Why are Water Signs Emotional?

water ladyOn the post Are Cancers Manipulative?, Kri commented: Maybe difficulty with emotional self regulation is at the root of being manipulative.

I think there’s something to that! Water signs are the signs most likely to be accused of manipulation, and that’s no accident.

Water signs swim through a sea of emotion in order to navigate the world. It is how they shine, how they how they operate, and how they are able to be their most authentic selves. This is the most fundamental basis for being a water sign.

As a consequence, emotions for them are BIG. They are incredibly intense and take on primary importance in their lives. Without emotion, water ceases to function. So of course their emotions take center stage.

But when emotions are that huge and central, they can be difficult to regulate. They can’t intellectualize them like an air sign would. They can’t ground them like an earth sign, and they can’t scream them to the heavens like a fire sign. They have to flow through them and experience them fully in order to process. And that can be a process can be painful! Not everyone can stand it, at least not all the time. And when they can’t stand it, they find other ways to cope.

That’s why Cancer controls. It’s why Scorpio retreats. It’s why Pisces dissociates.

When “normal” emotional regulation techniques fail, that is the built-in way they deal with them. If this way of doing things is getting in the way of your life, there are ways to change it. But know this: there’s nothing inherently wrong with processing emotions a little differently. Every sign has their own methods, and that’s okay. As long as those methods work for you and don’t cause unnecessary grief for your closest people, then there’s really no problem. Just keep swimming, water signs. You’ve got this.

Do you have water in your chart? How do you deal with emotions?

35 thoughts on “Why are Water Signs Emotional?”

  1. What a beautiful morning perspective. From my place on the planet, where June has been a record-breaking cool (and wet) Salish Sea (NW Coastal America) month, water is life. I’m a Scorpio Sun. My husband Cancer Sun. We deal with watery navigation all the time. Intense much? Yah. It helps that Earth signs anchor me thanks Saturn and a Capricorn Moon. The Cancer Sun man has lots of Gemini and Virgo so there’s plenty to tether us. Still, this post says it like it is for swimming the emotional currents.
    Retreats for me? Essential. It makes it possible to manage the control a Crab does without ‘thinking.’ Managing the emotions and intensity have been a riting and writing process for many years. There’s a shift happening with Jupiter-Pluto-Saturn conjunct, and sextile my Scorpio Sun. What will come is in process. Excavating the truth as Elsa puts it.

  2. I may have water in my chart, but my emotional expression is tinged with Mercury. I do tell people what I feel and analyze and try to name it so it disappears, I do whatever to relieve the pain or categorize it. I keep wanting to prove that water signs do talk about their emotions and not just eat them or hole up (my argument is people with stress aspects between air and water often do that), and I cite a lot of confessional songwriters with Cancer personal planets. I’m a venter and I’ve needed fairy godmother style parental outside perspectives when I’m flooded with emotion and spiraling negatively. It’s like an automatic urge to throw up, I needed to tell someone and have help managing what I’m feeling so it doesn’t feel like the end of the world or if I’m a bad person or the asshole in a situation. I also tend to get “second opinions” when someone told me some negative truth about myself or my life and it seems blunt and incontrovertible, pulling validation and “that’s not true” from another authoritative source. My Moon Pluto transit severed the parental support I had in other people’s words and perspective. I mothered myself with music and podcasts and time. But, I still couldn’t just journal and therapize myself until the flooding thoughts were gone. Art is a way of self expression for more water signs than the ones I named, art like songwriting that allows you not only to “feel your feelings and think your thoughts,” but name them. Naming feelings is powerful for everyone. I hate being flooded by amorphous feelings, although this Neptune transit is targeting some assumptions like that. I usually eat my feelings when they are so hopeless and the world just can’t be like that, when I’m losing the battle with comfort and control. When the future looks bleak. I don’t know that my emotions are bigger than other people’s, but they can’t be shoved to the side, like a morning boner it’s better to relieve it (heh), being distracted from them or having to suppress them creates really strong discomfort I can only handle for so long without retreating into my own place and tending to myself. Especially when other people lie and want to get above their emotions. After my Moon Pluto transit, if someone is ignoring my distress and I have to live with them, I will shove it to the side as long as I can and then leave. I wanted a guy with an Aquarius moon and he withholds affection because he finds it smothering up to a point where I never get it and my sense of abandonment is something I have to deal with myself. It was too much pain to deal with myself.

