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Understanding the Elements
The purpose of this article is to help people better understand their energy. It is particularly meant to help those with air signs (Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius) find better mental and physical health. We will cover what it means to be born of air, the challenges you may face, and some practical guidelines to help you better handle your life.
Fire, Earth, Air, and Water
Western astrology breaks down the elements into four categories: fire, earth, air, and water. Our ancestors attempted to build a system where they could understand some of the world around them, including why and when the seasons change, when to plant crops for optimal success, how to survive famines, and all curiosities of life. Many of their questions were agrarian. It was important to create calendars, have an understanding of the elements, and to create systems that were memorable in order to survive. The purpose of astrology was practical and for survival—not whimsical.
Air is a powerful element and often a challenging one to master. For example, when wind—defined as "the natural movement of air"—is out of control, it can do some serious damage (e.g., tornadoes, typhoons, and hurricanes). Because this element can be powerful and hard to control, it is advised that individuals with signs tied to the air element (Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius) try and understand the air element as a means of improving their ability to function.
Advocate for Clean Air
If most of this article is too metaphysical for you, then let's bring it back to something more practical. As an air sign, your role is to support clean and healthy air for all on this planet.
Our planet is struggling with polluted air—in large part due to the toxins humans are putting into it. Most pollution comes from energy use and production.
Burning fossil fuels releases gases and chemicals into the air that we breathe. In a destructive feedback loop, air pollution not only contributes to climate change, but it also accelerates it. Air pollution by carbon dioxide and methane raises the Earth’s temperature and this leads to melting glacial ice, severe weather patterns, and deadly heat. Climate change also increases the production of allergens in the air, including mold and pollen.
The tiniest airborne particles in soot are dangerous because those particles can get into the lungs and bloodstream. This worsens bronchitis, leads to heart attacks, and even hastens death.
Smog can irritate the eyes and throat. It can also damage the lungs—especially of people who work or exercise outside, children, and senior citizens. Smog is even worse for people who have asthma or allergies—these extra pollutants only intensify their symptoms and can trigger asthma attacks.
The World Health Organization estimates that 4.6 million people die each year from causes linked to air pollution. Some counts are higher than this! It's important that we care about how we treat our air and to rethink how we live our lives on this planet. When we respect air, when we treat it with love, we'll gain that love back. You can't live on a planet that doesn't have clean air.
People born under air signs are some of the most misunderstood people. They're often outcast for their oddities. We need for these people to have secure places in the world, so they can teach us how to treat our planet better. Air isn't something we automatically understand, like the earth. Air signs need a platform to speak, and their wisdom should be in the forefront. These signs are the scholars, harmonizers, and utopians, and we need them to have the microphone.
The Elements and Yin and Yang
Air is an integral part of our world. For example, one of the most important moments when you are born is taking your first breath. Understanding your breath and your lungs is an important part of your wellness, whether you're an air sign or another element.
You need air to propel you to the next phase of life. Air and fire are leader elements. They start projects, but they don't always finish them. Water and earth are more naturally inclined to manage and sort resources (whether physical or sentimental). Western astrology has some crossover with Eastern philosophy—fire and air signs are Yang, while earth and water signs are Yin. We need both Yin and Yang to balance the world.
In a nutshell, Yin and Yang is the belief that all things contradict one another, and yet they cannot exist without each other.
We see this every day in its most basic form: day (Yang) and night (Yin), or masculine (Yang) and feminine (Yin). But a great deal always happens between these dichotomies. During the transition, energy is passed from Yang to Yin and vice versa—think sunset, sunrise, shadows moving to the other sides of mountains, dreaming, fall and spring, or the metamorphosis of a butterfly. Our world isn't based on hard and strict polarity. Indeed, there are natural transitions to get to different poles. If there was no sunset or sunrise, the world might panic from the hard switch from day to night.
Some other common examples of Yin and Yang are:
- Yang: White, light, south, fire, active, heaven.
- Yin: Black, dark, north, water, receptive, earth.
If you look at the symbol of Yin and Yang (which look like two little curled tadpoles), you will see that one is white with a black dot inside it and the other is black with a white dot inside it. This represents the core message of Yin and Yang: that in order for us to live in a state of equilibrium, we must find a way to live with peace and harmony, free from aggression or fear.
By aspiring to live in this way in our individual personal lives, and by reconciling our own fears and negative thinking, we can then project this same harmony into the world. This is ultimately what Yin and Yang strive to do.
The Identity of Air
Air signs have specific traits attached to them. Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius each have their own unique identities, but they do have commonalities. It's generally easier to make friends or even have romantic relationships with people who have the same core element. This is because you have similar outlooks on life, similar experiences, and even destinies. That doesn't mean you won't find enemies from the same element or that you won't make friends of differing or even opposite elements (in this case, earth).
