Think of the elements as tendencies of the temperament: fire, earth, air, water. Everything that exists is composed of these characteristics, and every astrological sign manifests one of them as well. In addition, all fire and air signs are yang, and all earth and water signs are yin.
You'll notice in the above figure that the elements in each of the signs form a triangle; that's one of the reasons they're called the triplicities (the other reason is that there are three signs for each element). And signs that share an element share certain characteristics, depending on what that element is.
The Signs and Their Elements
Fire Earth Air Water
The first element is fire. Fire signs (Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius) are energetic, idealistic, self-assertive, courageous, and often visionary. If you remember that fire is first, it may help you to remember that fire signs are very active, stimulating creative expression, and always passionate. People with lots of fire planets are often known as "fireballs."
The second element is earth. Earth signs (Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn) are practical and skillful, good at managing physical assets, financial matters—or any form of matter. Think of earth signs as down to earth and you also will remember their characteristics. People with lots of earth planets are sometimes called "dirtballs or mudheads."
The third element is air. Air signs (Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius) represent social and intellectual abilities—ideas, communications, thinking, and social interrelationships. People with air signs operate on a mental plane, through air, so to speak, which may help you to remember what air signs are like. People with lots of air planets are often known as "airheads" or just plain "spacey."
The fourth element is water. Water signs (Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces) are sensitive and emotional; they think with their feelings, intuitively, and are often romantic.
Cancer represents the lake, Scorpio represents the river, and Pisces represents the ocean. If you think of water as emotion, you will remember the characteristics of water signs. People with lots of water planets are often known as "water babies" or "crybabies."
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