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The Impulsive Ebb and Flow of Modalities (An Introduction).

Updated: Apr 30, 2019

We have discussed the elements, in broad strokes so we can get a better understanding on the way the energies with the chart manifest within ourselves via our Emotional Body (Water), Mental Processes (Air), Instinctual Impulses (Fire) and within our Physical Boundaries (Earth).

But these manifestations within human psyche, all need a way in which they are expressed, how they move within us and then out of us. This is not as complicated as you think, because what we are talking about is a fundamental building block of the human experience, and we human beings are very complex. We need to break it down so we can learn about the impulses that drive us. More importantly we need to know why our Soul has wanted the elemental energy to move in this particular way, and why it has chosen the chart with all its aspects to manifest this fluid complexity.

The four modalities in Astrology are: Cardinal/Fixed and Mutable.

Let’s say you have gone camping, you have a lighter and have collected a stick pile for your campfire. You use the lighter mechanism to create friction, sparking (Cardinal) a small flame that you move to to one of the sticks sitting on the pile, the transferred flame rapidly spreads (Mutable) to the driest and thinner sticks, causing the fire to have momentum. You watch as the fire moves, searching for the driest, the most flammable wood, before it sits fixed, slowly consuming the thicker, perhaps more humid branches, still smouldering (Fixed) with the intent of exhausting all of the twigs to ash.

We look to nature to show us how the elements move, because those elements move within us in the very same way. And if fire is the same as our instinctual impulses, we then have to further look into how they move within us via the Zodiac. The following entries will better illustrate that, as we look closer at the groups of Cardinal (Aries/Cancer/Libra/Capricorn), Fixed (Taurus/Leo/Scorpio/Aquarius), Mutable (Gemini/Virgo/Sagittarius/Pisces).

The signs in the same modality group cause tension between them when expressed in a chart. A natural cross occurs within each modality, but this cross serves a function of evolution. Think about how uncomfortable you get when you realise the temperature suddenly drops in the evening. You acknowledge that at the current state you are in, you can feel the chill. You then make the necessary actions to make yourself comfortable. This can be explained as a Cardinal function. Now apply that to something more psychological, today for some reason, you feel melancholic. Let's look at the chart, perhaps you have a natal aspect that is activated today, like Moon in Opposition to Saturn. This sadness comes from somewhere unknown (Moon in Pisces), but it prompts you to write some poetry, listen to a sad song, phone a friend. And after engaging with these activities, you feel a release, and you feel better, because you adjusted (Saturn in Virgo) the flow of energy (Mutable function). This is the function of evolution, allowing yourself to grow in alignment to the flow of energy available to you.

In the Elemental Foundations, we briefly spoke about how each sign represented its element. Within fire there was Instinct (Aries), Inspiration (Leo) and Intuition (Sagittarius). They are broken down in this way because this is the basis of the building blocks that these archetypes consist of. You can have a Leo Ascendant, trining an Aries Moon, and can easily summarize that for this soul, at the basis of every new experience (ASC), there is an inspiration that stimulates the instinct to engage with it. As we move further into the chart you can read more into the nuances of it, to answer the other layers that add to the complexities of expression and experience.

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