About Similarities and Differences

Traditional astrology separates the elements and therefore the signs into sterotypical feminine and masculine gender roles and attaches a clear sense of value judgement to them. Two of the elements – Fire and Air – are seen as strong and virile, while the other two – Earth and Water – are seen as dull and lacking character.

This separation and categorisation is boring and unhelpful at its best and plain wrong and destructive at its worst. It’s extremely simple-minded and in desperate need of revising.

All the elements are different states of matter: Earth is a solid, Water a liquid, Air a gas and Fire is plasma. They’re simply different states of the SAME thing. They’re interconnected and as good or bad as one another. There is absolutely no benefit in ascribing value judgements to their characteristics.

In traditional astrology the exact same traits are often described in such a way as to give a positive spin to the “masculine” element and a negative one to the “feminine” element. For example, both Water and Air are flexible, they take on the form of their surroundings. In the case of “masculine” Air flexibility is seen as an asset and given adjectives such as “adaptable” and “open-minded”. In the case of “feminine” Water the same flexibility is seen as a weakness and described as being “impressionable” and “not having their own identity”.

Focusing on stereotypical fabricated gender roles and dividing people accordingly causes nothing but separation between people, not to mention feelings of inadequacy in 75% of the population – all women (50%) and those poor men who were born as Earth or Water signs (25%).

It’s dull, unhelpful and definitely outdated! It does make me wonder, though, just what sign Ptolemy was…probably not one of the “feminine” ones.

There is so much more to life than gender-roles and meaningless divisions between people.

Instead of looking at what separates us, we need to look at what brings us together, what unites us.

Goddess-inspired astrology aims to re-establish equality between all people, focuses on our similarities and uses only positive healthy non-judgemental attributes to describe the various characteristics.

Let’s start by looking at Earth and Water, the two elements that traditional astrology seems to spurn and distrastefully describe as negative, passive, downbeat, submissive and internal (this being seen as a bad thing for some reason). They are described as being feminine signs.

It couldn’t be further from the truth!

Earth is a solid, active, strong matter. It’s not passive – this notion comes from the belief that Mother Earth is nothing more than a  rock with an inert top layer of soil [1]. Earth signs are the sort of people that create art, pottery, build houses and make all those beautiful things that make our lives better. They may not be outspoken ideas people, but they are most certainly not passive! Earth signs are also not inward-focused. They make things – how can they be inward-focused??? They very much live in the real world making real things.

Water is a fluid, adaptable yet persistent and strong matter. It may appear to be “passive”, i.e. not outwardly doing much, but like real water can with time erode even solid rock, a lot goes on behind the scenes. Water signs should not be underestimated. They are also not submissive: Try wronging a Scorpio and feel just how submissive their sting can be! The dismissive manner in which the element of Water is often described is a direct reflection of our society’s fractured consciousness, where the unconscious and our dark side are completely ignored and starved. In times gone by when the Goddess in all Her many guises was still revered, the Moon with Her links to water and women’s bleeding times was seen as THE source of wisdom and intuition.

Let’s now look at Fire and Air, the two elements that traditional astrology seems to favour and which are described as positive, active, upbeat, dominant and external. They are described as being masculine signs.

Again, this isn’t the full truth.

Fire is a hot, burning gas. It’s undoubtably very powerful and can be used to create and destroy. It’s also exciting and vibrant. It’s not, however, something that can exist on its own – unlike solid matter -, as it doesn’t have any form and unless fed can burn out easily. It’s also not something that can create in its own right. Fire signs are inpirational people, but without Air’s ideas and Earth’s creativity their passion and drive would fizzle out to nothing more than hot smoke. Fire is a valuable important element, but it needs both solid matter (Earth) and oxigen (Air) to exist.

Air is made up of invisible thin gases that are everywhere. With the exception of oxygen most of them (namely nitrogen which makes up nearly 80% of the air on Earth) are inert and don’t easily react with other substances. Air is definily not passive – you only have to look at a rusty bike chain or rusty old nails in a wooden shed – but for the most part it doesn’t seem to be doing much either. As with water its activity is slow and going on more behind the scenes. Air is most certainly needed for fire to burn: Air signs provide the ideas with which Fire signs inspire Earth signs to create real things in the real world.

As I’ve said before all the elements are essential for life and are all interconnected. They are all matter in a different state, they are all variations of the theme. Many of the differences are far from being clear-cut and it’s not just Fire-Air and Water-Earth that share things in common.

Activity: All signs are active in their own way

Earth creates in the real world.
Fire actively inspires others.
Air actively thinks and communicates.
Water actively experiences our inner world.

Strength: All signs are strong in their own way

Earth signs are tenacious.
Water signs are persistent.
Fire signs are loyal.
Air signs are objective and don’t take sides.

Inward- / Outward-focused

Earth signs create things in the real world
Air signs communicate with other people in the outside world.
Air signs also think privately inside their own heads.
Water signs feel inside their own hearts.
Water signs are also able to feel others and share their feelings with them.
Fire signs inspire others in the real world.

Intuitive / Rational

Fire signs feel things intuitively.
Water signs feel things intuitively.
Earth signs think things through rationally.
Air signs think things through rationally.


[1] See James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis’s Gaia Theory that describes Earth as a self-regulating living system that is made up of all organic organisms and their inorganic surroundings. www.gaiatheory.org


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