This is How it Feels: Mercury in Cancer

Water on the Brain. Pic by me.
Water on the Brain. Pic by me.

This is how it feels
When you wait for a call that never comes
Are you waking up ’cause you miss someone?
This is how it feels
When the trust you had is broken,
And you’re left to burn with your heart wide open

Think about the last time you had your heart broken. Or even the last time somebody hurt you or upset you or took you for granted. How did you react? Did you confront that person? Did you talk to them about it? How quickly did you get over it? Have you still not moved on? Did you assume that they would know they had hurt you? Did you sit in your room and play songs that reminded you of times you had together? Maybe you have songs that say exactly how you feel. Perhaps, like me, you play over and over songs that you wish you could dump to a CD and send it off to them with a message that reads something like:

In this CD is everything that I am wanting to say to you that I feel, but just can’t…so this is how it feels…

Whilst the sign that the Moon is in will show how you instinctively and emotionally react to situations, the sign that Mercury is in tells us a lot about how we think, how we communicate, how we learn and how we connect different pieces of information together.

When Mercury is in a Water sign, emotions, feelings and environmental moods are what matters. Emotions motivate thought, word and deed. If you have Mercury in a Water sign, you may have problems expressing how it feels. My bet is that if you have Mercury in a water sign when your heart was last broken, the following would have occurred:

  • You didn’t talk to him about it
  • In fact you didn’t really properly talk to anyone about it
  • If it was unrequited, probably no one but you knows about it
  • No, you haven’t moved on
  • No you haven’t got over it
  • But you’re still not telling anyone
  • Surely he knows how hurt you are…or he would if he really knew you at all…

Ask the same question of an Air Mercury and you will get a very different result.

And if there was a conversation, it would go something like this:

‘Do you want to talk about what happened?’

‘Do you think we need to talk about what happened?’

‘I thought that maybe we should…’

‘Really? Why?’

‘Maybe we don’t need to talk about it…’

‘No, it’s not such a great idea, is it?’

‘Are we cool?’

‘Yep, all OK…’

It’s not…

People with Mercury in Water signs are unable to detach emotionally from a problem or situation. Because they feel it or sense it, they often assume that those around them are also able to absorb knowledge at an emotional level as well. They assume that the words don’t need to be said…and between watery people, quite often they don’t!

I had a recent-ish deep and meaningful conversation with a fellow 12th house Pisces Mercury. At least we called it a D&M… By the end of it, I like to think we both knew what the other had said and how the situation had made each of us feel. To any Mercury in Gemini listening on, the result would have been utter confusion.

Where Mercury in Gemini makes connections between disparate pieces of information using words, Mercury in Cancer will rely on feelings and moods to make the same connections. Where Mercury in Gemini will then want to talk about it, Mercury in Cancer will tuck those thoughts and ideas into the protection of her shell and grow them and nurture them until they are strong and secure enough to stand on their own. Only when she feels that it is safe will she disclose them.

Even at this point, she will often choose her words carefully to avoid risking those emotions which make her so very vulnerable. When she does speak, she does so instinctively, with sensitivity and with an amazing ability to feel the mood of her audience. Mercury in Cancer will soften and personalise even the most chatty and inquisitive of Gemini suns or the proudest of Leo Suns.

A Gemini friend has the Moon and Mercury in very tight conjunction in Cancer in the 4th house. She listens carefully and she is deeply caring.  The words she uses and writes are careful, thoughtful, heartfelt and sentimental- without any sickly sweet aftertastes. She treasures the past and the history of our friendship. What she rarely speaks of is how she feels, but above all, she remembers everything.

In the body, Cancer rules the parts of the body which act as “containers”- the stomach, breasts, uterus. In this way, Cancer is very much an enclosing and protective sign. So it is that Mercury in Cancer holds and protects memories. Her ability to recall information is particularly valuable when it comes to problem solving and study.

