Elemental Love Insights: Why Him, Why Her – Uncovering the Secrets of Personality Types for Lasting Love

Helen Fisher, a renowned anthropologist, delves deep into the intricate realm of love and human connections in her latest book, “Why Him, Why Her: Finding Love by Understanding Your Personality Type.” With her extensive research into the biological underpinnings of romantic attraction, Fisher has established herself as a leading authority in this field, offering invaluable insights into the complexities of human relationships. By identifying four distinct personality types, which she aptly names “Explorer,” “Builder,” “Director,” and “Negotiator,” Fisher sheds light on the fundamental drivers behind our affinities and preferences when it comes to matters of the heart. In exploring Fisher’s work, we encounter a striking resemblance between her typological system and the age-old astrological descriptions of the four elements: fire, earth, air, and water. It is not uncommon for psychologists to generalize about human behavior, drawing parallels and finding patterns in their subjects. Carl Jung, a pioneer in this field, devised a novel classification of the four personality types, categorizing them as Intuitive (Fire), Sensation (Earth), Thinking (Air), and Feeling (Water). Typology, throughout history, has served as a valuable tool for fostering self-awareness and resolving interpersonal conflicts.

The typological system that aligns with our ancient view of the cosmos stands as the earliest evidence we have for such a framework. Each of the four elements finds its representation in astrology, with each element forming a triangular grouping used to categorize an individual’s personality. For instance, the fiery trigon of the horoscope comprises Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius, while the earthy trigon consists of Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn. Individuals associated with the fiery element are characterized as impulsive, dynamic, energetic, and perceptive, while those aligned with the earthy element tend to exhibit realism, caution, and dependability. Jung’s framework further expands on this, introducing four functions, or modes of orientation, along with two personality attitudes: introversion and extroversion, corresponding to the four types. During the Renaissance period, the concept of the four humors in the blood gave rise to the four primary temperaments: melancholic (watery), phlegmatic (earthy), sanguine (airy), and choleric (fiery). It was believed that imbalances in these humors were at the root of various ailments. Thus, we can trace the notion of personality “types” back to astrology, the very first human-created system.

In her work, Helen Fisher categorizes these personality types as elements, yet her research into the genetic literature has unveiled a profound link between specific chemical reactions in the body and each of the four types. The Explorer personality type, vibrant and daring (fire), exhibits a heightened sensitivity to the dopamine system, fostering a proclivity for risk-taking, boundless energy, and a zest for adventure. The Builder type (earthy), on the other hand, is associated with serotonin and tends to embody reliability, conventionality, and authority. The Director (Air), representing the third personality type, correlates with testosterone and manifests in traits such as mental acuity, decisiveness, and spatial intelligence. Finally, the Negotiator (Water), shared by both men and women, is characterized by creativity, sensitivity, and empathy, with estrogen playing a crucial role in shaping this personality type. Within Fisher’s book, these archetypes are depicted as universal pleasers, seeking to harmonize their relationships with others.

The Negotiator and Director

To understand the patterns of attraction between individuals, Fisher has closely examined hundreds of couples. Drawing from her findings, she highlights the deep attraction between Directors (Air) and Negotiators (Water). To illustrate this dynamic, she presents the example of Bill and Hillary Clinton, drawing a sharp contrast between Bill’s compassionate and gracious demeanor (Negotiator) and Hillary’s resilience and decisiveness (Director). By comparing their horoscopes, however, it becomes evident that Hillary embodies the water sign (Negotiator), with her chart featuring strong Scorpio placements and planets in fire signs (Explorer). Conversely, Bill’s primary element is air (Director), evident in his prominent Libra influence, which fosters harmonious relationships, along with several planets in fire signs. 

The integration of astrology and psychology offers a compelling approach to understanding individuals more efficiently and accurately. Astrology provides a valuable tool for categorizing people based on their unique astrological profiles, allowing for a quicker grasp of their core personalities. By incorporating astrology into psychological practice, the depth and effectiveness of therapy can be significantly enhanced. This is not to diminish the ability of psychologists to address these issues without astrology, as they are certainly capable. However, astrology serves as an exceptional guide to unraveling the intricate layers of the human psyche in each individual, providing invaluable insights along the therapeutic journey.

Building upon fundamental concepts from Jungian psychology, Liz Greene’s influential book “Relating” (1977) delves into the interplay of conscious and unconscious processes in interpersonal connections. In the chapter on Psychological Types, Greene explores how our dominant element shapes our worldview. She posits that earth signs gravitate towards fire signs, while water signs are naturally drawn to air signs, creating what Jung referred to as the “opposing function.” People born under these signs often exhibit traits that are diametrically opposed to our own, resulting in intriguing dynamics within relationships.

Water, representing the opposite capacity—emotion—is drawn to air like a magnet. As long as the unconscious projection is powerful enough, the partner will appear watery even if he or she is not actually a good hook, meaning that the other’s natal chart does not reveal a significant emphasis of planets in water signs. Air is known for being a bad judge of character since he always goes with his head instead of his heart—that is, unless Eros choose him, of course.

