by Alison Price
The Naming of the Modes goes In and Out of Fashion
Back in the seventies, they were referred to as the quadruplicities or qualities and yet nowadays simply as the modes.
Our modern classification is based on ancient ideas for categorization.
It all begins with the sign’s natural relationship with the angles (Ascendant, IC, Descendant and MC) and the seasons (spring, summer, autumn, and winter).
Even today the seasons officially begin when the Sun enters the four cardinal signs.
Astrology has its roots in the northern hemisphere and references to spring and autumn are northern-centric terminology. South of the equator spring and autumn are reversed as are summer and winter.
The cardinal signs were originally divided into subsets of tropical and equinoctal containing two signs each.
Cancer and Capricorn are the signs which begin directly after the solstices.
Where the Sun seemingly turns back towards the equator at the latitude limits of the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.
These herald the start of summer and winter.
The two equinoctal signs are Aries and Libra. For these are the signs that begin at the two equinoxes.
When the Sun crosses the celestial equator going north or south. It is also the point of the solar nodes.
The sign Aries starts at the vernal equinox and Libra begins at the autumnal equinox (where day and night are in balance).
The fixed signs of Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius follow after the tropical and equinoctial signs.
These are the signs during the mid-season period of the year.
Here the weather is milder, stable, agreeable and less prone to extremes of heat or cold.
Bicorporeal is the old name for mutable signs. Bi means two and corporeal means of the body.
These signs are depicted by symbols of two animals they are known as the dual signs.
Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces are the bicorporeal signs.
The symbol for Gemini is the pair of twins.
For Virgo, it is the image of the maiden (who may be pregnant? Hmm, I’ll have to think about this).
The representation for Sagittarius is the centaur shown with the body of a horse and the head and torso of a man.
The last sign Pisces is the two fish tethered and swimming in opposite directions.
If you are a Mercurial type you may find it interesting to know these older terms but in contemporary astrology, they are probably relegated to the tricky words found in an astrology crossword puzzle.