The Ultimate Astrology Guide on Astrological Qualities

What’s your Astrological Quality?

There are many ways to describe the signs that make up the zodiac. One of the more well-known ways is the elements: fire, earth, air, and water. Another way to describe the signs is with astrological qualities: cardinal, fixed and mutable.

The astrological qualities divide up the signs into groups, just like the elements do. These qualities are in many ways similar to describing the temperaments of each sign.

You may also see qualities referred to as “quadruplicities”, because they come in groups of four. Another name for them is “modalities”. 

A sign’s quality is a good way to figure out that sign’s attitude in life. It also describes how that sign deals with what life throws at them. How are they going to tackle a project?

Do they excel at getting things started or are they the types of people to finish them? 

Each of the three astrological qualities has four signs that fall under it. One sign from each element will have the same quality.

The first of the fire, water, air and earth signs will be Cardinal. The next sign in each element will be Fixed. Then, the last sign in each element will be Mutable.

The astrological qualities move in order through the signs, just like the elements do. The first sign, Aries, is cardinal. Taurus is the next sign and is fixed. The third is the mutable sign Gemini.

The pattern begins again with Cancer, another cardinal sign. 

You can think of the astrological qualities of a sign as designating the role they take when performing a task. Say, for example, that you are working on a group project in a class.

Each quality should be assigned a different section of the project, in order to take advantage of their strengths and make sure the task is completed to the best of everyone’s ability. 

Cardinal signs are the “starters”. They might begin gathering information needed for the project, assign roles, and prepare anything else needed to build the foundation for the project. 

Fixed signs are “doers”. They are the ones who will actually write the group paper, create the art piece, etc.

Mutable signs are “finishers”. When the project is done, they are going to be the ones editing the paper and putting the final touches on everything.

As you can see, each quality plays its own role, none more important than the other.

Everything needs a beginning, middle, and end. While the fixed signs may not be the best at getting the ball rolling, they keep it in the air before passing it off to the mutable signs, who are the ones to catch the ball. 

You can see this pattern easily if you look at the traits of each sign in the same element. While they will all share certain traits due to having the same element, their quality is one of the things that helps to differentiate the signs from one another. Aries, a cardinal fire sign, has a different “flavor” than Leo, a fixed fire sign. They serve different purposes and go about life in different ways.

Why is the quality of a sign important? It can help to tell a person more about their own strengths and weaknesses. They can also help when it comes to relationships.

If two people are both fixed signs, it makes sense that they may be stubborn and each get stuck in their own ways. Meanwhile, a cardinal sign and a mutable sign may need to learn to work together in order to get things done.

Instead of getting annoyed that one never starts anything and the other never completes a task, they can play to both their strengths in order to make things easier on one another.

When looking at someone’s entire birth chart, it is important to note what astrological qualities turn up the most.

Scorpio is a fixed sign, but someone who has Scorpio as their sun sign while having mostly cardinal signs in the rest of their chart is going to behave more like a cardinal sign than a fixed sign.

Cardinal Signs in Astrological Qualities

The cardinal signs are Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn.

Some astrologers also assign qualities to the houses of the astrological wheel. The cardinal houses would be the 1st, 4th, 7th, and 10th.

Cardinal signs kick things off. Aries is the first sign of Spring. Summer beings with Cancer. We go into Fall during Libra season. Winter begins with Capricorn.

If your birthday takes place in the month following a solstice or equinox (the first month-long period of a season), you are probably a cardinal sign.

Cardinal signs can be impulsive. You can see this strongly with Aries. It may be most obvious with that sign, but the trait is present in the other three signs as well.

Cancer can make snap judgments about people. Libra may quickly flip-flop between opinions.

Capricorn may seem to have self-control. However, watch how quickly they say “yes” when asked to take on a new task at work, even if they don’t actually have time for it.

Cardinal signs are “pushers”. Once they come up with an idea, they have a hard time letting go until something is done about that. For this reason, cardinal signs are also called “reacting” signs. 

This is a highly active quality. It is also ambitious and quick on its feet. These signs do not just push themselves to begin things; they are great at getting others motivated as well.

You can go to these signs if you need to get hyped up or if you’re having trouble knowing where to begin with a task. They’ll certainly know how to get you moving! 

