The Current Predicament of Cancer: On the Front Lines with the chart of Marianne Williamson

by Kate Rusko

The transits of Pluto and Saturn on the Capricorn South Node have slowly but surely been levelling the playing fields that we have all known, and the time is coming for radically new structures. But what about the other side of the equation: what about the Cancer North Node? 

The spokespeople for upleveling the Cancer archetype, such as Marianne Williamson, are here to stir up our imagination, our disgust, our fears, and hopefully our love.

We are now half-way through our collective journey of the Cancer-Capricorn Nodal transit that began November 6th, 2018, when the Nodes shifted from Leo-Aquarius into Cancer-Capricorn. On May 4, 2020 the Nodes will move into Gemini-Sagittarius creating a nearly 18 month window.

The Nodal Time Track
In Shamanic Astrology, the Nodes are a time track. The South Node represents the past, the North Node the collective destination point. With the North Node in Cancer,  themes of tribe, home, family, parenthood, the “mother”, the child and caring have been front and centre this past year on the American political and social scene including border and nationality issues, health care debates, poverty crisis and international trade disputes.

The Cancer-Capricorn axis brings up the issue of responsibility: who is responsible for whom, and what does that responsibility realistically look like? What are its parameters? How far does it extend, and what happens when it is lacking? What is the proper balance between personal (Cancer) and impersonal (Capricorn) giving?

It is not hard to feel from all that is reported in the news that the archetype of Cancer is taking a terrible beating. Cancer is the archetype of the “mother”, the personal, empathic, connected giver. This entire nodal transit will have been under the challenging influence of the transit on the Capricorn south node of both Pluto and Saturn.

Although the deep transformational processes on the Capricorn end has been the focus of our attention, the archetype of Cancer must also go through it’s own metamorphosis. The Nodes need to be balanced in order to be healthy: one end supports the other. When one side is going through a heavy transformational processes, the other side is called to answer.

How is the North Node in Cancer Providing the Balance to the South Node in Capricorn?

So how is Cancer to provide the balance to Capricorn at a time when the sands are shifting under our collective feet? How is Cancer to provide a sense of safety, and say “Don’t worry – you will be alright” to its children? How can it say “be an innocent”? After all, what child today is not made aware that the Earth they are on is doomed?

In addition, the current information and technological age has created some very sophisticated hurdles for Cancer. Such as, how is Cancer to express its very personal form of nurturing in these times of virtual experience? How is the nature and definition of tribe impacted at a time when personal contact is being supplanted by 5G networks? And given our current collective state of consciousness, how do we even dare describe ourselves as a “global village”?

Well, not with the same old stories. Cancer needs a new narrative. And those with personal planets, angles and nodes on this axis are on the ‘front lines’ of birthing the next stage of this archetype. Once such person is Marianne Williamson, the spiritual teacher and author who is running for U.S. presidential candidate for the Democratic Party.

Marianne Williamson Natal Cancer/Capricorn Planets etc.
Williamson, with a Venus/Sun/Uranus conjunction in Cancer, a Capricorn Moon, Mars in Scorpio, Gemini ascendant and Mercury in fiery Leo (see chart below), is one of those people who’s current task it is to inspire us to shape a new Cancer narrative. She is playing her part in goading us to participate in this opportunity to grow out of static forms and embody an entirely different paradigm. After all, the next transits of Saturn and Pluto are in Aquarius: the new is coming.

The North Node is shining directly on Williamson’s Cancer planets this year, and has helped propel her into the spotlight, for better and for worse. Her bid for the presidency of the United Sates provides a remarkable real-time example of how the Cancer archetype is trying to re-imagine and re-invigorate its image by inserting itself in the political conversation.

The Nodes of the Moon
The South and North Node of the Moon mark points in space where the path of the Moon intersects with the ecliptic. Although only points in space, the Nodes provide a magical exception to what can be seen (what is visible has always been the emphasis of the Shamanic Astrology Mystery School). What the Nodes do is produce something spectacular that we can see – solar and lunar eclipses – when Full or New Moons occur near the Nodes.

When the Nodes conjunct a natal planet, node or angle, it’s as if the person gets to test drive the future-self qualities of that archetype in the real world and see how they “run” (pun intended). The Nodes don’t restrict like Saturn, or transform like Pluto, and they don’t break things apart like Uranus. Instead, they highlight, and the highlight is on what can work in terms of the archetype moving in the future… and what won’t.

Marianne’s Natal Cancer Signature
Williamson’s natal Cancer signature provides a lot of raw material for this process. She brings up the challenge of what kind of radical change it is going to really take, and the question of how far we are willing to go in terms of that change. With her Capricorn Moon and Venus/Sun conjunction in Cancer, Williamson is an example of how those two archetypes can be potentially bridged. The polarity between the impersonal giver (Capricorn) and the personal giver (Cancer) will always be at play for her.


