The influence of astrology on human civilisations — right from the Babylonian Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Chinese and Indians — is evident through their culture and age-old practices. And the zodiac wheel forms the basis of astrology, which represents the 12 signs. These are further divided into modalities known as mutable, fixed and cardinal signs.
Nearly all of us are tempted, albeit casually, to check out our horoscope for the day or determine our astrological compatibility with a new romantic connection, a business partner or a friend. A deep dive into the mystical topic of astrological modalities or quadruplicities in the zodiac system will uncover one more layer in understanding the quirks and qualities of people we are interested in.
What are the modalities of the zodiac?
Our natural world plays a significant role in astrology as well. Hence, the zodiac signs of each element of nature — fire, water, air and earth — are represented in every modality.
Furthermore, the modalities of the zodiac are closely linked with the four seasons on Earth. While the cardinal signs symbolise the beginning of a season, fixed signs represent the middle of the season, and mutable signs depict the change from one season to the next.
When it comes to cardinal signs, however, they have a temperament of putting things into motion or initiating things. They often are go-getters, self-motivated, productive individuals who like to take the lead in any situation, be it in their work or personal life. They also typically get things done. Hence, this modality is often associated with leadership and assertiveness.
Fixed signs of the zodiac have a practical approach towards life and are steadfast and stable with their dealings. They represent permanence and are sometimes perceived as being stubborn. But they are responsible and great resources to rely on.
Mutable signs of the zodiac denote transition and are adaptable to situations. Affable and sociable, they like to mould themselves according to what is demanded of them in their professional or social circles. Sometimes, they can be perceived as flaky or shallow, but they are intelligent enough to tackle multiple projects at once and are inherently versatile.
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Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn: All about the feisty go-getters of the zodiac
Ruled by the planet of war and aggression, Mars, Aries is the first sign on the zodiac wheel and represents the advent of spring. Often filled with unbridled excitement and gusto, this fire sign is the ultimate achiever. And once its mind is set on a goal, nothing can stop it.
Aries is termed the baby of the zodiac because it is quick to act on its impulses and has a hot head and unrestrained passion. Symbolised by the ram, although the zodiac is an excellent leader, it has a bit of trouble following orders. As a lover, the Aries is spontaneous and sensual.
Perceived as impatient, they are in a hurry to fulfil their goals and are fuelled by ambition. Overall, they love to take the initiative in the professional space and even in matters of the heart and are fun to be around.
Pro-tip in dealing with Aries: Keep a cool head, get on with their many changing plans and be prepared for fireworks.
Soft, emotional and self-reflective, this water sign is ruled by the inner world of its mind. Symbolised by the crab, this sign is ruled by the moon. Just like the lunar phases, the crab also is floaty, moody and, at times, temperamental. It sure takes a while to earn their trust, but once you are in their good books, they are loyal to you for life.
A Cancerian trait is inherently that of a nurturer. Hence, they are termed the mothers of the zodiac. They are very attached to their homes and families and love to stay indoors. Although Cancerians may seem a bit distant at first, they are extremely affectionate and indulgent and will most likely comfort you with warm meals and warmer hugs once you know them.
The crab retreats into their shell if they find their environment unwelcoming, though; Cancerians, too, have a tendency to switch off and become aloof if they are unhappy or uncomfortable in the environment.
A typical cardinal sign quirk of the Cancer is that they become a bit passive-aggressive when upset. And being sensitive souls, this tends to happen often. To sum up a Cancerian personality, they are empathetic and compassionate people who thrive in a family set-up.
This air sign, symbolised by the balance scale, is a typical ambivert who loves to impress and mesmerise other zodiac signs, albeit effortlessly. They are ruled by the planet of love and money, Venus. This itself should tell one a lot about their core personality traits. Librans usually do well in the fields of art, fashion or even food because they naturally gravitate towards anything artistic and appreciate it in all forms. Their disposition is indicative of their sign. Meaning, they hate confrontations and want to diffuse tense situations with an easy charm.
This is one sign who likes to take the initiative to couple with a prospective romantic interest. Their cardinal trait comes through in their relationships, for there is nothing that a Libran can’t or won’t do to win the heart of their crush and be committed to a serious relationship. However, they sometimes struggle with taking decisions on their own.
Librans are full of ideas and are curious as well as intelligent. They likely take up many projects at once and sometimes have more on their plate than they can chew. One might think that they lack the conviction to take a stand and stick to it. But in reality, they just want to keep everyone happy. Librans also have a reputation for being flirtatious and coquettish because they enjoy attention in general.
They are attracted to Aries like a moth to a flame because this impulsive fire sign is their exact opposite. But both are passionate lovers and complement each other beautifully well with their distinctive traits.
The last of the cardinal signs, Capricorn, is ruled by the planet of rules and discipline: This is also the last earth sign on the zodiac wheel and hence is steadfast, determined and extremely rooted in the material world. One of the most stable signs, Capricorn, is denoted by a celestial sea horse. Their dominant traits include their love for routine and thorough professionalism.
Even though they are termed as a serious sign, they do like to have fun but strictly on their terms. It would be a mistake to assume that they are unemotional or cold because they have a deep perspective on matters of love and are very resilient to carry forward a relationship despite the challenges. This attitude is reflected even in their work life.
Once they let their guards down, they can shock and surprise their closest clan by showing their wild side. You can rely on a Capricorn as a boss, a colleague, an employee or even as a child or a partner. They tend to take their responsibilities very seriously and do not disappoint the people associated with them.
(Hero and featured image: Courtesy of Damir/Pexels)
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answer: The cardinal sign symbolises new beginnings like the advent of a season. They like to take initiative and display a great drive in work as well as in relationships.
Answer: Cardinal signs of the zodiac symbolise a new season, fixed signs represent the middle of a season while mutable signs depict the change in the season. While cardinal signs are go-getters, fixed signs are steadfast and stable, and mutable signs are adaptable as they mold themselves perfectly well with changing life situations.
Answer: Cardinal signs are less commonly known as initiator signs.
Answer: Yes, they display a great amount of physical and mental strength to initiate and complete multiple tasks simultaneously.
Answer: Yes, cardinal signs are inherently very creative.