My second message this month is in response to a question about the Elements and the various effects they have when they are strong or weak in a chart.
In an earlier message I talked about my method of assigning a number to each of the Elements which represents its strength in a chart. This number represents the strength of the quantity of that Element and does not necessarily reflect its quality. This is an important point to understand because it means that even a strong Element can produce a negative effect while a weak Element can also produce a positive effect. What we are measuring here is the quantity of our connection, the scale of our relationship to a particular Element. The quality of that connection is not inferred here, because it arises from the nature of the specific objects in that Elements signs and whether or not they are considered strong or not. For example, you may have many planets giving you a high score in Earth, but those planets could be debilitated and entangled in messy aspects that cause trouble. Conversely, a strongly dignified and well aspected planet in an otherwise weak Element can imply certain benefits are rising from that situation. Black-and-white judgements about good and bad are not particularly helpful in astrology at all, but sometimes they have to be made.
So when we talk about whether any Element is weak or strong what we are talking about is whether whether the relationship we have with that particular Element is a strong one. The Elements themselves are evenly distributed throughout the One self (they are omnipresent) and this means that it is a fallacy to describe ourselves as having more or less of one particular Element. What we have is more or less of a natural connection, but natural connections change and evolve and can be consciously trained through the development of particular faculties.
The following definitions may help to clarify.
When an Element is strong, it is our connection to that Element that is strong. This connection increases the flow and the expression of that Element in our life. At times this connection can overpower other aspects of our self represented by the other Elements, especially when those Elements are ‘weak’. Most other times it is an asset, a way of being that we naturally feel comfortable with. Strong Elements are those which the body easily generates by itself. If an Element is especially strong however, it can easily manifest its negative potential.
When an Element is weak it is not that we have an absence of the Element concerned, but a poor connection to it. This connection must be consciously cultivated to strengthen the Element. Weak Elements are those which the body does not easily generate by itself. Frequently the lack of quantity will need to be addressed.
The ideal from the magical point of view is to transform and raise up all of the weak Elements so that they are as strong as the strong Elements while toning down and transforming any negative characteristics that have arisen from an overgrown, excessively strong Element. Since problems can arise from either strong or weak Elements, this process can be complex.
Aside from the magical work of character transformation, there are many ways to do this, the key to much of which lies in astrological and magical analogy. Fire for example is not only analogous to heat, light, and flame, but also to the colour red, the head region, to hot and spicy foods, to certain creatures like the salamander and geophysical entities like volcano, friends and lovers with strong Fire qualities, and so on, all of which intrinsically radiate Fire as a quality. This radiation can be interacted with and the connection can address the need for Fire to be increased. But the root cause of the lack will only be addressed when the Elemental equilibrium is attained – external sources of Fire alone can only provide temporary solutions and signposts. The subject on the operating table is the soul. Therefore, it is the soul that must be transformed. At times when the planets themselves move into Fire, such as when the inner planets traverse the Fire signs (roughly each year during Aries, Leo and Sagittarius birthdays) or when the slow moving outer planets emphasise the Fire Element (e.g. Jupiter and Pluto in Sagittarius, with Saturn in Leo, which occurred through 2007 for example) weak Fire will be naturally boosted by the increase in ambient Fire in the environment, and the lack of Fire will be mitigated. This is a tactic that can be used for other Elements when they are weakened, but it is not something that a magician should come to rely upon.
I will consider each of the four Elements in their strong character first followed by each Element in its weak character.
Fire is the Element of volition or will. Fire is life, motivation, creative inspiration, and the light of being (pure awareness that, against all odds, we EXIST), and these people are bursting with it. When Fire is strong you may need to tame your own enthusiasm and thirst for life. Fire is associated with dragons (‘salamanders’), and dragons are symbols of the life force energy, chi, the magicians vital energy and the lifeblood of the land. These people basically have greater general access and a quicker path to replenishing this energy. It may sound good to have lots of something called vital energy, but in truth like all energies it can become detrimental in extremes. Therefore, impulsiveness, restlessness, impatience and over optimism will need to be controlled or the dragons may become tyrannical, inflammatory and aggressive. A key lesson of Fire is that power exercised over others is never as potent or effective as power exercised with others.