    The thing about water, in my limited experience, is that I find it very hard to get out of my subjective emotional world. I am swimming in my own perspective. I find it very hard to get rational and see the situation from a birds eye view (water Mercury.) It’s hard to explain. It’s nice to have an understanding with people, though. People tell me to feel my feelings and think my thoughts and I think that’s stupid, you’ll never know or understand your feelings if you leave them like jumbled yarn, you or someone else (like a therapist) needs to organize them and find their origins so that you can let them go. The ineffable and formless is fine and dandy, but it will leave you acting out and being reactive. I’m already reactive, I know that on the Neptune side, language was created by humans to categorize the experience of a world that can’t be categorized. Illusory control. And perhaps when you take shrooms or something, you have a more unmediated experience beyond language. But, when you have baggage and hurts, it’s better to pull them all out of you by the roots.

    1. I’m starting to notice triggers that put me on the defensive (cacophonous and random drunken yelling at different volumes), staring at one of my boobs or body longer than I feel is comfortable, other stuff.. it’s how some people take the world in, it’s not always meant to hurt or judge me or affect my self concept even though if I feel hurt by it I desperately want it to stop. I’m a big grown up and still my self esteem is affected up and down by the male gaze (it’s nice to have this word to pinpoint it and not think I’m shallow.. being objectified and gazed at tends to throw my sensitivity into compensating behaviors because it lowers my self worth and ego :/ ). My discomfort is more important than the person’s violating culturally encoded action. I react very differently when I’m on the receiving end than when I’m in the situation and know the people even a bit. Even if we’re talking on the side of the street and they’re checking out women, I have less of an impulse to defend them 🙁 because often they appear unfazed.

      People will cacophonously yell, old men will gawp at multiple women as they walk around. I’m older now and I want deeper relationships, but the male gaze bothered me my whole life because I’ve never been liked by guys much since forever and it bothered me since childhood, the lack of acceptance (Sun Chiron Lilith in the 5th.. also has to do with failure of desirability). I’ve realized that I’m not fishing for everyone’s approval or wanting to conquer everyone who is gazing me, it stems from ego and unworthiness. I feel an uncontrollable discomfort and ugliness and unworthiness when passed over by the male gaze. It happens lightning quick and I will do a lot to deflect it. It’s not about the male, it’s their gaze. And I gaze other women too. If a woman is walking by me and slightly blurry, I will take in her whole body and watch a smidge too long if she is attractive or alluring, but I make very strong eye contact (Pluto square Ascendant) and can unsettle as much as a man. But, I try to break the eye contact especially if they feel discomfort.

      1. Everyone has triggers and things that matter that shift their self worth up and down, coming from the external world. It could be achievement (like for Pete Holmes), or showing off/laughs, being a good friend, the opinion of other women, being seen as smart, being a good mother, people pleasing, reputation. I think that as social animals, we all have a pain point where what people think informs and can hurt our ego. I don’t think everyone is immune to the opinions of others, whether close to them or remotely related. I think people are more sensitive and fragile than they are bulletproof. Looking at a chart, I can winnow out people’s pain points and childhood hurts if they tell me too confidently not to care what other people think. I think this develops with age, but the pain point evolves, never fully leaves. Why did Bikram Choudhury use his power to harass his pupils even when he was supposed to be so enlightened and pure? Maybe getting tail still informed his self concept, not only his id. I met a 38 year old woman who works with refugees and is a strong single mother with plenty of accomplishments, and in 20 minutes she was giggling about guys like a teenager. I’ve met older women who struggle for acceptance from their children. I don’t know people whose ego doesn’t have any pieces that depend on something external at least a little bit. Otherwise, why talk to others at all? We do get connection and warmth from people, but we all get things from people. Otherwise, we wouldn’t suffer so strangely during quarantine.

