Copy of Deepening Into The Elements Part 2: Grounding Into Earth
Deepening into the Elements
Grounding Into Earth
*Text in italics refers to the glossary. To learn more about the italicized terms, go to the glossary tab or click on the text itself.
Understanding the elements can strengthen a foundation of knowledge that gives greater context to our comprehension of the zodiacal signs. The twelve signs of the zodiac break down into four elements, rotating evenly through them all from fire to earth to air to water. How does the essence of each element express through each of its signs? Is there an arc to the evolution of the elements through the zodiac? Let’s start with fire and see what we find.
Earth on the Whole
The element of earth presents uniquely in the three signs of Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn. Before focusing in on each zodiacal sign, let’s lay the foundation by delineating the qualities of earth itself.
Earth is the only element with solid form, a shape that requires force to transform. This structural solidity makes earth an amazing support, particularly on a practical, tangible level. When it comes to allowing flow to pass through, this density presents a challenge.
Movement is also determined by this density. Slow, steady change is one version of earth’s movement. Another is the sudden synchronicities caused by a gradual buildup of that slow change. Some examples include avalanche, landslide, earthquake and that moment a tree falls to the ground.
Exploring ecosystems of Earth reveal a brilliant efficiency that seems inherent to the majority of earth communities. All beings in a community of plants and animals contribute in some way to the survival of the whole. The careful use of resources shows up in all three of the earth signs.
How have humans related to earth over time? Nourishment and shelter have sustained human life from the earliest days. Both earth offerings range widely. You can come upon a cave for shelter or berries to eat or you can carefully craft a palace out of many different materials or create a meal of many courses using a wealth of distinct ingredients. Earth people can embody this quality through seeking to nurture and protect themselves and others.
As long as people have sought and found food they’ve also sought and found medicine. Plants, mushrooms, and animals have all proven to have medicinal properties. Care advances beyond basic sustenance. Healing broken limbs, ruptured skin, ailing organs including the brain are all scenarios in which herbs or medicine made from plants, physical tools like splints and bandages and medicinal fungi have meant the difference between continued healthy life and much suffering or even death.
Earthly pleasure is another face of this element. Our physical bodies are the earth of us. The potential bliss in bringing bodies together or the sensory joy in the feel of textiles, the taste of food, or the relaxation or enlivening effects of drink are a few examples of the pleasures of earth. These bodily experiences bring meaning and joy to life. When carried into excess, indulging in earthly pleasures leads to its own flavor of suffering be it obesity, alcoholism or staying in sexual patterns or relationships that don’t serve.
Tangibility is primary to earth. As we now explore the earth signs let’s look at how that realness on the physical plane shows up for each of them.
Mellow Meadow Dweller v. Enraged Bull
Venus-ruled Taurus centers around the pleasures, comforts and treasures of the Earth. This fixed sign has a calm, steady presence when balanced. Lack of balance can yield palpable inertia or stubbornness. Taurus’ pace is the slowest in the zodiac, akin to the gradual change in a landscape over time, subtle, almost imperceptible change.
Each of the earth signs self-nurtures and nurtures others in a particular way. In Taurus’ case the primary channel for this is culinary. Gardeners, cooks and expert enjoyers of food, these folks know how to appreciate a good meal.
The wonders of earth all feed the taurean soul. Their Venutian way of taking pleasure in earth extends beyond savoring delicious treats to reveling in the beauty of the great outdoors, in the sensory delights of the flesh and the unique shape and function of the physical world in general. Many a bull collects special objects, some digging up treasures out of dumpsters, others carefully selecting choice tidbits over their lifetimes, others still crafting beautiful pieces from the tiniest ceramic bowl to the most comfortable of homes. No matter the context, these earthlings have a knack for finding, choosing and creating beauty.
Home is an important theme to the Taurus and a key aspect of earth. On the most basic level, our bodies are our homes and so is Earth, the planet. The happiest Taurus has a comfortable space of their own and a pleasure-full, easeful relationship with their body as home. Knowing it is theirs matters; a sense of possession stabilizes this sign. Without a stable home or a positive way of being embodied, Taurus can grow covetous of the possessions, space and bodies of others. Along this vein they can be very careful about what they do have, conserving and guarding resources consciously.
The sweetness and deep calm of a sun-soaked meadow is one image to get the feel for the essence of Taurus. They can have a goofy, companionable warmth to beat the band. What negativity builds in them, resisting revelation, leads to the famous fury of the bull we see in bullfights. With stored up anger resting below the solid surface, the unknowing friend can stir and activate a mighty quake. The evolved Taurus learns to excavate and communicate these resting stores of emotion and has happier relationships thereafter.
The Forest f(or) The Trees
In earth’s trajectory there is a solidifying potential. The grassy ground of the meadow reaches a different density in the trees of the forest. Virgo, the sign of sacred service and wholeness unto one’s self, is best portrayed in arboreal imagery. A mutable sign ruled by thoughtful Mercury, Virgo specializes in order, discernment and efficiency.
The precision with which plants in a forest find their place is a perfect reflection of Virgo’s nature. Each plant reaches for just a little more light, leaves or needles making excellent use of what resources are available. With the human mind in the picture this powerful quest for efficiency and excellence can be burdened with an overly critical way of evaluating self, others and the world. Why can’t it be even better, even closer to perfection? Trusting that all is as it should be and appreciating what improvements are possible is good medicine for Virgo.
Another trait of the forest that mirrors the essence of Virgo is how much medicine can be found there. The plant world is rich with curative powers. The sacred service Virgo embodies often comes through in the field of health care. Bringing their attention to detail and their drive to serve in the physical world, these worker bees take easily to caring for the body.
The harvest goddess is one of the archetypes associated with this sign. Knowing it’s necessary to put in effort to collect the fruits of the season, Virgo methodically gathers, preserves and serves. Many a kitchen witch or wizard has a strong Virgo signature. Certainly the potential for obsessive organizing can go to an extreme. When this takes over, it’s wise to balance those overly vigilant tendencies with a healthy dose of letting go. Don’t lose the forest for the trees!
If Virgo resonates with forest, Capricorn is well reflected by mountain. This sign’s ruling planet, Saturn, commits to works over the long haul, orienting towards achievement and mastery. Capricorn is a cardinal sign, unphased by initiating whatever needs to happen, including projects of great proportions. The more work it might take, the better!
Structure, competence and responsibility are a few keywords for this sign. Imagine the kind of security that comes from living in the shelter of a mountain range, what a mighty container that provides. Capricorns can comprehend systems and learn to influence them through hard work and persistence. They tend to take on responsibilities voraciously, filling their days with work.
Many sea goats, the symbol of this sign, have been workaholics at least for a chapter of their lives if not the whole stretch. The power it takes for mountains to form is monumental. This is what Capricorns have the potential to embody. There can be a yearning for status, recognition and leadership roles. The way peaks are visible for great distances, Capricorns feel the pull to be their own peak performers, the ones at the top.
Just as Virgo enjoys being whole unto itself, Capricorn needs alone time. They are self-sufficient much of the time and need breaks from navigating interpersonal encounters that leave them disappointed in perceived immaturity, work-aversion or incompetence of others. A love of the natural world is shared by all the earth signs and Capricorn happily restores itself on hikes, in the garden or simply taking in the stars from a favorite vantage point. Fire and the Other Elements