Welcome to Cancer Season 2021: Here's What You Need to Know

Here's what you can expect during the sun's annual trip through the sentimental, nurturing water sign.

Annually, from approximately June 20 to July 22, the sun makes its trip through the fourth sign of the zodiac, Cancer, the caregiving, sentimental, emotional, and deeply nurturing cardinal water sign. Throughout the Crab's season, no matter what sign you were born under, you're likely to feel more connected to your loved ones, home life, and nurturing your own emotional well-being. Cancer's big homebody energy can feel like a pretty shocking switch from Gemini's zippy, changeable, lively, and endlessly curious nature, but it can also be a welcome shift into a cozier, chiller pace that allows for truly soaking up some of summer's sweetest, most shimmering days.

The heartfelt water sign's season was tailor made for reuniting with family, spending lazy, sleepy weekends by your favorite lake or beach, nesting and giggling up a storm with your nearest and dearest. Sentimental, compassionate, and sensitive, those born under the influence of Cancer are pros at cracking up their inner circle with their signature goofy, endearing sense of humor and then preparing (or ordering in) the best comfort food meal you've ever had. To the Crab, food is a natural extension of how they nurture their loved ones, so it's no wonder their season is filled with plenty of opportunities to indulge with your VIPs, from Fourth of July parties to backyard BBQs and seaside bonfires.

But while the sun moves through Cancer every single year, the moon and planets move at different paces and patterns in our solar system, meaning we experience each sign's season in a unique way each time. Here's a glimpse at Cancer season 2021.

Design by Alex Sandoval

It might take a bit of time to rev back up to full speed.

After Gemini season presented us with two eclipses and a Mercury retrograde to boot, you might start Cancer season feeling downright drained. Even though the messenger planet goes direct on June 22, just two days into the Crab's moment in the sun, it'll take a little while for it to resume full speed, meaning communication issues, transportation delays, and tech glitches could still cause headaches until it's fully out of its post-retrograde shadow period on July 7. While there's no need to treat this time period like the retrograde itself, it lends itself to reflecting on anything you've discovered while slowing down. Think of it as the astrological equivalent of a cool down after a sweaty HIIT class — presenting an opp to catch your breath and think about what you've accomplished and learned before you move onto the next thing.

You could kick off a journey of internal growth.

Lucky Jupiter, which oversees big-picture, optimistic thinking, abundance, and prosperity, has an exaggerating, amplifying effect on everything it comes in contact with. When it's moving direct, it'll expand external matters. If it's moving through your fifth house of romance, you might see lots more matches, and if it's in your second house of income, you could have your pick of moneymaking hustles. But when its retrograde — as it will be from June 20 to October 17 — its expanding effect takes on a more internal vibe. You'll be more focused on soul-searching and getting clear on personal philosophies as well as your strategy for soaking up knowledge and bolstering your spirituality. This will be especially true as it moves back through empathic, psychic water sign Pisces until July 28. Then, it'll continue to back up in humanitarian, future-minded Aquarius, urging meditation on growth through community and team efforts.

Expect reality checks.

Jupiter's not the only transpersonal (aka outer) planet to go retrograde during Cancer SZN. Mystical Neptune, which oversees spirituality, dreams, psychic ability, illusion, kicks off its backward turn through Pisces on June 25. Until December 1, its tendency to cloud rational thought will be blunted, and you'll be nudged to take off the rose-colored glasses in whichever area of your life Neptune transits. For instance, if it's been in your seventh house of partnership, you might be telling yourself a comforting fairy tale about your S.O., but while Neptune is retrograde, it'll be tougher to dodge the truth of the matter. Sure, that sounds like it could be a rude awakening, but take heart that Neptune goes retrograde annually — and has been in Pisces since 2012 — so the lessons it plans to teach you during its backward turn are a long, slow, subtle build, and ultimately, the clarity it offers up can help you make more informed decisions down the road.

Fun-loving, confident Leo's invited to the party too.

Go-getter Mars has been in the Leo since June 11 and will hang out in the sign of the Lion until July 29. Then, romantic Venus joins the party from June 27 until July 21. While the planet of sex and the planet of love spend time in Leo, they'll infuse the Crab's season with a bit more passion, assertiveness, and confidence. Without this dose of fiery energy, you might be perfectly fine spending the next four weeks hosting friends at home and enjoying all of the wine and cheese from the comfort of your balcony. But these welcome Lion vibes can fuel steamy summertime adventures with loved ones.

Feelings around relationships — to yourself, your success, and others — take center stage.

Cancer season includes two major lunar events: a full "Strawberry Moon" in Capricorn on June 24, which forms a friendly sextile to lucky Jupiter, and a new moon in Cancer on July 9. The theme of the former is potentially redefining what professional rewards and recognition means to you. Thanks to the influence of fortunate Jupiter, it should be a more upbeat, optimism-packed full moon than others. (

On the other hand, the new moon in Cancer could be a bit tough emotionally, as Venus, the planet of love and money, will be squaring off against rebellious Uranus at the same time, indicating potentially challenging surprises related to finances and relationships. Thankfully, Uranus also forms a pleasant sextile to the new moon, allowing for breakthroughs and brainstorms that could quickly give way to healing solutions.

Maressa Brown is a writer and astrologer with more than 15 years of experience. In addition to being Shape's resident astrologer, she contributes to InStyle, Parents, Astrology.com, and more. Follow her Instagram and Twitter at @MaressaSylvie.

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