What Are Mutable Signs in Astrology?

By: Nicole Antonio  | 
The modalities of the zodiac
Each zodiac sign is either cardinal, fixed or mutable. Peter Hermes Furian/Shutterstock

You're more than your sun sign. In astrology, zodiac signs (aka sun signs) are grouped into three categories or modalities based on certain qualities: cardinal, fixed, and mutable. Cardinal signs initiate, fixed signs stabilize and mutable signs adapt to their surroundings. Each mutable sign is represented by a different element (air, earth, fire and water), so there is only one mutable air sign, one mutable fire sign and so on.

Cardinal signs open each season, followed by fixed signs and then mutable signs which close out the season. The zodiac sign Gemini ends spring in the Northern Hemisphere; Virgo wraps up summer; Sagittarius winds down autumn; and Pisces closes winter. These mutable signs represent the final phase of their respective seasons, readying us for the forthcoming shift.


People with a mutable sign exhibit a high level of openness to new experiences. This flexibility, intrinsic to mutable energy, stems from their role as harbingers of change. Those born under a mutable sign are natural problem solvers, able to handle challenges that might appear daunting to others.

However, this very adaptability can lead to a tendency for indecisiveness. Since they can see things from multiple perspectives, making a firm decision can be a challenge. They may often change their minds or even be perceived as inconsistent.

While people born under a mutable sign are often seen as more acquiescent than those born under a cardinal sign or fixed sign, it's essential to understand that everyone's astrological profile is a unique blend of various factors.

Let's look closer at all the signs in this modality and their respective personality traits.


The Four Mutable Signs

zodiac chart with modality, element and ruling planet
This chart identifies the modality, element and ruling planet of each zodiac sign. 1001holiday/Shutterstock

Gemini (May 21 - June 20)

As the mutable air sign, Gemini is all about communication and ideas. People born under this adaptable mutable sign are known for their flexible thinking. They excel at seeing things from multiples perspectives and can revise their viewpoint based on new information. This can sometimes lead to indecisiveness, as they see all sides of an issue and may struggle to choose.

Virgo (Aug. 23 – Sept. 22)

As the mutable earth sign, Virgos are pragmatic. They constantly seek to improve, shifting their priorities within different scenarios by analyzing what needs to be done and finding practical solutions to keep things moving. Despite their many strengths, they can be overly critical of themselves and others because they always see room for improvement.


Sagittarius (Nov. 22 – Dec. 21)

Sagittarians are the mutable fire sign, characterized by their enthusiasm and constant quest for knowledge. They are open-minded, malleable and love new experiences. These explorers with a positive outlook on life view every change as a new adventure. Still, their zest for life may lead them to take on more than they can handle.

Pisces (Feb. 19 - March 20)

Pisces is the mutable water sign. Pisceans are deeply intuitive, allowing them to get a read on emotional situations before determining the best way to adjust. They can go with the flow and are comfortable with change. However, they may struggle with distinguishing their own feelings from those of others, potentially leading to confusion or feeling overwhelmed.


Pros and Cons of Mutable Signs

A personality trait common in all mutable signs is resourcefulness; they handle change and new conditions particularly well. This makes them good at understanding a variety of viewpoints and acclimating to changing circumstances. But this mutable energy can also lead to indecisiveness, inconsistency and difficulty in setting boundaries.

In relationships, mutable signs can be understanding and accommodating. They excel at viewing potential conflicts as multidimensional and can often help find a compromise. But they may forget to assert their needs and wants in a relationship.


From a philosophical standpoint, mutable signs symbolize the concept that change is a natural part of life. By embodying adaptability, they remind us that it's okay to change and grow. This lesson is particularly important during significant transitions when we're figuring out who we are and who we want to be.

Advice for Those Born Under a Mutable Sign

Be confident in your beliefs.

If you're a mutable sign, you may find it easy to understand others' perspectives and often serve as a mediator in disputes. But remember to hold onto your convictions and stand up for what you believe in. While it's beneficial to be flexible and open to new ideas, it's equally important to hold on to your own set of beliefs and assert them when necessary.

Don't sacrifice yourself to accommodate others.

In relationships, you'll typically be a good listener, empathetic and capable of seeing issues from multiple sides. This makes you a great friend and partner. Just ensure you don't lose your identity in the process of understanding and accommodating others.


Stay true to yourself.

Mutable signs are the zodiac's chameleons. You carry the energy of transition, signifying the closing of one chapter and the start of another. You understand better than other signs that change is life's integral part, often driving growth, new opportunities and transformation.

But, if you ever feel life is changing too fast or if you're struggling to make a decision because you see all sides of the issue, don't give up. Embrace change and grow, but also remember to stay true to who you are. That's the true power and beauty of being a mutable sign.

This article was created in conjunction with AI technology, then was fact checked and edited by a HowStuffWorks editor.