THE SIGNS BY ELEMENT
The Nature and Temperament of the Signs
The best way to deepen our understanding of the natures and temperaments of the various signs of the zodiac is to approach them by element, since all signs of the same element will share the same primary temperament. Within the framework of the primary temperament delineated by a certain element, the different signs belonging to that element will vary in their particular natures and subtemperaments.
The Fire Signs: Aries, Leo and Sagittarius
The Fire signs are all primarily Choleric in temperament. This predisposes all of them, to a greater or lesser extent, in one form or another, to Choleric and bilious pathologies.
ARIES - Cardinal Fire Ruler: Mars Exaltation: Sun
The Ram, which charges head-on into battle. Charges impulsively into things; impatient to get ahead. Recklessness, impulsiveness can get Aries into lots of accidents, often involving the head.
Predisposed to acute manifestations of Choleric disorders: fevers, infections, inflammatory crises. Acute flareups of heat and choler in the liver can easily rise up to the head, causing headaches, migraines and sore, red bloodshot eyes. Fast-paced, high pressure lifestyle can lead to adrenal exhaustion, eyestrain, high blood pressure. Needs to learn stress management.
The Sun is exalted in Aries. The Sun strong and balanced in Aries brings great energy and vitality, but if excessive or aggravated, can go into overdrive and consume vital fluids, Radical Moisture.
LEO - Fixed Fire Ruler: Sun
The regal lion, king of beasts. Rules the heart, king of organs, like an internal Sun, radiating lifegiving heat, vitality to the whole body through the blood.
Fixed Fire, prone to chronic Choleric and bilious pathologies. Bile stagnation and congestion in liver and gall bladder leads to fatty liver, backup of fats and cholesterol into the blood and blood vessels, leading to cardiovascular disease. Taking on too much responsibility and the pressure to perform create chronic unresolved stress, drains adrenals, and overstimulates sympathetic nervous system, putting an added burden on the heart.
Also rules the thoracic spine, which enables us to stand tall, proud and upright. Leo / Aquarius emphasis can indicate disorders of the thoracic spine, like scoliosis.
SAGITTARIUS - Mutable Fire Ruler: Jupiter
Primarily Choleric, but Sanguine subtemperament, due to Jupiter rulership. Sanguine subtemperament gives Sag great people skills, enthusiasm as a coach and motivator.
Through Jupiter, Sag rules the liver, blood and arterial circulation. Prone to Jupiterian excess, immoderation in diet and lifestyle. Rules locomotor aparatus - hips, loins, thighs, buttocks - as sign of long journeys.
Feels a lot of energy and inspiration, but actual energy levels aren't as high as in other Fire signs, due to Mutable modality. Can start strong, with lots of enthusiasm, but quickly progress to burnout. Fluctuating energy levels can also give Sag bipolar tendencies.
Vulnerable to both digestive and respiratory allergies and sensitivities. Also rules the diaphragm, through which the liver and digestion (Jupiter) can affect respiration.
The Earth Signs: Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn
The Earth signs are all primarily Melancholic in temperament, with Virgo and Capricorn being purely Melancholic. Taurus is the most pleasant and likeable of the Earth signs, and also the healthiest and most robust, due to its Sanguine / Phlegmatic subtemperament and its Fixed modality.
TAURUS - Fixed Earth Ruler: Venus Exaltation: Moon
Primarily Melancholic, with Sanguine (Venus rulership) / Phlegmatic (Lunar exaltation) subtemperament. One of the deepest, most complex signs of the zodiac.
Fixed Earth: stable, persistent, patient, enduring. Fixed modality endows Taurus with greater robustness, immunity, stamina, endurance than other Earth signs. Fixed modality plus Sanguine / Phlegmatic subtemperament leads to slow metabolism, sluggish bowels, and tendency towards constipation, and poor elimination and detoxification.
Venus rulershipo gives Taurus a sensual, amiable disposition, with a proneness to Sanguine metabolic congestion, excess. An overemphasis on the Sanguine Attractive Virtue and the materialistic acquisitiveness of the Earth element.
Lunar exaltation gives Taurus great fertility, fecundity, anabolic metabolism and vegetative functions, sensible self nurturing habits, deep sound sleep. Lunar influence and Fixed modality combine to make Taurus highly suggestible and influenced by the subconscious mind. Takes a long time to chew over and sort out deeper feelings and motivations.
As first Yin, receptive sign, Taurus rules the neck, which connects Yang head/soul/spirit (Aries) to Yin body, which gives it nourishment and sustenance. Also rules the mouth, jaw, neck, throat - acquisition, nourishment.
VIRGO - Mutable Earth Ruler: Mercury Exaltation: Mercury
A Melancholic Earth sign. Mutable Earth: raw materials of Nature are worked on, transformed into valuable nourishment. Virgin holds shaft of wheat: fruits of the harvest.
