In astrology, a modality refers to a classification system that categorizes the 12 sun signs into three different groups based on their approach to change and how they initiate action. What does this mean, you ask?
The layman’s term: Modalities help shape someone’s personality and provide insight into how different signs may interact in relationships and how they navigate conflict, emotional intimacy, and growth. The three modalities are cardinal, fixed, and mutable, and each one–and their respective sun signs–have a different approach to love, communication, and growth as it refers to a relationship.
Cardinal signs–Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn–are the initiators of the zodiac. They are associated with leadership, assertiveness, and taking action.
Cardinal signs are the know-it-alls, the ones you envied for always being brave enough to raise their hand in middle school. They’re known for their ability to start new projects, take risks, and make things happen, but because they can overthink things, they may struggle with following through on long-term projects.
Cardinal signs are associated with initiative, leadership, and assertiveness. They’re known for their ability to take charge and get things done. They are confident, ambitious, and decisive but are also known for their impatience. Don’t be surprised if a Cardinal sign becomes frustrated when progress is slow. Cardinal signs are often the initiators of change and are comfortable taking risks to achieve their goals, but they can struggle in situations where they feel constrained or like they’ve lost control.
In relationships, cardinal signs may be quick to take charge and initiate communication. Because they’re associated with directness, assertiveness, and leadership, Cardinal signs often won’t let disagreements simmer. You’ll know a cardinal sign by how direct they are about their needs and desires. They’re confident in their ability to pursue their goals, including how they solve problems in a partnership. However, cardinal signs may also be impulsive or impatient and struggle to listen to their partner’s perspective. They may be prone to jumping to conclusions or making assumptions and may need to work on developing their active listening skills, which sometimes make a small fight into something bigger.
Approach to Change and Growth
In relationships, cardinal signs may be quick to take action when they see the need for change or growth. They may be confident in their ability to lead the relationship and take control of the situation, but their impulsiveness may push their partner to change before they are ready. As a cardinal sign, you can work on developing your empathy and listening skills. Just because you feel right doesn’t mean it’s worth jeopardizing your partner’s perspective.
Because cardinal signs are natural leaders, they’re often comfortable taking charge and asserting their authority. When they decide something, in their mind, it’s done. They’ll take action and expect their partner to follow their lead. It’s a careful balance of suggesting ideas and fun things to do versus appearing controlling. By working on their empathy, cardinal signs can understand when to dial it back a notch to make sure their partner still has a say. If you take charge too much, you’ll scare your partner off.
Fixed signs–Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius–are the stabilizers of the zodiac. They’re persistent, loyal, and reliable and enjoy consistency and stability but may struggle with handling change.
Fixed signs are associated with stability, determination, and persistence. They’re the predictable friend, the one who prefers planning things five weeks in advance, who is either good with money or consistent in how they spend it. You know how a fixed sign will respond to things. They’re fond of loyalty and commitment but are strong-willed and unyielding in their beliefs. Their resistance to change makes them stubborn and set in their ways.
Fixed signs are often highly committed to maintaining the relationship once it’s established, yet they’re less likely to initiate communication when things get rough. They may be patient and willing to work through conflicts but may also be stubborn in considering the other person’s perspective. Fixed signs don’t like to appear weak and are happiest when things have things under control. They may need to work on developing their emotional intelligence and communication skills by understanding that perfection doesn’t exist and that the clearer your communication, the happier your relationship will be.
Approach to Change and Growth
In relationships, fixed signs are less likely to initiate change or growth. Consistency and stability are essential to them, and change is often overwhelming. They’re patient, however, and because they’re committed to love, they’ll work through challenges and conflicts the best they know how. Fixed signs can work on developing their ability to adapt to changing circumstances and take risks to improve their relationship.
Fixed signs are less likely to assert their authority with their voice, but because they value consistency and predictability, they’ll show it through action. They do best with stability and partners who give them what they expect. Fixed signs may struggle to give up control or to trust their partner to take charge and may need to work on developing their ability to compromise and to be open to new experiences. In other words, chill out a bit, friends.
Mutable signs–Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces–are flexible, creative, and adaptable and easily adjust to changing circumstances and enjoy finding solutions to problems. Still, because they can go with the flow too much, they can also be indecisive when making big decisions.
Mutable signs crave change, and while they may prefer stability in some aspects of their life, they like doing different things every day. They’re spontaneous and seek new experiences. They’re the friend who makes plans with you at the last minute, who books a ticket across the country on a whim, and who comes off like a bit of a wild child. Mutable signs easily adjust to changing circumstances and enjoy the unexpected. They’re versatile yet struggle with committing to a course of action. Mutable signs are often associated with creativity and may be comfortable exploring different options and experimenting with new ideas. They don’t like their freedom being restricted but can sometimes become overwhelmed when there are too many options available.
