The Cardinal Signs, of astrology, refer to Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn. These four all live life in the fast-lane. Energetic involvement in the external world is the hallmark of the Cardinal mode. Its energy supports taking direct action, with little hesitation or pre-planning (although moody Cancer may mull things over at times when feeling emotionally insecure). Here is the urge is to act swiftly, even assertively, whenever advantageous circumstances present themselves. Cardinal types won’t stall or beat around the bush when something needs to be done soon, or when urgent, critical issues need to be squarely resolved.
This vigorous mode is psychologically built to respond to situational challenges involving quick decisions and sudden changes, those that underscore the benefits of being conscious in the now and of living in the moment. This is especially so for the sign Aries. In fact, fiery Aries and earthy Capricorn the cardinal signs that seem most dynamically engaged in ambitious worldly activity are ready to grab opportunities as they come. They both share the urge to mow down obstacles, and would hate to lose ground in life by not being ready to take decisive action.
These two signs are the more obvious go-getters of the cardinal group, the ones willing to face most issues head-on. Cardinal energy can be confrontational, but cardinality doesn’t necessarily demand a noisy clash of opposing forces, lively, open negotiation is an option. This mode is up front and straightforward in its dealings, but it also expects fast results. However, frustrated cardinal types will stir up a little commotion, now and then, that results in a temporary crisis where somethings got to give.
Cardinal signs don’t do well with prolonged deliberations, whereby dilemmas are drawn out. They seek a quicker release of tensions. They’re also too impatient to cope with deadlocks or the foot-dragging tactics of others (eventhough airy Libra is good at stalling, usually when trying to buy a little time in order to come up with a better strategy for dealing with others). Folks with a cardinal emphasis in their charts are very enterprising. They are self-starters who want to get something new going without being detoured by the interference of others. This is an “Outta my way, here I come” mode that can show much initiative in getting personal plans off the ground.
Of course, their natural sense of push can be interpreted more as pushiness. Cardinal types can appear a little too driven, and anxious to put things into motion. They do need to slow down before jumping into half-baked projects. Wired for action doesn’t always mean being fully aware of the consequences that acting on impulse can sometimes bring about. Here again, it’s Aries’ the fiery aspect of cardinality, that has to watch out the most for not looking before leaping. However, even the remaining cardinal signs can get restless and antsy on those levels of awareness determined by their associated elements (watery Cancer can be emotionally impatient with people who won’t openly commit themselves to a closely-bonded relationship).
Even if cardinal signs are not all that productive and accomplished, they give the appearance of being in the thick of activity, of always being very busy and on the go. This is the mode known for hustling and bustling, where there are few quiet, still moments to enjoy before another phase of high activity begins. These signs seem vibrantly alive and driven to instigate situations in life rather than wait for things to happen naturally. They may at times jump the gun and act prematurely. Obviously, troublemakers who agitate others by being aggressive may have their share of cardinal signs, but so do the movers and shakers of the world who help society get a lot of vital social projects up and running.
The Cardinal mode comes in four flavors (The 4 Elements), which explains why its four signs may not seem alike on the surface.
Aries is Cardinal/Fire. There is a lot about cardinal energy that reinforces what fire symbolizes temperamentally. Indeed, all cardinal signs act like they’ve got their internal pilot lights on all the time and are always warmed up for action. Aries has the added advantage of fire’s natural spontaneity and its courage to take chances in life. Immediate action taken is typically backed by much self-will.
Aries won’t weigh all sides of a situation and thereby waste time or risk becoming indecisive in the process. This sign instead sizes things up quickly and then jumps into action, for better or worse. It does not scatter its energy, but single-mindedly aims its undivided attention toward one challenge at a time. Cardinal fire symbolizes a highly driven, motivated nature ever on the go that wants to move forward to pioneer new territory. This is cardinality in its hottest, most overt expression, burning with an eagerness to be in charge of here-and-now operations, with an expectation of always coming out on top of things and ahead of the game.
