Qualities: Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable

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To fully understand the 12 zodiac signs and what they represent and stand for, one needs to know what the three qualities in astrology symbolize. These qualities are the Cardinal quality(the starters), the Fixed quality(the doers), and the Mutable quality(the finishers). Each quality has its defining features, strengths, and weaknesses that it influences in each of the zodiac signs.

Each Zodiac Sign belongs to one of three qualities

Each quality belongs to four zodiac signs, each of which is allocated to a separate quadrant of the zodiac. The zodiac qualities specifically combine with only one sign of each element. For example, there will be only one fixed fire sign, earth sign, air sign, and water sign.

Elements are used in astrology to group certain signs and to indicate their instinctive behavior and traits. Similarly, qualities also group up specific zodiac signs to highlight certain behaviors and traits they have in common. Each person plays a unique role in a team, some are initiators, some are the hard workers, and some put the finishing touches onto the end product. Knowing which sign belongs to which quality is useful in identifying which role a specific sign will be good at in a team.

The most important use for qualities in astrology is in Horary astrology when an astrologer attempts to determine the best times to initiate something, to work on something, and to complete and end off a project.

On the 12 sign western zodiac wheel, the sings that are opposite each other on the wheel will have the same quality. Thus, although the signs might have polar opposite natures, they do have characteristics that they can see eye to eye on, which is indicated through the quality they have in common.

Cardinal Zodiac Signs

Cardinal signs are the initiators. They are the pioneers and the project starters and are the ones to get things moving. The Cardinal quality is representative of new beginnings and fresh energy, as Aries season is the at start of the spring, Libra season is at the start of fall, and Capricorn season is at the beginning of winter. Cardinal signs are natural-born leaders, and they possess amazing ideas for projects, and are usually the brains to come up with all the good ideas!

Cardinal signs are competitive and original and want to be the 1st to come up with something or do something. They are ahead of everybody else in the race. These people are usually the 1st to come up with a trend, or a new niche and to discover a new invention. Cardinal signs initiate the direction and route that everyone will follow and work on. They are the project starters, and generally, the other zodiac signs are aids in helping the cardinal signs complete their projects.


Aries is the only cardinal fire sign. The combination of fire and the Cardinal quality is a powerful one, thus why Aries individuals possess the inherent strength they do. Ariens are the warriors of the zodiac and are usually the 1st to do something. They are not shy, and when everyone else is fearful and hesitant, the Aries charges headfirst and gets things going. They are incredibly focused on what they need to achieve, and unlike mutable sings, they do not get distracted by trivial things that will push them off the course they are on. Aries people are continually making moves putting new projects into action, and the time it takes a fixed or mutable sign to get something into motion, an Aries would’ve put numerous projects into motion within the same time! An Aries will light the path for others to follow on, thus making them influential leaders. 


Cancer are ruled by water, making them the only water cardinal sign. Cancer’s ambitions can easily get clouded by their emotions, and if it weren’t for them possessing the Cardinal quality, it would be challenging for them to get anything initiated! Lucky for them, the Cardinal quality grants them the power and strengths to embark on the projects they come up with. They allow their emotions to tell them what they need to do intuitively. Cancer’s projects and ideas are always emotionally motivated, and they are the signs that put into motion the plans that take into consideration the emotional wellbeing of others. Impulsiveness is something they can struggle with, and Cancers can impulsively start projects based on their emotions.


Libra is the Cardinal air sign. Libra is known to be indecisive, and they struggle to make up their minds. This indecisiveness is because they always weigh out all the possibilities before they embark on something. Once a Libra has made up their mind, however, one can assure that they will follow through with it, as luckily they belong to the Cardinal quality. Libra is the one Cardinal sign with way too many ideas, and they become easily overwhelmed by all these ideas, thus why they have to ask other people for their insights to come to an informed decision. These natives are outstanding leaders as they always have the support of others, and find it easy to gather a team to help them put their projects into motion.


Capricorn is the stubborn, hard-headed Cardinal sign, but luckily to their benefit. Belonging to the earth element, they are practical and grounded with their heads rooted in reality. They usually have a set idea and goal in their mind and will pursue it. Capricorns are incredibly responsible and hardworking and are aware of all the ins and outs it takes to get something done. They do not take the easy way out, and due to this, they are wonderful leaders and can quickly identify the strengths in others and allocate roles accordingly. They do not let their emotions get the better of them and are incredibly logical and one sighted, which makes them some of the most stable, reliable signs of the zodiac.

Fixed Zodiac Signs

Fixed signs fall in the middle of a season. These natives are the foundations of society. They are the builders and the preservers. Fixed signs take the ideas initiated by the Cardinal signs, and they put them into motion and create something physical and substantial out of it. Where the Cardinal signs are the “talkers,” the Fixed signs are the “walkers.” Their natures are incredibly reliable, and you know what you are getting next, and what you see is what you get. They ensure that they do what needs to get done to ensure that things actually happen. They are the root system that works to ensure that the tree above provides fruit. It is said that fixed sings are the most creative, as they have the patience to complete something until it comes into its full form.