Mutable signs are comfortable adjusting their communication style to meet their partner’s needs. They may be skilled at finding compromise and are open to exploring new ways of communicating. They can have people-pleasing tendencies and need to learn how to speak for themself and not for their partner’s needs. They’re prone to indecisiveness or changing their mind frequently, which can create issues when their uncertainty leads to confusion or misunderstandings in the relationship.
Approach to Change and Growth
Mutable signs are comfortable with change and growth and crave surprises and new understandings. They’re skilled at adjusting their approach to meet their partner’s needs. Because they’re creative, they’re innovative in finding solutions to relationship challenges but may struggle with committing to a particular course of action. Mutable signs may need to work on developing their ability to make decisions and follow through on their plans.
Mutable signs are comfortable adjusting to change and, for this reason, prefer relationships where the power dynamics fluctuate. They’re skilled at finding compromise, but they still enjoy having a say in things and are open to exploring new ways of sharing control and influence. However, because they struggle with making decisions, they need a partner who will take the leap and pick a direction when they’re unsure where to go.
Compatibility Between Modalities
A relationship between a cardinal and a fixed sign offers a natural balance between initiative and stability. Cardinal signs can take the lead and start the action, while fixed signs can provide support and stability to help see projects through to completion. This balance can create a sound foundation for the relationship and help both partners feel fulfilled and appreciated.
Cardinal signs are most compatible with fixed signs and least compatible with mutable signs.
The cardinal signs–Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn–are known for their initiative, leadership, and ability to take action. They’re often attracted to partners who can provide stability, consistency, and reliability in their relationship.
Fixed signs–Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius–can offer the persistence and loyalty cardinal signs crave while complementing the cardinal sign’s assertiveness and leadership.
The compatibility between cardinal signs and mutable signs–Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces–is more complex. Mutable signs are known for their adaptability, which complements the cardinal sign’s desire for leadership. However, mutable signs can also be prone to indecision, inconsistency, and a lack of follow-through, which can clash with the assertiveness and decisiveness of cardinal signs.
Cardinal signs are generally good with other Cardinal signs as they share a drive for success. They both prefer action and can motivate each other to pursue their goals. They may have a power struggle and have difficulty compromising, but as long as they don’t try too hard to be the winner or compete in their relationship, there is potential for success.
Fixed signs are most compatible with mutable signs, while their compatibility with other fixed signs or cardinal signs can be more complex.
Fixed signs–Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius–are known for their stability and resistance to change. They prefer to maintain consistency in their lives. Mutable signs–Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces–can go with the flow of a fixed sign’s desire for predictability more so than other signs.
In this matchup, there’s usually a natural balance between consistency and adaptability. Fixed signs provide reliability to mutable signs, while mutable signs can bring fresh perspectives and teach fixed signs how to adapt to changing circumstances. Both partners in this pairing will feel supported, appreciated, and heard.
In a relationship between two fixed signs, there can be a tendency towards stubbornness and a lack of flexibility, which can create conflicts or stalemates in the relationship.
Similarly, in a relationship between a fixed sign and a cardinal sign, there can be a struggle for control and a clash of leadership styles. It’s still possible to make these matchups work, but an extra level of understanding, effort, and compromise will be necessary to make it work.
Mutable signs, the most chill sign, are most compatible with other mutable signs for that very reason. They crave spontaneity and change, and signs which offer that same perspective are best suited for the mutable’s relaxed attitude. A bond with cardinal signs can also work, and while fixed signs have potential, they can pose more challenges.
Mutable signs–Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces–are often attracted to partners who can provide new perspectives and fresh ideas and adapt to changing circumstances, which is why dating other mutable signs is often the easiest choice for them.
In a relationship between two mutable signs, there can be a natural balance of flexibility and creativity. Both partners can bring fresh perspectives and ideas and can quickly adapt to changing circumstances. However, mutable signs of inclination towards indecisiveness can lead to a lack of follow-through, which can create conflicts or misunderstandings.
This is where a cardinal sign can help. They’ll make the final decision the mutable signs often can’t. However, cardinal signs–Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn–have a strong desire for control in their relationships which can be difficult for mutable signs who value flexibility.
The compatibility between mutable signs and fixed signs can be more complex. Fixed signs–Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius–are known for their stability and persistence. Because mutable signs are resistant to rigid plans and structures, the constricted nature of fixed signs can impede the mutable’s desire for spontaneity.
Keep in Mind
It’s important to remember that each modality has four different astrological signs with their own different perspectives, and you may want to consider the compatibility between specific astrological signs to get a well-rounded view of how you and a prospective partner may connect or clash.