Astrology: Understanding Zodiac Groups

It might seem that there is a lot to memorise when it comes to learning about the Zodiac signs, however, the fact that they are divided into a number of groups makes their meanings easier to remember.

Observing which of the groups each sign falls into can help to determine its meaning. The three main groups are:

  • Triplicities (or elements)
  • Quadruplicities (or modes)
  • Polarities

Three Zodiac groupings

The triplicities group the Zodiac signs according to the element with which they correspond - fire, air, earth and water. The quadruplicities segment the signs into categories that best describe their traits - cardinal, fixed and mutable. The polarities divide the Zodiac Wheel into a set of opposites, termed either feminine and masculine, or positive and negative.


The 12 Zodiac signs are divided into four groups of three, each known as a triplicity. Each triplicity is known as an element.

Fire: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
Fire signs are energetic, impulsive, confident and motivated.

Earth: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
Earth signs are practical, realistic, patient, dependable and thorough.

Air: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
Air signs are intellectual, objective, talkative, indecisive and observant

Water: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
Water signs are moody, sensitive, secretive, intuitive and vulnerable.



The 12 Zodiac signs are divided into three groups of four known as quadruplicity. The quadruplicities are cardinal  (also called moveable), fixed, and mutable (also called common).

astrology quadruplicities

Cardinal: Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn
Cardinal signs are active, involved, ambitious and opportunistic.

Fixed: Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius
Fixed signs are determined, purposeful, persistent and deliberate.

Mutable: Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces
Mutable signs are adaptable, versatile, changeable and easily influenced.


The 12 Zodiac signs are divided into two groups of six called polarities. These are known as masculine and feminine, or negative and positive.

Positive signs: Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Aquarius, Sagittarius.

All air and fire signs are positive. Positive signs are impulsive, communicative and sociable. The crave excitement and direct their energies to the world around them. The are extroverted signs.

Negative signs: Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, Pisces.

All earth and water signs are negative. Negative signs are sensitive and understand emotional subtleties. They are receptive, nurturing and cautious, and tend to keep their feelings under tight control. They are introverted signs.