What are Elements in Astrology?
Each sign of the zodiac is assigned an element. These zodiac elements are air, fire, water, and earth. Signs that share an element will have certain traits in common and are said to have similar energies.
This is not to say that all signs in the same element are the same; that is definitely not true. However, knowing the zodiac elements of each sign can help to find out what two signs have in common.
The elements of the signs go in order as you travel through the zodiac. The pattern is fire, earth, air, then water.
Starting with Aries, a fire sign, you go to Taurus (earth), Gemini (air), Cancer (water), and then back to fire with Leo.
This can help if you’re having trouble remembering which element a sign is. If you know the element of the sign before or after it, you will be able to figure out that sign’s element as well.
The four zodiac elements are said to be the basis of all life and each of the four is necessary in order to achieve balance.
Looking at a person’s chart and determining the elements of the signs each of their planets is in can say a lot about that person, even without interpreting each individual planet.
A person with the majority of their planets in water signs may be highly emotional and have an abundance of that energy. This would have both positive and negative qualities.
The same can be said for each of the other three zodiac elements. Having an abundance of one element creates a scarcity in the other zodiac elements and can lead to a person expressing that one element in a stronger manner.
If you looked at someone’s chart and saw that their planets were fairly evenly distributed amongst the elements, this would be a person with a highly balanced personality.
They would be able to access the qualities of all the four elements. Positive qualities of one element could help balance out the negative qualities of another.
A person with no planets in a particular element has something lacking in their life that they may need to focus on in order to grow as a person.
There is a problem that they will have to handle in order to achieve the balance they lack because of the absence of this element. A lack of earth signs could end up meaning a lack of stability or groundedness.
This person could have trouble staying in one place. They might be spacey.
While the challenges associated with lacking a certain element can definitely be overcome, accessing those traits associated with the element is never going to come easy.
It is also noteworthy if a chart has only one planet tied to a particular element. This is especially true if that planet is one of the luminaries (the sun and moon) or one of the personal planets (Mercury, Venus, and Mars).
This essentially means that there is only one source of that elemental energy in the chart. There is some semblance of balance but it can be more difficult to achieve, especially if there is an abundance of planets in another element.
If you have such a planet in your chart, you may find yourself either focusing on it more in order to access the skills it has or ignoring it in favor of the elemental energies you have more of.
Zodiac elements are also one of the key aspects in determining compatibility between signs. Traditionally, air signs go well with fire signs and earth signs go well with water signs.
If you have trouble remembering this, think of how each element works in the real world. What is the relationship that air has to fire? Oxygen fuels a fire. Without air, the fire would quickly die. Water and earth work together to create life.
Growing plants need both to survive.
Signs with the same element also tend to go well with one another. They share some of the same traits. This can lead to a better understanding between the planets in these signs.
This can also cause problems, of course, especially when it comes to the more negative expressions of each of the zodiac elements.
Fire Zodiac Elements (Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius)
A few words that wrap fire signs up, in a nutshell, would be passionate, bold, and independent. These are signs that love to seize the day and are always up for an adventure!
Someone who has a lot of fire in their chart is definitely going to come across strongly.
The fire signs have big personalities. Leo is outgoing and craves the spotlight.
Sagittarius wants nothing more than to travel the world. Aries is outspoken and daring.
If you know someone who seems larger than life, they may have a lot of fire going on in their natal chart.
The element of fire is also about action. Once you get a fire going, it’s quick to spread, and it can be difficult to stop it once it gains momentum.
The same can be said for fire sign people. They are not one for missed opportunities. If they see something they want to do, they do it. There is a lot of “act now, think later” with these signs.
Passion is another thing that ties these signs together. While passions can vary and not all the signs have the same goals and motivations, they all have that same drive.
You can tell when something excites a fire sign, because they just can’t hide it. This passion can be infectious as well.
When you are around a fire sign who is excited about what they’re doing, it is hard not to be excited as well.
Other people often feel drawn to fire signs “like a moth to a flame”. Fire signs might greet you warmly.
