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
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 every 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.
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 assoiated 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 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
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 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