Cancer New Moon Mandala painted by Sarah Berry
Line Mandala from Mandala Colouring Book by Barry Stevens
available at

This is the eighth piece in an occasional series written about the expertise of each Sun Sign. I am still looking for the Capricorn who can write a guide to Ambition, and a Libran who can write a guide to Relationships. If you think you are the person I am looking for, please get in touch. Or alternatively if you should know the ideal person. The articles will be found under the category “Zodiac Masterclass” so that eventually there will be 12 such articles, e.g. “The Gemini Guide to Communication”,”The Leo Guide to Leadership” etc. Each article will be written by someone who has the Sun Sign in question.

Here guest blogger June Chase writes about a Cancerian experience of motherhood. I first met June at the beginning of 1976 when she was the first port of call, the receptionist, at Watford’s Shrodells Psychiatric Unit, and I arrived to take up the post of the best job I ever had, as Secretary to one of the Consultant Psychiatrists. I must take this opportunity to hand over a rosette to June, as my best customer, as over the 36 years I have known her she has provided me with about 300 clients and commissions for Astrology and Regression! Her Uranus (Astrology) is in my 2nd House (Money) exactly opposite my Sun. June is a powerful Healer, and her website is

A word about the Mandala, one of Sarah’s best: note the prominence of Silver, one of the Cancerian colours, associated with its ruler the Moon, and the symbolism of the Lotus associated with Birth among other things.

A Cancerian Experience of Motherhood

by June Chase b. 6/7/47

My daughter Marianne, who is now 25, said I would be a good person to write this, so here goes!

When I was a little girl, I didn’t really care much for playing with dolls. I found I liked the company of small children and they related well to me (I am the younger of two girls).

In my early twenties I was told by a doctor that my womb tilted backwards and I might have difficulty having children. I was enjoying my life, and was not too bothered by this statement.

I loved folk singing and met Mike at a restaurant in Cape Town at the end of 1971 where he was doing a solo folk (contemporary) gig. I was very skinny in those days and wearing a granddad T-shirt I had made into a mini-dress. Mike told me he did a whip round to buy me a bra. He said he fell in love with me from the start! I was with another guy at the time.

Mike was an only child, and when we decided to get married, he announced he would like six children, and I was happy with that. He had been told that as he was slightly overweight, conceiving children might be a problem (I eventually had 6 pregnancies).

After a couple of years of marriage, I came off the pill and fell pregnant straightaway! Three months later I miscarried and was utterly devastated. I later named the child I would have had Michaela (November 1975).

I quickly fell pregnant again and our first son darling Greg was born in November 1976 (a double Scorpio). I was so thrilled and, although a complete novice in motherhood, lovingly undertook my new role. I loved him so much I had the urge to breastfeed him and care for him properly as he was so precious. He had had such a traumatic birth – posterior facing and forceps delivery – that he slept long hours. The Health Visitor told me that sleeping babies, like dogs, should be left to lie (wrong advice). I was deeply saddened as my milk dried up after three months and I had to bottle feed Greg thereafter! Maybe this was a mixed blessing as we were told you couldn’t fall pregnant while breastfeeding. Mike was desperate to have a little friend for Greg. As it happened, I turned out to be super fertile!

Dearest little Suzanne was born 16 months after Greg (March 1978). My world was complete for the time being. I breast-fed her for three years…! I always assumed (and was told) that babies would give up the breast by themselves – mine didn’t.

My older sister had been treated unfairly when I was young (she was four and a half years’ my senior). I was determined to bend over backwards for Greg and not let Suzie’s presence mean he took a back seat. Suzie (a Piscean) was also determined not to be overlooked (they both have the Moon in Aries). I would breastfeed her and read to Greg at the same time. I tried to equally divide my attention between them or to make sure Greg was given priority. I believed that if a baby is loved, breastfed and held close, they are OK while very young, but the older child could feel left out, and I didn’t want this to happen. They became firm friends, shared a room, bunk beds and their toys, but Greg was always very much the older brother. In my ignorance, I thought a 16 month-old was quite grown up!

My babies completely filled my life; I didn’t realize until afterwards that Mike felt quite left out, though he was working very hard in London at the time. He left child-rearing to me. I did my housework at night so that my days could be spent looking after the two of them. We read, played, made creative things, and went out. I was having a wonderful time.