These may be the people you see pulling in a crowd at parties. They can be bright and spirited and optimistic.
On the other hand, being too “fiery” can cause some problems. Acting without thinking can seem exciting or it can make a person seem quick on their feet.
However, there are times when it’s important to think first. This can make fire signs seem brash and impulsive. They can also come across as impatient.
You have probably heard some of the negative things associated with fire signs before. Aries is argumentative and aggressive. Sagittarius is arrogant and pretentious.
Leo is conceited and domineering. These things can definitely all be aspects seen in fire sign people. That doesn’t mean this is all fire signs are, of course.
It just means that sometimes there is an imbalance somewhere and this comes out in negative ways.
Fire signs also tend to not be outwardly emotional and do not like to be seen as vulnerable. In times where putting on a brave face is the best course of action, this can be a good thing.
If you are upset over a death in the family or there is a crisis situation, a fire sign is probably going to be the one helping you and everyone else remain strong by not getting too outwardly emotional.
This fear of vulnerability can have a downside, though. If a fire sign feels like someone else may think they are weak or they feel threatened, they can act explosively and aggressively.
They may be desperate to appear strong, even when they are not. They may feel a lot of pride around being “unemotional”. This can get in the way of letting other people in.
One of the lessons fire signs need to learn is to accept that vulnerability. Everyone has emotions and this does not make them weak.
Another lesson for fire signs is patience. Jumping right into the next thing is exciting and sometimes completely called for. Other times, though, it is vital to stop and think before acting.
Not everything is life or death, and you don’t always have to fly by the seat of your pants. Sometimes, you can better seize opportunities or move onto the next step if you take a breather first.
If someone has an imbalance of fire in their chart, the best way to remedy this is by accepting water energy.
This could mean having friends and partners who are water signs. Maybe there is some water in your chart that can help soothe some of the fiery energy when it becomes too much.
Maybe you just need to make a concentrated effort to allow that energy into your life.
The element that fire signs are said to pair best with is air. Air feeds fire. The “go with the flow” nature of airs signs lends itself well to the free spirit of fire signs.
Air signs can help keep things moving and tend to be willing to go on any adventure their fire sign friends come up with.
Earth Zodiac Elements (Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn)
Earth is practical, tangible, and concrete. The element of earth itself is something we can easily see and feel.
This means that earth signs are often described as being “grounded”. If you know somebody who you consider to be “down to earth”, they might indeed be someone with a lot of earth energy in their chart.
Taurus is patient and steadfast. Virgo is neat and orderly. Capricorn is practical and reliable.
Earth types are the people you can trust to work hard. When they have their mind on a task, they want to see it through to the end.
Earth signs are in no rush to jump into something. While they are hardworking and will see things through, they don’t tend to be impulsive.
They gather the information they need before making a decision. They set up the foundation for a task before diving into it.
Earth signs are good at getting things started, but they make sure they have enough to go off of before they start.
You can often find a loyal friend in an earth sign. They don’t just stand by their work – they stand by the people they love.
If you fall on hard times, you can rest assured that your earth sign friends will be right there with you, through thick and thin.
The practicality of an earth sign has both pros and cons. On the one hand, it can be great to have someone who is level-headed in emotional or difficult situations.
I’m sure many people would agree with me when I say that it isn’t always easy to stay grounded and think about things logically while upset. Having somebody who can see the facts can definitely be helpful.
On the other hand, too much practicality can be stifling. Earth signs may appear to be too stiff.
That logical outlook may even appear to be insensitive. Capricorns may devolve into pessimism. Virgo can be overly analytical and judgemental. Taurus can be become fixated on their own “practical” opinions.
The downside of being grounded is being immovable. Earth signs may get stuck in their ways.
They may become so used to a particular routine that they refuse to stray from it. This may be the case even if it no longer truly serves them or the people around them.
They might stick by people who are toxic to them or who no longer bring something positive to their lives, simply because that is what they’ve always done.
