1. Astrology

Cardinal Signs: The 4 Zodiacs, Their Meaning and Personality

Cardinal Signs: Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn

You might think of your fluid Cancer friends and fiery Aries acquaintances as polar opposites, but they share a defining quality: their modality

Response to change is one metric of human behavior, and you probably recognize the three modalities in your relationships. Fixed signs resist change, mutable signs go with the flow, and the following cardinal signs lead the charge:

What Is a Cardinal Sign?

The word “cardinal” describes something fundamental, as in the cardinal directions north, east, south, and west. Cardinal signs aren’t more important than the others, but we all benefit from their transformative leadership.

You might notice that a different element governs each cardinal sign. The particular blend of element and modality provides a unique approach. For instance, cardinal fire sign Aries initiates change with obvious passion, whereas cardinal air sign Libra values diplomacy.

Personality Traits

Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn, which form the cardinal quadruplicity, are likely to be torchbearers. Though their active, ambitious personalities sometimes strike others as pushy, communities depend on cardinal signs to inspire them toward progress.

If your birth chart’s big three (Sun sign, Moon sign, or Rising sign) contains one of these motivated signs of the zodiac, the feeling of being lit up with enthusiasm for your vision is probably familiar. The key is learning to apply this energy to efforts that you value. 


Considered the first sign and initiator of the entire zodiac, Aries is the spark from which all other action follows. They usher in a new season (the spring equinox) and a new beginning. Direct and bold, Aries people aren’t afraid to do what they deem necessary in the moment.

The warrior planet Mars grants go-getter Aries the willingness to fight for its beliefs, and the Emperor Tarot card provides insight into what this sign tends to prize: strength and self-determination.

The Aries passion can sometimes lead to an aggressive approach when the situation doesn’t warrant it. If you love an Aries, understand that they are doers who must channel their energy into a mission that matters to them.


Cancer people cherish their intimate relationships and feel protective of these bonds, which they consider sacred. This principle appears in the Cancer personality as loyalty, empathy, and sentimentality.

Ruled by the Moon, Cancers possess intuition that helps them make decisions with high emotional awareness. The Chariot Tarot card represents the satisfaction that Cancers experience when pursuing ambitions in alignment with their relational values.

Some stereotypes suggest that Cancers either retreat into their shells or act needy when challenged. Ultimately, these behaviors reflect cardinal water sign Cancer’s willingness to address threats to intimacy and compatibility by establishing better boundaries and encouraging communication. 


Libras appreciate equilibrium and make adjustments that favor balance. In the Libra mind, no perspective or desire is given more weight than it deserves, and there’s an appropriate time and place for every act.

This belief that beauty is a natural result of harmony comes from its ruling planet Venus. And the Tarot card Justice represents Libra’s recognition that a harmonious social order flows from systems of accountability.

Because this zodiac sign isn’t always forward with emotions, Libra can seem overly calculating at times. But trust that the best expression of Libra energy sometimes requires withholding emotions to make room for other people’s truths.


If resourceful earth sign Capricorn can see the use in something, this sign finds a way to build it. These people waste little time bemoaning their problems; instead, they use what’s available to create functional solutions.

Capricorn gets its sense of responsibility from Saturn, which also drives this sign to derive practical lessons from life. Because of Capricorn’s gift for handling material concerns, it’s also associated with the Tarot’s Devil.

As the Devil card implies, Capricorns may avoid necessary risks when they become too attached to something. However, their standards of tradition and security are also essential pillars of community, connection, and enduring love.