This Week’s Astrology Term: The Qualities

In a previous article I talked about the Elements: Fire, Earth, Air and Water, four categories into which the twelve signs of the Zodiac are divided. There is a second way of categorizing the signs. This is called the Qualities.

There are three different Qualities attributed to the twelve signs of the Zodiac: Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable. Each of these Qualities includes four signs.


The Cardinal signs are Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn.

The Fixed signs are Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius.

The Mutable signs are Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces.


As with the Elements, signs that share the same Quality also share certain characteristics. Here is a list of keywords that describe those similarities.

Cardinal Signs
Positive Traits – Pragmatic, focused, pro-active, goal oriented, decisive, self-motivated
Negative Traits – Hyper-active, aggressive, demanding, driven, unwilling to leave well enough alone


Fixed Signs
Positive Traits – Principled, strong-willed, determined, deliberate, loyal, able to see the “big picture”
Negative Traits – Stubborn, inflexible, opinionated, predictable, dictatorial, slow to learn new concepts


Mutable Signs
Positive Traits – Flexible, versatile, open, agreeable, alert, quick witted
Negative Traits – Capricious, easily influenced, passive, unreliable, hyper-sensitive, lacking direction


As with the Elements, these keywords might seem extreme but, most of the time, the positive and negative attributes of each of the Qualities tend to soften one another. Also, several other factors go into the description of any Zodiac sign.


Unlike signs that share the same Element, signs that share the same Quality tend to be incompatible. Imagine two people with horoscopes heavy with Cardinal Signs, each incessantly striving for his or her goal. The first time one gets in the way of the other, there’s going to be fireworks. Likewise, the mutual stubbornness of two Fixed sign people is hardly a recipe for domestic tranquility and the loosey-goosey approach to life shared by two Mutable sign people is never going to get anything accomplished. This is, of course, is an exaggeration but the basic principle still holds. The attributes shared by sign of the same Quality are more likely to lead to discord than agreement.


It is when we combine the Elements with the Qualities that things really get interesting and will explore that subject in a future article.

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