What’s Your Quality: Cardinal, Fixed or Mutable?

What’s Your Quality: Cardinal, Fixed or Mutable?

“Remember, Elements describe the general temperament of your personality. Qualities describe the general modus operandi of your personality…”

Did you realize there is more to an astrological profile than the Star Sign (aka Sun Sign, Birth Sign) you were born under? In fact, your astrological profile is a complex and multi-layered, making you unique. In basic terms, it involves a Sun, Moon and Ascendant Star Sign, with each equally important. Then you have your planets, each with an astrological sign. Plus, all of these signs have characteristics assigned to what are called Elements (see our post, What’s Your Element…) and Qualities. We have written about the Elements, but here we want to give an overview of the Qualities. Remember, Elements describe the general temperament of your personality. Qualities describe the general modus operandi of your personality: There are three Qualities in total (Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable) with four signs assigned to each.

Cardinal is the Quality for the Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn astrological signs. Cardinal signs represent the cardinal points on a compass, with Aries representing East, Libra/West, Cancer/North and Capricorn/South.  Note, that on a birth chart,  the “compass” points are opposite of what we normally consider north, east, west, south directionally). This Quality and its associated Signs  corresponds with the Natural Houses, which are angular (remember from our Basic Architecture of a Birth Chart post that there are 12 Houses), of the Zodiac Wheel:  Aries in the 1st House of You; Cancer in the 4th House of Home, Libra in 7th House of One-on-One Relationships and Capricorn in 10th House of Career. They also herald the beginning/end of each of the four seasons…making way for change, new life, possibility. Generally, folks with Cardinal quality are self-starters, leaders, and dynamic. if they’re not careful, they can run roughshod over others.

Fixed is the Quality assigned to Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius. These folks tend to be very stable with depth of purpose, but sometimes they can lose sight of flexibility in situations that actually warrant (and succeed with) a change of opinion or approach. This Quality represents the “middle” of each season, or the “stable” part or the status quo/routine of a season. If you change the routine for some of these folks, they can dig in their heels like no other! The best thing is to ease them into a change, or make it seem like their own idea! That said, you’d want these folks on your side in any battle. They can be stalwart champions.

Mutable is the Quality assigned to Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces. Mutable signs change “with the wind,” able to adjust to whatever the demands are of the moment.  They also can take on characteristics of the other two Qualities, making them highly adaptable to situations. Because of this adaptability, they often can offer the remedy that is called for in a particular situation. On the job they can be excellent managers. This Quality corresponds with the end/beginning of each a season, a time of transition and acceptance that it’s time to move on to what’s next.

To determine what your personality’s Quality actually is not just about your Sun Sign (Birth Sign) is. A birth chart analyses should take into account the Qualities of your Sun, Moon, Ascendant and planets, and then tally them in total (For more on what makes up a birth chart, read Basic Architecture of Birth Chart). You could have a Cardinal Sun but Mutable Moon and Ascendant, and planets having all three Qualities. In that case, with your Moon and Ascendant and several planets of Mutable Quality, it’s likely you’d exhibit more Mutable Quality characteristics that that of the Element of your Sun Sign, Cardinal. So you see,  there is much more to your Star Sign—and you’re a complex and unique individual, maybe similar to others in some ways, but truly with your own birth personality.

Shown: Seasons /Annual rings by Meinolf Wewel

Importance of True Birth Time to Your Astrology

Importance of True Birth Time to Your Astrology

“And, to be fair, even a birth certificate might not be wholly accurate. Things happen during and after that incredible moment…”

Why is knowing your birth time so important? The key to a birth chart is the locations of the Celestial Bodies (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Pluto) and angles/points (North Node) at the exact time of your birth. It is also the only way to accurately determine your Ascendant, or Rising Sign, which in turn determines the houses in which the CBs and Nodes reside in your chart. And, to be fair, even a birth certificate might not be wholly accurate. Things happen during and after that incredible moment. Including forgetting to record the exact time of that moment, which in turn could lead to some fudging on the ‘ole certificate!  If it’s more than a few minutes off of your true birth time, it will produce information that is incorrect. This we would know if there is some information that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. It is possible to rectify a chart to come up with the correct birth time, but this is still not the most accurate and it takes more time and will cost more.

