Elements, Modes and Polarities

 In Western astrology there are twelve signs of the Zodiac. Each of them ruled by a planet and then further governed by an element, mode and polarity.Each sign is akin to one of the four elements; fire, earth, air and water and these correspond with the instinctive, practical, intellectual and emotional and represent the nature of the sign.


Fire signs are Aries, Leo and Sagittarius, which tend to act in an instinctive way with confidence and enthusiasm.

Earth signs are Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn, which tend to be the most practical and materialistic of signs.

Air signs are Gemini, Libra and Aquarius, which are intellectual and natural communicators.

Water signs are Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces, which are emotional and sensitive signs.


The signs are then further sub-divided into Modes: Cardinal Fixed and Mutable. The word Mode is when talking about a sign refers to it’s style of operating and they correspond in the following way.

Cardinal signs are initiators and associate with Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn.

Fixed signs have staying power and associate with Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius.

Mutable signs have versatility and associate with Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces.


The twelve signs are then further sub-divided into polarities, Masculine (positive) and Feminine (negative). The masculine signs indicate assertive and extrovert tendencies and the feminine signs receptive and sensitive tendencies.

Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius and Aquarius are the masculine signs and the feminine signs are Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn and Pisces.

The following examples are from Compass of the Stars, my forthcoming book

Linda Goodman, an Aries which is ruled by the fire element, cardinal mode and masculine polarity.

Cecil Williamson, a Virgo which is ruled by the earth element, mutable mode and feminine polarity

Gerald Gardner, a Gemini which is ruled by the air element, mutable mode and masculine polarity.

Sybil Leek, a Pisces which is ruled by the water element, mutable mode and feminine polarity.

Cheiro, a Scorpio which is ruled by the water element, fixed mode and feminine polarity.

In looking at the elements, modes and polarities in a natal (birth) chart, we can see just how individual and unique we all are by virtue of the nature, character and style which is different from any other sign.







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