Mike’s mum had had a stillborn son at eight months of gestation, when he was about two years old. He was determined to have a brother for Greg, and I had the coil removed. In January/February 1982 another planned baby was due. By now I could always sense immediately when I was pregnant. I eventually figured out that I felt nauseous in the evenings with the boys, but wasn’t sick, and vomited in the mornings with the girls!.

I contracted chicken pox very early in this pregnancy (before it was confirmed). The local doctor’s surgery told me there was no cause for concern. A few years ago (2006) I was told in an Aromatherapy Seminar that chicken pox is extremely dangerous in pregnancy. Towards the end of “my time” my blood pressure shot up, and I was sent into hospital, while Mike looked after Greg and Suzanne. I was told I had to be induced (which I hated) and have an epidural (ditto). My blood pressure dropped too low. Our beautiful second son, Jody, arrived at 9.15 p.m. on 30th January 1982. I had the worst night of my life, in telepathic rapport with Jody, couldn’t breathe, and panicked. They had taken him away from me for the night.

The night before his birth I had read a newspaper article about neo-natal death, and how they photographed the tiny babies at risk for the parents. I was presented with a photo, and when Jody was rushed to Hammersmith Hospital for a Blalock by-pass operation, I feared the worst. He had a Pulmonary Atresia, from which nowadays I gather babies can recover. He did not. I had to wait to be discharged from Watford General Hospital, as my blood pressure was high, and Mike and I raced to Hammersmith, only to arrive too late. We kissed our baby son goodbye. At his funeral, Mike insisted on family only and I was too distressed to argue. When I saw his little white coffin, I felt as though he had been wrenched from my womb.

I carried on with life for the sake of my little ones, but felt very sad for a long time. I knew I was so lucky to have a boy and a girl. I ploughed my love and energy into Greg and Suzanne, as I slowly came out of my state of shock and my body recovered.

It dawned on me that Jody had helped to open me up to my Spirituality. I had been an Atheist for some years before his birth.

Mike was adamant that he did not want any more children. He had been very badly affected by Jody’s death. We had many an argument on the subject, but I was equally determined to have more. I knew that no child could replace a dead sibling, but I still had a lot of mothering to do and knew that more babies would help to heal the wounds of loss.

I finally got Mike to grudgingly agree to have another child. Just over four and a half years later, our gorgeous Marianne was born, weighing 8 lbs 2 oz (our heaviest babe). I had an organ scan in London because of Jody’s condition. By that time the Radiographer routinely asked if you would like to know the sex, but we declined. Mike was convinced he would have another son and for a few years it put a strain on his relationship with little Maz, though it was never verbalized.

Marianne came into the world after an easy labour (I was aged 39 at the time), in a family room at the hospital, with Lana looking after the older children. Maz was born at dawn, a Virgo with Leo rising, and gave a loud cry. She meant business and was adored and spoilt by her two older siblings, and 3 adults (including Mike’s mum). She adored being the centre of attention! I felt on top of the world. This birth fitted well with the family pattern: it was 2 days after Mike’s 40th birthday in late August, and I have Virgo rising (hence the pedantry you might have noticed!).

I breastfed her without any other foodstuffs for 6 months, and finally weaned her at two and three quarters, when I was six months pregnant, at 42 years old. Mike had allowed another birth, as he was still determined to have another son, and a brother for Greg, a small friend for Marianne, and another baby for Suzie to love and help care for.

Our precious son Kyle was born 3 days and a year after Marianne, at the end of August 1989 (another Virgo!). Our family was complete and my cup overflowed! Again, the older children were in the hospital with us, waiting to hold their new baby brother.

Life had been busy up to then and became even more hectic! Mike’s mum was very good with all the children and helped when she was in England. She had moved to Spain to live before Grandad passed away in 1978, and divided her time between the two places. The older children were at primary school, then secondary, the youngest ones being at playgroup and nursery.

When Greg went to college I had the four of them in a different place every day, but coped. I breastfed Kyle until he was 3 years and 3 months old. When I finally weaned him, he tried to run away, and I stopped him at the back door. He declared “I am going to find a new mummy”.

