The twelve signs are divided into four groups containing three signs each. Each three-sign group is called a triplicity or trigon, and each of these triplicities denotes an element. The four elements are Fire, Earth, Air, and Water. In astrology, an element symbolizes a fundamental characterization of the sign. Alan Leo refers to these elemental groupings as perfect triangles; they are never broken up like the qualities. The fiery, earthy, airy, watery triplicities are always harmonized. In philosophy, the triangle is sacred and symbolizes within it a sense of harmony, flow, and accordance.
The elements also reveal the different parts of nature in life and in various cultures and religions they refer to them as the Yin and Yang. An element will tell us something of the temperament of the individual and how they interpret their surroundings as well as revealing a deep understanding of their internal drives and what motivates the person overall. In many ways, the elements can act like a filter for our experiences and they bring us special insights. Most of our reality can be mapped by the triplicities, and among the zodiacal groupings is the first broad outline of the personality. We can begin to read a chart by simply observing the dominating element in the horoscope. The leading group in the chart can also be interpreted as the foundation of the person and will point towards characterizations and behavior.
We can also follow Jung’s typology when grouping the elements and this is simply the division of the psyche into four ego functions and signifies a basic orientation. Jung likened these to the four points of a compass, which together describe a kind of totality. Jung understood that knowing one’s own psyche type was vital to each person’s individuation or self-realization. Typology was used as a tool to understand the self and others while providing useful insights and leading individuals into the depths of psychology.
Emphasis on fire signs (Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius): corresponds to C.G. Jung’s Intuitive Type – active, impulsive, and one of the most unpredictable and like any other element it has both positive and destructive qualities. Fire people are lively, enthusiastic, and symbolize an initiative force in life. On the whole, they are interested in the meaning of things and can be associated with creativity and embody the passion for living life to its fullest and search for new opportunities. One might also link the intuitive function to all great artists –writers or musicians which are inspired by this the fiery energy. In the traditional sense, these signs are extrovert and have a long association with self-expression and sometimes with impulsivity, strong desires and need to be noticed and wanting the attention of others – which is important. In addition, the fiery energy is so strong and self-centred that they sometimes forget about the needs of others and then labeled selfish and self-centred, lacking consideration. The fiery spirits yearn to remain an eternal child and possess the greatest need to express the self freely with independence and without restriction. According to Jung’s typology, the fiery types tend to perceive stimuli holistically and to concentrate on learning rather than details. They are always chasing after every possibility and constantly in search of the spiritual – drawn to the fuller universal picture. The fiery types express themselves through imagery and symbolism and love to read ‘signs’ of their true purpose, cause, and destiny. They have a mysterious extrasensory perception and have a knack for intuitive hunches and a bit of luck along with divine revelation. It is thought that having intuition is like being gifted and it has been described as a divine energy or the divine spark.
Emphasis on earth signs (Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn): corresponds to the Jungian Sensation Type – practical, interested in realizing things, perceives with the senses. A sensing individual discerns information realistically and precisely the sensation function leads one to perceive the world through he senses and those dominated by this element tend to be straightforward and practical and tending to focus on what is observable and even obvious. Moreover, they scrutinize heavily everything that is in their visible world. The earthy type is grounded and firmly attached to the empirical world. In astrology, earth is the hardest and constant element and its most accessible to understanding as it is solid and is associated with the material, tangible forms, and structures. The sensory type is highly focused upon security, comfort, and stability, with a basic need for durability and reliability. The earth people have the strongest resistance to change and would prefer for everything to remain the same, even if this is impossible. They are the types that like to keep the status qua and this can often prohibit growth in their lives. Even when change brings crises into our life, it is always stirring something new, and breaking old patterns. However, earthy people tend to fear uncertainty and prefer what is known, and can be found planning and constantly stuck in routines.
Emphasis on air signs (Gemini, Libra and Aquarius): corresponds to the Thinking Type – intellectual, objective, communicative, needs and provides mental stimulation. The airy signs tend to be logical, analytical and impersonal and scientific in their world view. They view the complexities of life as problems to be solved and usually prefer some kind of explanation for any phenomenon. Thinking is a conscious element and it is associated with the thought processes as well as the mental function of man and although its element cannot be touched -air fills our space – and it builds the creation of new social contacts and new possibilities to acquire knowledge which they can transmit to others. Many of these folks have lots of acquaintances with new contacts created all the time. Airy types love to read the news, connect with information and generally communication is their driving force in life. In this sense, they seem to make the best advisors and consultants as they are also able to distance themselves from any situation. This is another element that hates to be restricted and needs personal space. The thinking element puts everything into an intellectual framework and responds to people from the “head” so to speak. The airy types usually arrive at a general understanding.
Emphasis on water signs (Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces): corresponds to the Feeling Type – it is the unconscious, sensitive, empathic, sympathetic, profound, and the main motivation are emotions. The feeling types tend to be better at relating and understanding on the emotional level; they can weave their way into most areas, crossing many boundaries. The watery triplicity is seen as the symbol of psychic harmony and the “trigon of the soul” and symbolic of our deepest feelings and longings within. The element is associated with the unconscious and there is always a downward stream linking it to the deepest recesses of the human psyche. We are in the land of saviors, martyrs, and mystics, and these people can transport themselves to another world through the use of their imagination. Sensitivity is a gift and they are empathetic, caring and always responsive. There is also an esoteric connection and they can be the most difficult to understand. Emotions are difficult to control but water also signifies depth and it represents the deeper more subtle aspect to life, and the aspect of the feminine energy that of the dark, the mysterious and hidden.