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    The Zodiac | The Planets | About Astrology | Relationship Analysis | Signs

    How to read your Birth Chart Part Three: The Elements and Qualities

    Your birth chart or horoscope, is usually shown in the form of a wheel, symbolising the cycles periodically undergone by all living things on this planet. The symbols ("glyphs") displayed stand for the astrological signs, planets and other chart factors representing forces which may affect your life at any given time.

    Each of these astrological factors represents a coded set of drives in your sub-conscious. Drives may be activated and brought to your awareness by circumstances in your life, presenting you with a range of choices. Of course, your choices are to a considerable extent limited and determined by your character, which is itself revealed through an understanding of the symbols that make up the chart.


    The Elements

    The Elements and Qualities

    The basic structural components of the world are known as elements, modified, or flavoured by their modalities, or qualities. In astrology, four material elements are recognised: Fire, Earth, Air and Water (see table). Originally conceived by Empedocles in ancient Greece and identified as elements by Plato, they are easily observed in nature but have a subtle character, not to be confused with the chemical elements of the modern periodic table. The astrological elements are expressions of spiritual energies, rather than blind forces.

    The Elements (Quadruplicities)



    Astrological signs are categorised by their ancient, elemental identities of
    Elemental Fire SymbolFire (spirit & energy),
    Elemental Air SymbolAir (intellect & communication),
    Elemental Water SymbolWater (emotion & nurture) and
    Elemental Earth SymbolEarth (material things & security).

    These elements are considered the building blocks of existence at all levels, the universal forces upon which life depends. They interpret a much broader range of experience than the "chemical elements" of modern science, and should not be confused with them. They are also known as the quadruplicities, or modalities.

    A fifth element, or quintessence, is the underlying spiritual essence out of which the four material elements are precipitated. The quintessence is not used in practical astrology, though the idea of a spiritual ground has been widespread in science since Aristotle. The quintessence, or Šther, is central to spiritual development in many cultures. It is also known as the astral light, or the collective unconscious, and in yoga, the akasha, a sanskrit word meaning "shining". The karmic memory of nature is held to be stored in the akashic records.

    The Qualities (Triplicities)



    Each sign is also identified by its quality, or modality, that is whether it is
    Cardinal (creative),
    Fixed (determined) or
    Mutable (changeable) in character.

    These features are known as the triplicities and are usually interpreted in conjunction with the elements or quadruplicities.

    The Fiery signs, for example, are Aries, the Ram (cardinal-fire), Leo, the Lion (fixed-fire) and Sagittarius, the Archer (mutable-fire). The other signs follow a similar pattern (see table).

    Astrology on the Web
    TABLE OF ASTROLOGICAL QUALITIES & ELEMENTS

    Sign Quality Element
    Aries Cardinal Fire
    Taurus Fixed Earth
    Gemini Mutable Air
    Cancer Cardinal Water
    Leo Fixed Fire
    Virgo Mutable Earth
    Sign Quality Element
    Libra Cardinal Air
    Scorpio Fixed Water
    Sagittarius Mutable Fire
    Capricorn Cardinal Earth
    Aquarius Fixed Air
    Pisces Mutable Water

    Go Forward For a much deeper examination of the Signs, Elements and Qualities,
      please click this link to go to our article on Elemental Qualities.


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