signs

Elements + Qualities = Signs

The signs are styles of expression. Everyone has all 12 signs in their chart, because your natal chart has 12 houses and each of the signs rules one of the houses in your chart.

The 12 zodiac signs are derived from the elements and qualities in Astrology. The four elements are fire, earth, air and water. All the signs of an element have some core energy in common:

Fire – action, energy, vitality
Earth – resources, sensuality, reliability
Air – ideas, communication, people oriented
Water – emotion, intuition, passion

There are three qualities in Astrology and all signs of the same quality also have some energy in common:

Cardinal – initiating, drive, ambition
Fixed – focused, tenacious, definite
Mutable – versatile, restless, seeks change

When you combine these two you get twelve combinations:

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Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius are all fire signs. They all have that fire energy in common. They differ though, because they each have a different quality. Aries is the most assertive of the three fire signs and has a sense of urgency and immediacy to it. Leo is more ambitions and driven. Sagittarius is the gypsy, seeking experiences.

Capricorn, Taurus and Virgo are the earth signs. Capricorn energy seeks accomplishment. Taurus desires comfort and doesn’t like waste. Virgo seeks to make things real and tangible.

Libra, Aquarius and Gemini are air. Libra energy leads people with ideas. Aquarius energy dives deeply into ideas to discover new ones. Gemini energy seeks to know something about everything.

Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces are water. Cancer energy controls through nurturing. Scorpio energy is consuming passion. Pisces energy blends with everything to create empathy.

People often have one element and quality that dominate their chart. So even if you have the Sun in Aries, if you have a lot of earth and mutable energy in your chart, your chart would have a Virgo feel to it, since Virgo is earth and mutable.

Even without seeing your chart, try to guess what element and quality you relate most to and then look at the sign that makes and see if you can feel that energy in you. It may not be your sun sign.

Now take a look at your chart and note how many pieces are in each element and quality. The sign that you come up with is called your signature and it is yet another layer to consider when you look at your chart.

signs

The Twelve Signs

In previous blogs I have discussed the four elements and three qualities. I explained that each of the cardinal signs seek to assert themselves. In some way they are all driven and ambitious. The fixed signs are all focused and tenacious and have a definitive quality about them. The mutable signs are versatile, restless and seek change. Let’s take a look at the moon in the elements and see how these elements combine with the three qualities to give us the twelve signs.

 

Fire Moons

Fire is active and initiating energy. It seeks to create experience and take action. All of the fire moons feel nurtured through experience and action. Aries (Fire & Cardinal) seeks to experience life first hand and learn by doing. Aries energy needs to feel directly involved with the experience. Leo (Fire & Fixed) is more focused and wants the experience to have meaning. These moons need to be feel valued and feel admired and to serve the greater good. Sagittarius (Fire & Mutable) is restless and desires change. These moons feel nurtured through change that leads to growth and expansion. Sagittarian moons are progressive and seek spiritual fulfillment.

 

Earth Moons

Earth is stabilizing concrete energy, and naturally tends to create form and solidify human experience. Taurus (Earth & Fixed) is focused and tenacious so these moons need physical pleasure and do best when they are comfortable. Virgo (Earth & Mutable) combines the versatility of the mutable signs with the earth element, resulting in a moon that needs to feel a sense of service. There’s a need to keep changing the physical, so just when everything is settled, these moons want to move again and disrupt the order in life somehow. Capricorn (Earth & Cardinal) really needs structure and flourishes when their home base is solid. They are driven to create something that has lasting value.

 

Air Moons

Air is changeable kinetic energy, and expands to create discovery and innovation. Gemini (Air & Mutable) moons need variety and so they are in perpetual motion. They are emotional chameleons seeking changing circumstances. Libra (Air & Cardinal) combines the intellectual quality of air and the assertiveness of cardinal to create a thoughtful desire for life to be fair. Libra seeks balance. Aquarius (Air & Fixed) is intensified innovative energy resulting in a need for the unexpected, and an ability to relate to those in all walks of life.

 

Water Moons

Water is steadily flowing energy that moves to shape and deepen any experience. Cancer (Water & Cardinal) is strong, assertive emotion. Cancer needs emotional security and likes to be in control. Scorpio (Water & Fixed) is intense emotion and almost thrives on crisis. Scorpio moons have much to learn and teach regarding choice. Pisces (Water & Mutable) is fluid emotion. They are are gentle dreamers with great capacity for empathy and compassion. They tend to blur the lines between illusion and reality and kind find themselves often in the role of rescuer or feeling that they are in need of rescue.

I hope this gives you a better understanding of how the elements and qualities create the twelve astrological signs.

Copyright © 2009, Lisa Wagner

signs

The Elements

In the past two blog entries, I’ve taken a brief look at the Moon and the Ascendant, and considered how each of these two pieces are colored by the twelve signs. Today I’m going to begin an explanation of how the meaning of the Astrological signs are derived, by discussing the elements.

The signs are derived from four elements and three modalities. The four elements are fire, earth, air and water. The three modalities are cardinal, fixed and mutable. Identifying all the possible combinations of these elements and modalities results in the twelve signs of the Zodiac. For example, there is a fire sign that is cardinal, a fire sign that is fixed, and a fire sign that is mutable. The same is true for each of the remaining three elements, thus providing a total of twelve different ways these elements and modalities may be paired.

To begin our illustration, we’ll first look at the four elements. Fire is active and initiating energy. It seeks to create experience and take action. The fire signs are Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. Earth is stabilizing concrete energy, and naturally tends to create form and solidify human experience. Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn are the three earth signs. Air is changeable kinetic energy, and expands to create discovery and innovation. Gemini, Libra and Aquarius make up the Air trio. Water is steadily flowing energy that moves to shape and deepen any experience. Water is the element of Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces.

Each sign belongs to one of these elements, and each sign is connected to the other signs of the same element. To demonstrate this point, we’ll now look at Mercury in the elements. Mercury symbolizes the rational mind and how we communicate via language. It’s what we believe “makes sense.” Mercury in our chart shows how we think and how we learn. People that have Mercury in the fire signs are people that need first hand experience to learn. They can’t just read about it or hear a lecture. A fire Mercury also needs to connect thought with action in some way. Kids with Mercury in a fire sign usually do better when their learning environment gives them the opportunity to experience the lesson rather than simply to be taught the lesson.

People with Mercury in earth signs seek a practical application for what they are taught. If information isn’t useful, then it rarely makes sense to these types. An earth Mercury needs to connect thought with some type of form. Kids with Mercury in an earth sign usually do better when they are taught how they can use what they are learning to create something new or improve something already established, rather than learning for the sake of learning.

Mercury in the air signs gives us people that crave knowledge and information, and love to learn for the sake of learning. An air Mercury can read a book or engage in conversation on a subject that s/he will never actively pursue, just for the excitement of discovery and for the satisfaction that comes from sharing and exchanging ideas. Kids with Mercury in an air sign usually do better when they have access to books and discussions that allow them to share ideas.

A water Mercury needs to feel emotionally connected to learn. This connection can be to a teacher or to some internal desire that drives the person to want to learn. Mercury in water often feels a need to derive some sense of control and/or to feel that the knowledge is empowering. Kids with Mercury in water usually do better when they have a positive relationship with their teachers and learning environment, and feel as though what they are learning is personally enriching.

Next time, I’ll use Mercury to take a look at the three modalities, and explore how these combine with the elements to differentiate the twelve signs.

Copyright © 2009, Lisa Wagner