusted anyone outside my family so this usually isn’t a problem. But this one time I was having an argument with these 2 kids, and my best friend at the time literally went to their side and basically told me to fuck off. What happened? I cracked the kids head open and beat the shit out of the other two as well. Almost got in big trouble with the law but luckily I was 17 and got through it because of self defense. Everybody always knew I was a 6’2″ 200 built and athletic kid but thought I didn’t have a mean bone in my body and definitely thought I wouldn’t be able to win a 1v3 fight especially against these 3 kids who were slightly bigger and older than me. Meanwhile if 5 strangers hadn’t pulled me away from the 3 kids I wouldve never stopped and killed all 3 of them (Moon in Capricorn ruthlessness). From that moment I was known at 17 as one of the toughest guys around and even a psychopath when really I never look for trouble and start shit and am a great hearted Catholic individual. Now I grew up in Brooklyn and Staten Island, so this was also the way I was raised being I also have very tough parents, but part of the reason Im interested in astrology is because it has been dead on with me my whole life. I’ve boxed and done mma for 3-4 years, but I can never muster up much aggressiveness in sport fighting as I do in purposeful street fights like my previous example because I always know inside my head that my opponents are always innocent and that it’s just a sport and not a real fight (Moon in Capricorn practicality). It’s usually I’m barely agressive or as aggressive as possible. Im one of the most extreme people you would ever know, I just do a good job controlling myself. But this righteous anger leads me to lash out at my parents at times. It’s because I expect the most from them and would never expect them to treat me as they would treat an outsider in any instance (I was a very rebellious kid lol). Anyway, I think Mars in Cancer internalizes all of our issues until they can’t be internalized anymore. Like all of our force comes all at one time. I think my over the top reactions for even slightly disloyal things is probably because of my sun and mercury being in Leo. My combinations, from looking at who I always was, make me the most intensely loyal person out there. I also have something called a Simian line on my dominant right hand. It has been said to indicate all of the things Im talking about but I don’t really know how that relates astrology-wise. Would love to see more thoughts about this….

  25. K 1 year ago

    I love your unique style of writing–combining mythology and contemporary lit. I have a friend with this planetary position as well as a sister. This has given me some insight into their mysterious behavior….thank you! I love the way you close it with the I Ching insights and as a 12th House/Asc Cancerian, I understand the message of preserving bonds to sustain or build the collective very well. It is my life purpose.

    I suspect that the conflict between the primal energy and the nurturing energy may also stem from the conflict between self-preservation and protecting/providing/nurturing others. I struggle with this often….what I want/need to be happy, self-nurturing and sustaining versus what “they” need. My mars in cancer friend won’t tell others “no,” even when he has way too much going on and drives himself relentlessly into the ground until he’s exhausted. His mars is trine pluto in libra, so he has the drive and energy but he seems to carry a guilt at the same time. Anyway, just sharing an observation. If you have something to add, please share.

  26. Kelli 1 year ago

    I see this post is from awhile back but the link was in today’s email. I have Mars RETRO in Cancer in the 8th house!!! I have never seen this addressedin anyone’s blog. lol

  27. Lacy 10 months ago

    You are very much spot on. I have Mars in cancer at a 1°orb to my DC in the 7th house, it is the strongest part of me but also my weakest point. It is also spot on opposite of my neptune in capricorn, 1° from my AC in the 1st house, and it comes out in my art work… Not as a wolf but as a large female cat, a lioness, a protector of the hearth and not one to be messed with. Where the stressor lies is that she has no sight of what she is protecting…. Which may be uranus also opposite mars, conjunct my AC but in the 12th house.
    Almost a wounded warrior returning home, ready to give up the sword, but finds that what they were protecting left without a trace, perhaps a long time ago or maybe was never there.

