Whether you’re astrology-obsessed or a casual horoscope reader, you’re probably aware of the 12 zodiac signs and some of their key similarities. I mean, there must be a reason why Aries and Sagittarius are both gutsy risk-takers, right? According to astrology, there is—and while each sign has their own individual quirks (nobody can top Leo’s confidence), they’re all divided into different subgroups with shared personality traits. Among these groupings are the four elemental types, or triplicities: earth signs, air signs, water signs, and fire signs—the feistiest of them all.

“Just like everything in the natural world relates to an element, each zodiac sign relates to one of the four elements, too,” says Narayana Montúfar, senior astrologer at Horoscope.com and Astrology.com. “And these, combined with the three modalities—cardinal, fixed, and mutable, which describe how each zodiac sign evolves and grows—help divide each one of the twelve zodiac signs into a unique combination of traits and characteristics.” Each of the four elements have three zodiac signs, which share tendencies and motivations.

When it comes to the fire signs—Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius—they’re known for their passion, creativity, spontaneity, inspiration, and competitive spirit. Fire signs are all about action, says Erin River Sunday, resident astrologer for Birthdate Candles Co. Their fierce qualities make them quick to take risks and put themselves first. “Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius are responsible for those magical moments of momentum that either ignite (Aries), sustain (Leo), or expand (Sagittarius),” Sunday explains.

Meet the Experts:
Narayana Montúfar is the senior astrologer at Horoscope.com and Astrology.com and author of Moon Signs: Unlock Your Inner Luminary Power.

Erin River Sunday is the resident astrologer for Birthdate Candles Co.

Donna Page is a professional astrologer with a graduate degree in counseling psychology.

Linda Joyce is a professional astrologer and author of The Day You Were Born: A Journey to Wholeness Through Astrology and Numerology.

“Overall, [they] desperately need to be inspired to be happy,” says professional astrologer Donna Page. “Think of the element of fire—it needs fuel. Otherwise, the fire dies down.” According to Page, fire signs can get “grumpy in their own way” when they don’t feel motivated to do something, which is why it’s so important for people who belong to these signs to mix things up regularly.

But there’s so much more to these fiery signs. Though they have some notable similarities, each sign has its own unique personality traits, so it’s worth getting familiar with all three. Ahead, learn everything you need to know about fire signs, according to professional astrologers.

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Okay, so... what are the fire signs?

Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius are the three fire signs of the zodiac, meaning they reside in this element’s sections of the astrological calendar. The fire element is emphasized in each sign’s personality traits, says Linda Joyce, professional astrologer and author of The Day You Were Born: A Journey to Wholeness Through Astrology and Numerology.

The elements represent our motivations, so think of fire signs as the most feisty of the bunch—ambitious, courageous, and brutally honest. “Fire is inspirational, passionate, impatient, warm, idealistic, and inventive,” says Joyce. “It can create and destroy.” So, yeah, emotionally intense is an understatement.

While the fire signs share the same sense of urgency and passion, the source of that passion varies for each sign, according to Sunday. For example, Aries is fired up by the act of creating something new, Leo craves the attention and notoriety of others, and Sagittarius beams with a lust for adventure, she explains.

And when expressing themselves, fire signs are all heart. They seize the moment, take risks, and worry about the consequences later. That's because “the fire sign’s vibe leans more active than passive,” Sunday says. So don’t expect this gutsy trio to hold back from going after what they want or to wait around for something to happen rather than make a move.

But worth noting: Though fire signs are generally action-oriented and intense, depending on where this element shows up on your chart, these traits may vary. Read on to learn about how these traits manifest when you have fire as your Sun, Moon, or rising sign.

If you have fire as your Sun sign…

Your Sun sign is the core of your spirit and how others may recognize you. Since the sun denotes your drive and attitude, Sunday explains that those with a fire Sun sign love to stand out in a crowd. “They easily gain attention and are typically outspoken,” she says. Additionally, having a fire Sun sign can make you energetic and hungry for new, thrilling experiences.

Those who are an Aries Sun are especially active and flirty, says Sunday. As the first sign of the zodiac, you might have an eagerness to learn new things the same way a child would. “They have a childlike wonder about the world and can vacillate between being the boss and the baby,” she says.

