The Moon in your chart tells what you need in order to feel safe, secure and well taken care of. Satisfying your Lunar needs enables you to relax, rest deeply and engage in the healthy form of self-care that matters most to you.

Your Moon sign is the key to experiencing deep emotional well-being and happiness. 

Do you have the Moon in Virgo in your astrology chart?

If you do, then you need September’s free teleclass from Pandora Astrology.

How to find out more:
The infographic above can only hint at the deeper understanding of your Moon in Virgo that astrology has to offer. To find out more about Moon in Virgo (in your chart or in the chart of someone you share a home with or care about), get this teleclass recording: Moon in Virgo Teleclass Video.

The Moon In Virgo Teleclass is an MP4 video recording lasting approximately an hour and costing $19.97.
To get the recording, use this webpage for a fast and easy MP4 download. May it feed your soul!

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Categories: Moon, Signs: Virgo

The Moon in your chart tells what you need in order to feel safe, secure and well taken care of. Satisfying your Lunar needs enables you to relax, rest deeply and engage in the healthy form of self-care that matters most to you.

Your Moon sign is the key to experiencing deep emotional well-being and happiness. 

Do you have the Moon in Taurus in your astrology chart?

If you do, then you need May’s free teleclass from Pandora Astrology.

How to find out more:
The infographic above can only hint at the deeper understanding of your Moon in Taurus that astrology has to offer.  To find out more about Moon in Taurus (in your chart or in the chart of someone you share a home with or care about), get this teleclass recording: Moon in Taurus Teleclass Video.

The Moon In Taurus Teleclass is an MP4 video recording lasting approximately an hour and costing $19.97.
To get the recording, use this webpage for a fast and easy MP4 download. May it feed your soul!

If you don’t have the Moon in Taurus, you can find out about YOUR Moon sign by joining the free teleclass for it, coming up this year:

Sign Up For Free Moon Sign Teleclasses

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Categories: Moon, Signs: Taurus

The Moon in your chart tells what you need in order to feel safe, secure and well taken care of. Satisfying your Lunar needs enables you to relax, rest deeply and engage in the healthy form of self-care that matters most to you.

Your Moon sign is the key to experiencing deep emotional well-being and happiness. 

Do you have the Moon in Capricorn in your astrology chart?

If you do, then you need January’s free teleclass from Pandora Astrology.

How to find out more:

The infographic above can only hint at the deeper understanding of your Moon in Capricorn that astrology has to offer.  To find out more about Moon in Capricorn (in your chart or in the chart of someone you share a home with or care about), get this teleclass recording: Moon in Capricorn Teleclass Video.

The Moon In Capricorn Teleclass is an MP4 video recording lasting approximately an hour and costing $19.97.
To get the recording, use this webpage for a fast and easy MP4 download. May it feed your soul!

If you don’t have the Moon in Capricorn, you can find out about YOUR Moon sign by joining the free teleclass for it, coming up this year:

Sign Up For Free Moon Sign Teleclasses

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Categories: Moon, Signs: Capricorn

Saturn in your chart points down a career path that can satisfy you and bring you success.

Knowing your Saturn sign orients you, motivates you and gets you unstuck. 

Do you have Saturn in Taurus in your astrology chart?

If you do, then you need May’s free teleclass from Pandora Astrology.

How to find out more:
The infographic above can only hint at the deeper understanding of Saturn in Taurus that astrology has to offer. To find out more, get this teleclass call recording: The Great Work of Taurus.

In it, you’ll discover:

  • What’s behind Saturn in Taurus’ greatest fear—and crowning achievement
  • More about apt career directions for you if you have Saturn in Taurus
  • Taurus’ Mission Orders—and how fulfilling on them can bring success and satisfaction

The Great Work of Taurus is an MP3 recording lasting approximately 45 minutes and costing $9.97.
To get the recording, use this webpage for a fast and easy MP3 download. May it speed your success!

You have Saturn in Taurus if you were born in these dates:

  • 7/5/1939 to 9/21/1939
  • 3/20/1940 to 5/8/1942
  • 4/29/1969 to 6/18/1971
  • 1/9/1972 to 2/21/1972
  • 6/8/1998 to 10/25/1998
  • 2/28/1999 to 8/9/2000
  • 10/15/2000 to 4/20/2001

If you don’t have Saturn in Cancer, you can find out where YOU have Saturn here.

capricornWhere would we be without the Capricorns of the world? Half goat, half sea creature (and all workhorse!), those born between December 21 and January 20 know how to roll up their sleeves and get down to business. But when are you being ambitious, or becoming a complete workaholic? Ruled by Saturn, the planet of commitment and challenge, Capricorns can go from being the glue that holds everything together, to the chain that holds it all back.

Capricorn, when you’re at your best. . .
…you are utterly dependable. You are the friend who withstands the test of time because you don’t flake out. When you RSVP for birthday party, you will actually show up. With a present. That’s because a Capricorn knows how to deliver. You cringe when other people over-promise or make flimsy commitments. You operate with integrity, and know how to keep a secret. You can comfortably step into leadership roles without being flashy or vainglorious. While you do like to be in charge, you also respect the authority of the overall hierarchy in which you take part, so you don’t overstep your bounds. You’re also fairly self-contained, and capable of deferring short term gratification for a long term goal. People turn to you for down-to-earth advice. Too bad they don’t usually take it.

…and at you’re worst…
Sometimes, you can defer gratification TOO much—to the point where you have trouble relaxing and enjoying the present. It’s kind of like waiting months to use a gift card you received on Christmas to only find out, in the checkout line, that it has expired. Does it ever seem that you actually get punished for being so self-abnegating? Maybe there’s a message there for you, Capricorn. At times you can be overly stoic, repressing your emotions to the point where they are hard to read. You can be realistic to the point of pessimism, since you overly anticipate the bad things in life, and have a tendency not to expect positive outcomes. In fact, if you are a Capricorn reading this post, you have probably barely glanced at the above ‘best of’ section to only focus more on this section since you feel more comfortable with criticism. Capricorns can also become obsessed with their careers, and often neglect the softer side of life—family, friends, a home-cooked meal. And your reward for getting on a power-career track is. . . well, more work.

Handling your Capricorn nature
You have always had a serious side to you, and you may feel that as a child you practically raised yourself. Learn to be patient and don’t be hard on yourself—a grave demeanor may be off-putting in a child, but adds to your authority as an adult. Over time, you’ll learn to relax and be more flexible, silly, spontaneous, and emotionally open. Capricorns get better with age, so view yourself as a fine wine or quality scotch. Since you identify with your work, find a career where you can advance and develop. A dead-end job would feel literally like death to a Capricorn (perhaps because you would persist anyway). There is also one more thing you must do, and it this may be the hardest: don’t worry so much! Your mind naturally gravitates towards the worst-case-scenario, and that has become your coping strategy. In a sense, you have earned the right to relax. And if you ever get called a Debbie Downer, remember that the original Debbie, always pouting at social events, was probably a Capricorn. What I’m trying to say is that it wouldn’t hurt if you smiled a little more at parties and worried a little less.

