Cardinal Signs of the Zodiac

The Cardinal Signs of the zodiac are Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn.

These are 4 of the 12 signs of the zodiac, the 12 sun signs being divided into the 3 groups, called modalities of cardinal, fixed and mutable. These modalities are sometimes called 'quadruplicities' because each group contains 4 sun signs. Another way in which the 12 sun signs are divided into groups, is the 4 groups of elements, three signs corresponding to each of the four elements of earth, air, fire and water.

The four cardinal signs all begin on or about a solstice or equinox: Spring equinox (Aries), summer solstice (Cancer), autumn equinox (Libra) and winter solstice (Capricorn).

Characteristics of the Cardinal Signs

What do the astrological cardinal signs have in common ?


Those born under cardinal signs are often said to be:

  • Initiators, innovators
  • Pioneering, action orientated
  • Powerful, forceful

Just as the solstices and equinoxes are associated with turning-points, at least in the hours of daylight (if not in other weather conditions immediately), people born under the cardinal signs of aries, cancer, libra and capricorn are commonly considered effective initiators of change. They are often able to change the direction of a situation or project or to suceed at starting a completely new business or enterprise from scratch. They can be described as enterprising, creative, trail-blazers possessed of a pioneering spirit and productively tenacious.

Challenges / Potential 'negative side' of Cardinal Signs

The positive attributes of people of cardinal signs can, however, be less effective and less attractive if taken to extremes. Embracing new opportunities with enthusiasm and entrepreneural spirit can seem less admirable if that enthusiasm morphs into aggression or personal styles are perceived as overly pushy, too forceful or simply bossy.

Sensitive communication doesn't always come easily when passion for progress combines with a sense of limited time to make the most of a situation. Fiery Aries might need to take care not to cause offence by being too blunt. Libra, on the other hand, can tend to be so wilful that s/he doesn't benefit fully from others' contributions despite having good communication skills.

Differences between the 4 Cardinal Signs

Table to compare the 4 cardinal signs at a glance:


  • Concise, even to the extreme of being blunt
  • Can be out-spoken
  • 'Do-ers' who 'ram their way' through things


  • Ambitious, successful in field of expertise or work
  • Articulate including emotionally
  • Homeloving, e.g. with interest in homemaking skills


  • Balance passion and intellect, hence:
  • Diplomatic
  • Reluctant to enter into confrontations, yet strong-willed


  • Ambitious
  • Creative
  • Sociable and kind
  • Self-disciplined, incl. patient
  • Sensual

The differences between the mutable signs can be considered in terms of the four elements of astrology: earth, air, fire and water.

Aries is a fire sign of the zodiac.
Fire signs are associated with ...

  • Passion
  • Spontaneity
  • High energy

Cancer is a water sign of the zodiac.
Water signs are associated with ...

  • Artistic
  • Dreamy
  • Emotional

Libra is an air sign of the zodiac.
Air signs are associated with ...

  • Attention to detail
  • Ideas, creativity
  • Good communicators

Capricorn is an earth sign of the zodiac.
Earth signs are associated with ...

  • Cautious, risk-averse
  • Practical, sensible
  • Reliability

More about Fire signs

More about Water signs

More about Air signs

More about Earth signs

Looking for more information about Star Signs, Astrology and Horoscopes ?

The Archangel Gabriel is associated with Dancing, among other interests. Dance for joy at every opportunity - in mind, if not also in body.

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