If you’re a Leo Sun, Sunday says you’re driven by your creativity—and your main character energy. “Leo Sun signs often find themselves in the limelight and are most themselves when they’re channeling their life force energy,” she explains. After all, part of the fun of life is being able to share your experiences with others, right?

Meanwhile, Sagittarius Sun signs are chronically curious and always itching to explore. You tend to be constantly evolving, yearning to learn and expand on your own philosophy, says Sunday. You’re always on the move and “it might be difficult for you to sit still for extended periods of time,” she adds.

If you have fire as your rising sign…

Your rising or ascendant sign reflects your outward exterior or the way you express yourself, specifically in social situations. (Fun fact: The planet that rules your rising sign is your chart ruler, so it’s worth noting that planet’s characteristics to get a feel for how it might manifest in your outward demeanor.)

Generally, “all fire sign ascendants tend to attract attention and aren’t afraid to show up authentically,” explains Sunday.

If you’re an Aries rising, your chart is ruled by Mars—the planet of action and drive. Aries risings are the most active of the rising signs, meaning they’re especially ambitious people who are eager to blaze the path forward, according to Sunday. “They’re the initiators of the zodiac and naturally take charge of any situation they find themselves in,” she says.

Meanwhile, those with a Leo rising have a reputation for being the life of the party. Leos are ruled by the sun, after all, which “quite literally brings light to their surroundings,” Sunday explains. You may be especially eager to derive a sense of self and relate your experiences through art in the hopes that it resonates with others, too.

For Sagittarius rising signs, they love to philosophize everything and express themselves through the experiences they’ve amassed through their travels. Plus, their optimism allows them to see the good in every situation, as well as in others. “They likely have more than a few travel stories under their belt and usually have great senses of humor,” says Sunday.

If you have fire as your Moon sign…

The moon rules your emotional sensitivity and your deepest desires. If you have a fire moon, these traits will express themselves in the heat of the moment, in emotional and vulnerable situations, or between intimate relationships. “Fire sign moons are very passionate when it comes to matters of the heart,” explains Sunday. As fire suggests, they can be a little hot-headed—and won’t hesitate to react when provoked.

Since Aries tends to be impatient, an Aries Moon may be prone to knee-jerk reactions. They’re upfront with others because they'd rather address their feelings head-on, explains Sunday. And when it comes to relationships, “they’re not afraid to be the pursuer (in fact, they prefer it) and have a special affinity for make-up sex,” Sunday says.

Leo is brave and honest, and those with a Leo Moon lean on their artistic side to express their emotions. “They’re the type to write love songs and paint their lover’s portraits and then rip them up dramatically when it’s over,” says Sunday. Safe to say, whatever Leo is feeling, they’ll reveal in a majorly dramatic way. (Lana Del Rey is a Leo Moon and that pretty much says it all.)

It’s true that Sagittarius Sun signs don’t shy away from climbing even the tallest of mountains, but as a Moon sign, they’re not as brave. In fact, they tend to be noncommittal and emotionally unavailable. “Sagittarius Moons might stir up conflict when things get too comfortable,” explains Sunday. But if there’s a chance for them to learn from their partner, they’ll take it. “They’re especially attracted to people from different backgrounds than their own,” Sunday adds.

How do each fire sign’s traits differ from one another?

As mentioned, while the fire signs share the same fiery element, each sign manifests this element in a different way. Here’s everything you need to know about the very specific traits of each of these ~igniting~ signs:

Aries (March 21-April 19)

Because Aries is also a cardinal sign (a.k.a. the natural born leaders of the astrology pack), action and impulsivity are the traits most closely associated with this fire sign, explains Montúfar. “Aries tends to act before speaking, facing situations and challenges head on,” she says. “This is also the sign of the zodiac that can be the most competitive, as it likes to be first.” It's no surprise that Aries signs are pretty freakin’ amazing at starting things, like projects and goals, but not so much at finishing them.

“They want to jump into things and take a chance,” Page adds. “They like risk and aren’t afraid to take it, even if it doesn’t work out. They know that sooner or later, something will click.”

That applies to relationships, too. “Aries knows that if you see something you want, why not go for it, whether it’s a job or going across a restaurant to introduce yourself to someone,” Page says. After all, what’s the worst that can happen?

