This is the second post in Tabby’s Astro DIY column on Little Red Tarot. It’s all about getting started with astrology, beginning with the basics.
NOTE: If you’re new to this series, you’ll need to register an account with Astro.com – a popular website that provides many free astrological tools you’ll use in this ‘course’. If you haven’t already done so, get yourself set up before delving in. Tabby will explain everything else!
The four elements are a great thing to learn first in astrology
If you can delve deep into them then you’ll have a much greater understanding of the 12 zodiac signs as your journey progresses.
Just like how we are more than just our sun sign, we are more than just the element our sun sign is ‘in’. The various signs placed in our birth chart are in different elements and it’s that combination that makes up you!
Each of the 12 zodiac signs corresponds to one of the four elements.
The elements represent different kinds of energies within us and our birth chart indicates which energies are easier for us to express and which are more difficult to integrate.
Some people just have well balanced elements, but some of us are stronger in some and weaker in others, which can cause an imbalance in personality. It’s just another part of what makes us all wonderful and diverse beings, but knowing our elemental balance can be a good tool for self awareness and intentionally finding ways to balance these different energies in our lives.
The four elements are often divided into two groups: Fire and Air, which are considered to be more active, extroverted elements while Earth and Water are seen as more passive and introverted.
The pairs of elements have affinity with each other as their energy is similar, and so often people are more likely to get on with or surround themselves with people who are heavy in the same element, or sub-group of two elements as them.
On the other hand, we know that sometimes opposites attract! People are also often drawn to people who have the kind of energy they might be lacking. Which rings true for you?
Adding up your elements
As we said last time, it’s helpful to write out what signs you have in your chart – if you haven’t already then check out my last post to learn how to access and understand the basics of your birth chart.
Then add up how many planets you have in each element, by looking at which zodiac sign each planet is in.
Here’s a quick reference guide to which elements each zodiac sign corresponds to:
- Fire – Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
- Earth – Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
- Air – Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
- Water – Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
For this exercise, give the elements that your sun, moon and rising sign are in two points as they’re more important influences, and all the other planets (not counting Chiron or your Nodes) one point.
Fire – Aries, Leo, Sagittarius – Wand Suit in Tarot
Fire is active, enthusiastic, outwardly expressive, excitable, self-oriented, impatient, optimistic, honest, passionate, freedom loving, creative.
When I think of the fire element and fiery people I think loud, busy, creative, funny, confident, inspirational, go-getting people. Artists and actors, leaders, people who live a bit on the wild side. One thing about people heavy in fire signs is that they are often more likely to use alchohol or drugs often, as a way of altering their state of mind, attempting to make life more interesting.
Fire people are often passionate about some kind of spirituality or religion and bringing that out in other people. They tend to be driven and always initiating things – whether that’s parties, projects, relationships or conversation. Fire people will be the ones to say what everyone else is thinking but is too polite to say – they have a knack for speaking the unspeakable! My firey friends are the ones commenting exactly what they think all over facebook – it makes me cringe, but it’s awesome that have the confidence to speak their mind!
If you’re strong in the fire element, you might need to work harder to be aware of other people’s needs and differing points of view. Be careful of burn out and make sure you make a conscious effort to get some down time to relax and take care of yourself – you can’t be go, go, go all the time.
If you’re lacking in the fire element you might feel at times that life gets the better of you and you would benefit from consciously taking on a fiery ‘can-do’ attitude more often. You might have difficulty getting angry, or taking initiative. Making time for exercise will be really beneficial for invigorating your energies, or putting on loud music and singing along can be a good way to connect with your fiery side!
Earth – Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn – Pentacles Suit in Tarot
Earth is practical, grounded, results focused, patient, reasonable, persistent, organised, loyal, protective, ambitious, stubborn, dependable.
People with lots of Earth are usually pretty down to earth, as the name suggests. They are usually in touch with their bodies and the pleasures of the physical world – that might mean being a foodie, being really into nature, building, gardening, sex, interior design, or just being a bit more sensual than most people.
Earth people are good at being self-sufficient – they’d be up there leading the way in an end of world type scenario (my friends will laugh at this – I am not a very typical Earthy person and would not be prepared, but I reckon most Earth folks would be great!). Earthy people are big on security – things like having a place they can call and make their home are extra important for them.
Earth people often have great memories and carry these in their body, or have them tied to something in the material world– so are easily reminded when they return to a place, or see a thing again of memories associated with it. They are quite empathetic and often internalise negativity which can result as experiencing it through pain in their bodies.