Clueing others in about you….
You should always let others know that you are feeling more than you are probably showing. You are great at taking action to be dependable and reliable, but you are not as good at expressing feelings. You don’t have to throw a tantrum or speak in a shrill voice to be heard, but it helps if you use sentences that begin with “I feel …” to clue others in. You also don’t appreciate it when your earning power is taken for granted by others. Gold diggers may want to cozy up to you, but don’t lead them on with your resources and be clear that you are not a free lunch ticket. Also let others know that when you are being cynical, you are not just bursting their bubbles for the fun of it. Tell others that giving realistic feedback is your way of trying to help, and they should view it as a signal that you are taking them seriously. Try to find ways of cushioning your criticism, by offering a few positive (gulp) statements first before you slam down the hard hammer of reality.

Find out more about getting a reading
Or see what 
kinds of readings are available.
Birthday Gift for you: 
If your birthday is approaching or recent 
and you want an empowering look at the year ahead, click to
schedule a 
Birthday Reading and receive a free gift with it.

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Categories: Signs: Capricorn

Saturn in your chart points down a career path that can satisfy you and bring you success.

Knowing your Saturn sign orients you, motivates you and gets you unstuck. 

Do you have Saturn in Capricorn in your astrology chart?

If you do, then you need January’s free teleclass from Pandora Astrology.

How to find out more:
The infographic above can only hint at the deeper understanding of Saturn in Capricorn that astrology has to offer. To find out more, get this teleclass call recording: The Great Work of Capricorn.

In it, you’ll discover:

  • What’s behind Saturn in Capricorns’ greatest fear—and crowning achievement
  • More about apt career directions for you if you have Saturn in Capricorn
  • Capricorn’ Mission Orders—and how fulfilling on them can bring success and satisfaction

The Great Work of Capricorn is an MP3 recording lasting approximately 45 minutes and costing $9.97.
To get the recording, use this webform (the same one used for signing up for the teleclasses as they happen) for a fast and easy MP3 download. May it speed your success!

You have Saturn in Capricorn if you were born in these dates:

  • 3/15/1929 to 5/4/1929
  • 11/29/1929 to 2/23/1932
  • 8/13/1932 to 11/19/1932
  • 1/5/1959 to 1/3/1962
  • 2/13/1988 to 6/9/1988
  • 11/12/1988 to 2/6/1991

If you don’t have Saturn in Cancer, you can find out where YOU have Saturn here.

Saturn in your chart points down a career path that can satisfy you and bring you success.

Knowing your Saturn sign orients you, motivates you and gets you unstuck. 

Do you have Saturn in Virgo in your astrology chart?

If you do, then you need September’s free teleclass from Pandora Astrology.

Saturn in Virgo infographic

How to find out more:
The infographic above can only hint at the deeper understanding of Saturn in Virgo that astrology has to offer. To find out more, get this teleclass call recording: The Great Work of Virgo.

In it, you’ll discover:

  • What’s behind Saturn in Virgo’s greatest fear—and crowning achievement
  • More about apt career directions for you if you have Saturn in Virgo
  • Virgo’s Mission Orders—and how fulfilling on them can bring success and satisfaction

The Great Work of Virgo is an MP3 recording lasting approximately 45 minutes and costing $9.97.
To get the recording, use this webform (the same one used for signing up for the teleclasses as they happen) for a fast and easy MP3 download. May it speed your success!

You have Saturn in Virgo if you were born in these dates:

  • 9/18/1948 to 4/3/1949
  • 5/29/1949 to 11/20/1950
  • 3/7/1951 to 8/13/1951
  • 11/16/1977 to 1/4/1978
  • 7/26/1978 to 9/21/1980
  • 9/2/2007 to 10/29/2009
  • 4/7/2010 to 7/21/2010

If you don’t have Saturn in Cancer, you can find out where YOU have Saturn here.

If you want to really understand people, you have to understand temperament.  Understanding temperament means understanding the building blocks of personality we are all made up of.  And that would be the four elements and the three qualities.

Knowing a person’s strongest element (Fire, Earth, Air or Water) can have you really “get” them and once you know how the people in your life work, you can predict how they’ll respond to things around them and what they’ll prioritize according to their values.  Then you can trust them to be who they are and you can relax in your relationships.  Knowing a person’s strongest quality (Cardinal, Fixed or Mutable) can make it easy to synergize with them in a team effort.  Their quality tells you their style of action and how they can be more effective in projects whether at work or at home.

A person’s signature sign is the combination of their strengths—their strongest quality and strongest element—and it’s just as important and significant a part of who they are as their Sun, Moon and Rising signs are.  Sometimes more significant.  The only reason most people know their Sun sign is that it’s easy to figure out.  The only reason most people don’t know their signature sign is that it needs to be figured out by an astrologer.  But this is not really hard to learn how to do and it can improve your relationships with everyone in your life.  And this is something I teach in the first session of my Chart Analysis Techniques class coming up in February.

People come to me asking about their relationships a lot and in my 20+ years of practice as an astrologer, I’ve learned that these questions aren’t always about romance or marriage.  People care about how they relate with everybody in their life—spouse, parents, children, co-workers and friends.  And the elements and qualities have a lot of answers, including:
•    what kinds of people are easiest for you to get along with
•    how do you spot those people? how does it feel to be around them?
•    what kinds of people are you drawn to and why?
•    how do you, by “filling in your missing place,” unintentionally end up drawing the very people it’s hardest for you to get along with?
•    how can you (with a little positive attention) figure out how to get along with them anyway?
•    what’s your operational style and how can you use it to be more effective in all your projects (both at work and at home)?
•    how does your operational style impact your co-workers?
•    how can you work with people who are different from you—with a sense of respect for their styles?
•    how can you get the best work out of people you manage (by knowing their styles) and feel most appreciated by those who manage you?
•    and how can you, by living in the way that’s best for your signature sign, access a deep sense of purpose and meaning in your life?

All this is incredibly useful stuff that a client can recognize in themselves and put to use right away.  I consider the signature important enough to include it in almost every reading I do and it’s usually the first thing I interpret.

Describing the elements and qualities first thing in a client’s first session serves several purposes at once.  First, it gives them golden information and insights about how to optimize their personality traits for both effectiveness and happiness. Secondly, it gives the client ways to organize things they already know about human nature into comprehensible personality traits they recognize in the people around them—and thus affects all those relationships in a good way.  So it gives them a modular personality-type system they can see at work in their life—without ever having to consult an astrologer again if they don’t want to (because I believe in teaching the client to fish, rather than spoon-feeding them fish).

Thirdly, it establishes rapport between me and the client, as the client begins to feel “gotten” and “seen” and even validated in ways that really matter.  Fourthly, it lays the foundation for our continued conversation about the client’s chart as we venture forward into further details of their personality.  Having our shared understanding of the elements and qualities to refer back to allows us to have useful conversations about anything in the chart in a short amount of time, so we can cover more ground faster.

If you liked this teaching tidbit, you would enjoy the class it came from:
Chart Analysis Techniques, beginning Feb 11, 2014.
It makes human personality comprehensible and predictable.
Look here for more information and to sign up.

To all the Virgo sign types (born between August 23 and September 22) of the world:  if you’re ambivalent about your perfectionistic ways, it’s no wonder.  On the one hand, your attention to detail means that your work life tends to run in a very efficient way.  But on the other hand, your personal life sometimes suffers from your tendency to ignore the forest while hyper-focusing on the trees.

Virgo, when you’re at your best. . .
. . . your fine traits make you a desirable addition to any workplace—you’re hard-working, dedicated, detail-oriented and have a profound service ethic no other sign can touch.  Your awareness of what is wrong leads to a very natural ability to put things right.  You are motivated to establish good routines and healthy habits—you excel at putting systems into place that run smoothly on their own.  And your service-oriented attitude puts the attention squarely where it needs to be—on the customer.