Leo (July 23-August 22)

Leos are a fixed fire sign that know how to look inside themselves, explains Joyce. (If you’re a fixed sign, it means your Sun sign falls into the fixed quadruplicity, which is associated with traits like determination, stability, and following through on your goals.) “They separate their strengths and weaknesses, revealing their strengths to the world, and hiding their weaknesses until they are improved,” she says. “An evolved Leo will be open to learning and sharing what they know with others.”

So yeah, being friends, family, or significant other with a Leo is kiiind of the gift that keeps on giving. (They! Just! Want! To! Help!) “Inspiration and passion is used to evolve, to succeed, and to help others succeed,” adds Joyce. “To succeed requires hard work. And Leos are not afraid of doing the work to be the best.”

But Leos also want to be appreciated, Page says. “They want to be acknowledged for their gifts, [so,] if they’re in a work environment that’s just about collecting a paycheck, they will not be happy,” she notes. While Leos are generous with their time and great ideas, they love getting little gifts, too, Page points out. If a Leo changes something up, whether it’s their hair or their outfit, and their S.O. doesn’t notice, you better believe they’re going to be heated.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)

Spontaneous and exciting, mutable fire sign Sagittarius is the tireless seeker of truth, says Montúfar. (FYI, if your Sun sign falls into the mutable quadruplicity, this means you’re super flexible and easy-going.) “This sign’s type of fire is channeled toward learning and exploring the world around us in many different forms. Culture, spirituality, and diversity is this sign’s M.O., helping others see how important the big picture is,” Montúfar explains.

With a Sagittarius, passion becomes inspiration, Joyce adds. They take the insight and passion that fire gives them and translate it into wisdom, she explains. “Sagittarians seek ideals that inspire, and when they feel inspired, they can do the impossible.”

Sags also “like a challenge,” Page says, adding, “They have this deep need to be able to just go for it.” That can mean applying for a job that might seem slightly out of reach or asking for a raise with zero hesitation. On the relationship front, a Sagittarius wants to be with someone who believes in them and will happily talk about their dreams, even if it’s as big as taking a year off to travel the world, Page says.

Who is the leader of the fire signs?

Let’s get one thing straight: As the action-forward set of the zodiac, clearly, all fire signs are quick to take charge. But Sunday admits that, out of the three, “Aries is the fire sign that comes to mind when you think of traditional leadership qualities.”

Aries being the leader of the fire signs totally checks out considering that not only is Aries a cardinal sign, but they also happen to be the first sign in the zodiac wheel, meaning they’re literally born to lead the pack. “They enjoy being singled out and aren’t afraid to take big risks in pursuit of big rewards,” Sunday adds. A fearless disposition and tendency to lead the way—all traits of a great leader.

Which signs are most compatible with fire signs?

Astrological compatibility has a lot of variables (hint: see your Venus sign), but having harmonious elements may indicate natural chemistry. You can get a gist of how fire might jive with the other elements based on their relationship out in the natural world. Out of the other four triplicities, air signs are the most compatible with this fiery element because “fire quite literally needs air to survive!” Sunday explains.

Your element determines how you relate to your partner, how you support each other in your expression of yourselves, and your general outlook on life, explains Sunday. Fire signs are bold and adventurous, which pairs well with the curiosity and apt social skills of air signs.

Mutable air sign Gemini is a particular favorite of these fiery signs, especially for sister sign Sagittarius, “because they’re quick enough to keep up with them,” says Sunday. The independent nature of Aquarius also makes a good match for fire signs “because they enjoy their own space and won’t be clingy when the fire sign needs to move,” she explains. The diplomatic party animal, a.k.a Libra, is a supportive companion as well, Sunday says, since they’re always down for a good time. Burn, baby, burn!

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Korin Miller

Korin Miller is a freelance writer who lives by the beach. She has big hopes to own a teacup pig and taco truck one day.

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Freelance Writer

Brittany Beringer-Tobing is a freelance writer, mystic, creator, and full-time Aquarius based in San Diego, CA. Her bylines have appeared in POPSUGAR, Bustle, Well+Good, Frenshe, Thought Catalog, and more. She was formerly an astrology writer at Bustle where she covered all things mystical—from lunar forecasts and numerology to manifestation rituals and retrograde dos and don’ts. Outside of writing in the cosmic realm, you can catch Brittany casting spells, listening to true crime, and dancing the night away.