When beginning to work with your astrological birth chart, one of the simplest and most impactful places to start is in understanding the four elements of the zodiac; fire, earth, air and water. When we understand which elements we have more prominently within our birth chart, our unique blueprint, we can begin a dance with our body and our energy system. Creating harmony and flow in our lives, our relationships and in turn, our world! In this article we will take a deep dive into each of the four elements of the zodiac wheel with tips on how to work with this energy consciously AND subconsciously through somatic practices and energy work! (More on this in the opening article of this series Archetypal Tools For Self Understanding | Somatic Practices & Energy Work - The Missing Link!)
If you think of a scale that is heavily weighted on one side, you are going to have to put a lot of weight onto the opposite side to bring it into balance. This is exactly what we are doing when working with balancing the elements of the zodiac within ourselves. Understanding where we are weighted by looking at the placements in out birth chart and learning how to recognise when we have too much of something or where we are out of balance. Then, gaining tools to cultivate balance within our bodies, our subconscious and our energy system so we are expressing our strengths and gifts at their fullest potential.
What is astrology & my birth chart?
Your astrological birth chart is a snapshot of the sky at the time of your birth, the moment you separated from your mother and your soul incarnated on this earth. Amongst other things, it takes into account which area of the sky (the sign of the zodiac) the planets in our solar system were at the time of your birth, how those planets have conversations with each other and how this energy influences you as a wonderfully unique being! To say that it is a lot more than the horoscopes you read in newspapers and magazines (which highlights just your sun sign) would be an understatement.
To find out your elements, pull up your birth chart on a website such as Cafe Astrology and tally up what elements your rising sign and each of the five personal planets (sun, moon, mercury, venus & mars) are in. What elements do you have more of? What elements are you lacking? Which traits of which element do you resonate the most with? Where might you need to cultivate some balance? You can learn more about each of the four elements below!
The Fire Element
The fire element signs of the zodiac are Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. These are masculine or yang energies that govern our inner fire that drives us to take action. The fire element in balance has a true zest for life and is a great leader! These energies are action oriented, driven, determined, bold, self sufficient, enthusiastic, lively, fun, inspirational, instinctual and goal driven. The fire element in balance oozes confidence, assertiveness and brings a powerful, forward moving energy.
A way to notice when your fire element is out of balance when you find yourself caught in cycles of burnout. People with fire element placements can tend to place a lot of importance on constantly doing and taking action without listening to their emotions or their body and its call for rest. Fire needs fuel to burn so rest and deep nourishment is vital for this element to stay balanced. Other personality traits of people with out of balance fire include being bossy, forceful, egotistical, angry and restless. OR we can see the opposite manifesting in symptoms of burnout, feeling cut off, lacking in emotion, inspiration and drive.
When we practice somatically with the counter balance energy of the feminine water element, we can soothe and control our inner fire so it has direction and focus. The water element provides us with the ability to be still, to deeply nourish and to connect with our intuition and the deepest parts of ourselves. When we take action from this place, not only is it more sustainable but our actions are more aligned. Moving us in the direction of a rich and fulfilling life with more ease and flow. A few practices you can begin to work with include:
Yoga flows OR yoga working into the hip space/ with the sacral chakra (where we hold a lot of our emotion)
Free flowing dance
Energy techniques that work with the kidney and bladder energy meridians in the body - the deepest running energy pathways that deeply nourish our body and energy system
Any practices in the Dream section of the daily practice library (for A Handpicked Life Members)
The Earth Element
The earth element signs of the zodiac are Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn. These are feminine or yin energies that help us to feel safe, secure, grounded and deeply connected with the earth and the world around us. The earth element in balance is incredibly present and experiences life's pleasures to their fullest potential. The earth energies are often sensual, practical, reliable, dependable, nurturing, secure, gentle, healing, organic and connected with nature and the natural world. The earth element placements are great at seeing things through to completion and manifesting things into reality (even if it takes a while to get there!)
The earth element out of balance can manifest as stubbornness or an unwillingness to change and take risks. It can get lost in the material world or locked into daily tasks and often loses sight of the why, what's driving them and with the bigger picture. Other traits of earth out of balance includes being slow moving, lethargic, materialistic, possessive, greedy and fearful of change and uncertainty.
