Knowing your astrological sign is fun and all, but the world of astrology is vast, and if you want to start branching out beyond your daily horoscope, then understanding the elements in astrology is essential. Every zodiac sign is ruled by one of the four elements, and knowing which element rules yours can be a a great way to start exploring the zodiac and making new connections, especially once you start diving into your astrological birth chart.
The 12 zodiac signs are all unique in their qualities and energies, but they do share some general similarities, and you can see their connections by looking at the ways the signs are categorized. First they’re broken down into two polarities (masculine and feminine), and then they're divided into three astrological modalities (cardinal, fixed, and mutable). Lastly, the signs are also divided up into four groups of elements in astrology, and this is perhaps the most significant of the categories. The four elements are fire, earth, air, and water, and they each have a unique way of expressing their energy.
“The world [of astrology] is made up of four elements that work together. One cannot exist without each other," astrologer Lisa Stardust tells Bustle. "Elements are used to classify and describe [zodiac] signs." The elements work together to balance each other out, and they distribute their strengths and weaknesses evenly throughout the zodiac, which creates a beautiful cosmic web of interconnection.Learning about the elements can help you get to the know the zodiac on a whole new level — and it can help you get to know your sign a little bit better, too. Here's a breakdown on the four elements in astrology, which signs they rule, and how they function.
Fire Signs 🜂
Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
Fire is the element of the spirit — it's passionate, fierce, and feisty. Fire sign people tend to lead with their spirits and their strong wills, and they posses a loud sense of confidence that stands out among the other signs. They're brave, energetic, and they interact with the world around them using their enthusiastic drive. Fire energy is known for being a little more impulsive than the other elements because they tend to let their passion dictate their actions and decisions — but some would argue that this just makes them more exciting to be around.
"Fire is about inspiration," Stardust says, "Aries brings the manifestation of a vision, Leo is the builder of the vision, and Sagittarius is the intellectual who critiques the dream." Fire signs might have quick tempers and big personalities, but you can count on them to boost your spirits and brighten your day.
Earth Signs 🜃
Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
Earth is the element of the physical realm, so this energy puts an emphasis on sensory experiences and being present in the moment. Its energy is practical, grounded, and more oriented to the material world than the other signs' — which is why earth signs are often known for being good with money. They interact with the world using pragmatism, usually making choices based on what makes sense and not getting swept up with passion, emotion, or overthinking, as the other elements do.
"Earth signs are the builders," Stardust says. "Tauruses are the artists who do the work that’s needed, Virgos brainstorm ideas with their analytical minds and have the patience to see things through, and Capricorns are known to be reflective of the steps taken as they complete the projects at hand." While an earth sign's rationality can make them a little more stuck in their ways than some, these signs are some of the most stable and reliable of the bunch.
Air Signs 🜁
Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
Air is the element of the mind — that's why these signs tend to spend more time in their heads, thinking about life in a more high-concept way than the rest of the zodiac. Air energy is highly social and communication-oriented, so these signs love to chat, gossip, and connect with others. They tend think through things from an intellectual perspective before making decisions and are more emotionally detached, since they relate to things through logic.
"Air is about intellect and information," Stardust says. "Geminis are the facilitators of information, Libra critiques ideas and thoughts, and Aquarius makes decisions based on looking at situations from a distance." Air signs can be a little flighty sometimes, but you can always count on them for interesting conversation.
Water Signs 🜄
Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
Water is the element of the heart. Like the watery tears of joy or sadness, this element is all about our sensitive sides — which is why water signs tend to act from a spiritual place than the rest of the gang. Water signs feel on an extraordinarily deep level, and can naturally pick up on others' sentiments, too. They're also more in touch with their intuition, and may even be more likely to get into spiritual practices.
"Water is about emotion," Stardust says. "Cancer shows us how we use our emotion to manifest dreams, Scorpio shows how we use our emotion to spark change, and Pisces shows us how we use our emotions to guide our intuition." While water signs have a tendency to get lost in their feelings, their naturally empathetic natures make them the ideal people to talk to when you're feeling vulnerable.