About Polarity, Modality and Elements: Astrology 101 | NUiT

When diving into astrology, there are confusing words associated with each sign – polarity? Modality? Element? What? You may be looking at your NUiT portal and wondering what do all of these terms mean. They’re actually quite simple and by the end of this post, you’ll absolutely grasp these concepts!

In our astrology know how section of our blog, our team demystifies astrology (and your experience with NUiT app) by getting in the core of these astrology terms- as well as the other parameters of your natal chart. Let’s dive into polarity, first:


Under polarity, you’ll see the word “masculine” or the word “feminine.” 

Masculine signs are the air and fire signs, which are: Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, and Aquarius. Feminine signs are the water and earth signs: Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, and Pisces. We’ll dive more into what it means to be an air, fire, earth or water sign later, but first, let’s analyze these elements by the broader context of the two categories they fit into – masculine or feminine

The descriptions of masculine and feminine have nothing to do with gender of the chart holder his or herself. Rather, polarity deals with the fixation of the energy of the sign.

Masculine signs are more concerned with the external world, whereas feminine signs are more contained in the internal. Masculine signs tend to be extroverted in their expression, gaining motivation from their surroundings, whereas feminine signs are more introverted, gaining inspiration from solitude and self-containment. Masculine signs may be more motivated for success by worldly rewards, such as money or fame. Feminine signs are more likely to be motivated by intrinsic motivators, like using their innates talents or doing what they enjoy doing. Where masculine looks outward, feminine looks within. 


Now, let’s look to signs and analyze their element and what each of these elements represent.

Fire 🔥signs are Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. Fire represents the motivation, inspiration and that spark that leads us to action. Fire signs tend to be passionate, energetic, uplifting and motivated. Just like actual fire is volatile, these signs can be a bit impulsive and act before thinking but no one can light up a room as they can!

Earth 🌎 signs are Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn. These signs rule the realm of things that we can taste, touch, see, hear and smell. Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn tend to be grounded, practical and present. Earth sign represents our physical reality, our body and tangible resources, such as money. Earth signs can sometimes be pessimistic, as they are very concerned with the practicality of a situation, but no one can give you a reality check and advice like they can! 

Air 🌬signs are Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius. These signs rule words, thoughts and communication. Their energy is consistently logical, using their active minds to make sense of the world around them. Much of their growth is inspired by communicating with their fellow humans, and they tend to do a lot of it. They love to interact with the world by debating, discussing and analyzing. Air signs can be flighty and non-commital, but no one can keep a conversation going as they can!

Water💦 signs are Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces. These signs are about emotion and intuition. Water signs are able to be fluid, to shapeshift and to feel what those around them are feeling. Water signs tend to be emotional, compassionate and empathetic. They can be overly emotional at times, but no one is a shoulder to cry on like they are! 


Under modality, you’ll see either “mutable, cardinal or fixed.” Each sign falls under one of these modalities, and it modifies their expression. Each modality has one sign from each element represented.

Cardinal signs: Aries (Fire), Cancer (Water), Libra (Air) and Capricorn (Earth)

Cardinal signs are the go-getters and the initiators of the zodiac. Each of these sun signs initiates a different season – Aries season kicks off spring, Cancer initiates summer, Libra brings about fall and Capricorn eases us into winter (these seasons are reversed if you’re in the Southern hemisphere, of course!) These signs are known for their ability to put their money and their time where their mouths are – they aren’t content just dreaming about possibilities, but actually birthing them into reality. These signs are known for their vision, motivation, and execution.

Fixed Signs: Taurus (Earth), Leo (Fire), Scorpio (Water) and Aquarius (Air) 

Fixed signs are the finishers of the zodiac. These individuals are very stubborn because once they have their hearts and their minds set on something, they are absolutely transfixed on making it happen. They are able to stick with something until it is finished and will not budge from their designated course. Whereas cardinal signs are drawn to beginnings, fixed signs are drawn to finishing projects. 

Mutable signs: Gemini (Air), Virgo (Earth), Sagittarius (Fire) and Pisces (Water)

Mutable signs are the chameleons of the zodiac. These fluid, open beings are known for their changeability. They can shapeshift to blend into situations and places. They are adaptable and easygoing. These natives are always willing to integrate new people and ideas into their worldview.

Ruling Planet 

The ruling planet is the planet that rules your ascendant sign within your birth chart. As your rising sign ruler, this planet becomes even more emphasized and important within your chart. Look to this ruling planet with significant attention on when it goes retrograde, when it changes signs and aspects it makes to other planets, as you’ll feel its effects more intensely!

Aries rising – your ruler is Mars

Taurus rising – your ruler is Venus

Gemini rising – your ruler is Mercury

Cancer rising – your ruler is the Moon

Leo rising – your ruler is the Sun

Virgo rising – your ruler is Mercury

Libra rising – your ruler is Venus

Scorpio rising – your traditional ruler is Mars and your modern ruler is Pluto

Sagittarius – your ruler is Jupiter

Capricorn rising – your ruler is Saturn

Aquarius rising – your traditional ruler is Saturn and your modern ruler is Uranus

Pisces rising – your traditional ruler is Jupiter and your modern ruler is Neptune.

For some signs, you’ll note two planets. As written above, traditional rulers are the rulers that date back to the origins of astrology. With the discovery of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, the rulerships shifted to adjust to the symbolism represented by these planets. Astrologers have different ways of thinking of which one to abide by, so look into both and see which one resonates most for you personally!

Now look at you, astrology superstar! You’ve grasped the concepts of polarity, element, modality and ruling planets! 

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