She will remember conversations, events, anniversaries, arguments and slights (real or imagined). She remembers events from her past and from your past and from your shared past. She may not talk about it, but she will remember. Rest assured, when the birthday card arrives, it will tell you all you need to know- and then some. This is feeling beyond logic, words to treasure and adding warmth to known truths.

This also means that Mercury in Cancer is able to hold a grudge longer than many other signs…but doesn’t tend to have the revenge fantasies that Mercury in Scorpio is capable of.

She will assume that your memory is as clear and retentive as her own. What she uses to access and catalogue these memories is mood and emotion. How did the event, person, conversation make her feel? What was the mood of the conversation? What was the mood of the event? What emotions were raised?

If you happened to mention in passing that it would be great to catch up when you are next in town, Mercury in Cancer will look forward to it and then feel let down when you don’t contact her. You, in the meantime, have completely forgotten even making the comment. Will she say anything? Nope, but she will remember. She will also assume that you know she feels hurt.

Perhaps something reminds you that she seemed a little pre-occupied about a problem at work last time you spoke. You send her a quick text:

Hey there, thinking bout u. All OK? J

She sends back a quick one-line:

All good. Tx for asking J

She is touched that you asked. In her mind, you have proven to be as tuned into her emotions as she is to those of everyone else. Will she say anything? Probably not. But she will remember. You, on the other hand, have already forgotten about it.

When talking to Mercury in Cancer, she will be listening to you, but also “feeling” you. She knows that “fine” usually means anything but! What you are saying will not be as important to her as the emotions she is hearing behind the words. No matter how she may personally judge a situation, she is able to empathise with you. She knows you may not want a solution and will simply provide an ear.

Because she is looking for the meaning behind the words, Mercury in Cancer can take what you say personally and defensively- even when what you said was not intended to cause offense. This comes back to Cancers’ need to protect her emotions. Because she is reluctant to share how she feels (if you really knew her and really cared about her you would just know) it can be hard for those around her to know just which subjects should be avoided or at least treated with more care. She isn’t really hiding anything, she just credits everyone else with the same level of intuition and sensitivity as she has.

When faced with something new or confronting Mercury in Cancer will withdraw into her shell in order to explore and absorb the new information away from the jangling emotions of others. This allows her to make decisions which are more objective and intuitive than they otherwise would be. If you push for a quick answer from Mercury in Cancer, it will generally be “no”.

Mercury in Cancer prefers to avoid arguments and conflict wherever possible. Passive-aggressive is her preferred method of attack. A simple “fine” can contain a myriad of alternative meanings. She will then retreat to her shell where she can replay the conversation along with the verbal responses she could have and should have used.

She will be hurt that you don’t know how she feels and may wish that she could tell you, but knows that she never will. Anyone who has Mercury in Cancer needs a safe environment within which to disclose these emotions. A journal (preferably with a lock or password protection) is an absolute must…chocolate also helps.

Mercury in Cancer may also be drawn to poetry and song lyrics. There is something so very special about hitting on a line or a verse that says exactly what you can’t. I have this theory that some of the best poetry and most emotionally inspired songs are written by Mercury in Cancer in what I call “shell-mode”.

Coming back to my heartbreak scenario, Mercury in Cancer may wish she could send him the poem or the lyrics…but of course she won’t. Anyway, she reasons, if he really cared, he would know.

By the way….if you have the Moon in tight aspect to Mercury (especially the conjunction, square or opposition…you may also find yourself nodding in agreement…as you search through your itunes list for that song…

You wanted me, not to tell me why
Why and how you had the heart to f**k up my whole life
That’s just so you

And now I’ve moved on by myself
And maybe I won’t forgive
I’ll just forget you lived
And I hope it hurts

Wasn’t it me you tried to blame?
Wasn’t it me you threw away?
But before you go there’s something you should know …

This is how it feels…

Lyrics from “This is How it Feels”, by The Veronicas

This post was first published last year & has been updated slightly in the interests of allowing me to get my deadlines met!