The four elements are believed to rule the 12 zodiac signs. The different elemental properties have been associated with behavioral attributes and personalities of individuals; persons born under a zodiac sign are believed to have characteristics like that of the element governing their sign.
- Fire signs are; Leo, Sagittarius and Aries
- Water signs are; Pisces, Cancer and Scorpio
- Earth signs are; Capricorn, Taurus and Virgo
- Air signs are; Aquarius, Gemini and Libra
The Twelve zodiac signs all correlate to the four elements of the earth, or human reality.
The element of fire (choleric)
Positive qualities: vigorousness, zeal, enthusiasm, courage, decisiveness, power of creativity, daring, sedulity…
Negative qualities: quarrelsomeness, irritability, urge to destroy everything, passion, immoderacy, jealousy, voraciousness, vindictiveness, violence, hate, anger, sudden ebullition…
How does fire work? It’s closely linked to air. Fire needs three things in order to exist: oxygen, fuel, and heat. The intensity of a fire varies because it is dependent on the oxygen, fuel, and heat available to it. When all three of these things are in a controlled situation, such as in candles or a campfire, fires are considered helpful. But when one or more of these things are not controlled, such as in a wildfire or a burning building, fires can easily become very dangerous. To extinguish a fire, the oxygen, fuel, or heat needs to be removed. “Smothering” a fire by placing a blanket or dirt on it works because the fire goes out without oxygen. The earth provides an abundance of fuel in the form of wood and fossil fuels such as coal. When the fuel is removed, the fire has nothing left to burn and is extinguished. Water often serves as an effective cooling source by removing the heat from a fire. This is seen when hot lava from an erupting volcano enters the ocean or when a bucket of water is dumped on a campfire.
Fire creates light, heat, and smoke by a rapid chemical reaction called combustion. Smoke is the result of the incomplete combustion (burning) of a fuel. Particles that were not burned become suspended in the air. Smoke is often dangerous because it contains harmful gases that can poison a person who inhales too much smoke.
Fire is a masculine element. In Feng shui, the masculine energy is called yang.
- It represents noon in the cycle of the day.
- The Feng shui direction is south; it represents recognition and fame.
- Fire represents the summer season
- In the cycle of life, it represents young adulthood.
People with this temperament tend to be egocentric and extroverted. They may be excitable, impulsive, and restless, with reserves of aggression, energy, and/or passion, and try to instill that in others.
They tend to be task-oriented people and are focused on getting a job done efficiently; their motto is usually “do it now.” They can be ambitious, strong-willed and like to be in charge. They can show leadership, are good at planning, and are often practical and solution-oriented. They appreciate receiving respect and esteem for their work.
Pedagogically, they can be best reached through mutual respect and appropriate challenges that recognize their capacities
The element of water (phlegmatic)
Positive qualities: understanding, placidity, mildness, trusting nature, devotion, mercy, forgiveness, modesty, compassion, fervour, pliancy, meditativeness, internalization…
Negative qualities: indifference, heartlessness, laziness, indolence, rigidity, lack of daring, lack of concern, unstableness, dejection…
The chemical formula of water is H20, meaning it is made of two hydrogen atoms bonded to one oxygen atom. The hydrogen atoms each attach to one side of the oxygen atom and have a positive charge whereas the oxygen atom has a negative charge. This polarizes the water molecule, much like a magnet, giving a water molecule positive and negative ends. Since opposite charges attract, water molecules tend to “stick” together. This gives water surface tension and allows objects, such as paperclips, to float on it.
While it can’t dissolve everything, water is known as the universal solvent because it can dissolve more substances than any other liquid. It can dissolve salt, sugar, acids, alkalis, some gases, and organic material. Water traveling through your body or through the ground takes chemicals, minerals, and nutrients with it. Water’s ability to dissolve substances helps keep the planet healthy. For more than a century, the burning of fossil fuels has pumped large amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. The water in oceans have absorbed about half of this CO2 by dissolving the gas from the air and processing it by sea vegetation. Water is a feminine element. Water represents, emotions, innocence, purity, ebb and flow.
