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What Does it Mean to be a Cardinal Sign?

By Saoirse
September 19, 2021
What Does it Mean to be a Cardinal Sign?
What Does it Mean to be a Cardinal Sign?
TL;DR What’s a cardinal sign, and what does cardinal mean in astrology? Each of our zodiac signs fall into categories and knowing what those are will help us understand more about ourselves, and who we are most compatible with. Learning about mutable, cardinal, and fixed signs as well as the fire, air, water, and earth signs in the zodiac and their compatibility with one another teaches a lot about ourselves and the people we share our lives with.

Learning about astrology is about more than just what your sign is and which signs are most compatible with you. It’s also includes learning qualities of each signs, and just what it is that makes those signs the way they are. One of the things that decides that is called the modalities, and there are cardinal, fixed, and mutable signs modalities, with four signs falling into each category. Within each modality, a sign can also be an earth, air, fire, or water sign as well. Confusing? Hardly, once you understand what each of these simple things means!

What’s an Element?


The four elements in Astrology are fire, air, water, and earth and there are three signs for each element. These elements confer personality traits and a simple breakdown of what these influence is :

Fire Signs

fire signs

These signs are Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius and fire bestows upon these signs the traits of creativity, passion, competitiveness, and spontaneity. Their tempers can flare, but their enthusiasm and powerful self esteem will impress people, and they are blessed with an adventurousness that makes them want to get out and explore!

Air Signs

air signs

Air signs Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius are intellectual and great communicators. Air instills in them the ability to be emotionally separated from things, and handle things in a calm, balanced way, but they can be seen as emotionally detached and cold at times. Easily stimulated, they can also easily become overwhelmed if they don’t pace themselves. Sociable air signs have the need to be surrounded by like minded individuals, and they need to share their ideas and intellectual pursuits with others.

Water Signs

water signs

Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces are the water signs, and they are emotional and empathetic. Their feelings can be hurt very badly, leading some to assume they are “overly sensitive”, however, water signs hurt just as badly for things that hurt others as they do for what has hurt them. Although they are very private, they are highly protective and nurturing of others, and are happy to step into the role of caretaker at a split-second notice. They can be taken advantage of by others due to their empathy and know when to self-isolate to recharge their batteries when they feel overwhelmed.

Earth Signs

earth signs

The earth signs are Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn. Reliable and practical, you almost always know what to expect once you get to know people who are earth signs. Very focused and deliberate about working towards their goals, they are known as hard workers, and can become exhausted if they don’t pace themselves. Resistant to change, they prefer their own routines, and sticking with what they are used to. They have plenty of patience and have no problem taking a very long time to meet goals. This also means they are onboard for long term relationships in love and friendships, and once they are committed, they don’t like to break off relationships.

What is a Modality?


Astrological modality is another of the categories the signs fall into and this one groups signs into a category of shared energetic qualities and mannerisms. While each sign is distinct from the next sign, in astrology, cardinal signs all share the same cardinal qualities of having a lot of get up and go, for example. In the Zodiac, cardinal and fixed signs differ in the way that fixed signs will be more resistant to change, whereas a cardinal sign meaning is all about forging ahead into new projects, and they embrace change much better. Below, each modality is defined and each of their signs are described in more detail.

Cardinal Definition

cardinal definition

Cardinal meaning in astrology is all about acting and having the enterprising energy to take the initiative to forge ahead with their cutting-edge ideas to initiate and see new projects through. They are itching to start those projects and are most content when they are in the lead, in charge of whoever is working on those projects with them. They can be seen as bossy by people who don’t like being told what to do, but they are directly responsible for a lot of great work, and are natural born leaders, getting a lot of things done.

Cardinal Fire Sign Aries

cardinal fire sign aries

What does a cardinal sign mean when it’s an Aries? Already energetic, and assertive, being cardinal gives Aries extra energy to be the strong leaders they are, and to go after the things they are so passionate about. Some people may feel overwhelmed by the combination of all the cardinal drive to accomplish things and Aries seemingly boundless energy, and if that’s the case, good advice for them is to get out of Aries way, because they have amazing things to do!

To read more about Aries: Star Sign in Spotlight: Aries | Mysticsense

Cardinal Water Sign Cancer

cardinal water sign cancer

The Wikipedia or “wiki” cardinal section in their Astrological Sign listing states that keywords for cardinal signs are “ action, dynamic, initiative, great force” and when you combine this with the natural sympathetic nature of water sign Cancer, you get somebody who has a lot of energy to care about others. For Cancer this can translate into making them a top caretaker, customer service representative, and friend or family member. They may put their own feelings aside to care for those they love, just be careful because their emotions are delicate and deserve to be cared for too!

