Hello beautiful people! Let’s create more Chart Harmony, shall we?
It’s time once again for us to break out our charts — create one at the FREE horoscopes (natal chart) area at Astro.com if you don’t already *always* keep one handy at this point — and go in on that little table labeled CFM across the top, FAEW down the left side.
So, if you look at my chart as a guide, that’s 9 characters in the C column, 2 in the F column, and 2 in the M column. (We talked about what the FAEW rows mean in a recent Woo-Woo Wednesday on the elements, of course.) Today, we’re talking about those CFM letters.
These are the modes (AKA the modalities or qualities): Cardinal, Fixed, and Mutable. (Those of you in my Aligned Advantage membership, you already know this from our recent deep-dive.) Cardinal signs include Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn. Fixed signs include Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius. Mutable signs include Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces.
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You know I always love to use loglines and storyfied examples to help simplify the woo for you. 😉 Ready for your romp through the modes? Here we go.
Cardinal-dominant folks are your leaders. (Hi. I’m Bonnie Gillespie. I have nine — count ’em, NINE — Cardinal signs running around in my chart. Could I have escaped a life of leadership? Nope. No freakin’ way.) Cardinals can come across as bossy among the wrong mix of people or as mobilizers of big movements when the right souls are aligned for the work. When Cardinals put themselves first — which is HARD for them to do with all these notes they have about everyone else’s choices, since they so easily see how everyone could have things easier if they’d just do things a certain way, right? — and stay healthy by allowing for downtime and first-class travel and best conditions for their best selves, they are fabulous execs because they see what needs to be done and they say so, delegating beautifully. But if there’s not the right mix of people who WANT their leadership or there’s not enough self-care around to help the Cardinal-dominant among us be our best selves, these are some really demanding mo’ fo’ know-it-alls.
Fixed-dominant folks are your upholders. Not afraid to get shit done, they’re gonna roll up their sleeves and do the damn thing. It’s not a problem; it’s a project. And once there’s a way you like things done, that’s the way it always is done. For life. It’s not boring; it’s stability at work. Loyal, dependable, patient, risk-averse, and able to stick with a goal through to the end (perhaps too long, in some cases), Fixeds can feel like they’re in a rut if they’re not careful to notice all the sameness going on. That “loyal to a fault” phrase exists for a reason… the Fixed folks sometimes need a reality check to realize they’ve held up their end of the deal long after the other party has left the building. When their self-care is ritualized, Fixed-sign people do very well at maintaining the slow-and-steady-wins-the-race pace that suits them just fine.
Mutable-dominant folks are your flow-ers. Not 💐 flowers; flow-ers. 😉 Not only do they do well with change, they crave it. They require it. They inspire it in others when they’re at their best. Adaptable, flexible, happy to oblige, but at times inconsistent in ways that challenge those around them, Mutables are great at helping others handle change by role modeling how okay it is to just go with the flow. On the other end of the spectrum, they’re not great with conflict (Because why stick around for a fight when you can just change direction and avoid it altogether?) but they are great with mediation. If their self-care isn’t on point, they can be a little doormat-like and they won’t even notice that’s what’s happening, since they’re made of something too fluid to feel the advantage others may be taking.
Now. If you’re like me, you IMMEDIATELY went looking for where these groupings make, like, zero sense, right?
My eyes go to the grandma of the signs (Cancer) being a Cardinal one. Welp, my very own grandmother was a true Rosie the Riveter, working on a factory line and helping with labor unionization after the war because she wasn’t done changing the world after the need for bucking rivets in the wings of a B-29 Superfortress was over. Many other women went back home after WWII. A Cardinal sign? No. Too much leadership to lean into, homebody sign or not.
Next, I look at that most adaptable Air sign (Aquarius) being a Fixed one. Welp, when I think of the most shape-shifty, fun-loving, everything-is-always-different, detached Aquarius friends, I know one of the reasons they bring SO MUCH flexibility to the party is specifically because they require the world around them to be incredibly consistent. It is BECAUSE of all the Fixed space around them that they are able to teach us how to have fun coloring erratically… within the lines.
And of course, I think about that most structured and detail-oriented of the signs (Virgo) being a Mutable one. Huh? How is it possible that a Virgo is Mutable? Almost the flip to the Aquarius example above, the Virgo absolutely adores order and pragmatism… because when everything is as it should be, they feel so good going with the flow. These are surprisingly spontaneous creatures… but according to schedule.
Now that we’ve addressed those “how does this fit?” examples, let’s examine how these modalities make PERFECT sense.
Of course Capricorn is Cardinal. People with strong Capricorn in their charts — especially in those big personality-placements of sun, rising (AC), and moon — could not escape leadership if they tried. When everyone looks around the room to see who’s going to take roll when the teacher is late for some reason, their eyes all land on the Capricorn, even before she has looked up from her paper to notice she’s been chosen.
Of course Taurus is Fixed. People with strong Taurus placements are going to always get the work done. While this is true of Earth signs in general, the Taurus is the most dependable when it comes to seeing things all the way through… I mean, ALL the way through. And that ability to plow the field, no matter the weather, is what makes sure everyone has a harvest to benefit from.