Earth signs can also be materialistic. They work hard, yes, but for some, this is simply because they desire financial security above all else.
They want the material things in life, and they will sacrifice other things in order to get them.
Being hardworking may develop negatively into being a workaholic. Working for work’s sake or becoming overly focused on working in order to get all the material goods you desire can lead to neglecting other areas of your life.
If you are an earth sign who works too much, it may be a good idea to try and focus on something creative or do something purely for the joy of it in order to balance things out.
Earth signs have to learn how to be a little more impulsive and a tad more daring. They need to learn how to go with the flow every now and then. Routines exist for a reason.
Therefore, being hardworking isn’t a bad thing, but it’s important to let loose now and then.
They also need to learn how to see the “hidden depths” in things. There is more to the world than just what we can see.
You need more than just surface information in order to properly judge something. Being emotional is not mutually exclusive with being practical.
The element that balances earth is air. This is an element that we can’t see. It can appear to be unstable.
Some free-flowing air energy may be just what an overactive earth element needs to lighten up a little. If you have unbalanced earth energy in your chart, try something spontaneous.
Go for a walk without a destination in mind. Take a break. Socialize with your friends and listen to their problems without always jumping in with a judgment or an analysis.
Water signs are the ones that tend to pair best with earth signs. They are emotional, but they also desire a lot of the same stability that earth signs do. Water nourishes earth.
Water signs can provide some of the nurture and care that earth signs need in order to keep going.
Air Zodiac Elements (Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius)
Air is intangible, free, and liberating. It is all around us. It’s in the wind and our lungs, but it isn’t something that we can easily see and touch like the other zodiac elements.
Air signs are more concerned with higher planes and with thought and ideas, as opposed to tangible, solid things like earth signs are.
Gemini is curious and quick to adapt. Libra is social and fair-minded. Aquarius is independent and progressive.
You can always trust air types to know what’s going on in the world, whether it is in the humanitarian ways of Aquarius or the gossipy tendencies of Gemini.
Air signs enjoy mixing things up and often act as winds of change, so to speak. They also enjoy their freedom and the freedom of others, finding rigidity or structure to be stifling.
These are signs that may not always stick with the status quo. They have a lot of ideas about how to change themselves and the world. They are not afraid to go against the grain.
The originality of air signs can mean that they may feel like they don’t fit in. This may be in groups at school or work, with their family, or even with their friends.
They may feel as if nobody understands them. However, instead of taking the time to remedy this, they get lost in their own thoughts.
This can cause Gemini to be nervous and inconsistent, Libra to pity themselves, and Aquarius to appear aloof and emotionless when interacting with others.
It might not seem like it at times, but air signs do care deeply about the opinions of others. Their lack of fitting in can be extremely bothersome at times.
Air sign people might worry about “what they are doing wrong”. They may also become people-pleasers, attempting to fit in by resisting their need for change and individuality.
Air signs, going along with their element, may also be “airheads”. This is not to say that they aren’t intelligent (quite the opposite, actually).
They tend to get stuck in their own heads, which can cause them to across as spacey. There are a lot of thoughts swirling around in their minds. Gemini enjoys gathering information – all kinds from all over the place.
Libra likes to hear every side of an argument or hot topic. Aquarius is filled with thoughts about all the problems in the world and how they can fix them.
Air signs need to learn that marching to the tune of their own drum is not a bad thing! There is no need to please everyone.
On the other hand, some structure is necessary in life. You can’t always be up in the clouds, unfortunate as that may be.
People with a lot of air signs in their charts also need to learn that they can’t grow themselves through ideas alone. They need to put those ideas into action.
They should strive to actually create change rather than just dream it up. Being a little more practical and concrete can help air signs to actually realize their goals.
They need to get out of their own heads once in a while to actually create waves.
The element that balances air is earth. It can be extremely hard to air signs to stay grounded since they are often concerned with higher thinking and things beyond what is tangible here on earth.
They have a lot of ideas, but have a hard time actually implementing them or giving structure to them.
