Why Him, Why Her: Finding Love by Understanding Your Personality Type, is the recent book out by the anthropologist, Helen Fisher. Helen is considered a leading expert on the biology of love and attraction. According to Fisher’s research, there are four personality types: The Explorer, Builder, Director, and Negotiator. This “new” research is basically a re-definition of astrology’s four elements (fire, earth, air, and water). Psychologists have always been fond of typing people into certain categories. Jung formulated his own unique system for the four types: The Intuitive (Fire), sensation (earth), thinking (air), and feeling (water) function. Typology has always been used as a way to understand both oneself and the interpersonal difficulties that arise in relationships.
The oldest system of typology known to us is the one devised under our ancient cosmological scheme. According to astrology, the personality is classified into four trigons, corresponding to the four elements. The fiery trigon in the horoscope, for instance, consists of the three fire signs of the zodiac, Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius; the earthy trigon is made up of Taurus, Virgo ,and Capricorn. In astrological “terms”, fiery people are spontaneous, active, energetic and intuitive, and earth types are pragmatic, responsible, cautious and reliable. From Jung’s point of view, there are two personality, attitudes – introversion and extroversion – and four functions or modes of orientation (four elements). In Renaissance philosophy, the four basic temperaments were based on the theory of the “humours” in the blood. These were melancholic (earthy), phlegmatic (watery), sanguine (airy), and Choleric (fiery). All diseases were due to an excess or deficiency of one of these four humours. Astrology is the earliest system to develop the idea of personality “types”.
According to Helen Fisher’s four types these are broadly classified into the elements, but through her exploration of genetic literature, she has associated different chemical reactions in the body to these particular modes of expression. The Explorer type is described as risk-taking, enthusiastic, optimistic, adventurous (fire) and is closely connected to the dopamine system. The second type is the builder (earthy), who expresses with Serotonin, and these people are often stable, traditional, conventional, and rule-makers. The third type is the Director (Air) and she describes them as tough-minded, decisive, and good at spatial relations, and the author relates testosterone to this mode of expression.The fourth and final type is the Negotiator (Water), expression of estrogen – both men and women, and these people are imaginative, intuitive and compassionate. The author describes these people as having the ability to get along with everybody.
The Anthropologist has researched thousands of couples and evaluated what types seek each other out. Fisher determined that the Director (air) was strongly attracted to the Negotiator (water). An example given by the author is Hilary and Bill Clinton; she describes Bill as gracious and compassionate, and Hilary as tough-minded and decisive. However, if we look at their astrology charts, it is actually Hilary, who is the water type (negotiator), with powerful placements in Scorpio and planets in fire signs (Explorer). On the other hand, Bill is predominately air (Director) with his emphasis in Libra (peaceful-relating) and planets in fire signs, too.
Love Horoscope: Element Compatibility
Liz Greene’s book, Relating, was published back in 1977, and uses basic concepts of Jungian psychology, to show the ways in which people relate to one another on both conscious and unconscious levels. The chapter on Psychological Types accurately outlines the way we perceive our environment according to our most dominant element. Greene proposes that the earth signs are attracted to fire signs and water signs are attracted to air. It was what Jung called our opposite function, and these signs often possess completely opposite characteristics to the ones we hold.
Air has a magnetic attraction to water, which symbolizes the opposite function: feeling. Even if the partner is not really a suitable hook – that is if the other’s chart does not show a strong emphasis of planets in water signs – somehow he or she will appear ideally watery when clothed in the unconscious projection. Air is notorious for being a poor judge of partner because he chooses everything according to reason until Eros chooses him.
Helen Fisher’s hypothesis isn’t groundbreaking, and we have always been aware of the four types. New names and definitions don’t change what astrologers have always known. The different hormones related to each type may add something different to the table. Astrology explains people more concisely than any personality test. The water groupings have their own mode (cardinal, fixed, and mutable) of approach, which further explains their differences. The author strongly suggests, if accurate, these four traits go a long way to predicting both attraction and aversion. Yet, she also warns the reader not to adhere too strongly to the personality labels.
Love always comes down to some chemical “imbalance” in the brain, and Science tends to take the romanticism away, but as a water type (negotiator), there is the possibility that I am being over-emotional and completely non-logical about this. The general public could pick up any good astrology book on the elements and learn about relationships in the exact same way. The terms “feeling” type and the “thinking” type have been around for a long time. Old ideas are always being re-packaged in new ways, and Fisher might offer a different perspective on relationship compatibility.
Helen Fisher’s personality quiz includes a section on what we doodle. Those people, who express estrogenically (water/negotiator), draw hearts, flowers, or baby faces. Air sign people (Directors) draw mechanically and geometrically, and so forth. You will find some interesting tidbits and great relationship examples which could be applied to astrology, but some of the ideas are based on the same old formula of “typing” the chart using elements.