An abundance of Fire brings much positive potential – generosity of spirit, a fighting chance, warmth, enthusiasm, confidence, hopefulness and visionary creative power and intuition being among them. The Fire character depicts a highly-motivated person with many goals and aspirations for the future. You are vital and spontaneous, often enjoying the challenge of travelling down new and adventurous roads in your life. Your enthusiasm is quite irrepressible. Your weakness lies in your tendency to exaggerate, to over generalize and dramatize, or overestimate your own capability and your general inability to cope with the more mundane activities in life or the dull periods.
Fire refers to universal radiant life energy, it’s excitable, creative, enthusiastic and spontaneous and through its light brings colour and warmth to the world. Strong Fire in a chart can lead you to feel that you are a “channel for life” and some cannot hide their pride in this fact. Fire exemplifies high spirits, great faith in oneself, unending courage and strength, integrity and direct honesty. Your will to be and express yourself freely is rather childlike in its simplicity, (as opposed to child-ish, the unbalanced manifestation), a fact which can endear you to others, but which can cause offence to more cautious or sensitive individuals (Earth and Water signs particularly). In other words too much Fire can singe or burn others through directness, insensitivity or impulsiveness. Fire types rarely intend to harm, faults more often manifest through a lack of self control and sensitivity to others, they may seem wilful, overpowering, or rush into things with such haste that they unintentionally step on peoples toes or cause unintended destruction. The focus on the self identity can make them selfish and self serving, but there is always a generosity and sharing of the fortunes of their successes too. Fire loves to warm others. It aspires, is continuously on the move and hungers for new material to consume.
Fire types tend to be impatient with Earth and Water types. They feel that Water will extinguish their creative spontaneous flames, and that Earth will bury and smother it. Air types however tend to fan their flames by providing new ideas that the Fire type can act upon. However, Fire is often detrimental for Air to tolerate for long as it burns up their own energy, the Fire types are often too flagrant, dramatic and impatient for Air, and Fire easily becomes bored and tired with intellectual observations and endless discussions that cannot be quickly acted upon or produce winning results. The same dynamic holds true for planets in a birth chart as well as our interactions with other people.
Excessive Fire can result in behaviour which is ill considered, rash, poorly rooted in reality and in too much time spent living without reflection. Strong Fire is the most quickly destructive of all Elements. Such a person will tend to react spontaneously and push ahead when they should proceed more discretely and end up pushing away those they should be thanking or working with. Feelings may not be easy to express or connect with and represent messy complications to just getting what is wanted. In terms of Bardon praxis, the intensity of colour and clarity of sound and the feeling of heat and weightlessness may come more readily, and the exercises for the mental body may seem more natural, but the astral and physical steps may require more attention and time, along with all the exercises rooted in Water and Earth.
Air is the mediating Element of the worlds. It is Neutral, where Fire is Electric, Water is Magnetic and Earth is ElectroMagnetic. Hermetically it is the infinite Divine Awareness (omniscience) which manifests in the sequential continuum of time-space as ‘Legality’, and astrologically it denotes our individual awareness and our skill in mental exercises such as communication, talking, writing, thinking, intellect, or any activity where we can experience a quick and continuous flow of awareness through the exchange and communication of notions. It not only denotes our intellectual sides, but also our social sides, the parts of us that interact with others on a mental level. Air moves and stirs the other Elements and Air is weightless and free; since the Divine Awareness is infinite, it is in all things whatever the form – awareness or consciousness is what connects the Universe together, rock, cloud, animal, plant, planet, star, woman and man. It cannot be grasped, possessed, or even quantified. Like the sky it is an infinite property, and was perceived in ancient times to be the home of the gods. This was an ancient tradition, because the ancients were astrologers. The power of the gods was always linked to particular planets and other celestial objects which were named after them. This is a natural expression of the direct perception of essential meaning, the objective perception of Legality offered by Air.
Strong Air increases the powers of perception but not necessarily the clarity. It brings a natural affinity for figuring things out with the head and a hunger for information, both intellectual and social, as well as spiritual, technological and biological. The awareness is, for whatever reason, dedicating itself to the learning and the sharing of thought. It wants to understand what things mean, and what they are. Strong Air brings a great deal of curiosity, inventiveness, friendliness, neutrality and greater objectivity but it can also make us trapped in our own heads, endlessly speculating over our choices and our ideas, while the world goes on around us and we get old.
