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