Like chemistry and Pokémon, astrology is inclusive of different elements. Unlike both chemistry and Pokémon, though, astrological elements are limited to a clean cluster of four: fire signs (Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius), Earth signs (Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn), air signs (Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius), and water signs (Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces). But don’t close out this tab just yet, because astrological elements actually aren’t so simple. Your birth chart is inclusive of signs in all different elements, meaning your predominant elemental energy might not be the one that houses your sun sign. So, then, that may leave you wondering, What is my dominant element, and uh, does it matter?
First, make sure you’re clear on the elemental makeup of your birth chart. If you don’t currently have a birth chart, you can run one online using a free astrological generator. Second, understand that knowing what your dominant element is does matter because, essentially, the elements are woven into every aspect of astrology. Because of this, knowing your dominant element can help you both understand the zodiac wheel and yourself. Furthermore, the elements can also factor into astrological compatibility, making for combinations that are balanced or…decidedly not.
“When you see how your elements balance out in a chart, and you have a predominant elemental energy, you see where your base mode of operating comes from.” —astrologer Maria Sofia Marmanides
“When you see how your elements balance out in a chart, and you have a predominant elemental energy, you see where your base mode of operating comes from,” says astrologer and tarot reader Maria Sofia Marmanides. “Is it fire, meaning you’re all drive, passion, and excitement? Is it Earth, where you want practicality, reliability and a steady pace? Are you air-based and seek mental stimulation and room to think through all possibilities? Or are you more water-based and rely on your feelings and intuitions?”
So just as an example, I have dominant Earth energy from being a Taurus sun, Virgo moon and Virgo rising. Like, I am practically a tree. The generator explicitly shows the Earth is almost half of my elemental composite, with less than a quarter fire and air energy, respectively. I have a bit of a drought on the water side, which means I base most of my decisions on practicality more than emotions (and BTW, that doesn’t always end well for me, but I digress).
To wit, knowing your dominant element is critical to understanding your personal strengths and weaknesses. While you’ll ideally have a somewhat balanced chart, if you’re consumed by a certain energy, Marmanides says you can still acknowledge your strengths and your weaknesses without needing to “fix” those weaknesses. And, furthermore, definitely not by yourself.
“It is always my suggestion that it’s best to work with the energy you have. You don’t have to be all things to all people—even yourself,” says Marmanides. “It then becomes okay to say, ‘I have a lot going for me in terms of creative ideation, with all this fire or air energy, but I need someone to help me add structure.’ Then seek out partners, friends, or colleagues who can help you find more firm footing.”
This suggestion to seek elemental balance by surrounding yourself with certain people who can astrologically balance you out helps to explain why I have so many Cancer and Scorpio (water-sign) friends. But if you do go it alone, understanding the qualities of your elemental opposite may help you highlight specific opportunities for personal growth. Again, fire and air signs are coupled up, as are Earth and water. So, you can look to your opposite energy and see what they have that you’d like to emulate.
“If you have a lot of fire, see where you can incorporate more receptivity to other people’s plans or ideas,” says Marmanides. “If you have a lot of water, ask yourself where you can be more assertive about your own wants and ideas. If you have a lot of Earth, see where you can be less rigid and more spontaneous. And if you have a lot of air, see where you can make a concrete plan and pay attention to the details.”
Ultimately, knowing your dominant astrological element is a great way to understand where your temperament may take you, but no worries if your flames need fanning or if your Earth needs some rain.