Rules body's food factory: intestines - food juices worked on to extract valuable nutrients for liver, Natural Faculty. Mercury ruler, exaltation in Virgo - Nervous subtemperament, basically same as Melancholic.
Center of Virgo's nervous system lies in gut - very sensitive to effects of food, diet. Diet and hygiene is the way of healing for Virgo; hygienic purification regimes also valuable. Prone to food allergies, sensitivities, as well as all Melancholic, colicky digestive complaints.
Earthy, concrete expression of Mercury: structure, discipline, organization, detail, analysis. Tends to suffer from excessive worry, guilt, conscience, scruples.
CAPRICORN - Cardinal Earth Ruler: Saturn Exaltation: Mars
The most Melancholic of all Earth signs. Ruled by Saturn, the principal planet of the Melancholic humor and temperament. Focus on systemic effects, functions of black bile: calcium and mineral metabolism, bone and connective tissue formation, structural repair, cooling and drying retentive function.
Stiff, rigid mentality; prone to arthritis, rheumatism, stiff joints. Prominent knees, bones and joints.
Prone to nutritional deficiency, thinness, emaciation, which makes bones, joints more prominent. Metabolically very efficient, can make do with much less nutritionally than other signs. Mars exaltation gives Capricorns a Spartan determination, discipline.
Opposition to Cancer: emotional inhibition, self denial, emotional vulnerability and security issues. Left brain tends to rationalize away feelings. Rules skin (Saturn) - manifestation of emotional boundary issues.
The Air Signs: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
The Air signs are primarily Sanguine in temperament. But since Air is a Wet element, only one Air sign, Libra, is purely Sanguine. A strong Nervous subtemperament runs through the other two Air signs, with Aquarius having Melancholic overtones, due to its classical Saturn rulership.
GEMINI - Mutable Air Ruler: Mercury
The vital, energetic aspect of Mercury: lungs and respiration. Rules hands and arms: Mercurial skill, digital dexterity. Rules chest and ribs, which support respiratory function.
A Mutable Air sign, which is the inherent modality of the free-flowing Air element. Exchange and contact are key themes of both Mutable modality and Air element, Sanguine humor. The lungs and respiratory tract, more than any other part of the body, come into constant contact with outer environment; Gemini prone to respiratory allergies, sensitivities.
Rules Mercurial mind and nervous system, which has a restless ambiguity, dual nature. Geminis live by their wits, outsmarting and staying one step ahead of the other guy. Quick and endless thinking, tendency to burn candle at both ends leads to nervous exhaustion, burnout. Gemini is very sociable, outgoing due to primary Sanguine temperament.
LIBRA - Cardinal Air Ruler: Venus Exaltation: Saturn
Rules kidneys which, while balancing fluids and electrolytes, also eliminate waste. Two kidneys straddling both sides of the spinal column resemble the Libran scales.
Purely Sanguine in temperament, due to the Venus rulership. Kidneys purify the blood, enabling it to be a better vehicle for the vital principles. Prone to renal malfunction, urinary debility, uremia, gout.
Rules lower back, which is governed, by kidneys: weak kidneys lead to weak lower back. Has reflex relationship with opposing sign, Aries, which rules adrenal glands: health and strength of kidneys can only be as strong as that of the adrenals.
The sign of intimate relationships, partnerships. Rules genitourinary tract, where male plugs into his mate, partner: tensions, frustrations in relationships will produce urinary infections, inflammation.
A highly developed aesthetic sense; needs pleasant, harmonious experiences, environment, ambiance. Has hard time tolerating bitter medicines, unpleasant treatments for greater long term good.
AQUARIUS - Fixed Air Rulers: Uranus, Saturn
Fixed Air - quite a paradox. Fixed modality is very antithesis of Air's free-flowing, Mutable nature.
Complex temperament: surface Sanguinity displays confidence, grace, poise; but subliminally can be very rigid, demanding, due to classical Saturn rulership, and also nervous and chaotic, due to modern Uranus rulership.
Subliminal conflicts, tension put great strain on sympathetic nervous system, wearing out nerves, producing nervous, spasmodic afflictions. Aquarian belief of spremacy of mind over matter leads to pushing oneself with poor regard for regular sleeping, eating habits.
Chronic stress, tension on sympathetic nervous system also leads to circulatory problems, complications: apoplexy, stroke, hypertension, varicose veins. Rules peripheral vascular system by reflex relationship to Leo, which rules heart. Melancholic Saturn influence leads to clots, embolisms, hardening of arteries. Nervous Uranian influence destabilizes nervous, endocrine, circulatory systems, predisposes to apoplexy, strokes, vascular accidents.
