Fire, air, earth and water, which correspond to the word, the meaning, the power and the deed, are a model of the explanation of the world that dates back to antiquity and was widespread until modern times.
The creation of the four elements
The forefather of the scientific teaching of the four elements is the poet and philosopher Empedocles (483 to 423 BC), whereby the entirety of creation was assigned to these elements because they represent the four forces of nature.
Accordingly, the four elements are to be seen as the realization of the process of creation, from which all being is composed.
This classic four-way division can be found in many ways: There are four directions, four seasons, the four bodily juices of humoral pathology and, accordingly, the four types of people (choleric, phlegmatic, sanguine, melancholic) who made the four-element teaching particularly popular in the Middle Ages, the four elements of alchemy, etc.
The four elements are to be seen as the four basic aspects of human consciousness that strive for balance and harmony. The aim of every spiritual process is to bring the four elements into harmony, because this is the only way to achieve mental and spiritual health, happiness and harmony. Empedocles already emphasized this.
In fact, the four elements are more or less strongly laid out in all people and if the four-part creation created the process of creation, the spiritual journey of man is about finding back to unity. All elements thus always refer to the one, the original.
The five-pointed star, the so-called quintessence (translated: “five” and “the essential”), is a symbol of perfection, and it symbolizes that man has the ability to develop and perfect himself and to find unity through his spiritual powers.
The fourth element usually plays a special role in humans because it is the one that has to be specially developed in order to achieve unity. Someone who, for example, has hardly any soil in their birth chart but a lot of air, should learn to face the facts and to do so instead of just thinking or talking.
The elements are also mutually dependent: fire needs the earth as fuel and air for food, water needs fire to rise in the form of clouds and then pour out as rain, only life on earth is possible through air, etc.
The astrological signs of the zodiac are also assigned to the four elements in groups of three, each character representing a certain quality of the corresponding element.
The four elements and the signs of the zodiac
The twelve signs of the zodiac are rooted in the four elements and represent them in their own way by symbolizing certain facets of an element. The opposite signs form polarities, such as Pisces and Virgo, Aquarius and Leo, etc.
But the totality of the twelve signs of the zodiac is important because they only form the whole that is the goal. If you connect the astrological signs of the zodiac with regular triangles, pentagrams are created that point upwards, but also the perverted forms, the downward-pointing pentagrams that stand for black magic and lower instincts.
But the goal is the all-healing quintessence, the harmonious connection of all elements for the benefit of the whole. The cycle of the signs of the zodiac represents reality completely, taking into account all possibilities of human existence. The subdivision into the four elements thus opens up further interpretations of how the cosmos and life are related.