To use all functions of this page, please activate cookies in your browser.
With an accout for my.chemeurope.com you can always see everything at a glance – and you can configure your own website and individual newsletter.
- My watch list
- My saved searches
- My saved topics
- My newsletter
Astrology and the classical elements
Astrology has used the concept of classical elements from antiquity up until the present. In Western astrology and Indian astrology four elements are used, namely Fire, Earth, Air and Water. Chinese astrology uses a different system of elements totalling five, namely Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth.
Additional recommended knowledge
In Western tropical astrology, there are always 12 astrological signs; thus, each of the four elements is associated with 3 signs of the Zodiac which are always located exactly 120 degrees away from each other along the ecliptic and said to be in trine with one another. Most modern astrologers use the four classical elements extensively, (also known as triplicities) and indeed it is still viewed as a critical part of interpreting the astrological chart.
Beginning with the first sign Aries which is a Fire sign, the next in line Taurus is Earth, then to Gemini which is Air, and finally to Cancer which is Water – in Western astrology the sequence is always Fire, Earth, Air, & Water in that exact order. This cycle continues on twice more and ends with the twelfth and final astrological sign, Pisces. The elemental rulerships for the twelve astrological signs of the zodiac (according to Marcus Manilius) are summarised as follows:
Elements in classical astrology
In traditional astrology, each triplicity has several planetary rulers, which change with conditions of sect – that is, whether the chart is a day chart or a night chart. Triplicity rulerships are a very important essential dignity – one of the several factors used by traditional astrologers to weigh the strength, effectiveness and integrity of each planet in a chart.
Triplicty rulerships (using the "Dorothean system") are as follows:
"Participating" rulers were not used after the Hellenistic period. 
Triplicities by season
In ancient astrology, triplicities were more of a seasonal nature, so a season was given the qualities of an element, which means the signs associated with that season would be allocated to that element. The seasonal elements of ancient astrology are as follows:
These associations are not given any great importance in modern astrology, although they are prominent in modern Western neopaganism, druidism and wicca
Elements in modern astrology
In modern astrology each of the elements are associated with different personality types. The following table summarizes their characteristics as follows:
Indian astrology shares the same system as Western astrology of linking zodiac signs to elements. The following table gives the correspondences:
In addition, in Vedic thought each of the five planets are linked to an element (with ether as the fifth). It was said in the Veda that everything emanated from the one basic vibration of "Om" or "Aum." From "Om" the five elemental vibrations emerged representing the five different tattwas (or elements). The five planets represent these five vibrations – Jupiter for Ether, Saturn for Air, Mars for Fire, Mercury for Earth, and Venus for Water.
Chinese astrology uses the Five Elements of (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal,and Water, ) on top of the twelve animal signs in a sixty year cycle. These are modifiers and affect the characteristics of each of the 12 animal signs. Thus, each of the 12 animals are governed by an element plus a Yin Yang Direction.
Although it is usually translated as 'element' the Chinese word xing literally means something like 'changing states of being', 'permutations' or 'metamorphoses of being'.  In fact Sinologists cannot agree on one single translation. The Chinese conception of 'element' is therefore quite different to the Western one. The Western elements were seen as the basic building blocks of matter. The Chinese 'elements', by contrast, were seen as ever changing and moving forces or energies - one translation of xing is simply 'the five changes'.
The balance of yin and yang and the five elements in a person's make-up has a major bearing on what is beneficial and effective for them in terms of feng shui, the Chinese form of geomancy. This is because each element is linked to a particular direction and season, and their different kinds of qì or life force. Each of the elements are also linked to a different planet.
Wood governs the Tiger, Rabbit, and Dragon.
Fire governs the Snake, Horse and Sheep.
Earth governs the Dragon, Rat, and Ox. It is the central balance of the elements and can lend qualities to all 12 animals as well.
Metal governs the Monkey, Rooster, and Dog.
Water governs the Pig, Rat, and Ox.
The doctrine of five phases describes two Cycles of Balance, a generating or creation (生, shēng) cycle and an overcoming or destruction (克, kè) cycle of interactions between the phases.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Astrology_and_the_classical_elements". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|