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The Four Elements in Astrology

by Vassilis Papadolias
NewAgeAstrology English (new subscription magazine)

The Four Elements in Astrology, by Vassilis Papadolias

An important thing to know about the zodiac is that the twelve signs are grouped into several categories. Perhaps the most widely known of such categories is the elements. Most of us probably have heard that Aries is a sign of Fire, Taurus is a sign of Earth, etc, etc.

But what exactly is an element? What does it signify?

Well, first of all we should start by saying there are four elements: Fire, Earth, Air and Water. And their existence goes all the way back to ancient Greek philosophy. It was Empedocles, an ancient Greek philosopher, who claimed that the world consists of those four elements; and it was the good old Ptolemy who incorporated them to Astrology. At those times they were also connected to medicine by Hippocrates, who claimed there were four types of temperaments based on their dominant element.

Nowadays what we know about the elements comes mostly from the work of Carl Jung, a great psychoanalyst who saw in the four elements four distinct types of personality and four types of perception.

Those type could be described as:

  • The intuitive type (similar to Fire):

    He makes decisions based on Intuition. He is characterized mostly by enthusiasm, has high self-esteem, and is eager for self-expression. He is oriented to action and has little patience to wait for results. He takes risks, likes to dramatize, and seeks new beginnings. In relationships he emphasizes the theatrical concept of intercourse and likes conquering the opposite sex.
  • The sensual type (similar to Earth):

    He makes decisions based on practical expectations. He likes to measure things and compare them in quantities rather than in qualities. He makes decisions based on practical considerations and prior experience, and is oriented to material safety. He likes routines and maintaining things. In relationships he emphasizes safety and in sex he thinks of the touch to be very important.
  • The coherent type (similar to Air):

    This person makes decisions based on logic; but not on practical logic, but rather on coherence. He is the kind of guy you’ll hear saying, "That’s the right thing to do, even if it hurts my own." He is based on principles and his ultimate need is to find a "model" for life, where all can be explained and everyone can have a role. The problem with models, of course, is that they exist in our minds. In reality they have many exceptions. And exceptions are hard for this person to handle. In relationships he likes flirting. And in sex he is mostly the gentle guy, the tender one, who offers respect to a lady.
  • The emotional type (similar to Water):

    He is the guy who’s driven by emotion. He makes decisions based on intimacy, as he considers "right" to be that which comes from a person he loves. He seeks for emotional similarities and very often goes back into his memories for consultation. This guy is the contrary of Air; he is all about exceptions. He finds it very difficult to put the world into a model and good for him, because he balances the Air and teaches that everyone is a case of his own. In relationships this guy likes attachment, and in sex he seeks for a union of souls.

So this is how we see signs today in modern astrology. If we’d want to give it all in a few words: The Air signs thinks of Logic as the best way for survival; Water signs think of emotional attachments (coming together) to be the solution; Earth signs give priority to practical interest (well or badly meant); and Fire signs give priority to passion and enthusiasm.

So next time you ask someone of his sign, try to remember:

  • Aries, Leo and Sagittarius are Fire Signs.
  • Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn are Earth Signs.
  • Gemini, Libra and Aquarius are Air Signs.
  • Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces are Water signs.

From this knowledge alone you should be able to draw a first conclusion of what to expect when hanging around that person.

This article copyright © 2012 Vassilis Papadolias. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission prohibited.

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Vassilis Papadolias
Vassilis Papadolias, born in 1971, is a professional computer analyst and astrologer. He started working as a professional astrologer in 2009 after some ten years of being an editor in various astrology forums, including, the Greek Forum of Astrodienst, and Since 2009 he is also a publisher, publishing books for astrology students and a three-month astrology review (NewAgeAstrology English) along with other fellow astrologers.
Copyright © 1997-2024 Ed Perrone. All rights reserved.

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