Mercury next retrogrades in Cancer from 4 July to 29 July. Stephen Arroyo sums up the qualities of Mercury in Cancer as such:

  • Communicates emotionally, instinctively, and sensitively; is protective of one’s own thoughts
  • Learns through absorption, relying on feelings to make connections between bits of information
  • Nurtures new ideas until they blosson as creative skill
  • Good memory and retentive qualities contribute to learning abilities
  • Subconscious prejudices and fears can interfere with objectivity and attention to new ideas (63)

Cafe Astrology offers this take on people with Mercury in Cancer. I would like to draw attention to two points:

The truth is, these people remember the mood surrounding all the moments they have stored in their memory. This is because they “feel you out” when you are talking to them. The words are not as important to them as the emotions behind them.

Mercury in Cancer retains a lot of information, and learns best when they feel emotionally balanced. They prefer to focus their concentration on subjects, and approach problems in a step-by-step manner, “feeling out” an answer.

As a Water sign, Moon-ruled Cancer expresses itself emotiionally and emphatically. However, where Pisces’ mutable nature makes it adaptive, Cancer’s cardinal nature makes it more reactive. Cardinal signs initiate projects, events and actions, and although Cancer generally avoids confrontation, you can be sure you’ll notice it is hurt, upset, or displeased.

The need for emotional balance coupled with the ability to empathise with another makes people with Mercury in Cancer sensitive, and reactive, to other people’s changing emotions. Positively expressed or experienced, this makes for a generous, supportive listener; negatively expressed or experienced, can make for defensiveness, and since Cancer is not a confrontational sign, the Crab can ‘clam up’, sulk, or internalise the negative emotions. This withdrawal is necessary for Cancer’s self-preservation, though it may frustrate other more active signs, such as Aries or Gemini, who are wont to perceive Mercury in Cancer’s behaviour as ‘passive-aggressive’.

In the next post, I’ll be having look at what it means for Mercury to retrograde in Cancer, and whether the retrograde means that Cancer’s emotive equilibrium is thrown off-kilter.

Arroyo, Stephen. Chart Interpretation Handbook. Sebastapol, Ca.: CRCS, 1989.
Cafe Astrology. ‘Mercury in Cancer’. Accessed 13 June 2006.