Classic Traits of Air Signs
- A high propensity toward knowledge. Air signs are some of the smartest people. They learn quickly, speedily going through ideas, and memorizing items left and right.
- All elements tend to have certain neurological issues. Everything that has a gift or perk to it is balanced with a curse or negative side of it. Basically, your gift is coming from somewhere, and that means energy isn't being put somewhere else. Air signs tend to live in their heads and forget their bodies. This can result in anxiety, racing thoughts, difficulty sleeping, fast heart rates, burnout, insensitive or inappropriate comments, panic, a sharp tongue, impatience, and worry. It can also manifest in our bodies in various ways, including mysterious bruises, poor diets, weak muscles, and malnutrition.
- Air signs are symbolized by the House of Swords in Tarot. Someone who is of the air family will go through certain stages before reaching maturity. The air sign must learn many things, including: not always using the sword to attack, how to use a blunt edge, how to use a sword for defense rather than offense, how to strategically get to their end goal, how to use their intelligence with focus and compassion, how to become handlers of logic, and how to develop a high level of discernment.
- Air signs take over three regions of the body: the shoulders and arms, kidneys, and ankles. Air signs do not take control of the brain, the heart, or other more egotistical landscapes. Shoulders, arms, and ankles are key for movement and speed. Kidneys are about regulation, balance, and moderation. Air signs must be free to express themselves. They need to dance, they need to learn how to use their bodies to shield away harm, and they need to learn how to maneuver to be cunning. Think about where the air signs exist in the body, learn more about those places, and you'll learn more about yourself.
- Air sun signs occur in three places in the calendar: late spring, the beginning of fall, and the dead of winter. Gemini is spring. He explores the season as is. Gemini is a natural scholar and prefers that things are already set up for him. He doesn't do the hard work of Aries and Taurus to set the world into motion. Instead, he plays in the motion. Libra is in the middle of the year. This sign has the beauty of late September and early- to mid-October, but Libra struggles with indecision and trying to over-balance the world around her. On the plus side, Libra is focused on harmony. Aquarius is the center of winter. Aquarius is the cold wind, it is a hyper-intelligence that is often misunderstood, progressive, conscientious, capable of cooling anything, and has the power to clean the slate. Aquarius is the utopian, Gemini is the scholar, and Libra is the harmonizer.
- Gemini is ruled by Mercury, Libra is ruled by Venus, and Aquarius is ruled by Saturn/Uranus. These three planets are in play for air. Mercury, Venus, and Saturn are all shared by other zodiacs. Mercury equals communication, speed, and worry. Venus represents love. Saturn equals uniqueness/oddness.
- Air signs always occur after earth signs, which are their opposites, and water signs always follow air signs. Air signs typically do well with their neighbors in the Zodiac. For instance, Gemini gets along well with Taurus and Cancer, Libra gets along with Virgo and Scorpio, and Aquarius gets along with Capricorn and Pisces. However, Aquarius may find it difficult to get along with a Taurus sign because it is the opposite element and also a fixed sign. Gemini may struggle with Virgo—a clashing of scholars. Libra may struggle with Capricorn as Libra is friendly and wants harmony, while Capricorn is a hermit that only wants to focus on their individual family.
- Air signs bring into the world: woodwinds, music, melody, harmony, range, octaves, diversity, math, flexibility, gases, oxygen, compression, movement, and action.
- Air signs play an integral role in wellness and fitness, singing, idea discovery, travel, and death.
- Air is linked to the intangible and unseen, often dealing with concepts that are abstract.
- Air carries speech, language, whispers, and every form of oral communication.
- The air sign is a warning to be cautious with your life. You must find ways to control your pace. Air can be hasty and impulsive, and this can lead to ruin.
Tips for Air Signs
Air constantly needs to move because it is the sign of freedom. A lot of air can overrun a person, and it's best to understand the nature of its power so that you know how to control it.
If you have a lot of air from the zodiac, I encourage you to slow down and take an account of your days. Some exercise will help you come back into your physical body. It's not good to always engage in your mind—you'll burn out this way.
Self Care Practices for Air Signs
- Daily meditation and yoga. Spend 30 minutes trying to either clear your mind or trying to engage your mind in the cultivation of positive images. Yoga and stretching your body will also help you not forget your physical self.
- Learn how to play an instrument or learn how to sing. Music has a profound influence on air sign types. Consider music therapy for crisis moments and for preventative care.
- Read peaceful poetry.
- Set up a zen garden.
- Try to have a good night's rest.
- Do activities that engage your lungs (e.g., cardio, singing, swimming, dancing).
