Signs of Letting Go, the Mutable Signs

2017-06-12 08.07.00


As I have previously discussed, the tropical zodiac is based on the seasons. Each season begins with a cardinal sign and deepens with a fixed sign. Yet, all good things must end, and so must every season. Spring gives way to summer, summer gives way to fall, fall gives way to winter, and winter gives way to spring. So it has been for thousands upon thousands of years before, and so it will be for thousands of years to come. In Japan, the Ise Jingu shrine is torn down and rebuilt every 20 years. In this way, the skills and technology necessary for building the shrine are passed down from generation to generation. It is this impermanence that allows the shrine to endure into perpetuity. As of today, this shrine has endured for around 1,300 years. In a similar fashion, it is the mutable signs that end each season and allow the cycles of time to turn.

The mutable signs are the adaptable and yielding signs of the zodiac. They neither initiate change nor resist it. In the past, they were known as the common signs, and in Japanese, they are called 柔軟宮, juunan kyuu, or flexible signs. People with a predominance of mutable signs are curious and easy going. They like many different types of experience. They are able to “go with the flow.” People lacking in mutable signs have trouble adapting to change and to circumstances outside of their control.

Now that we have talked about the mutable signs as a group, let us look at them individually.

Gemini the Twins

双子座 (Futago Za)

Mutable Air


Human Archetype:

The Student



Planets Dignified in Gemini:

Mercury, Ruler and Night Triplicity Ruler*; Saturn Day Triplicity Ruler; Jupiter, Participating Triplicity Ruler

Planet Debilitated in Gemini:

Jupiter, Detriment**

Parts of Body:

Arms and hands

General Characteristics:

Gemini is the Jack of All Trades, Master of None. She wants to try everything. Gemini is interested in any subject and wants to get involved in anything that is going on. Gemini is talkative and busy. Gemini is quite fond of words and will often play with them. At best, Gemini is open-minded, friendly, and curious. At worst, Gemini is flighty, fickle, and indecisive.

Virgo the Virgin

乙女座 (Otome Za)

Mutable Earth


Human Archetype:

The Secretary



Planets Dignified in Virgo:

Mercury, Ruler and Exalted; Venus, Day Triplicity Ruler; Moon, Night Triplicity Ruler; Mars, Participating Triplicity Ruler

Planets Debilitated in Virgo:

Jupiter, Detriment; Venus, Fall**

Part of Body:


General Characteristics:

Virgo is meticulous and precise but has a tendency to miss the forest for the trees. Despite Virgo’s meticulous nature, sometimes she will be untidy because if she cannot do something perfectly she will not do it at all. At best, Virgo is conscientious, detail oriented, and precise, with a sharp intellect. At worst, Virgo is a brutal perfectionist, ruthlessly finding fault in self and others.

Sagittarius the Archer

射手座 (Ite Za)

Mutable Fire


Human Archetype:

The Explorer



Planets Dignified in Sagittarius:

Jupiter, Ruler and Night Triplicity Ruler; Sun, Day Triplicity Ruler; Saturn, Participating Triplicity Ruler

Planet Debilitated in Sagittarius:

Mercury, Detriment

Parts of Body:


General Characteristics:

Sagittarius is the Archer, and her motto is, “I shot an arrow into the air, where it landed, I know not where.” Nor does she care. Sagittarius is enthusiastic and engaging. What Sagittarius lacks in manners, she makes up for in charm and sense of humor. Sagittarius likes to expound and pontificate but can be overconfident at times. Sagittarius’ charm and friendliness allow her to get away with gaffes and social blunders in a way that no other sign can. At best, Sagittarius is optimistic, generous, and friendly. At worst, Sagittarius is pompous, overconfident, and bold to the point of rashness.

Pisces the Fish

魚座 (Uo Za)

Mutable Water


Human Archetype:

The Dreamer



Planets Dignified in Pisces:

Jupiter, Ruler; Venus, Exalted and Day Triplicity Ruler; Mars, Night Triplicity Ruler; Moon, Participating Triplicity Ruler

Planet Debilitated in Pisces:

Mercury, Detriment and Fall

Parts of Body:


General Characteristics:

Pisces is a very sweet, gentle, compassionate, and self-sacrificing sign, but is the sign least suited to the modern world. Practicality and terrestrial matters are often quite beyond Pisces, and she tends to float away in her watery dreams. Pisces will see the big picture easily but has no understanding or head for details. Although Pisces must be careful of getting lost in her fantasy life, she absolutely needs to have time to retreat from the harsh realities of everyday life. At best, Pisces is gentle, kind, loving, and compassionate. At worst, Pisces is inconstant and impractical, with escapist tendencies.


*There are several different versions of Triplicity Rulers. I use the Dorothean Triplicity Rulers.

**Sometimes planets are both dignified and debilitated in the same sign. There do exist quantitative methods of analyzing dignity and debility in which they cancel each other out; however, I prefer a more qualitative approach that considers both.

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