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Astrology 101, Part 6: Signs and Elements

Astrology 101, Part 6: Signs and Elements

There are a number of ways to group the signs of the Zodiac, and in this post, we’ll look at them by element, which brings signs of similar energies together.  There are four elements – Fire, Earth, Air and Water – and you can get a good idea of the meaning of the elements simply by thinking about the characteristics of the physical elements of the same name.

There are three signs in each element and each sign carries much of the energy of its element.  When we see a planet in a sign, we know that it will somehow be influenced by this energy.

Fire Signs

Fire expresses energy, light and vitality.  It is the driving force from which newness arises.  This novelty may be in the form of material goods, ideas or emotions; but only with fire can anything new begin.  Fire is positive, exuberant, enthusiastic.  But, beware, if it gets out of control, it can consume all around it.

The fire signs are Aries, Leo and Sagittarius.

Earth Signs

Earth is stable, steady, dependable.  You place your feet on it and feel grounded.  Earth is the element from which we grow our bodies and create material goods.  It is sensuous and fertile.  In earth we connect to every molecule of the physical, living universe.  It is calm and peaceful.  But, it can also feel slow, heavy and stubborn.

The earth signs are Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn.

Air Signs

Air is in constant motion, ever changeable, abstract.  Impossible to grab hold of, air stands for thoughts and concepts, words and images; an unseen, yet vital, component of the human consciousness.  It allows us to dream and to plan, to plot and envision.  But, in and of itself, it is ephemeral; it can create nothing physical.

The air signs are Gemini, Libra and Aquarius.

Water Signs

Water is fluid, inconstant and physically powerful.  It seeps into the depths of our emotional core, finding its own path from wellspring to ocean.  It is the music of our souls, sometimes peaceful, other times furious.  Water expresses the principles of our feelings, our past and the emotional depths we strive to plumb.  But, dive too deep, and we may drown.

The water signs are Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces.


You may now be wondering how the three signs in each element differ from one another.  That relates to another characteristic called “mode”, which is the topic of the next post in this series.

Ingrid Hoffman

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