An In-depth Look Into The Four Elements
Empedocles, a Greek philosopher, scientist and healer who lived in Sicily in the fifth century B.C.,believed that all matter comprises the four elements: earth, air, fire and water. Fire and air are outwardly reaching elements, reaching up and out, whereas earth and water turn inward and downward.
The Four Elements also describe the four unique personality types associated with the zodiac signs.The elements exhibit profound influence on basic character traits, behaviour, emotions, thinking and intuition. They are reflected in our relationships, our ambitions or lack thereof, and the unexpected turns and twists that add spice to our lives.
Astrology aims to help us to better focus our energies, gain a better understanding of our positive traits, and deal with the negative ones. We use this knowledge to realize our full potential and live our best life. We all need air to breathe, water to cleanse us and sustain our growth, fire to shelter us from the cold and nourish us, earth to live on together with all the living things and to grow our food. All the elements are equally important and below is a more in depth description of each.
Astrology: Taurus, Capricorn, Virgo
Feel the Earth under our feet, the soil that sustains all forms of life. Look at the power and beauty of the mountains, a symbol of stability and solidity of the earth. Everyday we experience the physical world, we walk on this earth, enjoy
the beauty and bounty of Mother Earth and feel the comfort of being on solid ground.
Associated with the signs Taurus, Capricorn and Virgo, Earth represents the practical, realistic material side of our nature, it seeks to assert a stable, secure and structured environment into which we function. Feel the earth under our feet, solid and steady as we walk slowly. Earth is patient and reliable. It is solid and strong. To be on solid ground encourages one to seek the practical and most logical answer to a problem.
Earth may be a stabilizing force in a relationship contributing structure and organization to achieve balance and harmony. Earth sustains growth- watch plant life grows, from an acorn grows an oak tree; so do humans grow from youth to maturity, and realize the immense growth in every facet of life.
The over-expression of this element is seen in a stubborn and rigid personality, one that strives to remain in the comfort zone in life, afraid to take risks. It is also be seen by a love of the material side of life, the comforts of material well-being. Material worth may be overemphasized and this leads to a stressful worrisome situation.
Weakness: attachment, stinginess, materialism, resistant to change, too much attention to detail and missing the big picture.
Astrology: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
The element Air is associated with the signs Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius. It seeks to establish itself in the realm of the intellect. It is through the process of thinking that we develop ideas. It is through the influence of this element that we learn to communicate. Through air we gain and share knowledge.
Air contributes inventiveness, originality and versatility to the personality. It gives that feeling of freedom, non-attachment, it reaches out to the mental self. Enjoy that refreshing gentle breeze, allow thoughts to flow freely, and nourish the creative moment. Air expresses love of people, the ability to intellectualize, to appreciate the differences in people, accept different perspectives without which, there would be a lack of vision and human interaction.
Thoughts are a continual force in our lives. It is associated with meditation where deep breathing is essential to reach that level of stillness, energy, and relaxation. Air is used for transport, flying and sailing. Let our thoughts soar to
reach our intellectual pursuits.
An over expression of air’s influence may be seen as living in a dream world with unrealistic goals and flights of fancy. Air should seek to maintain practicality and develop consistency in dealing with the real world.
Weakness of this element: lack of emotion, depression, lack of connection with the higher self, overactive mind that blocks inner peace and harmony.
Astrology: Leo, Sagittarius, Aries
The signs Leo,Sagittarius and Aries are associated with the element Fire. It represents the life force glowing within us. This element projects self-expression, creativity, courage and enthusiasm. Feel the comforting warmth of a fire, or heat when we come in from the cold.
We need fire to meet the basic need of cooking our food. Fire provides a sense of security, warmth and inspiration that is shared with those around. Fire strengthens self-confidence to tackle problems without hesitation. Without fire, there is no radiance, no conviction, no expression. A spark may light up new ideas, serve as a beacon to light the way to achieve goals with conviction and enthusiasm.
An over expression of fire turns assertiveness into aggression, daring into reckless behaviour and so forth. When fires influence is out of control, it seeks to consume all in its path.
Weakness: lack of interest, egotistic, excessive self-centeredness, self- importance.
Astrology: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
The element Water is associated with the signs of Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces and influences the conscience and the subconscious forces that act on our lives.
The element water pours forth to others. It allows one to feel their pain and suffering and offer sincere compassion.
Psychic awareness is also present in the water signs and shows itself from time to time with uncanny accuracy. Water seeks to heal and nurture those around it.
Uncontrolled, this element sends emotions on a turbulent path resulting in moodiness and unpredictable highs and lows, like the crest and trough of a wave.
Water signs need serenity and calmness, like a gentle flowing river nurturing all in its wake and at the same time leading to the discovery of new paths. When over-expressed, one may tend to be overly emotional, deeply sensitive and subjective. With too much emotion, depression may result.
Weakness results from being too protective and possessive of their loved ones; cold attitude and lack of drive may arise.
What is success? There are many definitions. One that I hear often is “to be able to do what we want”. That is true, yet I would complete the definition by adding and underlining: “and knowing what we really want”. In fact, we are often pushed to put our energy into achieving what we are “supposed” to want, and we may not give enough attention to taking the time to truly understand what energizes us. I say “supposed” to want because there are many external factors that condition us and determine our beliefs around what is good and what is not, what is a good goal and what is not, and so on.
The self-awareness about who we really are and what we really want is the premise to achieving any real, long lasting success in our life. Without this, we are likely to move along two ways: One is the walk around life aimless, without a goal. The other is to pursue an aim that, on a deep level, we do not feel like is really ours. In both these situations we find difficulties in expressing and manifesting our full potential. Even if we keep on repeating to ourselves that we have a certain goal, if we are not deeply convinced of it, it will be difficult for us to really put in all the necessary energy and commitment. Our inner conflicts and unclear intentions interfere with our actions.
Things turn around dramatically when we know what we really want. Not only will we feel and use another level of energy, and also we will experience a feeling of peace and trust. We are then ready to manifest what drives our soul and create the destiny we deserve. This will lead to a dramatic improvement in all the key areas of our life.
All we need is already within us now, we need to really find it, listen to it, and translate it into our realities. When we dedicate time to deepening our self knowledge, we spend our time well.
A combination of elements in a relationship creates a loving balance; thereby resulting in a relationship that thrives on mutual growth and harmony. Two well matched combinations are an Air-Fire relationship or and an Earth-Water relationship.
The element Air in a relationship provides ideas and dreams that Fire acts on and forges into reality. The element Water provides sensitivity and nurturing to the sometimes cold reserved Earthly approach to matters, thereby laying the groundwork for future growth in the relationship.
At the same time remember in a Fire/Water relationship, balance is achieved by realizing that Water injects needed sensitivity and patience into the Fire sign. At the same time, Fire adds drive and the courage to act that is sometimes lacking in the Water signs.
When two elements of the same type combine, harmony is achieved when the needs and traits are the same for both. However, it hinders growth when both individuals may become too comfortable to a point that the needed spark
for growth may be lacking.
In a Fire/Earth combination we find that fire’s initiative and drive stimulates the sometimes laid back and reserved nature of Earth. At the same time, Earth’s practicality and discipline balanced to Fire’s sometimes quick to act ways. Ideally we should strive for a balance of the elements Earth/Water and Air/Fire.
The other combinations also work as long as both partners respect the other's needs and unique traits that both bring to the relationship. And they must utilize each other's strengths to balance.