How Do the Four Elements—Fire, Earth, Air, and Water—Define You?

How do the four elements – fire, earth, air and water – define you?

Written by: Raina Mendonca

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Published on: September 22, 2022

canyon with red rocks


  1. Jennifer Freed, PhD A map to your soul

    Jennifer Freed, Ph.D
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    Your soul

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What does it mean to live a fully expressed life? According to psychological astrologer Jennifer Freed, Ph.Dthe key is to use the four elements of astrology – fire, earth, air and water – as a guide.

In her new book A map to your soul, Freed shows us how to cultivate deep self-awareness and understand how our elements reflect us—the way we communicate with our partners, perhaps, or the way we come across when we meet a stranger. From there we can learn to balance and nurture our unique blend of elements to live boldly and authentically.


The Elements: An Introduction

The wisdom drawn from the natural elements—fire, earth, air, and water—is the foundation of healing practices in Chinese, Native American, Vedic, and Tibetan cultures. This book will focus on the use of the elements of astrology.

You may be familiar with the elements as they correspond to your sun sign – for example Aries is fire, Taurus is earth, Gemini is air and Cancer is water. But as you probably know, there is much more to your birth chart than your sun sign, and similarly, there is much more to your elemental makeup than the element that corresponds to your sun sign.

Each of us has a unique constellation of the four elements within us that manifest in different ways in different areas of our lives. You can be fiery when challenged at work, but grounded in a mundane routine when it comes to your health. Or you might be a breezy intellectual when it comes to love and a sensitive, watery empath when it comes to sex.

Thousands of years ago, our ancestors lived in close contact with the earth and hearth and relied on their ability to make fire. Their lives depended on fresh air and clean water sources. We have an equal reliance on these four elements today, and they offer indispensable wisdom for both survival and prosperity.

We are made of fire, earth, air and water. Electrical impulses zap through our bodies to stimulate our muscle cells and fire our neurons. Our carbon-based bodies are built from the same building blocks as stone and soil. We can only go three minutes without air and our body weight is 60 percent water. It is no exaggeration to say that we are the wisdom of the elements as we walk, talk, hug, love, build skyscrapers, start nonprofits, give birth, lie on our deathbeds. We are the wisdom of the elements thinking, feeling, loving, experiencing, learning, questioning and exploring.

When we nurture the four elements, we begin to balance ourselves with nature. And as we become more aware of the elements in our daily lives, we build the resources and energies to contribute to our friends, family and society.

Think of a time when you felt the most grounded and centered (earth), the most mentally clear (air), the most open-hearted (water), and the most creative (fire). It was most likely a time in your life when you were most generous, open and willing to contribute to the well-being of other people. See if you can revisit that space in your mind long enough to feel it in your body.

In our culture, we have forgotten to recognize our elemental connection to everything around us. Some might argue that this is a major reason why we are now facing intense and escalating climate change, bringing droughts, floods, wildfires and deadly storms, as well as widespread pollution of land, air and water. We deny our deep connection to the natural world at our peril. It’s time to bring elemental wisdom back into everyday consciousness, in a way that honors how much things have changed since mankind first made fire.

When you begin your mindful practice of noticing each element and taking the time to truly appreciate its simplicity and power, you begin to shape your brain in ways that return it to its most natural, most resilient state. Remember, when you take just one sip of clean, fresh mountain air, in that moment, that’s enough. When you stand in a beautiful field and look at magnificent redwood trees, it is enough to see that amount of land.

When you are near a beautiful bonfire, whether it is outdoor camping or indoors, keeping you cozy, it is enough to stare at the magical fire. And when you enjoy an exquisite bath or shower or dip in the ocean or a pool and feel cleansed and renewed and open, that’s enough.


Jennifer Freed, Ph.D, is a consultant, workshop leader and author with more than 30 years of experience in psychological astrology and social-emotional learning. Freed acts as a consultant for the app Co-Star and is the author of Use Your Planets Wisely: Master Your Ultimate Cosmic Potential with Psychological Astrology and A Map to Your Soul: Use the Astrology of Fire, Earth, Air, and Water to Live Deeply and Fully.


Extracts from A Map to Your Soul: Use the Astrology of Fire, Earth, Air, and Water to Live Deeply and Fully by Jennifer Freed, PhD, published October 2022 by Rodale Books, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright 2022 by Jennifer Freed. All rights reserved.


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