With the masculine side of the psyche (the Sun) in the most feminine of signs (Cancer) and the feminine side of the psyche (the Moon) in the most masculine of signs (Aries), the Cancer Sun, Aries Moon individual often possesses an instinctive understanding that men and women, while different, can fight just as effectively as one another. To illustrate: British Major-General Colin Gubbins is a Cancer Sun, Aries Moon. (Chart) During World War II he was head of Britain’s “Special Operations Executive” (SOE), also known as “Churchill’s Secret Army”, a clandestine organization which waged unconventional warfare inside Nazi occupied territories. According to historian Sarah Helms, “Gubbins was the first to secure permission, albeit unofficial, for female operatives to be sent behind enemy lines. He saw no reason why women could not do the job of secret agent as well as men.” (Source) Gubbins’ secretary would later recount, “he would not countenance any form of discrimination against women”. (Source)
Cancer is ruled by the Moon while Aries is ruled by Mars so Cancer/Aries people will often express in a manner similar to a Mars/Moon aspect. Astrologer Sue Tompkins says people with these aspects in their charts “are very quick to smell danger and thus cultivate speedy reactions and responses – the kind of reactions that can save lives . . . they may continually behave or believe as if World War III is about to break out.” (Source) This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In Gubbins’ case, he was one of a handful of British officers in Poland during September 1939 when the Nazis rolled in and set off what became World War II. Fortunately he was “quick to smell danger” and, utilizing the “speedy reactions” that are a Cancer/Aries hallmark, managed to procure a false passport which enabled him to escape back to Britain. Doing so probably saved his life.
This pairing often alternates between being intensely reclusive (Cancer Sun) and intensely combative (Aries Moon). Gubbins appears to have been no exception this tendency. Ladislas Farago writes in his book Burn After Reading: The Espionage History of World War II that “Gubbins was the forgotten man of the secret war, the least known chief of the secret service and this by his own choice.” (Source) Ironically, if you’ve ever seen a James Bond film you’re more familiar with Gubbins and his secret organization than you may realize. According to Brian Lett, author of The Top Secret History of 007, the “M” character in the James Bond films — most recently portrayed by actress Judi Dench — is based on Gubbins while the agency Bond works for is based on the SOE. (Source)
Astrologers Suzi and Charles Harvey tells us that a metaphoric image for Cancer/Aries people is “a suffragette takes to the barricades in aid of her cause”. (Source) According to the BBC, agents working under Gubbins were “responsible for storming the heavy water plant at Vemork, ending the Nazi atomic bomb program.” (Source) Gubbins wasn’t literally a “suffragette” but he was way ahead of his time when in regards to women’s roles in the workplace while storming Hitler’s atom bomb plant surely counts as an example of somebody “taking to the barricades in aid of a cause”.
In light of these operations, it’s worth noting that the storming of the Bastille in France occurred when the Sun was in Cancer and the Moon in Aries. (Chart) Cancer/Aries can be a very pugnacious, combustible combination but in times of great oppression some pugnaciousness and combustibility may be just what’s needed.
Astrologer Jefferson Anderson warns that Cancer Sun, Aries Moon has a tendency to “burn bridges”. (Source) That’s usually a bad thing but not always. The folks who stormed the Bastille certainly burned some bridges, both figuratively and literally, while Gubbins’ men who stormed the Nazi heavy water plant no doubt burned a few also.
In addition to running the SOE, Gubbins was also tapped by Winston Churchill to organize and train Britain’s “Auxiliary Units”. These units were comprised of civilians who would form the final line of resistance should the Nazis succeed in destroying the British military and occupying mainland Britain. (Source) The secrecy surrounding the Auxiliaries went beyond that of even “classified” operations, with their existence remaining unknown to the public until the late 1990s. In 2002 the History Channel produced a documentary about Auxiliaries so harrowing that simply watching it will fire up both the emotions (Cancer) and the adrenalin (Aries):
The Auxiliary Units were also referred to as “The Stay at Home Force”, a fitting name for a network organized by a Cancer/Aries like Gubbins as Cancer is the Hermit who prefers to stay at home fortified against threats while Aries is the Hero who prefers to use force to repel them. The Auxiliary units were provided with hidden, underground cubby holes (Cancer) which were stocked with food and weapons (Aries). About 500 of these underground bases were constructed, some of which are still in existence 70 years after the war ended.