To read more about Cancer: Cancer Star Sign Compatibility | Mysticsense

Cardinal Air Sign Libra

cardinal air sign libra

Intellectual air combines with the get-up-and-go of the cardinal modality to make Librans powerhouses of accomplishment. The fact they are an air sign makes them social butterflies who have a knack for knowing what to say at the right time- but also knowing how to not care if they happen to rub one of the few individuals who doesn’t fall head over heels for their charm the wrong way. Librans balance their intellect with their communication, and make excellent public speakers, teachers, and they love to entertain.

To read more about Libra: Libra Star Sign Traits | Mysticsense

Cardinal Earth Sign Capricorn

cardinal earth sign capricorn

Known as the “ladder climbers” by some astrologers, Capricorns use their cardinal ability to get things done, and combine it masterfully with the earth qualities of reliability and practicality to be super achievers. They excel career wise because of their stellar work ethics, and in personal relationships, they are very devoted and loyal. They choose their jobs and loved ones carefully because they value themselves enough to know it’s not worth it to be so devoted to just anything or anybody. If you are fortunate enough to be chosen by Capricorn, count yourself lucky, and pay attention to their good advice.

To read more about Capricorn: Star Sign in Spotlight: Capricorn | Mysticsense

Fixed Definition

fixed definition

Fixed astrological signs get a bad rap, being accused of being bull headed, inflexible, and “my-way-or-the-highway”. However, these signs have the tenacity, will power, stability, and determination to do what they believe needs done. While some signs might find them stubborn, they have the ability to dig in their heels in for the long haul, not easily giving up! They are highly opinionated, and often quite vocal about that, but they are also fiercely loyal and won’t quit on the people or causes they believe in. Fixed zodiac signs may resist change, but they are the ones you can call “old reliable” because you almost always know what to expect, and they will come through for you every time.

Fixed Fire Sign Leo

fixed fire sign leo

Combine the passion of fire with the determination of being a fixed sign, and you get a powerhouse of a person called a Leo. Leos are perhaps the very most loyal sign in the zodiac, and although they have the spontaneity of fire, they have the “stubbornness” of being fixed, and they won’t abandon you. Not unless a LOT happens, and they may be your last friend left standing. Leos are sometimes considered the most vocal fixed sign, and they excel in debate, be it for fun or for a cause. Don’t mistake this for them having no feelings, however, as that fire passion gives them strong feelings, not just a roaring temper, and they will be your friend to the end if you let them.

To read more about Leo: Leo Star Sign Compatibility | Mysticsense

Fixed Water Sign Scorpio

fixed water sign scorpio

Combine the sensitivity of being a water sign with the “I won’t give up” of being a fixed sign, and your Scorpio may actually be just tenacious enough to stick things out even if their feelings have been stepped on. Maybe…IF they don’t decide to get even. Remember Scorpio is symbolized by a stinging scorpion. Don’t make them wield their stingers, and you might not get stung. However, the Scorpio often internalizes their pain, sinking that stinger into themselves, sometimes keeping those powerful emotions private.

To read more about Scorpio: Star Sign in Spotlight: Scorpio (

Fixed Air Sign Aquarius

fixed air sign aquarius

Combine the staying power and “stubbornness” with the energy and intellect of air, and you get the dynamic, seemingly tireless Aquarius. Aquarians seem to always have a new project or cause they are busy with, and you will be lucky if you can keep track of them, let alone keep up with them! If you can, Aquarians love to have the people they love along for their project of the moment and will take you along every time you will go. Part of your job will be making sure they get enough rest and balance their endless energy with moments of stillness so they don’t get run down.

To read more about Aquarius: Star Sign in Spotlight: Aquarius | Mysticsense

Fixed Earth Sign Taurus

fixed earth sign taurus

Taurus seems to never change, but why change when you have worked as hard as Taurus has to create the perfect work structure, the perfect homelife, and the perfect relationships? Maybe Taurus will be good enough to teach the rest of us how to create such great systems, if we will give them the respect they have more than earned and stop calling them sticks in the mud. Of course they will!

To read more about Taurus: Star Sign in Spotlight: Taurus | Mysticsense

Mutable Definition

mutable definition

Mutable zodiac signs are known for adapting, being flexible, and for being resourceful. Fixed signs are also analytical, which makes them great at being problem solvers, and they are terrific at coming up with compromises. The solution-oriented mutable signs excel at taking the work of a team and pulling it all together to make a solid whole, benefiting everybody. Their extroverted personalities make them good at speaking to people, and being in a crowd. Their way keeps changing due to their adaptability, however, and they can be seen as flighty and unreliable. Yet they can be highly diplomatic, good at going with the flow, rolling with the punches, and thriving in nearly every situation life puts them in.

