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The Qualities April 6, 2009

Posted by Lisa in signs.
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In the last blog entry I began an exploration of how Astrology derives the twelve Astrological signs by looking at the four elements, fire, earth, air and water. In this post, we will take a look at the three qualities (also referred to as modalities) and learn how these elements and qualities combine to define the twelve signs of the Zodiac.

The nature of the element drives the kind of energy that is most naturally expressed by the sign, and the quality describes how that energy is most likely to operate. The three qualities are cardinal, fixed, mutable. The cardinal signs of Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn each seek to assert themselves. In some way they are all driven and ambitious. The fixed signs, Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius, are all focused and tenacious and have a definitive quality about them. The mutable signs, Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces, are versatile, restless and seek change.

Let’s look at Mercury in the elements, and notice how the quality of a sign differentiates it from the others in the same element.

The Fire signs, Aries, Leo and Sagittarius are all somewhat action-oriented. The Aries Mercury (fire & cardinal) seeks to initiate the conversation and to speak impulsively. The Leo Mercury (fire & fixed) seeks to continue the conversation by concentrating on a specific aspect, and speaks persuasively. The Sagittarius Mercury (fire & mutable) seeks to go from conversation to conversation and will speak with great versatility.

The Earth signs, Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn all seek to connect thought with form. The Taurus Mercury (Earth & fixed) tends to do so deliberately and indicates a very practical mind. The Virgo Mercury (Earth & Mutable) systematically examines everything, and indicates a more analytical mind. The Capricorn Mercury (Earth & Cardinal) tends to be more pragmatic, and indicates a methodical mind that focuses on what is useful.

The Air signs, Gemini, Libra and Aquarius all seek to develop and exchange ideas. The Gemini Mercury (Air & Mutable) is quick and enjoys exchanging information with others on a variety of subjects. The Libra Mercury (Air & Cardinal) is more mentally organized and seeks to compare thoughts with others. The Aquarius Mercury (Air & Fixed) delves deeply in to thoughts and ideas and then shares what is learned.

The Water signs, Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces all need to feel emotionally connected to what they think and have very intuitive minds. The Cancer Mercury (Water & Cardinal) easily expresses and engenders sympathy. The Scorpio Mercury (Water & Fixed) is capable of intense concentration and penetrates beneath the surface of an idea. The Pisces Mercury (Water & Mutable) intuitively soaks up information and relies on instinct over reason.

To really understand Mercury in a chart, the full depth of its sign is considered, as well as its house placement, degree and aspects. Though it is difficult to separate any one piece out of the wholeness of the chart, much less define it in a sentence or two, hopefully this brief look at Mercury has provided you with some insight in to the twelve signs of the Zodiac.

Copyright © 2009, Lisa Wagner

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