  28. Kate 10 months ago


    I definitely resonate with the article. I have mars (opposite Neptune 8 degree), sun and mercury in cancer conjunct MC. How to use it?I suppose that everything has some good stuff,even mars in cancer. I read that mars MC is good for athletes but I was never really interested/good at it.I am not goal oriented or maybe I was but I’ve never felt I could achieve anything, being lazy not knowing what to choose/do.I know that I am protective of others but also can be very destructive (after arguments a get depressive for hurting others).I am 34 and still don’t know what job to take.I don’t have children,I have lifelong problems with self confidence and I am depressive.I have moon 8/9th house in Gemini,opposite Uranus and Jupiter square Venus(Leo 11house).Is there somebody with similar aspects?How do you live with it?I cry a lot,I took antidepressants for 1year,then I’ve decided to stop,it was better. What could you recommend me? As Libra ascendant I tend to be very indecisive. Would love to find a job which I could love. I would love to have a family but I am also afraid to have one and my longtime Libra partner doesn’t want to. One part of me feels oversensitive and that I need protection the other angry part -too much masculinity. As a female I would love to be more feminine.I am lost in my life and can’t see a way out.I hate my moodswings,depression,inactivity.It’s really painful.I read a lot of articles about MC sun/mars and success but with me it doesn’t work because I don’t know what I am good for/at?I like to care for people but still feel my inner aggression,wound. It’s like if I miss some Pisces finesse. I feel like I am not strong enough. I argued a lot with my family,mainly father and also with my partner.My relationship with my father was difficult. I hate to hurt my family.I also argued a lot with my partner,he is a very calm and quiet type,it was always me arguing,he quietly listening.It’s better now but instead of arguing I cry a lot.I am afraid of having children because I don’t want to repeat the pattern.But I love children. I am nice with children but I am afraid that with my own it would be different. It makes me very sad and angry.Unfortunately I am not able to accept myself and I blamed my father a lot.I am trying to stop.I know a lot is my fault and not his.My parents argued a lot when I was growing up. They are better know but I am not able to change myself.I would love to be different.I would love to make myself and my parents happy. I don’t want to hurt anybody but sometimes I can’t just stop myself. I just hope that with age will come release and more maturity.

    Thanks for the space for writing and for reading.I am sorry for my English,I am not native speaker.

  29. debi 9 months ago

    wow interesting reading. thx

  30. Raúl 9 months ago

    Good article.
    My two cents on Mars in Cancer: Repressive but very emotional, cowardly, except in extreme situations (like domestics one), if the anger arise cause collateral damage because it’s difficult to control and direct, but the anger not last. Very concerned with moon occupations to a direct executioner like Mars, hesitations, the water colds it’s fire. Good for fevers, lol. Can fight to defend friends.

  31. Janell Hartman 8 months ago

    Hi, Austin.
    Thanks for taking the time to synthesize your reflections and offer this insight. It spoke to me deeply. The conflicts you elaborated, I recognize. With my sun, moon and mercury in Aries and Mars in Cancer, constant vigilance over repression and reactions to (seeming…often illusory) impotency in the face of anger is required. This has become an increasingly refined process as I mature. Wonderful imagery: the Werewolf. Rather than turning into a werewolf, I choose (most often) to stay human…use my voice, gain some muscle–inside and out, recognize my deep needs with compassion and celebrate my vulnerability as the trembling intimacy of being human. Early in my life an astrologer identified working with my Cancer Mars as a central theme of my hero(ine)’s journey. I see him diving into the depths of the ocean to find his sword, facing subconscious water dragons and returning to shore with a song and a vision. I see my Venus in Taurus stroking his face and welcoming him home with her earthy femininity, integrating the warrior with his purpose. I accept the challenge and the triumph of Mars in Cancer. Thank you again.

  32. Niah 8 months ago

    Reading this article gives great insight into why am I the way I’m. Kudos. Never read anything before that is so well articulated to depict Mars in cancer. I will remember this article for rest of my life. Thanks a ton!

    Bit disappinted though. Would you be able to write part-2 with strategies to successfully deal with this chart placement, perhaps with examples? Like one of the commentators said, saying “no” is a great way to save from bursts of Mars that’s hiding beneath calm and nurturing posterior of cancer. Or how to read red flags that can lead to intense internal conflicts?

    I have sun and mercury in aries ascendant, Taurus sun, Gemini moon with this painful Mars in cancer combination. Deep family bonds and friendships, loyalty with rewarding communication is my need to stay in equilibrium. I often end up with struggles in relationships with family and friends where I feel emotional attachment. For rest of the humanity, I don’t expect anything, I don’t let anyone come close to me. If nothing else, I feel lonely since many people are incapable of feeling the depth of emotions that I feel, they look at me as if I am weird. I have to constantly suppress expression of deep emotions that cancer brings. While I have successfully combated bursts of Mars, years of resentment has piled up, wanting to stay away from people! Not everyone wants to deal with this intensity of emotions. It’s tiring for my friends and family… And for me to return to empty feeling.

    In the end, I will say I love this combination despite its struggles. Being ma ma bear has been a rewarding experience that I enjoy to its fullest. Having such deep emotions is so gratifying! Having that aggression expressed through hurtful words is how my Mars reacts. It’s been under control but relationships could never thrive for me which I so badly wanted all my life.

    • Author
      Austin Coppock 8 months ago

      Thank you for the feedback. I would love to write a follow-up piece. If I can ever get well and truly ahead of my schedule, perhaps I will!

