Fire, Earth, Air and Water in Astrology
In order to better understand the 12 signs, along with the symbolisms involved in a birth chart, we have to present the 4 elements of nature (Fire, Earth, Air, Water), based on which the zodiac signs
are divided into four groups of three signs each:
Fire: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
Earth: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
Air: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
Water: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
If we give careful consideration to the 4 elements, we will perceive the rules underpinning their interaction with one another (e.g. water extinguishes fire, while air makes it grow stronger), and we will then be able to extend them to the interaction among the 12 signs
Fire signs are distinguished for their enthusiastic, active nature and, along with the signs belonging to the element of Air, they exhibit a positive, upward, extroverted energy/temperament. Fire mainly generates warmth and light; accordingly, Fire signs are renowned for their generosity, their idealism, their persistent need for a vision and their ceaseless efforts to spiritually evolve through it. People belonging to a Fire sign can hardly be called defeatists and strongly dislike passivity. They are spontaneous, optimistic, and buoyant, with a tendency to ‘look upwards’.
It should be noted, though, that people with Fire too prominent in their birth chart are generally prone to childish behaviours, as they tend to heedlessly dive into anything new that comes their way and often end up disappointed, due to their inability to set realistic goals. That is why it is extremely important, on the one hand, that the elements should be balanced in a birth chart, and on the other, that every birth chart should be examined as a whole –not in parts.
Earth is solid, fertile, and stable; by extension, people belonging to Earth signs are realists, practical, and grounded, with a deep perception of the material world and an intense need to feel productive and useful. They seek financial security, and, contrary to Fire people, they struggle to preserve what they already have instead of striving for more. Individuals with Earth prominent in their birth chart accept the limits obtaining within a materialistic society and abide by its rules, recognising the obligations and the responsibilities that stem from being a part of it.
On the other hand, if the element of Earth features too prominently in somebody’s birth chart, they will tend to fearfully refrain from taking any risks and, consequently, their personal development will be hindered. Their need to preserve what they have acquired and their fear of losing it often lead them to suppress their feelings, by enduring people and situations that imprison them in an unpleasant reality.
Air signs resemble their element in that they are elusive, ever-moving, and unstable. The fact that they are not symbolically represented by animals, but either by human figures (Gemini, Aquarius) or by an object (Libra), points to their more ‘civilised’, humanistic nature.
What characterises people with Air prominent in their birth chart is their need for communication, their sociability, and their capacity for approaching matters in a rational, objective manner. If the element of Air is too prominent, however, they have the tendency to view things from a theoretical perspective, without considering whether their ideas can be practically implemented. That is why they are overcome with stress and indecisiveness when faced with the distance separating their theory from actual practice.
While Fire people envision something, Earth people put it into practice, and Air people become fully knowledgeable about it, Water people form sentimental bonds with it.
Water is a source of life and is characterised by the fact that it always lays ‘low’. This also constitutes the principal trait of Water signs, whose energy –resembling that of Earth signs and contrasting with that of Fire and Air ones– is introverted and downwards.
People with Water prominent in their birth chart have a profound need for emotional safety, which renders them extremely sensitive and vulnerable. Their emotional state tends to transform very often, due to their ability to sense the ambience prevailing. Their problem, if Water features too prominently in their birth chart, is that, in the same way that water has no form and takes the shape of its container, they tend to lose themselves in the mood of those surrounding them and hence often emotionally depend on others.
Although it is impossible for an element to be completely absent from a birth chart, it is not uncommon for one to be comparatively weak or lacking, with its energy thus feeling unfamiliar to the individual. In this case, the weak element tends to emerge from extraneous sources. For instance, someone lacking Air in their chart is likely to counterbalance the lack by socialising with people with said element prominent in theirs.
People lacking Fire are often characterised by low self-esteem and lack confidence in the diverse situations they are called to handle in their everyday life; the lack of the element of Earth causes one to be alienated from their body and the physical world and to have an ill-defined perception of their limits; those lacking Air tend to become too absorbed in details, thus missing the big picture, and feel uncomfortable socialising and handling their co-existence with others; and those whose chart is lacking in Water are not conversant with their emotions and find it difficult to understand and control them.
What needs to be underlined is that, in any case, the less familiar energy might be present in the houses of an individual’s birth chart, thus helping her/him identify it and channel it in the direction pertaining to each house (e.g. it might be present in one’s 7th house, which relates to personal relationships, or in their 10th one, which concerns professional matters).