AIR: The Element + Signs

Colorado sky Of the four elements – earth, water, air, and fire – air is the only one we cannot see directly. We can feel it, we can see its effects, but not even in the instance of a tornado can we see more than one possible form or shape of air (thanks to the debris such strong winds can pick up). This detail echoes what air symbolizes: air correlates to the intellect, the mind, and the exchange of information and ideas. It is an abstract element, and it deals with abstract things. Even writing an article like this one doesn’t offer a concrete, tangible expression of air because words and letters are inert symbols in themselves. It is the mind, the intellect, the element of air that breathes life into these otherwise dead symbols.

Appreciating this ethereal quality to air is significant if one wants to get a real feel for the three air signs in the Astrological archetype: Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius. All three of these signs tend to the mental plane of existence but in different ways. What first distinguishes them is their mode: the manner, form or pattern in which something exists. There are three modes for every element: mutable, cardinal, and fixed. What further sets these air signs apart are their planetary rulers: Mercury for Gemini, Venus for Libra, and Uranus (Saturn traditionally) for Aquarius.

Without getting into detail on the planets for now, it might be easiest to first understand the modes as they correlate to the progression of seasons. For example, Gemini lands itself in the middle of spring, which makes sense because that’s when the air is changing, that’s when the air is mutable – Gemini is the mutable air sign. Conversely, Aquarius stands rather rigidly in the dead of winter, when the air feels stale, flat, and fixed – Aquarius is the fixed air sign. Libra is in the middle of these two, and it lands itself in the fall when the air is stable yet changing; it feels balanced (Libra’s keyword) in its cardinal position– Libra is the cardinal air sign.

There is so much more that goes into understanding each air sign – there is so much more to communicate! Understanding the planetary rulers to these signs is an important aspect to understanding each sign itself; however, that information will be shared in later posts. Plus, even writers need fresh air.

**A Gemini-like tidbit – Virgo, an earth sign also ruled by Mercury, creates an interesting fractal to the element of air: it is the only other sign that crosses over into the mental plane of existence.