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 The Four Elements



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. Wiccan

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. Earth Astrology: Taurus, Capricorn, Virgo Tarot: Pentacles, Disks, Jung: sensation 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 worrisome situation. Weakness: attachment, stinginess, materialism, resists change, too much attention to detail and miss the big picture. Air Astrology: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius Tarot: Swords Jung: Thinking 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 pursuits. 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. Fire Astrology: Leo, Sagittarius, Aries Tarot: Wand, Spears Jung: Intuition 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. Water Astrology: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces Tarot: Cups Jung: Feelings/Emotion 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 and harmony. Air-fire Earth-Water 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 be lacking. 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 act ways. 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


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