Empedocles, a Greek philosopher,scientist and healer who lived in Sicily in the fifth century B.C.,believed that all matter is comprised of the 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 her book, Four Elements in Ancient Greek Philosophy,Tracy Marks describes 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 .
The Four Elements of Air, Fire, Water and Earth describe the four unique personality types associated with the zodiac signs.The elements exhibit profound influence on basic character traits, behaviour, emotions, thinking and intuition. Detractors consider these traits too general, but these are reflected in our relationships, and ambitions or lack thereof, and the unexpected turns and twists that add spice to our lives.
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 deny these is to deny life and destiny. 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
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.
Associated with the signs Taurus, Capricorn and Virgo, Earth represents the practical, realistic material side of our nature, it seeks to assert a stable, secure and structured environment into which we can function. Feel the earth under your feet, solid and steady as you walk slowly. 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 and 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 canlead 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 human interaction.
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 your thoughts soar to reach your 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
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.
A spark can light up new ideas, serve as 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. When fire’s influence is out of control ,it
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. Uncontrolled, this element can send emotions on a turbulent path resulting in moodiness and unpredictable highs and lows, like the crest 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 over expressed, one may tend to be overly emotional, deeply sensitive and subjective. With too much emotion, depression may result.
Weakness can result from being too protective and possessive of their loved ones; and cold attitude and lack of drive may arise.
A Balance of the Elements
The best combination of each element type of personality strives to create a balance of these elemental aspects of each, thereby resulting in relationship that thrives on mutual growth and harmony.
The element air in a relationship provides ideas and dreams that Fire can act on and forge into reality. 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 However, it hinders growth when both individuals may become too comfortable to a point that 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