by Bonnie Moss (c) 2003
According to the Empedocles, a Greek philosopher,
scientist and healer who lived in Sicily in the fifth
century B.C.,all matter is comprised of four elements
of earth, air, fire and water. Fire and air are outwardly
reaching elements, reaching up and out, whereas
earth and water turn inward and downward.
In his Tetrasomia, or Doctrine of the Four Elements,
Empedocles described these elements not only as
physical manifestations or material substances, but
also as spiritual essences. He associated these
elements with four gods and goddesses - air with
Zeus, earth with Hera, fire with Hades, and water
with Nestis (believed to be Persephone).
In her book, Four Elements in Ancient Greek Philosophy,
Tracy Marks describes a wide-ranging look at earth, fire,
water, and air, and the dynamic twin forces of Love and
Strife. Her book takes one to a journey from ancient Greece
to alchemy to Carl Jung’s association of sense, feeling,
thoughts and intuition .
Air moves us
Fire transform us
Water shapes us
Earth heals us.
The Four Elements of Air, Fire, Water and Earth describe
the four unique personality types associated with a sign
of the zodiac. The elements exhibit profound influence on
basic character traits, behaviour, emotions and needs.
Some consider these traits too general, but these are
reflected in our emotions, our relationships,and our ambitions
or lack thereof, the unexpected turns and twists that add
spice to our lives.
How often have we heard these words:I need some air; Oh
for the Sun to shine; a relaxing soak in the tub; walk in the
woods, or sit in the park. What is the most popular motivation
for a holiday? Sunbathing, swimming, touring and walking,
and lots of outdoor activities.
Astrology aims to help us focus these energies to the
positive aspects, gain a better understanding of our positive
traits and deal with the negative ones; thus realize our
full potential and give our best to this life. To my mind,
to deny these is to deny life and destiny.After all, basically,
we all need air to breathe, water to sustain our growth
and to cleanse us, fire to shelter us from the cold and
nourish us, earth to live on together with all the living
things on it,and to grow our food.
Astrology: Taurus, Capricorn, Virgo
Tarot: Pentacles, Disks,
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.
Take a walk, walk slowly and feel the earth under your
feet, solid and steady. Associated with the signs Taurus,
Capricorn and Virgo, Earth represent the practical,
realistic material side of our nature, it seeks to assert
a stable, secure, structured environment into which
we can function.
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 can be a
stabilizing force in a relationship contributing structure
and organization to achieve balance and harmony. Earth
sustains growth- watch plant life grow, from an acorn
does an oak tree grow; so does man grow from youth
to maturity, and realize the immense growth in e
very facet of life.
The over expression of this element can be seen in a stubborn.
rigid personality, one that strives to remain in the comfort zone
in life, afraid to take risks. It can also be seen by a love of the
material side of life, the comforts of material well- being, material
worth can be over emphasized and this can lead to a stressful
Weakness: attachment, stinginess, materialism, resists change,
too much attention to detail and miss 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, unattachment,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 lack of human interaction.
Our 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
An over expression of air's influence can be seen as living in a
dream world with unrealistic goals and flights of fancy. Air should s
eek 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
Tarot: Wand, Spears
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 you 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 t 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.
From a spark , great ideas could be lit, a beacon to light the
way to achieve goals with conviction and enthusiasm.
An over expression of fire can turn assertiveness into
aggression, daring into reckless behavior and so forth.
With this in mind we see that fire's influence, when out
of control seeks to consume all in it's path.
Weakness: lack of interest, egotistic, excessive
self-centeredness, self- importance.
Astrology: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
The element Water associated with the signs of Cancer,
Scorpio and Pisces 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. However
uncontrolled, it can send emotions on a turbulent path
resulting in moodiness and unpredictable highs and lows,
like the drest and trough of the waves.
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 this element is over expressed, one may tend to
be overly emotional, deeply sensitive and subjective.With
too much emotion,possible depression may result.
Weakness can result from being too protective and
possessive of their loved ones.Cold attitude and lack of
drive may also be a weakness of this element.
A Balance of the Elements
The best combination of each element type of
personality strives to create a balance of these
lemental aspects of each, thereby resulting in
relationship that thrives on mutual growth
The element air in a relationship provides ideas and
dreams that Fire can act on and forge into realities.
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 can be achieved by realizing that water can inject
needed sensitivity and patience into the fire sign. and at the
same time Fire can add drive and the courage to act that
can be sometimes lacking in the water signs.
When two elements of the same type combine, harmony
can be achieved when the needs and traits are the same
for both the individuals. However, it hinders growth both
individuals may become too comfortable staying at the
point they are at and the needed spark for growth may
In a Fire/Earth combination we find that fire's initiative and
drive can stimulate the sometimes laid back and reserved
nature of Earth. At the same time ,Earth's practicality and
discipline can be balancing to fire's sometimes quick to
Ideally we should strive for a balance of the elements
Earth/Water and Air /fire.
The other combinations can also work as long as both
partners respect the others needs and unique traits that
both bring into the relationship and they utilize each others
strengths to balance.
Reference: Tracy Marks book
:The Elements in Ancient Greek Philosophy