Qualities of the Zodiacs

Elements and Modalities

The zodiac signs can be grouped in two ways: by their elements and by their modalities. Each sign embodies an element giving it it’s general essence and powers. The modality of a sign explain the ways in which that essence, or element, is expressed. The four elements are fire, water, air and earth.  The modalities are cardinal, fixed and mutable. Looking at the element and modality of each sign gives you a look into the overall nature of that sign.


The Fire signs are Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. The element fire represents action, creativity and the spirit. Fire signs are spontaneous, passionate, and love to inspire. They are action-oriented, instinctual, sociable and active. They are the hunters, warriors and pioneers. These are the enthusiastic risk-takers, lighting a flame to all they touch. The downside can be the fires reckless impulsiveness and a rage that could burn down a village.

The Water signs are Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces. The elements water represents emotions, dreams and the subconscious. Water signs are imaginative, sensitive and empathetic. They are introverted, nurturing and typically psychic. These are the dreamers, poets, and artists. They can sense others mood and the environment around them easily. The shadow side of this element can be their hypersensitivity and possible emotional manipulation.

The Air signs are Libra, Aquarius, and Gemini. The element air represents intellect, information and the mind. Air signs are thinkers and communicators. They are social, conceptual and detached. These are the idea people, the observers and the knowledge seekers. They tend to be rather aloof and contemplative. Their faults may lie in their tendency to be avoid emotions which can be portrayed as cold and uncaring.

The Earth signs are Capricorn, Taurus and Virgo. The element earth represents substance, practicality and the physical. This element is all about rooting in, crafting, and conserving. The Earth signs engage with life via the senses. They are sensual, grounded and dependable. These are the builders, cultivators and producers. The shadow side of the earth signs can be their stubbornness and materialistic tendencies.


The Cardinal signs are Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. These signs each begin a season (ex. Aries starts Spring). The cardinal signs are the initiators of the zodiac. They lead naturally, always pushing for new experiences. They are assertive and teach others to take chance. These signs set things in motion. The downfall can be rashness and lack of follow-through or focus.

The Fixed signs are Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius and Taurus. These signs are in middle of a season (ex. Leo rules mid-summer). The fixed signs are the stabilizers of the zodiac. They dig deep and work to fully bloom an idea. They exhibit concentrated focus and an ability to hold steady/sustain. These signs teach others about commitment and discipline. The downfall can be stubbornness and resistance to change.

The Mutable signs are Sagittarius, Pisces, Gemini and Virgo. These signs each end a season (ex. Sagittarius transitions us out of Fall and into Winter). The mutable signs are the adapters of the zodiac. They are the chameleons, able to edit and transform. They are flexible in nature and can shift into many forms. They teach others how to embrace change. The downfall can be their fickleness and inconsistency.

Table of the signs Elements and Modalities

Fire Earth Air Water
Cardinal Aries Capricorn Libra Cancer
Fixed Leo Taurus Aquarius Scorpio
Mutable Sagittarius Virgo Gemini Pisces