Astrological Elements and Modalities

4 Fixed Signs of the Zodiac and Their Powerful Traits

4 Fixed Signs of the Zodiac and Their Powerful Traits

The four fixed signs are Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius. These signs fall in the middle of each season and represent the full force and power of that season. Their position on the zodiac wheel bequeaths these… Keep reading »

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For many people, the majority of what they know about their personal astrology is their sun sign. When somebody asks, "Hey baby, what's your sign?", most people will answer with their sun sign. What they may not understand, however, is the forces that influence each zodiac sign and contribute to personality traits. Two of these main influencers are the sign's element and its modality.

Astrological Elements

Every sign of the zodiac is divided into one of the four classical elements: earth, air, fire, and water. There are three signs for each element, and each elemental energy imparts certain impulses and traits.

  • The earth signs tend to be pragmatic and grounded individuals. These signs are Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn.
  • The air signs are people who are intellectual rather than emotional. These signs are Gemini, Libra and Aquarius.
  • The water signs focus more on emotions and the imagination. These signs are Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces.
  • The fire signs tend to be freedom-loving, energetic individuals. These signs are Aries, Leo and Sagittarius.


Each zodiac sign also has a modality that relates to where it sits within its season. There are three modalities--cardinal, fixed, and mutable--with four signs in each.

  • Cardinal signs are the zodiac sign that begin their respective season: Aries (spring), Cancer (summer), Libra (fall), and Capricorn (winter). Because of their placement within the season, cardinal signs tend to have lots of initiating energy--they take action and put things into motion.
  • Fixed signs are those that are firmly in the middle of their respective season: Taurus (spring), Leo (summer), Scorpio (fall), and Aquarius (winter). The position of these signs within their season brings stability, consistency, and a powerful work ethic.
  • Mutable signs are those that fall during the transition of seasons: Gemini (spring to summer), Virgo (summer to fall), Sagittarius (fall to winter), and Pisces (winter to spring). The transitional energy of moving out of one season and into the next is a trait that shows up in mutable signs. Because of this, people with mutable signs are big on change, which makes them extremely adaptable.

Putting It Together

When you put the element and modality together with other aspects that affect zodiac signs, such as the constellation and ruling planet, you come up with a unique picture of people who have that sign in their charts.

  • Aries is cardinal fire, an energetic individual who often charges in head-first without considering consequences.
  • Taurus is fixed earth and is one of the most grounded and consistent signs of the zodiac.
  • Gemini is mutable air and is a quick thinking and intelligent individual who can get so lost in their mind or change it so rapidly that they may appear to be a little spacey or indecisive.
  • Cancer is cardinal water. They are the homebodies of the zodiac, and they revel in their deep emotional connections with others.
  • Leo is fixed fire, an energetic and accomplished person who takes great pride in their achievements.
  • Virgo is mutable earth, a pragmatic detail-oriented person with a perfectionist streak.
  • Libra is cardinal air, a charming and socially intelligent person who forms new connections easily.
  • Scorpio is fixed water, a deeply emotional and often psychic person who can hold onto a grudge longer than any other sign of the zodiac.
  • Sagittarius is mutable fire, someone passionate about their pursuits and often driven by a case of wanderlust and the desire for new experiences.
  • Capricorn is cardinal earth, someone who is professionally driven, often to the point of being a highly successful workaholic.
  • Aquarius is fixed air, and people in this sign are often visionary altruists.
  • Pisces is mutable water and is known for being empathetic people pleasers who often are difficult to pin down emotionally.

The Influencers of the Zodiac

When learning about a specific zodiac sign, you can't separate the sign from its modality and element influencers. And while modalities and elements are only part of the full picture of each sign, they serve as powerful forces in shaping the characteristics and impulses of each.

Astrological Elements and Modalities