Astrology & the Seasons Did you know that the Zodiac is the foundation of our current calendar? Many people don't realize that the first day of spring each year is determined by the exact time that the Sun moves into the tropical sign Aries. Triplicities by season. In ancient astrology, triplicities were more of a seasonal nature, so a season was given the qualities of an element, which means the signs associated with that season would be allocated to that element. The seasonal elements of ancient astrology are as follows.
Ok friends, are you ready to dive a little bit deeper into Astrology? You probably know there are 12 zodiac signs and four elements (Fire, Earth, Air and Water), but have you heard about zodiac sign 'qualities' or 'modalities?' Scientific astrology planets.
Every sign is influenced by one of three qualities: Cardinal, Fixed, or Mutable. Each of the qualities is defined by a point within each season: Cardinal signs begin a new season, Fixed signs carry the weight of the season, and Mutable signs conclude the season.
Take fall, for example. Fall Equinox falls on September 22, the same day the Sun enters Libra. Because Libra kicks off the fall season, that makes Libra a Cardinal sign. Scorpio takes over in the midst of fall, making it a Fixed sign. And the season concludes with the Sun in Sagittarius, making that a Mutable sign.
Get it? Astrology is all about nuance, so to truly understand a zodiac sign you must explore the quality each is associated with. So now that you understand how the qualities are structured, let's take a look at each of the three Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable qualities, what they mean and how they shape your personality.
There are four Cardinal signs: Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. Because these signs each start a new season, the quality of their energy is full of initiative. Cardinal signs are impulsive and dynamic, and they push strongly to start new things. In general, people with Cardinal signs in their birth charts generate more new ideas and projects, while those lacking Cardinal energy are more passive.
There are four Fixed signs: Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius. These signs carry the weight of each season, which gives them a sturdy quality. Fixed signs are capable of great endurance, and generally people with much Fixed energy in their birth charts are stable and focused, whereas those lacking Fixed energy may not have much sticktoitiveness or perseverance.
There are four Mutable signs: Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces. Because these signs fall at the conclusion of each season, their energy anticipates movement and change. People with Mutable signs in their birth charts tend to be more flexible and adaptable to the changing world around them, while those lacking Mutable energy may be stubborn and inflexible or have a difficult time adjusting to new situations.
When you're learning Astrology, you'll discover that every person has a mix of different zodiac signs, elements and qualities in their birth charts. Once you understand the energy of each quality and combine that information with what you know of each zodiac sign and element, a more complete picture will begin to develop.
For example, the Aries zodiac sign is the element of Fire and the quality is Cardinal. This 'Cardinal Fire' combination is very bold, so the more Aries energy a person has in their birth chart, the more brazen they will be. On the other hand, Taurus is an Earth sign with a Fixed quality, so it would be called 'Fixed Earth' and its overall energy is very slow and grounded.
Knowing how much of each quality you have in your birth chart is very important. These astrological nuances are what shape us as individuals, so going beyond your Sun sign is key when it comes to understanding Astrology.
Astrology has used the concept of classical elements from antiquity up until the present. In Western astrology and Sidereal astrology four elements are used: Fire, Earth, Air, and Water.
In Western tropical astrology, there are 12 astrological signs. Each of the four elements is associated with 3 signs of the Zodiac which are always located exactly 120 degrees away from each other along the ecliptic and said to be in trine with one another. Most modern astrologers use the four classical elements extensively, (also known as triplicities) and indeed it is still viewed as a critical part of interpreting the astrological chart.
Beginning with the first sign Aries which is a Fire sign, the next in line Taurus is Earth, then to Gemini which is Air, and finally to Cancer which is Water. This cycle continues on twice more and ends with the twelfth and final astrological sign, Pisces. The elemental rulerships for the twelve astrological signs of the zodiac (according to Marcus Manilius) are summarised as follows:
In traditional astrology, each triplicity has several planetary rulers, which change with conditions of sect – that is, whether the chart is a day chart or a night chart. Triplicity rulerships are an important essential dignity – one of the several factors used by traditional astrologers to weigh strength, effectiveness, and integrity of each planet in a chart.
