The Astrological Modes

The Astrological Modes


There are three modes (modality, quadruplicities or qualities). The three modes are cardinal, fixed, and mutable. Each sign has one mode. Every mode has four signs associated with it.

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

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

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

Modal Emphasis

Balanced Mode

The modes are balanced when they are spread evenly (as much as you can evenly spread seven into three).

For example, three planets in cardinal signs, two in fixed signs and two in mutable signs are considered in balance.


Strong Mode

A mode is considered strong when there are at least two more planets in the mode than the next best mode.

For example, four planets in cardinal signs, two in air and one in a mutable sign makes the cardinal mode strong.

Weak Mode

A mode is weak when there are no planets in the mode.

For example, three planets in cardinal, four in fixed and no planets in a mutable sign makes the mutable mode weak.

Cardinal Meaning

Strong Cardinal

People with many planets in the cardinal signs usually start things.

They are self-motivated, have goals and are the leaders of the zodiac.

Cardinal signs initiate change.

Weak Cardinal

A lack of planets in the cardinal signs suggests the individual is not one for starting things or getting things going.

For a weak cardinal person procrastination may be an issue.

Fixed Meaning

Strong Fixed

Those with many planets in fixed signs stick to things and can complete things.

They are tenacious, reliable, stubborn and steadfast. They are resistant to change to the extent that they may have to overcome inertia.

Weak Fixed

A shortage of fixed planets in the signs indicates the person has a certain wavering in life.

Mutable Meaning

Strong Mutable

Strong mutable signs are flexible, adaptable and inclusive.

They are accommodating, adjustable, amenable to change and they can move things along.

Weak Mutable

When there are no planets in a mutable sign it imparts some rigidity to the individual.


Aspiring Astrologer Activity: Modes

In your astrology journal, and only counting the seven visible planets from the Sun to Saturn, do the following:

  • Note which planets are in the cardinal mode.
  • Note which planets are in the fixed mode.
  • Note which planets are in the mutable mode.
  • Decide if there is a modal emphasis or a lack of any mode.
  • Write a brief interpretation of your chart’s mode strengths and weaknesses (50 words).

Share on social with hashtag #starzclass.

Horoscope Monthly Overview

Horoscope Monthly Overview

December 2022 Monthly Overview Here are the main planetary energy shifts and changes that will be in effect during December 2022.Mercury Enters Capricorn On December 6th, Mercury leaves Sagittarius, where it wasn't very comfortable, and enters Capricorn.Jupiter Enters...

The Modes in Astrology


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.

Cardinal Signs

The cardinal signs were originally divided into subsets of tropical and equinoctal containing two signs each.

Tropical Signs

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.

Equinoctal Signs

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).

Fixed Signs

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 Signs

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.