Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Home Body / Body Astrology: Cancer

Esopus Creek in the summer.

In the previous workshop that I facilitated with Margherita, I joked that each session that we design feels like Mission Impossible: Your mission, should you choose to accept it…

As I was writing the “breakdown” for Cancer I felt positively stumped. I knew all of the fascinating components of Cancer that needed addressing, but when it came to recommending embodied practice, I couldn’t think of anything that didn’t seem too personal…too much like therapy or acting class. How do you teach this deeply emotional and watery energy in a public group setting? We want people to feel, but we don’t want to create an uncomfortable sob-fest. How do you teach the most private and sensitive sign in a way that people can still manage?

Margherita had the wonderful idea of introducing the work of Noguchi Taiso, butoh artist. In this practice we experience the idea of “the water body;” a body whose strength lies in its tenderness.

Body Astrology Workshop Primer: Cancer

Even though we’re just coming out of Gemini season, it’s actually Cancer that I find very dualistic…but in a more binary way:

A hard container…for fluids.
A tough exterior…that contains a gushy inside.
An initiating force…that’s always changing.
It has to close itself off…because it’s so receptive.

The Obvious:
Its symbol is the crab; it’s so home-loving that it carries its home wherever it goes. It rules motherhood; bodies that create life and feed life. It is nourishment and nutrients. It’s the past, our families of origin, and psychic history. It’s our mushy-gushy feeling bodies (sentimentality, emotion, organs, vital fluids and viscera) and what protects them (exoskeleton, defense mechanisms and tactics, institutions, and traditions).

Cardinal. Protective Action. Cancer is the second cardinal sign of the zodiac. It ushers in the summer and solstice, the longest day of the year. So here again we have an initiating action. With Cancer that instinctive action is to protect and defend in the name of emotional security. For all of its home loving, homebody, nurturing mamma vibes, Cancer is serious business. You do not want to mess with its sense of family, home turf/territory, or devotion. Think: fierce mama bear. Think: homeland security.

Water. Primal emotion. This is the first water sign we’re working with. This is the feeling nature of the body, which is different than the sensation –nature of the body.  Emotions are tricky because they move and shift constantly (unlike earth), they speak a language and communicate to the body independent of thought forms and verbal structures (unlike air),  and they don’t necessarily animate the body (unlike fire).

Yin. In Cancer the yin energy is emotional introspection and sympathy. The Cancerian feeling nature draws the emotional tone of the people, places and things around it, to itself to find sympathetic feelings within it. Out of balance, this sympathetic nature can turn into over identification with the things, people or environment it surrounds itself with. Instead of direct expression of feelings, the yin nature has a tendency to project.

Body Parts:
Stomach, breasts, bodily fluids, female reproductive organs, and subconscious mind.

***Cancer is ruled by the moon; the uber feminine/lunar principle. The moon rules the subconscious, memory, and habits and travels quickly producing lots of change. It rules bodily fluids and the tides. A typical menstrual cycle mirrors the lunar cycles.

Embodied explorations: 

Vinyasa sequences inspired by the moon phases…practiced to the rhythm of the tides.

Breathing into a released belly. Relax into the emotions that bubble up.

Releasing muscular tension specifically to release “over defended” emotional centers in the body. 

Pelvic floor work.

Anything that speaks to creating a safe container for our most sensitive emotional contents, but allows for the liquid nature of emotions to move. (LIKE OUR UPCOMING BODY ASTROLOGY WORKSHOP).

Anything that creates a home inside the body or a home base of movement.

Anything that addresses the movement of lymph and blood.

Get creative! Happy summer!