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Introduction to Astrology, part IX. Grouping the Signs: Duplicities, Triplicities, Quadruplicities

10468059_771725072872359_2753137529563388020_nEach of the twelve Zodiac signs can be classified according to three different criteria, namely Polarity, Element and Mode. Each of these three terms refers to basic, archetypical differentiations of Energy.
When we discuss the first one, Polarity, we’re talking Duplicities. It means that, according to the criteria of Polarity, the Zodiac can be divided into two big groups of six signs each: the Feminine Signs, and the Masculine Signs. So, this division highlights a Yin/Yang juxtaposition that sees Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius and Aquarius fitting into the Masculine Signs category on one hand, and Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, Pisces into the Feminine Signs group on the other. As you might have noticed, these characteristics of activity and passivity alternate from one sign to the next, in zodiacal order.
Masculine, active signs radiate a projective, outer-directed vibe, whereas Feminine, passive signs are receptive and self-contained. Polarity does not imply an irreconcilable difference, but rather complementarity. The sign of Gemini, albeit fitting into the Masculine category, is actually thought to incorporate traits of both polarities, which makes it an androgynous sign.
When we classify the twelve Zodiac signs basing on their elemental nature, we get Triplicities. Signs are therefore grouped into four sectors matching the four elements: Fire, Earth, Air, and Water. Every one of these elements includes three signs (hence the triplicity), and planets that are found in orb (aspect) in the signs from the same elemental triad are connected by a harmonious flow of force that determines the nature of the Trine pattern. Fire and Air signs have a Masculine Polarity, while Water and Earth signs are Feminine.
The element Fire is associated with energy in the most primeval sense of the word, and therefore also with liveliness, instinct and spontaneity.  Fire signs are Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. Air embodies intellect, and is thus linked with knowledge, information, rationality, ideals and principles. The Air trinity is made up of Gemini, Libra and Aquarius. Water element signifies emotion and intuition, and it rules feelings, perception and imagination. This triad includes Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces. Earth rules over the material plane and it bears traits of pragmatism, concreteness and realism. This is the element of Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn.
The final grouping follows the criteria of the Mode, according to which we have three separate modes containing four signs each: the keyword here is Quadruplicity. Quadruplicities represent different, progressive stages of manifestation of Energy. The Cardinal Stage of creation, impulse and action (Cardinal Signs are Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn), the Fixed stage of stabilization and concentration (Taurus, Scorpio, Aquarius) and, finally, the Mutable stage of dispersion, change and transition (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces). Quadruplicities follow a seasonal pattern: Cardinal signs mark the start of seasons, with Aries beginning the Astrological year on the Spring Equinox, Cancer kicking off the Summer Season on Solstice, Libra occurring on the beginning of Fall and Capricorn initiating Winter. This is why each of these four signs is associated with intent and willpower, both expressed differently according to the basic elemental nature of the Sign and its polarity. Fixed signs follow suit, signaling a transition into the maturation of the season. They balance the Cardinal impulse with consistence and steadiness. The Fixed energy often manifests with stubbornness, inflexibility and love of routine when it comes to personality. The Mutable phase preludes to a new start, a new cycle, a new season, and as such it’s an especially volatile and scattered energy. Abundance of Mutable energy in a Chart often translates into adaptability, malleability, complexity.

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