Of course Pisces is Mutable. People with strong Pisces placements will never surprise you with how surprising they can be. Because they go with their gut 99.9% of the time, it’s challenging to know what they’ll do next — not because it doesn’t make sense, but because most others cannot see the evidence that what they’re going to do is the next right move. But of course it is. It just feels right.
See if you can start to notice what of your core personality signs (again, that’s your Sun for the structure/ego; Rising for the interior/style; Moon for the emotional resonance/worldview) are more like your element (Fire, Earth, Air, Water) or more like your mode (Cardinal, Fixed, Mutable). Of course, you’re all of it — and so much more (and just like when we talked through the elements, we’re at first going on quantity of placements, not quality, but as always the interior placements have greater “pull” on how we’re perceived by others in the world), but just to get started with this, notice what is true for you.
I’m Cancer sun (Water/Cardinal), Libra rising (Air/Cardinal), and Libra moon (Air/Cardinal). So… while I am definitely a Water sign with LOTS of Air (that’s the dreaminess of Water and the chatter, quick brain, never-shuts-off-ness of Air), I’m so completely Cardinal in personality that the qualities Cancer and Libra share are way more visible than where those signs are different. But Cancers are “make you think it was your idea” Cardinals… and Libras are “charm you ’til you can’t wait to do the work” Cardinals. So my leadership is not like what you’d get from a more overtly bossy Aries or a more driven Capricorn.
Now you! Share in the comments below what you’ve learned now that I’ve walked you through the modes! 🙂 And of course, we can chat about this more deeply during this month’s Zoom and beyond for those of you in Aligned Advantage.
Ooh, this is so much fun! Are you loving it?
So much leaderly love! XO
Enoughness is an inside job… and sometimes you need a guide to find your way there. Let Bonnie Gillespie get you started.
I just found out through your wonderful and great experiment that I am also a Cancer Sun (Water/Cardinal) with the rising sign of Aquarius (Air/Fixed) and a Sagittarius Moon (Fire/Mutable). Its quite funny as to how that is and yet, Im not that terrible!
🙂 Not at all terrible! 🙂
“Of course Pisces is Mutable. …… but because most others cannot see the evidence that what they’re going to do is the next right move.” I feel like I experience this all the time!
I’ve just found out i’m a 100 mutable LOL sun Sag, rising and moon Pisces. Thank u for the info!!
Awesome! I’ve been leaning into Mutability more and more lately (trying to be flexible and free-flowing). 🙂
I am Sagittarius sun, Aries moon, and Leo rising. What does that mean? Is it a perfect balance?
Ooh, fun! From a Modality perspective, yes, your “big 3” has all three Modalities, and that’s a great balance. But from an Element perspective, you’re ALL FIRE!! Check out my free vid series — What Your Birthday Says About You — here: https://bonniegillespie.com/free-astro — to see if there’s more balance in the Elements of the other signs/planets in your chart.
I am an Aries sun, a Gemini moon, and a Libra rising…?
Yay! So two Cardinal signs and one Mutable. 🙂
I’m a Sag Sun Aqua moon & cap rising. Loved learning from this thank you!
Oh, I’m so glad! Yay! Hope you checked out my free series, “What Your Birthday Says About You” and enjoyed that too! 🙂
I’m a Gemini Sun, Capricorn Rising and Gemini Moon…Very new to this, so still learning. But many, “oh, yeah, that totally makes sense” moments.
I can’t believe I haven’t thought more about this before. I have a splash pattern like you with everything except the outermost planets in Cancer, Leo, Virgo, and Libra. These are ruling the 4th through 7th houses in my chart (all natural rulers) though. I have a fixed sun (Leo) mutable moon (Virgo) and cardinal rising (Aries). I guess that means my modes cancel out? Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter are in cardinal Cancer and Libra, though… a fiery cardinal sort, I guess : )
Thanks for explaining it so digestibly! Do you compare/contrast different house systems anywhere in your content?
So, it looks like you’ve got a very well-balanced Life-Car, as far as Modalities go with the Big 3 on a roadtrip go, right? Definitely lots of Fire! And for sure, once we stir in planets beyond the Big 3, you’ve got a good Cardinal load there.
What that means for me is that it’s very clear when something *else* is “driving” for you. Because your default mode, let’s say, is to lead. To problem-solve. To assess what’s up and then get in there and make things better (especially with that Virgo Moon trying to heal every damn body).
Whenever you feel LESS like a leader — for example, when you feel like throwing up your hands and saying, “It is what it is!” — that’s your Fixed Sun taking over. Also probably igniting your ego a bit at that time, being Leo and all. 😉
I’m glad this overview has already given you some a-ha moments!
I’ve not done an outright overview of the various house systems, though I’ll often talk about how I see the various ones I have experience with in my webinars (because the topic does come up). Maybe that’s a good topic for an upcoming blog post or webinar (or both). Thanks for the suggestion!