Astrology basics: a little lesson

Basically, astrology is a map to describe the metaphysical interaction of four elements which compose all of existence—including our selves. ‘As without, so within.’ The elements of astrology have nothing to do with the periodic table, though! In fact, all the elements of the periodic table can be included as part of the earth element, which is the physical world.

The elements:

Fire – the creative spirit, energy, drive, vision, inspiration, what moves us forward and energizes us. Fire signs are: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius.
Earth – the physical world, sensations, physical phenomena, what can be touched, measured and observed. Earth signs are: Capricorn, Taurus, Virgo
Air – the mind, how we think, interpret, perceive, relate and communicate with one another. Air signs are Libra, Aquarius, Gemini
Water – the psychic realms, emotions, memories, non-physical phenomena, how we feel, irrational impulses and reactions, power and energy. Water signs are Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces

Okay, now these four elements are each divided into three modes. The first mode is called cardinal. Cardinal means ‘initiating.’ The cardinal signs represent first causes, imprints, what forms us, and it is where we create ourselves. Cardinal signs are most personally ‘me’.

Cardinal signs are Aries, Capricorn, Libra, Cancer

The second mode is the fixed mode. Fixed means, ‘stable state.’ The fixed signs represent the vast, archetypal whole of the element, eternal and unchanging. These signs are larger than ‘self’ and represent power.

Fixed signs are Leo, Taurus, Aquarius, Cancer

The final mode is the mutable mode. Mutable means, ‘changing.’ The mutable signs are where we learn, evolve, make choices, adapt. The mutable mode is more conscious and responsive than the other modes.

Mutable signs are Sagittarius, Virgo, Gemini, Pisces.

You can learn a lot about a person just by looking at the element and mode of their Sun and Earth signs. The Earth is always located exactly opposite the Sun (in the system I use, which is of course the correct one!), and provides the balance needed.

All opposing signs are actually two sides of a single whole, so Sun and Earth should always be considered together. When reading a horoscope column (like my own in the Island Word), look at your Sun sign and then look at your Earth sign. Take what interests you and ignore the rest, then go get a reading from a qualified astrologer. Horoscopes can give only the tiniest hint of the veriest tip of the iceberg of information that is found in your astrological blueprint.

If you are not sure what your Earth sign is, look opposite your birthday in the year, which would be six months away. If your birthday is October 1st, (Libra), the opposite point will be April 1st, so your Earth is in Aries.

Okay! If you are a Libra Sun, then your Sun and Earth are in the cardinal mode. Earth and Sun are always in the exact same mode. Your Sun is cardinal air (Libra), your Earth (I know, it is easy to confuse the planet with the element, which is why I upper-case the planet and not the elements) is in cardinal fire (Aries).

The Sun is a fixed planet, as is the Earth, they rule Leo and Taurus, respectively. The Sun and Earth have to do with our greatness, our vastest most expanded selves, in terms of creative spirit (fire—Sun) and physical environment, including body (earth—Earth).

Every planet has a sign (and house) it is married to, or one with; when considering the Sun, we also need to consider any planets in Leo, houses with the sign Leo on the cusp, and the 5th House, home of Leo, but for the purpose of this exercise we will narrow things down to just the Sun and Earth. Not easy, nor fully accurate, but it illustrates the principle.

So, our Libran with the Aries Earth is primarily a cardinal being. From the moment of their first breath, she is a risk-taker and initiator. Because the Sun is Libra, she identifies more with that side of the polarity, so her risks will be in the cause of love, truth, balance, harmony and justice. Fairness is all-important to Libra!

She seeks a life partner, this is important to her in some way, depending on which house the Sun falls in, as well as the sign and planets inhabiting the 7th house. A 7th-House Libra Sun—in the house in which Libra belongs—will likely actively require a mate, and to love, give, support and balance with her mate. But in order to be a fully rounded, grounded, growing, evolving being, she must give her Earth its due and honour her Arian self-centred desires and her personal willfulness as well.

We do identify with our Suns; the light we see by, and this is why horoscope columns do work, sorta – but they are severely limited. The Earth is what we are going to have to accept about ourselves, our bottom line, the ground rules of our personal worlds.

Her Libran side aspires to be a lover and to value others’ needs above her own, but her Aries Earth demands to be included in the equation. The scales of Libra should have ‘me’ on one side, and ‘you’ on the other, and the balance then can be real. Librans become shadows of themselves when they place ‘somebody else’s needs’ and ‘another someone’s needs’ on the scales, leaving their own needs out of the equation. This is where enablers and codependents are born.

Here is the standard (faulty) Libran formula: ‘If I put your needs first, then you will do the fair and right thing and put mine first, and then we’ll be in balance.’ But when the Libran does this, often it will find itself surround by Arian types who put their own needs first, assuming everybody else will do the same.

Libra Sun needs to notice that Aries Earth is also a part of itself. All opposites must include one another to find the whole truth which includes both. There are a lot of examples like this; in future blogs I’ll lay out some others, just for fun.

There are a lot of other things going on as well—the mode and element of the Ascendant colours the personality; the Moon represents the emotional needs, memories and imprints, and so on.

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