Essentials of Vedic Astrology Block 1: Static Horoscope
Lesson 2A: Elements of the Signs

Elements of the Signs

Each sign relates to one of the four elements of earth, water, fire or air, in one of the three modes of these major qualities. As the signs show the field in which the planets operate, their elements show their different levels - the layers or densities of our being in which we function in life.

Earth Signs
Strong planets in Earth signs show a strong sense of form, order, utility, and practicality, and they seek material manifestation or expression. They usually show a strong connection to or much work to do with the Earth, the body, or physical matter. For example, we can find them in such diverse professions as gardeners, doctors, bankers or farmers, all of whom deal with something tangible in the material world. They may show work with the hands, a strong sense of form, or work with the practical, informational, or earthly side of the mind. They keep us in the realm of the senses and require that we use our senses in a clear manner. They demand that we develop mastery of the body. They can have a certain gravity to them or weigh us down. On the higher level, they can give us the capacity to realize our inner potentials in the material world, to see things as they are. Here we find them in the charts of old souls - those who have much connection with traditional cultures (like India or Mexico) and who may be completing their cycle of evolution. Those who follow Earth or nature religions, like Taoism or the American Indian path, may be of this type. On a lower level, they may tie us to the world or the body and place a shadow over us, even draw us into the underworld. Many souls just coming into this world, or up from the animal kingdom, can be dominated by such coarser earth influences. Well-placed planets in Earth signs give practical efficiency, physical purity, and the capacity for work. Poorly placed planets in Earth signs constrict and block us and keep us tied to the harsher side of life.

Water Signs
Water signs bring our planetary energies into the realm of feelings and emotions and often give love, affection, and attachment. They can be instinctual or intuitive, depending on how we use them, and usually cause us to seek emotional regard and recognition. They can show much work to do on the level of feeling, with our psychology and with human relationship. They can give strong vital natures and promote the interchange of emotional energy between people. They indicate that our main fulfillment will come in relationship, which may be family, friends, social recognition, or even spiritual relationships. Those who have many planets in Water signs usually have many people around them, and they often provide a place in their house for people to come together. They may find it hard to create boundaries between themselves and others and thus may lack clarity. Their lives may be in the sea, as it were. On a higher level, Water signs give wisdom, faith, devotion and compassion. They may be connected with astral worlds of art or devotion. On a lower level, they give sentimentality, greed and attachment. We may get drowned in the emotional issues we are not able to work out or do not want to let go of. We should note that while water is creative, it can also cause decay. Well-placed planets in Water signs give positive feelings, love and creativity. Negatively placed planets breed deep-seated emotional turmoil or stagnation.

Fire Signs
Fire signs show strong will, ambition, determination, discrimination, perception, and a critical mind. People with fiery planets often seek power and a display of force and drama. Their focus is more on the self and character than upon the interchange with others. They like to be popular but usually to dominate, not to be on the same level with others, as is the case with Water signs. They show that our main field of activity in life is in the realm of the will. We need to be certain of our motivation and the nature of the self we are projecting. Fire signs give us the need to develop real independence, clarity, and understanding, and not just to shine over or rule over others. On the higher level, they give independence and insight, strong judgment and high values. Fire types (those with strong planets in Fire signs) are able to penetrate into things and understand the underlying energy, motivation, or force behind them. Fire signs give leadership, the capacity to make alliances, and the ability to project warmth, light and beneficence. On the lower level, they may make us destructive. Our will may clash with those of others and bring us into argument and conflict. They may cause us to be vain, proud, or self-promoting. Well-placed planets in Fire signs give illumination, freedom and enlightenment. They show the soul coming forth in its manifestation. Wrongly placed planets in Fire signs can be burnt up and show the will in turmoil and complication.

Air Signs
Air signs show versatility of movement and change, generally more on a mental level. People with airy planets are often intellectual or at least mental types. They seek communication and realization of ideas and ideals; their love is usually of knowledge. They are often speculative and not concerned with practical results. They may live in their ideas and calculations, plans and projections. They show much work to do in the realm of thought and communication. They seek to ascend but may not have the foundation for it. Their energies may get scattered or diffused. On a higher level, they increase idealism and aspiration and the longing to go beyond this world. They can be philosophical or humanitarian in their outlook. On a lower level, they may keep us confused and ungrounded, not willing to face the facts about life or about themselves. They may want to change things according to their own notions that may not correspond to any reality or truth of things. They may be attached to their mental patterns and nervous energy that may not reflect anything real. Well-placed planets in Air signs give comprehensiveness, balance and sensitivity. Wrongly placed planets in Air signs have their energy dispersed. They show disturbance, uncertainty, and lack of consolidation and may cause mental or nervous problems.

Examining the elements in the chart
For a complete understanding of the elements in the chart we must examine the elements represented by the planets themselves, particularly that of the strongest planet. For example, one may have many planets in Earth signs, but if they are predominately fiery planets and strongly placed (especially an exalted Mars in Capricorn) one will have much energy, enthusiasm and motivation (fire) to accomplish things in the material or practical realm (earth). We would say such a person is "Fire operating in the field of the earth." Their force or the quality of their nature would be more fiery, but their realm of manifestation would be more earthly. Even their physical constitution would usually be more fiery (Pitta), though they would be active through the body, senses, or the concrete side of the mind. If the planets are of different elements than the signs in which they are located, a certain cancellation or overpowering of elements can occur. If, for example, an individual has Mars, Saturn, the Sun and the lunar nodes (none of which has a watery nature) in Water signs, these planets may serve to negate the energy of water rather than to manifest it. They could even create air in the nature by this neutralization of water. If such planets are weakly placed, water may serve to overpower the elements and qualities the planets normally possess. Much of the nature of an individual and their issues in life can be seen in how the elements relate in the chart. We could examine these configurations element by element and planet by planet but there is not the space for it. For example, if a person has planets primarily in earth and air, there will be a battle between the practical and idealistic sides of the nature. If they are primarily in water and fire, the emotions and the will may be at odds. If they are mainly in earth and water, their energy will tend to sink.

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Essentials of Vedic Astrology - Lesson 2A Sign Elements ©2006 Astrosalon p/l