. . . and at your worst. . .
It’s not news that those same traits that you express so well at work can become problematic in your private life.  But at what point does meticulousness turn into perfectionism, criticism and maybe even nagging?  It may be hard for you to tell because you’re accustomed to the voice of the critic inside your own head, constantly driving you.  And your tendency to be in service can lead to self-abnegation and invisibility, leaving you feeling that all your good efforts go unnoticed.  When the desire for perfection exceeds the desire to give, Virgo goes off the rails.

Handling Your Virgo Nature
Like Boxer, the horse in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, your credo might well be, “I will work harder!”  But that won’t solve every problem.  Sometimes what’s called for is to soften and allow others to serve you for a change.  This is what you secretly long for, but it’s hard to find competent help, as you well know.  Delegation is a skill you absolutely must develop, and that involves finding competent-enough people and patiently training them in the things you do so well—then allowing them to do those things, even if imperfectly, without criticism from you.

Clueing Others In About You
As a Virgo, your tendency is to see what needs fixing, then to take responsibility for it and forget to ask for help.  Believe it or not, the people around you have no idea how hard this is on you.  Practice being vulnerable by asking for what you need and then letting others give it to you.  They would actually be happy to tell you all about the things you do right and how deserving you are.  They’d be happy to remind you that everything is not your job, so Virgo:  take a break, take some credit, take a vacation.  Come back refreshed and renewed, ready to enjoy the supreme satisfaction of the pursuit of excellence.

Find out more about getting a reading
Or see what kinds of readings are available. 

Birthday Gift for you: 
If your birthday is approaching or recent 
and you want an empowering look at the year ahead, click to
schedule a 
Birthday Reading and receive a free gift with it.

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Categories: Signs: Virgo

Taurus sign types (usually born between April 20 and May 20) are known for their peaceable ways and their patience.  But Taurus, have the people in your life learned to fear you when you get to the end of your rope?  It’s appropriate if they have, because nobody’s nicer than you when you’re feeling solid and nobody raises hell like you when you decide to.  Fortunately, you don’t decide to very often.

Taurus, when you’re at your best. . .
. . . your good traits are many and varied.  You are supportive to others, practical in your own right, a realist without being cold.  You are both grounded and warm, and you really know how to enjoy life.  You are solid and consistent; you have integrity.  When you promise, there’s no doubt you will deliver.  You’re a staunch friend, a tolerant relative, an unassuming guest and a dependable business partner.  You’re willing to take more than your share of the load, without demanding the credit you secretly desire.

. . . and at your worst. . .
. . . your patience is legendary, but it does come to an end.  Once you write someone off, it’s really over.  Once you realize a person, place or thing is not for you, you simply, pragmatically and completely remove that item from your life.  It’s as if it never existed.  Do people fear this trait in you?  They should—the only time you go to extremes is when you’re forced to.  Your uniquely Taurean finality is nature’s way of telling others that it’s best not to push you too far.  And it’s appropriate for your friends to know this, so they don’t take undue advantage of your otherwise warm and accepting nature.

Handling your Taurus nature
Honor the slow pace at which you like to live and don’t let others push you faster than you really want to go.  You are much more effective when working at your own pace.  But beware:  your stability and love of pleasure can easily convert you into a couch potato.  Get up and get moving—don’t spend all your leisure time eating and watching television.  Enjoy life, but don’t overindulge because weight is easy to put on but hard to take off.

Clueing others in about you
Reassure your friends, family and coworkers that, while your methods may be slow, you are thorough and the job will be done on time and done well.  If you know you’re going to need more time to do it right, insist on it.  Nobody brings more quality to a project than you and no doubt your co-workers have noticed that.  Avoid pushy people who try to control you.  Your best companions will be the other Earth signs:  hard-working, ambitious Capricorns and helpful, detail-oriented Virgos.  You can relax fully around them because they pull their own weight.

Find out more about getting a reading
Or see what kinds of readings are available. 

Birthday Gift for you: 
If your birthday is approaching or recent 
and you want an empowering look at the year ahead, click to
schedule a 
Birthday Reading and receive a free gift with it.

 

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Categories: Signs: Taurus

Solutions for Water-Gone-Wrong

In my recent post Personality Flaws of the Four Elements I described ways the 4 Elements can go wrong, each according to its own nature.

How To Know If You’re Drowning In Water
Water is arguably the hardest element to get right, because in the modern world our capacity to feel is misunderstood, derided and ignored.  Many of us grow up with a poor understanding of our emotions.  Your Water has gone wrong when:

  • People around you call you a “drama queen.”
  • Your sensitivity has you attempting to control everyone around you so you can feel better.
  • You overreact to events around you and cannot separate what actually happened from how you felt about it.
  • You absorb other people’s feelings so easily that you lose yourself.  This may make you prefer to avoid people which is a shame because your powers of empathy are enormous.
  • You are filled with bitterness, resentment and other feelings that have long gone unexpressed.  You habitually repress them because you don’t know how to let go of them.

Solution One:  Balance Water With The Other 3 Elements
If your Water is distorted, the other elements can help restore balance.  Fire’s self-assertion is a wonderful foil for Water’s tendency toward self-sacrifice.  When you’re lost in Watery feelings and can’t get out, try cutting straight through the bullshit.  Fire says, “Things are really not as complicated as they seem.”

You can count on Air to bring in logic, rationality and a factual approach.  Air helps you get out of the feelings and become more dispassionate—which can be very helpful when you realize you’ve become over-involved with somebody who is taking advantage of you.

Earth’s practical concerns form a helpful check-and-balance to Water’s subjectivity.  Earth reminds Water that overwhelming feelings must be balanced by the need to feed, clothe and shelter oneself and one’s family.  Water says, “I care about myself and others,” while Earth adds “. . . and I prove it by making myself useful.”

Solution Two:  Emphasize Healthy Water
Expressing Water in a healthy way can allow negative expressions of Water to fall away naturally, with ease and grace.  You might call this “Water-Fu.”  Here are some ways to try it. . .

  • Notice your intuitions.  Validate them.  Use them.
  • Your feelings are there to connect you with other people.  Get good at noticing what others feel and what you feel.  Develop healthy emotional boundaries and enjoy deep relationships with those you feel sympathy or empathy towards.
  • Find or create places in your life where you can afford to feel fully, to express your feelings and to be as sensitive as you really are.  Hang around people you can be your true self with.
  • Practice healthy self-care, which is not the same as being emotionally armored nor emotionally over-exposed.  When you take care of yourself, others do not seem like a drain.
  • If you are preoccupied with negative feelings, learn to let go of them.  Focus on the positive, uplifting things in your life.  Nurse joy instead of anger.

The Four Elements are an incredibly rich vein of astrological knowledge of which this article series only scratches the surface.  Using the elements alone, even a novice can gain tremendous insight into herself and other people.  I hope it inspires you to learn more about the elements, about astrology and about yourself.

Find out more about getting a reading
Or see what kinds of readings are available. 

This has been part 5 of a 5-part series on the 4 elements.  The other parts can be found here:
Personality Flaws of the 4 Elements
Is Fire Burning You Up?
Has Earth Grounded You—Permanently?
Does Air Have You Lost In A Cloud?
Are You Drowning In Water?