What is an Ascendant?  In basic terms, it is the zodiac sign that was rising on the eastern horizon (or the First House) at the time of your birth. The traits and qualities of this sign manifest in your outward appearance to others. By knowing what is in your First House, we can determine what Houses (there are 12 total) everything else falls into in your chart. If we only have your birth date and year, we can determine the signs of your CBs but not the Houses or degrees. For more detail on this and the basic structure of a birth chart, read the post, Basic Architecture of a Birth Chart.

Photo by Maros

What’s Your Element: Earth,  Fire, Water or Air?

What’s Your Element: Earth, Fire, Water or Air?


Each Astrological Sign has an “Element” that characterizes it. There are four Elements in total, with three Signs assigned to each. Specifically:

Earth is the Element for Virgo, Capricorn and Taurus.

Fire the Element for Aries, Leo and Sagittarius.

Water for Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces.

Air for Gemini, Libra and Aquarius (yes, Aquarius is an Air sign, not a Water Sign!).

The Element of your Sun Sign, or the essence of your personality, offers a general description to how you might react to or approach situations.  For example, generally you can count on the Earth Signs of Virgo, Capricorn and Taurus to be steadfast, practical and sensual; pessimistic, materialistic and cool.

Fire Signs tend to be spontaneous, independent and romantic; aggressive, quick tempered and blunt. Water Signs, emotional, nurturing and deep; moody, withdrawn and selfish.  Air Signs, detached, idealistic and intellectual; cool,  superficial and unrealistic.

Now, remember, these are general characteristics to a Sign—and usually it’s in reference to the Sun Sign.  But the Elements also apply to the Moon Sign and Ascendant Sign (this is taken into account in’s analyses). Once the “heavy” in the triad is tallied, that will likely be the overriding Element reflected in your personality, regardless if it’s your Sun Sign’s or not. For example, if an Earth Sun Sign (Virgo, Capricorn or Taurus) has a Water Moon and Water Ascendant Sign (Cancer, Scorpio or Pisces), it’s likely that while you will have Earthy qualities (the Sun Sign’s element will always be at least a thread throughout one’s personality), the Water characteristics will be just as apparent if not more so in how you react emotionally (Moon) and appear to others (Ascendant).

As life has probably taught you by now, there is always a caveat! So, it won’t surprise you when we say there are additional scenarios that can influence the Element characteristics. Let’s say you have a Fire Sun Sign but your Moon and Ascendant are characterized by the Earth Element, plus you have a couple of planets in Earth Signs. It’s likely you will appear more “earthy” than “firey”.  And there are more scenarios that can influence the Element characteristics, but let’s leave that be for now and focus on the Sun Sign. Let’s  have some fun: See if the Element for your Sun Sign aptly describe your general personality.  If it doesn’t, ask several people close to you to give you 3-5 adjectives that would describe your general personality.  Classify them accordingly for your Element Tally. What did you get?

Basic Architecture of a Birth Chart

Basic Architecture of a Birth Chart


“Having a combination of these Conjunctions, Oppositions, Squares and Trines/Sextiles is actually a good thing, with the red and yellow aspects indicating opportunities for personal growth, success, genius and inspiration, often with much hard work, but well worth it! … Or not.”

For those of you who might be unfamiliar with birth charts, we thought it would be a good idea to describe to you the basic architecture of a birth chart against a visual of an actual birth chart. This will help give you a reference point should you have an analysis done (and is included) and it will also help you with some of the common vocabulary used throughout’s content.  We will build upon this post with others, adding more information each time, so it might be easier to absorb and learn. And there is always Google should you desire to investigate things further in the meantime. Just be careful in your research and to be sure to confirm your “answers” by finding at least 3 sources that offer similar information. There can be a lot of varying information floating around our virtual world, and much of it can be misleading. OK, on to the “lesson”. Please reference the image as you read.

