This describes a placement for Mars that can make the red, hot planet feel watered down. Mars is the quintessential “manly man.” Its glyph is the symbol for male which is a circle with a pointed phallus directed upwards, which describes its energy. Mars stands for strength, competitiveness, anger, aggression, sex drive, vigor and the eagerness to fight. Mars is all about the raw passion within that drives us to act. It is devoid of tact, because that is the realm of Mercury. It is devoid of finesse, because that is the realm of Venus. Mars in its pure form wants to jump up and go without giving much thought or doing it in a graceful fashion. He is the soldier who is ready to receive and act on orders from the general, which in astrology is the role of the Sun. In other words, Mars will bring it on when it is on the battleground ready to fight or fornicate.
When you have this martial planet in the sign of Cancer, it feels out of its element. In this water sign, it moves sideways like the zodiacal crab. Its energy becomes indirect and it can even feel inadequate here as it is taking on the energy of the opposite sign of its exaltation. Mars is exalted in Capricorn, who is the ambitious, achievement-oriented, mountain-climbing sea goat. Mars feels awesome in Capricorn because it feels invincible and like it can conquer anything. Up for any challenge, the sign of Capricorn possesses a style in which it can move with a whole lot of gumption and get tasks done. It’s the sign of the father, the CEO, or the headmaster. It loves to work tirelessly and as long as it has an end goal in sight, it will be sure to get there.
Now, take the opposite sign of Capricorn who is our watery crab friend Cancer, who can be found under water or hiding beneath the rocky reef or on rare occasions, sunbathing on the beach when it feels like the coast is clear. Its number one priority is to feel secure and ensure safety for itself and its loved ones. Cancer is soft, nurturing, mothering energy that likes to smother its family and friends with nourishment and hugs. Cancer’s domicile is the home and family, comfort foods and feelings. Ruled by the moon, she is sensitive. Natally, this is a placement that will make someone’s actions fueled by their emotions, and conversely, they will feel things proactively. They can be very in tune with their own and others’ feelings.
This can create the sort of melodrama that is found in reality TV shows. Imagine a scene of a dinner party attended by a bunch of couples. All of a sudden, a drunk female says to another female across the table, “What was that look you just gave my boyfriend? What? Are you throwing me shade? You bitch, I will rip your hair extensions out! Don’t even look at him!” What she’s really saying is you hurt my feelings, I am insecure that my boyfriend will leave me, I am sad, I must defend myself. Meanwhile, her friends are restraining her after she throws her drink across the table at the other woman. There is a lot of crying and alcohol-fueled rage being expressed, but no one is actually fist fighting or physically harming each other. This is Mars in Cancer when it is fired up. It is explosively emotional, yet passive in nature and has every intention to throw a fist for their loved ones, but will not do so unless truly provoked. Alcohol is an effective catalyst for this Mars as it is watery in nature and has the power to inflate emotions. Interestingly, Kyle Richards and Lisa Rinna, both cast members of the Housewives of Beverly Hills, have Mars in the 4th house, which is the house ruled by Cancer.
Some other celebs with Cancer Mars are Keanu Reeves (think of John Wick who goes on a murder rampage because someone killed his puppy who was a gift from his deceased wife), Robin Williams (whose work is prolific as the devoted family man; think Hook, Jumanji, Mrs. Doubtfire, The Birdcage, What Dreams May Come), Meghan Markle (who we recently know to have made huge decisions and moves in her life to protect her family), and Reese Witherspoon (who has built a strong identity as a mother and built an empire around it, like her book club and the tv shows she produces that are geared towards moms.)
Therefore, bringing Mars into this sign creates a fiercely protective quality that is ready to fight for its family, dearest friends or home. Mars in Cancer is about defense. It is passive aggressive fury that comes in waves of scalding water. It can only act when it feels positive. It will do anything for its loved ones, but when it feels sad or scared, it feels like it cannot get off the couch. A tip for trying to rally a Cancer Mars: make sure they feel secure and comfortable. Sometimes all it takes is a loving hug and some good food to spark this water Mars’ fire. Having this placement myself, I can definitely attest to that.