Aside from getting lost in their own world of ideas and thoughts, another major weakness of strong Air is that the objective neutrality can become toxic by neutralising everything around it that it doesn’t want to deal with. If a strong Air person, for example, has a weak Earth or Water they might continually put off dealing with practical and emotional issues, diffusing anything sticky or complicated with a dismissive wave of the hand. When this happens, problems build up and gradually get worse, leading to a vicious cycle of more denial until the problem wakes up and unleashes its destructive potential. Then, the response of strong Air can be dismissive yet again – finding many good reasons why other things or other people are responsible for it.
Air is connected to the sense of hearing, to acoustic exercises and to the energy of the mental body, mind, the individual perception and the measure of awareness we have which is a mote of the Divine Awareness. With Air in high quantity and quality your mental body, sense of hearing, your connection to sound as information and movement through space, and the quality of your connection to all things of the mind is potent and yet light as Air is weightless. You allow new ideas and thoughts to move through it and lift up the veils of understanding as if they were curtains blown by the wind. You live a great deal in your head and also through social interactions with others. You may consider the world of other weaker Elements (emotions for example if Water is weak) to be irrational or have difficulty fully trusting them at times. You have a gift for detaching your reasoning capacity from the emotions and thus achieving a high degree of objectivity and fairness, which can also bring out a joyous sense of humour. This attitude brings about a clear and lively thought process, but can lead to extreme detachment and coolness, a lack of true caring. At times you also have an over active mind which must be guided and controlled. Additionally, you ponder on things mentally, and lack the capacity to take immediate action without thinking and analysing first. Your mind can run away with you, leading you into imaginary possibilities from which you then build up scenarios which will never come to pass and think through solutions or permutations to those scenarios.
Your nervous system is probably highly active and you need to both actively channel this and learn the peace which comes through the absence of thought, mind which is empty yet filled with infinite potentials and clarity. Become like an unfolding white lotus blossom on a serene blue lake being blown by a gentle breeze, and look within you seeking stillness and inner peace. You also need regular breaks in scenery and your routine or you tend to feel stuck in a rut. Once disciplined, your Air can become the channel for brilliant inventive insight in the world of ideas and thought, through the direct perception of essential meaning of any thing your mind turns its attention to. It can be like a magical Sword (the symbol of mastery of Air) that cuts through fog, dispels illusion and shines bright and sharp with the reflected light of Divine Awareness and wisdom, but all this is only possible with greater depth of feeling and an Earthed sense of whole being. The magic of Air is levitation, thought and consciousness transmission, flight and the antidote of Earth. It can feed or extinguish Fire depending on its quantity, and it moves Water or churns it into destructive forms. Earth and Water bring Air the most insoluble problems.
With Water dominating the natural mix within, you speak ‘from the heart’, and are a compassionate and caring person with a strong psychic nature. You value your personal relationships, in which you often take on a caretaker role. You are such a sympathetic and understanding person that you are often caught in the role of comforter to others. Your weakness may often lie in the fact that you fail to take an objective perspective when necessary, and that you may tend to sluggishness and impressionability. You often react emotionally without thinking things through first or find your reasoning is clouded by nebulous emotions.
Those with strong Water in their charts realise from birth that various invisible and intangible factors play a greater role in life than is commonly believed. They are able to sense these currents at work even if they cannot name them. Water is of a feeling nature, tuned into the subtler nuances that many others don’t even notice. Water represents the realm of collective emotion and the quantity and quality of its significance (ranging from ecstasy to overwhelming terror) the deeper dimensions of life which can only be directly or consciously accessed via intuition, and psychic sensing. Water is also cleansing and purifying, its healing power gently washing away rather than burning up, and those with strong Elemental Water are able to use their emotional understanding and empathy to heal and counsel others by resonating empathetically and then washing away, either through sympathy and compassion, or simply through tears.
This same action of waves washing away also gives Water its surprising power; for in the waves that break over and over on a mighty cliff edge, or the smoothed rock in a bubbling creek, it flows around and over, Water does not typically deal with resistance by blasting it out of the way, it either flows around it, smoothing it in the process, or, if the object is too impassable, relentlessly laps away at it until it falls into the sea and Water moves in to claim the territory.
