There are three qualities in Astrology; Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable. The Cardinal Quality is chief among the Zodiac Qualities. Aptly named, the quality Cardinal implies predominance, as in foremost, the key to, forefront and highest, to name just a few of the words evidencing Cardinal Quality meaning.
All Zodiac signs are assigned to Astrology Qualities in order to add another layer of understanding within the Astrology information provided by the Four Elements and Planetary Rulerships of the Zodiac signs. The Qualities point to an individual’s preference for how they move through their outer surroundings.
Cardinal Quality is One of the Three Zodiac Qualities
Astrology information is ordered, precise and balanced, often applying mathematical considerations to achieve within all Zodiac signs. All Zodiac signs are placed mathematically exactly 120 degrees from one another an imaginary line. Their positioning within the Zodiac charts also determines the planet to which the Zodiac personality traits are “ruled”. The Elements in Astrology are grouped into four; Air, Water, Earth and Fire.
Each Element influences three signs of the Zodiac with their elemental properties, be they intellectual, fluid, grounded or fiery. Four is manifested once again in the Four Zodiac signs that are categorized within each of the three Zodiac Qualities of Cardinal, Fixed or Mutable. The Cardinal dominant Quality is found in the Zodiac signs of Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. The Fixed Zodiac Sign Qualities are assigned to Leo, Taurus, Aquarius and Scorpio. The Mutable Astrology Qualities are found within the Zodiac signs of Virgo, Gemini, Sagittarius and Pisces.
Zodiac Quality: Cardinal
What does it mean when the Qualities of Zodiac signs are influenced by the Zodiac Quality: Cardinal? If your Zodiac sign is Aries, Cancer, Libra or Capricorn, dependent upon the date of your birth, you are assigned to the Cardinal Dominant Quality. The Cardinal Quality meaning is found in a set of similar attributes for orientation to the outer world that include initiating action, taking the lead and being in control of whatever situation with which they are faced.
Aries is positioned in the first House of the Zodiac which indicates their desire to be first in all of their endeavors. Highly competitive, Aries display the Cardinal Quality of dominance. They prefer to be in “the front of the pack”, sometimes at all costs. Cancer is in the Fourth House which is primarily concerned with moods, emotions plus family matters. Their Cardinal Quality influences their desire to be preeminent, vis a vis, the “King or Queen of their castle”. As Cancerians place others as primary considerations in their lives, so too, do they expect to be central to the lives upon whom they dote.
Libra is found in the Seventh House of the Zodiac which is represented by the Scales of Justice. The Quality Cardinal represents pursuing a higher purpose through balance in partnerships and relationships. Very people oriented, Libra exercises its Cardinal Quality in order to attain unequalled status in their social interactions, as well as being foremost in their personal and professional relationships. Libra is found in the Seventh House of the Zodiac which rules matters of diplomacy, romance and sociability.
Capricorn is in the Tenth House of the Zodiac which rules achievement. Capricorn is goal-oriented in order to attain the highest levels of recognition, which is consistent with their Cardinal dominant Quality of being “Numero Uno”. Social status and Career accomplishments that are openly acknowledged are part of a Capricorn’s Cardinal Quality.
Exploring the Cardinal Qualities of Zodiac Signs
Zodiac Sign; Aries (March 21-April 19)
Zodiac Symbol: Ram
Planetary House: First
Aries is prominently situated on the Zodiac ecliptic in First place and is, therefore, ruled by the 1st Planetary House. It is no surprise that the 1st House personality traits include an almost obsessive desire to be first in all situations. This is supported by their Cardinal Quality in taking on leadership roles. This is fueled by their Fire Element assignment which “gives fire” to their competitiveness and ambitious nature. The 1st House is in the section of personal houses in the Zodiac, whereby self-direction is predominant.
Aries can be motivated by how they think they are being perceived by others. Their Cardinal Quality is prominent in their preference for leading initiatives rather than following along. The Aries symbol of the Ram signifies their willingness to “butt heads to get what they want and to forge “head on” despite any obstacles that may be in the way. Change is like catnip to an Aries because it provides a new challenge in which they can achieve success. In their relationships, Aries work toward being #1 in the lives of their partners and coworkers and often establishes “win-win” outcomes to achieve same.
Zodiac Sign; Cancer June 21-July 22)
Zodiac Symbol: The Crab
Cancer is ruled by the 4th House of the Zodiac, known for its attention to the Home and Family. It’s Zodiac Symbol, the Crab, not only represents the Water Element to which it is assigned, but the importance of carrying one’s home with you no matter where you go. Cancer signs are not terribly easy to know because they are aware of their sensitive nature and tend to protect themselves before they allow themselves to care deeply and lovingly for others.
In light of the depth of their feelings, Cancerians possess an intuitive and creative nature. Cancer is a Cardinal Quality which indicates that their orientation to an outer world is often balanced by their self-motivation to be the best partner and caretaker possible.
Zodiac Sign; Libra (September 23-October 23)
Zodiac Symbol: Scales
Planetary House: Seventh
Of all Zodiac signs, Libra is the only one with a symbol that is neither an animal or drawn from mythological characters. Represented by scales drawn from the iconic Scales of Justice of the Goddess Themis. Libra seeks balance in life, especially within their relationships. Libra’s Astrological Element is Air. This explains why Libra’s gravitate toward the “rarefied air” of intellectualism in order to pursue their goals, many of which are seeking results in which a higher purpose is achieved.
