So are you more cardinal, fixed or mutable? Read on below to discover which zodiac sign falls into each modality, what each energy brings, and how to find them in your own birth chart.
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Most of us know the basics of our natal chart, like our sun sign or our moon signs. If you’re a regular astro fan, you probably know that the zodiac is divided into 12 different signs. (Here‘s a cute notebook and guide to journey through your chart with if you’re just getting started with astrology)
Actually, there are many more ways to look at or organize the natural zodiac. Some of these ways are by house, by quadrants, by seasons, by daytime/ nightime, by astrological elements and by modalities.
It is important to note here that the modalities in astrology are NOT the same thing as the elements in astrology (which are earth, air, fire and water).
The term “modalities” in astrology (sometimes also called qualities or quadruplicities) refers to the type of action that is provoked by a certain energy. It’s kind of like the modus operandi of that specific energy.
There are 3 different modalities in the natural zodiac, each covering 4 out of the 12 signs of the zodiac.
If we started at Aries, and went around the zodiac wheel counter clockwise, the pattern of modalities that would follow (the modality changing each time the sign changed) would be Cardinal (Aries), Fixed (Taurus), Mutable (Gemini), Cardinal (Cancer), Fixed (Leo), Mutable (Virgo), Cardinal (Libra), Fixed (Scorpio), Mutable (Sagittarius), Cardinal (Capricorn), Fixed (Aquarius), Mutable.
(Note that the different elements also follow a pattern through the zodiac of Fire, Earth, Air, Water)
It is clear that there is a pattern of Cardinal, Fixed, Mutable, each group of 3 signs correlating, respectively, to the beginning of a new season, middle of each season, and end of a season. In the end, each constellation has a unique combination of element and modality.
The Cardinal sign energy is all about change. New beginnings. Establishment. Leadership skills. These are the initiators of the zodiac. This is where new energy comes in and commences a process, such as the beginning of a season, as discussed above. This is a very trailblazing energy that is about instinctual action. Cardinal energy is known for it’s natural leadership, and marks each angular house. Read about the cardinal zodiac signs below:
Aries: Astrological element Fire. Rules first house. Ruled by planet Mars.
Aries is the first cardinal sign, and is the first sign of the zodiac. The Aries energy is connected to the beginning of Spring, and is connected to the spring equinox. It has to do with taking immediate, solo action and paving a new path forward.
This cardinal fire sign is impulsive, visionary (natural leaders) and very connected to the body (as Aries rules the 1st house of the natural zodiac, which has to do with our vehicle of incarnation).
Cancer: Astrological element Water. Rules fourth house. Ruled by the Moon.
Cancer is the next cardinal sign, and Cancer season begins on the day of the summer solstice, which is June 21st. This date marks the longest day of the year, as well as the day with the most sun.
This Cancerian energy is different from the first cardinal energy in that this energy is linked with our emotions and our identity. The initiation and new beginnings that arise from this cardinal water sign has to do with the integration of self and the expression that comes with it.
When we think of summer, we can refer to the growth of things like flowers and leaves. In the same way, at the core of this “flowering”, is the expression of one’s inherent seed and deepest roots…This initiation is emotional in nature.
The cardinal aspect of the Cancer energy is the changes and shifts that must arise (both within and outside of us) when we show up and bloom in the fullness of our identity.
Libra: Astrological element Air. Rules 7th house. Ruled by Venus.
Libra is the next Cardinal energy, marking the autumn equinox and leading us into the start of fall or Libra season.
In the natural zodiac, Libra sits directly across from Aries (season of Spring), and where Aries has to do with the self, Libra is about the other, and the reciprocal nature of relationships. Also, the necessary balance that we seek to establish and maintain in life. In the natural zodiac, Libra initiates change, puts that Cardinal energy into motion, by acting as the first step into the 2nd Demi of the zodiac.
