Inside the astrological elements
FIRE SIGNS: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
– ‘warm dry masculine’ element.
The astrological elements are life in the raw. Fire,
Earth, Air and Water are not merely abstract categories but elemental
realities. Knowing your own elemental makeup is a signpost back to that
larger reality often obscured by daily life’s schedules and demands.
Regardless of mental perceptions, your real nature is raw Nature.
A Healing Potential
Because the Sun’s sign represents your
radiant style and solar purpose, if you wish, you can simply read that
as your dominant element. Yet if you want to know more, explore the
energy balance of all the planets at the time you took your first breath.
This personal birth information is easily accessed, see the end of this
article. To get a sense of your own picture, take particular notice
of the Big Three - Sun, Moon and Ascendant. These are the key to your
element type and in that order. If all three are in three different
elements, check other planets – particularly Mars and Venus, to
find a ‘kingmaker’. Air and Fire back each other up, as
do Earth and Water. Even though the Sun is your life purpose personified,
it sometimes is weak in your chart and outnumbered by another element
It's A Delicate Balance
Let’s explore each of the elements for their
healing potential. Each element can both disrupt and restore balance.
Remember that your sense of self is going to be most identified with
your dominant element. At the same time, any healing crisis and its
transformational energy could correspond with your weakest or ‘missing’
element. Your birth chart spotlights your personal mix. The path of
wholeness also embraces each element’s form of healing love.
Health Types, Healing Processes
The Fire element includes Leo, Sagittarius and Aries and it is an extraverted ‘warm, dry and masculine element’. Aries is the hottest of these warm signs because it is the ‘cardinal’ spontaneous action-oriented sign; Leo holds on to its fiery passions with the most determination because it is ‘fixed’ and Sagittarius disperses and spreads fiery energy in a wide range of ideas, plans and suggestions because it is ‘mutable’. All Fire signs have a strong will to action and to free self-expression, so are not known for their tact or patience – fire burns! They are known for their enthusiasm, energy, inspirations, high ideals and for rushing into things with child-like confidence. Fire energises, inspires and creates.
A lack of the Fire element can show itself as a lack
of confidence and liveliness and even as a weak digestion and low energy.
Challenges can evoke fear and hesitation. Faith in life can be hard
to find. Our language pays homage to Fire when we talk of being ‘all
fired up’. On the contrary, a lack of Fire makes spontaneous moves
Fire’s Healing Love
These passionate romantic idealists will confront or flame up in pride or anger - with alarming speed. Put two Fire types together and it’s a combustible romance! Those who want to cool down a fiery partner will find that agreement or humour work like a charm. Mostly they run hot, driven by the fire in their heart. This is the most optimistic and joyful element, so getting a little singed comes with the territory. But burns heal and magical moments can last a lifetime. Fire stirs romantic dreams and energises the true adventure into the heart. Sexual and spiritual healing can merge.
Solid steady strides, self-control, ambition and determination announce an Earth sign. They have a challenging task embracing reality with all of its faults, tending to the task of life in the material plane, nurturing ambition.
The Earth element includes Virgo, Capricorn and Taurus and it is a ‘feminine’ gender, introverted, ‘cool, dry, element’. Capricorn is the most reserved and determined because it is a ‘cardinal’ driven sign, with formidable ambition. Taurus extends the physical senses with appreciation and pleasure, holding onto people and things, because it is ‘fixed’. Virgo the ‘mutable’ Earth sign analyses and manages situations to achieve perfection, ever re-designing and serving. Earth signs have strong resistance, staying power and respect for the status quo so they are slow to embrace change – Earth builds substance.
Earth’s Crisis Mode
The alchemical mode of transformation linked to Earth
is called ‘coagulatio’ or falling into earth. Again, in
common usage, we describe a reality check as ‘hitting rock bottom’.
Naturally the body and its mortal limits catch up with us in an earthy
crisis and there will be the feeling of being stuck and restricted by
physical limitations, caught in the Wasteland. These crisis modes are
not limited to your Sunsign element, rather, as Kat Duff says “we
slip in and out of them, back and forth among them…according to
our temperamental inclinations and the requirements of our souls.”(3)
The solidifying, constraining qualities of Earth can crystallise and strangle growth, just like soil turned to desert. Yet Earth is all about getting physical, hands-on, embodying life, so earthy wisdom instils patience, regularity and discipline to make the journey of recovery. Earth types also help others in practical ways and can ground an inspiration. They can ‘hold it together’ in challenging situations that unsettle others. Realism, stability and simplicity are earthy strengths that heal with a return to natural rhythms, regular time spent in nature and an attitude of slow growth towards clearly defined goals.
