star school an intro to astrology for total beginnersLast month, we covered Elements: Strength and Weakness. This month, we’re doing the same but this time we’re looking at Qualities (or Mode) and seeing where we’re dominant…or not.


As a reminder, there are three qualities: Cardinal, Fixed, and Mutable. (You can head back to Star School Lesson 2 for a quick refresher on qualities.)

In a natal chart, an average number would be 4 – 5 planets in one quality. 6 or more would show dominance. 

What does that mean? While not as important as elemental strength/weakness, the qualities reveal personality characteristics. For example, someone with a strong fixed quality in their chart would be a stubborn and determined individual. Obstinate even. While another person with a strong mutable chart would be adaptable and changeable. Imagine two people like that in one room together. One wants law and order while the other wants to be free to roam. That, my friends, is the dynamic between me and my daughter! Ha ha!

Anyhow – let’s look at what an abundance in each quality might indicate:

Strong Cardinal: action-oriented, full of energy, motivated, loves to get things started, restless and easily bored, needs to be doing something. These folks need plenty of action or they get “itchy.” They are ambitious to the core and love to take risks. Strong cardinal seems to be the easiest to manage but that restlessness can make it hard for them to settle down.

Strong Fixed: stubborn, set in ways, stable, resistant to change, strong-willed, slow to start but reaches goals through steady, determined effort. People with fixed-heavy charts are no pushovers! Once their mind is made up, there is no changing them. They enjoy being in their comfort zone – and while there is nothing wrong with that, they can get into ruts if they refuse to accept change.

Strong Mutable: adaptable, changeable, dislikes routine, flaky, flighty, easily bored, tendency to be scattered. Like strong cardinal charts, people with a majority of mutable planets crave action. The difference here though is that they will often drop things when it’s no longer interesting, which can lead to a reputation of flakiness or unreliability. These types need to learn to stay the course, root down, and finish what they start, even when it gets tedious or they risk scattering their forces to the wind.

What about when the quality is weak or lacking altogether? If there are 2 or less, the quality is “weak.”

Lack of Cardinal: instead of rushing to take action, the person may be more methodical and less compulsive. They may need a bit more prodding or a strong motivating force before taking action. Some even avoid taking action altogether!

Lack of Fixed: instead of having the steady energy to get things done, a weak fixed chart might indicate a personality that lacks initiative or follow through. They need structure and routine. Willpower may need to be developed as it may not be a trait they are known for.

Lack of Mutable: lighten up, yo! No mutable means these folks tend to treat life like it’s serious business. They struggle with change and may be difficult when it comes to compromise. Instead, they want everyone else to yield to them. I have found these types to be uncommunicative and hard to read too.

Let’s look at former president Barack Obama’s chart to see how he stacks up:

Star School Lesson 15: Elements - Strength and Weakness

Sun – Leo – Fixed
Moon – Gemini – Mutable
Mercury – Leo – Fixed
Venus – Cancer – Cardinal
Mars – Virgo – Mutable
Jupiter – Aquarius – Fixed
Saturn – Capricorn – Cardinal
Uranus – Leo – Fixed
Neptune – Scorpio – Fixed
Pluto – Virgo – Mutable
Ascendant – Aquarius – Fixed
Midheaven – Scorpio – Fixed

Cardinal: 2

Fixed: 7

Mutable: 3

With a strong fixed quality, we see a determined and methodical leader. An average but not strong cardinal shows he can take action when necessary. But the weak mutable mode emphasizes his stubbornness. Interestingly, I thought he was a bit TOO compromising. Which is the other side of the weak quality coin: sometimes people overcompensate. This guy, while stubborn and determined down to his marrow, might have assumed he needed to bend over backwards in order to show he was able to work well with others.

Take a peek at Kim Kardashian’s chart. What’s strong? What’s weak? Where might she need to find balance?



What might any of this have to say about her?

Homework! Grab your chart and count ’em up. What are the dominant qualities in your chart? Weakest? Anything missing? What might this reveal to you?

Next month, we’ll tackle retrograde planets in a natal chart.

But until then…

Keep gazing at the stars – and stay curious,


Miss a previous lesson? I’ve got ’em all right here for you.

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