From an interview Williamson gave to the Huffington post in 2012:

“17,000 children starve on this planet every single day. That fact alone should blow any conscious person out of their chair. You know, my mother used to say that a woman’s most important job is taking care of her children and her home. I laughed at that when I was younger, but I don’t laugh at it anymore. I just realize now that every child on the planet is one of our children, and the earth itself is our home”.

As this quote reveals, her understanding, valuing of, and acceptance of the role of personal, one-on-one caregiver was not innate. Her Moon “training” was to be the responsible Capricorn administrator of her domain: the elder with the detached, if concerned, answers. To know herself as Cancer has been her journey and will be where the pitfalls and booby traps of life (the “honest mistakes”) await her.

What makes Williamson’s chart so charged in terms of the Cancer archetype is that any transit to her Cancer planets comes with an initiatory package that would give any astrologer a run for their money. A single planetary or nodal transit to Williamson’s Cancer Sun engages no less than five “complexes” (natal aspects to that planet): Underworld Venus (her Venus is within 10 degrees of her Sun), Sun conjunct Uranus, Sun Square Neptune, Sun square Saturn, and Chiron opposing the Sun. Williamson’s Venus obviously also has the same complexes, although the square to Saturn is wide (12 degrees).

Natal Complexes
So this is a woman for whom the archetype of Cancer requires a synthesis of underworld (Chiron, and Venus), middle world (Saturn) and celestial processes (Uranus and Neptune). We can easily see why these sorts of astrological signatures are called a “complex”.

Williamson’s contribution to the current Cancer focus is to express it in an unorthodox and unique way. She has no choice but to shatter the current molds with her unusual genius and vision. She must attempt to give concrete and practical form to a universal and transpersonal sense of compassion where all the children of Earth are considered worthy of nurturing and protection. It’s a tall order!

A word that has been used to describe her, and that I think properly captures her effect, is “unsettling”: what she brings forward is designed to shock and push peoples’ buttons. It’s healthy for her to embody the underworld experience: surrender is a place where she can learn to thrive. Although it is also true that each new layer that she allows to be uncovered could bring about profound transformation, or deep alienation.

In her role as spiritual teacher, spirituality that isn’t accompanied by deed, falls way short. She is in fact urging, prodding, guilting people into action. “There is nothing spiritual about complacency” is an oft-repeated refrain of hers. She is calling everyone out: the amoral political system, the corrupt leaders, even the complacent mothers.

The last thing we might expect from a Cancer spokesperson would be someone who is an agitator or a goader, but this seems to be the new Cancer talking. She’s mad. This aspect of Williamson is fully supported by her Mars in Scorpio and Pluto on South Node: she’s not afraid to play the role of shaman. This seems to be what Cancer needs right now.

Angelina Jolie has Venus in Cancer
Another very vocal Venus in Cancer person who comes to mind is Angelina Jolie. She too has Saturn and Uranus in aspect to her Venus conjunct her ascendant, as well as a strong Gemini signature. If Cancer is to make itself heard now, it needs unusual spokespeople.

Initiation Cycles or Transits for Marianne
Since 2017, Williamson has been under intense initiations to her Cancer planets beginning with Pluto opposing her Venus-Sun in 2017/2018. This transit was joined by a Saturn Square in 2018 marking the timing for her to step into empowered, transformational, next-step real (middle) world action, as in “I want you to vote for me!”.  A third Saturn square is a higher octave of the second square that occurs around age 36. Around 1987 was the time when Williamson started taking her message across (and beyond) the US.

Turning Love into a Political Force
On November 6th, 2018, the Nodes moved from Leo-Aquarius into Cancer-Capricorn. Less than ten days later, on November 15, Williamson announced her decision to form a presidential exploratory committee. In her statement she referred to it as “a co-creative effort, an effort of love and a gift of love” to her country.

The stage was set for her campaign slogan

“Turning love into a political force” 

creating a solid bridge between her Capricorn Moon and her Cancer signature.

Her presidential candidate journey through 2019 has then been influenced by a combination of Saturn opposing her Sun/Venus conjunction, and a North Node conjunction to those same two planets creating two “middle world” activations to Cancer.

This is what the process is about for her: it’s about how she can integrate her vision into a practical form and by so doing re-energize this archetype and move it onto the future.

Bringing Love into Politics
Williamson is all about bringing love into politics, something that in and of itself is a radical direction. Her focus is on the children: all children, everywhere. And then, by extension, the mothers. And again, everywhere. When asked about what her policy would be towards Afghanistan if she were elected, she said she would never make any decision without talking first to the Afghani mothers!

