Cardinal signs are part of the modalities. In astrology, the signs are grouped in fours known as a quadruplicity, based on their qualities. These qualities are Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable. For each element, there is one of each quality. The qualities are one of the building blocks of astrology and are based on how each type of quality engages with the world.

Cardinal Sign Summary

Cardinal Signs are the initiators of the zodiac. They are also found at key points on a natal chart wheel, precisely where the AC begins (1st House), the MC (10th house), DC (7th house) and IC (4th House). Cardinal Signs associate with leadership, ambition, great force and dynamic qualities that initiates change. They can be driven, bossy and opinionated.

Individuals possessing cardinal qualities like to get things going. They are active, quick and ambitious. Many projects get started, thanks to the Cardinal initiative, although a good deal of them never finish. That’s because Cardinal folks are much fonder of starting things than finishing them.

By season, they’re the kickoff, and come across as active initiators of each time of year.

  • Aries begins the Spring Equinox (around March 21st).
  • Cancer begins Summer Solstice (around June 21st).
  • Libra begins Fall (Autumn) Equinox (around September 21st).
  • Capricorn begins Winter Solstice (around December 21st).

You won’t find a Cardinal sign person slacking off. These people are full of vim and vigor and possess a drive and ambition that is unmistakable. Enthusiasm and a zest for life fill the cardinal individual. Some might perceive this rampant energy as domineering, and, at times, it can be. cardinal people can easily forget about the rest of the pack when they are busily focusing on their endeavors. Even so, their energetic spirit often wins the day.


What are the Cardinal Signs?

They are Aries (Fire), Cancer (Water), Libra (Air) and Capricorn (Earth).

The Cardinal Houses are the First, Fourth, Seventh and Tenth. So if someone had more planets in the 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th house, their energy and the energy of the chart would be weighted toward cardinality.

What are the characteristics of the cardinal signs?

The cardinal signs love to start things, and whether they finish them or not, there’s always a lot going on. Naysayers who find them to be too self-centered will simply have to watch (and marvel) as they speed away!

The cardinal signs instigate the seasons so, therefore, govern creativity. The cardinal signs are associated with starting things, initiating things or being “enterprising”.

What’s the difference between the cardinal signs based on the elements?

Each of the cardinal signs drives itself with the tools of its particular element. As the “scout signs” which generate the seasons, cardinal signs govern creativity. These signs are restless, active, self-motivated, ambitious, and they often are the leaders in their communities. They can be a bit domineering, but that comes part and parcel with their best qualities of being enterprising, independent, creative, spontaneous and forceful.

They are forceful and aggressive and have the will to accomplish something, often something new. They project into the world. They are creative in the sense that they cause things and start things.


Aries: Cardinal Quality, Fire Element:

Aries people will do this energetically and urgently (or impatiently). They cannot wait to do what they have in mind to do and that which is motivated by their enthusiasm.

An Aries’ role is to project himself upon the world through firsthand experiences. Self-expression is paramount to this pioneering sign, and Aries likes to see how far he can go in exploring, discovering and experimenting with the world around him. Aries’ fire element gives him supreme faith in himself along with a fierce sense of courage. His Cardinal nature makes him restless and in need of change for the sake of change.

He is assertive too and manages to get himself known in a relatively short time. Where would we be without Aries daredevils to push us forward?


Cancer: Cardinal Quality, Water Element:

Cancer people are emotionally assertive. They project emotion in a protective and sensitive way.Cancer’s role is to explore the entire realm of human emotion actively.

That Cancer is both Cardinal and Water motivates this sign to explore new emotional states and experiences. As a Water sign, Cancer is the most subtle of the Cardinal signs when expressing his independence and ambition. But don’t be fooled. Those qualities are just as dominant within Cancer as in the other Cardinal signs, no matter how gentle a Cancer outwardly appears.

Libra: Cardinal Quality, Air Element:

Librans do it in a balanced way, considering the viewpoints of others. Because they are people of air, they are more likely to project in a verbal way, compared with Aries, who take action on their enthusiasm. Librans will tend to use language to cause others to take the necessary steps.

Libras are great matchmakers and know how to get things cooking by introducing individuals to one another in relaxed social situations. Trying to do anything without the “other half” of the unit seems pointless to them. Their active, authoritative, Cardinal quality brings them in contact with successful over-achievers like themselves, so they quickly build a database of influential friends, associates, and contacts. Since they’re Cardinal, Libras can be bossy, but they express their dominance in such a charming way.

Capricorn: Cardinal Quality, Earth Element:

Capricorn projects forward in a practical, down to earth manner. It takes action based on functional need, and success.

Capricorn is a Cardinal sign who initiates activity with the result in mind. They are not impulsive or impetuous. The Capricorn Earth nature sets goals and plans carefully. Capricorn’s motivation is to maintain and improve their reputations. Prestige is candy to Capricorn, for they love respect for their work. Anything they put their name on has to be the best they can do.