Cancer is Cardinal/Water. ]ust because Aries and Cancer are members of the same club (two cardinal signs) doesn’t mean they naturally see eye to eye or blend well together. The main problem getting in the way of smooth interaction involves temperament. Aries element of fire sharply contrasts with Cancers element of water. Water is too sensitive to withstand the often rough-and-tumble treatment Aries dishes out (the Rams brusque ways, alone, jar the Crab’s more delicate sensibilities). Aries is also much too impatient with the sometimes whiny, cry-baby side of Cancer that readily shows its hurt feelings (the big pout) when neglected or rejected.
Strong-as-steel Aries doesn’t have much respect for any sign that tries to use its weaknesses and insecurities to solicit sympathy or pity. However, cardinal water suggests that Cancer’s powerful emotions are quick to rush to the surface to make an immediate impact on the environment. Cancer can be assertive and even agitated when expressing its feelings, as it is the most demonstrative of the water signs (ol’ rubber face) thanks to its cardinal nature. It can’t easily hide what it’s really going through on the inside, at least not for long, unlike more inscrutable Scorpio or Pisces. When it does feel safe and secure, Cancer can energize others to openly express their own emotions in healthy, tension-releasing ways.
Actually, its cardinality that spurs Cancer to keep emotions activated and in play. Cardinal water may not feel comfortable being too still in this area. It always likes to know what someone is feeling in other words, do whatever it takes to get other people to react. Of course, if not handled skillfully, this need for a mutual exposure of feelings in relationships can be a source of many emotional ups and downs for Cancer, because not everyone likes to be as revealing as the Crab wants them to be (plus Cancer expects to hear only what it can handle emotionally).
Libra, Cardinal/Air, is located halfway around the zodiac, and thus is the polar opposite of Aries. Air is a sociable element, curious about human interaction, and here it combines with cardinality to make for an active interest in connecting directly with people up close and personal. Libra comes alive around others and generates a lot of dynamic energy in all its one-on-one relationships. In many ways, Libra is just an Aries who has learned how to charm others into being cooperative and willing to help this air sign get things to turn out its way.
Aries, all on its own, will fight for what it wants. Libra instead persuades others to become its valued allies, ensuring that it’ll have the backup support it needs to get its objectives met but Libra will then turn around and give as good as it gets (showing much appreciation when treated well by another, yet becoming a ready opponent when handled unfairly; indeed, if unduly provoked, all cardinal signs feel the urge to attack others or defend themselves).
Libra is also assertive in initiating relationships due to its cardinal need to push forward and get something going. Actually, this is usually done in an agreeable manner that lets the other party know that Libra’s quite interested in forming a close union. Cardinal signs usually like to give and receive unambiguous signals (the exception is watery Cancer, who can send out mixed messages when unsure about its feelings).
Capricorn is Cardinal/Earth. This mode-element combination may seem strange at first, since cardinality urges us to rush around and do a lot of things – at least to start them – while earth wants us to stay in one place with our feet planted firmly on the ground. Earth urges us to plan our moves well and to use time and energy efficiently. Capricorn thus feels a strong drive to do big, important things in society, but it also works hard to make sure the results last a long time. This sign can be very assertive in the material world when i tcomes to gaining status. It’s driven to manifest its goals in solid, enduring ways.
Of all the earth signs, Capricorn is the most willing to venture forth into unknown territory to take a few calculated risks, something Taurus and Virgo have trouble doing. The Goat won’t take chances based on blind faith, but will move out into the world to try new things only after it has carefully evaluated the situation. Still, this is an earth sign with guts and gumption. Capricorn also has a strong instinct to climb (this is the sign of upward mobility regarding the ladder of success). It’s an ambitious sign always looking out for more influential social positions to attain. It’s also the only earth sign with the momentum to achieve prominence on a grand scale. The go-getter energy of Cardinal signs is certainly behind the Goat’s determination to make it big in the world.
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