Astrological Signs: The 4 Elements and What Each Means

You’ve probably encountered your sun sign’s associated element while researching its classic qualities, such as fire, water, earth, and air. Triplicities (also called astrological signs in modern astrology) consist of these elements and represent various aspects of temperament. The four zodiac signs that make up each astrological element are: Aries, Leo, Scorpio, and Pisces; Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn; Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius; and Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces.

A number of Greek philosophers, including Empedocles and Plato, are credited with introducing the four-element system used in astrology. The system has been used all over the world to classify behavioral tendencies for thousands of years, including the system of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

During that time, a few centuries BCE, the elements were also used in Hippocratic medicine (which was pioneered by the Greek physician Hippocrates), as a reflection of an individual’s general constitution. In the United States, air is hot and wet, earth is cold and dry, and water is wet and cold. The four temperaments of fire, air, melancholy, and water were then translated as follows: fire is choleric, air is sanguine, Earth is melancholic, water is phlegmatic.”

In the context of modern astrology, we can see that fire is often connected to extroversion, independence, and radiance; air is associated with communication; earth suggests practicality and responsibility; and water is associated with emotional and dynamic energy, says Gailing.

What modern astrologers believe about the elements

A person’s astrological sun sign doesn’t entirely determine their temperament, and the particular element of their sign doesn’t also determine their entire personality. Several elements and characteristics of your natal chart, as described by Gailing, can influence your style or natural tendencies. She says, “For example, someone could have several planets in both air signs and water signs, and thus display traits of both temperaments.”

In the case of multiple planets in the same sign, a person could reflect a blend of air and water temperaments. -Stephanie Gailing, astrologer

It is said that people with many planets in one element may be more likely to fully express their temperaments and ways of being to the fullest extent, says Gailing. The ascendant and several planets and pivotal points—such as the Sun and Mercury—in your chart are likely to be in fire signs, making you extremely energetic, prone to intuitive thoughts, and prone to moving quickly or preferring to be on the move.

It can certainly be a strength to have all of your energy focused on one element, however, the overemphasis might also lead you to exhibit qualities associated with other elements less often. You may be exceptional intuitive, but you need detachment, Gailing says, if you have an ultra-ferocious emotional response to planetary placements.

Then again, if your chart is characterized with all the different elements reflected across planets, you will likely have a disposition that reflects all these different ways of being, which may prove useful in some circumstances and problematic in others. Here is the typical interpretation of each element.

Each element of an astrological sign has specific qualities


Gailing describes this element as dynamic, enthusiastic, and passionate. Movement and spontaneity, as well as the ability to use their imagination in solving problems, are reflected in those who reflect it. Agressive, adventurous, and prone to overcoming obstacles, they are often looking for adventure.

The air

With their agile and changeable nature, air signs are usually intellectual and cerebral. In this camp, individuals are often witty, thoughtful, but also prone to overthinking. The creatures are also sociable and prefer to establish alliances with others, explains Gailing.

This planet

Gailing describes Earth energy as grounded, solid, and practical, which is connected to the world in a profound and sensual way. These individuals generally resist change, in favor of routines and rituals. Material comforts and success are also important to them.

Drinking water

This element is closely linked to fluidity and freedom. Those who embrace watery thinking tend to be sensitive to their environments and open to changes, says Gailing. A creative or artistic approach is often the best way to find emotional fulfillment and depth.

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