Full Moon in Cancer: How to be more authentic (even when it feels terrifying)

This month’s Full Moon in Cancer helps us explore where we might be walling off emotionally tender spots, limiting our ability to expand into our fullness of Self and live with greater authenticity.

Let’s break it down by exploring some of the astrological influences at play right now.

For starters, the Full Moon occurs in Cancer, a sign with a nurturing, protective, emotional vibe.

When we’re not tending to this energy, it can begin to express as clinginess, defensiveness, or feeling hypersensitive to real or perceived slights.

So let’s first look at which house Cancer rules in your natal chart.

(You can get your chart for free here.)

Here are some keywords for each house, to help you get a sense of the “department” of your life we’ll be focusing on:

1: self, how others see you, outward personality, vitality/life force

2: resources, possessions, self-worth, values, material world

3: communication, siblings and extended family, immediate environment

4: parents, psychological foundations, lineage, home

5: creative energy, children, self-expression, sex

6: work, daily routines, duties, health and wellness

7: committed partnerships, agreements and contracts with others

8: death, mental health, shared resources, taboo or hidden things

9: broadening perspectives (travel, education, philosophy), abstract thinking

10: career, public self, your position in the world, vocation

11: friends, community (your networks), hopes and dreams, good fortune

12: the hidden aspects of life, sorrow, moving inward, overcoming loss

Looking at the area of life ruled by Cancer in your chart, do you get an intuitive sense of:

Something that feels a bit tender or sensitive?

An inner place you’ve been giving a wide berth, wary about triggering it, perhaps because it dredges up intense or persistent, nagging emotions or ruminative thoughts?

Something you prefer to keep private, perhaps because it feels embarrassing or even shameful, something you might feel defensive if someone else were to point it out?

It’s helpful to jot down any thoughts in your journal, so common threads become easier to tease out.

Now, let’s add in the Venus retrograde energy that’s still swirling about.

And in particular, we’re going to focus on how this energy can help with something I call “useful disillusionment.”

We all have fantasies that help us dull the hardships and anxieties of life.

Some of these fantasies we might have inherited—I was raised, in part, by my grandma who suffers from mental illness, and interacting with her was like stepping into a haze world of altered reality.

A great deal of my inner work has revolved around recognizing when I’m living in these ancestral fantasies, so I can forge a path to clearer vantage points.

To my inner child parts who inhabited the heightened, glittery ambience of fantasy, reality can feel humdrum or too harsh, like an endless strip mall of gritty realness.

For me, healthy disillusionment invites me to stay present, to resist my inner part’s knee-jerk desire to recoil and dive back into the glow of unreality,

and instead to be with what is, what’s here, what’s happening now.

The paradox is that, as I stay in the real…

…I’ve found astonishing magic with infinitely more depth and richness than what my artificially constructed fantasy world promises but can never truly deliver.

For instance, I’m better able to relate to people (and myself) as they are, not as I fervently imagine them to be,

cycling between perceiving them in an aura of idealization followed by plummeting disappointment when they “betray” me by being human.

So in this area of life you’ve identified from your natal chart…

…do you have a sense of where fantasy might be filling in some gaps, spots where things feel a little too real to your inner parts?

These might be areas where, if you linger, you experience nagging self-doubt, like you’re not quite sure how to handle what might arise.

It could even feel embarrassing or even shameful that you don’t feel as capable as you’d like in this area.

For instance, in my life, when people asserted their selfhood in relationships, clashing with my fantasy image of them, I had many parts who felt utterly ill equipped to deal with all of the unknown variables.

What if they hurt me? What if they left? What if I can’t trust them? What if what if what if???

This was an area inviting profound growth.

I hadn’t been raised in a way that developed my skills and resilience in this area, so I had to go out and start learning these things.

I had to practice setting boundaries…and practice hearing and honoring other people’s.

If my husband wasn’t up for hiking when I wanted to, it might sound like a no brainer if you were raised differently, but I had to learn how to take care of my inner parts…

…parts who felt torn between my desire to hit the trails versus the fear of my husband going off and doing something else while I hiked.

Throughout this process, I remember all of the interim coping strategies my parts employed, such as:

– resentfully going on the hike to show him that I didn’t need him (defensively walling off my fear of abandonment with anger)

– going on the hike and ruminating the entire time (so relaxing!)

– or foregoing the hike and passive-aggressively trying to make my husband feel responsible for my cooped-up unhappiness.

And let me tell you, sharing this feels vulnerable!

I had parts who carried massive shame around these coping strategies, and that shame, for many years, kept me from being able to look at, and begin healing, these patterns.

Those parts wanted me to be this charmingly aloof, so-cool girlfriend that was naturally confident and easygoing (all while looking devastatingly beautiful, of course)…

…and when the shame of how I was actually feeling and behaving became too uncomfortable, cue the fantasy reel!

Working through these learned dynamics has been a HUGE (omg so huge) part of my growth.

And it required taking one step, and then another, and another, out of the protective haze of contrived fantasy into a more intimate encounter with the unpredictable real.

As you explore spaces where fantasy might be filling in the gaps…

…these are potent areas where you can learn new skills, skills that will help you expand into the fullness of your authentic Self.

And the energy of the Moon’s trine with Jupiter only serves to heighten the radical expansion, the abundance and good fortune that awaits as you gently explore those tender, protected spots.

The less we rely on fantasy (which can include the fantasy that we can control other people and the unpredictable energy of life)…

…the more we build the skills and resilience that help us navigate life as it is, without needing to pretend that we or other people are something we’re not.

This unleashes massive amounts of energy…

…the energy that comes with living authentically and allowing others to do the same, because think about it:

That authenticity is always there, yearning to be free, straining against our constraints, seeking to express itself with vibrant abandon.

The amount of energy it takes to wall off that dazzlingly powerful flow is unfathomable, and we can spend so much of our precious life force keeping our realness at bay.

This Full Moon, let’s keep dismantling those inner walls…

…moving at a pace that feels nurturing and supportive to you (there’s no finish line we’re racing off to).

And as the magical adage reminds us, where there’s fear, there’s power.

The cosmic, astrological energies, and the energy of our countless fellow humans, past, present, and future, who are striving to simply be who they are

…day by day, choice by choice…

…our efforts add to the collective wellspring.

We can inspire one another to show up with more authenticity, more vulnerability, more courage, even when—especially when—we feel afraid.

Together, we can change anything.

Happy Full Moon!

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