People with a lot of cardinal energy in their charts excel when they are allowed to be passionate and to get things moving at their own quick pace.

They may feel stifled in slower environments or when around people who do not share their enthusiasm for life. They might enjoy fast-paced jobs where they constantly think on their feet, as opposed to ones where they need to take time to consider all options before beginning something.

The fault that lies with cardinal signs is that they aren’t always good at finishing what they started.

If you know somebody with a lot of unfinished art projects or a plethora of hobbies they only have a beginner level knowledge of, they might be a person with a lot of cardinal energy in their chart. 

This is not to say that cardinal signs are lazy. They do not abandon tasks because they are slacking off.

They’re simply starting something else with the same passion and vigor they gave to starting the last thing. 

Having others around to finish those unfinished tasks is extremely helpful for a cardinal sign. They may need another person to pick up where they left off if that is possible.

If not, they might need some creative nudging to keep with one task instead of moving on. Continuing with something and seeing it through to completion needs to be made exciting in order to keep their attention.

The downside of being a pusher is, naturally, being too pushy. There is a fine line between being motivating and being bossy. Others do not always appreciate being told what to do.

While cardinal signs may have the best of intentions, not everyone is going to react positively to their energy. 

The lesson for cardinal signs to learn is that it isn’t boring to see things through. Working through an entire project and seeing the end result can be just as rewarding and exciting as starting something new.

There are ways to keep things fresh and interesting throughout the entire process. 

Cardinal signs may need to break down large projects into smaller tasks. If they are learning a new language, for example, they might want to break up their learning into different subjects (greetings, food vocabulary, etc.).

This way, it always feels like they are starting something new, even though they are sticking to the same overall task.

People who are lacking cardinal energy in their charts may be more passive. They might be less energetic and motivated.

It might be challenging for them to get things going. These are the people who will need that push in order to start things up. 

Once your cardinal sign has started the fire and gotten everything up and running, it’s time to pass things along to a fixed sign.

Fixed Signs in Astrological Qualities

The fixed signs are Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius.

The houses assigned to the fixed quality are the 2nd, 5th, 8th, and 11th.

The fixed signs fall into the middle of the seasons they are in. They have a more stable quality about them. We are already settled into Spring when Taurus rolls around.

Our Summer vacations are going strong when the sun goes into Leo. Scorpio comes along while we’re already in the midst of Fall. Aquarius may fall at the beginning of the year, but it is right in the middle of Winter. 

Along with the pattern, if your birthday is in the second month of a season, you can probably assume you are a fixed sign.

Fixed signs are steady. When they have a task to focus on, they are all in. They don’t have a hard time continuing on with things that they have started or with picking up where others have left off.

Cardinal signs are a burst of energy as fixed signs are the calm that comes after. Think of where these signs fall in their respective seasons.

You already know what to expect from Fall by the time Scorpio season rolls around. It has begun and you’re used to it by then. 

Determination is a trait that all fixed signs share in common. Their ambition is to see things through until the end. They can become extremely single-minded, being unable to focus on anything else until they have finished what they started.

Fixed signs are not put off by difficulties they encounter. This might actually push them even further giving them an extra burst of motivation.

They are going to feel more confident than ever when they overcome the difficulties.

You can rely on fixed signs. They pride themselves on this. If a problem comes along, they are going to do whatever they can to solve it. They have a plan, and they are not going to budge on it for anyone or for anything.

Confidence is another quality of fixed signs. They have what it takes to achieve their goals, and they sure know it! These signs also heavily rely on themselves, sometimes to a fault.

Why bother relying on anyone else, right?

The problem with this, of course, is that sometimes you do need input and help from others. Fixed signs do not like change. They are the type of people to write a 20-page paper and turn it in without making revisions.

They think they do things right the first time. Therefore, they don’t bother to consider seeking any outside help or opinions.

Fixed signs sure are stubborn. They can be rigid and inflexible, especially when it comes to their own beliefs and opinions. Think of Taurus as a prime example of this.

Good luck getting a bull to do anything they don’t want to do. Leo is off doing their own thing regardless of what other people want. Scorpio gets obsessive about things. Aquarius is thinking of the big picture and anyone who thinks otherwise is wrong. 

The lesson fixed signs need to learn is, well, to be more flexible. It will be great if they can get things done! However, getting something done isn’t the same as finishing them.