If you’re strong in the Earth element you have a tendency to be strongly invested in practical matters and the here and now. You can benefit from not setting to many limits for yourself – have faith in the unknown and don’t forget to dream!
If you’re lacking Earth in your chart then you might have trouble making your ideas a reality, or completing everyday tasks. Things that might help you balance your earth energy would be to get a routine, or even something like cleaning your room, getting a plant to take care of, walking, massage or cooking might help you.
Air – Gemini, Libra, Aquarius – Swords Suit In Tarot
Air is fast, intellectual, inquisitive, talkative, social, thoughtful, logical, objective, flexible, flighty, detached, cooperative.
Air people can seem airheaded – not at all meaning that they have a simple mind (usually it’s quite the opposite) but that they can be a bit scattered, a bit all over the place in the way they talk and move through the world, hard to pin down. They might forget what they’re doing or where they’re going, getting so caught up in their ideas – the thing about Air people is that they live in their head.
Air people are social butterflies and love communicating their ideas and learning from others, while at the same time refusing to conform and valuing their independence. They are very curious and are always collecting information and coming up with ideas – ideas which usually don’t see fruition (though combined with Earth energy or even Fire that might not be true!).
Air people are often creators, designers, researchers, teachers and want to experience all life has to offer. They often seem detached or aloof. If you’re strong in Air you may tend to live in your mind and react with your head rather than your heart. You can benefit from tuning into your feelings and sharing those – not just the story your head is telling you. Socialising will usually make you feel better when you’re down!
If you’re lacking in Air you might be someone who avoids conflict and keeps things inside. You can easily be taken advantage of. Writing in a journal and finding your own voice can be beneficial for you – so can making an effort to get out in the world and be social. Try spending time with an Air person and observing them – learn to ask questions.
Water – Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces – Cups Suit in Tarot
Water is emotional, intuitive, spiritual, imaginative, reclusive, creative, nurturing, receptive, sympathetic, moody, sensitive.
Water people are often nurturers, artists, poets, musicians, dreamers, healers, mothers or caretakers in some way. They are very in touch with their feelings and aren’t usually shy about expressing them. Spirituality and intuition comes naturally for them and they are often homebodies with a need for privacy.
Water people are usually very sensitive to the energies of those around them. I’ve seen the effects of this vary – often making them compassionate and emotionally available to support others, but sometimes the addition of other people’s energy can just intensify their own experiences so they become really overwhelmed and self-absorbed. Water people are quite impressionable and can easily be pulled in different directions and influenced by other people.
If you’re strong in Water it might seem like you feel everything, cry easily, are hyper sensitive and find it hard to have boundaries. Water people are prone to escapism because they feel things so intensely. It’s important to take time out regularly to be alone and recharge and to do grounding activities.
If you’re lacking in Water you might struggle with identifying what you’re feeling, or might be insensitive to other people’s needs and emotions. Spending time by the sea, or in the bath with no distractions can be a good way to sit with being calm and see what feelings come up.
So that’s a little bit about the four elements in astrology!
Way more could be written on each of them, so if you’re interested, do some more reading and see what else you can learn.
I totally recommend looking at the charts of other people in your life and counting up their elements as well as your own – it’s really interesting! Share your findings and questions in the comments!
I’ll start – I have a pretty well balanced chart with five points in Earth and four in Fire and Water but I’m lacking in Air with only one point there. I can totally relate to the way the elements in my chart affect me – I’ve got the fiery qualities of taking initiative, being passionate and going after things, the earthy abilities to get things done and be dependable, and the intuitive, nurturing Water energy in the way I work and relate to people. When it comes to Air – well I’m not a logical, scientific kind of person at all, I’m a well practiced bottler, I’m pretty introverted and bad at small talk and maybe this one’s a bit silly, but I’m no fan of the colour yellow which is usually associated with Air! Funnily enough my partner (while pretty well balanced in all four) has Air as the strongest element in her chart – so yeah it’s funny how we find ways to bring the energies we are missing into our lives and learn from them too! Remember Beth’s awesome four elements jewellery as a practical way you can tune into the different energies when you need them too!
Next time we’ll look at the modalities – another way of breaking up the zodiac signs and understanding the different energies in our charts.
Well of course to count up the elements in your chart, but also see if you can try and memorise which three zodiac signs belong to each element. A trick is that they go in the order of the zodiac, so if you know that it’s not so hard eg – Fire – Aries, Earth – Taurus, Air – Gemini, Water – Cancer and around again!