Calling Out Cancer Wounding
She calls out our Cancer wounding, as in the wounding of the mother who cannot keep her child safe, or the wounding of Gaia, the great mother, whose children have so neglected her. She dares campaign for expanding economic opportunities for women and children, for reducing violence against women, and “diminishing human suffering whenever possible”. She champions “moral politics” as in capitalism with a conscience

She wants the protection of children to be put back on the political agenda. And she points her finger at everyone: “In every advanced mammalian species that survives and thrives, a common anthropological characteristic is the fierce behavior of the adult female of the species when she senses there is a threat to her cubs; bears, tigers, lions. Adult female hyenas, while feed their cubs will not let the adult males get anywhere near the food until the babies have been fed. Surely, the women of America could do better than the hyenas”. Ouch.

On the Debate Stage
During the debates, the candidates were asked who they would call first as president. Williamson’s answer was

“The prime minister of New Zealand, who said her goal is to make New Zealand the best place in the world for a child to grow up. And I would tell her: ‘Girlfriend, you are so on’”.

Her definition of where political force is found is something I might have expected to find in The Shamanic Astrology Handbook:

“(political force is found) when you put mercy and conscience, justice and love and compassion, and reverence for life, and reverence for the planet, and reverence for future generations, and honor for our ancestors, and a sense of responsibility towards our own power and our democracy, and you wrap that up’.

North Node on Marianne’s Sun Venus Conjunction
The Nodes activate Williamson’s natal Venus-Sun conjunction throughout 2019. On May 4th, 2019, the North Node was exact on her Venus In Cancer, and on September 2, on her Sun in Cancer. We can take a window of four and a half months on either side of each exact conjunction to establish where the effects of the Nodal transit are most active, where the most potential is found when engaged. That Nodal window is from mid-December 2018 to mid-December 2019.

Her campaign has surprised everyone by steadily gaining momentum throughout the year. She has really been noticed. After the first Presidential debate, she was the most googled candidate. She steadily gained more and more press coverage, both domestically and internationally, until she reached the dubious position of a “major minor candidate” according to the New York Times.

Her ideas have been called Wackadoodle and Bonkers
Williamson may have wanted to take solace in the adage ‘all press is good press’, because as befits a Sun conjunct Uranus, squaring Neptune, and opposing Chiron, she was singled out in several major publications as the only candidate who had the pulse on Trump, but her ideas were also called “wackadoodle” (not a word that I would think often appears in the New York Times op-ed section).

After the first debate, Rolling Stones ran an article titled “11 Absolutely Bonkers Things You Should Know About Marianne Williamson”. Number five was the fact that “the author of the book that inspired Williamson’s spiritualist career claimed it had been personally dictated by Jesus”. Well, it’s true.

What to Do?
The Nodes are a spotlight, but they are not a gloss-over: she has to be who she is. And she’s under a Saturn transit. Anyone with a strong Uranian complex will have to struggle to fit in – because they shouldn’t! Her strange narrative is perfect for what it needs to be.

Her campaign has recently run out of steam as she did not make the cut for the latest debate. But, as she winds up the last leg of her Saturn transit, ending on November 10th, it will be interesting to see what actions result from it. I don’t think she will stop being, in her own words, “an agent of change”.

2020 Transits

The Nodes will continue to be in play though for Williamson through 2020, even after they move into Gemini-Sagittarius. The future North Node in Gemini will conjunct her Ascendant on September 20th, 2020. A whole new story! With Uranus forming a square to her Mercury, it should be a very interesting year in terms of what she will express.

Her current life identity project, Gemini Ascendant, questions if she needs to be a leader again (Moon in Capricorn, and Pluto conjunct her South Node)? Or is her purpose to keep developing the Gemini freedom to express what no else dares to say by redirecting the conversation to taboo and “unsettling” topics?

Gemini is the court jester, the only one who can speak the unspoken truth in front of the King with impunity. We need more people like this, especially as the conversation becomes increasingly limited. But it’s not that the jester needs to take the throne – there may not be enough freedom in that for her.

As one of Williamson’s parishioners saw – when she was a spiritual leader at Church of Today in 2002 – popularity would be an uphill climb for her:

“She [Williamson] is typical of charismatic leadership. By definition, a true leader is a few steps ahead of the pack. That is a lonely place to reside. A visionary who is constantly yearning and turning toward a higher good is not only one who inspires, but also one who is unsettling. Most of us like a bit of inspiration, but rebel at unsettling…”

We are all very unsettled these days. But how much are we willing to look at? How far are we willing to go to make the changes that might create a safe space for all our children? Are we able to reinstate love and caring as a priority? Let’s hope that people like Marianne Williamson keep asking.

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