The plan may mean it needs to be altered and compromises needs to be made or changes need to be applied.

Fixed signs also need to learn how to work with others. Hearing the opinions of other people and getting their input can make a project better than doing it by yourself.

Fixed signs can have their blinders on. This can lead to missing crucial information.

It is not a bad thing to be able to rely on yourself. Having confidence and sticking to your beliefs are not negative astrological qualities either.

However, sometimes it is best to let up a little and allow others in. 

People with a lack of fixed energy may have trouble standing their ground. They may not feel confident in their abilities and be quick to completely scrap what they are doing at the slightest hint of criticism.

Being a little stubborn can be a good thing sometimes. These people need help having more faith in themselves. They need to learn how to stay with something and trust that they can see it through.

Once your fixed sign has done the task at hand, it’s time to pass it along to the mutable sign for final edits.

Mutable Signs within Astrological Qualities

The mutable signs are Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces. 

The houses that are assigned with mutable quality are: 3rd, 6th, 9th, and 12th. 

We find mutable signs as the seasons are ending. Spring is heating up into Summer when Gemini comes along. Summer is fading into Fall with Virgo.

The world is becoming colder as Fall moves into Winter while Sagittarius is in the sky. Winter is ending, and the world is starting to come back to life in Pisces season.

If your birthday is in the final month of a season, you are most likely a mutable sign.

These signs are all about change. Gemini begins in May in the Spring and ends in June, right before the Summer Solstice. The weather in this transition period may not be entirely Spring weather but not quite Summer weather either.

The season has begun, it has set in, and now it is time for it to end and move on into another season.

Where fixed signs are rigid, mutable signs are flexible. They can easily adapt to new situations and are willing to go with the flow and don’t need to have things their way at all times.

Meaning they are perfectly happy to go along with whatever plan is already in place (or to not go along with a plan at all). 

This versatility can make mutable signs easy to work with. Does everyone in your office hate changing the printer toner? You can probably get a mutable sign to do that.

Is your project mostly ready but nobody wants to go through and format it? You’d be happy to! 

Mutable signs are also extremely resourceful. Because they work so well with others, they often have a network of people at their disposal should they need help with something.

They also dip their hands in so many pots that they have a little bit of experience with everything. Ask a mutable sign if you are stuck on a project and don’t know how to continue.

They probably have an idea or two. And if they don’t? They’ll know somebody who does.

Compassion and selflessness are other traits that mutable signs have. They can tell what others need, and they have the desire to make sure those needs are met. This natural ability can be extremely helpful, especially if people aren’t sure of what they want themselves.

Overall, mutable signs want to do whatever is good for the group overall. If that means taking the tasks nobody else wants, so be it. 

The downside of going with the flow is appearing inconsistent. Mutable signs can become people-pleasers and lose sight of their own wants and needs. They might clean up a project and make it presentable, but is any of the actual content theirs? 

Those with a lot of mutable energy in their charts can also come across as wishy-washy. If you’re willing to change everything at the drop of a hat, people may not consider you to be genuine.

Last week, you thought one thing, and now you say you think the opposite. This quality can be confusing to other people and give off the wrong impression. 

People may also have trouble trusting mutable signs. Aiming to please everyone can lead others to question your motives.

If you agree with somebody on a certain topic and then they hear you agreeing with somebody who has the opposite view, how can they trust anything you say?

It is not always possible to please everyone, but mutable signs sure do try. This can get them into trouble.

If you are doing a group project for a class, and two people in the group have wildly different ideas about what to do for the project, they aren’t both going to get their way.

If the two ideas are incompatible, it may not even be possible to find a middle ground. Somebody is going to have to give.

When a mutable sign tries to please both people, it may not end well. Choose a side in order for the project to move along.

People who lack mutable energy may find change difficult. They may be too rigid or have an excess of energy.

Being flexible does not come naturally to these people. They may need help when it comes to adapting to new situations. They might need help coming up with something else to do if a problem arises and it can’t be fixed.

About the author 

Astrology Experts

Amber Thelman is one of the leading experts here at - With cosmic love, curiosity and in depth knowledge about every single astrological topic like horoscopes, angel numbers and zodiac signs. She has made it her mission to enlighten others positively by sharing her life long knowledge on this beautiful spiritual journey.

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