Solutions for Air-Gone-Wrong

In my recent post Personality Flaws of the Four Elements I described ways the 4 Elements can go wrong, each according to its own nature.

How To Know If Air Has You Lost In A Cloud

Air is the intellectual element and we all know that a mind is a terrible thing to waste—yet it is also possible to use your mind too much, for example in times when your heart or body would serve better.  Your Air has gone wrong when:

  • You retreat to your head so much and get so abstracted that people around you wonder where you’ve gone and call you an “absent-minded professor.”
  • Physical reality annoys you.  You are frustrated at how hard it is to turn a theory into a reality—why can’t things just be the way you think they should?  And so you criticize things and people that don’t live up to your ideals.
  • Your need to appear smart has overreached your ability to actually converse with others, share ideas and be genuinely curious about perspectives that differ from your own.  This alienates you from people, which is a shame because stimulating conversation is exciting to you.
  • Your school success didn’t translate into the world beyond academics and you are still wondering why intelligence and problem-solving abilities aren’t enough to bring recognition and career advancement.
  • People call you cold or unapproachable (even though you have a sparkling wit) because you have little warmth.

Solution One:  Balance Air With The Other 3 Elements
If your Air is distorted, the other elements can help restore balance.  The natural antidote for the coolness and excessive objectivity of Air is the warmth and emotional approachability of Water.  When your Airy side causes you to distance yourself from events around you, draw on your Watery side and involve yourself emotionally in what you are experiencing (even though your Airy side may find this uncomfortable).

Earth helps Air move from the theoretical to the practical.  Earth demands that Air’s ideas be implemented in ways that are useful and pragmatic.  Earth physicalizes Air’s theories, tests them and proves their effectiveness.

Fire brings to Air a much-needed enthusiasm.  There comes a time when thought necessarily leads to action and while Air could sit around the planning table endlessly batting ideas about, Fire will leap in and begin a thing.  This may lead to failure the first or even the hundredth time, but Fire knows the importance of taking action.

Solution Two:  Emphasize Healthy Air
If you emphasize healthy Air and fill your life with ways your Air is positively expressed, there will be no room for unhealthy Air.  This elegant solution gently allows negative Air traits to fall away as a side-effect of your emphasis on positive Air.  You might call this solution “Air -Fu.”  Here are some examples:

  • Be endlessly curious.  Become a reservoir, a roundhouse for information.  Regard all data as potentially useful.
  • Air may not be very warm and fuzzy, but it is very social.  Make friends—lots of them—and bond with them around mutually interesting concepts and theories.
  • Share ideas with absolutely everyone, regardless of how “smart” they are or how well-researched their information is.  Treasure each new nugget you learn.
  • Use your capacity for distancing yourself to help you connect with others, not push them away.  Because intimacy includes appropriate space, you can find the right distance to make you comfortable with intimacy.
  • Meditate.  It gives the brain a much-needed break.

Find out more about getting a reading
Or see what kinds of readings are available. 

Coming up next:  Are You Drowning In Water?

Solutions for Earth-Gone-Wrong

EarthIn my recent post Personality Flaws of the Four Elements I described ways the 4 Elements can go wrong, each according to its own nature.

How To Know If Earth Is Grounding You
When your life is carefully measured from achievement to achievement (or failure), it’s easy to forget how to have fun.  Earth is the poster child for “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”  Your Earth has gone wrong when:

  • You’re such a critical perfectionist that your partner calls you a nag.
  • You’re a cynic, only interested in the bottom line and closed to any ideas that don’t have already proven value.
  • You’ve been called “cold” or “calculating.”
  • You’re prone to overindulging in physical pleasures to compensate for how hard you work or how boring your job is.
  • You’ve learned to defer gratification in favor of long-term goals—learned it so well that you can’t let yourself off the hook during a vacation and you despair of enjoying retirement.

Solution One:  Balance Earth With The Other 3 Elements
If your Earth is distorted, the other elements can help restore balance.  When your routines and systems are so effective that even you are bored, it’s time to break up the Earth with a little Fire.  Be spontaneous, take risks, look dopey.  Fling yourself into something, instead of calculating all its details first.

Earth gets dull and blockish without the lightness of Air.  Air encourages brainstorming sessions and crazy ideas—some may sound just like empty theories, but others will, with the time and testing Earth provides, prove useful in the end.  But you have to open your ears and listen first.

Water fertilizes Earth in a wonderful way, bringing warmth, emotion, compassion and sensitivity Earth does not naturally possess.  Too many late nights at the office?  Balance them with cozy family time.  Gotten too controlled or controlling?  Nothing like a nice emotional outburst to break down the walls.  Oh, and don’t forget to be vulnerable.

Solution Two:  Emphasize Healthy Earth
Healthy Earth practices can eliminate the need for compensatory, negative Earth behaviors.  Here are some examples of “Earth-Fu:”

  • Pay close attention to your bodily needs and engage in rigorous physical self-care.
  • Feed yourself delicious, homemade, organic, healthy food on a regular basis.  It tastes best when you cooked it yourself.
  • Organize your home, your office and your projects in ways that allow you to streamline, be effective and stop worrying.  Work smarter, not harder.
  • Fall in love with this physical world:  get out in nature more, breathe clean air and surround yourself with trees.

Set achievable goals and be consistent about rewarding yourself (even if it’s just a mental pat on the back) when you succeed.  When you become preoccupied with your failures, wrench your attention away from them and instead put it on what you’ve done right.

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Coming up next:  Does Air Have You Lost In A Cloud?

Solutions For Fire-Gone-Wrong

In my recent post Personality Flaws of the Four Elements I described ways the 4 Elements can go wrong, each according to its own nature.

How To Know If Fire Is Burning You Up
When all you’ve got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.  Fire is at best a blunt instrument and when abused it becomes destructive quickly.  Your Fire has gone wrong when:

  • You frequently feel angry, destructive, or aggressive.
  • You always need to have the last word.
  • Your friends say  you habitually squash other people’s self-confidence by dominating them.
  • Some say your ways of being make you feel big and others feel small.
  • You feel restless and can’t settle down into a job or relationship.

Solution One:  Balance Fire With The Other 3 Elements
If your Fire is distorted, the other elements can help restore balance. Some say that anger is a disguise for grief, and for a Fiery individual this can be very true.  Are you masking sadness with your Fiery display?  Take off the armor, sink into your Watery side and let yourself feel sad.  But leave the battle zone first.

Air can also lend a useful perspective.  Draw on your Airy side to access your inner Observer, that part of you that can get healthy distance from yourself.  Step outside your anger and use logic instead.  Debate with yourself before arguing with others.

Earth reminds Fire that dominating others is impractical, because it impedes the very leadership you’re trying to create.  Why would people want to follow someone who blows up easily and loses self-control?  Earth says, have self-discipline and show them that you take practical action on your promises.

Solution Two:  Emphasize Healthy Fire
If you emphasize healthy Fire and fill your life with positive expressions of Fire, there will be no room for unhealthy Fire.  This elegant solution gently allows negative Fire traits to fall away as a side-effect of your emphasis on positive Fire.  You might call this solution “Fire-Fu.”  Here are some examples:

  • Have a regular athletic routine that allows you to “blow off steam.”  Then you don’t explode unexpectedly.
  • Encourage mental self-talk that builds your confidence, instead of undermining it.  Then you don’t need to dominate others to get your way or express your needs.
  • Enjoy healthy competition with strong people you respect.  Then you’ll find the patience you need to get you through the times when you have to tread delicately with people you wouldn’t choose, but have to relate with.
  • Assert yourself early and often, so you don’t build up a head of steam and blow.
  • Examine the beliefs that make up your philosophy of life—create a world-view that expands (not contracts) you.

