The five elements and Vedic astrology

When we look at the beauty of nature, it is amazing to note that five elements provide the foundation for the physical world. Ayurveda, the Indian traditional system of medicine or ‘“living in tune with nature” recognises these elements, Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth, as the building blocks of all matter.

An understanding of the elements gives us deep insights into our own and other’s natures as well as the world around us. Just as all the elements are in the world, they are also in us. As Rumi says: ‘We are a drop in the ocean and the ocean in a drop’.

Fire is the element of the signs of Aries, Leo and Sagittarius, and the Sun, Mars and the South Node of the moon, Ketu. Earth is the element of Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn. Air is the element of Gemini, Libra, Aquarius and Rahu, the north node of the moon. Water is the element of Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces and the Moon.

In Vedanta, each of the five main planets are linked to an element (with ether as the fifth). The Vedas say that everything emanated from the one basic vibration of ‘Om’ with – Jupiter representing Ether, Saturn – Air, Mars – Fire, Mercury – Earth and Venus – Water.

The elements have their own qualities. Earth grounds us helping us to be present in our lives but too much earth makes us stuck. Air brings creativity and a tremendous ability to connect seemingly unrelated things with powerful results. Too much air makes us ‘airy-fairy’. The water element helps us connect with others and go with the flow of life. Too much water makes us wishy washy. Fire gives us inspiration, motivation, passion and drive to do things. It can kill, heal, create or destroy. Too much or undirected fire burns and gives anger and frustration.

We need space for each of the elements to flow and function properly. The elemental strengths and tendencies we have depends on the signs and houses our planets are placed, our rising sign and the inter-relationships of the planets and signs with one another in our birth chart.

From a compatibility view point, Ariens tend to go best with other fire signs. Similarly earth, water and air signs are all mutually compatible. There are also natural love connections between the harmonious sun signs of fire and air, and earth and water. Opposites also attract so it’s also useful to do a full compatibility analysis.

On a personal level, it is also interesting to reflect on what elements are lacking or over-used in your life. For a happy and balanced life, all elements need to be in use on a daily basis and in balance. Fire gives us inspiration, excitement and energy for life. Earth gives us acceptance and the ability to be present. Air gives us wonderful creativity and ideas and new ways of connecting dots, seeing things and thinking and doing. Water gives us an ability to flow with what is happening in life and connect with others with healthy boundaries. It helps us move forward and leave the past behind us.

If are feeling out of balance, reflecting on the elements and how they weave and dance together in your life can help you achieve a more harmonious inner and outer balance. You will be amazed at what you discover about yourself in the process.

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