Understand the Water Signs of the Zodiac

Published March 27, 2019
Full Frame Shot Of Water

Astrology has four elements: Fire, Earth, Air, and Water. Of the four elements, water is the most powerful and encompassing. Water is fluid, flowing, and wavering. It has no shape or boundaries. It can conform to the other elements, or it can destroy them. The Water signs are Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces. The Water houses are the fourth, eighth, and twelve houses of the zodiac.

Water Is Nature's Most Powerful Force

Water stills the wind, erodes the land, and quenches fires. Understanding the power water has over the air, fire and earth, can help you understand the emotional power of astrology's Water signs.

  • Air is inconstant. Gales grow calm, tornadoes and hurricanes run their course; they are powerful and destructive but only temporary. Water can make Air so heavy that it stills the wind and days become soggy and humid.
  • Fire can destroy Mother Earth by consuming her vegetation, but like Air, fire is only temporary. A fire can be extinguished when the fuel source is depleted, it is deprived of air, and fire is really no match for water.
  • Earth can contain water and water shapes earth. Even the hardest granite can be worn to sand by water. Ice can expand and split rocks. Waves can remove beaches and alter shorelines. However, water that flows can also resculpt the earth and create wonders like the Grand Canyon.

The Water Signs: Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces

Watery descriptions like fluid, flowing, wavering, and destructive can easily be applied to human emotions, and emotions are where astrology's Water element exerts its force the most powerfully.

Positive Traits

Positively, Water signs are:

  • Intuitive, empathetic, and even psychic
  • Receptive, emotional, and nurturing
  • Compassionate, understanding, and helpful
  • Artistic and imaginative
  • Enchanting, considerate and romantic

Negative Traits

A Water sign gone bad can:

  • Be brooding, moody, and stagnant
  • Be self-indulgent and impulsive
  • Emotionally manipulative
  • Live in a fantasy world
  • Want to escape reality

The Water element represents the realm of deep emotions and feeling responses, ranging from compulsive passions to overwhelming fears. You should never underestimate the power of the Water signs.

Same Element, Different Modality

Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces are grouped together because they share an emotional engagement with the world and those in it. However, they are different in their modes of operation. It's the three Modalities - Cardinal, Fixed, and Mutable - that give each sign further definition and separates one from the other.

Cancer: Cardinal Water

Cancer is the Cardinal Water sign of the zodiac. Like the waters of a fast-moving stream as it winds and explores its way toward a farm pond or river, Cancer actively explores emotional connections. Cancer is the most empathetic of the water signs. And true to it's Cardinal modality, Cancer's emotions are fast moving, can erupt unexpectedly, and are subject to change.

Cancer Zodiac Sign

Scorpio: Fixed Water

Scorpio is the Fixed Water sign of the zodiac. Scorpio water is like that of a dark swamp; humid and soggy, filled with thorns and thickets, unmoving but teeming with hidden life below its still murky surface. Scorpio's emotions are extreme, dark, deep, and mysterious. Scorpio is the most emotionally receptive and most emotionally secretive sign of the zodiac. True to its Fixed modality, Scorpio emotions are as contained and controlled as they are extreme.

Scorpio Zodiac Sign

Pisces: Mutable Water

Pisces is the Mutable water sign of the zodiac. Pisces water is like the all-encompassing waters of the oceans, it knows no bounds and can't be contained. Pisces has oceanic awareness and is the most intuitive sign of the zodiac. True to its Mutable Modality, it feels in every direction and there no human emotion Pisces doesn't recognize. Pisces sees all shades of emotion.

Pisces Zodiac Sign

Compatibility Related to the Elements

The elements are essential for understanding relationship astrology (synastry.) The elements of compatible astrological signs have a mutually harmonious exchange of energy, which creates satisfaction, vitalization and a feeling of completeness in the pairing.

Earth Paired With Water

The Earth signs are Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn. When Earth and Water signs fall in love, they stand an excellent chance of enjoying an intimate, committed and loving relationship. Earth contains, thrives on and soaks up Water's tenderness, while Water finds Earth's grounded dependability to be stabilizing and reassuring. Together, they can make an intimate couple with a secure stable relationship.

Fire Signs Paired With Water

The Fire signs are Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. Water can be enlivened by Fire's exciting, adventurous spirit, and it will be a steamy affair for as long as it lasts. Both are passionate but in different ways. Fire's passion is expressed outwardly, while Water's passion runs silent, deep and strong. Of course, just like water poured onto a fire, a Water sign's emotionalism could end up dousing a Fire sign's naturally high energy.

Water Paired With Water

When a Water sign falls in love with another Water sign, it can be intuitive devotion at its finest. They don't need words to express what they're feeling, they can intuitively tune into one another's emotions. But there's also the problem that they will continually be dragging one another down emotionally which can make it hard to keep their love afloat.

Air Paired With Water

The Air signs are Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius. When a Water sign and Air sign fall in love, their connection is likely to be strained. The Air signs live in their heads they are the least emotionally expressive signs of the zodiac while the Water signs connect with everything emotionally. Due to their differences, Water can end up feeling emotionally neglected and misunderstood, while Air can end up viewing Water as overly sensitive, sentimental or melodramatic.

The Water Houses

The Water houses - the fourth, eighth, and twelfth houses - have strong spiritual connotations. If these houses are emphasized (contain several planets) in a birth chart, they create a reflective, contemplative, and meditative personality.


What they have in common:

  • All deal with instinctual and conditioned emotional responses
  • Planets in these houses reveal what's happening on a subconscious level and indicate memories and fears that hold you back.


How they differ:

  • The fourth house is personal
  • The eighth house is social or interpersonal
  • The twelfth house is universal or collective

Your Dominate Element

Every birth chart contains all four elements, and a person may sometimes identify with their birth chart's dominate element more so than the element of their Sun sign. You can find your dominant element by looking at your entire birth chart and synthesizing it based on the planets, houses, and signs. However, there's also a free tool at Astrotheme that can quickly and easily do this for you.

Understand the Water Signs of the Zodiac