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TRANSCRIPT Ep. 36 | A Mini-Class for the Dog Days: Elements & Modalities


036 | A Mini-Class for the Dog Days: Elements & Modalities

July 27, 2020

Read the full show notes & listen to episode here

Jen: Welcome to the Big Sky Astrology podcast, with April Elliott Kent and me, producer and cohost Jen Braun. Hey friends, Jen here! Today is July 27th, 2020. And, here with me of course, is someone who’s simply paw-some. My friend, astrologer April Elliott Kent. Hi, April.

April: Hi Jen, I love that so much. It is the dog days of summer as we were saying. And also, the Sun being in Leo with the big paws…

Jen: Yes.

April: So yes, I’m totally paw-some, thank you. Well, like everybody else in the world – and as we spoke about last week with the Sun going into Leo – we talked about how it’s a good time of year to take just a little bit of a break, a little bit of a “paws” as it were…

Jen: “Paws”… ha, ha.

April: …and get a little bit of fun and rest and relaxation. So we will not be bringing you a new episode today, however…

Jen: It is kind of a new episode.

April: Kind of.

Jen: What we present to you is information on the elements and the modalities of the zodiac for this episode for this week.

April: Excellent, I think people will enjoy that very much, and all of your editing wizardry that is bringing that to them. And rest assured, we will see you next week with a brand-spanking new episode. And we will just be rested and refreshed and filled with vim.

Jen: Absolutely.

April: And verve.

Jen: And vigor!

April: And vigor! All of the “v” words is what we will be bringing you next week. That sounds great. We hope you’re all doing super well and enjoying a little quiet time of your own.

Jen: So first up, we’re going back to episode 13 to revisit some information on the four elements. Here we go…

April: Pisces of course is a water sign. And we talked about water signs on a couple of different episodes of the podcast. Water signs are rich in intuition and are emotionally very vulnerable. They pick up on other people’s feelings and emotions very easily. So the downside of water signs, if we’re prepared to concede that there is one, is because they are so vulnerable… and it’s always nice to see planets that are in the water element in combination with planets in the earth element.

Jen: So there are four elements. Right? There is fire, earth, air, and water.

April: And each sign of the Zodiac is assigned to one of these elements. So Pisces is water and it’s making good aspects to planets that are in earth signs. So we say that earth is very supportive to water. If you think of a riverbed or a channel or a levy that directs, guides the water and give structure to it, so it’s not just overflowing and overtaking everything.

Jen: Okay. I like that image.

April: And of course, water irrigates the earth. So they’re mutually supportive. And anytime you see planets that are in one of these elements and then planets that are in the other element, so water to earth, we know that they are probably in good aspect to each other because it means they have something to offer each other.

Jen: Yes.

April: The water signs, we probably talked about before, are Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces. The earth signs are Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn. So all of those signs get along with one another.

Jen: And when people have aspects between these water signs, that means that they are trining.

April: Correct. If they’re within orb, but that’s a whole other discussion, but generally that’s the relationship of signs in the same element. That’s an effortless interaction. They just get each other.

Jen: Yes. Okay.

April: With the complementary elements, they have to work a little harder to understand each other, but they are mutually supportive and they add something to the other person’s experience. Then the air signs are Gemini, Libra and Aquarius, and they are of the mental nature, thinking, analyzing, communicating. The very sociable signs. And the fire signs are Aries, Leo and Sagittarius, which are very dynamic, a little bit dramatic, very emotional. And the two of them get along because air fans the flames of fire. They make us even more fiery and dramatic than we already are. And fire warms air. Which is nice.

Jen: Unless it’s the middle of summer…

April: Exactly!

April: Yes, that’s true. There’s always a downside. Thanks for finding that dark cloud for the silver lining there, Jen! So what we’re going to do this week is we’re going to provide a little cheat sheet for you in the show notes that you’ll be able to download that will show which sign is in which element and give you a little information about how they get along.

Jen: Yes. And as long as you’re getting that cheat sheet, feel free to sign up for April’s fantastic newsletter too.

April: Indeed.

Jen: Right there on the main page.

