Considering the signs

After mulling over the large patterns of hemispheric division and overall design in your chart, you're ready to assess the signs and planets according to element and mode. Begin by counting the planets in each element (fire, earth, air, and water) and in each mode (cardinal, fixed, and mutable). Table 14-1 shows you which is which. If you know the time of your birth, include your Ascendant and Midheaven for a total of 12 distinct components.

Table 14-1 Elements and Modes















Mutable Sagittarius Virgo Gemini Pisces

Mutable Sagittarius Virgo Gemini Pisces

Most people are more or less balanced, with two to four planets in each element. If you have five or more planets in signs of one element (or quality), the traits associated with that element or quality are emphasized. Check out Table 14-2 for explanations of what such an abundance may mean for you.

Table 14-2 Emphasis by Element

With a Preponderance

You Are...

of Planets in...

Fire signs

Active, adventurous, spirited, assertive, a natural


Earth signs

Practical, sensual, stable, prudent, hard-working,


Air signs

Communicative, intellectual, sociable, fueled by ideas

and conversation

Water signs Sensitive, impassioned, impressionable, compassion ate, and insightful

When classifying the components of a chart, keep in mind that the Sun, Moon, and Ascendant are more influential than the other placements and therefore deserve extra weight. Some astrologers even count them twice, just to make sure they get their due.

The modes (or qualities) work the same way as the elements. Most people have a rough balance. But if you have a pileup of planets in one particular mode, those traits are emphasized. Table 14-3 tells you more.

Table 14-3

Emphasis by Mode

With a Preponderance

You Are...

of Planets in...

Cardinal signs

Action-oriented, brave, willing to take the initiative

Fixed signs

Unyielding, determined, focused, opposed to change

Mutable signs

Flexible, adaptable, and open to change

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