      2. I don’t know about the whole naming feelings thing. I’ve tried that and I just found that there’s much to be desired with language. It also tends to lead to judgement of feelings for me. What I have found useful is seeing where I feel them in my body. It somehow makes them feel manageable. I’m sure everyone’s energetic system is different in these regards though. We all need different medicine.

        1. I do that when I’m very uncomfortable in the moment and about to lash out. I see what it’s doing to my body. I take a moment to see where it is before I do something frantic to get rid of the discomfort. It feels like questioning an assumption, like I might feel right in lashing out, but I can see that what someone is doing to me is leaving scars, but they may not mean to hurt me in the moment.

        2. I was watching an asmr where the person plucks negative feelings from you. It’s kind of like the naming thing for me. Stuff is stuck in there clumped together and I take it out.

          1. Maybe there’s a common thread that we perhaps can’t ‘power through’ our feelings for others without processing or acknowledging them somehow. I’ve seen others who prefer to repress them or go above them as a defense tactic. I would argue it’s all a defense tactic. The intellectualizing, the powering through, all of it.

  3. Also, but seriously, what methods do you guys use for emotional self regulation?

    Emotional Intelligence tests claim that emotional self-regulation breeds conscientiousness, curbs impulsivity, and is a key to success. I think many water signs would score very low on Emotional Intelligence because it is a very stoical way of controling and curbing your emotions with rationality and is very other-aware. I suspect air or earth signs would be better at it. I’d call it more emotional control (for the sake of social harmony).

    Emotional self-regulation is a term with a deep history in psychology. Usually I associate it with a kid crying or emoting and being able to soothe themselves and know they’ll be ok. Doing something to soothe themselves and not feeling like it is the end of the world. Spoiled children (like um myself) struggle with emotional self-regulation and have a lot of problems with independence later on because they don’t trust themselves or feel they can handle situations or their own emotions. So I’m asking honestly, what are emotional self-regulation strategies you’ve used that work?

    I was told since childhood to control my emotions and did not understand what that means at all. It was an empty phrase. Why control something other people can’t see and aren’t affected by unless you do something? I thought controling your actions would be more useful. What you do rather than “the content of your heart”

    Words like boundaries, self-respect, respect, root, and the shadow were words covered on this blog that I didn’t understand for a long time. I’m still iffy with “projection.” A lot of these words have become important to me the more I learn about themand the more applicable they are.

    I see emotions as a gas canister you have to keep siphoning out to be pure. Like you remove bad energy. It is something you keep having to take out. So for me you have to let them go rather than control them.

    I asked people what methods of controling emotions are, and if they are meditation, yoga, and exercise, I do those. This makes me less reactive, but my emotions are still too intense or over the top for some people, or my neurotic babbling about them. I could still stand to act better socially and be braver. In my experience, these tend to connect you to the blank self before thoughts, but it doesn’t mean you automatically make the best choices. Perhaps a brave soldier or social worker still has to grapple with fear and consider how best to proceed despite all the meditation they do.

    1. Meditation and inner child work have been very helpful in this regard for me. Also, changing my beliefs which are the roots of emotions. We react emotionally to our interpretation of events, not the events themselves. Reality is actually very mutable.

        1. There’s a bunch online about inner child work, so I’ll just let the experts guide you there. Im sure youtube has a wealth of info.

          To answer the second part: There’s no right or wrong interpretation. Just ones that make you feel bad and ones that are transcendent and feel good (holistically good and right, not momentarily good) Its the meaning we attach to things that determines our emotional response. For instance why do some women enjoy being looked at and some don’t? It’s the same situation but the meaning they attach to it is different. I know many would say, oh that’s just denial, but every perspective is in denial of another anyway. We have the freedom to choose. I hope that at least plants a seed. It’s a simple concept but so hard to explain.