1) Houses are represented on the 360-degree Astrological Wheel by the pie-shaped pieces. There are 12 total, usually of varying sizes using the Placidus House System. Houses 1-6 are below the horizontal line, beginning with the First House on the left (or eastern) side, below the dark horizontal line. Houses 7-12 are above the horizontal line, with the 7th house the first one on the right, above the horizontal line. Each House varies in size and represents an area/areas of one’s life. Generally, the Frst House represents Self, Second Value; Third Communication/Nearby Community/Short Distance Trips/Primary Education; Fourth Home/Parent/Ancestors; Fifth Creativity/How We Love One-on-One; Sixth Service/Health/Day-to-Day Work; Seventh One-on-One Partnerships; Eighth Sex/Other People’s Finances & Property/Occult/Inheritance; 9th Religion/Philosophy/Foreign Travel/Higher Education; 10th Career/Public LIfe/Parent; 11th Groups/Organizations/Friends/How Others Love Us; 12th Hidden Matters/Karma.  Mind you, the meanings listed here are generally the primary ones for each house, but by no means the finite list.

Astrological Sign Symbols

Astrological Sign Symbols

2) The Symbols on the outer ring of the chart Astrological Wheel are the Astrological Signs. As with the Houses, there are 12 Astrological Signs, each representing 30 degrees of space. The natural order of the signs is: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces (more on that in another post). Whatever Sign begins a House is considered the House’s Ruling Sign. In this chart Cancer is Rising (First House). Then the signs follow in consecutive order from that point on. Cancer is followed by: Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, Taurus and ending with Gemini Ruling the 12th.

3) The various Symbols you see scattered within the Houses are the Celestial Bodies (often just referenced as planets and luminaries). These are the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus and Pluto. Additionally there are important angles/points included in a birth chart, including the Ascendant (always represented by the Astrological Sign that rules your First House) and the North Node (the earphone shaped symbol). Each one of these has a place in your chart, falling in a House and in a Sign. For example, this person Sun is in the 10th House/Pisces; Moon in the 6th House/Sag; Jupiter 9th House/Aquarius; North Node 8th House/Aquarius. Can you find them?

Astrological Symbols for Celestial Bodies (Planets, Luminaries, North Node)

Astrological Symbols for Celestial Bodies (Planets, Luminaries (but for the earphone shaped North Node)

4) The green lines indicate Trines and Sextile, aka harmonious, aspects between the CBs or angles they connect. For example, here, Moon/6th/Sag  is Trine Venus/10th/Aries; Sun 10th/Pisces is Sextile Mars/7th/Capricorn and North Node/8th/Aquarius.

5) The red lines are Oppositions, a hard aspect, which represent areas where there is a sort of “tug of war” between the CBs or angles  they connect In this case there is only one opposition—Jupiter/9th/Aquarius Opposite Uranus/3rd/Virgo (barely).

6) The yellow lines are Squares, another hard aspect, forming a tension between the connected CBs or angle. An example here is Pluto/11th/Taurus Squares Uranus/3rd/Virgo (barely).

7) The small red lines are Conjunctions, also considered a hard aspect, but one that’s “easier” than the others, providing an emphasis or intense focus of energy between the CBs or angle. Here, there’s only one: Mars/7th/ Capricorn Conjuncts North Node/7th/Capricorn.

These aspects all are determined by the angles/degrees (within a margin, not exceeding 10 degrees) between the CBs and angles/points involved. For example, a Trine represents 120 degrees between two (or more) CBs and/or angles/points, give or take up to 8ish degrees; a Sextile 60 degrees within margin; an Opposition 180 degrees within margin; a Square 90 degrees) within margin; and a Conjunction 0 degrees within margin (in case of a Conjunction 2 degrees or so).

Having a combination of these Conjunctions, Oppositions, Squares and Trines/Sextiles is actually a good thing, with the red and yellow aspects indicating opportunities for personal growth (Wayne Dyer), success (Steve Jobs), genius (Einstein) and inspiration (Deepak Chopra), often with much hard work, but well worth it! The green aspects represent areas of ease that can be capitalized upon to help manifest a positive outcome of the squares and oppositions, especially as you mature. Or not. Sometimes it can depends on how you allow these aspects affect your personality and choices. At, despite any struggle there might be, we choose to focus on the positive side of the coin, and you can, too.

There are several more aspects, all determined by the degrees between them, but the aforementioned three are the basic and most common ones to be concerned about for now.

Note: The colors used to represent the aspects are’s…and much to the chagrin of one astrologer colleague…and are not necessarily industry standard.

BTW: Can you guess whose chart this is? There is an Easter Egg, but we’ll be sure to tell all soon.

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