The Modalities, or Modes, are also know as the qualities of the Zodical Signs. Like personalities, the Modes describe how each of the three signs in the four elements acts differently.
All Earth signs are not the same and the Modes explain why. Virgo is Mutable making it the most flexible of the Earth signs. Capricorn is Cardinal making it the most initiating & explains why it climbs the corporate ladder when Taurus, the Fixed Earth sign prefers to sit in a pasture and enjoy the bounty of spring.
Modes are not always taught in Astrology classes but they offer such a rich layer of understanding to each of the signs and learning them can make your astrological language deeper.
The Three Modes
There are three Modalities or Qualities in Astrology. Cardinal, Fixed, and Mutable. These are attached to each of the Four Elements dividing them into a subgroup by Square Aspects. This means that all the signs that share the same Mode have a tense relationship that offers up opportunities for change, growth & removal.
Cardinal is the initiator energy. It's called to be active, entrepreneurial, creative, and managerial. Cardinal energy is bossy, ambitchous, CEO energy. It's the Mode of leaders, parents, power structures, and also dominance, oppression & aggression. The Cardinal signs are Aries, Cancer, Libra & Capricorn.
Fixed is the sustainer energy. It's called to be steady, solid, containing, and it maintains. Fixed energy is stubborn, habitual, administrative energy. It's the Mode of the laborers, sustainability, resources, and also of overconsumption, lack mindsets & hoarding. The Fixed signs are Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, & Aquarius.
Mutable is the movable energy. It's called to be flexible, curious, inventive and mysterious. Mutable energy is distracted, imaginative, research department energy. It's the Mode of inventors, intellectuals, philosophers, dreamers and also of substance abuse, disillusionment, & confusion. The Mutable signs are Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, & Pisces.
How and Why are the Modes Important
The ecosystem requires these three Modes for a sustainable system. Consider how these three qualities show up in nature. The Cardinal Mode is the fight to survive, the call to build structures & systems, and the drive to manage those systems in a sustained way BUT Cardinal cannot actually sustain what it builds because it will always be seeking new projects or trying to increase production. In comes the Fixed Mode to contain the system and make sure it has all the resources and materials it needs to grind away.
The Fixed Mode is steady and it enjoys consistency and reliability. This leads to a stubbornness and stuckness. It leads to a strong resistance to change. Fixed energy can also become obsessed with having enough causing it to hoard or over consume. This is why we need the Mutable energy to come along and shake things up with new ideas and inevitably with death or endings.
Mutable energy is great with looking at the current systems to make sure they are efficient and fair to all the participants. The Mutable Mode demands freedom and room for growth but it also seeks the truth about the holistic health of the systems and it will disrupt a system that is unfair or unsafe for all. Mutable reminds us of the value of ShadowWeRK to make room for new, innovative ideas.
WeRKing with Modes
Take a minute to look at where you have these signs in your chart. Look at your loved ones chart and then your famous person. Notice the houses where they have have these placements. To start it's very helpful to notice what Mode they have in the First House (or Rising Sign) in their chart. This will tell you a lot about their personality. Take a minute to make a list of the ways each person embodies the energy of that Mode; because the First House is our actual bodies and how others see is understanding the Mode of a person's Rising Sign is so informative to their personality. It can also validate why they are always starting new projects but never finishing them, why the get stuck in ruts often or why they struggle to be productive.
Project: Modes in the Chart
As we did with the Elements, take time to redraw each of your three charts with the Mode energy in each house. This can be represented with the symbols for each of the Modes. Even though we haven't studied the houses yet you can see how the energy flows differently in each chart (assuming they all have different Rising Signs, lol) If not you may want to select some charts that are a bit different for your projects.
Where are these Modes in your study charts? Do your charts have a lot of planets in Mode? Are they lacking planets in another Mode? Make note of what modal traits these people have and as you begin to understand more about the Signs, Houses & Planets you'll see why their placements are different from the placements of others. For example, having the Sun in a Cardinal Earth Sign is different from a Fixed Earth Sign. They are both Earth Suns but the energy is so different.
Here are some more blank chart sheets if you want to print them out. You can also draw the charts in your journals or on separate sheets of paper.