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See the next post in this thread:  Has Earth Grounded You–Permanently?

Human temperament is made from combinations of the four elements, Fire, Earth, Air and Water.  Everyone has all four, but in different proportions.  Everyone also differs in how well they express each element—whether that element is expressed mostly in a clean and clear way or in a distorted way.

It’s not that some parts of your chart are good and some are bad.  All are good and all are bad—it is in how you use them.  Some will be easier to have as good and you can express those parts well with little effort.  Others are more challenged and prone to distorted expression.  But it still comes down to what you do with it.  You’re in charge.

And so, as a cautionary study, what follows is a look at what happens when each of the 4 elements goes terribly, terribly wrong.

Fire
The Fire side of us is naturally upbeat, cheerful and energetic.  When Fire goes wrong, all that drive and energy still needs someplace to go, so the person tends toward irritation, frustration and anger.  They can also take cheerfulness to the point of being entirely false and being unwilling to admit to having a down day.  When Fire is distorted, a person becomes fierce, a bully, arrogant, entitled, self-centered and even violent.  When you meet a person who can’t take feedback without exploding, who has to have their own way and who must dominate every situation, blame Fire.  Fire is also at work when an individual is hardheadedly self-determined or naïve to the point of clueless because they simply won’t listen to others.  And Fire also brings us the megalomaniac, the self-absorbed, self-centered people for whom it’s “all about me.”  Fire can be very uncaring and insensitive to others.  Oh, and Fire’s known for being an attention-grabber and a drama queen, insistent on blowing things up bigger than they have to be—and always in public.

Earth
Earth’s nature makes it practical, pragmatic, grounded, serious and realistic.  When a person expresses Earth in a distorted way they become cold and calculating, holding others (and sometimes themselves) to harsh, overly demanding standards.  Earth can be judgmental and critical, nit-picky and a perfectionist, setting the bar too high and valuing achievement over a balanced lifestyle.  Earth has also gone wrong when a person is overly security-oriented and abusing food and pleasure for comfort in reaction to excessive restrictions in other times or areas.  Binging and purging are Earthy behaviors.  Earth can also embrace structure too much, becoming extremely regimented, engaging in ritualistic, obsessive routines and finding themselves unable to relax and let life flow.  Earth craves wealth and can become a miserly, money-grubbing, gold-digging Scrooge who is obsessed with the bottom line and cries “show me the money!”  And obviously, Earth’s ambition can go very wrong, resulting in a person who will ruthlessly step on anybody necessary to climb to the top of the heap—and then paradoxically, they will spend their time hyper-vigilantly watching the competition, unable to relax and enjoy the fruits of their achievement.

Air
Air represents the mental side of human nature, so Air types tend to be idea people—intellectual and curious types.  When Air goes wrong, the person is nervous, twitchy, restless and agitated, too full of nervous energy and has too little tendency to work it off physically, as Fire or Earth might do.  Instead, Air will spend time reading or surfing the net or otherwise involved with ideas, theories and virtual things instead of physical reality.  Air tends to be attracted to caffeine and stimulants that make one’s mind sharper or help one focus.  Distorted Air leads to ADD symptoms, Asperger’s Syndrome, autism and other conditions that make it hard to bond emotionally with others, leaving a person cold, unattached and stiff (both emotionally and physically).  An Airy type can be the epitome of a talking head, full of theories and the logical reasons behind why they should work, but disinterested in their application.  That Airy intelligence can lead to a tendency to criticize whatever doesn’t fit the theory.  At its worst, Air is alienated, unfeeling, cut off from others and amoral, because it lacks compassion.

Water
Water represents the emotional side of human life:  Water grants us feelings, intuition, instinct, empathy and compassion.  Water-gone-wrong heads in a number of seemingly unconnected directions.  One way is that distorted Water becomes whiny, clingy, weepy, hypersensitive, histrionic and emotionally self-indulgent.  This leads to codependence and being easily manipulated by others.  Other people take distorted Water in a different direction, toward being passive-aggressive, manipulative, controlling and a user, always covertly pushing for one’s way.  Water is moody; it can fall into pits of depression, resulting in spending time being lazy, unmotivated, greasy & unwashed.  You can just feel the creeping entropy.  Even when Water is expressed in a spiritual way, the person can take an attitude of spiritual superiority which is actually not spiritual at all.  Did I mention that Water has a sexual side?  Water can get sleazy, sluttish, creepy and sexually predatory.  And Water can be morbidly sensitive, leading to agoraphobia and misanthropy.

So there they are, the four Elements in all their very worst aspects.  And there but for the grace of God go we all.

In the next few posts, I’ll talk about solutions to these elemental problems:
Is Fire Burning You Up?
Has Earth Grounded You—Permanently?
Does Air Have You Lost In A Cloud?
Are You Drowning In Water?

The Four Elements are a fascinating part of human temperament.
Find out about yours in a reading with Jamie:
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I just got an interesting question from a Twitter follower.  On Twitter, she writes:

foxyladye @pandoraastro why is water and earth always IN CHARGE! and fire(me-leo) & air except Libra! always gotta follow along

It’s an interesting question, @foxyladye, and since I couldn’t squeeze the answer into a tweet or two, I thought I’d move the question over here, where I can spread out a little.

My first thought is that I’m surprised, because Water and Earth often feel that Fire is overwhelming, overbearing and pushy.  And there’s some truth to that.  Yet, from Fire’s point of view (and yes, Leo is Fire), Fire is just being itself.  To Fire, Earth looks slow, dull, boring and painfully cynical, while Fire people are exciting and uplifting to be around.  It’s hard for Fire types to handle Earthy negativity.  From Earth’s point of view, Fire is all hot air and has no concept of the bottom line.  You see how these two are challenged to get along?

Water has problems with Fire too.  Water can be very sensitive and can feel that Fire comes blustering in with no clue about how they are affecting others.  Water often feels overrun and disrespected by Fire.  From Fire’s point of view, Water is too sensitive and should just get over it.  Fire doesn’t want to have to “hide their light under a bushel” just because water is being a “wet blanket.” (Those common phrases are no accident.)

My suggestion is to be the best Leo/Fire sign you can:  shine your light fully, be big, creative and expressive, but don’t be overbearing.  When your friends push back, it’s possible that you were being pushy first, but just didn’t realize it.  If you let your ego get in the way, you’re living your worst Leo side and it will push you away from your friends.  To be the royalty that you are, foxyladye, you’ve got to be gracious.  Because what use is it being queen if you have no citizens to follow your leadership?

Before I end this, I do want to add that a person’s “sign” is not all they are.  It’s quite possible, in fact it’s extremely likely, that those people you think of as Earth actually have some Fire, Air and Water in them.  Almost no one is all Fire.  And you yourself are a blend of the four elements.  Fire may be your strongest element, but maybe not.  It might be worth getting a reading to find out.  😉  If you want that, click on Astrology In Person, in the main page’s right sidebar.