Water and Air

Water (Woman): Ah, the gentle flow of emotions and deep sensitivity. Life is like an ever-changing tide, constantly shifting and evolving.

Air (Man): And here I am, riding the currents of intellect and logic. Ideas and thoughts soaring through the vast expanse of the mind.

Water: It’s fascinating how we approach the world from such different perspectives. You, with your analytical mind and objective reasoning, while I navigate through the realm of emotions and intuition.

Air: Indeed, we seem to exist in separate realms, but perhaps that’s where our conflicts arise. You see, I thrive on communication, seeking clarity and engaging in intellectual debates. Yet, sometimes, your emotional undercurrents can seem overwhelming and difficult for me to decipher.

Water: Ah, yes, my depth can be daunting, and I understand how my feelings can appear murky to you. I find solace in the subtleties, the unspoken nuances that shape our connections. But I see how that can create frustration and miscommunication between us.

Air: It’s true. I often struggle to comprehend the depths of your emotions, yearning for clarity and directness. Yet, I recognize the beauty in your ability to empathize deeply and navigate the intricate landscape of feelings. It’s an aspect of humanity that I sometimes overlook.

Water: And I, in turn, admire your mental agility and the way you effortlessly process information. Your detachment from emotions allows for a broader perspective, and your rationality helps me gain clarity in moments of confusion.

Air: Perhaps, through understanding and appreciation, we can find harmony. We must learn to embrace the blend of intellect and emotion, acknowledging that both have their place in our interactions.

Water: Yes, a delicate dance of reason and compassion. When we combine your clarity with my empathy, we create a powerful synergy. Our conversations can be enriched by embracing both the logical and the emotional aspects of our existence.

Air: I agree. It’s through our willingness to listen and understand each other that we can bridge the gap between our worlds. As we find common ground and respect our differences, we can unlock new dimensions of growth and mutual learning.

Water: And by embracing your rationality and incorporating my emotional insights, we can navigate the complexities of life with a balanced perspective. Together, we can face conflicts with open minds and hearts, finding solutions that consider both the analytical and the intuitive.

In this imaginary dialogue, the water element (representing the feminine archetype) and the air element (representing the masculine archetype) initially face conflicts stemming from their different approaches to the world. However, through open communication, understanding, and appreciation of each other’s strengths, they find resolution and realize the benefits of their union. By blending their perspectives, they tap into a harmonious synergy that allows them to navigate challenges more effectively and experience personal growth.

Fire, Earth, Air, and Water

Helen Fisher’s theory, although not groundbreaking in terms of its four personality categories, reinforces the enduring wisdom known to astrologers throughout history. The introduction of hormone associations adds a fresh perspective to the equation. While personality tests provide some insights, the astrological chart offers a more comprehensive understanding of an individual. A well-versed astrology book on the elements can unveil similar insights about interpersonal connections. The dichotomy between the “feeling type” and the “thinking type” has long been a subject of discussion. While compatibility in relationships is an age-old concept, Fisher’s perspective adds a fresh spin to the exploration. It’s also crucial to recognize that within the fire, earth, air, and water elements, each category—cardinal, fixed, and mutable—brings its own unique approach to life. These four characteristics play a significant role in determining attraction or repulsion between individuals. However, it’s important to exercise caution in placing excessive importance on stereotypical identifications. 

Within her personality test, Helen Fisher included a section about our typical doodling habits. Those expressing the estrogenic qualities associated with water/negotiators often depict feminine themes such as hearts, flowers, and baby faces. In contrast, the director types (air signs) are known for their precise, geometric, and mechanical drawings. While some concepts are rooted in the time-tested method of typology based on elements, Fisher’s work also offers intriguing tidbits and captivating relationship examples that can be applied within the realm of astrology.

Unraveling the Psyche: Delving into Personal Psychotherapy

As  a woman deeply influenced by the element of water in my astrological chart, I take a moment to reflect upon the pages of my work notebook. To my surprise, scattered amidst the work notes, I discover love hearts etched delicately and star patterns resembling the harmonious sextile aspect.

It’s intriguing to witness how my innate affinity for love and connection finds its way into even the most mundane aspects of life. These symbols serve as gentle reminders of the intertwining of my emotions and the cosmic energies that shape my path. In this moment, I am reminded of the profound influence of astrology on my being. As a water sign woman, my journey is a psychological one between the depths of my feelings and the celestial patterns that guide my existence. The presence of love hearts and sextile patterns in my work notebook speaks volumes about the essence of who I am—a fusion of love and empathy and cosmic alignment.

I carry these subtle imprints of the heart and the stars with me, cherishing the unique interplay between my emotions and the celestial forces. They serve as a constant reminder of the beauty and interconnectedness of the universe, resonating within the depths of my watery soul.