The Modes or Quadruplicities
in Astrology

Besides the elements, the modes or quadruplicities in astrology are a major way of categorizing the twelve zodiac signs(4 elements X 3 modes = 12 signs). While the 4 elements(fire, air, earth, and water) describe the four basic temperaments in astrology, the 3 modes describe the three basic ways the signs(and their rulers) work or operate.

The three modes are cardinal(active), fixed(stable), and mutable(adaptable)...

cardinal signs
fixed signs
mutable signs

The Cardinal signs are the starters of the zodiac, and there are four starting points, each for a different element.

Aries, which is raw or uncontrolled energy, best exemplifies the cardinal state, and underlies all of the other signs giving them their basic life and identity, but especially energizes the other three cardinal signs which can be seen as elevated blips compared to the remaining signs. The Libra blip(being a masculine or positive sign) is a little higher than the blips for Cancer or Capricorn.

Cardinal means "action" and all of the cardinal signs are leaders and doers. Their energy is forceful and powerful because it expresses itself in a mostly unconcious manner.

Aries and Libra, being masculine or extroverted signs, express this force most dynamically and extrovertedly. Aries, being the most unconcious expression, is brute, personal, or vital(spiritual) force and is self-starting or initiating. Their mere strength of presence is powerful enough to get others moving. Libra, being the first concious or collective expression is mental or social force. They use beauty, charm, intelligence, or "the iron fist in the velvet glove" technique to get others riled up into action.

Cancer and Capricorn being feminine or receptive energies express the cardinal dynamism in a more subdued fashion. They like to pull their strings from behind the scenes rather than in an up-your face fashion. Often they employ others to do their bidding. Cancer is personal emotional force or energy, and fear or insecurity is the driving force. Cancer types like to manipulate others through their fears and weaknesses. Capricorn is organized or impersonal physical force and is also driven by fear or insecurity. They like to control by imposing rules and regulations.

The Fixed signs are the sustainers of the zodiac, like four pillars holding up a structure.

Taurus, the sign of raw matter or substance, best exemplifies the fixed state, and underlies all of the signs giving them their visible or tangible identity, but especially the other three fixed signs. The fixed signs vibrate more slowly than the other signs giving them their greater density and visibility.

Fixed means stable or unchanging and all of the fixed signs display a certain stubborness or fixity of purpose which can drive the other signs mad or earn their respect. Their energy is slow but constant and productive, and is the expression of a semi-concious state.

Taurus and Scorpio, being feminine or introverted signs, best express the quality of fixity. Taurus is the most physical of all the signs and therefore the most rigid, stubborn, or possessive, but also the most loyal, enduring, or resourceful. Scorpio is also very fixed or stubborn but more in the emotional than the physical sense, and is more relationship-oriented because of its location in the second or objective half of the zodiac.

Leo and Aquarius, being masculine or positive signs, display a more open or personal kind of fixity, where the ego or intellect become central issues rather than emotions or tangibles. Leo is spiritual fixity in its manifested form(sun) or the God complex. It is eternal love and continuous creation. Aquarius is a more impersonal or group kind of love and the truth that lasts forever. Both signs are very firm or stubborn and see their rigidity or steadfastness as a strength rather than a weakness.

The Mutable signs(also called the Common signs) are the communicators of the zodiac, linking, bridging, and making concious all facets of human or life experience.

Gemini, the sign of raw mind or conciousness, best exemplifies the mutable state and underlies all of the signs giving them their coherence, connectivity, and meaning, but especially the other three mutable signs. The mutable signs have the fastest vibration and represent conciousness or awareness.

Gemini and Sagittarius being masculine or positive signs best express the mutable qualities of change, diversity, and ideas or thoughts. Gemini is the most mutable, mental, or adaptable of all the signs, but also the most changeable, scattered, and unreliable. Sagittarius is also changeable and deals with ideas but at a higher or more principled level, being in the collective half of the zodiac.

Virgo and Pisces being feminine or negative signs express their mutability at a much more sensitive or tangible level. Virgo is physical adaptation, conciousness, or communication, whereas Pisces is emotional or psychic awareness or communication. Both are service-oriented in their own particular ways(one being physically helpful, the other being emotionally so).

The Modes and Relationships

Cardinal signs love action, challenge, and accomplishment and can be rather impatient or condescending towards more sedentary types. We are basically talking Sun signs here, but this can apply to almost any other planetary comparison. Perhaps the best way to gauge a person's overall mode is to count the number of planets therein. The average is three or four per mode. Five or more planets in any mode becomes the dominant modus operandi.

As a whole, cardinal signs/types do better with mutables than with fixed. The cardinal person will usually lead and the mutable person will gladly follow or accomodate. Its something like the Aries/Gemini relationship -both are predominantly masculine and positive and therefore compatible. Not so with the cardinal/fixed relationship. This is the unstoppable force hitting an immovable object. Usually the sign or mode ahead is the stronger, so that matter or earth or fixity usually wins over spirit, fire, or cardinality. At first it appears the cardinal person has the upper hand, but the tenacity or stubborness of the fixed person usually wins out. It can be something like the Aries/Taurus relationship.

Mutable signs, on the other hand, tend to win out over fixed types(it's that mutable charm, cleverness, and adaptability). It's all cyclical. Just as fire is subject to earth which is subject to air which is subject to water which is subject to fire, so cardinal is subject to fixed which is subject to mutable which is subject to cardinal. Cardinal types find fixed types physically attractive, who in turn find mutable types physically attractive, who in turn find cardinal types physically attractive.

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