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Selma Blair and A Cancerian's Journey Through Pain to Peace and Wholeness

Experiencing pain and suffering is part of the human experience. Steven Forrest, in his fourth book in the elements series, The Book of Water: Healing, Regeneration, and Recovery, tells us that the water signs, planets, and houses exist to help us process and recover from life’s painful passages and experiences. In Cancer, our directive is to “feel the feels.” In Scorpio, our job is to confront pain and its roots honestly and fearlessly. Then, having navigated these difficult processes, we learn to forgive, release, and transcend our pain in Pisces. Forrest calls these processes “miraculous mechanisms” that function as our allies if we choose to work with them.


Cancer’s vulnerability is well-known, but Forrest asserts this energy is not weak. It takes great courage to live from the heart and to experience the roller coaster of a deeply felt life. Cancer, the crab, also knows how to protect itself and is adept at building shells from which it can move through the world. The trap, of course, is that one can get stuck within a shell and refuse to evolve. With our Cancerian energy, we learn to identify when we have outgrown our shell, to carefully extract ourselves from that shell, and then to construct a larger shell in which to grow. And this process continues throughout life.


In tune with the emotional nature of Cancer, we tend to equate well-known Cancerians with the power of their feelings. Princess Diana won the world’s heart when she shared the loneliness she felt in her loveless marriage. Actress Meryl Streep dazzles us as she embodies the spirits of deeply emotional characters. Even OJ Simpson is thought of in terms of his deeply dark and troubled emotions. I looked to the chart of another Cancerian actress, Selma Blair, after reading Steven Forrest’s description of the sign of Cancer. Selma published a memoir last year called Mean Baby in which she described not so much her life as a well-known actress, but her feeling life, and how she has evolved emotionally.


Selma describes the pain she experienced as a child, when her mother frequently told her that she was planning to abort Selma and later changed her mind. In keeping with the Cancerian need to construct shells, Selma for many years struggled to win her mother’s love and approval. She was not able to break free from that shell until she was an adult with a life away from her mother. Selma resorted to alcohol abuse for years to cope with the rejections she faced in relationships and her hatred of herself. She eventually escaped from this shell by going into treatment after she became a mother herself and wanted to show up for her child better than her mother had for her. Obsessive relationships also protected Selma from facing the pain about her life. Actor Jason Schwartzman, after they had been together for several years, finally had to tell her to leave his life, and Selma had to deal with herself alone. Physical pain also dogged Selma for many years, which she handled by self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. This shell was finally broken when she received an MS diagnosis, and she knew taking care of her body would be her job from now on.


Selma’s intense emotional journey is indicated in her chart not just by her Cancerian planets and South Node, but by their ruler, her Scorpio Moon. She was helpless within her chaotic emotional life until she found the Scorpionic therapy she needed to honestly face herself, her demons, and the simple truth that she was killing herself as she was living her life then. We also see the 12th house placement of Selma’s Cancer planets. Forrest considers the 12th to be a water house, and planets there lose their identity with the ego, or our unique personality, and point us towards becoming part of something larger than ourselves.


Selma’s 12th house journey truly began when she had her own child and knew she had to release to self-indulgent “mean baby” persona to become a loving and stable mother. But the MS diagnosis and her struggles with the disease broke open the fragile shell of an entitled young celebrity and connected her with the 2 million people who are suffering with MS in the US today. Selma Blair today is an MS activist, one who is actively fundraising for medical research and treatment options through Race to Erase MS while encouraging others to live their lives fully within the constraints of their disease. She has transcended the pain of her life to live a live of purpose and meaning, with a heart open and whole.


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