So You're A Cancer Rising — Here's How To Thrive, According To Experts
You may know your sun sign in astrology, and maybe even your moon sign—but your rising sign can clue you in to how you show up in the world and how other people perceive you.
In the case of Cancer risings, they might be sweet and sentimental, but crabs still have pincers, so don't underestimate them. If you or someone you know is a Cancer rising, here's what to keep in mind.
What is a rising sign anyway?
Your rising sign, also known as your "ascendant," is the zodiac sign that was rising over the eastern horizon the moment you were born. Where your sun sign relates to the position of the sun relative to the astrological year (i.e., you were born during Libra season or Taurus season), your rising sign relates to the position of the sun relative to the time of day. (The sun spends about two hours traveling through each sign every day.)
Your rising sign reveals how you interact with the world, from your appearance to your attitude to the first impressions you make on others. For example, a Leo sun with a Cancer rising will likely exhibit Cancer-like traits you wouldn't expect from typical Leo energy, or will even physically look more like a Cancer.
Your rising sign also determines where your first house of identity falls in your chart (your ascendant is always your first house), which sets the stage for the rest of the houses in your chart.
As the AstroTwins previously wrote for mindbodygreen, "The zodiac wheel begins with the first house, which represents where the sun was rising over the eastern horizon at your moment of birth and governs the self, the identity, and your first impression. The houses then move counterclockwise around the zodiacal wheel and ripple out to broader themes of family/home life, society, and beyond."
An introduction to Cancer
- Ruling planet: the Moon
- Element: Water
- Modality: Cardinal
- Represented by: the Crab
- Glyph: ♋️
- House association: Fourth house
Cancers also tend to be very in tune with their environments. Like the moon mirrors the light of the sun, this sign can reflect the energy of the world around them.
In astrology, the moon also speaks to the home: where we came from, our roots, and how we recharge. So feeling at home is often very important for typical Cancerians, as is having time for rest and reflection. (Think of the crab retreating into its shell.)
Finally, as a cardinal sign, Cancer is associated with beginnings, origins, and the waters of the womb. This sign is all about growth, nourishment, and comfort. How do we feel at home in our bodies, in the universe, in our communities? How do we connect to our lineage? These are all Cancer questions.
Cancer rising basics
Cancer risings are sensitive, sentimental, and highly attuned to the moon. According to astrologer Kayse Budd, M.D., they also happen to be some of the moodiest (and most intuitive) people around, because their ruling planet is the moon—which, of course, changes signs roughly every 2.5 days.
"The sign of the current or transiting moon dictates the quality of a Cancer rising person's day," Budd tells mindbodygreen. For instance, they'll feel more generous on Leo moon days, more chatty during Gemini moon days, and more emotional during Pisces moon days, she explains.
Your rising sign also influences your appearance, with Cancer rising's faces tending to mimic the moon. "They often have a sort of luminous glow to their appearance, especially in the face. Some of them have a rounded face, like the moon, with shining eyes," Budd adds.
In terms of their strengths, Cancer risings are extremely compassionate, loving, caring, and gentle. Cancer represents the archetypal mother in astrology, so these people have an inclination towards nurturing, supporting others, and being kind. "They're usually a good cook and excellent at creating a homey environment with a sense of comfort and worth," Budd notes, adding they also typically have great memories and enjoy history.
In terms of their weaknesses, however, they can tend to live in the past. Budd tells mindbodygreen they might have a hard time letting go of old loves, heartache, what could have been, etc. "They take things super personally. They feel exposed and vulnerable easily and have a low threshold for feeling like something they said was an 'overshare,'" she adds.
Cancer risings can also become quite attached to people, places, and things, according to Budd, who notes they have strong homebody tendencies, which isn't necessarily a weakness, unless they get too isolated.
Cancer rising key traits:
- Good memory
Cancer rising celebrities
- Angelina Jolie
- Margot Robbie
- Kanye West
- Elisabeth Moss
- Meghan Markle
- Arnold Schwarzenegger
- Kurt Russell
- Lisa Kudrow
- Matt LeBlanc
- Billy Joel
- Tyra Banks
Cancer risings in love
In love, Budd says your typical Cancer rising will like a lot of emotional connection and sensitivity in a partner. "They also usually appreciate and are balanced by someone with grounded stability," she adds.
That's because Capricorn—which happens to represent the Father archetype and is all about structure and stability—rules over Cancer risings' seventh house of longterm partnership. Their fifth house of romance and fertility, however, is ruled by Scorpio, the sign of sex and mystery. So don't be surprised if your sweet Cancer rising love interest is spicier in the bedroom than you'd anticipated.
That said, Budd notes they don't usually enjoy feeling rushed or pushed. "They like to flow and follow their own momentum when possible," she says, adding that they'll naturally take on a nurturing role in relationships and are very domestic.
Whether it's cooking, cleaning, gardening, sewing, baking, crafting, or taking care of the plants, pets, children, or family members, a Cancer rising will want to do it.
And given that these are sensitive people, Budd explains that they need to feel safe in order to truly open up with someone. "They tend to spend a lot of time at home, so do well with someone else who enjoys that or doesn't mind if they don't join in on all activities," she notes.
Cancer risings in the workplace
At work, Cancer risings do well in roles that involve emotional connection and any of their strengths (compassion, nurturing, etc.), according to Budd. They do well in care-giving roles, she explains, whether that's nursing, social work, therapy, or any other healing modality.
And sticking with their domestic strengths, Budd adds Cancer risings will also do well in careers involving food, homes, gardens, women, and children.
But homemaking and nurturing aside, they can be found in plenty of other professions, so long as the job suits their strengths. As Budd explains, "They generally are more indirect in their approach—others are likely to come to them for support and they'll get their feelings hurt if criticized."
And P.S.: If you work with a Cancer rising and have to deliver criticism, it's best to give them feedback in an indirect manner, padded with positive and supportive statements, Budd says. "They will often retreat (as if into their shell) if things get too intense or uncomfortable," she explains.
How to thrive as a Cancer rising
Each of the 12 risings signs have different ways they thrive and feel their best, and for Cancer risings, according to Budd, they thrive when they are able to nurture others in some way. "They are loving and compassionate and generally enjoy sharing this energy with others," she explains.
And according to the AstroTwins, not only do all the water signs want security and a comfortable home base, but they need activities that foster the mind-body-spirit connection, too. "They do well with yoga or anything by the water," the twins previously told mindbodygreen, adding that "movement is important for the water and emotions to flow."
And speaking of emotions flowing, learning how to manage those emotions in a healthy way is part of the growth journey for Cancer risings. Otherwise, the twins explain, they can feel oversaturated and bogged down by their own emotional world.
What is a Cancer rising?
To be a Cancer rising means the sun was rising over the eastern horizon in the sign of Cancer when you were born, and that the face you show to the world is Cancer-like.
What does a Cancer rising look like?
Cancer rising's faces tending to mimic the moon. They often have a luminous glow to their appearance, especially in the face. Some of them have a rounded face, like the moon, with shining eyes.
What do Cancer risings attract?
Cancer risings often attract Capricorn risings, because they are opposite signs and rule each other's seventh house of partnership.
What are Cancer rising flaws?
Cancer risings can tend to live in the past, and might have a hard time letting go of old loves, heartache, what could have been, etc. They also take things personally and feel exposed or vulnerable easily.
Astrology is so much more than your sun sign, with your rising sign actually being the placement that determines the rest of your birth chart and how the world sees you. And for Cancer risings, while they do have a moody streak, they're some of the most warm and caring people you'll ever meet.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.