When we practice somatically with the counter balance energy of the yang air element, we can inject some lightness and fast moving energy into the heavy 3D reality of the earth element. The air element is mental energy and it gives us access to a higher perspective. The air element is fast, changeable and isn't tangible. In balance it brings comfort in uncertainty. A few practices you can begin to work with to balance the slow moving lethargy of the earth element include:
Any breathwork which energises
Yoga focused on heart openers and releasing the throat space
Meditation connecting with the crown, heart or the throat chakra
Light, graceful dance such as barre or ballet
Energy techniques working with the lung energy meridian
Any practices in the Shed or Assimilate section of the daily practice library (for A Handpicked Life Members)
The Air Element
The air element signs of the zodiac are Gemini, Libra and Aquarius. These are masculine or yang energies that connect us to the mind, intellect and logic. The air element in balance is sociable, charming, clear headed and a true visionary. Air energy is often curious, playful, dextrous, fast moving and adaptable. This energy is fair, diplomatic, inventive and has access to a higher perspective and vision for the future. This energy often manifests in people as intelligence and as great communicators.
The air element out of balance however can lack the ability to stay grounded. It has access to logic, ideas and creative problem solving and has a clear vision but doesn't always have access to the structure and consistency to manifest them into reality. This element can also often be 'too in the mind' cut off from the body and emotions. Other traits of air out of balance are being indecisive, nervous, jittery, fickle, unfocused, inconsistent and can blow hot and cold.
When we practice somatically with the counter balance energy of the feminine earth element, we can ground that fast moving, visionary energy and manifest sustainable change. The earth element provides us with structure, energy, consistency and a strong connection with the 3D world giving us access to the air element traits as their fullest potential. A few practices you can begin to work with to balance the fast paced, mind oriented, nervous energy of the air element include:
Earth Element Yoga - A low to the ground practice with lots of forward bends, connecting with the earth and the root chakra
Grounding meditation focused on the body, your breath and practicing presence
Energy techniques working with the stomach energy meridian in the body
Connecting with nature intentionally and getting your bare feet onto the earth
Any practices in the Ground section of the daily practice library (for A Handpicked Life Members)
The Water Element
The water element signs of the zodiac are Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces. These are feminine or yin energies that connect us to our intuition and our emotional world. The water element in balance incredibly creative and flowing energy. Water energy is emotional, intuitive, sensitive, compassionate, understanding, empathetic and receptive. This is mysterious, creative, dreamy, limitless energy which in balance can enhance the ability to manifest.
The water element out of balance however can often become overwhelmed by emotion or its receptive and empathetic energy. It can often be overly sensitive, lack boundaries and take on too much due to how deeply it feels and how compassionate this energy can be. Out of balance water can often become stagnant and stuck and lost in possibility and unable to flow. Dreamy water energy can also manifest negatively as escapism, addiction or as being a little out of touch or 'on another planet'.
When we practice somatically with the counter balance energy of the masculine fire element, we access the powerful spark of energy and assertiveness needed for healthy boundaries and a healthy flow of energy. The fire element provides us with the courage, focus, direction and energy to take action on our wildest dreams! The fire element provides the heat to pull the water element out of stagnation, overwhelm and drowning emotions. It provides the strength and assertiveness needed to protect the sensitive, receptive water element from taking on too much and being overly compassionate.
A few practices you can begin to work with include:
Fire Element Yoga/ Power Yoga
Yoga focused on the solar plexus and on feeding your inner fire
Breath of fire or any breathwork that creates heat in the body
Energy techniques focused on the liver and the heart meridians in the body AND the radiant circuits
Any practices in the Assimilate section of the daily practice library (for A Handpicked Life Members)
Though understanding the elements you have within you can be incredibly insightful, you know your body and your energy better than anyone else. These systems are incredible sign posts that show us our potential and where we might need to flesh ourselves out however I would always encourage you to let your body be the compass. What energy do you feel you need to lean into at this time? Do you need to cultivate that spark of inspiration? Do you need to inject some life in you body and get things moving? Do you need to slow down, ground and be present? Do need to connect with your creativity, your intuition, your emotional world?
Tune in, your body holds the wisdom!
I'd really love to hear your experience as you begin to work with these powerful somatic practices from this lens so please keep me updated! And if you would like to take a deeper look at your astrological birth chart, I offer natal chart readings as well as several different types of Astrology & Human Design readings. You can find out more here.