What It Means If Your Sign Is Cardinal, Fixed, Or Mutable

Photographed by Rochelle Brock.

Budding astrology expert that you are, you already know your sign's ruling planet and ruling element. But, every so often, your go-to astrologer says it's actually your sign's quality that's contributing to your relationship woes or troubles at work.

As a cardinal sign, for example, you're a natural born leader who loves to plan ahead. Perhaps you're a fixed sign who sticks to your routine and prefer your opinion to those of others. Or, finally, you might be a go-with-the-flow mutable sign who easily adapts to change.

Four signs each belong to these three qualities, and they're categorized by the time of the year their solar seasons, the month-long period where the sun is aligned with a sign, occur. The cardinal signs' seasons align with the start of the seasons (Aries with spring, Cancer with summer, Libra with fall, and Capricorn with winter). Fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius) fall in the middle of the seasons. The mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces) arrive at the conclusion of each season.

As you may have noticed, all four elements are represented in each quality: one fire, one earth, one air, and one water sign make up each quality's group. Keeping this mind will help you see how the signs express their shared quality in very different ways.

For example, the four cardinal signs have very different priorities when it comes to taking up their leadership role. Yes, they all love seeing their plans set into action, but a Cancer will derive greater joy from a domestic success such as starting a relationship or moving into a new home, while a career-oriented Capricorn will be more satisfied by kicking off a new project at work.

In other words, your sign's quality indicates how you choose to approach and, in some cases, exert control, over the areas of life that you're already passionate about. That said, no quality is objectively better than the other. The Astrotwins put it beautifully when they wrote that the perfect team consists of all three qualities equally, so that some people are planning, others are executing, and the rest are putting the final touches on a project they can all call their own.

So, the next time your horoscope reminds you that your fixed, steady-as-can-be sign may be the source of your burnout, consider how you can maintain a sense of stability while making a change to care for yourself. Learning about — and accepting — this aspect of your sign should simultaneously offer a clearer understanding of your attitude as well as a chance to learn from the other two qualities.

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