- Listen to the sounds of wind. Find YouTube videos and listen to wind.
- Learn a new language.
- Spend time listening to your body and try to discover pains that you might be hiding.
- Go outside and into nature. Go where you can feel the wind.
- Write yourself letters.
- Create vision boards—you work well with messages.
- Watch and listen to content from around the world to continue expanding your knowledge and stay open-minded.
Your Role Is to Teach Others
As leaders of intelligence, it is really important for air signs to get in touch with how their mind works. Other people may envy you for your brains, but you need not respond to their jealously.
You need to teach others how to open their minds, and you must be kind to others to really find enlightenment. Air signs live in the opposite space of earth. Air is about ideas—the way of discovering them, handling them, and shaping them. Earth signs deal with practical concerns, which are ideas that have manifested into matter. Your soul and mind belong to the air, while your body belongs to the earth.
Your intelligence will be most prized when it combines with benevolence. Air signs fail when they try to use their intelligence to place themselves on a pedestal or to be exclusive. Air does not need to boast its own intelligence as this is a self-serving practice. Air must be shared, not hoarded, and air needs to go places and not sit idle. If you want to be true to your nature, you must allow others the space to think. Through thinking we heal.
If you must take a time to hide, remember to bring back what you learn and share it. Life is about respecting our random encounters with others, treating our neighbors as ourselves, and giving to others to make love a reality.
Zodiacs that fall under the air element have a hard set of tasks before them. They are unusual and yet must lead from that place of difference. They must be smart and original, but also generous with their ideas, and they must continue to move. The call of the wind is active, not dormant. An air sign must keep moving throughout their entire life. To be at the final resting point—to really be at rest—is only allowed at death. You can take pauses in your song, you can take momentary breaks, but the lessons you learn and the teaching you give doesn't stop until death do us part.
The way to benevolence comes with understanding your spirit. Spirit is air, space, and time. Fire is energy and movement. Earth is matter. Water is life. Spirit is constantly trying to understand time, to jump to the past and the future, to come into a space and understand everything. Spirit cannot exist without space and time to stretch its essence. Fire is energy, and energy is what pushes space and time into motion. Earth is the formation of physical bodies, but fire and air were the ideas that prompted earth to manifest the physical (matter). Life (a.k.a. water) was the last one to find its place, and for the organic to inhabit its role. Life borrows from the other elements—it takes fire to make steam, it takes air to send water throughout the sky, and it takes earth to make the flowers grow. All the elements are important and all work together in infinite cycles.
For an air sign to function correctly, it must look to the mysteries and discoveries of physics. Space is needed for air's movement, and time is needed for air's consciousness. Air moves faster than all the other signs. It starts, it leaves, it teaches, and it ultimately spreads life across the globe.
Air in Dysfunction
Melody / harmony / song
Sentences, language, messages
Screaming, fragments, forgetting words
House of Swords
Peace, defense, prosperity
War, aggression, violence
Gentle breeze, clouds, spreading pollen
Tornadoes, typhoons, hurricanes (some assist with water)
Movement, lungs engaged
Sleeping well, eating well, calm, at ease
Anxiety, nightmares, hastiness, impulsive
Snow, beautiful flowers, foliage
Chiling death, poison, decay
Space and Time
Gracious, open-minded, imaginative, creative
Arrogant, immature, cunning, argumentative
Look to the Animals of the Sky for Inspiration
If you want to understand your nature better as an air sign, look to the animals that fly. They are ruled by their wings, just as Gemini is ruled by the shoulders and arms. Obviously, the rulers of the sky and air would be birds, though there are also some mammals that can fly (e.g., bats).
Birds and bats have a wide range of communication techniques. Birds are known for their songs, and bats are known for their echolocation. Some birds, like parrots, can even take on the sounds of human speech and converse with people. These animals are teachers of air. They know what it takes to fly and to stay up in the air.
Birds and bats migrate. Like air signs that need to keep moving, these animals generally don't just stay in one spot their whole lives. They can cross over oceans, hide in trees and caves, and avoid predators. Birds know more about air than we do because they depend on the skies for travel. As humans, we're much more confined to land, and so we are slower than birds to understand the lessons of air.
You can find birds on every continent with different traits based on the different needs of the land. Evolution provides all organisms with the right tools for survival in varied and changing landscapes. If you need guidance on how to make the most of your air element, watch the creatures that fly.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Andrea Lawrence (author) from Chicago on December 03, 2020:
Shrimp are so weird. It's incredible how weird mantis shrimp can be.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on December 02, 2020:
As a Gemini, I found this interesting to read, especially about the birds being able to see more colors than we humans are able to see. And shrimp.....amazing!