Whooshing waves of emotion, free-flowing tears, and mysterious depth—it’s time to dive into the world of water signs. While they’re frequently known as the emotional trio of Western astrology, Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces have a lot more welling up inside. “They need security, they need a safe home,” says Tali Edut, one half of The AstroTwins, ELLE’s resident astrologers. “They need to feel heard and seen and understood.” Below, learn what else lies below the watery surface.

Water Sign Dates

Cancer: June 21–July 22

Scorpio: October 23–November 21

Pisces: February 19–March 20

Water Sign Traits

a watercolor painting of a flower and two large drops of water
Leah Romero

Much like water itself, Edut says water signs are emotionally fluid and their moods shift by the minute. “They have to change outfits a few times a day.” But water signs are also sensitive to the nuances of interpersonal dynamics and need to have a feeling of security—a safe home and relationships where they feel heard, seen, and understood. “They care about how people are feeling,” she says. “They can also get sucked up in those feelings.”

If you have a water sign for your sun sign...

...you’re a nurturing person who’s all about your family and your home. “When you’re a water sun sign, the people who are close to you, you kind of define yourself through that,” Edut explains. “The people close to you are important to your identity.”

If you have a water sign for your rising sign...

...you can be perceived as a “giant mush,” Edut says. You cry at the drop of a hat and tend to be emotionally reactive. “Very tapped into immediate vibes.”

If you have a water sign for your moon sign...

...you’re great at intuiting other people’s feelings. But, as Edut explains, that sometimes means you sacrifice your own. “When you have a water sign moon, you have to really work on being vulnerable and knowing which emotions are yours and which ones you’re psychically picking up from other people.”

Water Sign Compatibility

Fire and water can mix well together, but it can get steamy fast. “It also gets a little too hot to handle,” Edut says. “You have to be be constantly regulating the temperature, taking breaks, and being mindful of your reactions.” Water and earth, on the other hand, are similar in that they crave a certain level of security and stability. “Water can get earth to open up more,” she adds. Air and water are a weird mix, but they can bond over their interests in more obscure things. “They both have this way of loving to discover quirky things. It’s an artistic and creative match between them.” However, it may feel a little superficial for water signs, Edut says, while air signs “might feel like they’re getting sucked into drama that they don’t really want.”

Cancer Traits

Traditionally referred to as the “mother” sign, Cancers are known to be nurturing—though only for people they care about. “It takes a minute to be let into a Cancer’s world and past their shell,” Edut explains. “Once you are, they’ll feed you, they’ll remember your birthday, they’ll send a card.” But know that Cancers are pretty sensitive and can easily get their feelings hurt, often taking things personally. They’re also the cardinal water signs, meaning they’re a bit bossy and love to take charge. “They’re really great leaders, actually,” Edut says. “That doesn’t get said enough.” Case in point: Some famous Cancers include Mindy Kaling, Ariana Grande, and Meryl Streep—all leaders in their respective fields.

Scorpio Traits

Scorpios are the fixed water sign and, in turn, the most routine-driven of the bunch. “They like to sit down and go deep into something. They’re obsessive in terms of their focus.” This can make them really good at coding, finance, and statistics. “They’re very much the detectives of the zodiac, but they’re also very mysterious,” Edut says. “They’re secretive, they don’t like to be read, they’re private. Sometimes, they cover that up by being very loud and obnoxious.” Drake and Hillary Clinton? Both famous Scorpios.

Pisces Traits

Lastly, Pisces are the mutable water sign. “They’re definitely the ebb and flow,” Edut explains. “They’ll disappear one day, come back.” Pisces rule the dream realm and are typically in their own world, making them amazing artists. (Take Rihanna, Justin Bieber, and Millie Bobby Brown—some of our most famous Pisces—for example.) Pisces are also super compassionate and big-hearted. “If you’re okay with not being able to pin them down, they will always be there.” The most understanding of the zodiac signs, Pisces like to help underdogs, but in turn, they can make a lot of sacrifices and then disappear when they get resentful. “They really struggle with boundaries,” Edut adds.

Rapid-Fire Questions

What’s the best present to buy a water sign?

Edut: Definitely clothes from their favorite designer. Water signs need their clothes to be conversation pieces, icebreakers, something that’s unique to them.

Is there an ideal career path for water signs?

Edut: They do their best work in privacy or at least need to have bouts of privacy, even if they’re working with people. A job that lets them go out into the public, but then go back to their cave and assess.

What would you recommend as the next movie or TV show that a water sign should watch?

Edut: I would say Yellowjackets season 2—all about what happens [next], group dynamics, and emotions.

Headshot of Madison Feller
Madison Feller

Madison is a senior writer/editor at ELLE.com, covering news, politics, and culture. When she's not on the internet, you can most likely find her taking a nap or eating banana bread.