The Elements

Although we are all familiar with the elements – they are almost the first thing mentioned, after the zodiac signs and the planets, when one undertakes a study of astrology – we do not always remember to hold them in mind when we get involved in the finer details of horoscopic analysis. These notes may help to remind us all of the fundamental importance of the elements. 

First, the balance of the elements in a horoscope will tell you whether a person’s reactions to life are primarily emotional (fire-water) or mental (earth-air). In the same way, a fire-air emphasis tends to the more outgoing, extravert type of personality, while earth and water are more receptive and introvert. 

The Sun, by the element of its zodiacal sign position, indicates the basic soul lesson of the life: fire – love; earth – service; air – brotherhood; water – peace. 

However, the way in which the above elemental emphases actually work out in the details of everyday life can also be much modified by the element of the ascendant sign. 

If the basic balance of a horoscope is in tune with the element of the ascendant, then there is some basic harmony in the chart however difficult the various aspects may be. If there is a clash, however, it will dominate the life, whatever other more harmonious factors are present. 

So many ‘lessons’ and karmic circumstances can be highlighted and worked on through such clashes. For example, a predominantly fiery horoscope with a watery ascendant will denote one whose basic confidence and energy are continually held back by the sensitivity and perhaps fearfulness associated with the watery rising degree. 

Conversely, someone with a predominantly watery horoscope would prefer to remain quietly in the background, but a fiery ascendant pushes it out into life in spite of itself, so that it has to grapple with all the energy and activity of the outside world. 

In the first case, the lesson may be about restraining and controlling energies that were previously allowed to run riot or dominate others; in the second, perhaps a soul who has spent many lives in seclusion, or avoiding much engagement with the outside world, has chosen to put itself in a position where it has to engage, in order to redress the balance. 

You can work out for yourself other scenarios with fire and water and also those where fire and earth clash – which can be either very frustrating or very impetuous, and often between visions/ideas and practicalities – and where air and earth or air and water clash. Of these, the first tends to indicate conflict between theory and practice, the second between reason and feeling. 

Such elemental differences and conflicts go a long way towards explaining why so many people are not what they at first seem to be, itself such a potent factor in the working out of karmic conditions, perhaps most of all in the field of human relationships. The moral of all this? Never neglect to study the elements, in every horoscope you do! 

Download 'Some Notes on the Aspects and Elements' pdf