          As an aside: I acknowledge the inherent truth/untruth of the old idea before transforming it. So it’s like every perspective or interpretation bears equal weight in the eyes of the Universe, but we can also choose and continue to choose the most creative perspective by following our positive emotions.

          1. I see what you’re saying, although it might not be in my scope.

            What I wanna know is how one can ‘suck it up and just do it’ when they’re scared of have a lot of negative emotion going on. I was trying to read Marcus Aurelius. I also spend too much of the day trying to manage my emotions (the, um, fear and discomfort and other emotions that drive procrastination.)

  4. Moon, Mercury, Mars and Uranus in Scorpio. Yes, daily (ideally) retreat is necessary to maintain emotional equilibrium. I do not enjoy processing my emotions in front of people. Im not ashamed to, but my process seems to scare people. My emotions used to scare me too, but not anymore. I couldn’t really describe my process other than- it’s feeling feelings. There’s really no working with them, it’s just a matter of staying present with myself which is hard to do with others around. Like I said, daily space to feel is a wonderful gift. If I don’t have that I tend to lash out, which is effective, but of course hurtful to others, so I decided at some point that I needed to just give myself that space even if its not “normal” for the benefit of all lol.

    1. I love your power. Your post screams it. The power of water. Just try to stop the flood. It’s a losing battle. And yes, I suppose that is something to harness so as not to scare others. Once channeled, that scorpio water power is invincible. I admire it.

      1. Oh wow thank you. I guess if you are drowning, you are just supposed to stop fighting and you will float to the top.

        1. Find your direction and ride the raging river that is your power. So much power, it can take a long time to come to grips with that.

  5. This is perfect Midara and and so needed. I have Scorpio stellium in my 1st house, Ascendant, Sun, Moon, Mercury and Neptune (Chiron in Pisces in the 5th). I can feel like I’m drowning in emotions. Having a meditation routine helps, solace threw breathe. Maybe that’s my Venus in Libra and/or Saturn in Aquarius. It helps but it’s not perfect. I also like to run, exercise, anything to get away from my head (Leo in Mars?). I try to embrace the magnitude of my emotions, sometimes it’s a beautiful experience that I’m so grateful to be able to know. But it’s a struggle. Thank you for this post.

  6. PurpleStarGirl

    I have a Scorpio ASC and Sun conjunct Neptune. I have a tendency bottle my emotions up and retreat while ignoring those emotions, however I’m trying to not do that and find a way to release them in a healthy and constructive manner, like through journaling.

    When I do allow myself to feel emotions, it can be extreme and deep such as anger and love for example. Unfortunately it makes my Aquarius Moon uncomfortable to acknowledge them and I also happen to have my Moon squaring my ASC, which doesn’t help either.

  7. I don’t know. Emotions don’t control me or guide me much, and I have a Cancer stellium. It doesn’t take me that long to get control over them. There are times in life that are more intense and those times, yes, they are harder to control. Like when I lose someone I love, I get in a heated argument, or my child is hurt.

    Truthfully it seems like we water signs get put into this “emotions” box all the time. Our element goes really, really deep. My main concerns in life (as a Cancer) are protective, sure, I have children. But beyond that it is roots, home, cultural identity, what I and others will pass on, building on those roots, looking to the past for guidance rather than just throwing it away – I could go on about it forever. It is safety and security, yes, but it’s underrated for how powerful a force it is in our lives. It cuts down to the core. I find it so easy to misunderstand this about my sign, and Scorpio and Pisces as well have their mysteries.

    I would LOVE to see people talk about this – something that goes deeper about the water signs, especially Cancer, because as I look around the world these days, I see rootlessness and confusion and fear and people not even realizing how these Cancer topics could literally save them.

