Sign “Families” – Elements and Modes

Planets are like actors in the chart. Each planet represents an urge looking for expression.

Signs in the chart are the roles the actors play. Think of them as panes in a stained-glass cathedral window. A planet’s energy, its “light,” will come across differently depending on the sign it’s in, or the color “glass” through which it shines for you.

A sign’s element and mode

Every sign in the Zodiac is part of two sets or “families” of signs with similar characteristics. If you want to understand the 12 signs on a deeper level, learn about their elements and modes.

The four elements are fire, earth, air and water. Signs of the same element “speak the same language” and operate in a complementary fashion.

Most people have already heard of fire signs, water signs, earth signs, and air signs by the time they begin learning astrology. The modes (also called qualities), however, are equally important but less known.

The three modes are cardinal, fixed, and mutable. Signs of the same mode speak different languages and operate in a competing fashion.

As you proceed through this lesson, you’ll learn more about this important classification system for the 12 signs.

Gold Star exercise

Memorize the mode and element for each sign! This will make it easier to find and interpret the deeper meanings of the chart.

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