Cardinal Signs

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Cardinal Signs

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

The 12 signs of the zodiac are subdivided according to three qualities: cardinal, mutable, and fixed. The four cardinal signs (the cardinal quadruplicity or cardinal cross) are Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn. The entrance of the Sun into each of these four signs begins a new season: Aries, spring; Cancer, summer; Libra, fall; and Capricorn, winter. The identifying trait of the cardinal signs is captured by their various alternative names: initiating, moving, or movable signs. Cardinal signs thus tend to initiate new activities and to act (to “move”) on the present situation. Negatively, they are said to lack staying power (a traditional characterization that applies most to Aries and not at all to Capricorn).

The same classification can be found in Vedic Astrology—Chara (“moveable” or cardinal), Dwi-Swabhava (“dual” or mutable), and Sthira (“fixed”). The three Vedic qualities, which are associated with the same signs as their Western parallels, have similar connotations.


Sakoian, Frances, and Louis S. Acker. The Astrologer’s Handbook. New York: Harper & Row, 1989.
Sutton, Komilla. The Essentials of Vedic Astrology. Bournemouth, UK: Wessex Astrologer, 1999.
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