Water is often the most personally manipulative of Elements, simply because it has a more direct connection to feelings. Often, the swaying and stirring of feelings and moods is a natural way of communicating for these people. Other people however may not understand this or deal that way. When this transpires Water types often get hurt feelings. They need to understand that the world doesn’t always feel as deeply as they do and when it rejects something they feel strongly about or fails to understand they shouldn’t take it too personally. They can learn good lessons in this from strong Fire types who encourage them to bounce back and come out fighting but are often too selfish for Water, while strong Earth types bring them down to earth and help them to deal with their feelings. Air planets or people will generally find Water a mystery while the Air type seems too superficial to Water, but Air can ruffle and distort an otherwise placid and glassy, reflective surface. Intellect often mixes with feeling as oil does with water. Fire and Air bring the most complications.
Over-emphasis on Water can make us feel as if we are cast adrift on a vast sea in a small boat with no oars and no rudder, sail or compass, at the mercy of our own sensitivity and emotional tides over which we have no control, easily influenced by any wind that blows. If we do not know how to sail upon the world of feelings or to dive, we express them negatively. Strong Water makes us sensitive to the hidden significance of any experience which can lead to profoundly penetrating intuition, or to over reacting to the slightest stimulus. If emotions are out of control or poorly handled, strong Water people become like a water tornado or tsunami – easily devitalized by deep fears, strongly influenced by reaction patterns which whip them into a whirlpool of emotional turmoil and overwhelmed by emotions on a daily basis (and thus ultimately exhausted by them). The key to successfully dealing with vast reserves of Water is in the flow of the tides. Water must be shared and it must move or it stagnates, like all the Elements, but Water is especially fluid and so it is important to express what you feel as it comes up rather than brood on it or keep it secret. Sometimes, perhaps often, it will take you some time to process the magnitude and depth of your feelings, in which case you should of course do so, but it would be better that all involved are informed that that is what you are doing, rather than just retreating behind a heavy deep silence.
Significantly, Watery people do much better in life once they start to develop themselves spiritually or psychically. This is because the great depth of feeling within Water people is actually a deeper immersion in the astral plane, the realm of the soul, and any psychic or spiritual development will thus lead to a radical and often swift transformation of life. Yet the individual requires some kind of grounding from elsewhere in the chart if they are not to be swept along by their immersion in the realm of significance because this connection can become illusory if there is a poor grasp of physical reality. Then, instead of being able to sense the true and often hidden significance of things, the Water person is drowned in oceans of vulnerable ambiguity, imagination and self deception. It can also lead to making too much emotional demand on others, people who don’t have so much Water to offer. Many Water people must discover the hard way that the world does not feel as deeply as they do.
With a strong astrological Water component, the magical exercises involving this Element and the Magnetic Fluid can often be accomplished more fluidly or easily and Water can become a powerful magical speciality in all its analogies. Frequently this involves some kind of astral talent. Fire and Air bring the most challenges.
Earth is the holistic Element which binds and brings cohesion. It is ElectroMagnetic (caps to indicate these are Fluids), and relates to the Divine virtue of eternal life, or omnipresence. This means that all things live, and that all that lives will live eternally through the presence of the Eternal in them. This is the essential meaning of Earth. As the binding Element of the Tetrapolar Magnet of the Elements, Earth gives rise to measurement, and to space and time, and hence, astrologically, to practical and experiential approaches, to so called ‘common sense’, that which is acquired through physical and material existence in time and space. It gifts us with the measure of what is realizable and with awareness that life is an infinite eternal continuum. In other words, work for long and hard enough and you’ll get there.
Earth, in the astrological sense, equates to our measure of connection to the physical realm, the worlds of the tactile senses, especially to our senses of taste and touch, but our whole connection to the workings and ways of physical existence. In the human body, Earth relates to our waist, legs, feet and hands. Earth planets are also focused on the here and now, much more so than planets in the other Elements which tend to lack sufficient grounding in realities because their focus is abstracted from the physical realm by varying degrees.
When Earth connection is strong, you have an easier time coping with the realities of everyday life because you can apply the planets principles directly into the physical realm more easily, especially the principles of those planets which are found in Earth signs in the chart. Practical daily chores fall within your capabilities more effortlessly, and you have a knack for concentrating on matters at hand. Strong Earth types live rooted in the Now, and are focused on results, and on effects they can measure and physically benefit from. They know how to make the planets work for them.
You are naturally attuned to the corporeal world and the physical body or to the concrete limitations and requirements of survival in the material plane. You therefore run less risk of losing your grounding and acting in a spaced out or impractical manner. Your realization of your dependence on resources such as food, money, shelter and other practical consideration is rich in some aspect. In fact you may overemphasise these considerations in your favouring of physical nourishment. Materialism is one form of expression of strong Earth connection; another is the love and care of nature.
