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C is for Cardinal

Updated: Jan 26, 2022

Continuing with my weekly "Astrology A -Z" public posts, this week is the letter C.

C is for Cardinal

All 12 signs of the zodiac are divided up into different sign types, by element and quality. The Qualities (also known as Quadruplicities) are Cardinal, Fixed, and Mutable. When the wheel is divided into four segments (quarters); each quarter represents a season of the year. The Cardinal signs mark the beginning of each season.

Aries - Cardinal Fire - beginning of Spring (Fall in Southern hemisphere) Cancer - Cardinal Water - beginning of Summer (Winter in Southern hemisphere) Libra - Cardinal Air - beginning of Fall (Spring in Southern hemisphere) Capricorn - Cardinal Earth - beginning of Winter (Summer in Southern hemisphere)

You'll notice there is one Cardinal sign for each of the four elements (Fire, water, air, earth)

Signifying the beginning of each season, the Cardinal signs carry the energy of being leaders and initiators. Each of these signs are influencers with strong leadership qualities - they are passionate, competitive, determined and visionary; often with bold ideas and unique fierceness. These signs tend to be proactive, leaning into each challenge they face and pushing for the next new experience or period of growth. Despite all being leaders - each Cardinal sign does so in it's own way, combining the Cardinal energy with the Element of that sign. Aries leads with action, taking a direct approach. Cancer leads with feeling, guided by sentiment and intuition. Libra leads with vision, weighing the pros and cons of each situation. And Capricorn leads with strategy, holding high standards for structured progress.

If a person has planets in the Cardinal Signs in their birth chart, those planets will express their energy strongly and naturally "lead" the other planets in the birth chart.

Cardinal Squares & Oppositions Square Aspects occur when two planets are 90° away from each other. If the wheel (360° ) is divided into four quadrants, each quadrant has 90° in it, so the Cardinal signs all form either Squares or Oppositions to each other. (Oppositions are aspects of planets that are 180° apart - opposite sides of the wheel)

Squares are traditionally seen as "hard" or challenging aspects - the planets involved have some kind of tension or friction between them that creates discomfort. However, this discomfort is what urges us to take action to make change or improve our life situations. Squares have a natural expression of a very Saturn-like energy, as well as Uranus - they cause us to notice our boundaries and restrictions and then we decide whether to push back or find compromise.

When it comes to the Cardinal Sign Squares - it is a feeling like there are too many leaders fighting for control of the situation. While an Aries planet may be pushing to lead with Fire (direct action), a Capricorn planet is pushing to lead with Earth (stability and slow progress) The individual with Cardinal Squaring planets in their birth chart will need to learn to balance these inner conflicting drives - knowing when to apply fire or earth, or when to compromise. Cardinal Squares teach us about boundaries, limitations, and rules; and then when to step forward as leaders to either enforce boundaries or break free from them.

Opposition aspects can be challenging as well - but they also bring an opportunity for balance and integration. The Cardinal Oppositions are the axis of Aries/Libra or Cancer/Capricorn. The Aries/Libra axis pushes for balance of Cardinal energy of Fire and Air - and the integration of leading for the Self vs leading for Others. The Cancer/Capricorn axis pushes for balance of Cardinal Water and Earth - and the integration of leading for Inner Comfort vs leading for Outer Success.

Angular Houses

Cardinal energy can also be found in the Angular Houses - houses 1, 4, 7, and 10. These are the houses naturally ruled by the Cardinal Signs, beginning at the important angular points of the chart. The 1st house begins at the Ascendant (Ac), the 4th House begins at the Imum Coeli (the IC). The 7th House begins at the Descendant (Dc), and the 10th House begins at the MidHeaven (Mc). These houses are considered the "strongest" houses; carrying a forceful and ardent energy and having a very strong influence on the natal chart. These houses are the "influencers" and "leading houses" of the birth chart - even if they do not hold Cardinal signs they will have a natural Cardinal influence on whatever sign they hold.

Personal Chart Exploration:

How many planets do you have in Cardinal signs in your Natal Chart? What about the Angular Houses? Do you have Cardinal Squares or Oppositions? What about Angular House squares or oppositions?

As of 9/22/2020 we are about to begin Libra Season; and the lunar cycle will bring us significant phases of the moon occurring in Cardinal signs, so there will be an emphasis on Cardinal energies through this next month.


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