Modalities categorize signs that are in different elements based on common temperaments and tendencies. They are also sometimes referred to as the astrological “qualities.” The signs that fall under the same modalities—cardinal, mutable, or fixed. There are four signs within each one. There is a specific connection between signs that share a modality. They often seem rather different, seeing as their elemental home tends to manifest itself more externally and generally.
But the modalities in astrology draw links between signs that aren’t typically associated with each other. A deeper connection between signs that aren’t quite alike at heart. Different modalities approach the idea of control differently, whether it’s how much control they need over their life or how they react to a lack of control. This guide explains how each modality takes control over different sectors of their lives. Additionally, how each sign within each modality demonstrates that tendency a little differently.
Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn
Cardinal signs are the doers of their elements. Compared to their respective elemental siblings, they tend to be a little more active and possess a little more gusto when it comes to making moves and taking control what they want. Each cardinal sign demonstrates these traits a little differently, but you notice a certain trailblazing fearlessness that much of the zodiac envies.
Aries suns are about as actionable as they come. They have all the energy and enthusiasm that is characteristic of their element. However, they are more of an innate planner than their fire counterparts. They possess impulsive and intuition but tend to have a heightened sense of detail and realistic boundaries than the Leo and Sagittarius.
Water signs have a reputation for wanting to escape reality and live in their own dream world, whatever that may look like. Cancers, however, have a little bit more of a realistic edge. They may have an idealistic, picturesque, and/or unattainable expectation for their reality. However, they tend to live in the real world nonetheless. They have specific goals, ideas, and plans for their lives and have no trouble pursuing them with self-assuredness.
Libras are often seen as passive because of their diplomatic nature. However, they are rather active members of their social circle with a knack for taking control of the not-so-fun interpersonal situations. Libras love to resolve conflict and play mediator and tend to get upset when they lose control of those situations.
Caps often take life a little too seriously for their own good, and that’s because no one gets more stressed out by lack of control than they do. Capricorns often ensure that they will be in total control by flying solo, so they aren’t the best team players. But when they do find those few individuals that they trust not to muck all their hard work up, they stick to them like glue.
Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius
Fixed signs value stability and are very patient. Rather than feeling like they need to take immediate action and make big changes as soon as things get stale or dull, they are perfectly happy working steadily at one project until it’s up to snuff. They aren’t in any rush to achieve their goals, so they put as much time into planning their next step as they put into the action itself.
Taureans are as grounded as their fellow Earth signs but they don’t possess the same sense of urgency surrounding their goals and passion that Caps and Virgos have. The Taurus is in no rush to turn their life upside down, working hard towards stability rather than greatness.
Leos are one of the least adaptable signs because they are so ardent about the things they believe in and see wavering on those things as a sign of weakness. They will be 100% true to themselves no matter what kind of attitude or behavior a circumstance calls for.
The Scorpio’s stubbornness and intensity can lead to enormous emotional storms that they have trouble getting out of. They are strong enough to almost always survive these hurricanes. However, it’s precisely their inflexibility, petulance, and resistance to change that leads them into those dark spaces in the first place.
Aquarians are known for getting stuck in ruts, which is one of the pitfalls of their fixed quality. They want so badly to do something great for others and contribute positively to the world that one slip-up can lead them to spiral into an inescapable hole of self-deprecation.
Virgo, Gemini, Sagittarius, and Pisces
Mutable signs are the most adaptable ones within their elements. It’s not that they aren’t assertive about taking control, but rather if things don’t go quite their way, they are able to keep their cool and adjust to the situation. They come at the end of every season, so they are wiser and able to approach problems with the big picture in mind.
As a mutable Earth sign, Virgos enjoy changes that make their life more efficient and their place in the world more meaningful. They are not afraid to take risks and make big adjustments in their life but are often held back by the fact that they don’t want to leave the people they care about behind.
Geminis are malleable and improvisational. They often see rigidity as a barrier to all that life has to offer. Therefore, they prefer to pencil things in rather than commit hard and fast. They can change directions at any moment. So, if you hang out with a Gemini, you’ve got to be on your toes.
Sagittarians are certainly the most happy-go-lucky of the fire signs. They are rarely taking life too seriously and always flying on a whim. They are very philosophical and open-minded. Also, never afraid to hear an argument that may totally change their position and flip their world upside down. They don’t need to feel comfortable in a solid belief—they would rather expand their minds with many different possibilities.
Pisceans have a special duality to them that makes them able to adjust to polar opposite environments. They have a sixth sense for the energy in their environment. Additionally, understand that they aren’t the centerpiece of every room. They are often read as wishy-washy and indecisive because they will often change their desires or plans to please others.