The Four Elements


 The four elements of creation are fire, earth, air and water. They each have their own compositions and purposes. They can all create and they can all destroy. The blend of the elements in one’s astrological chart gives insight into one’s temperament.The elemental nature of an individual gives insight into how one behaves naturally through their personality and can be influenced by societal expectations and cultural training, as we will discuss. 



The first of the elements is FIRE. Think for a moment about people who you know who have “fiery” personalities. If you had a chance to look at their charts you would probably discover they are created with a good dose of FIRE, meaning they have a strong number of fire sign planet placements that affect how they move through the world. FIRE individuals have passion and take action. They are energized and excited. They can be impulsive and rash but they are movers that get stuff done. Too much fire can make one burn out quickly if not consciously tempered. Too little fire can make one lethargic and unable to get going. Fire individuals can be inspirational and expressive. They take initiative and lead the way with their light. 

The FIRE element is associated with masculine energy (+) therefore it is desirable for men to have fire and for women to not. A woman who is “too fiery” is often told she is “too much” “too rash” or “too selfish” where a man who is “too fiery” may be referred to as “takes charge” and “independent”, a real “fire starter”. Men without much fire may be considered “weak”. Women without much fire may be considered “ladylike”. 

The words we associate with FIRE include:  spark, ember, beacon, inferno, laser, bonfire, warmth, heat, fireworks, sparkly, raging, uncontrolled, explosive, hot, dangerous, burning and angry.  



Next we have the element of EARTH. We use the term “grounded” when we speak of earth individuals or those who have a good dose of EARTH in their charts. Earth individuals are stable, solid and dependable. They have a tendency to manifest things through deliberate and steady movement. They are more prudent and paced in their approach to life. They experience things through the use of their senses; they feel textures, grit and are more tactile in their movement through the world. They are the containers that hold things together. They give structure and shape to ideas. They maintain the physical world. They are builders and sustainers. Earth individuals are steady, slow and measured. They accomplish things at a less hurried pace and build things that last.

The EARTH element is associated with feminine energy (-) therefore it is desirable for women to be steady and stable, especially with respect to maintaining a home; men can be steady and stable out in the world. A woman who is “too earthy” is often told she is “too controlling” or “needs to let go” a little; a man who is “too earthy” is often said to be “boring but dependable” or “consistent”. Women without much earth may be considered “flighty or emotional”. Men without much earth may be considered “unstructured and/or unable to produce results”. 

The words we associate with EARTH include:  grounded, heavy, solid, stable, deep, nurturing, growing, suffocating, stifling, cover, stuck, immovable, boring, practical, cautious, steadfast and receptive. 



Our next element is AIR. We all know people who are described as “airheads” or “spacey”; you guessed it they probably have a lot of AIR in their chart. Air individuals breeze through the world. They are flighty and mental. They daydream and always seem to have their heads in the clouds. They tend to be more intellectual and concerned with facts rather than feelings. They are talkers, readers, socializers, and communicators; they seem to flit about, going whichever way the wind takes them. Air individuals can change whenever the wind blows. Yet they do tend to see things clearly and are gifted at connecting and communicating; they easily pick up what’s “in the air”. Too little air can result in one not thinking clearly. Air individuals are social and keep things light.  

The AIR element is associated with masculine energy (+) therefore it is desirable for men to have air and women to not. A woman who is “too airy” is a “dingbat” and often told to “shut up” she talks too much. A man who is “too airy” is a “great communicator” although it may be mentioned he talks a lot, like a woman! Men without much air may be considered the strong, silent type. Women without much air may be described as “church mice”.  

The words we associate with AIR include:  blustery, winded, light, spacey, airhead, flighty, breath(e), dizzying, absent, empty, air-waves, tornado, gale-force, breezy, gentle, variable and swirling. 



Lastly, we have the element of WATER.

WATER individuals are fluid and emotional. They flow with their feelings and often have many of them. They are intuitive and sensitive. They are responsive and empathic. They tend to mother and nurture. They cry and emote, sometimes, a lot. They are moody and ever changing. They like to follow the path of least resistance. They are able to go under and go deep. They can go with the flow. They are tender and vulnerable and may need to develop a thick exterior to protect themselves. They are in tune with the ebb and flow of life. They may feel like they can barely keep their heads above water and get overwhelmed by emotions, theirs and others. They feel so much they are readily there to comfort and soothe others when needed.

The WATER element is associated with feminine energy (-) therefore it is desirable for women to have it and men to not. Women are “allowed” to show their emotions but men are discouraged from expressing their feelings from an early age, lest they be branded a “sissy”. A woman who is “too watery” is told to stop crying and quit being “too sensitive”. A man who is “too watery” is ALSO told to stop crying and “act like a man”. It is not too much of a stretch to see how feelings/emotions are disregarded collectively! Those who have little water in their charts are considered cold and distant, unfeeling and removed. (What a MAJOR mixed message about feelings/emotions for both men and women)

The words we associate with WATER include:  flow, meandering, tears, dammed up, held back, fluid, cleansing, refreshing, vital, washes over, wells up, ripples, laps, gentle, forceful, drown, swept away and force of nature. 


The four elements in balance is the ideal chart configuration. To be able to draw inspiration, build on it, process it clearly and take pride in creating is the best blend of the components. When charts have too little or too much of one or another of the elements there is usually an exaggeration in the personality to compensate for the uneven distribution. When an element is lacking all together the compensation may come from something outside of the individual to provide the “missing” piece. For example, someone who has no earth in their chart may seek a partner or surround themselves with others who are grounded in an attempt to provide them the missing element. They could also pursue a career that somehow involves the absent element, like building or construction, grounded work. An individual who is lacking air in their chart may feel intellectually inferior to others and therefor strike off on a path of life long learning or education in order to validate themselves and make up for the perceived lack. They may accrue credential after credential and still feel inadequate. They will probably feel they can never know enough until they understand this hidden drive.

With respect to the negative (feminine) elements and the positive (masculine) elements there is a collective/societal tendency to desire masculine traits and diminish feminine traits. It is important to note that ALL people, men and women, have the entire chart within themselves. ALL people possess all the signs and elements within, some are more prominent than others, but we are all made up of the same stuff. There is nothing more right or more wrong, just differently proportioned. It would do ALL individuals well to study their own make up thoroughly and not pass judgment on another. The truth is we are all wired in our own unique ways, understanding and loving ourselves better gives us space to understand and love others in their uniqueness too! 

Elemental balance is a key component of the chart that helps reveal our true nature and gives us insight into our feelings, behaviors and habits that may otherwise remain mysteriously unexplained, but just right for us!

Mary Sutton