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Cardinal Signs Explained: Your Cosmic Guide

By Mysticsense
June 26, 2023
Cardinal Signs Explained: Your Cosmic Guide
Cardinal Signs Explained: Your Cosmic Guide

At the very beginning of your astrology journey, you got to know your sun signAquarius, Gemini, Leo, the first answer you give when someone asks “what’s your sign?”. Then, feeling a little more confident, you probably delved into rising signs, and possibly moon signs, too.

In this article, we take you to the next stage of your astro journey, and introduce you to the modalities. In Western astrology, there are three modalities – cardinal, mutable, and fixed. They divide up the 12 zodiac signs, serving to further explain their depths and nuances, and describe whereabouts each sign falls in their season; the beginning, middle, or end.

Here at Mysticsense, we’ll help you understand each of the cardinal signs’ personality and general vibe, on a deeper level. Having a knowledge of the modalities can help you make sense of the layers and nuances of everyone you meet, so, let’s get into it!

What are the four cardinal signs?

In Western astrology, the four cardinal signs are Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn. Something all the signs have in common, is that they mark the beginning of their season. If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, Aries signals the beginning of spring, Cancer as the start of summer, Libra ushers in autumn, and Capricorn rounds off the year with winter.

These signs represent new beginnings, not only of the seasons, but of the fates, too.

What does it mean to be a cardinal sign?

Being a cardinal sign means that you’re a leader at heart, full of fresh ideas, and always ready for a new start – change doesn’t worry a cardinal sign, instead, they thrive off it. Signs under this modality are not only known to dream big, but they can make it happen, too.

In the zodiac, cardinal signs are known as the ‘trendsetters’, or the ‘CEOs’ if you will. They value originality and the novelty of pursuing an idea that, as far as they know, no one has ever thought of before. So, if you’re looking for a partner on a creative project, or a business venture, a cardinal sign is what you need!

However, these fantastic initiators aren’t without their flaws. To be a leader requires a certain amount of ego, and cardinal signs tend to fall into this stereotype. Their motivations aren’t always for the sake of others, and their moves can be rather self-centred. Like any visionary, their ventures usually revolve around their need to say “I did it first”, rather than the benefit of mankind. What can we say? It comes with the territory!

It’s also important to note the planetary rulers of the four cardinal signs.

Aries is ruled by Mars

Mars is the second-smallest planet, named after the Roman god of war. Our animal instincts for aggression, anger, survival and sexual desires are all governed by Mars. It’s a planet of action, self-assertion, and power, with little to no room for careful deliberation. Is Aries’ attitude starting to make more sense? We thought it might.

The Moon sees over Cancer

Cancer’s planetary ruler, the Moon, controls the ebb and flow of Earth’s ancient tides. As us humans are up to 78% water, it's no wonder that it also has the power to control our inner worlds, too. The Moon’s energy is strongest in the realm of the emotions, connecting us to home, family, motherhood, and childhood. It also bestows a powerful intuition, and heightens basic instincts, such as safety, security and nurturing.

Libra is blessed with Venus’ energy

As the second-closest planet to the Sun, Venus is the brightest and hottest planet in the solar system. Romantic love, indulgence, and wealth are the defining qualities of Venus. Venus governs our wishes, what we value, things we enjoy and the simple pleasures we have in life. It is the planet of charm, grace, beauty, and femininity.

Capricorn is a child of Saturn

Saturn, the Solar System’s second-largest planet after Jupiter, was named after the Roman god of Saturnus, father of mighty Zeus. Saturn is an ambitious planet, with the drive to achieve great heights. Those governed by this sign seek to understand the world’s boundaries and thrive under conditions of structure, routine, and order. However, the cruel irony of Saturn is that it is known as the planet of destiny, as it succumbs to the workings of fate far more than other planets.

The four cardinal signs, and their personalities

Although they share a modality, the four signs manifest their cardinal energy in unique and nuanced ways. Here’s a brief summary of each sign to get you on familiar terms:


Dates: 21st March to 19th April

Element: Fire

Ruling planet: Mars

Symbol: The Ram

Aries folk are known for their bold, energetic, and confident nature, possessing a pioneering spirit, and are often seen as natural-born leaders.

Aries’ are highly independent and driven, ruled by Mars, they have a strong sense of self and are not afraid to assert themselves. They have a fiery enthusiasm for life, and dive head first into new challenges – you will rarely see an Aries step back from the plate. Known for their strong competitive streak, and eager initiative, an Aries is sure to thrive in high-pressure situations.