  8. I find Art Therapy very helpful in dealing with my emotions. I went to grief therapy when I lost my parents and putting my emotions into clay work or a collage was perfect as it was intuitive, creative, immediate and wordless. It truly healed my grief. As far as daily management-depends on who is triggering me, but I can get very defensive and hurt easily. I am trying to learn to stop and assess, listen to my body and take a moment before responding, or ask if what they are saying is what I think they meant. I slip sometimes. Having Merc in Sag does not help. My thoughts have been known to fly out my mouth before I even realize what I’ve said and when questioned have a hard time responding in words what I meant, if I meant it at all! But I cry at St. Jude commercials, sentimental or sappy comedy endings, like on The Goldbergs, if people on the news are crying or if my friend starts to cry. I cry when happy too. I retreat when hurt during an argument. Is that abnormal? I guess it’s a survival technique because I hate conflict.
    I get very flustered when my ex (a Virgo with Sag rising and a Pisces Moon and Mars in Cancer and Venus in Scorpio) tries to get me to “admit” my emotions or feelings. It’s REALLY hard to verbalize “Yes, I do feel X, Y or Z”. I don’t want to own them! My emotions can be very deep, painful, intense and hard to understand if I get angered or hurt. I don’t get violent. I freeze or lash out (mostly sarcastically) or retreat.
    As far as do I have Water in my chart? Yes. Scorpio Sun, ASC, Mars & Neptune in Scorpio, Ceres in Cancer, And Black Lilith in Pisces in a Water House. My Sun and NN (in Scorpio) in a Water House and Ceres is also in a Water House. Moon in Virgo at 0 degrees is very triggered too conj. Virgo.

  9. Such a wonderful post! Thank you Midara! As someone with a stellium in Cancer and Saturn in Pisces at the last degree, I can relate.

  10. Water, water good for life. What the water signs remind me of- Cancer, the lake, because it makes me think of something smaller and somehow familiar but you don’t know what lies beneath it. Scorpio – the swamp, because even if it’s a murky and slightly horrific situation in there, there are also water lillies so something very precious and unsoiled. Pisces – the ever changing ocean with endless colors on the spectrum. My emotions- a splash of water storming in a bucket or a very light summer rain. As a gemini with nothing else in water to let out my emotions then through pluto in scorpio and scorpio midheaven.

  11. I still don’t know what the right way to metabolize or deal with emotions is.. I seem to be spending a lot of time processing emotions and appetites. I believe I’m not the only one who would fail an emotional intelligence test.

    I still wanna know what your emotional self regulation techniques are 😀

    1. Sometimes the only way out is through. Maybe listen to some music that matches your mood. Go through the feelings, let them come up, let them out, and then hopefully you’ll be able to move forward.

      I’ve suppressed a lot of emotions in my life for reasons I understand, but every once in a while they come up and if I need to cry, I just do it. In private. I don’t like being a showcase. Then I get back to things 🙂

      1. Yeahhh generally I do that. But, these days Mars is fucking with my chart. What happens is I have negative emotions related to procrastination, inability to digest or tackle tasks that are too difficult or the ‘how’ of it seems difficult to start alone or try.. so I’m constantly listening to music or podcasts that match my mood, but I’m incapable (Mars in the 12th) of having discipline and getting to the task at hand. I have a bunch of moods from depressiveness to loneliness I have to tackle before and during the task. Because of stress lunar transits.

        1. That’s tough. Sometimes it’s hard to get yourself started but don’t sell yourself short. Saying you’re incapable makes it true. You are as capable as anyone else.

          Maybe make a list and break things down into manageable tasks. That has helped me in the past when I’ve felt overwhelmed. Just do one thing, see how you feel. Then cross it off the list. That simple act can be very uplifting.

          And think of some goals. Set up some plans to get there. Learn from the opposite sign of Cancer (Cap) and help to ground yourself through sustained effort. Mentally withdraw the emotion when it comes up and push through. Kinda the opposite of what I said before, but it’s another way and I have found it helpful. Achievement lifts my spirits and makes whatever was bothering me not so bad.

          I hope that this might help but the biggest thing I can see is you need to take matters into your own hands. Don’t let some emotion own you – you are you, not the emotion. If you need to use the emotion, do so, but don’t let it drown you or one day you’ll look up and years have gone by and you’ll have nothing to show for it. I don’t know whether that matters to you, but I know it does to me, and sometimes I need to hear it from someone 🙂

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