Earth is prepared to go the distance; it is the Element which measures time and space and in human terms this equates to measuring out how much time and effort will be required to meet certain objectives, and the ability to measure out stages of accomplishment that will lead to a gradual approach towards ones goals. Usually these goals are things which are intended to leave a lasting impression on the material world that will withstand the ravages of time. Earth types are builders and slow achievers, but they are no less ambitious than Fire types, just more considered in their approach. Nor are they less egoistic than Fire types, just more sober in their expression of their own self importance.
Earth planets and Earth types have difficulties with Fire and Air, and blend more smoothly with Water. Fire tends to be too egotistical and too restless for Earth, and Air tends to be too groundless, unreliable and impractical. Earth finds Water refreshing as it quenches the dryness of necessary practicalities with imagination and sensitivity. Water keeps Earth from drying out and hardenin
Earth is also supportive and resourceful, and capable of extreme endurance and hard work. It just keeps going, steadily but surely, mounting form upon form, ever changing, never repeating, but always slowly taking shape into something more cohesive and solid, more stable and enriched. It burns through energy the mostly slowly and resourcefully of all the Elements, and causes all planets activities to focus and condense. So, a strong connection to Earth can make us very hard working and this can contribute to tiredness and lack of energy. Lots of Earth connection can become sluggish and heavy, too mired in orthodox ways of doing things (because they are reliable) and too focused on material results. It has to learn to be more flexible, open to new forms, and less retentive, more willing to share all of its accumulated wealth and experience.
When Fire is weak, we lack body heat, courage, inspiration, motivation, energy, will and the ability to quickly fight off disease in the physical and astral body. The Fire Element represents the aspect of energy and universal force, the omnipotent power of the Divine, which is like every Element, given freely to each and every created thing. ‘Lacking’ this quality means that you really lack a relationship to it, due to the fact that there are few or no planets in that Element. You need to take charge more, be more active and dynamic, more willing to take risks and strike out confidently, guided by your will. You need to draw courage from life, and to act decisively.
Lack of connection to Fire makes it very difficult for us to act with great confidence. It can often bring a greater degree of shyness and resistance to putting ourselves forward or taking the lead in things. It tires easily, and enthusiasm wanes with great alacrity. We are more easily dispirited and put off and more often disappointed in the way things turn out for us. Exuberant enthusiasm on the part of others can really wear us down like a blistering heat from an equatorial Sun. We can become very daunted when confronted with foes or enemies and challenges can make us feel depressed. However, there are some positive aspects to having a weak Fire connection, but like all the positive aspects that come from weak Elements these only become fully available to us once we have strengthened the connection to the weak Element. Weak Fire makes it far less likely that we will lose our temper, say or do something rude, step on other people on the way to success, or push ourselves into risky or dangerous situations. The journey of having a weak connection to Fire and transforming it into a stronger connection makes these things so.
There is also often an aspect of the journey with a weak Fire Element that involves transitioning from a sense of powerlessness to one of much greater power and control over one’s own life and circumstances. Any planets found inside of or passing through the Fire Element can advance this agenda, but if there are no planets in a Fire Element sign then involving yourself in the temples/houses related to Fire in your chart is the way to go. These are the areas in which your soul has an intention to develop its relationship with the Fire Element. The same is, of course, also true of other weak Elements.
Generally there is a lack of ego, and selfish behaviour is minimised especially when Water is strong. The lack of a strong selfish ego and emphasis on politeness and staying calm and relaxed can make these coolheaded, steady people assets in many situations. However, strong emotions that are not adequately directed by the will can obviously have very disastrous consequences. If Air is strong, mental exhaustion is likely at intermittent periods as the person uses up vast amounts of mental energy in thinking without recharging their vital sources. The strength of Air can, however, help to fan the Fire into a brighter flame by providing it with information and stimulus. When Earth is strong and Fire is weak, the problem is sluggishness and retentiveness along with a lack of warmth and colour – the spice of life is somehow missing. However, strong Earth can help weak Fire by building a container for it like a kiln, inside of which its heat can accumulate.