Taurus is the Fixed earth sign. They are masters at getting down and dirty and getting things done. Taureans can enjoy success and achievements in any area they put their mind to and possess the persevering energy to complete anything, even if it takes years! Extreme stubbornness prevents them from giving up, which can be viewed as a strength in some cases. The only downside to their determination is they struggle to let things go, and they can hold onto projects, values, or people that are detrimental to their eventual progress, hoping they can somehow make it work.


Leo is the Fixed fire sign. Whereas the other fixed signs tend to work behind the scenes, Leo is the one fixed sign that possesses magnetic energy that can shake mountains. Leo’s can be somewhat inflexible, and they expect others to adapt and change according to their needs. These natives are great at harnessing and maintaining ongoing respect and admiration wherever they are for their dedication and steadiness. They bring a sense of warmth wherever they are, and others rely on them tremendously to get things done due to the massive amounts of strength they radiate.


Scorpio is the Fixed water sign, and although they are ruled by flowy water, they do not change that quickly at all! Scorpions are incredibly fixed in their emotional natures and can maintain feelings within themselves for years. Their emotional nature is so fixed that they can also hold onto negative emotions for years. They retain their responsibilities and goals no matter what, and very few things can stop them or get in the way of their duty. Unexpected changes in their external world are unwelcomed, as it can take them a long time to readjust themselves accordingly.


Aquarius is the Fixed air sign. Aquarians are fixed in their beliefs and viewpoints, and they believe what they believe, and nothing is changing that. Aquarians can quickly get themselves stuck in a rut, as they do not change themselves easily according to their circumstances. They have very strong, inflexible opinions, yet this is the exact reason why they are the best ones to push through anything and to ensure it reaches completion. Friendships are where one can identify the strength of the fixed nature of an Aquarian. They stay devoted and reliable in their friendships to the end, no matter what happens. They can handle pressure very well, as they have logical, orderly minds and can rationally get through any situation.

Mutable Zodiac Signs

Mutable signs fall at the end of a season, and they are the ones to put the finishing touches onto the projects initiated by the Cardinal signs and followed through by the Fixed signs. Mutable signs are the adaptors and changers of the zodiac. They go with the flow and check out things around them and decide on a course of action based on their analysis. These natives can be placed in almost any diverse situation, and they will thrive. Extraordinarily open-minded and adventurous, these sings are the gatherers of information, and they perfect and finish any project with their keen eye and observation for detail. The best part of their nature is that they adapt themselves to suit the person they are interacting with, thus making them extremely receptive to those around them. Natives of the mutable quality can seem to be the most selfless as these people consider the requirements of others and adapt themselves accordingly.


Gemini is a shining example of the Mutable quality. Represented by the twins, they have a dual nature that adapts and changes to any circumstance or person. They show the face they know will end up benefitting them when they are in specific situations. Gemini’s know exactly what to do to ensure things work out in their favor, as they are masters of taking in information and computing it to achieve the desired outcome. You can put a Gemini anywhere, and they will learn to adapt. Willing to adapt and change themselves to experience any kind of adventure, remaining fixed is their worst nightmare!


Virgo is the more stubborn, critical, and fussy sign out of the Mutable signs, as they are the earth ruled Mutable sign, yet they are still adaptable. The plus side to Virgo’s is that they possess a very well-balanced and secure foundation and structure in their lives, thanks to belonging to the earth element, and they know exactly how to keep making the necessary changes to their lives for things to work in their favor. They are master planners. Virgo’s know that for things to improve in some cases, specific changes need to be made, thus why Virgo’s do not oppose change; however they welcome it as it helps them and others progress.


Sagittarius is a combination of fire and Mutable energy. These natives are incredibly adaptable to their external circumstances and generally push forward no matter what. They adapt and change themselves to match the conditions around them no matter where or who they re; thus, they get along with people from all walks of life and can place themselves in any location and be comfortable. Sagittarians thrive on the thrill of the adventure and variety of life! They have adaptable opinions and values and change their beliefs according to their experiences.


Pisces is the last sign of the Mutable quality. Pisces is a water sign and represents the changes in one’s emotions, such as how water flows in the ocean. Pisces also represents the changeable nature of life and how it progresses. The spiritual, compassionate sign of Pisces represents changing and molding oneself to their environment and according to the energies that they experience around them. Considered the chameleons of the zodiac, they are incredibly adaptable to their external circumstances, thus making them a pure inhibitor of the Mutable quality. Their empathetic and compassionate nature allows them to pick up the emotional needs of others, and they adapt their behavior accordingly to receive positive reactions.