The Qualities of the Zodiac: Cardinal, Fixed or Mutable

Looking at the balance of the qualities (also called the Quadruplicities, because they are divided into groups of four) in a chart can give a general feel for how an individual utilises the energy available to them. For example, a person with cardinal signs heavily emphasised but with very little fixed sign focus, and no mutable sign activity at all. This person would most probably be full of enthusiasm for life and could have many new projects and ideas to work on at any given time. The lack of other qualities (fixed & mutable) could indicate that the person has difficulty in following through on these plans and ideas, and possibly finds it difficult to adjust these plans to suit reality and challenges. In many cases that I have been involved with, a lack of a quality is often compensated for within a relationship where the other person has a heavy emphasis on the missing quality.

Generally speaking the quadruplicities represent the three basic qualities of life: cardinal (creation); fixed (preservation); and mutable (adjustment). In other words a project, phase, or relationship begins, then takes on form or structure, and finally needs to be reorganised as circumstances change and begin again. So the cardinal, fixed, mutable process continues as a time goes on.


Cardinal: (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn)

Those heavily influenced by the cardinal signs tend to be full of initiative, have no problems in beginning new projects and are usually quite busy with new plans. Within a group setting, the cardinal signs are most likely to lead others through their enthusiasm for the group’s aim. The energy expressed through this quality is powerful, but usually short lived – a bit like when a match is struck – there is that initial burst of flame that is big but dies down quickly.

Aries tends to express it’s cardinality through the world of firsthand experience and pioneering activity.
Cancer seems to be motivated by activities that satisfy their moods and emotional needs.
Libra tends to be motivated by the need for inspiring communication between both individuals and groups.
Capricorn tends to express itself through achieving material rewards and be motivated by results.

Key Words
initiating energy * drive not sustained for long * enterprising * use direct approach * initiate change * uncooperative * assertive * aggressive * creative * self-conscious * independent * self-seeking * impatient with others * unaware of desires outside of self * ruthless * opportunist.


Fixed: (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius)

Those heavily influenced by the fixed quality are great at using their energy to keep long term projects running smoothly and for situations that require patience. These people also find change difficult, even when they consciously know they need it! Using the match example again, I would see the fixed signs representing the flame that slowly but steadily burns through the matchstick until it reaches the end.

Taurus seems to have a need to hold on to it’s resources and material possessions.
Leo tends towards having a very strong style of self-expression and fixed image of themselves.
Scorpio usually has very strong, fixed feelings about people and ideas.
Aquarius can be unusually fixed in their opinions about anyone or anything.

Key Words
energy used to keep something going * persistent * staying power * solid * determined * doesn’t know when to stop * not good at starting things * resists change * great power * can withstand great pressure * stable * long-lasting * slow * reliable * preserver of traditions * inflexible * hoarder * fanatical.


Mutable: (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces)

Mutable people are normally flexible, adaptable and great at changing to suit their circumstances at various points in life. Their resourcefulness and versatility are a couple of mutable signs’ skills, although if taken too far can swing towards being scattered and disoriented. This quality seems to need the direction and/or structure of the cardinal and fixed qualities to give it direction. Using the match example again, once the fire reaches the end of the matchstick and the fire extinguishes this process produces smoke – the fire has changed form once it has met a change in circumstances.

Gemini tends to display it’s versatility and adaptability through a constant change of mind and ideas.
Virgo may spend it’s mutable energy on finding the ‘right’ occupation or service that allows the use of it’s many talents.
Sagittarius tends to seek adventures in life that will satisfy it’s philosophical or religious questionings.
Pisces seems to constantly change in trying to adapt to it’s own changing feelings and the moods of others.

Key Words
adaptable * flighty * weak-willed * less likely to confront * easily copes with change * flexible * learning through change * involved with serving * evasive * can make the most out of the least * can see all sides to issue * loses sense of self and purpose * can exaggerate * lack of perseverance * sees details, but not whole.

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