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Astrology: Cardinal Fixed and Mutable

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Astrology: The Angles, Cardinal, Fixed, Mutable (Quadruplicities).
A quadruplicity means a group of four. In astrology this means the group of cardinal, fixed and mutable signs.
On this page:

Strictly, angular, succedent and cadent refer to the houses.

The word "cardinal" comes from the French "cardo" meaning a hinge, that on which something turns. It is the most important
part. The cardinal directions are the north, south, east and west. They are the times when the seasons change. Aries for Spring;
Cancer for Summer; Libra for Autumn; and Capricorn for Winter. They therefore are times for a new beginning.
In Astrology, the cardinal signs are the first, fourth, seventh and tenth (Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn). These signs are
characterised by enterprise, or starting things.
Sometimes Aries and Libra are called equinox signs, and Cancer and Capricorn are called solstice signs. Equinoxes are times
of perfect balance between day and night (day and night are 12 hours long). The solstice times are the times of the longest day
(Cancer) and the longest night (Capricorn).
Aries and Libra are times of balance, but also times of abrupt change. Cancer and Capricorn are times of extremes.
The word "fixed" means securely placed and fastened and implies unchanging. In Astrology, the fixed signs are the second,
fifth, eighth and eleventh (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius). They are characterised by the keyword "stability" or firm and



Astrology: Cardinal Fixed and Mutable

The word "mutable" means "subject to change". The mutable signs are the third, sixth, ninth and twelfth (Gemini, Virgo,
Sagittarius and Pisces). The keyword for these is "adaptability".
The diagram below shows the zodiac in its natural form, with Aries in the first position (the start of spring) and the signs on their
natural angles. The arrow to the left is called the Ascendant (Asc) and the one pointing upwards is called the Mid Heaven
(MC). The four quarters of the circle contain the three signs of each quadruplicity.



Astrology: Cardinal Fixed and Mutable

The table below shows the quadruplicities:




Cancer Libra

Capricorn Enterprise




Taurus Leo



Gemini Virgo

Sagittarius Pisces

Aquarius Stability

The sequence of cardinal (create, begin, ), fixed (change or maintain) and mutable (change to something else, end, destroy) is
part of all the things we experience in the world. This pattern recurs through the horoscope in the quarters of the zodiac.
Because these are four groups (or quarters) they are called quadruplicities.
The following table shows the relationship between cardinal, fixed and mutable and other cycles of action:
Cardinal Fixed






Maintain Destroy


Continue End




Cardinal Signs



Astrology: Cardinal Fixed and Mutable

The cardinal signs are associated with starting things, initiating things or being "enterprising". They are forceful and aggressive
and have the will to accomplish something, often something new. They project into the world. They are creative in the sense that
they cause things and start things.
Aries (
) people will do this energetically and urgently (or impatiently). They cannot wait to do what they have in mind to
do and that which is motivated by their enthusiasm.
Cancer (

) people are emotionally assertive. They project emotion in a protective and sensitive way.

Librans (

) do it in a balanced way, considering the viewpoints of others. Because they are people of air, they are more

likely to project in a verbal way, compared with Aries who take action on their enthusiasm. Librans will tend to use language to
cause others to take the necessary action.
Capricorn (

) projects in a practical, down to earth manner. It takes action based on practical need, and success.

Fixed Signs
The fixed signs are concerned with maintaining something, changing things so they are the same as before, or stabilising things.
Fixed and changed appear to be contradictory. Imagine a house. Every day it gets untidy and dirty. In order to keep it in its
"normal" state, it must be changed - cleaned, tidied, etc - so it remains the same. A body needs to be regularly fed and watered
if it is to maintain its state of being alive. There appears to be no change because there is a lot of change directed to maintain a
state, such as a clean house and a living body. Another example is a field. If the field is not maintained (lots of change, like
ploughing, setting seed, weeding, etc) then the field will disappear as Nature reclaims it. What is fixed is the clean house, the
living body and the field. What is changed is all the things that keep, for example a field, a field and not a wilderness.
Taurus (

) wants to make the products of the self, sometimes material wealth, permanent and fixed. Taurans do not like

changes in their wealth. You might think this is true of everyone, however some people do not measure their lives by the wealth
they accumulate and these people are far less upset than Taurans when their personal wealth is threatened.



Astrology: Cardinal Fixed and Mutable

Leo (

) wants to keep its personal power. It wants to be impressive and creative and keep this relationship with others. It

makes changes so that it remains in its power state.

Scorpio (
) is fixed in terms of their emotional reactions. It feels more secure when they know what feelings other have.
Scorpio makes changes, that is seeks to know the deep emotions that others have which motivate them.
Aquarius (

) wants to keep their beliefs, etc concerning humanity fixed. Aquarians seek to keep their friends. If they are

revolutionaries, then they remain revolutionaries.

Mutable Signs
Mutable signs are concerned with changing things into something else. This is not transforming as much as it moving on to
something else. The emphasis is on adaptability in the sense that while the fixed signs resist change, the mutable signs accept it.
The mutable signs end a cycle and lead on to the beginning of the new quadruplicity.
Gemini (

) is a sign of the air and therefore is concerned with communication, words and the mind. Geminis will adapt

themselves to their environment and therefore not cause things to persist. While the fixed signs adapt the environment to their
needs, wants and goals, the mutable signs adapt their needs, wants and goals to the environment. If the field grows weeds, they
adapt themselves to them. And if the field becomes a wilderness, they adapt themselves to the wilderness. In this way they
cease to make the changes necessary to keep things as they are, and allow almost any kind of change. This is true of all the
mutable signs. This is not to say that mutable signs never resist change, or that they never try to achieve goals at odds with the
envrionment, but it is to say they are more likely to give up or to give in than the fixed signs are.
Virgo (
Sagittarius (

) is critical and analytical. In this way, Virgo brings to an end something which was previously believed.
) is the ninth sign. It is a sign of fire. While it is a seeker of knowledge, its keyphrase is "I know". Sagittarius

brings about the end of ignorance by discovering the truth, according to Sagittarius so that it seeks final knowledge (the end of
Pisces (

) brings about the end of emotions through dissolving into the oneness of all things.



Astrology: Cardinal Fixed and Mutable

Four Elements (Triplicities) Metaphors


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Copyright 2012
Ken J Ward