Astrology Modes
Modalities, Polarities, Qualities

The Modality of the Zodiac signs is it’s basic and foundational operating mode.

Some signs lurch forward, others solidify their stance, and then there are the shaker-uppers.

But with Modalities, Polarities, Quadruplicities, Qualities – it can all get a bit messy.

So we have put together this guide to take a deeper look and piece it all together.

Let’s begin.

Image of Saturn Return Graphic for Astrology 42

Astrology Modalities: What Are They?

In a similar way to how the sun signs are divided up into elements, Sun Signs are also divided into three quality sectors comprising four signs each.

The “qualities” are also called, “modalities” or “modes“.

The modes indicate how people respond to stimuli, and especially how they act under tension.

They show how the signs express their element, meaning the mode, or pattern of behaviour they use to express the elemental needs. 

Astrology Qualities

There are three modes are as follows:

  1. Cardinal Signs – Aries – Cancer – Libra – Capricorn
  2. Fixed Signs – Taurus – Leo – Scorpio – Aquarius
  3. Mutable Signs – Gemini – Virgo – Sagittarius – Pisces

So, these are grouped as Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable.

Like the elements mentioned earlier, they rule different values and have characteristics of their own.

You might also hear them referred to as “quadruplicities” because there are four signs per group.

For example, cardinal quadruplicities, fixed quadruplicities and mutable quadruplicities,

Astrology Modes Calculator

If you do not know what your modes are, you can use our Astrology Modes Calculator which will tell you everything in your natal chart.

Astrology Triplicities

Also, you might also hear them referred to as “triplicities” because there are 3 sequences in every process.

Also, each element contains 3 signs per group.

There is a Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable Sign in every season. These are called Triplicities.

Each sign represents one of the triplicities.


  • For each mode, there is one of each of the astrological elements.
  • For each element, there is one of each astrological quality.

The sequence of cardinal (create, begin), fixed (change or maintain) and mutable (change to something else, end, destroy) is part of all the things we experience in the world four times a year in the form of seasons.

The triplicities of seasonal astrological elements in ancient astrology were the following:

  • Spring – Aries – Taurus – Gemini
  • Summer – Cancer – Leo – Virgo
  • Autumn – Libra – Scorpio – Sagittarius
  • Winter – Capricorn – Aquarius – Pisces

Correlating the different modes to the different seasons is easy. And in turn, this makes them easy to remember when they begin and how they operate.

Astrology Polarities

Astrology Quadruplicities

Modes Spring Summer Autumn Winter
Cardinal Aries Cancer Libra Capricorn
Fixed Taurus Leo Scorpio Aquarius
Mutable Gemini Virgo Sagittarius Pisces

The following table shows the relationship between cardinal, fixed and mutable and other cycles of action:

Astrology Triplicities

Cardinal Signs Fixed Signs Mutable Signs
Start Change Stop
Create Maintain Destroy
Begin Continue End
Birth Growth Death

Astrology Modes

Astrological Mode Hub

Below is a break down of the cardinal, fixed and mutable astrological modes and polarities.

Cardinal Signs


What You’ll Learn

Cardinal signs assert their particular style of leadership through their element, represented by a new season.

Cardinal Fire sign (Aries) is a catalyst, a firebrand that inspires others by committing being wholly committed to his/her vision.

Cardinal Water Sign (Cancer) leads by the heart and casts a palpable emotional force that pushes into new territory but does it sideways like the crab.

Cardinal Air Sign (Libra) initiates through new ideas, and by being a balancing force among people.

Cardinal Earth Sign (Capricorn) has a formidable, grounded presence, and natural authority from being masters of the physical plane.

Fixed Signs


What You’ll Learn

Each of the fixed signs creates stability through the vehicle of their element.

Fixed fire (Leo) can mean a career of self-expression, and ongoing respect in their chosen fields.

For fixed water (Scorpio), permanence is found through achievement, and going deep into the infinite mysteries of the imagination, dreams, primal sexuality.

As fixed air, (Aquarius) sets on a continuum that reaches into the future, and can doggedly push for reform, or spend a lifetime on their own inventions.

For fixed earth, (Taurus) digs into the ground, builds with real elements to construct a stable life.

Mutable Signs


What You’ll Learn

Each of the mutable signs mutates itself with the tools of its particular element. Mutable

Mutable fire (Sagittarius) evolves through learning, travel, seeking knowledge — and using intuition to glean the truth from all this experience.

Mutable water (Pisces) dwells in the collective depths and contains all the signs as the last one. Mutable

Mutable air (Gemini) rides the circuits of ideas, taking in and disseminating what it collects.

Mutable earth (Virgo) changes through purification of the body and by being a force of healing for others.


It is not possible for you to copy the content of this website

If you'd like to use any content from this website, please contact us

Astrology 42 Favicon

Sign Up Today

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news, articles and updates from our team about the new website and new features coming soon.

You have Successfully Subscribed!