Jen: Alright, we hope you enjoyed that. And if you want to hear all of episode 13, I’ll put a link in the show notes – along with a link to the cheat sheet on the four elements that April mentioned for you. Now, next up, we’re taking you back to one of my favorite episodes, episode 21. Enjoy this information on the modalities.

Jen: I don’t believe we’ve talked about modalities yet.

April: Oh.

Jen: I thought perhaps you could talk a little bit about Cardinal, Fixed, Mutable signs.

April: Oh, excellent!

Jen: What do you think of that?

April: I would love to do that.

Jen: Okay. Riff away.

April: Alright. Well, modalities. There are three modes of operation amongst the signs and one of them is Cardinal, one of them is Fixed and one of them is Mutable. The Cardinal signs, which we’ve been talking about a lot recently, we’ve been talking about Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn because that’s where a lot of the planetary action has been. Cardinal signs, think of them as the main compass points of the chart and of the Zodiac. They form the basic skeletal outline for the whole chart. They say, “Who am I?” Which is Aries. “Where do I come from?” Which is Cancer. “Who am I interacting with and who do I attract? Which is Libra. “And what am I going to do with all that and how am I going to serve the world?” Which is Capricorn.

Jen: Love that.

April: Yes. I think of them always as the things that pin us in place on the world. And they are also initiating points. They are the points that initiate each new season. So Aries initiates spring and I’m talking Northern hemisphere. Aries initiate spring, Cancer initiate summer, Libra initiates autumn and Capricorn initiates winter.

Jen: And each one falls into one of the four elements.

April: Yes. So we have Aries representing Cardinal fire. Cancer represents Cardinal water. Libra represents Cardinal air. And Capricorn symbolizes Cardinal Earth.

Jen: Yes.

April: These all share something in common we know, the signs. They all want to be leaders and initiators. They all want to be the one in the room that starts things. We can say, if you get a whole bunch of these people together in a room and put them on a committee, how smoothly is that going to go? Because everybody wants to be the boss. Everybody has the big idea and wants to call the meeting to order and set the agenda. Right?

Jen: The Libra is laughing!

April: Yes. Because we know that Cancer and Libra are the stealthy ones with this. Because you think, “Oh they’re so sweet.” And it’s like… yeah, put them on a board and you’re going to see that these are people who are just as strong willed as Aries and Capricorn!


April: That’s Cardinal. If you have a lot of planets in your chart that are in these Cardinal signs, you will tend to be an initiator. Not so much a leader necessarily, but really the Cardinal signs just don’t want to follow somebody else. It’s not that they’re intent on leading everybody to the promised land. They just don’t want to be a follower. And as one Libran famously said to me one time, “Lead, follow or get out of the effing way.” It’s just: Let’s just move, let’s keep things moving. And then having initiated things, maybe they’re not always super interested in keeping them going. They would prefer to leave that to the fixed sign people, which brings us to fixed signs.

Jen: Yes.

April: Fixed signs follow the Cardinal signs on the horoscopic wheel. We have Taurus, which is fixed Earth. We have Leo, which is fixed fire. We have Scorpio, which is fixed water. And we have Aquarius, which is fixed air. So the quality of fixed is just what it sounds like. These are the people that keep things going. They are steadfast and purposeful and they can be very stubborn because that’s the downside.

Jen: Said the Leo.

April: Yes. Said the Leo. It’s the downside of sticking with things at all costs, which fixed sign people will do. They see that as their job to consolidate all of the experience that’s been initiated in the Cardinal experience. So the fixed sign people go, “Okay, this having been started, what are we going to now have to do? What are the resources that are going to be required? What are we going to do with the resources that we have to keep this thing going?”

They all have something to do with security as well. So Taurus is about finding security again after you’re in a new situation, which is indicated by Aries, and so you find yourself in a new situation and you have to find a way to be secure in having what you need around you to keep yourself alive, basically to keep yourself going.

Jen: Okay.

April: Cancer then, as the next Cardinal sign will initiate… they will build a family, for instance. It talks about the family of origin. And the Leo experience coming right after that, we think of Leo as a sign of creativity. And it requires you to have had enough security in your home life, in your family that you have the luxury of thinking about being creative, of playing…

Jen: Yes. Self-expression.

