Of all the zodiac’s elements (water, fire, air, and Earth, as a reminder), the water signs are the most enigmatic. Are they a Zen, cooling counterpoint to the fire signs? Do the have the gentle temperament of a stream, or do they knock people over like crashing waves? Well, uh, it depends on how you cross them. Because of this variability within the element, answering the question of what are the water signs, exactly, skews confusing. And to get a clearer picture on how these three zodiac signs within the element interact, it’s key to first understand the concept of elements in general.
The elements, or triplicities, help define someone’s basic temperament, while quadruplicities, or modes, are more about how each sign directs its energy behaviorally. Each of the four elements is inclusive of a cluster of three zodiac signs. (Get it? Three signs go into each triplicity?) Each element is known for a certain group mood-related traits, and like anything and everything astrological, there’s a mix of positive and negative.
First up is Cancer, with a cardinal modality, then comes Scorpio, with a fixed modality, and finally Pisces (a sensible water sign, given that it’s the fish), with mutable modality. When it comes to the marriage of tripilicities and quadruplicities, each triplicity cluster tends to have a similar temperament, but might react to certain situations in completely different ways. What are the water signs’ typical temperaments, in that case? They like to let their creativity flow, though they may be reactionary in different ways.
“Water signs usually seek depth and emotional fulfillment, and above all, they are intuitive, creative, and sensitive.” —astrologer Carolyne Faulkner
What this may mean is your water-sign friends probably have a talented artistic eye and are the first to know something is wrong before you share even a hint of bad news. Though highly intuitive, since water signs are so sensitive, they’re at risk of drowning under the weight of how hard they feel their feelings.
“[They’re] prone to overreact or hold a grudge if their sensitivity is not accompanied by wisdom,” Faulkner says. “This is the element of the unseen, starred to conjure up visions and art derived from deeper feelings.”
If you’re a deep but delicate water sign, and you find yourself being pushed around by your emotions, how do you deal? “Learn to forgive and let go,” says Faulkner. “Partake in spiritual practices such as yoga, prayer and meditation.”
So, water signs, ride the wave, and don’t overthink everything. Because ultimately, all humans are just that: human.
And if you want to get into the specifics of your chart, learn a little bit more about how your rising sign reflects how people see you. Or, learn if your sign is categorized as one of the zodiac wheel’s biggest gossips.