Cardinal, Mutable & Fixed Signs: The 3 Qualities in Astrology

The 12 zodiac signs are subdivided into 3 qualities or modalities: Cardinal, Mutable and Fixed signs. Knowing yours can help you find ease, harmony and a happy place in any group setting

What role do you play on a team? Are you a starter, a producer, or a finisher? Your Cardinal, Mutable or Fixed quality (also called modalities and triplicities) holds the answer.

What the qualities mean in astrology

Whether your zodiac sign (aka your Sun sign) is Cardinal, Mutable or Fixed, your quality or modality plays an important role in the world.

A balanced mix on any team can be ideal, as long as you play to your unique strengths—which we’ll help you decode!

If you were putting together a record deal, for example, the qualities would work like this:

Cardinal signs

Cardinal signs would be the stars, or the promoters, or the trendsetters who create the act.

Fixed signs

Fixed signs would be the patient workhorses who produce the album.

Mutable signs

Mutable signs would be the editors who take the near-finished product and do the final mastering and remixing.

Cardinal Signs in Astrology

Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn

These signs start every season—Aries kicks off spring, Cancer starts summer, Libra begins fall and Capricorn is the first winter sign. Thus, they are the leaders and “idea people” of the zodiac. These signs prize originality and like to be first in everything they do. They’re the trendsetters and trend spotters, the ones who get the party started and the crowd hyped. Count on them to initiate a winning idea or plan.

Fixed Signs in Astrology

Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius

Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius fall in the middle of every season. They’re the stabilizers—the ones who set up a solid goal or foundation, then start building. Fixed signs can take the enthusiastic ideas that cardinal signs spark, and craft them into something real. They pick up the ball when the cardinal sign passes it, and run the distance to the goal. Fixed signs are the trustworthy types who like “to-do” lists and fancy titles. If a cardinal signs says, “Let’s go on vacation!” the fixed sign will call the travel agency, book the tickets and hotel, and send everyone a list of what to pack.

Mutable Signs in Astrology

Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces

Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces are the signs end every season—and have learned the hard lessons taught by spring, summer, fall and winter. They know that all good things come to an end, and their role is to prepare everyone for the changing of seasons. Mutable signs are the adapters of the zodiac, a little bit older and wiser.

More flexible and comfortable with change than other signs, they can “chameleon” themselves to fit into a variety of situations. Mutable zodiac signs are also the editors of the zodiac—the ones who complete the package with a winning touch. A plan can be sparked by a cardinal sign, built by a fixed sign, then perfected with the critical eye of a mutable sign.

The I*AM System: Is Your Chart Predominantly Cardinal, Fixed or Mutable?

A few years ago, we had an epiphany: What if you could simplify the full birth chart into a single archetype? Sure, we love to dive into the depths of all those symbols and squiggles and lines, but a huge part of the world will never reach #astrogeek status. As a result, they could miss out on the incredible tool that astrology provides—the way it can guide decisions, get you unstuck from a crossroads and bring confidence and clarity at key moments.

IAM cardinal fixed mutable - Cosmic Success Blueprint free guidePin
I*AM System

So we created the I*AM System, an algorithm that calculates 13 facets of the birth chart and tells you what your dominant modality is. You can use this information to guide key decisions about your career path, relationships and how to structure a lifestyle that works for YOU. Maybe you need more autonomy and flexibility, or a job with a social component. Perhaps you crave a certain amount of structure or need public recognition for your work. It’s all scripted in your stars!

Here’s how the I*AM archetypes work:

Influencers (I):
Charts that are predominantly Cardinal signs


Authorities (A):
Charts that are predominantly Fixed signs


Mavens (M):
Charts that are predominantly Mutable signs

Find out if your whole birth chart is predominantly Cardinal, Fixed or Mutable qualities/signs with our I*AM Cosmic Calculator

Find your I*AM archetype

Calculate Yours!

Heads up: You may be surprised by the results!

For example, our Sun sign is Sagittarius, which is the Mutable quality. And we certainly have the traits: we work in communication, have a decent social media presence and we love to edit and perfect.

But in the I*AM System, our chart is composed of 6 Cardinal signs, 4 Fixed signs and 3 Mutable signs, making us the Influencer archetype. And it totally rings true! We have been “ahead of the curve” with some of our past ideas, and love to blaze new trails.

Come find out your unique mix of Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable signs and learn to apply this fascinating system to your own life! While there are 3 archetypes, some people will also be a hybrid (split evenly between two). You might even be an IM, IA or AM. Hello, superpowers! You can download our free I*AM Cosmic Success Blueprint guide and learn more.


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The AstroTwins

Identical twin sisters Ophira and Tali Edut, known as The AstroTwins, are the founders of and the authors of multiple bestselling astrology books. Their horoscopes reach millions here and through their resident astrologer column at ELLE Magazine.