  33. Emily McElroy 5 months ago

    I am not lying this is so true, but a while back one night, I had a reminition of the kitchen. Yes the kitchen I heared all the way from my cursing, banging, squealing, and my dad and younger sister get mutilated by my mother asking me to just open the door and let her free. I was threatened cause who would who would even fall for something that does not even sound human. Idk but I think that one room was making her a complete psycho.
    She had exactly, natal Mars in Cancer.

  34. Jasper Fields 5 months ago

    Yeah, my family calls me the incredible hulk a lot. When I feel backed against a wall or taken advantage of or finally decide to stand up for myself hell hath no fury. It works out for me maybe a little more than half the time. I think the key is to control it and channel it into helping others that can’t or won’t stand up for themselves. I’m my most eloquent speaker in those moments. It’s like a form of anger magic. It would be nice to have it on command.
    Also, I heard sometime back that it’s an indication of taking advantage of power over people in a past life. That would make sense as I’ve had a series of people trying to control me for 30 years.

  35. Jesse 3 months ago

    I know it’s an old post but thank you for this, it’s so on point and articulated so well. I’m still studying all of this but this in particular really hit home. Aries Moon, Mars in Cancer. Leo Sun, Cancer rising. Sometimes I don’t know what to make of myself.

  36. Veera 2 months ago

    Great Post. I have mars conjunct jupiter in cancer, also the moon is in cancer but not conjuncted to the other 2. I was all my life more of an introvert. I tend to not get angry but to get lethargic and depressed. Once I got really really angry bc of a man who was teasing me and overstepping my boundaries and making me totally hot for him and never comuing to see me but promised that he would come and promised me marriage and love. Well, he was not all the way a jerk but a person who has issues. Anyway, first with that relationship I had several moments of feeling bursting from heath and really telling him I needed cool waters and I need to after the sauna to jump into the icewater and that i need cooling. I told him i am about to lose my cool. It happened even that i met up with a friend who was in the army at that time and for some reason to see his tools made me go like; can i wear the mashinegun and the helmet (and the friend is also a photographer) and we take pics of me wearing the gun.
    We did.
    Anyway then I felt like losing my mind with my love and i ( gad sent the pics to him too) and telling him that u am about to cry abd i needed him to hug me now and i needed to cry at his shoulders.
    My love didn’t come after I said this and ge did instead something tgat made me very suspicious and jealous. Well, i did explode. It felt like a blast from an atomic powerplant inside of me. After that blast i had lost the ability to feel inuitively. All was left was fear, suspicion, spinning scenarios in my head based on indices that are too little proof but too much to still do interpretation. It took me several years to get sort of back together. I did move in back with my parents at age 33 til 39. No marriage. I used to be pretty, skinny, have a diploma, had interests, but after my emotional blast and the discard of my love that followed my blowup, i was like split in half and not able to feel unity within myself. No intuition left and a mind that was overanalizing everything. I am virgo sun. …. ….

  37. Eric 2 months ago

    I can completely relate to this, in an eerie way. I, too, am blessed with Mars in Cancer, it’s wonderful for imaginative, creative outlets like art or music. Sadly, it’s also conjunct my Moon, both in the 1st house (but Gemini Rising). So “flash-bang-grenade” is a good description of my temper. Add in a Sun/Venus/Jupiter stellium in Leo in the 4th and I can be quite explosive, especially at home. But home is where I feel safe enough to show that volcano, and while I’m never violent or abusive in any way, protecting my family would be done mercilessly. Thanks for the entertaining and thought provoking read 🙂

  38. Edward Tian 3 weeks ago

    I have Mars in Cancer in the 8th House. I am a male mother hen. I have rescued and revived the downtrodden, the disenfranchised and those without hope. My Venus is in Leo and my Sun is in Virgo and Moon in Scorpio. My forte is historical research. And my Mars in Cancer in the 8th House is the perfect position for it. As the famous cyclist said of Edith Piaf, “Forty-eight hours together is more intense than the Tour de France.” The well of intimacy is never-ending. It perpeuates itself. The more sex causes more sex. Males and females are always enjoyable.

  39. Eileen 2 weeks ago

    Great, great read, would love a sequel with coping strategies 🙂 I am here researching my synastry with a guy – his Mars is exactly on the 28th degree of Cancer, and my Venus exactly opposite, on the 28th of Capricorn. We are both Aries ASCs, he is a Cancer and I’m a Sag. Does anyone have similar experiences?


  1. […] our energy sapped, drained.  Again, not EVERYone gets zapped, but many of us do feel drained.  Cancer is one of the worst placements for Mars, said by the ancients (and traditionalists) to be in …  (You can still “get things done,” but martians of all kinds have difficulty now, and […]

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