When it comes to astrology, there are a few basics to know in order to understand your zodiac sign and your horoscopes. To start, it’s important to know your sun sign—aka the position of the sun when you were born. From there, understanding the significance of your rising sign and your moon sign can help you learn how the positions of other planets in the sky at the time of your birth may have impacted your personality. Finally, discovering what the astrology elements mean for your sign can not only help explain your wants and behaviors, but also your compatibility with other zodiac signs.
According to astrologer Lisa Stardust, astrology elements are an essential way of grouping all 12 zodiac signs based on key traits that they have in common. “The elements represent the circle of life—the essentials needed to balance out life,” Stardust tells HelloGiggles. “The elements in astrology are used to describe the personalities, needs, and desires of each zodiac sign. Each sign falls into an element, which helps determine their inner and outer energetic spirit.”
There are four main elements—fire, earth, water, and air—and three zodiac signs fall into each one. While each zodiac sign has a distinct set of traits, zodiac signs within the same element do have certain traits in common. We talked to Stardust about what these elements signify and why they matter. Here’s what she has to say.
Fire (Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius)
Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius, the signs comprising the three fire signs, are known for their drive and competitive energy. Fire signs are often bold and fearless, and they like being noticed. “Passionate by nature, fire signs use their sparky attitudes to initiate and to get projects started,” Stardust says. “They can be quick-tempered and impulsive as a result of their excitable and confident energy.”
While that confidence can be sexy to many of their fellow zodiac signs (air signs especially), fire signs tend to have steamy relationships or hookups within their own element that also burn out quickly. Though they can be caring and exciting partners, they can get bored pretty easily. All-in-all, signs in this element make for great leaders and fun people to have at parties.
Earth (Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn)
Like the element from which they derive their energy, earth signs are grounded, stable beings who like to take things slow. “Practical and sensible, earth signs make rational decisions based on tangible information,” Stardust says. “They can be stubborn in their thinking, but are reliable, dependable, and loyal to those they care about.”
Earth signs also love worldly pleasures like food, art, and music. They may be immovable when it comes to their opinions, but that immovability often translates to a ride-or-die attitude toward those they love. Earth signs make perfect partners to other signs in their element because of their loyalty. When two earth signs get together, they tend to mate for life because they like building a solid foundation and sticking to it. They’re also very compatible with water signs because water signs’ emotional maturity and desire for romance suit earth signs well. Simply put, an earth sign is a solid person in your life who will help you through anything.
Air (Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius)
Air signs—compromised of Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius—are big thinkers and big talkers. “Air represents communication,” Stardust explains. “Air signs rely on intellect and mindfulness rather than emotion when making choices. The downfall is they can be indecisive because they rely on their minds too much.”
Because air signs tend to go pretty deep, they’re not afraid to have in-depth and challenging conversations with whomever is willing to chat. Keep an air sign around when you want an intellectually-stimulating conversation. They also typically align themselves with social justice movements and will devote themselves to causes they care strongly about. When it comes to compatibility, they find fire signs’ confidence and passion extremely attractive, and since fire signs are also not the most emotional beings, they get along well.
Water (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces)
Water signs are in their feels basically all the time. Cancer, Pisces, and Scorpio typically are creative romantics who have no qualms with shutting the thinking-side of their brains off. “Water holds emotion, which is why water signs are very sentimental,” Stardust says. “They rely on intuition (as one cannot hear underwater) and use their feelings to determine situations. They think with their hearts.”
Water signs make great friends and partners because they are willing to discuss your feelings and help you work through them. Their sentimentality can make them compatible with each other, but earth signs especially appreciate how water signs prioritize love and connection. If you ever want a night in with a bottle of wine and a rom-com, a water sign is your go-to.
Other than knowing the core traits of your zodiac sign, understanding your astrological element can help you uncover some of your innate characteristics and what you are attracted to most in others.