Fire burns earth, consumes air, and can blaze on and in water. Fire appears to destroy, and yet its destruction is itself destroyed by creation. It can be unpredictable, though it can also be controlled and contained. Fire is the only element that produces its own light as it burns through any and all potential energy. All of these qualities of this element correspond to how fire is understood in Astrology: fire is the intuitive, the passionate and the creative or expressive.
While all four elements deal with our feeling nature in some way (sensual earth, emotional water, and thoughtful air), fire points to our “gut” feelings. Not to be confused with instinctual feeling, fire is more precisely aligned with intuition. It’s that voice in the back of your head or in the middle of your heart telling you what you ought and ought not do – that part of you that just knows. Instinct is of a more watery nature; linked more to survival, instinct tends to breed action without thought whereas intuition allows for thought to precede, surge through, and follow action.
This detail is noteworthy because it helps to shape the first of the three fire signs: Aries. Aries is the cardinal fire sign, and its planetary ruler is Mars. Mars is a raw, power planet and it is traditionally associated with war and assertiveness. Aries’ energy expresses itself as such, which can sometimes come off as aggressive or offensive – there is the perception that thought doesn’t occur until after action with this energy. At any rate though, Aries is still not instinctual – it is raw intuition, primal passion, and impulsive drive. Aries is definitely a go-getter; racing through life, this fire sign is that first big blaze, that initial spark.
Leo follows Aries, and this fixed fire sign is situated dead center in that brilliant heat of summer. That intense scorching, searing sun that we see and feel at the end of July through the end of August succinctly typifies Leo’s fire. Leo is, in fact, ruled by the Sun – a light so bright that it damages our eyes if we stare into it for too long. Leo is all about the Self and the Will – it is the light inside of us that will be seen and heard, and it will shine when it wants, how it wants, and where it wants. (It is no wonder a lion represents this dramatic display of fire). This type of fire is usually contained (remember, regal lion is Leo’s animal symbol), but it most certainly must be self-contained. If pride is hurt or loyalty betrayed (if you rub a lion’s mane the wrong way), this type of fire may raze (and raise) some eyebrows!
Finally, freedom-loving, philosophical Sagittarius finishes out the fire element. Sagittarius is the mutable fire sign, and it is most definitely not contained fire. Sagittarius scatters its energy in a big way – it is ruled by jovial Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system. You never know where ever-changing Sagittarius will be from one day to the next, but you can bet fun will not be lacking! In fact, intuition suggests you get out there and travel with a Sagittarius right now! Stop reading, start packing – no, don’t even pack, just go!