The Cardinal signs: Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn mark the beginning of each season. Aries is the beginning of spring, Cancer is the beginning of summer, Libra is the beginning of autumn, and Capricorn is the beginning of winter. Cardinal signs represent the will for new beginnings and initiating energy. They involve themselves directly with the external world and take direct action based on their inner impulses. The Cardinal quality is prominent in individuals that are the initiators and the project starters.
Cardinal Zodiac Signs Explained
The Cardinal signs are allocated at critical points of the zodiac wheel, namely the Ascendant (Aries), the Imum Coeli or I.C (Cancer), the descendant (Libra), and the Medium Coeli, M.C, or Midheaven (Capricorn).
Cardinal signs move extremely fast with assertiveness, and they do not let opportunities pass them. Obstacles and challenges are easier for them to overcome than other signs, and they need to feel a constant sense of direction in life and cannot stand feeling lost and not having a goal. They need to know they are getting somewhere. These people are straightforward and hands-on when they want to get something done, and you will rarely find a lazy, slacking Cardinal sign. They want to be the 1st to get something done, and they want to be ahead in the race and in front of everyone else. Other people can sometimes perceive their energetic spirit as pushy and overbearing.
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Aries is positioned in the first House (The Ascendant) 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 “the leader of the pack,” sometimes at all costs, which can make them come across as aggressive.
Cancer is in the Fourth House (I.C), which is primarily concerned with moods, emotions, family matters, and early childhood experiences. Cancer’s Cardinal quality is visible through how they take charge of leading a family, and being the leader of the household.
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Libra is found in the Seventh House (The Descendant) of the Zodiac, which is represented by the Scales of Justice and rules matters such as diplomacy, romance, and sociability. The Cardinal quality comes through in Libra by being the initiator of finding balance in partnerships and relationships. Libra’s are friendly people, and they take the upper hand in their relationships and interactions with people to ensure that the interaction is just and fair for all.
Capricorn is in the Tenth House (Midheaven) of the Zodiac, which rules achievement, career, social standing, and authority. Capricorn is goal-oriented, and they aim to attain the highest levels of recognition, which is consistent with their dominant Cardinal quality of being the number one. Social status and career accomplishments are a significant focus in their life, and they want others to see them as a huge success.
All of these Zodiac Signs exhibit the Cardinal Quality traits of being leaders and initiators in specific areas of life, and they pursue excellence in their 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. There is only one Cardinal sign of each element, and due to this, not all Cardinal signs are equal. For example, Cancer and Libra does not possess the ability to face danger and intimidating situations as well as what Aries and Capricorn can.
Four Cardinal Zodiac Signs
Quality: Cardinal – Aries (March 21-April 19)
Zodiac Symbol: Ram
Planetary House: First
Aries is the Cardinal sign of the Fire element. The fiery and competitive nature of Aries drives them to be first in all endeavors. Aries seeks out control and leadership in most areas of their life. Aries is situated on the Zodiac ecliptic in the 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. They always want to take on leadership roles. This need to take the lead is fueled by their Fire Element, which “gives fire” to their competitive and ambitious nature. The 1st House represents self-awareness; therefore, Aries is very focused on the self and self progression. Aries is ruled the planet Mars which is named after the God of War. Some of the traits of this planet include courageousness, adventurousness, confidence, and fearlessness.
Aries can be motivated by how they think others are perceiving them. Their Cardinal Quality is prominent in their preference for leading initiatives rather than following along, and an Aries is hardly ever a follower and always a leader. The “Alphas” of the Zodiac, 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 might be in their way. Change is like catnip to an Aries because it provides a new challenge in which they can achieve success and prove their worth. In their relationships, Aries work toward being #1 in the lives of their partners and coworkers.
Quality: Cardinal – Cancer June 21-July 20)
Zodiac Symbol: The Crab
Planetary House: Fourth
Cancer is a Cardinal sign of the Water Element. Control and direct action over the home environment and family is Cancer’s strength. Cancer rules over the 4th House of the Zodiac, which represents the home, early childhood, 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, and holding on to the things that are important to you. Cancerians are not easy to get to know because they have an extremely emotional and sensitive nature and tend to protect themselves before they allow themselves to open up to others.
Cancer is ruled by the Moon, and due to this, Cancerians are described as being sensitive, deeply loving, creative, intuitive, and highly protective of themselves and their loved ones. The Cardinal Quality provides the intensity and motivation to accomplish their set goals, and their Water Element provides them with fluidity to move between self-preservation and empathy for others. Cancerians possess an intuitive and creative nature. Cancer’s orientation to an outer world is often balanced by their self-motivation to be the best partner and caretaker possible. This causes them to be extremely successful professionally, and also be wonderful providers and carers for their family.
Quality: Cardinal – Libra (September 23-October 22)
Zodiac Symbol: Scales
Planetary House: Seventh
Libra is a Cardinal sign of the Air Element. Air is all-encompassing, transparent, and free to blow in any direction. Similarly, Libra’s have free spirits with open minds, and they seek higher purposes that are not burdened by conventional rules and regulations. Libra is the Cardinal sign that seeks control over their relationships and other people. Out of the Cardinal signs, the Cardinal traits are not as noticeable in Libra as they can sometimes seem indecisive and unsure of what to do next. It takes them some time to contemplate what is the best course of action; however, when they do make up their mind, they are passionate about the choices they make. A Libra’s higher purpose is in their search for love and to be loved in their relationships. Libra is found in the 7th House, which represents marriage and partnerships. Creating partnerships to achieve significant results is the hallmark of Seventh House actions. Libra seeks intellectual pursuits and logical solutions to their problems. Their temperament is generally cool, calm, and collected unless your ruffle their feathers with unnecessary drama.
Libra is ruled by the planet Venus. They possess an inherent charm and facilitate this to get ahead on their projects. Their grace and beauty are what allows them to take the lead in their social circles, and they have a knack for knowing what other people need. They meet the needs, wants, and desires of other people, and through this, they can get others to help them. As they belong to the air element, they can identify strategies and ideas that other people aren’t aware of that can quickly get them ahead of the game.
Quality: Cardinal – Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
Zodiac Symbol: Mountain Goat
Planetary House; Tenth
Capricorn is the Cardinal Earth sign. 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 to achieve their goals, which results in a powerful combination. The Earth element provides persistence, focus, and caution when seeking great heights and success. Capricorn seeks to control their immediate environment, thus wanting to be the builders of the structures we know around us. They set the rules and regulations we need to follow.
Capricorn is ruled by the 10th House, which is positioned at one of the most critical points of the zodiac wheel, known as the Midheaven which represents professional success, fame, and life achievements. Consistent with their Cardinal Quality, Capricorn prefers to function from the highest possible levels, hence the Mountain Goat as its Zodiac symbol. Capricorns generally make for the best leaders as they know exactly which steps to take to ensure eventual success.
Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, named for the Roman God of Agriculture. Second best does not sit well with Capricorns, and they are incredibly competitive. 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 methodically choose a career in which they will be successful and reach the top. They do not embark on anything in which there is no promise of growth for them.