Have a great day,

Jamie

Taurus_by_Woodland_Mel

How does Taurus do it?  Stay grounded in the midst of chaos, find order in the midst of sanity and be the calm at the center of the storm?  And why do Taurus types have such a lock on inner peace?  In today’s article, discover 5 ways Taurus stays sane—and how you can too.

Enjoy Simple Pleasures. Taurus is endlessly entertained by the small, immediate yummies of life.  The Taurus type loves things—expensive things, shiny things, lots of things, quality things but definitely things.  Taurus loves well-crafted objects, fabric with a good drape, food with subtle flavors and lovely smells.  Even earthy smells—such as a freshly plowed field—can bring secret nostalgic delight to a Taurean (“ahh, the farms where I grew up. . .”).  Taureans are earthy creatures and this world is full of sensory delights for them to enjoy.  Where’s the nearest flower?

Be Still. Taurus is not only capable of stillness, Taurus revels in it.  This ability to be the eye in the storm, the rock everyone can cling to, the still point of the ultimate balance is the envy of all the other signs (especially Librans).  How does Taurus do it?  The secret is that Taurus loves to stop moving and simply be still.  Your friendly neighborhood Taurean type resembles Newton’s Laws of Motion:  Taurus is static, unmoved except by an outside force; they tend to go in the direction they’re moved until stopped or slowed by (again) an outside force; and every action causes an equal and opposite reaction.  Ponder that next time you ask a Taurus to do something for you.

Practice Yoga. The practice of gentle stretching is good for the Taurean soul as well as the body.  Not-for-Taurus are those high-impact, high-energy workouts that bring sweat and require uncomfortable bras.  The sheer slowness of yoga is soothing.  And if that wasn’t enough, doing yoga means engaging in a practice that brings flexibility to this sometimes very stubborn Fixed sign.

Cultivate Body Awareness. A Taurus who is living the best of this sign is really in touch with her body.  She loves her body and her body gives her good messages.  It’s not easy to cultivate real body awareness in this modern world, with its continual barrage of sexual images, but the Taurus side of us can do it, needs to do it.  A woman who’s really in her body knows when something feels wrong.  And when something is wrong she has to set it right or she’s just not comfortable in her skin.  The enlightened Taurus is not distracted by bling or pulled off center by men’s offers to “take care of her.”  Instead she checks with her abdominal compass and holds her own dignified center.

Have a Low Tolerance for Drama. And here we get to the heart of it.  The Taurus part of us is very much a practical person.  Unnecessary shouting (and to Taurus, all shouting is unnecessary) is met with raised eyebrows.  Willful pushing and manipulations are useless, because Taurus has grappled with some of the finest manipulators ever (perhaps they are attracted to the challenge).  And when you get out the really big guns and throw a screaming hissy fit in front of a crowd of people, hoping to embarrass a Taurus into capitulation, you can almost see those heels dig in.  And once that happens, forget it.  To Taurus, you just look crazy.  To Taurus, drama is ridiculous.  Gentleness and reason will always work far more effectively with a Taurus of any age.  And this keeps life simple—exactly the way Taurus likes it.

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Art by Melora. Here’s her page on deviantart.com.

This is a repost of an article I wrote for the San Francisco Bay Area Women’s Journal.  You can find the original here.

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Categories: Signs: Taurus

From May of 2009 to November of 2010, Neptune and Chiron are dancing in & out of conjunction with each other.  They came within kissing distance of a conjunction on May 30, 2009 and will again on November 6, 2010.  Their only true (exact) conjunction will be on February 17, 2010, but since they’re close enough for us to feel it here on earth, I thought I’d better let you know what this is about.

While you are in a dream, you find yourself in a beautiful, ancient forest, filled with tangled trees and brush.  You sit quietly, feeling at peace with the world and your place in it.  Among the trees you spy two beings who must be gods because they are larger-than-life and they glow.  You sit very quietly and watch them from behind a tree.
Neptune is a slim woman, dressed in a flowing garment that is always moving.  Sometimes it looks like water, sometimes mist and sometimes clouds.  As you look at her, you can’t quite get a fix on her position, even though your peripheral vision sees that she is there.  It’s like the way some stars are so faint you can’t see them dead-on; you have to look a little to the side.  She is like that.
Chiron is a little more solid.  He is a centaur, standing strong on his four horsy legs while his naked human torso rises proudly from his animal body.  He seems comfortable with his odd self, which makes you feel comfortable too.
The two are having a conversation, which you are able to overhear.

Neptune:  I have always loved this beautiful green place.  I love how it could be on any continent, anywhere on Earth.
Chiron:  Me too.  What do they call this?
Neptune:  It is the Wood Between The Worlds.
(And if you ever read the Narnia books as a child, particularly The Magician’s Nephew, you now know exactly where you are.)
Neptune picks up her skirts, which go green to match the surrounding leaves and she spins, casting off green sparks of living energy.  Then she laughs and sits on the grass, her skirts gathering around her but still ever-moving.  She reaches out her hand into a nearby pool of water and gently touches its surface, smiling meditatively.

Chiron:  What world is in that pool?
Neptune:  It’s the ideal world of that silly little human over there, hiding behind the tree.
You freeze, wondering how she knew.
Chiron:  She’s a goddess, silly!  That’s how she knew.  You can come out now.  We’ve turned down the volume on our divine presence, so you won’t get blasted.  It’s safe.
You slowly come out from behind the tree.  Neptune is beckoning softly.
Neptune:  Why not have a look?
You:  What am I supposed to do?
Neptune:  Sit here beside me.  Meditate and make your mind very still.  Take the armor off your heart and reach way down into your belly for the last moment of real bliss you felt.  Then, when you’ve done all that, put your hand in the water.
You are nervous, but you obey.  Making your mind still turns out to be harder than expected, and removing the heart-armor is hard too.  After you’ve done those things, feeling the bliss is fairly easy and soon you reach out to the pond.
As your hand slips into the water, you become aware of descending into a beautiful landscape.  As you look around you, you notice it’s just like the everyday world you know, except everything is just a bit brighter and warmer.  There are people in this place, and they are happy—really happy, deep down, not just in a phony way.  You see that they are doing what they love to do and somehow it all fits together.  There is no sign here of all the things you hate and fear:  war, poverty, disease, and the rest.  This is a well-functioning world.  Everything is as it should be; everything is perfect.
You are struck by the disparity between the world you long for and the world you live in and you begin to weep.  You realize that you need to bridge this gap in order to make yourself whole.  With that realization, that there IS a way to this beautiful place, your heart breaks open and you can feel sunlight streaming out from it.  Peace descends upon you.
As you come back to yourself, you realize Chiron’s hand is on your shoulder, touching you reassuringly and giving you strength.

Chiron:  Do you know what you must do now?
You:  I have to create that world, on Earth, in my own life.
Chiron:  Yes, exactly.  You are the bridge.
Neptune:  You are the one, the only one who can do it.  Don’t wait for someone else.  Your world is special; everyone must create their own heaven on earth.
Chiron:  And it’s not a burden, not something you must do, but something you get to do.
You:  Woah.
Chiron:  Yeah, “Woah.”  That’s right.
Neptune and Chiron link arms and stroll away through the wood, leaving you to ponder this.  As they walk away, you can still hear their voices, fading but ringing clear through the trees.
Chiron:  Do you think that one knows what it’s going to take?
Neptune:  Nope, there’s absolutely no clue.
Chiron:  It’s probably better that way.

