Astrology has become a part of everyday conversation and mainstream consciousness. Though astrology is mainly a tool of introspection, it has also evolved into a scope through which we can analyze our relationships to and with other people and situations. What draws a lot of folks into astrology is the depth and detail of the craft. However, this complexity is also what intimidates many from diving deeper or diving at all. My intention is to ease some of this hesitation by giving you a simple, elemental perspective to understanding astrology.
Let’s get the basics out of the way! In astrology, there are 12 different signs or archetypes; each sign is divided into one of four elements: fire, earth, water, and air. The three fire signs are: Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. The three earth signs are: Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn. The three water signs are: Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces. The three air signs are: Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius. Easy, right? Right. Most people know their sun/star sign which is the sign in which the sun was in at the time of your birth. If that’s all you know, then start there. Just know there are many more aspects to you, and this is just scratching the surface.
Now let’s talk about the elements. As mentioned before, there are four elements: fire, earth, water, and air. Why is this important? It’s important because you already have a relationship with each one of these elements, even if you don’t realize it. We all drink water--I hope. We all breathe air. We all walk on earth. We all cook, or have at least experienced the warmth of sunlight on our skin. You have an understanding of how each element feels, behaves, and interacts.
As a metalsmith, my relationship with fire is crucial to my craft. At any point in my process, I could easily mess up a project by not applying the appropriate amount of heat. This is similar to being or interacting with a fire sign. Fire signs tend to be intense, emotional, warm, and passionate people. At the best of times this intense and emotional nature can be channeled into goals and aspirations, or used as a source of personal motivation. If you are a fire sign yourself, you’ve definitely felt that rush of confidence and self-assurance when you are most in tune with that evolved fire energy. When fire energy isn’t focused or channeled appropriately, it can manifest as uncontrollable anger or rage. Thus, understanding these aspects and giving these emotions a healthy outlet is very important for fire signs.
Earth is the element of discipline, grounding, structure, and stillness. Picture a sequoia whose roots have made their home deep in the ground, and whose mighty trunk rises up to kiss the moon. Imagine what would’ve happened if at the beginning of its life, when it was just a seedling, this sequoia had doubted itself and decided it wasn’t a good enough tree. Well, it just wouldn’t be there. This is the lesson and magic of Earth signs. Earth signs are committed to their goals, purpose, and relationships. Earth signs, at their best, are the embodiment of “I want it, so I’mma go get it.” They teach us that our dreams and desires are attainable, as long as we are willing to work for them. However, this same commitment and discipline can shift into stubbornness and stagnation if the Earth energy is not balanced. This can manifest as living in your head instead of taking action. So, fellow Earth signs, I’m proud of you for making a plan, but now go out and do the thing.
The element of water is here to teach us to flow, cleanse, and release. Water brings us movement and sensitivity. If you’ve ever been near a large body of water—the ocean, a river, or a lake—you can attest to the serenity and power it emanates. This is a good example of what water sign energy feels like; when balanced, water energy flows and liberates. On the other hand, water energy can also be overwhelming and intense. Water signs in particular are prone to diving deep into their feelings and emotions, as well as making those around them do so, too. If you’re a person that is uncomfortable with deep emotion, that’s when things can feel overwhelming. However, if you’re open to maintaining and balancing this energy, it’s a direct path to self-awareness and healing.
The element of air is that invisible force that keeps everything moving. Air energy is able to bring flow, movement, perspective, and relief to all other elements. This is why air signs are some of the most social and harmonious signs in astrology. If you think about the wind’s relationship to the rest of the elements, you will realize the connecting factor is movement. Think of a tree swaying in the wind, a flame flickering into a fire, or the way ocean waves turn into a light mist as they dance with the wind. On the other hand, when air energy is untethered it can be chaotic, sporadic, or confusing. Air energy is balanced with direction or structure; however, when it comes to giving air structure, know that it is not an energy that can be controlled, but rather focused. This is why freedom, in all aspects of life, is essential for air signs.
Now that you have an understanding of how each elemental energy manifests, you can take it a little deeper. In astrology, you will find many more aspects than just your sun/star sign. Your birth chart will go deep into all aspects of your being, and can become very complex. Know that as you are learning, however, you can always bring it back to these four basic principles to help guide you. You can also use this understanding of the elements in your relationships with others. For example, if you understand the intense nature of fire and water, and the way water can literally overwhelm fire (put it out), you’ll understand why your relationship with your water sign bestie can feel so extreme at times. This elemental perspective is also beneficial to understanding how to balance these energies within us. After all, astrology does its best work when used with the intention of self-awareness and self-empowerment. Happy cosmic journeying!