This is where earth signs come in. Adding in some daily routines can be extremely helpful.
Air signs may also find they work better if they have an earth sign or two there to help them get projects moving along, taking the ideas out of their heads and into the real world.
Air signs also need to focus more on their own physical needs. They may benefit from some gentle reminders to attend to them before they go off on whatever adventure or idea it is they’re chasing after today.
Air signs are supposed to pair best with fire signs. Fire signs are also adventurous. This works perfectly for air signs, who have trouble staying in one place for too long.
Fire signs can help keep air signs from getting too restless. Fire signs can also help motivate air signs. While air signs are thinkers, fire signs are doers.
This combination can get a lot more done together than they can separately.
Water Zodiac Elements (Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces)
Water is constantly moving, whether it is as a slow and steady stream or a torrential downpour. The element gives us life and makes up most of our bodies.
Without it, we could not exist as we do. Water can also be a mysterious element. We never know what it’s going to do next.
Are rain clouds bringing a light sprinkle or a heavy storm? It’s not always easy to tell.
Cancer is tenacious and imaginative. Scorpio is passionate and resourceful. Pisces is intuitive and compassionate.
Each of these signs is highly emotional in their own way. You can’t always tell what is lurking beneath the surface, just as you can’t see all the way to the bottom of a lake.
These signs are not always easy to read.
Water signs have a lot to do with the soul and with topics surrounding life and death.
Just as water gives life, hurricanes and storms can also take it away. This aspect of the water element is felt in particular with Scorpio.
Although Cancer and Pisces deal with it as well, in their own ways.
Water signs have a strong connection with the soul. They are attuned to their own emotions as well as the emotions of others.
Water signs are the most likely to be empaths or to have intuitive or psychic abilities. This is because they are connected with life and the universe in ways that other zodiac elements are not.
People who have a lot of water in their chart see the hidden things that other people do not.
They might be able to sense when somebody is upset, even when that person is not showing any outward signs of distress and nobody else has noticed.
They can pick up the hidden meanings in things people say and are often good at reading body language and other non-verbal communication.
These are perfect signs to talk to if you need someone to listen and to recognize your feelings.
They encourage the expression of emotions, positive or negative. People often find it easy to open up to water signs.
If you have ever found yourself opening up to a perfect stranger right off the bat, it might be that magnetic quality given off by a person with a strong water sign presence.
Other signs, particularly earth and air, might find water signs to be too emotional. Cancer can be moody and pessimistic.
Scorpio can have a violent temper and may become overly jealous. Pisces may develop a victim complex or become easily fearful. It should be said that there is no such thing as having too many emotions.
Water signs just don’t always express those emotions in ways others find acceptable.
Water signs can also be people who are hard to get to know. Cancer is often suspicious of the motives of others.
Scorpio is secretive and distrusting. Pisces might be overly trusting at times, but they also like their alone time.
These signs have hidden depths, and it can be difficult to get to the bottom of them.
Being emotional is not a bad thing. Water signs don’t need to learn to reign in their emotions. Rather, they need to learn how to express them constructively.
Reacting violently to feelings of jealousy, fear, or just to an overall negative outlook on life is not fun for anyone involved. Water signs need to learn how to channel all of that emotion and energy into something constructive.
Water signs also need to learn to open up to others more. It is easy for them to listen, take on the emotions of others, sympathize, and empathize.
They need to allow others to do these things for them as well, though. It is not the job of one person to carry everyone else’s emotions on top of their own.
The element that balances water is fire. Fire can help shed light on situations and guide water sign people along a steady path so that they are not aimlessly floating along.
Fire helps to fuel the passions of water signs so that they have an outlet. This element can also help to perk a moody water sign up, drawing them out of themselves and into the light.
Water signs are typically compatible with earth signs. The practical nature of earth signs can have a balancing effect on water signs.
Water signs also tend to desire stability in their lives. Earth signs value this as well, making them a perfect match.
Water signs need somebody to be the voice of reason when things feel too out of control.