While I was still breastfeeding him, the “night sweats” began for three months. I had started the menopause and was tested at 48, to be told I had come through it. At 41 I had thought of having another daughter (my pattern was girl/boy, girl/boy, girl/boy) but I changed my mind. When Kyle was four, I enrolled on an Aromatherapy Course and my life took on a new direction. I could never throw myself into it completely, as my children have always been my main priority. To be learning again was great fun!

I had gone everywhere with two or three of the children always in tow. I had carried them all in a baby sling at the front, and then transferred them to a canvas papoose on my back. I had cooked and served the older children’s meals like this when Marianne and Kyle were little. I loved my role as mother and had more or less abandoned my own creativity. My new course, which involved one whole weekend a month for 13 months, started to give me back my independence: with Moon in Aquarius, I was able to detach for that weekend, and leave the children to Mike.

I have always wanted my children to follow their own paths in life, and tried not to place limitations or fears onto them. They have all loved to travel (as Mike and I do) and have been bold and carefree. Lana had given me a copy of Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet” when the older children were young. The verse on “Children” had struck a chord with me, and I wanted to allow my children, like arrows, to fly free, and tried to be courageous enough to do so.

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

The truth of this quotation was brought poignantly home to me in 2001. On 15th May of that year lovely Suzie Sunbeam (as she liked to be called) died suddenly as a passenger in a car crash in North Western Australia. The other five youngsters in the car survived with minor injuries. I felt as if my world had come abruptly to an end! Greg (who had returned from Australia two weeks’ before) had to break the news to me, and Mike, who had been alerted to the accident, fetched me from work. I had to tell Marianne and Kyle when they returned home from school. Even writing about the event over 11 years on, the same sensations come back to me. I couldn’t cry and tried to carry on. Mike was a broken man, and blamed himself for letting Suzie travel to Oz at 23.

Greg was devastated and said that it should have been him instead of her (survivor’s guilt is a difficult one). Maz and Kyle were 13 and 10 at the time, and tried to cope with losing their adored older sister – it was difficult for them to know how to mourn.

Family and friends were wonderfully supportive. My sister flew here from Johannesburg to help “hold the fort”. My blood pressure shot up, and I had to rest. All my foreign friends filled the house and brought food and cheer. My English friends knew to let a little time elapse before visiting, but soon the house was full every day!

After 3 weeks, when Suzie’s body had returned home, we had a funeral attended by over 300 people. It was a non-religious affair and the Humanist minister described it as quite unique. Suzie would have been proud! After a sumptuous spread prepared and donated by all our friends, the day culminated in a disco for the youngsters. I had used the informal service as a platform to spread my belief, thanks to Kahlil Gibran, that children have to be let go. I read it out with Lana standing by in case my voice, or knees, gave way. Several people asked for a copy of it afterwards.

I finally went back to my part-time job in a day centre, as well as massage and Yoga classes. Life did go on! I tried to hold it all together for the sake of the family and my sanity. My philosophy of life, based on my Yogic and Reiki teachings as well as spiritual beliefs, sustained me. I found I could totally forgive the driver of the car, a girl I knew. I believe that everything happens for a reason and tried to make my own sense out of it. I had had a premonition about the accident 3 weeks before, and this had helped me on one level. Suzie and I had been very close and even telepathic, and I was so glad we had had such a loving relationship. I tried to have no regrets.

As the years pass, life has carried on for me with its ups and downs. I have taken many courses: in healing, Reiki, Yoga and massage, etc. I found that once I was away from home on courses, I could have a jolly good cry. My Cancerian “hard outer shell” would always go up when I was with people I knew well.

I have watched the other three children grow to maturity and each one try to cope with their loss in their own way. Of course, I wanted to take away their pain. I found that Family Constellation Therapy was very helpful, and gave me great insights, allowing me to cry buckets when other people went through their traumas, which were often so similar to mine!

Greg moved out of the family home six months after Suzie died. I feel it is hard for him to visit as the place is so full of memories. He works very hard and plays hard! Marianne left home for a couple of years and returned two months after Kyle went to University. Kyle came back last year, and he and Marianne cannot yet afford to leave for now. They would rather have their own homes, but life is amicable here, and they do their own thing.

Home is still a very busy place – lots of young people coming and going, and I find I get on very well with all their friends. I have no grandchildren on the horizon, but enjoy my friends’ grandkiddies, and hearing tales about them and seeing photos (from Lana and other friends). I have plenty of patience and my yoga teaching, aromatherapy and healing work to do…