As with the Zodiac sign of Taurus, Libra is ruled by the planet Venus, named for the mythological Goddess of Love. A higher purpose for a Libran is included in their search for love and to be loved in their relationships. Libra is found in the 7th House which is in the Interpersonal section of the Zodiac. Creating partnerships for the purpose of achieving significant results are the hallmark of Seventh House actions. As a Cardinal Dominant Quality, Libra seeks to not only lead a situation but to master it in order to achieve paramount status.
Zodiac Sign; Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
Zodiac Symbol; Mountain Goat
Planetary House; Tenth
The Cardinal Quality Zodiac sign of Capricorn is ruled by the 10th House. The 10th House is positioned at the pinnacle of the Zodiac chart which places it in an Interpersonal position of prominence within the Zodiac. Consistent with their Cardinal Quality, Capricorn’s prefer to function from the highest possible levels, hence the Mountain Goat as its Zodiac Symbol.
Second, best does not sit well with Capricorns. However, in their pursuit of reaching the top, their Earth Element keeps them grounded. Capricorns are not risk takers when it comes to their ambitions. They are patient and disciplined in their strategic approach for successful results. True to their Earth Element personality, they are very goal-oriented in their drive to achieve and in general methodically choose a career in which they will be successful.
The Cardinal Qualities and the Four Elements in Astrology
Given the bundled nature of the Cardinal Qualities and the Four Elements in Astrology into Quadruplicities and Triplicities, it is important to point out that there exist differences in their commonalities. The Cardinal Zodiac Sign Qualities are found in Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn.
All of these Zodiac Signs exhibit the Cardinal Quality behaviors of preferring an outer world of actions, in being leaders and initiators and pursuing excellence in all endeavors. However, when it comes to the Four Elements in Astrology, the commonalities of their Cardinal Qualities, give way to very different temperaments, as defined by the Astrological Elements of Water, Fire, Earth, and Air. Each of the Cardinal Zodiac Qualities is assigned to one of the Four Elements.
Aries is a Cardinal Quality assigned to the Element of Fire. The fiery nature of Aries drives the competitive nature of Aries to be first in all things. Although different, the Quality and the Element support the Aries pursuit of winning, leading and being the best.
Cancer is a Cardinal Quality that is assigned to the Element Water. It is not surprising that a Water Element has a crab for its symbol. The nature of water is to be fluid, free-flowing, easy going. Water also brings depth to a relationship which is consistent with Cancer’s depth of emotion and caring for home and family.
Libra is a Cardinal quality assigned to the Air Element. Air is all-encompassing, transparent and free to blow in any direction. In general Libra’s flourish in the “rarefied air” of intellectualism. They seek higher purposes that are not encumbered by convention. Although different from their Cardinal Quality it’s the Quality that gives Libra a methodical framework in which to work.
Capricorn is a Cardinal Quality that is assigned to the Element Earth. While the Cardinal Quality prompts Capricorns to “reach for the stars”, it’s the Earth Element that keeps them grounded in what it is they need to do in order to achieve their goals. It is in the Earth element that persistence, focus, and caution are required when seeking great heights.
The Zodiac Quality: Cardinal and Planetary Rulers
In addition to the Zodiac Qualities and the Four Elements in Astrology, there are the Planetary Rulers that give meaning to how one functions within the Astrological construct. These are referred to as the Houses of the Zodiac and each one offers specific personality traits to all Zodiac signs.
The Quality Cardinal signs in Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn are ruled by the 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th Houses of the Zodiac. The number of each House is determined by their position on the Zodiac ecliptic. Whether or not they are self-directed or other directed is determined by their numbered position; The first 6 being self-directed and the 7th through 12th directed toward others. Their individual personalities traits are influenced by their ruling planets.
Aries is located in the 1st House which is ruled by the planet Mars, so named for the God of War.
Some of the traits for this House include Courageous, Adventuresome, Confident and Fearless. The Cardinal Quality adds the drive and the Element of Fire adds the emotional “heat” in which Aries fully performs. Cancer is positioned in the 4th House which is ruled by the Moon. Cancerians are described as being Sensitive and Deeply Loving, Creative and Intuitive and highly Protective of themselves and loved ones. The Cardinal Quality provides the intensity with which they live and their Water Element provides them with the depth of commitment and feeling, as well as a fluidity to move between self-preservation and empathy for others.
Libra is in the 7th House of the Zodiac which is ruled by Venus, the Goddess of Love. Consistent with the influence of Venus, Librans are known to be very charming and romantic. Social connections are extremely important to Libran’s happiness. Their Cardinal Quality is found in their desire for pursuing higher purposes, often intellectual in nature. Their Air Element influences their idealistic tendencies to have their “head in the clouds”.
Capricorn is found within the 10th House of the Zodiac which is ruled by Saturn, named for the Roman God of Agriculture who represents limited boundaries. Capricorns strain at limitations because their ambitions drive their desire to conquer Mount Everest in every situation. This is influenced by their Cardinal Quality. However, it is in the rooted nature of the Earth Element that cautions them to proceed to scale great heights with the boundaries of prudence and practicality.