The cardinal fixed mutable signs do not have the broad recognition that the earth, air, fire, and water signs do. But they are just as important.
Cardinal, fixed, and mutable are three modes or qualities of expression. When you view them on the horoscope wheel, the signs of each quality appear in cross-shaped groupings.
The Cardinal signs are Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn.
Cardinal signs are initiators. They are energetic, dynamic, proactive, and unafraid to try new things. A preponderance of cardinal signs in a chart indicates a person who is always in “go” mode. But they don’t always take the rest they need. This can cost them in the long run.
The word Cardinal means “first.” The Sun’s entry into each cardinal sign takes place at the equinoxes and solstices. The first month of any season brings the “starting” vibe of the cardinal signs.
The first day the Sun is in Aries is the first day of Spring (in the Northern hemisphere). The sign Cancer is the beginning of Summer. The first day in Libra marks the beginning of Fall. The Capricorn ingress hails the arrival of winter.
The Fixed signs are Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius.
Signs on the fixed cross are persistent, stable, and resistant to change. The fixed quality is strong and relentless. It is a blessing at times— fixed signs are reliable and determined. They do not give up easily. But the unwillingness to change can also mean missing out on opportunities and getting stuck in ruts.
The fixed signs represent the second month of each season. The season is well underway by the time the Sun reaches a fixed sign. The season has really “set in.”
The Mutable signs are Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces.
Each sign on the mutable cross has a flexible, changeable, adaptable, and suggestible nature. The mutable quality goes with the flow better than other signs.
The mutable signs are good with relationships and the details of day-to-day life. Mutable signs are very good at multitasking (doing many things at once). But they also tend to struggle with distractions. They may scatter their energies. They may lack the focus to move decisively toward a goal. When a chart has a preponderance of mutable signs, the person tends to have excess nervous energy. This nervous energy makes it difficult for the person to settle down.
The Sun’s passage through a mutable sign represents the final month of any season. Late summer, for example, when the leaves begin to fall, and the weather becomes more changeable as we begin to slide into the next season. Mutable signs pick up the quality of these seasons of change.
Count up the total number of planets in each mode in your chart. Give an extra count to the Sun, Moon, and Ascendant. Some charts have the planets balanced among each of the three modes. More often, a chart is heavy in one mode or the other.
Count up the number of planets in each mode in your chart. How do your totals describe you as a person?