Quadruplicities, Triplicities and Modes

Qualities is a term used in astrology for one of the several divisions of the signs, planets and houses. It is more often known as “Quadruplicities” (groups of four) and other divisions are Modalities (or Modes and also groups of four) and Triplicities (or Elements, a grouping of three). The qualities describe modes of response by each sign group.

There are several groups that form the backbone of astrology and the links highlighted will provide more information on each.


Cardinal SignsAries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn

These signs are self- and goal-oriented.

Fixed SignsTaurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius

These signs are people- and group-oriented.

Mutable Signs Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces

These signs are group- and community-oriented.

Triplicities or Elements

Fire – House – 1, 5, 9. Sign – Aries, Leo, Sagittarius

These signs are energizing, active, passionate and spiritual.

Earth – House – 2, 6, 10. Sign – Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn

These signs are receptive, resourceful and earthly as in material.

Air – House – 3, 7, 11. Sign – Gemini, Libra, Aquarius

These signs are intelligent, communicative, expedient and ethereal.

Water – House – 4, 8 & 12. Sign – Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces

These signs are emotional, sensitive, caring and conceptual.

Although many astrologers do not put a lot of emphasis to these house and sign partitions they can be helpful in understanding a native’s behaviour and also indicate strengths and weaknesses in the horoscope horoscope.

Modes or Modalities

The modalities for the houses are important as they bring together multiple areas that present challenges or solutions. Generally, only the houses are considered to be angular, succedent or cadent but they dovetail with the sign quadruplicities so astrologers may refer to angular signs occasionally instead of cardinal for example.


House – 1, 4, 7 & 10. Sign – Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn

Planets and signs located in angular houses tend to have more meaning in the chart as a whole and deal with the most personal situations that most personally affect you. These houses are considered to have the most influence in a horoscope and a planet located in an angular house often has more power or a strengthening affect within the house. It also appears to allow the planetary energies to be manifested more easily.

Angular houses in astrology are ruled by cardinal signs and all angular houses pertain to our most important relationships with; our self (1st), our family (4th), our partnerships (7th), and our public relationships (10th). All cardinal signs are active in their basic energy expression so the angular houses are also active and where most of the action in our personal lives takes place.

Luminaries in these houses give added importance and focus on angular house relationships. As the angular houses involve who we most often express ourselves with in relationship, any personal planets in angular houses would contribute more to shaping personality and character. E.g. A moon in 4th focuses emotional attachments to family, moon in 7th to partner and so on. Sun in 10th would have a shining personality and may become known in the public (local community or other fame), sun in the 1st they may be self-oriented but have the most charming gifts of their sign on display most times, and sometimes their worst especially if the sun in an angular house was afflicted. The house matters become more important to the native with luminaries in them as they “spotlight” a house in several ways. Luminaries in any house “shine a light” on the house.

Much of the action in life takes place in the angular houses because of their status as houses of relationship. Our reactions to others are what forms who we are. What we say and do, think and feel is who and what we are, what we give back to the world. The houses of relationships, the angular houses in many ways mirror back to us who we are if we pay attention.


House – 2, 5, 8 & 11. Sign – Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius

Planets/signs in succedent houses have a bit less influence and deal with resources and activities involving others and their resources. Planets located in these houses have their energy “dissolved” or weakened slightly unless bolstered by aspects and other planets. E.g. Venus in one of these houses with only one major aspect may be nice but not extraordinarily positive or negative. Venus in one of these houses involved in a grand trine or t-square will probably have an extraordinary effect on the resources associated with the house or sign. Planets in these houses may serve the native well in adding skills and abilities relating to the house or sign, but if afflicted may indicate problem areas regarding lack of resources or problem relationships.

In angular houses we must have relationships that sustain us; our interactions with self, family, lovers, the public become a primary importance. In succedent houses the focus is on the material resources that sustain us; money/food (2nd), love/sex/creativity (5th), banks/investments/inheritance (8th), community/society (11th).

A planet in an angular house is usually symbolised as a forceful and easily recognised personality trait or two. The same planet in a succedent house may represent the same skills and traits but be a somewhat lesser influence in the horoscope as a whole. The same planet in a cadent house has an even lesser influence than in succedent. Think of angular houses as allowing 100% of planetary focus, succedent manifesting 80% capacity of the planet and cadent houses as 60%. These are merely mental guidelines and as you will find there are other considerations to determine the strengths of houses and planets when looking at the entire natal chart.

Back to succedent houses, they take our focus to very important matters mostly sustaining our physical and creative selves. We seek to feed our needs for food, money, shelter and clothing in these houses and they have an activating force which appears to motivate us to work or at least go to the next step. So, angular houses are what activate us, succedent houses are what will motivate or sustain us, and cadent houses are where we’ll have these experiences and use the gifts of these houses to grow or reach success. Planets manifest the qualities of the sign typically through what the house represents and will have more or less strength depending on whether the house is angular, succedent or cadent and how it is aspected. Succedent houses provide areas where we should be motivated to work and develop resources, skills and abilities for a better existence.


House – 3, 6, 9 & 12. Sign – Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces

Planets/signs in cadent houses are supposedly the weakest areas for them to be located and they may not have as strong an affect when compared to angular and succedent houses. Sometimes, with weaker placements or influences the qualities of the sign or planet are less-pronounced and sometimes blocked in these houses. Signs and planets in cadent houses may not fully develop what they represent due to this weakening influence or they take longer to manifest. The situations involving these houses may pertain more to the native’s involvement in the community or the general public for good or for bad. These houses may be involved with miscommunications, mishaps and accidental situations when populated by potentially troubling planets or signs.

The cadent houses are best understood by exploring the term. Cadent is an archaic term for falling or descending and implies a weakening effect. Like the viewing screen of sonar where the blip of light or energy begins to fade the further it moves from an object, in this case a cardinal point or house cusp. But that is only until another angular house is met and then almost like a heartbeat, a pulse of emphasis begins anew at the cardinal point. It’s almost like an energy flow that loses a bit of power gradually as it travels through angular, then succedent, then cadent houses but is re-energized when reaching the next cardinal point of ascendant, nadir, descendent, or midheaven. Interestingly, we then notice this rhythm occurs which is the current meaning of the word cadent. Cadent houses may be the weakest in influence but they can network.

The planets and signs in cadent houses can be harnessed for creating networks and systems with other planets in other houses quite nicely. Whether that is for good or bad depends on the native’s choices but the ability for the connections are there. E.g. A Mercury in the 3rd house squaring Saturn in the 6th may indicate one who has trouble in early schooling yet may overcome that and become a teacher. Or perhaps they don’t get past the trouble and end up stealing cars for a living. There is much more to look at than just one aspect but the point is that although cadent houses may be weaker than other houses they still operate in the background and provide a support structure of sorts for the more active planets in other houses.

Planets are weakened in cadent houses also by power. Saturn in cadent houses may not be as tyrannical than they may be in angular houses; Venus in cadent houses may not care as much about beauty and aesthetics than when it is in a succedent or angular house; Mars in cadent houses may not be as aggressive, but much depends on the rest of the chart and aspects to the cadent house planets.