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Cardinal Signs

Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn


Trail running at sunrise.
Jordan Siemens/The Image Bank/Getty Images

What are the Cardinal signs?:

These are Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn.

Why are these signs grouped together?:

The twelve signs of the zodiac are grouped into quadruplicities (four), known as qualities based on how the sign behaves. Each element has one of each of the "qualities." Another name used for these groupings is "modes." The qualities are Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable.

Where does the name Cardinal come from?:

This word means first, and comes from the Latin cardinalis, with the meaning of principal or pivotal. The role of cardinal signs is to push forward, be first, initiate.

What do Cardinal signs have in common?:

They're the Way Showers, the instigators, ready to forge ahead with plans, and attract those that can support their efforts. Cardinal signs are leaders, and tend to be outgoing because they're engaged with the world in a dynamic way. They're restless to start new projects, and happiest when running the show.

How are they different by element?:

Each projects the self onto the world in a different way, depending which of the four elements it's associated with. Cardinal Fire (Aries) is a catalyst, a firebrand that inspires others by being totally committed to his/her own vision. Cardinal Water (Cancer) leads by the heart, and casts a palpable emotional force that pushes into new territory, but does it sideways like the crab.

Cardinal Air (Libra) initiates through new ideas, and by being a balancing force among people. Cardinal Earth (Capricorn) has a formidable, grounded presence, and a natural authority from being masters of the physical plane.

Which season is associated with Cardinal signs?:

As the first, they're positioned at the start of the season. This gives someone with a cardinal Sun sign, the force of the beginning, before energy has begun to dissipate. In a gathering, cardinal signs often set the tone, and this occurs at the outset of each season, as well.

By season, the cardinal signs are Aries (Spring), Cancer (Summer), Libra (Fall) and Capricorn (Winter.) They're the kick off, and come across as active initiators of each time of year.

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