A lack of Earth can show itself as irresponsibility
and evasion, ignoring basic physical maintenance like good food and
rest. There can be a sense of being rootless and anxious, even in the
face of material opportunities.
Invisible, ethereal, essential – Air is all of these. The clear lofty realm of the mind is Air’s stomping ground and a detached, logical yet engaging style of communication, announce an Air sign. They are challenged to make sense of the human condition, no easy task.
The airy trio includes Libra, Gemini and Aquarius and it is a ‘warm moist’ element of an extraverted ‘masculine’ gender. As the ‘cardinal’ Air, Libra leads relationships, defines cooperation and likes to design the “We”. ‘Fixed’ Air Aquarius holds onto opinions and seeks to build community with great determination, while ‘mutable’ Gemini is the perpetual youth who enjoys the mind play and gathers a variety of information and experience. The not so charming side of Air, commonly referred to as ‘an air-head’, may avoid and rationalise their own emotions, while evaluating others like a butterfly on a pin. Yet Air makes the connections and oils the works of social life and learning.
Air’s Crisis Mode
The alchemical process of transformation linked to Air is called ’sublimatio’ or rising into air. During Air’s healing crisis we try to rise above the situation – “transcendence on the one hand and isolation and detachment on the other.”(3) This can be the physical numbness trauma invokes, or stepping out of the body into the head. If this manifests as philosophical acceptance that can be healing but the extreme of mental denial invites a flip into an opposite state like fiery anger or emotional disintegration.
A lack of Air can show itself as someone who is excessively subjective, uncooperative and threatened by new ideas. There can be resistance to articulating ideas and reasons, even outright suspicion of reflection as a mode of thinking. As astrologer/psychologist Stephen Arroyo explains: the nervous system can be weak and there can be “ a lack of satisfaction in close relationships stemming from their inability to cooperate effectively.” (4)
Water includes Scorpio, Pisces and Cancer and it is a ‘feminine’ gender, introverted ‘cool moist’ element. Water follows an inward path that flows deep. Cancer is ‘cardinal’, so is driven to protect and nurture family and home while ‘fixed’ Scorpio focuses the willpower to achieve powerful desires. ‘Mutable’ Pisces is more oceanic in their ability to embrace a changing array of feelings, projects and causes.
A lack of Water can show itself as a lack of sympathy for the feelings of others, an overly formal style of interacting, fear of psychic impressions and a tendency to swing between obsessive sensuality and aloofness. Since water flushes away impurities there can be a poor sense of self-nurture and resulting toxicity.
From Fire sign Aries to the Water of Pisces, the
twelve personality types are the faces of the four elements. Brash and
bold or fluid and changeable - it’s all in the stars. Different
personalities are as natural as the many rivers that all reach the sea.
Vive la difference! Right? That’s why opposites attract.
The attraction of opposites is a growth opportunity but if each partner refuses to shift gears from the most conventional form of their element, problems start. Another example of opposites would be a Fire sign on a mission, with a deeply conventional Earth sign. Too much angry heat makes Earth signs dry up emotionally, like an arid desert. While Fire goes hot under stress, Earth goes cold and resistant. Fire’s passion turns to ashes when too much cold earth is piled on. Then Fire moves on angry, Earth holds on to resentment. This would be a wasted relationship opportunity since the right amount of heat is exactly what Earth needs, just as plants need sunlight to grow. Fire’s heated enthusiasm can also make Earth yielding, as in open to change or very turned on. Likewise, the earthy lover’s attention to detail can make Fire hang around for the slow burn relationship.
Since the attraction of psychological opposites is a compelling one, Air/Water and Fire/Earth types often find themselves together. This same dynamic frequently exists, even when ‘compatibles’ attract, via their other planets. It’s the spice that makes the meal special. Like the Yin/Yang symbol with a point of Yin within the centre of the Yang half and vice versa. Opposites are drawn into this archetypal dance of love to heal their lack. The healing power of love helps us to cultivate that point of the opposite type and hold it central to our heart. We can make this leap because as the Sufi poet, Rumi says: Love is the flame that, when it is kindled, burns everything away. (5)
NB This article first appeared in Australian WellBeing magazine
Order now...For $20 we can email a 10 + pgs. personality profile, based on your own chart, listing all your planets and aspects, including a description of your own element balance. We need your date, time and place of birth.
1 ABC Television, Cutting Edge: Bush’s Climate
of Fear, October 3, 2006.
Christine Broadbent is passionate about astrology
and loves her work. She writes extensively and offers personal consultations
in Sydney and Auckland. Telephone consults are also available. Tel:
+61 +61 402 664 101 to make an appointment tel: +61 0402 664101 or