April: Yes, self-expression. Engaging in games and play and just having a fun time. That’s one of the jobs of Leo. Leo is one of those signs that people, they’re often surprised to find out it’s a fixed sign, but Leo is a very managerial sign. And I think that’s true of all the fixed signs. And this is where you get leadership, is often with the fixed signs because they are steadfast, they will keep it going year after year. Scorpio requires that we have in the Libra experience where we have initiated partnerships or relationships with people to have figured out who we really want to bring close and share our PIN numbers with and share our bodily fluids with and all the rest, our bank accounts… that’s the Scorpio experience. It’s like, “I will now be there. I will go the distance with you. I will go deep with you. I will invest in you emotionally. And I’m there for the long haul.”

Jen: Sure.

April: In Capricorn, we learn to go out into the world and say, this is what I have to offer the world. Here is my gift. Here’s how I will represent the best qualities of commerce, and I want to say leadership because Capricorn is a little bit of a leader. But really it’s more about starting something like a corporation or something like that. It’s something that’s visible out in the world that other people can participate in.

And then Aquarius – being the sign after that – keeps that going. And I’m looking at my friend here with lots of planets in the 11th house, which is very much of the nature of Aquarius. And you’ve been very, very effective over the years at keeping these kinds of things going and pushing them out towards the future. So Aquarius is also one that people are surprised to find us at fixed sign because we associate Aquarius with being very quixotic and mercurial and sort of changing constantly. It can do that. But it’s also a very fixed sign. And if you ever doubt it, engage in Aquarian person in a political argument… because they know what they know, they’re very belief-oriented and they’re very fixed in their opinions, because it’s an air sign. So it’s about what you think, it’s about your opinions.

Jen: Okay.

April: Finally, we have the Mutable signs, Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces, which are kind of like batting cleanup. So we have the Cardinal sign people, which are initiators. We have the fixed sign people who are managers and consolidators.

And what is the job of the Mutable-sign people? Well, the first thing they do is get the ideas and everything out into the world. They’re the disseminators, they’re the ones that get out and spread the word. Gemini is famously the sign of communication. That is mutable air. So it’s where we take what we learn in the Taurus experience, which is “This is what I have.” And Gemini goes, “Ooh, and I could do this with it.” So picture kid with tinker toys and or Legos. And it’s like, “Ooh, I can make this and this and this.” So it’s just a pure curiosity of, “Oh, now what can I do with the fact that I’m alive and I have these tools at my disposal? What can I do?” And they’re very curious about it.

Jen: Sure.

April: Virgo comes right after Leo. Leo is the sign that life is a great play. “I’m going to have fun. I’m going to express myself. I’m interested in playing.” If you have come from a place where you have a stable platform that you’re able to jump off from.

Virgo says “Yes, but I could do a little bit more with that if I just fine-tuned a little bit.”


April: Which you can imagine how much Leo likes, right? So Leo is just like, “No, no, I’m perfect just as I am, Mr. Rogers says so.”

Jen: I’m laughing because April and I both have Virgo planets!

April: Yes, we have Virgo planets. We say, “We could just tweak it, we can make this episode perfect if you just edited for another 10 hours.”

So that’s Virgo’s job. Virgo’s job is to take all of the lovely things that we have created, first in the Cancer experience and then is tapped into in a creative way in Leo… and does something with it. Not only perfects it, but makes it useful in some way.

It’s not enough to just express yourself and be creative for yourself. It’s like, “Well, how is that useful?” And that’s what Virgo asks. So Virgo takes all of our gifts and all of those things. It takes them out. It’s mutable Earth. It says, “What specifically can I do with this? What can I create from it that’s useful and helpful?”

Jen: Absolutely.