Like all Cancer pairings, this one has strong maternal instincts. According to astrologer Jason Fleming, Cancer/Aries is the Sun/Moon pairing of “the general who leads the troops into battle, but also is acutely aware of and sensitive to their emotional state”. (Source) Along these lines, Gubbins is reported to have put enormous energy into preparing the men and women serving under him for their missions, above and beyond what duty required. (Source) In some ways this made his job even more difficult since SOE agents, because they did not wear uniforms, would be treated by the Nazis as spies. Those who were captured were thus shipped to concentration camps, including the infamous Buchenwald camp. (Source) Running such enormously complicated, emotionally exhausting, yet totally secret aspects of the war took an enormous toll on Gubbins — something that his eyes more than hint at in this photo:
When the Sun is in Cancer and the Moon in Aries, the result is what’s called a “Waning Quarter Moon”, a phase of the Moon that is associated with a “crisis in consciousness” according to astrologer Dane Rudhyar. (Source) Raven Kaldera calls this the “Survivor’s Moon”, one that is associated with emotional shell shock and psychological burnout if not what today we call “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” (PTSD):
The Waning Quarter Moon in Aries finds the Soldier burned out after many years of battle, and coming home to put back together the pieces of his shattered body and mind. The continual years of war have stressed his courage and nerves to the breaking point, and he can no longer fight. The rest of his life will be spent with the pain of these wounds. He returns home, a shell-shocked creature who has given his entire self to battle, and no one cares. Even if he lives in a place where fallen soldiers are treated well, people do not understand the horror he has seen. They expect him to get over it in due time and not to spend hours cowering in the bushes, reliving his trauma. When he can’t, they see him as weak, which is a deep insult.
The Survivor’s Moon is a time of anguish and healing of deep wounds. Up until now, the Aries mystique has been about finding bravery in the face of great odds, an untouchable confidence that allows the Aries Moon to succeed at all kinds of frightening things.
On the Survivor’s Moons, we confront . . . . anguish over betrayal inflicted on us by Fate, or God, or the Universe, or Society. We confront our helplessness in the face of that pain — perhaps we fantasize that we might have been able to stop [it from occurring], however irrational that might be, but even our fantasy fails at the onslaught of reality’s pain.
This is the most difficult Aries Moon of all to bear. People born on the Survivor’s Moon often endure some kind of serious trauma in childhood . . . . (Source)
We don’t know much about Gubbins’ childhood but we do know that he experienced some serious trauma in regards to his own children — the sort of trauma that a parent may fantasize about having been able to stop, however irrational that might be. His oldest son, Michael, was killed in 1944 while serving as an officer in the SOE’s Italian division. Historian Gary Kamiya recalls how Gubbins found out about his son’s death:
The duty officer at Baker Street that weekend, who did not know Gubbins very well, saw the telegram announcing Michael Gubbins’ death. He marked it “Deepest Sympathy” and placed it at the top of Gubbins’ intray. Gubbins came in early that Monday morning to prepare for an important meeting with the Chiefs of Staff, so neither his assistant or secretary was there to soften the blow. Gubbins picked up the telegram himself. (Source)
The death of his son made it nearly impossible for Gubbins to carry on, no doubt in part because the men and women serving under him were the same age as his own children. Grief-stricken, he would later visit grave sites in Italy, “fruitlessly hoping to find a trace of his son”. (Source) When the war ended in 1945 he collected a series of medals for his exemplary service and retired in seclusion to the Island of Harris. Surrounded by nature, he sought to recover from what he called “the long years of dreadful night”. (Source)
Kaldera tells us that of all the Aries Moons, the Waning Quarter Moon associated with the Cancer/Aries pairing is the one most likely to exhibit a sense of empathy, the type of empathy that can be learned only from scars — ones that are emotional (Cancer) as much as martial (Aries).
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Copyright Matthew David Savinar 2013