Fire is intuitive (Water is psychic; the subtle difference between them in my definition being that psychic is of the soul and therefore more feelings are involved, while intuitive is of the spirit and is more visionary and connected to mythic archetypes). You lack awareness of universal radiant energy, the dynamic core of creative force which flows spontaneously, in an inspired, life affirming way; thus, it is harder for you to get yourself motivated enough to take positive action or to initiate things, and you get heavy and down on yourself more easily, you are not necessarily a defeatist but your will does not impress itself easily onto the worlds of feeling, thought or matter. You get tired and wiped out by life, exhausted by the burdens you carry within you, and your spirit falters. In fact at times you may lack the self-confidence to even set personal goals. You may experience a general lack of enthusiasm, faith in yourself, vaporous willpower, succumbing to futility, drudgery and a fatalistic attitude through lack of confidence. This leads to a feeling of being overwhelmed by pointlessness and hopelessness. Digestion and skin tone or colour may be paler and weak, and you may lack spiritedness, self confidence, and tend towards despondency and lack of enthusiasm when facing life’s demands.
Pay special attention to all the Fire, Electric Fluid and vital energy exercises of IIH, and be prepared to work harder in these areas. Breathe in the golden fire of life, breathing down into your inner furnace, see it fill your bodies until they brim with energy and request increased energy to act from the Universe. Weak Fire can be corrected through improving the power of your visualisation during meditation and the ability of your mind to create animated pictures. A strong awareness of colour can also help. Meditate on the Fire Element in all its mythological and symbolic forms. You might benefit from Tai Chi, Reiki, vital energy therapy or similar Chi building/flowing arts, and from vigorous physical exercise and creative visualisation, which stimulate Fire. Do everything in moderation to avoid exhaustion, but be wilful.
Air is the Element of mediation and of awareness, of thought, mental intelligence, sentience and cognition. It is the infinite pole of form and force on the mental plane, the continuum of meaning between alikeness and difference of meaning. In the human body it is the region of the chest and the upper arms, the lungs especially. This area mediates between us and the atmosphere and environment. The Element of Air is also an equilibrating quality on the social level which enables us to adjust easily and quickly to new ideas and different sorts of people. If Fire and Water are opposites, then Air is the continuum – the gradations – which connects them and the collective integration of all three together create Earth.
With a lack of connection to Air there is often therefore a lack of ease adjusting to new ideas and social situations and an inability to manifest ideas in real terms often due to lack of flexibility or forethought or a ‘fluffy’ or fuzzy concept of reality. We need to sharpen our minds, possibly learn a few things, and generally do our best to become more intellectually focused as well as more socially curious. We need to start to probe with our mental awareness. We may also need to find a greater sense of neutrality and objectivity. Air moves and stirs the other Elements and Air is weightless and free; since the awareness itself is infinite, it is in all things whatever the form – awareness or consciousness is what connects the Universe together, rock, cloud, animal, plant, planet, star, woman and man. It cannot be grasped, possessed, or even quantified. Like the sky and thought, it is an infinite property, it has no boundaries and is abstracted from – hovers over and around – all things. Meditation upon this and consideration of multiple points of view in every situation can help to strengthen the connection to Air.
When a connection to an Element is weak, the body must work excessively to perform its functions, resulting in an effect upon the workshop of the Elements and therefore in the body, and thus many problems of health and conditions of life can be remedied with a strengthening of your connection to Air. Especially important and helpful is the technique of whole body conscious breathing, which can increase the effectiveness of the Air Element in the body and the strength of connection to it.
Air is involved in neutralising extremes which if left to develop can lead to imbalance and illness. It is therefore exceptionally analytical and skilled at figuring things out. A lack of connection to Air can therefore mean that you have difficulty figuring things out or making choices which are satisfactory to you, partly because you have no clear idea of what you think or which ideas attract you. It can also mean the you are more likely to go to the extremes of whatever Element is strong in your astrology. What you lack is the ability to reason with yourself about your own feelings, actions or bodily needs. Fire signs can help you by stimulating your ability in these areas, but the Fire sign which lies opposite to every Air sign is the most difficult one to extract this help from. This principle also applies to the other Elements – Water signs which are weak can be smoothly stimulated by Earth signs (except the one which is opposite to them), weak Fire signs are stimulated by Air (except the one which is opposite to them), and weak Earth signs are stimulated by Water signs (except those which are opposite to them). The stimulus provided by helpful Fire signs arouses greater interest in social interaction, mental investigation and the development of neutrality.
