Its Elements

Its Elements

Planetary Elements

Each planet rules two signs (except the Sun and Moon) and expresses either a masculine or feminine nature through the signs. This masculine and feminine nature is expressed through one of the elements, as each element has a gender in astrology.

The first two elements are feminine – earth and water

The Second two elements are Masculine – fire and air.

Feminine elements are more psychological, reflective and wanting/giving comfort and happiness.

Masculine elements are more physical and expressive and wanting/giving power and truth.

In The astrology chart these elements alternate in succession – Fire, Earth, Air, Water. As the Elements alternate, so does the gender and the modality (initiating, stabilizing or dispersing).

Sign Elements

The astrology sign on the ascendant in a birth chart will be a strong indicator of their basic Outlook and approach to life. It would be tempting to say that this element corresponds to their ayurvedic prakruti, but there are too many factors involved to say this with any certainty – But you will understand the orientation, personality and basic outlook of a person based on the ascendant. Most of the time that element is prominent in their prakruti.

Planetary Movements and Orbits

The Planets are eternally wandering in their orbits, going from one sign to the next in a very predictable rhythm. They are all orbiting in the same direction and in the same orbital path around the Sun (this path is called the “ecliptic”). Al of the Planets are locked in the same orbit around the Sun. The ecliptic is an 18° belt through which the planets move. This is the same path as the Sun. Pluto was reclassified mainly because he does not move along the ecliptic like the other planets. The Planets move in the same direction as the Earth and will change signs in succession – Aries, Taurus, Gemini, etc.

The Speed of each planet determines how long it will stay in one of the signs. Like many things in nature, there is a little bit of an unruly quality to this. The orbital periods below are given as a mean average. In truth, sometimes the planet stays three times longer in one sign due to retrograde motion. Because you see, the Earth is also moving.

Our orbit compared to the orbits of the other planets makes them appear to move backwards from our perspective from time to time. Just like when you’re driving a car and you pass a slower moving car, that car appears to be moving backwards.

Below is a chart that shows approximately how long a planet stays in each sign as well as the element and temperament that Planet brings when it occupies the sign – either in a birth chart or by transit (in the current sky).

Planet Time in Sign Element / Temperament
Sun (Cruel-Sattwic) – M 30 Days Fire – Clarity, Purification, truth
Moon (Gentle – Sattwic) – F 2.5 Days Water – Emotion, Connection, attachment
Mars (Cruel – Tamasic) – M 1.5 Months Fire – Individuality, Willfulness, Courage
Mercury (Neutral/Gentle – Rajasic) – N 2.5 weeks Air (tridoshic) – Activity, Skill, Flexibility
Jupiter (Gentle – Sattwic) – M 1 Year Water&Fire – Hope, Luck, Growth, Health
Venus (Gentle – Rajasic) – F 3.5 Weeks Water – Love, Connection, Support, Care
Saturn (Cruel – Tamasic) – N 2.5 Years Air&Earth – Fear, Worry, Loss, Determination
Rahu (N. Node – Cruel – Tamasic) 1.5 Years Air – (imagined) Fear, Stress, confusion
Ketu (S. Node – Cruel – Tamasic) 1.5 Years Fire – Criticism, Worry, confusion

Click here to read more about Planets, Signs, Dasas (Cycles), Transits.