Understanding The Elements

Understanding the Elements

Fire, Earth, Air, Water

I’m willing to bet you’re already somewhat familiar with the elements. Maybe you watched Avatar: The Last Airbender, or played video games with elementals; pop culture is full of references to the elements! But what exactly are the elements, anyways?

The elements make up everything in existence.

Just like the planets and signs, elements are archetypes that describe different states of existence. They can be used to describe physical things, as well as concepts and ideas. There are actually 5 elements, but today we’ll only be talking about 4 of them. The 5th element has many names: Ether, Essence, Spirit, etc. It’s in everything that exists and everything that doesn’t exist.

It’s easy to see the combination of elements in some things, like mud, but can be harder to see the combination in other things. Take humans, for example. Our bodies are earth, our intellect is air, our hearts are fire and our emotions are water.

The 4 elements aren’t literal.

It would be oversimplifying to say that everything that exists is made of literal fire, earth, air, and water. Instead, the elements are the embodiment of certain characteristics. Fire is heat and light, earth is solid and slow, air is dry and quick, and water is cold and dark. Have you ever heard the terms “air-head” or “hot-head”? That’s an example of how the elements are used to categorize things!

The signs are all associated with an element.

Everything works in cycles, especially the zodiac! Starting from Aries♈ and going all the way to Pisces♓ the elements rotate in the order of:

  • 🔥fire
  • 💎earth
  • 💨air
  • 💧water

So working through the signs would work like this:

  • ♈Aries……………🔥Fire
  • ♉Taurus………..💎Earth
  • ♊Gemini………..💨Air
  • ♋Cancer…………💧Water
  • ♌Leo………………🔥Fire
  • ♍Virgo…………..💎Earth
  • ♎Libra…………..💨Air
  • ♏Scorpio………..💧Water
  • ♐Sagittarius…..🔥Fire
  • ♑Capricorn……💎Earth
  • ♒Aquarius……..💨Air
  • ♓Pisces……………💧Water

The modes we talked about last time rotate in the same manner, but we’ll talk about those in a separate post soon enough. The combination of the signs and the planets they affect in someone’s natal chart will determine how much of each element is in that person’s personality. For now, let’s dig into the elements! First up is…

Fire: Hot and Passionate

Fire is explosive and active. It’s associated with life, passions, desires, and destruction. Aries♈, Leo♌, and Sagittarius♐ are all fire signs. When the fire in someone’s chart is well-balanced with the other elements, they tend to have confident, driven, inspirational personalities. Fire-types are expressive and tend to light up a room(pun intended).

When there is too much or too little fire in someone’s chart, they’ll either display the fire traits to the extreme, or over-compensate with qualities from other signs. That goes for all the elements, actually!

Too much fire can manifest as anger issues or an over-inflated ego.

Not enough fire can manifest as insecurity or lethargy.

Barack Obama on the phone and waving at someone off camera

Photo by History in HD on Unsplash

A notable example of a well balanced fire personality is former President of the United States of America, Barack Obama! Born on August 4th, Obama is a Leo.

Gordon Ramsay meme "Your meals are fit for a god; because they are all burnt offerings"
Not my meme

And a notable example of a more explosive fire personality is Gordon Ramsay, a Scorpio born November 8th!

But really, it all depends on how much of the other elements are present in a chart!

Spicy food, summertime, the color red, and acting are just a couple of things associated with fire. Candles and incense are too, of course!

The fire element has too many associations to name here, so let’s move on to…

Earth: Solid and Grounded

Earth is heavy and physical. It’s associated with the material world, organization(like the Laws of Nature), practicality, and control. The earth signs are Taurus♉, Virgo♍, and Capricorn♑. Well-balanced earth signs tend to be logical, restrained, loyal, and focused. Have you ever heard someone say someone is “their rock?” How about being “down to earth?” That type of dependability is typical of balanced earth signs!

Too much earth in a natal chart can show up as control issues, detachment from emotion, or stubbornness.

Not enough earth in a chart can result in unreliability or disorganization.

Uma Thurman wearing hoop earrings and holding a cup
Gorup de Besanez [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons

A famous example of a balanced earth sign is Uma Thurman! Shes a Taurus born April 29th.

Mother Teresa
Photo from WikiCommons

Another example of an earth sign is Mother Teresa, born August 26 and a Virgo.

Earth is associated with sweet foods, winter, crystals, gardening, and the color green, just to name a few things!

We can combine fire and earth to get ceramics and glass! There’s so many associations with earth, and all of the elements can be combined in countless ways to form new associations.

Next, there’s…

Air: Quick and Dry

Air is changeable and light. It’s associated with the intellect, lightheartedness, communication, and travel. Gemini
♊ , Libra ♎ , and Aquarius , ♒ are air signs. A balanced air personality usually has “the gift of gab,” many interests, and is always learning something new.

Too much air can turn people into chatterboxes or air-heads, and often turns into an abundance of nervous energy.

Not enough air in a chart can result in a lack of communication, or a heavy reliance on emotions without much logical thought.

One of the most famous women in the world is an air personality. Oprah Winfrey was born on January 26; she’s an Aquarius!

Oprah Winfrey next to quote "I was raised to believe that excellence is the best deterrent to racism or sexism. And that's how I operate my life."
Not my photo

Wait, Aquarius is an air element?

Yes! Even though Aquarius is called the Water-Bearer, it’s qualities line up with the element air! Think of pouring water into a pond or lake. The water forms ripples and waves that spread across the surface and can be thought of as a visual representation of the sound waves used in communication. Speaking of water, it’s about time we move on to…

Water: Flowing and Deep

Water is emotional and adaptable. It is intuitive, empathetic, private, and nurturing. The water signs are Cancer♋, Scorpio♏, and Pisces♓. Typical water signs are usually caring, private, and emotionally intelligent. They can be described as having a “go with the flow” type of attitude!

Too much water in a personality can manifest as reclusive behaviors or “cry-babies.”

Not enough water in a personality can make someone rigid and emotionless.

A great example of an empathetic and nurturing water personality is Steve Irwin! He was born on February 22, which makes him a Pisces!

Steve Iriwn the Crocodile Hunter
Richard Giles, aka User rich115 on Flickr [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia CommonsPhoto from WikiCommons

Another good example of a caring water sign is Frida Kahlo, a Cancer born July 6th!

Painter Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo *gelatin silver print *Oct. 16 / 1932, from WikiCommons

Overview of The Elements

The elements are a way to use natural language to describe groups of characteristics! Everything that exists can be said to be a combination of attributes from the 4 elements.

🔥Fire is hot, passionate kinetic energy.

💎Earth is grounded, practical potential energy.

💨Air is quick, logical kinetic energy.

💧Water is deep, emotional potential energy.

Read more about kinetic and potential energy here!


What element do you identify with the most? My charts have a lot of air! Tell me what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to like and subscribe!

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