Moon-ruled Cancer is cardinal water; its keyword is “I feel.” It is the most subconscious of all the signs, for nothing is clear and direct with it. Like the crab, Cancers step sideways around all issues, and slowly at that as symbolized by the two turtles in the lower right. Cancers love to collect things that nostalgically remind them of the past, and what better things to collect than the treasures of the past which are festooned all over the base of the painting and upon which the crab supports herself in her very longing. At the top of the painting is Diana/Artemis shooting her bow. Diana was the Roman virgin goddess of forests, hills, wild animals, child-bearing and the Moon; Artemis was her Greek counterpart. Her symbols were the moon, her hunting dog, the stag, and her golden bow and arrow. Myth has it that at the age of three she asked her father Zeus for six things: to always remain a virgin; to be the Light-Bringer or Phaesporia (perhaps because she represented the Moon which lights the night); to have many names so she could be distinguished from her bother Apollo; to have a bow and arrow and a short tunic so she could hunt; to have 60 nine-year-old daughters of Oceanus to be her choir; and to have 20 nymphs of the river Amnisus in Crete as handmaidens to guard her bow and tend to her hunting dogs while she rested.
Painting Jofra Bosschart