Two spiritually significant events are set to occur tomorrow, June 21: The seasons will officially change with the summer solstice and the sun will move into Cancer for its annual, monthlong visit. What may seem like a funny astrological coincidence is, in fact, quite routine. Cancer season actually starts on or around the summer solstice every year.
But this isn’t the only sign to kick off an entire annual season.
Aries, Libra, and Capricorn ring in spring, fall, and winter, respectively. Along with Cancer, these four signs are known as the “cardinal signs,” and they have much more in common than their connection to the seasons.
The cardinal signs make up one of the three astrological modalities, or categories that indicatehow the signs act and move through the world: cardinal, fixed, and mutable. Each modality contains four signs and is represented by different personality traits. The four ruling elements (fire, earth, air, and water) are equally represented in all three of the modalities as well. In the case of the cardinal signs, Aries is a fire sign, Cancer is ruled by water, Libra belongs to the air signs, and Capricorn is an earth sign.
In general, the cardinal modality is associated with action and leadership — the Astrotwins even refer to those born under cardinal signs as the “idea people” of the Zodiac. Thanks to their signs’ placement in the calendar year, they tend to be trailblazers, and they love to be the catalysts for change.
Cardinal signs are often praised for their skills of initiation, but they can quickly drift into control freak territory if they’re particularly passionate about the plans they set in motion. Astrologer Annie Heese writes that each cardinal sign expresses their need for control in different areas of life (after all, Aries, Cancers, Libras, and Caps have very different personality traits).
Cancers concern themselves more with matters of the home and their family’s affairs, while Capricorns prefer to take the reigns on financial and logistical issues. Libras, meanwhile, tend to oversee their social circles with stringent attention to detail. And, as anyone who’s a Ram themselves knows, Aries are often associated with a need for control in general — though we’d argue that’s a little unfair.