April: Sagittarius coming after Scorpio, it’s mutable fire. In the Scorpio experience, we figure out something about the quality of truth by going very, very deep with people. We learn to understand what is true and what is false. Then in Sagittarius, the job is to make a belief system from that. So in all the relationship experiences of Libra and Scorpio, then it comes together in Sagittarius says, “Ah, this is what I believe about the world. From interacting with other people and from going deep and really evaluating what’s true and what’s false. I now believe this.” Sagittarius is about our worldview. And that is ever changeable, hopefully is the nature of mutability… that’s not always obvious with fire signs, generally we’re a little bit passionate about things and Sagittarius is as well.

Jen: Broadening our horizons.

April: Broadening horizons, seeing more possibilities of the world.

And then Pisces, poor little Pisces always coming up last. It follows Aquarius and it is mutable water. It is, in my opinion, the strongest of all the signs. And don’t let anybody tell you differently.

Jen: Say more.

April: The reason I say this is they’re infinitely flexible, and they are malleable, and they are able to get away when they need to, and they’re very fluid, and they’re able to be with you in the world and in the experience… because they know they can get away any time they need to. So Pisces is interesting and it’s ruled by Jupiter. Right?

Jen: Yes.

April: So it’s kind of got a bigger quality to it than we tend to imagine.

Jen: Boundless.

April: Yes, without a lot of boundaries. So with Pisces people, we see it comes after Aquarius, which is… let’s put together a big group of people. It’s like Capricorn says, “Let’s start this company.” Aquarius says, “Okay, I’ll hire all the personnel and I’ll come up with our mission statement and all of that.” And then Pisces is, they’re doing the team building exercises and making sure everybody can catch each other when they fall and those kinds of qualities. It’s really quite lovely.

Jen: Yes. I am so glad I asked about modalities!

April: Oh my God. I’m sure that we’re going to go very long in this episode! This should have been a mini-class probably.

Jen: Alright.

April: So those are modalities and they just talk about how we’re comfortable working. And you can see, if you get all Cardinal sign people in a room, that gets a little bit abrasive. Same thing if you get all the fixe sign people in a room, which is everybody has their favorite way of organizing things. We’re big organizers in the fixed modality. The mutable sign people, it’s like this wind… what do you call them?

Jen: Windmill?

April: Windmill!

Jen: Wind turbine?

April: Wind turbine!

Jen: Wind tunnel?

April: One of those windsocks that’s outside the…

Jen: Should I keep going?

April: …that’s outside the car lot.

Jen: The Windy City?

April: Yes!

April: We are getting pretty windy here!

But then what you get is a lot of chaos and you get a lot of ideas, but not necessarily a lot of follow through. So this is why we say that signs of the same modality struggle with each other. It’s not that they can’t get along, but they all want to play the same role in the play.

Jen: Yes. And so they’re the ones that are squaring each other…

April: Or opposing each other. So, you have Aries opposed to Libra. You have Cancer opposed Capricorn.

Jen: Yes.

April: When you see planets and signs that are of the same modality, you know that you have to take a look and go, “Okay, they’re probably squaring or opposing other and that means they can be energetic, they can definitely move each other along in a direction, but it’s not going to go smoothly.”

Jen: Yes.

April: So that is a mini-class on modalities.

Jen: That was so fantastic!

April: Awesome! I’m glad you think so. I’m glad you liked it. And we’ll give you a cheat sheet.

Jen: Yes. And you started with Aries because in astrology we always start with Aries in the first house.

April: Yes. It’s always the starting point. Because symbolically, it is the starting point for everything. And poor Pisces because they’re always coming up last. But that’s an important role to play and it’s important that they are last. It’s not that they’re last in importance; it’s that their role in the overall wheel of life is to conclude, to take all of the experience and information that’s been gathered and let go of it basically and move on into the next experience in Aries.

Jen: Alright, thanks friends. We hope you enjoyed that review. And hey, perhaps it was new for some of you. In any event, we’ll be back next week with our regular broadcast and on our regular schedule. As for this week, here’s our regular sign-off for you.

April: Join us again next time, and until then, keep your feet on the ground…

Jen: …and your eyes on the stars.

Thank you for listening. To learn more about April Elliott Kent, please check out her website,, where you can sign up for her newsletter, read her thought-provoking weekly essays, purchase her books, sign up for a personal astrology reading, and more.

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