Elements and Qualities

Astrologers divide the Zodiac signs into groupings that link signs together by specific characteristics, which makes it easier to learn the signs.

The four elements associated with the signs of the Zodiac break the signs down into the basic groupings of Fire, Earth, Air and Water. The natural world fits into these four classifications, whose basic characteristics -- the heat of fire, the stability of earth, the changeability of air and the fluidity of water -- can be applied to human nature.

People with a lot of Fire in their charts (meaning, several planets in the Fire Signs of Aries, Leo or Sagittarius) tend to be hotheaded and warmhearted, for example, while people with lots of Earth such as Taurus, Virgo or Capricorn are usually practical and down-to-earth.

The Air Signs of Gemini, Libra or Aquarius are cerebral and expressive while the Water Signs of Cancer, Scorpio or Pisces are emotional, intuitive and sometimes hard to fathom.

Besides the four elements, there are three qualities that influence the signs -- Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable. These qualities speak to a person’s general attitude and the way they tackle a project.

The Cardinal Signs are Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. These folks are self-starters who naturally gravitate toward leadership roles, as they have the drive and initiative needed to get a project off the ground. But they can lack follow-through, and that’s where

Fixed Signs of Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius come in. These people have the persistence and determination to see a project through to the end, but they can be rather stubborn and resistant to deviation from the plan.

Mutable Signs Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces on the other hand, are happy to be flexible. Though they can be wishy-washy as a result, they’re the adapters of the Zodiac, the people who can follow a Cardinal Sign’s lead and throw in their weight behind a hardworking Fixed Sign.