You lack a comfortable way with mental flexibility, wits (fast mental reactions), social skills, objectivity and detachment – you need to cultivate the ability to stand back and view aspects of your life from a detached and rational perspective, to overcome any shyness or intellectual insecurity and work through any difficulty feeling comfortable with social situations. You have difficulty making quick decisions and in the process of weighing up the pros and cons in a cogent manner you ascribe too much attention to facts and details, some of which you only imagine as being important, and not enough to peoples thoughts and words. It will likely be difficult for you to express your concepts and ideas and so there may be a perception that you are always misunderstood.
Many of the effects of a lack of Air connection can be remedied by developing a strong Mercury connection, but if taken in isolation of work on Air in general this path can become too intellectualised. It is better in these cases to work with both Air and Mercury together, perhaps as part of an Electric conduction as described in The 26 keys.
Meditation on pure sound and weightlessness, decorating the environment with feathers, wind chimes, companionship with birds, recalling images of flight or other objects and colours connected with Air can stimulate the flow of the Element in your environment around you. The general idea is to somehow lighten every area of your life so that is less burdened and more flexible. The exercises pertaining to the Air Element in Initiation Into Hermetics may need extra work, and you could perhaps use your strong Element as a tactic in doing so. Weak Air can also make it difficult for us to identify qualities when building the soul mirrors, not only when it comes to identifying what they are but also when it comes to assigning them to a category. A further possible problem is that we will not ask enough questions of ourselves or of the material.
Water is the Element of feelings, of astral existence and of birthing. It is the root of the Magnetic Fluid because Water binds, collects and contains things, contrary to Fire which disperses, excites and blows them up. It is analogous to receptivity, the sensation of cold and wet, to dark, and to contraction, retention and centrifugal force, and has a correlation to the astral plane and thus to the seat of awareness in the soul, our astral body. It is also analogous to Divine Love, to the outpouring of Providence which sees that all needs are met (while the omniscience and Legality of the Air – the law of analogy – ensures they are presented to us in the only form they could be presented to us in). It is directly analogous to the emotions, the feeling of cold, the absence of light and the exercises of the feelings and the astral body. If not adequately represented, the connection to this Element is one you will need to work on bringing into conscious use in life and in which you may experience most difficulty.
This can sometimes manifest as an innate distrust of intuitive or psychic knowledge. One of your biggest problems may be that you too easily dismiss the importance of your own feeling nature, seeing it as an untrustworthy or unimportant annoyance. You start life out of kilter with your emotions. Crying or losing your cool in front of other people would be a horrifying thought, let alone action, for you. You may often lack an empathic understanding for others in your human relationships, and need to learn to honour both your own and other people’s feelings. In order to do this you must first learn what they are. Only once you have the knack of discerning your own emotional condition will you be able to learn greater empathy for others.
Often it’s not that you don’t have feelings or strong feelings, its that you don’t know how to express them in a way that is satisfactory. Feelings tend to remain an enigma or something which you are reluctant to fully explore both within yourself and with others. This is the classic problem of not being in touch with how we really feel, but also of denying that we have feelings simply because we do not know what to do or how to deal with them. If Air is strong we will tend to over-analyse everything that we do feel and dissected it loses its life. The conclusions that we come to often lack sensitivity. We may come up with extremely bright ideas that nobody feels good about. If Fire is strong we will tend to be impatient with our feelings or frustrated by them, and equally frustrated by feelings that are expressed by other people. We have a much hotter temper and are much more likely to display behaviour that others find rude and selfish. If Earth is strong then the lack of a connection to Water brings with it an avoidance of emotions generally, because they complicate things. The lack of Water makes it extremely difficult for us to accept change or to handle our own feelings or those of others.
When the connection to Water is weak we also often need to intake more water because the body dehydrates, dries and becomes less supple. Weak Water can lead to excess toxicity in the body as Water is responsible for flushing out poisons. Diets should be carefully monitored with large intake of fresh water and you would greatly benefit from periodic fasts or detoxification diets. More fundamentally, you need to remember that whatever is denied expression seeks unconscious channels to escape through. Any fear of emotional pain or vulnerability and the resistance you put up when others try to draw you out of your emotional shell only makes you feel lonelier and ironically only adds to inner misery. The Water Element is analogous in its highest to the eternal unconditional Love of the Divine, and so you must find your way to feeling this as the Source of all your emotions. This doesn’t have to have anything to do with religions. It involves speaking directly from the heart and recognising that even so called bad feelings are given to us lovingly, that we might grow into greater acceptance and understanding. As you open to Water in achieving the equilibrium your emotions may surface where they have been confined and you may experience psychic states for which you feel unprepared or out of your depth. In each case, try not to draw back but dive in, leaving aside the analysis and assimilation of the experience in your consciousness for later.