In the first 6 signs or houses (Aries-Virgo) we are dealing with the development of the self. When we move to Libra, we are entering the realm of relationships, where the Libra energy asks us to evaluate the harmony, or absence there of, in our lives, and especially in our relationships.
The initiation of change that happens with this cardinal air sign arises because this energy requires us to observe our interactions and circumstances and reflect. In consequence, we make the necessary changes that will put the scale (Libra symbol) back into balance.
Capricorn: Astrological element Earth. Rules 10th houses. Ruled by Saturn.
The last Cardinal energy is Capricorn. The Capricorn seasons begins on the winter solstice, December 21st, and marks the shortest day of the year, and the longest and darkest night. This is the commence of winter.
The Capricorn energy, which is also a cardinal energy, initiates change through reflecting on the previous house (the 9th house, where higher education happens and belief systems are established) and through that reflection, understanding it’s role in the community and in society. There is a feeling of personal responsibility that is connected to the Capricorn energy, and it is in this space that change is initiated out of a sense of duty.
The initiation that this cardinal energy brings is not done out of a place of “warmth” and “feel good” vibes (hence the winter placement), but rather out of the understanding of the role that it plays in the bigger picture. This cardinal earth sign has a determination to fulfill it’s responsibility to the group.
The energy of the fixed signs is all about getting. stuff. done. and is correlated to the middle of the seasons.
These are the workers and the “do-ers” of the zodiac, whose strength is their natural stability and in their constant energy. It is for this reason that the fixed signs have a difficult time with change.
If in the cardinal signs we are planting seeds, the fixed energy helps to get those seeds established and grow deep roots. Here is where the initial energy that got something started is tended to and nurtured in order to fulfill it’s purpose.
Taurus: Astrological element Earth. Rules 2nd house. Ruled by Venus.
The Taurean fixed modality has, at its root, the objective of survival and having its needs meet, which is part of the reason why Taurus energy is so connected to the natural world. This energy sits between Aries and Gemini and denotes the middle of spring.
Taurean energy establishes stability by understanding what resources are inherent to it, and putting those resources to use in order to establish survival and comfort. When we think of the idea of survival and having our needs met, it is a long term affair, which makes sense when juxtaposed with the fixed modality of Taurus.
Leo: Astrological element Fire. Rules 5th house. Ruled by the Sun.
The Leo energy is very connected to our ego, in the sense that it has to do with the way that we show up and present ourselves to the world. Here, in the fifth house, the Leo energy establishes stability by having a deep understanding of self, and a firm commitment to self actualization.
This Leo energy thrives in self presentation and being the life of the party, and so the stability that is created through the Leonic energy has to do with realizing and fulfilling one’s sense of purpose in the world.
Scorpio: Astrological element Water. Rules 8th house. Ruled by Pluto.
The Scorpio energy is a deep, watery, emotional energy that is marked by an emotional attachment and/ or commitment to something or someone. It is in this house that something outside of ourselves is identified as desirable and able to provide us with empowerment.
As a result, we enmesh with this person, or opportunity or object, establishing profound emotional ties, which, necessarily, is tethered to commitment. This energy establishes stability through its whole body commitment to the “other”.
Scorpio is a water sign, so of course this commitment and empowerment begins below the surface in the subconscious, then rises to the emotions, and eventually results in complete commitment through whatever means.
Aquarius: Astrological element Air. Rules 11th houses. Ruled by Uranus.
The Aquarian energy is interesting in its fixed nature, in that the Uranian energy is meant to provoke change, however there is a fixed-ness, or rather a certain stubbornness in it’s commitment to being different and going against the flow.
The purpose of this Aquarian energy is to rupture the established patterns, in order to create space for innovation to happen. This energy establishes stability, ironically, in its deadfast commitment to being contrary, its strong opinions and refusal to settle with the status quo.
This Aquarius energy has its own mind, period. The type of detachment that this energy is connected to is a visionary, humanitarian energy, and at the same time, because of it’s visionary aptitudes, has a hard time relating emotionally or “reading the room” so to speak.
