Essentials of Vedic Astrology Module 1: Static Horoscope
Lesson 2A: Qualities of the Signs

Qualities of the Signs

Each sign relates to one of the three major qualities, called in Western astrology "Cardinal," "Fixed," and "Mutable." In Sanskrit they are called Chara, "active," Sthira, firm or "immovable" and Dwiswabhava, dual or "both natured". These qualities relate to the manner whereby the individual directs his or her energy in life and is often reflected in the nature of the character. These qualities are much like positive (Cardinal), neutral (Fixed), and negative (Mutable) electrical charges. No quality is necessarily better or worse than the others. However, each has its energetic pattern and its characteristic imbalances that an individual dominated by it must master.

Cardinal Types
Cardinal signs show the positive, active, dynamic, initial, or guiding phase of their respective element. Cardinal quality corresponds generally to the quality of Rajas: It is the principle of movement, gives impulse, direction, and expression; but may cause disturbance, agitation, and too forceful or too frequent action. Cardinal types (those individuals who have planets predominately in Cardinal signs) are people of action. They are positive, expressive, outgoing, and have a high sense of achievement and accomplishment. They are willful, aggressive, impulsive, dynamic, and often become successful as leaders. Most high achievers or executive types are of this quality. While they can accomplish a great deal and often get what they want, they may be lacking in sensitivity or unable to reflect upon them- selves or their goals properly. They may impose themselves on others or harm others along the way, or at least may not be sensitive to the feelings of others. They can overextend themselves or bum themselves out through excess activity, movement and stimulation. As souls they may be beginning a new phase of manifestation. Modern culture likes this type. They have self-confidence, seek advancement, and direct their energy towards their goals in a powerful way. Many of our leaders, bosses and entertainers are of this type. Cardinal types need to cultivate more sensitivity, flexibility, patience, and introversion and develop more consistency and stability. They need to make sure that what they are directing their energy towards reflects their deepest will and aspiration so as not to get caught in action for its own sake. If they can do this, their capacity for inner development in life can also be very high.

Fixed Types
Fixed signs show static, stable, neutral, formal, or enduring phase of their respective element. Fixed quality corresponds generally to Tamas: It is the condition of form or substance; gives continuity and consistency; but may cause inertia, resistance and stagnation. Fixed types are firm, stable, and determined in who they are and what they do. They like to continue, preserve, and uphold things. They are quite settled in themselves and often unwilling to modify their opinions or to question themselves. Their characters are firm, hard, and unyielding. They are consistent, have strong faith, and do not waver in their beliefs. They can be like a rock, which is not moved by things. They can be obstinate, fixated, and incapable of accepting or even acknowledging any other point of view than their own. They may be conservative or traditional or at least may not see the possibility of another way of doing things. They are often possessive and may accumulate much in life, finding it difficult to let go. When highly evolved, they are souls who hold to the truth and have great faith. When less evolved, they may be insensitive, attached, or resistant. They change slowly, but what they alter will endure. They can be emotional, sentimental or have a strong feeling nature. Sometimes they are thoughtful, but they go more deeply into the ideas they already have rather than develop new ones. As souls, they are usually maintaining a phase of manifestation. Fixed types need to develop more initiative and attempt more new things, particularly new ways of looking at things. At the same time, they need to be more sensitive, adaptable, and open. They must make certain that what they are holding on to is the truth and not just some pattern of negativity, emotionality, or selfishness.

Mutable Types
Mutable signs show the negative, transitional, unstable, undirected, or malleable phase of their respective element. Mutable quality corresponds generally to Sattva: It is the subtle, transformative, or refined state of the element which may, however, cause instability, hypersensitivity and disintegration. (It should be noted that some Vedic astrologers associate fixed quality with Sattva, as it is stable, and mutable quality with Tamas as it is disintegrating; but mutable signs are the best for developing the mind, which is of the quality of Sattva). Mutable types are flexible, adaptable, and capable of many things. They often have many talents, interests, curiosities, and skills. They are prone to be indecisive and may find it difficult to act. In addition, they may be inconsistent and unable to stick to things. They are often mental types who like to think, calculate, worry, or reflect, and they can become too introverted or overly preoccupied with themselves. They more commonly suffer from mental or nervous disorders, immune system derangements, and allergies. They are often agile on a physical level, particularly when young, but have poor endurance. They can be very talkative or communicative, though they may not have anything specific to say. By their ability to exchange things, they can become good businessmen, yet they may also get caught in their ideas and calculations about things. They may be successful as performers, as they can modify the character that they appear to be, but are apt to be unstable. When highly evolved, they are capable of great sensitivity and broad comprehension. When less evolved, they can be erratic, unreliable, and neurotic. As souls, they are usually completing a phase of manifestation. Mutable types need to have more initiative, daring, and willingness
to act. They need to set aside their thoughts and work through their actions.
They also need independence, firmness, consistency, and peace. Above
all, they need to direct their sensitivity in a more conscious direction so
that they are not so easily disturbed by things, so that they use their
sensitivity consciously as a tool rather than have it react against them

Qualities of the Planets
In judging the qualities of the individual in the chart, we must note the qualities of the planets themselves. Even if most of our planets are in Fixed signs, a strongly malefic Saturn may give much mutability to the nature or cause our patterns to be broken, no matter how strongly we try to make them endure. In terms of the three qualities, the Sun and Mars are more Cardinal or active, liking to lead and to dominate. The Moon and Venus are usually more Fixed or passive, preferring to yield or to endure, but an afflicted Moon becomes very Mutable. Mercury and Jupiter are more Mutable or adaptable, liking change and development. Saturn in itself tends to be Fixed, tied to inertia; but its effect on other planets is to weaken them or tender them Mutable. The lunar nodes, Rahu and Ketu, also function as disruptive or Mutable forces, unless well-placed, in which case they strengthen the qualities of the planets they are associated with and can give Cardinal strength. We should also note the qualities of the houses in which the planets are located. In addition, it is important to note the particular planets in the signs of each quality. A Mutable Sun, say in Gemini, will give mutability to the will and character, even if the majority of planets are not in Mutable signs. A Fixed Mars will give a fixed energy and purpose, even if there are no other planets in Fixed signs. Hence, even if there is a relative balance of the qualities, the qualities will still have their affect according to the planets which they rule.


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Essentials of Vedic Astrology - Lesson 2A Sign Qualities ©2006 Astrosalon p/l