One of the strengths of having weak Water is that you are far less vulnerable to emotional manipulation and far less likely to find yourself drowning in a sea of complicated, messy feelings. The experience of having Water weakened in our awareness leads us to discover a more objective viewpoint on the world of feelings once we have corrected the lack of connection. However, life being what it is, emotions arise and sometimes a lack of Water in these cases can be extremely destructive.
Earth is the holistic Element which binds and brings cohesion. It is ElectroMagnetic, and relates to the Divine virtue of eternal life, or omnipresence. This means that all things live, and that all that lives will live eternally through the presence of the Eternal in them. This is the essential meaning of Earth. As the most cohesive Element of the Tetrapolar Magnet, Earth gives rise to measurement and to space and time, and hence, astrologically, to practical and tactile approaches, to so called ‘common sense’, that which is acquired through time and space. It gifts us with the measure of what is realisable and with awareness that life is an infinite eternal continuum.
When Earth buckles or is weak, you generally have greater difficulty coping with the realities of every day life. Practical daily chores seem at times beyond your capabilities and interest, and you have difficulty concentrating on matters at hand. Dealing with mundane life becomes depressing because of all the chores it entails. Strong Earth types live rooted in the now, so a loose connection with Earth leads to a lack of anchoring in life, either through too much feeling (overpowering Water), abstract thinking (Air) or enthusiasm (Fire). You are not naturally attuned to the corporeal world and the physical body or to the concrete limitations and requirements of survival in the material plane. You therefore run the risk of losing your grounding and acting in a spaced out or impractical manner. Your realisation of your dependence on resources such as food, money, shelter and other practical consideration is possibly threadbare in some aspect. In fact you may prefer to ignore these considerations. This can foster a lack of contact with the material dimensions of life which leaves you feeling totally out of place in this world with no roots to support and solidify your efforts to express yourself. You may end up looking around and saying “but what have I accomplished that will outlast me?”
The absence of Earth may lead you to seek direct experience with some dimension of life that seems more real to you or into pursuing a spiritual quest to transcend the limitations of the physical world once and for all. With a dearth of Earth, we often perceive opportunities that we would otherwise miss if we lived strictly in adherence to tradition and the “accepted ways of doing things”. In other words, lack of Earth can be beneficial, so long as there is at least some common sense. However, a severe weakness of connection to the Earth Element from birth can also lead to some form of neglect of the physical body, and you may forget to eat properly, exercise and rest at regular intervals. Your concentration and energy levels may drop as Earth holds in and binds the other Elements. This can lead to all kinds of health problems with consciousness (dizziness, lack of focus, lack of self acceptance as a spiritual being in physical form). There is often a poor skin tone (lacking in oils or colour), an indication that life energy is not strongly vitalizing the physical vehicle, and a sense of being spaced out in meditation coupled with a lack of concentrative ability. The remedy for all these ailments is to increase and deepen the connection to Earth.
There are many ways of connecting with Elemental Earth – nature herself offers many old trees and plants with which to do so. You would benefit immeasurably by cultivating a regular schedule in your life, eating, exercising and resting regularly, accepting the physical limitations of your life, and strengthening the bond of your connection to Earth through working on your lower body awareness, particularly the Root chakra at the base of the spine and the region from the waist down. If possible, you should take the necessary measures (given by Franz Bardon in Initiation into Hermetics) to increase the quantity and quality of Earth in your astra-mental body; if you are a practitioner you may experience a need for greater persistence generally but especially with the Earth exercises involving tactile sensations, weight and gravity. Essentially, until you manage to correct this weakness you will lack the ability to bind and thus materialise your consciousness.
Earth itself, like Air, is not considered a `true` hermetic Element because it is the solidification and condensing resulting from the activities of the other 3 Elements, from which time, space, weight and measure have come about. Therefore we must consider a lack of Earth to represent an inability to manifest and to measure ones thoughts, feelings and spirit, in a physical and temporal sense. There is a need to learn focus, and to cultivate realism, practicality and awareness of the physical plane.