Triplicity rulerships (using the 'Dorothean system') are as follows:
|Triplicity||Day Ruler||Night Ruler||Participating Ruler|
|Fire (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius)||Sun||Jupiter||Saturn|
|Earth (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn)||Saturn||Moon||Mars|
|Air (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius )||Saturn||Mercury||Jupiter|
|Water (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces)||Mars||Moon|
'Participating' rulers were not used by Ptolemy, as well as some subsequent astrologers in later traditions who followed his approach.
In ancient astrology, triplicities were more of a seasonal nature, so a season was given the qualities of an element, which means the signs associated with that season would be allocated to that element. The seasonal elements of ancient astrology are as follows:
Using the seasonal qualities accounts for the differences in expression between signs of the same element. All the fire signs are by their nature hot and dry. However, the addition of the elemental qualities of the seasons results in differences between the fire signs. Aries being a Spring sign is wet (hot & dry, hot & wet), Leo being the midsummer sign gets a double dose of hot and dry and is the pure fire sign, and Sagittarius being an Autumnal sign is colder (hot & dry, cold & dry).
In the Southern Hemisphere the seasonal cycle is reversed.
This yields secondary and tertiary elements for each sign.
|Sign||Element||Qualities||Season: North||Season: South|
|Aries||Fire||Hot & Dry||Hot & Wet (Spring/Air)||Cold & Dry (Autumn/Earth)|
|Taurus||Earth||Cold & Dry||Hot & Wet (Spring/Air)||Cold & Dry (Autumn/Earth)|
|Gemini||Air||Hot & Wet||Hot & Wet (Spring/Air)||Cold & Dry (Autumn/Earth)|
|Cancer||Water||Cold & Wet||Hot & Dry (Summer/Fire)||Cold & Wet (Winter/Water)|
|Leo||Fire||Hot & Dry||Hot & Dry (Summer/Fire)||Cold & Wet (Winter/Water)|
|Virgo||Earth||Cold & Dry||Hot & Dry (Summer/Fire)||Cold & Wet (Winter/Water)|
|Libra||Air||Hot & Wet||Cold & Dry (Autumn/Earth)||Hot & Wet (Spring/Air)|
|Scorpio||Water||Cold & Wet||Cold & Dry (Autumn/Earth)||Hot & Wet (Spring/Air)|
|Sagittarius||Fire||Hot & Dry||Cold & Dry (Autumn/Earth)||Hot & Wet (Spring/Air)|
|Capricorn||Earth||Cold & Dry||Cold & Wet (Winter/Water)||Hot & Dry (Summer/Fire)|
|Aquarius||Air||Hot & Wet||Cold & Wet (Winter/Water)||Hot & Dry (Summer/Fire)|
|Pisces||Water||Cold & Wet||Cold & Wet (Winter/Water)||Hot & Dry (Summer/Fire)|
These associations are not given any great importance in modern astrology, although they are prominent in modern Western ceremonial magic, reconstructionistneopagan systems such as neodruidism, and Wicca.
Sidereal (Vedic) astrology shares the same system as Western astrology of linking zodiac signs to elements.
In addition, in Vedic thought each of the five planets are linked to an element (with space as the fifth). It was said in the Veda that everything emanated from the one basic vibration of'Om' or 'Aum.' From 'Om' the five elemental vibrations emerged representing thefive different tattwas (or elements). The five planets represent thesefive vibrations – Jupiter for Space, Saturn for Air, Mars for Fire,Mercury for Earth, and Venus for Water.
In many traditional Chinese theory field, matters and its developmental movement stage can be classified into the Wu Xing. They are Wood ruler Jupiter, Green, East and Spring, Fire ruler Mars, Red, South and Summer, Earth ruler Saturn, Yellow, Center and Last Summer, Metal ruler Venus, White, West and Autumn and Water ruler Mercury, Black, North and Winter. Note that the Wu Xing are chiefly an ancient mnemonic device for systems with 5 stages, rather than the notion of different kinds of material.
aPtolemy later modified the rulerships of Water triplicity, making Mars the ruler of the water triplicity for both day and night charts—and William Lilly concurred.