Neptune and Chiron will be doing their dance in the sky from May of 2009 to November of 2010.  They will make 3 passes.  The first and last pass will be inexact but extremely close.  The middle pass will be exact on February 17, 2010.  If you have any planet in your chart between 25 and 27 degrees of fixed signs (Aquarius, Taurus, Leo, Scorpio), you are bound to feel this.

If you want to read other articles about 2009’s triple conjunction of Neptune, Chiron & Jupiter, look here on the Trends For The Year 2009 page.

(Note to educators: In the following article, I use astrology to present a non-pathologizing view of differences in learning style among individuals. I hope you find it useful.)

Mercury, ruler of Gemini, is the part of your chart that tells what your learning style is.  If you know what element your Mercury is in, you can get some marvelous clues to using your learning style to your advantage, so you can learn faster and more thoroughly.  Obviously no one part of the chart can tell us everything about a person and so your Mercury sign cannot encompass all of you any more than your Sun sign can.  Keeping in mind that you are a vast being of which your Mercury sign & element are just one small (if important) part, let’s examine this interesting planet and its influence on you and your learning style. And if you don’t know what sign Mercury occupies in your chart, you can use Astro.com to make your own chart and find out.

When you have Mercury in the Fire signs (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius), you learn by pratfall and adventure.  Fire is spontaneous and action-oriented—you need the freedom to just try stuff and be ok with failing.  You need to apply what you learned right away, so you can really take it in.  Mercury in fire has a visual learning style and will do best when presented with the big picture first and the details later—in fact, the details will make no sense to you without the big picture to contextualize them and you won’t be able to retain them without it.  You’ll also learn best if you can put your own creative stamp on the project, infusing it with your own personality.  Fire signs enjoy being seen and showing off, so doing a presentation to the group about what you’ve learned can be a way of cementing your understanding of what you’ve learned.

Mercury in the Earth signs (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn) learns best by doing. Mercury/Earth is a kinesthetic learner.  If this is you, you’ll do best when you can proceed slowly and deliberately and learn in a deep, thorough way.  Other types (especially Air) may have grasped the material while you can end the course feeling that there’s still so much to learn and that the class only scratched the surface.  Earth also does well when presented with a pre-created structure, a conceptual set of bins or a toolbox, into which the new ideas can fit.  When presented with the structure first, you Earth types learn eagerly, because you’re enjoying getting cool tools that go into the toolbox.  Mercury/Earth types like learning things that have a real use and will retain information best when shown how to apply it.  Useless ideas are . . . useless.

Mercury in Air (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) types love ideas for their own sake.  If this is you, you’ll embrace theories and have a love of the pure, pristine quality of a beautiful idea more than you have interest in applying it.  You’ll grasp ideas quickly and you’ll like to keep moving, so you tend to skate over the surface while a subject’s depths may not capture your quick-moving mind.  Mercury/Air types like to learn the abstract notion behind a thing before thinking through its applications.  Since the Air learning style leans toward auditory, you learn well from lectures, often grasping and retaining lesson material the first time it is delivered, without even taking notes (which is especially frustrating to Earth types, who can take notes religiously and Fire or Water types whose note-taking can be atrocious).  Mercury/Air types are avid readers and often go on learning far beyond school, because they naturally love information and the written word.

If you have Mercury in the Water signs (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces), you are an emotive learning type.  You learn by feeling your way along.  Your style is intuitive and you are capable of making great leaps and grasping material instantaneously or sometimes not at all.  You may have muddled around in your childhood for years before figuring out how you work as a learner, especially if your childhood home was a turbulent one.  You need to keep your emotions clear in order to absorb and remember new material and on days when you are upset, learning may feel impossible.  If you were lucky enough to come from a stable, loving family, you probably did well in school, even though you often can’t explain how you got to the conclusions you reached.  The teachers you had the most emotional affinity with were your best ones and their fond indulgence of you may have led to some of the best learning of your life.  You learn from what others feel and you’re sensitive to teachers’ emotional states and can be suspicious and resistant to learning from teachers who put off a different vibe than they say they do or who want you to do as they say, not as they do.  Having to shut off or ignore emotions while learning cripples you and slows you down, sometimes stopping you entirely.

The Types Compared
Most education and schoolwork is oriented toward Air-style learning, so those able to learn by listening to lectures and doing writing assignments and reading books do well.  Teachers love them, not least because such students are a pleasure to teach and make a teacher look good.  The other types, especially Water, do not do well and often are viewed by teachers as slow or obstructive, which is sad, because it’s not a matter of intelligence, but of style.

Earth can succeed in the standard system through sheer diligence.  By persisting and exercising a little ambition, Mercury/Earth types can rise to the top of the class.  Mercury/Water types can go to either extreme—sheer brilliance or sheer failure.  Their natural tendency is to hang back and absorb slowly, learning best from teachers they have an emotional affinity with.  An unfortunate student-teacher chemistry can lead to disaster and throw off a Water child’s whole academic career.  Mercury/Fire types can also go to extremes, but they tend to be so charismatic and enthusiastic about the subjects they are interested in that the extra attention they put in at those times makes up for the horsing around at times when they are bored.  When a Fire child is bored, the best thing the teacher can do is to give them a wacky, challenging assignment, especially one that puts them in the spotlight—then they will scramble to look good.

For Teachers:
If you are a teacher and able to find out something about the Mercury position of your students, this can help you teach them the way they need to learn.  Even if you can’t get details of your students’ charts, identifying the types I’ve described and responding to them as suggested can help you more effectively teach the variety of styles you’re likely to encounter.  And if you teach large classes as if all four types were represented, you can let your students self-select the way they want to learn and more of them will succeed.

A really fine teacher can adjust or supplement their style to accommodate all types of learners and then students do not have to come away feeling stupid or wrong for learning the nonstandard way.  Just being able to validate all 4 styles and work with them goes a long way toward awakening in a child the passion for learning.  If you can avoid being the kind of teacher who presses your own style on students as if it’s the one right way, you will have done a very fine thing.  Simply acknowledging that there are different styles, each of which is valid, helps marginalized learners feel good about the way they learn and better able to use their style instead of being a victim of it.

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One simple and interesting way to understand the astrological four elements is to see their parallels in an orchestra. As the twelve zodiacal signs are divided into four elements, the orchestra is divided into four sections. Each of these sections is distinct in the kinds of sounds produced and the way they are produced, evoking distinct responses in the listener. In a similar way, the elements evoke distinct realms of experience: emotional, physical, intellectual, vital/spirited. The four elements act as a team and to live a full life, it’s important to be able to draw on all of them as needed: to think when that is called for, to feel when that is called for, and so on. The sections of an orchestra also act as a team: a truly rich and emotionally full symphony will draw on each of the sections in turn or in combination, weaving a rich tapestry of sound that is satisfying to hear. A truly rich life will draw on the four elements in turn, weaving a rich tapestry of experience that is satisfying to live.

The Elements: A Quick Tour
Fire is forceful, direct, energetic and enthusiastic. People with a lot of fire in their charts tend to radiate a certain optimism and charisma which helps them barrel through life at warp-speed. Aries in particular has a rocket-like quality. Leo is more relaxed and chilled out—but Leo is highly charismatic and has great force of personality. Sagittarius people’s energy is not as focused, but they are easygoing and brimming with geniality.

