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What is a "mutable, fire sign," anyway?
(or Sagittarius is the "Missed me, missed me, now you gotta kiss me!" Zodiac Sign)

Take my word for it! While it may seem more than a wee bit boring to you... the Modes and Elements are at the very "heart and soul" of the 12 different Zodiac signs.

Modes: Cardinal, Fixed, and Mutable
Elements: Fire, Earth, Air, and Water

Here's a typical, boring chart to look at:

 Fire  Earth  Air  Water
 Cardinal  Aries  Capricorn  Libra  Cancer
 Fixed  Leo  Taurus  Aquarius  Scorpio
 Mutable  Sagittarius  Virgo  Gemini  Pisces

And so mastering (or - at least - starting to master) the concept of the Modes and Elements can "potentially" be an invaluable resource for gaining a firmer grip on the general characteristics for each of the 12 different Zodiac signs (without resorting to boring rote memorization).

However, I must have had the concept of "Modes and Elements" explained (and re-explained) to me in at least a dozen different ways over the passage of time.

So, here's my humble version of the Modes and Elements (that utilizes just a wee bit of visual imagery to get the point across).

If it helps out, use it. If it confuses you even more, dump it...

Modes of Reaction

There are 3 different "modes" of reaction:

  • Cardinal (active) - adapts to external demands
  • Fixed (steadfast) - adapts to internal demands
  • Mutable (flexible) - adapts back and forth to both external and internal demands  

Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable?.... Huh? Chances are....  what I've said so far means less than zero to you? So let's back up and try a more visual image....

Imagine
Imagine that there's someone standing in front of you.

Now imagine, this person is holding a rock in their hand.

Now imagine this person has just thrown the rock at you....
 
 

  • A Cardinal (active) reaction would be to throw a rock back at the jerk.
  • A Fixed (steadfast) reaction would be to stand there unaffected by the rock, and then taunt them with something like: "Hey, go ahead and hit me again! That didn't hurt at all, you little wuss! 
  • A Mutable (flexible) reaction would be to cleverly dodge the rock, and then "thumb your nose" at their lousy aim.

Now remember, all I'm saying here is that these are different kinds of reactions. Not every person with a mutable sign - if actually faced with this situation - would have this particular "mutable reaction."

And guess what, gang? Since there are 12 astrological signs - then

  • 4 are Cardinal or active (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn)
  • 4 are Fixed or steadfast (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius) 
  • 4 are Mutable or flexible (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces)
(Looking at a zodiac wheel, you'll notice the 4 members of each Mode form a square in the circle. The individual members of these Mode groups have an "uncomfortable" connection with each other.)


Elements
We've already talked about the 3 Modes of reactions:

  • Cardinal (active)
  • Fixed (steadfast) 
  • Mutable (flexible)

So let's talk about the 4 Elements

  • Fire - outgoing, action oriented, impulsive, and "fiery"
  • Earth - physical, practical, sensual, and material
  • Air - mental perceptions, thought, communication, and abstract ideas 
  • Water - sensitive, feeling, empathic, and healing

And guess what, gang? Since there are 12 astrological signs - then:

  • 3 are Fire (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius) outgoing, action oriented, impulsive, and "fiery" 
  • 3 are Earth (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn) physical, practical, sensual, and material
  • 3 are Air (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) mental perceptions, thought, communication, and abstract ideas
  • 3 are Water (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces) sensitive, feeling, empathic, and healing
(Looking at a Zodiac wheel, you'll notice the three members of each Element form an equilateral triangle in the circle. Individual members of these Element groups have a "comfortable" connection with each other.)


Fire
Fire is outgoing, action oriented, impulsive, and (of course) "fiery."
And since the above imagined "action scenario" of rock throwing (primarily) belongs to the element of "fire":

  • The Cardinal (active) + Fire reaction is a typical Aries reaction.
  • The Fixed (steadfast) + Fire reaction is a typical Leo reaction.
  • The Mutable (flexible) + Fire reaction is a typical Sagittarius reaction. (And again, not every Sagittarian would dodge the rock!)

 Got it so far?

  • Aries = Cardinal (Active) + Fire = "Here's a bigger rock for you, jerk!"
  • Leo = Fixed (Steadfast) + Fire = "Hit me with your best shot, sucker! That didn't hurt!"
  • Sagittarius = Mutable (Flexible) + Fire = "Missed me, missed me, now you gotta kiss me!"

And by the way - we've ALL got Aries energy, when (and if) we really, really need to muster it up. It's just that some folks tend to act and react more typically "Aries" than other folks.

Want One More Example?

How about the water signs?

The element of water is sensitive, feeling, empathic, and healing. So try throwing a "feeling" at a water sign:

  • Cancer = Cardinal (Active) + Water = They'll throw another bigger, more powerful feeling back at you = Flowing Rivers.
  • Scorpio = Fixed (Steadfast) + Water = They'll take you deeper into your own feeling = Bottomless Lakes. 
  • Pisces = Mutable (Flexible) + Water = They'll take over the feeling, adapt it, and make it a part of themselves = Vast Oceans.

Here's that boring chart again:

 Fire  Earth  Air  Water
 Cardinal  Aries  Capricorn  Libra  Cancer
 Fixed  Leo  Taurus  Aquarius  Scorpio
 Mutable  Sagittarius  Virgo  Gemini  Pisces

back to the Crash Course Signs

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