Mutable Fire Sign Sagittarius

mutable fire sign sagittarius

Combine the spontaneity of a fire sign with the adaptability of being mutable, and you get the energetic, charismatic Sagittarian. Many Sags have a touch of wanderlust and have no problem changing plans at the drop of a hat. Sagittarians often love to surround themselves with friends to adore them, and they may become lonely and bored very quickly. They love adventure, fun, and excitement, and can’t stand to feel trapped or tied down and thrive living like a free bird, soaring through life on their own terms.

To read more about Sagittarius: Scorpio Star Sign in Spotlight & It`s Meaning | Mysticsense

Mutable Water Sign Pisces

mutable water sign pisces

Loving Pisces is a people-pleaser combining the problem solver skills of being mutable with the empathy of being a water sign. You can count yourself very fortunate to have a Pisces in your life the minute you need help, support, or even somebody to vent to, because your Pisces will more than deliver. Pisces should be very wary of overextending themselves and being taken advantage of. They tolerate having their feelings hurt or feeling used but setting boundaries to avoid burnout and heartbreak can be lifesaving. After all, where would the world be with one less Pisces to watch out for the rest of us?

To read more about Pisces: Pisces Star Sign Compatibility | Mysticsense

Mutable Air Sign Gemini

mutable air sign gemini

What a combination adaptable Gemini air is with the flexibility and extroversion of being a mutable sign! Geminis are represented by the twins in the zodiac, and indeed, they can seem so energetic, they have the stamina of multiple people! Experts of both intellect and problem solving, Geminis can be the ultimate program directors as they are great at finding compromise, and good at smoothing ruffled feathers when tempers flare. Gemini’s have to watch out not to become TOO good at being people pleasers, however, and knowing the power of saying “No” can benefit them in the long run.

To read more about Gemini: Star Sign in Spotlight: Gemini | Mysticsense

Mutable Earth Sign Virgo

mutable earth sign virgo

Just don’t expect Virgo to bend over backwards, being overly accommodating, however. They may be mutable but being a stable earth sign means Virgo has their own way of doing things, and if you don’t like it, well, too bad! Virgo has spent a lot of time thinking of what works best for the maximum amount of people involved, and in the long run, will make the decision they feel is best, even if it’s not best for say, YOU. Virgos goal as an earth sign is to be as practical as possible, making things stable and all of their energy goes towards that. Virgo needs to make sure they don’t overwork themselves, and they get enough time off or they will become “all work and no play. “

To read more about Virgo: Star Sign in Focus: Virgo | Mysticsense

Are Fixed and Cardinal Signs Compatible?

fixed and cardinal signs compatible

Cardinal and fixed signs compatibility can happen, but fixed signs may find cardinal signs way of speeding ahead with changes shocking, and it might make them want to hit the brakes! Cardinal sign Libra gets along famously with Leo, however, as long as both signs respect one another’s autonomy, and Cancer tends to get along with most signs, fixed ones included!

Are Mutable and Fixed Signs Compatible?

mutable and fixed signs compatible

Mutable signs may get bored with how well…”fixed” that fixed signs are, and want more stimulation. Fixed signs can be highly insulted by the insinuation they ought to change, and sometimes, these modalities just don’t see eye to eye. However, Sagittarians and Aquarians can be partners in adventure as long as Sag doesn’t veer too far off from fun-loving Aquarian’s comfort zone.

Are Cardinal and Mutable Signs Compatible?

cardinal and mutable signs compatible

Cardinal and mutable signs can be very compatible. The meaning of cardinal signs may be all about action and the meaning of mutable all about flexibility, but cardinal signs need to be mindful not to steamroll over mutable signs. If mutable signs can be a bit assertive instead of saying “I don’t care, you choose” every time, cardinal signs will take notice, and respectfully not cross mutable signs boundaries. Sometimes, mutable sign people love a good leader in a cardinal sign individual and are more than happy to follow.

Your astrological sign reveals a lot about who you are, what your natural tendencies are, and who you harmonize best with. Don’t despair if you are stuck working with people who you don’t naturally get along with because armed with knowledge of what their zodiac sign is, you can figure out how to get by. Don’t worry if you are friends or lovers with somebody you are not “supposed to be with” due to zodiac signs. You can use knowledge of both of your best and worst traits and make things work! Knowledge of the zodiac teaches us how we all tick, how we love and work, and how to be our best selves.

What Does it Mean to be a Cardinal Sign?About the Author: Saoirse has studied magic and lore for most of her life, but started walking her own Magical Path after being spiritually reborn in the desert. Today she shares her gifts as a Psychic and Content Writer for Mysticsense and she writes for Pagan Pages emag.

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