How The 4 Elements Hold Sway Over Your Life

Photographed by Rochelle Brock.

Each sign of the Zodiac is ruled by either fire, earth, air, or water — three signs belong to each element. Naturally, a sign's ruling element has a major impact on its personality and behavior: Fire signs are passionate and warm, earth signs are sensible and stubborn, air signs are lighthearted and easygoing, water signs are intuitive and empathetic.

While you're most likely to focus on the element of your sun sign (the sign you read your horoscope for), having your birth chart read can reveal just how important all four of the elements are to who you are and how you behave. You just might find your sun sign's ruling element is playing second fiddle to another.

As you may already know, your birth chart shows where all of the heavenly bodies (planets, asteroids, and more) were located in relation to the signs of the Zodiac when you were born. While you use your chart to find your moon, rising, and other planetary signs, look out for patterns. Some people will notice they have a stellium (a concentration of three or more planets in a single sign) or that most of their placements happen to be in signs of the same element.

For example, quite a few planets happened to be in earth signs when I was born (five to be exact). So, my dominant element is earth — and it very much affects my life. Although I have a few planetary placements in water and air signs, I behave, by and large, like a textbook earth sign. I adore rules, crave structure, and rarely act on impulse. Think about it this way: If all four of the elements were different friends of mine, offering me advice about how to go through life, earth would be the loudest, most insistent one.

Of course, not everyone has a dominant element. It all depends on the planets' activity on your birthday.

But, if you've always wondered why your behavior differs dramatically from what's expected of your sun sign, it's always a good idea to check out your whole birth chart. You just might find that, although you were born under an air sign, you have a ton of placements in fire signs — and suddenly, your temper and dynamo-like energy makes a little more sense. Not sure what your dominant element is, or if you even have one? Find out here.

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