“Well, of course I said that, I’m an [insert Sun sign here]!” If you’re even remotely interested in astrology, you’ve probably uttered some variation of this statement about the zodiac sign that rules your personality. But the same way your Sun sign helps determine your daily interactions, it’s also ruled by one of four elements that further influences why you are the way you are: air, fire, earth, and water.
Each of these four natural forces controls three zodiac signs. And while they allow each its individuality, being ruled by the same element makes for some pretty cool commonalities, including quirks and opinions, that become more apparent the more familiar you get with the ruling element.
ICYDK, the three water signs are Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces. These signs don’t shy away from deep and heavy conversations and can typically suss out what someone’s got going on beneath the surface, says Narayana Montúfar, senior astrologer at Astrology.com. “They see right through people and know their real intentions. Signs of this element are also very prone to be in relationships, as their need to merge with another means they function better when they feel safe and protected,” she explains. “Plus, the sensitivity that comes from the water element also translates into great creativity.”
Meet the experts: Narayana Montúfar is the senior astrologer at Astrology.com and author of Moon Signs: Unlock Your Inner Luminary Power.
Valerie Mesa is a clairvoyant astrologer and writer based in Miami, Florida.
Megan Michelena is an astrologer, certified holistic nutritionist, and co-founder of Zenchronicity.
When it comes to water signs, you’ll likely notice they are intuitive and emotionally fluid, adds astrologer Valerie Mesa. Much like water itself, which ebbs and flows, water signs can easily adapt to any situation and, as a result, have pretty reliable gut feelings, high emotional intelligence, and are not easily fooled.
If you’re starting to make connections between your sign and this ruling element, water might have more of an influence on your temperament than you’ve previously given it credit for. But it’s never too late to take a deep dive (pun intended) into the power of water and what it means for your zodiac sign.
Ahead, astrologers explain exactly what it means to be a water sign, how these three signs embody the traits they’ve inherited, and if water signs are truly the psychics of the Zodiac.
Get to know the water signs:
Cancer (June 21 - July 22)
Meet the most sentimental sign of the Zodiac. “Those born under this cardinal water sign could struggle with someone who isn’t in touch with their emotions, or perhaps a bit apathetic to another person’s needs,” says Mesa. “They strive to make the people around them feel as safe as possible, and they expect the same in return.”
If they get that from you, you’ll get passionate loyalty in return. A Cancer sign will shower you with affection and nurture your relationship with everything they have. But be careful, if they feel betrayed or crossed, Cancers will retreat into their shell and snatch that loving energy right back, says Mesa.
Because they’re so empathetic, Cancers hate rigidity and won’t tolerate mistreatment of themselves and the people they care about, adds Montúfar. Once a Cancer determines they can trust you, they’ll open up to you and you’ll have a friend for life.
Scorpio (October 23 - November 21)
This sign is often misunderstood, says Montúfar. But they only seem complex, she notes. In reality, they’ve got tons of emotional depth. Thing is, it might take a while to see that. Scorpio is a fixed sign, meaning the water that rules it is also fixed, making them guarded, adds Mesa.
“For some, their enigmatic nature could come across as ‘shady’ or unapproachable but, in reality, this is how Scorpios protect their heart,” she explains. This is why they’d rather have a few deep connections than a ton of shallow ones: “They’re either a ride-or-die or not in the least bit interested.”
In a ride-or-die situation, you can expect honesty, support, and commitment. And should you ever find yourself in a jam, it’s the Scorpio in your life who will help you come up with a solution or find someone who’ll have the answer, says Montúfar. But the second they sense superficiality or deceit, they’ll consider that a betrayal. They want the whole truth and nothing but...even though Scorpios are the type to take their secrets to the grave, Mesa points out.
Learn more about Scorpio zodiac signs in this video:
Pisces (February 19 - March 20)
Since Pisces is “governed by the elusive Neptune—the planet of dreams, fantasy, illusions, and universal love,” chances are, there’ll be something about them that you can’t quite put your finger on, explains Mesa.
“Pisces struggles when it comes to setting boundaries, as they are innately preoccupied with saving the underdog,” she adds. As a result, those born into this sign are usually social workers, healers, artists, and empaths.
They’re deeply connected to the world around them, constantly dishing out unconditional love, which is awesome for those around them. But what is a blessing to others can sometimes be a curse for Pisces, since people will likely burden them with their problems. In the end, though, a Pisces sign might say it’s worth it because they ultimately want the world to be a better place, says Montúfar.
Who is the leader of the water signs?
While each water sign is a leader in their own right, one sign in particular stands out among the rest, says astrologer Megan Michelena. And that’s Scorpio.
“Scorpio is the most dynamic of all the [astrological] signs. Its traditional ruler is Mars, making this sign very odd indeed. Though it is a water sign, Mars is ruled by fire,” says Michelena. “It’s also a feminine sign, but Mars is a masculine planet. So here is where the Scorpio gets its true sting.”
“With the combined power of masculine and feminine energy, [Scorpio] is not one to mess with and is by far the leader of the water signs and possibly the rest of the Zodiac,” she adds. Known for being intense, often mysterious, and some of the most sexually powerful people, dynamic Scorpios energetically take charge when it comes to their element. They rightly earn the title of leader, TBH.
Which signs are most compatible with water signs?
While water flows easily, it’s also one of the most difficult elements to manipulate. Because they feel so deeply and are often in tune with what everyone else is feeling, trying to convince a water sign they’re wrong is a pretty tough battle. For this reason, they can come off as a bit intense to some of the other elements, says Montúfar. Namely fire signs and air signs. “Fire signs can sometimes feel that water signs ruin their ‘high’,” she notes. “After all, water dissipates fire. And air signs are just too logical and fact-driven for water signs, as water signs know that feelings can’t be intellectualized.”
Earth signs, on the other hand, love a water sign. “Water nurtures the earth, and the earth holds the water in all her depths,” explains Michelena. In other words, water signs and earth signs just get each other.
And ICYDK, each water sign has an opposing earth sign, or “sister sign,” a.k.a their most compatible counterpart, too. “Cancer is opposed by Capricorn, representing the mother and father energies. Virgo opposes Pisces, so Virgo brings logic and understanding to the limitless Pisces. [While] Taurus opposes Scorpio, bringing light and love to the deep depths of a Scorpio’s emotional world,” says Michelena.
Are water signs truly psychic?
Often known for their emotional capacity and flowy nature, water signs also have a reputation for being interconnected with the world at large in a different way—ahem, metaphysically speaking.
Although the concept may seem far-fetched, Michelena shares that there are certain traits of one sign, in particular, that lend people under this water sign to have some “psychic” abilities and awareness. “[Pisces] represents the interconnected cosmic consciousness,” she explains. “Jesus was even represented by the sign of Pisces, indicating just how powerful this sign can be. They can play the role of victim, villain, and messiah depending on whether they decide to be the upstream swimmer or the dead fish that lets the tide take them,” Michelena adds.
Lexi Inks (she/her) is a lifestyle journalist based in Jacksonville, Florida. She has reported on countless topics, including sexual wellness, astrology, relationship issues, non-monogamy, mental health, pop culture, and more. In addition to Women’s Health, her work has been published on Bustle, Cosmopolitan, Well + Good, Byrdie, Popsugar, and others. As a queer and plus-size woman with living with mental illness, Lexi strives for intersectionality and representation in all of her writing. She holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Jacksonville University, which she has chosen to make everyone’s problem.