People with this temperament may be inward and private, thoughtful, reasonable, calm, patient, caring, and tolerant. They tend to have a rich inner life, seek a quiet, peaceful atmosphere, and be content with themselves. They tend to be steadfast, consistent in their habits, and thus steady and faithful friends.
Pedagogically, their interest is often awakened by experiencing others’ interest in a subject.
The element of earth (melancholic)
Positive qualities: consistency, conscientiousness, perseverance, punctuality, caution, resistance, responsibility, carefulness, firmness, reliability, sobriety, ambition, respectfulness, matter-of-factness…
Negative qualities: stuffiness, superficiality, laziness, indifference, cumbersomeness, touchiness, lack of conscientiousness, irregularity, timidity, scornfulness…
The earth is full of a wide variety of rocks and minerals which provides the soil to grow vegetation and support life. The two most common elements in the earth’s crust are oxygen (46%) and silicon (28%). Because of this, the most abundant mineral in the earth’s crust is silica (silicon dioxide). More commonly known as sand, silica is a major component of glass. How can glass be made out of sand? Interestingly, when silica is heated, it melts and becomes glass, hardening as it cools.
Rich deposits of metal ores are found throughout the earth’s crust. While these metals are used in the production of machinery, tools, buildings, and weapons, straight out of the earth these metals are pretty useless. Fire is used to heat, refine, and shape metal so that machines, hammers, and support beams can be made from it.
- Earth is a feminine element and is passive.
- It symbolizes the planet earth, mother, and grandmother.
- Earth represents nourishment, stability, permanence, security and solidness.
- It symbolizes the direction North and represents the season of winter, and the wintertime of life (old age).
- Earth represents midnight in the cycle of the day.
People with this temperament may appear serious, introverted, cautious or even suspicious. They can become preoccupied with the tragedy and cruelty in the world and are susceptible to depression and moodiness. They may be focused and conscientious. They often prefer to do things themselves, both to meet their own standards and because they are not inherently sociable.
Pedagogically, they can be best met by awakening their sympathy for others.
The element of air (sanguine)
Positive qualities: vigilance, care-freedom, kind-heartedness, trusting nature, clarity, lightness, independency, dexterity, optimism, diligence, acuity, joy, smiling…
Negative qualities: lack of perseverance, dishonesty, gossipy, cunningness, backbiting, garrulousness, inconstancy, touchiness, prodigality…
In many cultures, air is recognized as the breath of all life forms. Nothing can exist without it, but it’s an invisible force and can only be seen in its passing through the other elements, such as:
- Leaves of trees
- Dust storms
- Flickering flames of fire
- Over the oceans
Air is a masculine element in many cultures; air is recognized as the breath of all life forms. Nothing can exist without it, but it’s an invisible force and can only be seen in its passing through the other elements,
But air cannot be contained or recreated!
People with this temperament tend to be lively, sociable, carefree, talkative, and pleasure-seeking. They may be warm-hearted and optimistic. They can make new friends easily, be imaginative and artistic, and often have many ideas. They can be flighty and changeable; thus sanguine personalities may struggle with following tasks all the way through and be chronically late or forgetful.
Pedagogically, they can be best reached through awakening their love for a subject and admiration of people.
The elements within and without
Each of the four elements is inherently neutral and is neither good nor bad. It is man who gives to the acting of the elements a good or bad character. But, in order not to get stuck in theory, even though correct knowledge is also important for the spiritual development of man, we will look at both positive and negative character qualities that man can develop within himself.
The elements that form the material world are also included in man’s character. Depending on which element predominates in him, he can have a choleric, sanguine, melancholic or phlegmatic nature. In human interaction, each of these natures is important, because it enables one to “see a matter” from all sides and considering all aspects of a performed activity enables mankind to get their works closer to perfection. In fact, there are twelve human natures, which are a mix of the four elements in various proportions and you know them as the twelve signs of the Zodiac. Interaction of the two main elements can also be found in the union of male and female, where the man by nature of his being, contributes to the relationship the creative powers of fire, whereas the woman contributes the sustaining powers of the element of water, forming a necessary foundation for the active operation of the man.
Earth – represents the physical vehicle. Air – represents breath. Fire – represents power and passion and water represents the fluid that sustains life!