Elements, Qualities and Polarities of the 12 Zodiac Signs.

The Four Elements of the Zodiac

There are four elements in nature, and they help us understand the way the zodiac works. Each elementary group expresses itself differently.


Fire Signs: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius

Fire signs are energetic, confident, and passionate. Courageous and dynamic, they are not afraid to take the lead. They are spontaneous and impulsive but must be careful that they don’t burn out from too much action. They can be quick to start things but not too hot at finishing the job.

Earth Signs: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn

Earth signs are dependable, reliable, and grounded. The “down-to-earth” descriptor fits these sturdy folk. They have a ton of endurance but prefer to move slowly. Earth signs are concerned with what’s practical, but that doesn’t mean they’re boring. They are loyal to the core, and you can always count on them when the chips are down.

Air Signs: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius

Air signs like to be on the move. Quick-witted and intellectual, they process everything through the mind. Born communicators, they operate in the realm of thoughts and ideas. They may come off as vacillating or superficial, but one thing is for sure: they keep everyone on their toes. Wherever the wind blows, they go.

Water Signs: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces

Water signs are emotional and sensitive. Deeply empathic, they can feel what’s going on with others. They have active imaginations and can be intuitive. They do need to contain their emotions though. At times, their feelings get the best of them, and when that happens, get ready for the drama.


The Qualities of the Signs

The qualities, which are also called the quadruplicities, contain four signs each. They determine how each sign acts and adapts.


Cardinal Signs: Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn

Every season begins with a Cardinal sign. Aries signals spring, Cancer is summer, Libra activates the fall, while Capricorn announces winter has arrived. This gives you a clue to their personality: these signs like to initiate things. They have natural leadership skills and enjoy taking charge. You can find them leading the pack and setting the trends. These original thinkers are fantastic at getting the ball rolling, but they can lose momentum when the next big thing comes along.

Fixed Signs: Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius

These signs won’t give up, ever. They have tremendous endurance and will go the extra mile to reach their goals. Perseverance is their secret sauce: if you want to get something done, these are your peeps. Unlike Cardinal signs, Fixed signs are not in a hurry to reach the finish line. However long it takes, they stay the course. When operating on the negative side, they can be unreasonable, stubborn, and rigid. Once they have an idea in their head, it’s no use trying to sway them. Their mind is made up.

Mutable Signs: Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces

Mutable signs love change. They adapt quite well to it and are always ready for a new adventure. They get easily bored, so intellectual stimulation is a must. They have mental agility and can be ingenious. When life gets rough, their flexibility comes in handy.

Like chameleons, they can adjust to their circumstances with ease. The only problem is that they can have trouble figuring out who they are or may be nervous types, unable to sit still.


Masculine & Feminine Polarities

Each sign is also divided into masculine (positive/yang) signs and feminine (negative/yin)signs.


This one is easy: the masculine signs are all the fire and air signs, while the earth and water signs fall under the feminine quality.

Masculine signs tend to be more assertive and positive. 

Feminine signs are receptive and passive. Don’t underestimate the feminine signs though. When the time is right, they are capable of taking bold action too! They prefer to kick back and attract though.

(Info on this page is from Astrology for Real Life: A workbook for beginners by Theresa Reed)