(Remember please, as I release these gross generalities into your ear, that a person is not just her sun sign. A person can have the sun in a Water sign, but also have so much Fire elsewhere in her chart that she comes off as strongly fiery and hardly watery at all. If someone you know fits one of these elemental profiles, they probably have that element strongly present in their chart. So don’t be concerned if their sun sign does not match that element.)

Earth is, as its name suggests, just as earthy as Fire is fiery. Earth is practical, serious, grounded, sometimes cynical. Taurus people love the comforts of life and are very physical people. Virgo is pragmatic, analytical and organized, sometimes to the point of being considered anal-retentive. Capricorn is ambitious, a lover of structure and a builder. All the Earth signs value tangible proofs of things and are not interested in pie-in-the-sky promises.

The Air signs love ideas as things in themselves. They enjoy abstract thought and are never so happy as when unraveling a complex problem or solving a puzzle. They are communicative and social. Gemini loves communicating with others and sharing ideas. Libra is focused on one-on-one relationship and social interaction in general, and values beauty and symmetry of thought. Aquarius loves the pure crystalline idea and is a mad networker. All the air signs would rather talk, intellectualize and discuss theories than take action.

So far it should be pretty clear that Fire represents human spirit, Earth represents our physical being, while Air represents the mind. Water then, is keeper of our emotions.

Water signs are all about feelings, intuition, instinct. Often a Water sign feels, knows or intuits something that cannot be proven or perhaps even expressed in language. Water does not walk through life—it swims, floats, wafts. To the realm of Water is left all the inexpressible, unexplainable, not-provable knowing. Water is the element of pure mystery. Cancer is connected with the mystery of gestation and birth—Cancer is nurturing, loving, retentive. Scorpio is the mystery of sex and transformation, teaching us by example how death, experienced repeatedly, can be transcended. And Pisces is the deep, wide ocean in us that is the mystery of the oneness of all, a mystery both religious and spiritual.

And Now, the Orchestra
This article is intended as an overview of the orchestra and the elements, so if your favorite instrument is not mentioned, that’s because this description is not exhaustive.

Air is the Winds
It seems pretty obvious that wind instruments would correlate to the element of Air. A wind instrument produces sound by using the human mouth to move air across a reed or an edge. Wind instruments are all about the sounds created when air moves along a tube, and is stopped and controlled. The simplest wind instruments used by indigenous peoples around the world have literally been made from river reeds. The distinct tone of each unique instrument arises from the fact that, even though it has been carefully shaped, standardized and manufactured, most of its parts were once living, not metal, being made from wood, cane, rubber, cork, etc. The mostly-metal flute is an exception, but even the flute has a unique voice and some previously-alive parts and is subject to changes in its environment. Musical instruments are delicate and require care.

The orchestra’s wind section includes clarinets, oboes, bassoons, saxophones flutes and piccolos. Winds are often called the “woodwinds” even though not all wind instruments are made of wood.

Water is the Strings
The string section includes the violins, violas, cellos, double basses and the harp. Stringed instruments have a tremendous range of emotional expression from sadness to joy, giving the listener the feeling that the sound is tugging on their heartstrings. Historically, strings were literally made of the guts of animals so, in a way, this is the guts talking. When a stringed instrument is played, the vibration of the string resonates through a sound box. The string is typically bowed or plucked, although some are also tapped or hammered (like the dulcimer). Stringed instruments have the double benefit of being (for many people) not only the most emotionally affecting instruments but also highly portable. In their portability, strings are like winds except that strings leave the mouth free and thus can be accompanied by a human voice, adding another dimension of pathos via lyrics. Guitars of course fit into this category and are a prime example.

With all this emphasis on evoking strong feelings in the listener, it should be obvious that the string section parallels the element of Water.

Earth is the Percussion
The percussion section of the orchestra includes drums of all kinds and other oddments which are struck, such as cymbals, chimes, tambourine, xylophone and the triangle. Striking the instrument causes vibrations, which are felt in the earth and in the body. The suddenness and distinctness of the sound of percussion creates definition, separating one area of sound from another. Percussion creates the sound-structure on which the entire symphony (or other musical piece) is built. Sometimes instruments not typically thought of as percussion instruments are used percussively to create this definition, as when a guitarist strikes the guitar like a drum while playing it. The percussion’s emphasis on structure puts it firmly in the realm of Earth.

Fire is the Brass
The brass section includes trumpets, trombones, tubas and French horns. These instruments are called brass even though some are made of wood, and the thing they all have in common is the use the human lips to send a vibration into an essentially tubular instrument, controlling the tone by use of the valves. Brass differs from woodwinds in that brass instruments have no reed, whereas (most) woodwinds do.

Brass is an appropriate word for a section that parallels Fire, because both the element and the sound are the very definition of brassy. Brass is used in symphonic music when a heroic sound is wanted; brass is the heart of a marching band. Horns have historically been used at the hunt to generate a sound that resonates loudly, enabling groups of hunters to find each other and to communicate. Horns have been used on the battlefield to sound a cry of victory to arouse courage in the hearts of the troops and to strike fear into the hearts of the enemy (imagine trying to intimidate the enemy using a violin!). Today brass is commonly used this way at school sporting events, to raise courage and team spirit.

The Piano Stands Alone
The piano, or pianoforte, is an odd fit into the organization of an orchestra, because it is essentially a harp turned on its side, so it is a stringed instrument, however it is played by percussion, as the strings are struck and not plucked or bowed. Though the piano is technically classified as a percussion instrument, conceptually it stands alone, having a sound quality unique to itself and a tremendous emotional range whether played alone or with other instruments or with a full orchestra. It has an equal capacity to command attention by itself or to fade gracefully into the background while accompanying other instruments or the human voice. It has come to be classified as a “keyboard” instrument, along with organ and harpsichord. Because it doesn’t have a clear categorical fit, I’m not classifying it with an element.

Some Differences Between Instruments and Elements
Brass instruments differ from winds in that sound comes out of a brass instrument in one direction, whereas sound comes out of a wind instrument in every direction. This is an apt parallel to the tendency of Fire to barrel forward with great force while Air meanders, sometimes without apparent aim. Air’s wind instruments have a light, cool and intellectual sound, differing from the pathos and intensity inherent in the watery strings. The strings, while they are capable of percussion, have much more emotional range than the percussion, linking them to Water instead of Earth.

Symphonic Synergy and Elemental Excellence
Notice how each section, like each element, contains great range of tonal expression. High notes and low are available, so that any section or any instrument on its own can play a rich, stirring piece that has depth and substance (although some instruments, like the tuba and piccolo, usually take supporting roles and don’t stand alone much). The elements are this way too, each providing tremendous breadth of experience inside its own realm. But the real beauty occurs when they are combined. The elements have “chemistry,” not unlike an orchestra’s chemistry. Much of the richness comes from the ineffable qualities that arise when two or more very different elements are combined.

All four elements are present in some form in every human birth chart, but some will be weaker and some stronger. Thus each person’s elemental “chemistry” is unique. Your chart does not need to feature all four elements in balance for you to learn to “play” all the instruments in your “orchestra.” With practice, even the most emotional (watery) person can balance himself with clear thinking (air) and even the most stolid and practical (earthy) person can learn to rouse enthusiasm (fire) when it’s needed. The person that goes to the effort to learn how to draw on all four elements—mind, body, spirit, emotions—and how to blend them in ways right for the moment, lives a very complex and worthwhile life, whether they know anything about astrology or not. The parts of such a person will make beautiful music together.

Astrology blogger since 2007

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