Cancer – Characteristics & Personality Traits
In midsummer the year’s apex is reached. The month after summer solstice is a hot one. Time slows. Light begins to wane a little every day. In human life, this is the season of the child.
Growth has flourished freely and now life faces a responsibility, that of obeying its natural imperative and fulfilling its duty to its own species — budding to reproduce, learning to hunt or to gather, swimming upstream to spawn, going to school.
The season sobers us some from the sometimes giddy self-indulgence of spring and toddlerhood. The sobriety feels good if it is not imposed too suddenly. We begin haltingly to take ourselves seriously and notice how we are like and different from those around us.
Belonging is critical now. We gain a sense of clan and family as different from outsiders; we tend to trust “us” implicitly and be cautious of “them.” We learn about friendship, and how any friend is sometimes one of “us,” and just as surely sometimes one of “them.” This is the season’s conundrum.
At this stage, we also learn about duty and consequences, about right and wrong. We find the limits which the Gemini toddler searched for, and we learn to (mostly) live inside them, because we discover that life is easier if we do.
Gemini’s factual world, the world as it simply is, has given way to a more changeable place in which In the bright light of summer, the creatures of earth, plant and animal, reveal their authentic natures most fully. This is a time of discernment and differentiation.
In toddlerhood, we discovered what is pleasant to us and what is not; now we notice that others have pleasures different from our own. We also encounter standards of right and wrong operating around us. Right, unfortunately does not always align with pleasant; nor does wrong always align with unpleasant.
Choosing between pleasant and right is no easy task when the two are opposed. We sometimes cling tenaciously to our own preferences and rebel against the prevailing standards, but temper tantrums are not allowed as they were in Taurus’ season. Excesses aren’t forgiven now as easily as in our Gemini phase. So we learn to hide our pleasures from the clear light of day or the scrutiny of others. If we’re very successful, we learn how to gain approval for our own wishes.
Discipline, or at least the appearance of discipline, is important if we are to achieve belonging. Our response to limits begins to shape our identity and confer upon us character.
In any cycle, the Cancer phase is about shaping identity in the best possible light. Put differently, the Cancer phase is about integrating what’s new into what already is so that both benefit.
Leo – Characteristics & Personality Traits
The air is so very still now; somewhere a drone hums. The relentless warmth at once saps our energies and makes us restless. We’re ready for change, surprise, a freshet of wind. Even the rivers are sluggish. It’s not that life is tough. Maybe it’s all too easy.
Horses stand still in this season, swatting flies with their tails; dogs scratch. We all itch for something, and we don’t quite know what it is. As still as the world is just now, we’re not still; something stirs inside, perhaps to balance all that stillness, or jolt it into motion. Surely there must be more to life than this.
Leo’s urge to stir up what’s stagnant, jolt what’s staid, inert, boring, but the means are not at hand yet. In human life, Leo is the season of adolescence.
By adolescence, we’ve been sheltered and disciplined. Now we’ve come of age, or so we believe. It’s time to declare ourselves, lest we become a mere clone of whatever has gone on before. So we experiment with image and costume. We try on styles. We work to create an identity different from others, but one which will attract attention.
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The most outrageous blossoms occur now, replacing the tiny wildflowers and treeflowers of Gemini’s season, and the mundane blossoms of summer. It’s the time for outrageous bloomings–blazing stars, dahlias, peonies. Treeflowers have gone to (unripe) fruit in Leo’s season.
A long spring and summer may have given us terrific confidence. At this stage of a cycle, real hardship has yet to be encountered. There may be a feeling that we’re not taken seriously because we’ve never met a challenge or had a surmounted a genuine difficulty. We’ve been sheltered, protected.
In tribal societies, vision quests and rites of passage occur in this season, of both the year and of life. A tough challenge is imposed now so that one will be ready to meet circumstantial challenges later. Upon return from lonely nights of dreaming on the mountain, the young person is reckoned with, even celebrated. Leo expects and needs recognition. The task of standing up to be reckoned has been formidable.
In our own society, we provide no rites of passage for our young, who create their own by testing themselves against available dangers.
Leo is the season of facing fears, going forward in the face of danger, enduring what frightens. Courage isn’t required so much as will, specifically the will to show up. The imperative is to dare to be unique, different from convention, self-expressive, creative.
The alternative is to merely repeat an earlier pattern, live someone else’s life, reinvent the wheel. What Leo really requires of us is the willingness to look foolish, for Leo’s peonies and adolescents often do. It’s a necessary foolishness.
Libra – Characteristics & Personality Traits
Seeds scatter now. and golden leaves swirl into heaps. There is great beauty in the twilight season of the year, beauty which sighs. It will not last long.
We goes about on the best days to feel the wind’s prophecy, and look back wistfully at the easy days of summer. Melancholy seems a proper worship for the season, but it can distract us from the tasks at hand.
Libra is a time of reflection, a time of taking in, a time of measuring the harvest against what’s expected of winter. Evaluation occurs. Was it a good summer? Will it be a hard winter? Will there be enough?
Everything depends on what we have done with our youth. And regardless of all the measures, the landscape and blue sky are so utterly lovely. Just now there is plenty, more than enough. Perhaps a feast is in store while we have it. Clans draw in from the boundaries.
The hearth and those around it become important. It feels good to be inside. It feels good to be near warmth. The unknown is upon us, and we don’t want to encounter it alone.
Tasks now demand group effort, peaceful cooperation, system, and pattern. Collective resources are distributed. Fairness is important, or feuding may ensue. We weigh and measure and give each one his due. We expect equity from others and ourselves; when it is not forthcoming, we smoulder with resentment.
In life this is young adulthood, once one has established at least a tentative place in the world and a job to do. Now thoughts turn toward coupling, to beginning a family or clan of one’s own. Winter is ahead; it will not do to sleep cold. The idealization of the previous months, if they’ve failed to inspire (Leo) or earn (Virgo) a worthy mate, is ebbing, but it sings a sweet swan song.
We may seize upon a giddy optimism in this season. I have only what I have, but I can embellish appearances, says Libra. Look! The dying leaves are more beautiful than summer’s roses, and some days I can ride wanton on a gold leafed wind. The sun has set, but the sky is so colorful.
Thus Libra often settles for however love presents itself, not because of lack of self esteem (Libra’s larders are full) but out of conviction that anyone gazed upon fondly enough will become luminous and golden.
The Libra phase of a cycle is its fulfillment. It is the beginning of reflection and evaluation. The activity for this phase is to take stock, to weigh and measure. The challenge is accept what is while profiting from what has been.
This is the time when we leave behind our former aggressive imperatives to emerge, explore, individuate, discover and express ourselves. Our egos begin dissolving, if we let them; our attention turns to merging. Surrender is what’s asked of us.