While Aries individuals may have a strong exterior, they also have a compassionate side. They’re fiercely protective of their loved ones and are known to go to great lengths to support and defend them.

However, charismatic Aries can be impulsive, impatient, and a touch arrogant. Their high energy levels and desire for action can also lead to a lack of consideration for others' perspectives. Nevertheless, their determination and enthusiasm make them natural leaders who inspire those around them every day.


Dates: 21st June to 22nd July

Element: Water

Ruling planet: The Moon

Symbol: The Crab

Cancers, known for their nurturing and sensitive nature, possess a deep emotional depth, and a strong connection to their family and home. So, it should come as no surprise that this sign is highly empathetic and compassionate.

They have a natural instinct to care for others and provide emotional support. Their nurturing nature extends beyond their loved ones, too, as they’re often drawn to helping and comforting anyone in a state of distress. Need a shoulder to cry on? Then you need a Cancer.

Under the Moon’s energy, Cancer folk are deeply intuitive and rely on their gut feelings and instincts to navigate their way through life. Much like their symbol, the Crab, they have a strong attachment to their home and find comfort in creating a safe and secure environment for themselves and their loved ones.

However, with all the emotional complexity going on inside, they’re prone to sudden mood swings and can be very sensitive to criticism – once a Cancer retreats back into their shell, it’s hard to get them out again.


Dates: 23rd September to 22nd October

Element: Air

Ruling planet: Venus

Symbol: The Scales

Diplomatic, harmonious, and fair-minded, Libras possess a natural sense of balance and seek peace and harmony in all aspects of life.

Libras are masters of compromise, and strive to find middle ground in conflicts, always. They have a strong sense of justice and fairness, and are skilled at seeing multiple perspectives before forming their opinions. They excel in interpersonal relationships and are natural peacemakers, seeking to create balanced environments and restoring the peace.

Blessed with Venus’ energy, these folk have a refined taste and appreciate beauty in all its forms. They have an eye for aesthetics and often surround themselves with elegance and artistry, as well as possessing a strong social nature, valuing romance and partnerships.

Although Libras can appear indecisive at times, due to their desire to weigh all possible options. This trait is a nightmare for some, and a perfect quality for others.


Dates: 22nd December to 19th January

Element: Earth

Ruling planet: Saturn

Symbol: The Sea-goat

Capricorns are usually of a quiet disposition, known for their book-smarts, determination, and personal discipline. They possess a strong work ethic and an unwavering drive for success in whatever they set their mind to.

These Saturn-ruled individuals are highly goal-oriented and are willing to put in the necessary effort and work diligently to achieve their ambitions. They take their commitments seriously, and prefer to surround themselves with people who’re just as ambitious as them.

With their pragmatic approach to life, Capricorns are known for their organisational skills and ability to plan ahead. They have a natural talent for meticulous time management, and are adept at balancing their personal and professional lives. This makes them excellent leaders!

Some read this sign as a little too serious, but Capricorns also have a hidden creative side, born of their intuitive nature. They possess a deep appreciation for beauty and can find fulfilment in a range of artistic endeavours.

Get to known your divine self

Here at Mysticsense, we have plenty of free information to help you become closer with your divine self, and the divinity of others. Plus, our daily online horoscope reading will give you the daily dose of guidance you need to keep you on your path.

To make sure you’re getting the full picture of your unique astrological placements, speak to one of our expert astrologers today.


After reviewing the Mysticsense article on cardinal signs, here are three questions a reader might have:

1. How do cardinal signs interact with mutable and fixed signs in a natal chart, and what dynamics does this create?

In a natal chart, cardinal signs, known for their initiating energy, often drive action and inspire change. When interacting with mutable signs, which adapt and adjust, there can be a dynamic tension between starting projects (cardinal) and transforming them (mutable). With fixed signs, which focus on stability and persistence, cardinal signs may clash over the pace of change versus maintaining the status quo.

2. Are there any specific life areas or challenges where cardinal signs might face more difficulties due to their initiating nature?

Cardinal signs might face challenges in areas requiring sustained effort or patience, as their strength lies in starting rather than finishing.

3. How can someone with a cardinal sign sun leverage their qualities for personal growth and overcoming obstacles?

To leverage their qualities for personal growth, someone with a cardinal sign sun can focus on harnessing their natural leadership and initiative-taking abilities. By setting clear goals and learning to navigate through the completion phase of their projects, they can use their dynamic energy to overcome obstacles and achieve personal development.

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