So the stability that is established here, as it is an air sign, is one that begins on the mental plane with ideas and innovative thoughts. Eventually, this trickles down to the material plane where we see the breaking of patterns and the establishing of new ideas
The mutable modality in the zodiac is all about the completion of a process, and the preparation for the new concept that will arrive when the energy has passed, and the cardinal energy is reintroduced. The mutable zodiac signs are about flexibility, tying up loose ends, and making preparation for the change of seasons. There is a mutable sign to mark the end of each season (Spring: Gemini, Summer: Virgo, Autumn: Sagittarius, Winter: Pisces). When thinking of mutable energy, there is a sense of being able to go with the flow and trust in the natural movement of life both in this season and towards the next season.
Gemini: Astrological element Air. Rules 3rd house. Ruled by Mercury.
The objective of Gemini energy, which is connected to the end of spring, is to gather and communicate information. This is the library of the zodiac, where all manners of information and knowledge is collected, and where observations are both welcomed and desired.
It is here in the 3rd house, through this gathering of knowledge and information, that we are able to categorize and label all the facets of our lives, which, consequently, creates a context where we can communicate and interact with the realities of others. The mutability of Gemini has to do with its curiosity and openness to learning and exploring and new projects.
Virgo: Astrological element Earth. Rules 6th house. Ruled by Mercury.
The house of Virgo, the 6th house, is situated opposite Pisces and has to do with implementing processes that support our growth and development. Virgo energy is about the practicalities of our lives.
If you’re reading this, you probably know that life changes and flows and ebbs and has ups and downs. The mutability of Virgo has to do with the change that is inherent in the Virgoan energy (because progress and movement create necessary change), and speaks to the necessary flexibility that life requires.
Sagittarius: Astrological element Fire. Rules 9th house. Ruled by Jupiter.
The sign of Sagittarius is sister signs with Gemini who sits across from it and marks the end of the season Autumn. It has to do with what we do with the knowledge and information that is accrued in the 3rd house, and how we sort, filter and manage that information in order to form our belief systems.
This sign also rules long distance travel and higher learning, which is an apt reflection of its correlation to the mutable modality. The mutability that happens in the sign of Sagittarius has to do with the inner change that occurs through the exploration of different cultures, ideas and belief systems.
When we interact with the perceptions of others, our own ideas and perceptions are challenged, which, necessarily, creates an inner movement and repositioning
Pisces: Astrological element Water. Rules 12th house. Ruled by Neptune.
Pisces, the “ocean” of the zodiac, is a mutable water sign. It is here where dissolution happens and we get in touch with our connection to everything.
The mutability of the Pisces sign has to do with the dissolving that occurs in the Neptunian field where everything merges with everything else, and begins to move as one unit, instead of as a single, solitary, ego driven unit.
Thinking about the astrological modalities of each sign, and how the energy of each sign has to do with that specific modality is an excellent way to delve deeper into the deeper symbolism of astrology, and how the laws of the universe are written all throughout nature and life.
Looking at your own full birth chart and seeing if there is a dominant modality is one of the ways that you can begin to understand the energies that you are carrying within you, and why you respond the way that you do to your external environment. If you do not yet have your own birth chart, THIS website is one of my recommended places to go and get one (bonus, its free!).
The journey to “know thyself” is one full of twists and turns, and I am so grateful for the gift of astrology as a tool to use on that journey.
Wishing you insight and inspiration as you dig too.
Aja Celeste is a mom to 6 beautiful children and a twin mom! She is also creator and writer of That Zoi Life and a professionally trained Evolutionary Astrologer who has been doing astrology for 7 years. She is also a health care assistant, has a Bachelor of Ministry Degree, and is passionate about supporting people in conscious parenting. She also does Psychosomatics using Recall Healing.
Please contact her at [info@ThatZoiLife.com] if you would like to find out more about working with her.