For a complete understanding of the elements in the chart we must examine the elements represented by the planets themselves (see section), particularly that of the strongest planet. For example, one may have many planets in earth signs but if they are predominately fiery planets and strongly placed, especially, an exalted Mars in Capricorn, one will have much energy, enthusiasm and motivation (fire) to accomplish things in the material or practical realm (earth). Such a person we would say is "fire operating in the field of the earth". Their force or the quality of their nature would be more fiery but their realm of manifestation would be more earthly. Even their physical constitution would usually be more fiery (Pitta), though they would be active through the body, senses or the concrete side of the mind.
If the planets are of different elements than the signs in which they are located, a certain cancellation or overpowering of elements can occur. If an individual has Mars, Saturn, the Sun and the lunar nodes in water signs, for example, none of which has a watery nature, these planets may serve to negate the energy of water rather than to manifest it. They could even create air in the nature by this neutralization of water. Or, if such planets are weakly placed, water may serve to overpower the elements and qualities they normally possess. Much of the nature of an individual and their issues in life can be seen in how the elements relate in the chart. We could examine these configurations element by element and planet by planet but there is not the space for it. For example, if a person has planets primarily in earth and air, there will be a battle between the practical and idealistic sides of the nature. If they are primarily in water and fire, the emotions and the will may be at odds. If they are mainly in earth and water, their energy will tend to sink or contract itself. If they are mainly in fire and air, their energy will expand, ascend but perhaps disperse itself.
The three qualities and the five elements are related. Cardinal quality is similar to fire; that is, energizing and expressive. Fixed quality is similar to water; gathering and stabilizing. Mutable quality is similar to air; fluctuating and communicative.
The signs share the attributes of their respective elements---
Air signs are light, subtle, mobile, dry and clear. They are expansive, expressive, relating, sensitive, but may cause dispersion and disintegration. Fire signs are hot, radiant, light, sharp and clear. They are active, guiding, penetrating and separating and may cause combustion and destruction. Water signs are wet, cloudy, cold, stable, smooth and soft. They are passive, yielding, receptive and calm but may cause stagnation and decay. Earth signs are heavy, dark, hard, rough, static and slow. They are contracting, resistant, unyielding, unexpressive but also give stability, endurance, perseverance and loyalty.
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