The sensitive and affectionate Cancer is a symbol of maternity. The posture of arms in front of the chest shows the mother's nature of protecting children. However, it also has another symbolic meaning: the baby in arms represents the helpless and weak ego while the arms in front of the chest show the Cancerian's strong self-protection awareness.
A story in the Greek mythology emphasizes the aggressiveness peculiar to Cancerians and the story is about Hercules, a legendary Greek hero. Hercules was the son of Zeus and the mortal woman Alcmene, thus was hated by Hera who was the wife of Zeus. According to the legend, Hera sent two snakes to kill Hercules when he was still a baby but the snakes were grabbed and strangled by Hercules. Later, Hercules became the greatest Greek hero and the strongest man in the world; even the Gods had to ask for his help to conquer the Giants. Hercules got married with Megara; they had children and lived a happy life. Due to the Hera's curse, however, Hercules killed his wife in a fit of madness.
To atone for his crime, Zeus ordered him to finish ten deeds and the second mission was killing the nine-headed Hydra. In the fierce battle, a giant crab came to help Hydra and it nipped his foot. However, Hercules crushed the crab and killed the monster Hydra inhabited in the swamp, which became the constellation Hydra.
Hera hated Hercules very much and she made the giant crab a constellation which could be seen in the southern sky in the nights of February and March.
Hercules was a mortal son of Zeus but Hera, the wife of Zeus, tried to kill him again and again. Hercules was also the greatest Greek hero and the strongest man in the world. There was nothing impossible for him and even the Gods had to ask for his help to conquer the Giants. Of course, Hercules had accomplished a lot for the Gods.
One day, he came to Mycenae and was prepared to be greeted as a hero but the king was ordered by Hera and asked him to kill the nine-headed Hydra inhabited in the swamp. It was very difficult because every time one head of Hydra was chopped off, another head would regrow quickly. Hercules came up with an idea of burning the Hydra's heads with fire, thus Hydra lost eight of its heads and had only one left. Hera was very angry and unwilling to accept the failure, so she sent a large crab to distract Hercules and the crab nipped his foot. However, Hercules was the strongest man in the world and he crushed the crab under his mighty foot. Hera failed again but she was sorrowful for the crab's sacrifice. In order to thank the crab for its loyalty, Hera put it in the sky, thus the constellation Cancer.
Cancer is originated from a Babylon legend. In Egypt, Cancer is symbolized by two turtles and it is sometimes referred to as "the Constellation of Water" or Allul (an unknown marine life), which show that Cancer is closely related with water. However, the detailed legend is lost.
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