Everything You Need to Know About Elements in Astrology
Feeling on fire today? Have you got the wind in your sails? Do you need to ground yourself or are you busy raining on someone’s parade? The language of the natural world is all around us and we have an almost instinctive understanding of what fire, air, earth and water may symbolize. But what about the elements in astrology? Let’s take a look.
What Do Elements Mean in Astrology?
In astrology, every zodiac sign is classified as belonging to one of the four elements, fire, earth, air or water.
You’ll sometimes hear these called the triplicities, meaning that each element has three signs.
The elemental traits each set of zodiac signs shares underpin the similarities in their basic nature. However, each of the signs in a triplicity or element grouping is subtly different, because astrology also classifies zodiac signs in another way too – the four qualities, cardinal, fixed and mutable. In each element group, one sign is cardinal, one is fixed, and one is mutable. You can learn more about the astrological qualities in a separate article.
But what do fire, earth, air and water actually represent in terms of personality traits?
Fire people are passionate, spontaneous, creative and larger than life. They have huge enthusiasm and love to love, but they can also come across as bossy, arrogant or domineering. Quick to anger, they are equally quick to forgive.
Earth people are steady, careful, grounded and sensible. They take life one step at a time but have a surprisingly sensual streak when you get to know them. Often determined but cautious, they can sometimes come across as staid or overly placid.
Air people are great communicators, with a lively, witty style and typically a strong intellect. Friendly and gregarious, they can sometimes however lack focus. A certain fickleness is common, together with difficulty expressing emotions.
Water people are emotional, sensitive and moody. Compassionate and giving, they sometimes struggle with assertiveness or are too quick to give in to others. Romantic and imaginative, they crave security and can be needy.
What Zodiac Elements Go Together?
People often ask about zodiac sign compatibility – in truth, there’s far more to love compatibility in astrology than just your Sun sign and the element it belongs to. We humans are much more complex than that! Very broadly speaking, however, it’s true that some astrological elements work together more smoothly than others. The most unlikely of matches can and do work, though, so never rule someone in or out of your life based on their Sun sign or element alone!
All of the elemental matches have possibilities in love – and all have potential problems too. As a rule of thumb:
Fire Sign and Fire Sign Compatibility
An intensely passionate relationship, but one which wavers frequently – and alarmingly – between love, hate and throwing things. Creative, inspirational and joyous when it’s going well, this same element relationship can be exhaustingly good. Both partners will be competing with each other though, so ultimately the tantrums and the refusal of either partner to back down could prove problematic.
Fire Sign and Earth Sign Compatibility
Earth provides a solid base for fire in nature, and so it is in life. The earth partner can ground the fire element partner, providing common sense and practical support. In return, the fire partner inspires and energizes the earth partner. Sparks fly in the bedroom in what can be a very sensual match. Ultimately, however, fire scorches earth or earth dampens fire’s flames. Not always a long-lasting relationship.
Fire Sign and Air Sign Compatibility
When you mix fire and air, you get fireworks. This relationship can be intensely frustrating at times, because the air partners wants to talk while the fire partner wants to act. The abstract nature of the air element partner can however inspire the fire partner, in the same way that a fire needs oxygen to burn. Remember though that fire uses up all of air’s oxygen eventually – and it may be the air partner who is first to call it quits.
Fire Sign and Water Sign Compatibility
Fire can’t burn in water, and water can instantly douse fire’s passion and flames. So, you might think that fire and water are not hugely compatible, right? But think of the steam that they generate – this can be a very passionate and sensual relationship indeed, for a while at least. Long term, the fire partner needs too much from the water element partner and doesn’t reciprocate with emotional support.
Earth Sign and Earth Sign Compatibility
Sensual, practical and very grounded, two earth sign people can form a very stable and long-lasting relationship. However, too much earth can result in a landslide – and then nobody’s going anywhere fast. The biggest problem for this relationship is inertia and a lack of dynamism or excitement – but you can’t fault the commitment of this couple.
Earth Sign and Air Sign Compatibility
Air can stir up the earth into a veritable dust storm, but dust storms hurt your eyes and get into all the irritating places. This can be a relationship which on the face of it seems to be going places, but behind the scenes a lack of emotional depth can cause distance between these two partners. On a practical level, they can achieve a great deal through good ideas and focused intent – but where’s the romance?
Earth Sign and Water Sign Compatibility
Earth needs water to nourish it, and in return provides stability and anchorage in the deepest and darkest of watery pools. This can be a magical, sensitive and deeply loyal partnership, with each partner bringing out the best in the other. However, earth and water can also mix to form nothing more inspiring than a muddy puddle – as ever, you’d need to understand the full birth chart to figure out compatibility here.
Air Sign and Air Sign Compatibility
When two air signs get together, it’s a relationship built on intellectual compatibility first and foremost. These two are great friends and that underpins everything else. This can be a fun, lively and energetic love match, but air is not great at the nitty gritty of emotions. This partnership can therefore suffer from repressed emotions if niggles and problems are not addressed early on.
Air Sign and Water Sign Compatibility
Air and water mix to create beautiful rainbows in nature, and in astrology too this can be a lovely relationship. However, air can also stir up powerful storms at sea, which wreak havoc and destruction. The water partner helps the air partner to express their emotion and intuition more fully, and the air partner helps the water partner to rationalize their fears. Sometimes, however, there’s just a fundamental disconnect.
Water Sign and Water Sign Compatibility
Highly romantic and very gentle and giving, a relationship between two water signs can seem to be true love embodied. These two partners understand each other instinctively. However, water plus more water can sometimes lead to a lake too deep to swim in. When either or both partners need emotional support and stability, the other partner may be too wrapped up in their own problems to offer it.