The signs are divided up into 3 groups called qualities, and those qualities are cardinal, fixed, and mutable. The quality of the sign is a part of the energy that the sign expresses. Let's dive in with all 3!
The Cardinal Signs in Astrology
The cardinal signs are Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn. You may notice that these four form a grand cross with Aries opposite Libra square Cancer opposite Capricorn.
All of the signs in a quality are part of a grand cross, so in a natal chart, when you have a grand cross, you have every sign of a certain quality represented in your planets. This makes the energy of that quality more important for you, and the quality that is most common among your planets is manifested more in your personality and life.
The cardinal signs are action-oriented, and so they're the starters, the ones who take charge, the ones who put things in motion. Each of the cardinal signs represents the first day of the seasons, with Aries being the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere and fall in the southern hemisphere, Cancer being the first day of summer in the north and winter in the south, Libra being the first day of fall in the north and spring in the south, and Capricorn being the first day of winter in the north and summer in the south.
Aries is also the first sign of the Zodiac, so it's the true starter sign, the pioneer of the Zodiac. Cancer is the first water sign in the Zodiac, and is the one who takes charge emotionally and domestically. Libra takes charge when it comes to relationships, and Capricorn takes charge when it comes to career.
Aries is obvious with the way it takes charge, going full steam ahead and jumping at the chance. The rest are more subtle, with Cancer trying to steer you emotionally, Libra trying to talk you into it, and Capricorn trying to make you see the usefulness.
If you have a lot of cardinal planets in your natal chart, or have 2 of 3 or 3 of 3 of your Sun, Moon, and Rising in a cardinal sign, taking charge is natural for you. It may not be overt (especially if you have no Aries), but there's a little leader inside of you. Where you take charge will be found in the house location the planets are located in, what you take charge can be found with the planet the sign is in, and how you take charge is found in the sign.
The Fixed Signs in Astrology
The fixed signs are Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius. The fixed signs are quite literally that, fixed, but in what way is shown through their element.
Taurus is a grounded earth sign, so it’s super fixed in place (and rules being stubborn!). Leo is an energetic fire sign, so it tends to be more fixed with it’s energy, and generally doesn’t venture outside of its comfort zone much. Scorpio is an emotional water sign, so it can get fixed in emotional fits. Aquarius is an intellectual air sign, so it can be fixed on intellectual pursuits (hence Aquarius ruling the expert).
The obvious downside of fixed signs are their inability to be flexible, but their upside is that they can stick to their guns.
Having a lot of fixed energy in your chart (3 or more planets, or 2 out of 3 with your Sun, Moon, and Rising) makes this energy more natural to you, and you can be someone that’s difficult to budge from their position, can take your time with decisions and actions, and tries to be steady. Flexibility is your lesson to learn, so try to focus on the planets or houses where you have mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces) to bring that flexible person inside of you out.
The Mutable Signs in Astrology
The mutable signs are Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces. The mutable signs are fluid, and so are associated with flexibility and being able to make adjustments on the fly.
The mutable signs may have energy that’s difficult to pin down, whether it’s airy scattered energy (Gemini), busy scattered energy (Virgo), active scattered energy (Sagittarius), or emotionally scattered energy (Pisces). The upside of the mutable signs is the ability to go with the flow, but the downside is the difficulty to be still.
Having a lot of mutable energy in your chart (3 or more planets, or 2 out of 3 with your Sun, Moon, and Rising) makes this energy more natural to you, and you can be someone who knows how to make adjustments, who isn’t fixed in their ways, and who’s willing to be flexible. You do need to make sure you’re not easily led astray though, since this energy does make it easy for you to be more of a follower. Try to focus on the planets or houses where you have cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn) to bring out the leader in you so that doesn’t happen. If you can avoid that, this is very pleasant energy.
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