The Water Signs: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
The Water signs are all primarily Phlegmatic, and pertain to different aspects of the Phlegmatic humor's functions. In Cancer, the sign of nurturing and motherhood, we see its nourishing, fecund aspect. In Pisces, we see the cleansing, purifying, recycling functions of the lymphatic system. In Scorpio, the most complex Water sign, we find themes of reproduction and fertility, elimination and transformation, life and death.
The Water signs come at the end of the cycle of elements in the natural sequence of the signs. The Expulsive Virtue of the Phlegmatic humor is at work in them, flushing out the old to make room for a new rebirth with the following Fire sign.
CANCER - Cardinal Water Ruler: Moon Exaltation: Jupiter
The crab, which carries its home on its back. The primal feminine archetype: chalice, recptacle, sacred space, protective coccoon that nurtures, matures, ripens things until they're ready to be released; the very essence of nurturing, motherhood.
Rules stomach, uterus, female breasts: feeding, nurturing. Rules all sack-like, vesicular receptacle organs, like bladder or gall bladder, and all cysts. Digestion, nutrition of organism only as good as stomach; stomach is also very emotionally sensitive.
Ruled by Moon, embodying Cardinal modality that drives, initiates cycles, manifestation, change; so is Water element. Cancer, the Moon and the Water element are all practically synonymous. Rules formation of cysts and abcesses, which resonate with basic Cancer archetype. A protective response of the organism to isolate, peripheralize toxic or noxious substances and expel them from the body.
SCORPIO - Fixed Water Rulers: Pluto, Mars Exaltation: Uranus
Fixed Water: stagnant marsh waters, prone to turbidity, putrefaction. Fresh new waters needed to flush out old, regenrate and transform the organism. Psychically, means transforming the emotional nature by flushing out old, stagnant toxic emotions.
Evolutionary imperative for transformation due to extreme nature. Water, Fire elements each capable of annihilating the other (Scorpio theme of death), but brought into the proper relationship, can also metabolize, transform with great intensity.
Rules eliminative organs - colon, rectum, bladder: elimination as necessary prelude to transformation. Problems with elimination, detoxification, like all Fixed signs; prone to constipation. Toxemia, putrefactions, purulent conditions of blood and lymph another problem area; blood cleansers needed.
Rules reproductive organs, genitalia of both sexes through modern Pluto rulership. Through Mars, rules phallus, male genitalia. Sexual drive / instinct is transformational, transpersonal, involving life and death. Prone to sexual power plays, sex without love, reproductive "accidents", obsessions and perversions, sexually transmitted diseases.
Primary Phlegmatic temperament and Fixed modality combine to make Scorpio the most subconsciously influenced of all the signs. Censor, protective barrier between conscious, subconscious mind is thin; subconscious thoughts, impressions come flooding into consciousness, can overwhelm, causing depression.
Scorpio prone to impulsive binge eating due to Choleric subtemperament, making it difficualt to follow a well-regulated, moderate diet. Craves intense taste sensations. Periodic fasting and cleansing necessary.
PISCES - Mutable Water Rulers: Neptune, Jupiter Exaltation: Venus
Emotional sensitivity of Water element plus Mutable modality combine to make Pisces hypersensitive, both physically and psychically. This, plus modern Neptune rulership combine to make Pisces a psychic sponge, often confused about which feelings, emotions are actually his own, and which are those of others.
Two fishes: Phlegmatic, Neptunian fish swims upstream towards God and Spirit, whereas Sanguine fish is sensual, indulgent, swimming downstream towards the world. The temple or the tavern. Much of Pisces' tendency towards immoderations, addictions, codependency, addictive behavior results from this inner conflict of temperaments.
Last sign of zodiac, after which the wheel recycles back to Aries. Rules lymphatic system: body's recycling system for clear, Phlegmatic fluids. Maintaining purity and cleansing Expulsive function of lymph is a problem area for Pisces.
Rules hepatic portal system, which absorbs nutrients from intestines, due to reflex relationship with opposing Virgo. Also governs liver, due to classical Jupiter rulership. With Sanguine subtemperament, prone to excess, congestion of liver, hepatic portal system. Being both Yin / receptive and Mutable, like opposing Virgo, Pisces is also prone to food allergies, sensitivities.
Rules feet as last sign of zodiac. Metaphysical significance: Pisces, with head in the clouds, needs to learn to walk step by step on the Earth, with feet firmly anchored, planted. Physiological significance: Feet are a bag of many bones, held together by fascia, connective tissue, bearing all of body's weight; excessive phlegm, dampness can loosen connective tissue, making Pisces prone to foot injuries, dislocations. Clammy, Phlegmatic sweat on feet can also predispose to fungus, athlete's foot. Feet are site for many lymphatic trigger points for rest of body.