Ever wonder why both Pisces and Cancers seem to feel their emotions so deeply, or why Capricorns and Virgos vere on the serious and practical side of life even though they’re different signs? It’s no coincidence—each zodiac sign is connected to one of the four natural elements (Fire, Earth, Air, Water), and signs that fall under the same element share similar traits. Even though each of the 12 signs is unique, grouping them into the four elements somehow makes perfect sense, and explains why some signs mesh well while others are like fire and ice.
Knowing the element of a sign gives us a glimpse into the type of energy we’re working with. It’s one of the first things I look at when I’m checking out the compatibility between signs or the overall energy of someone’s chart because it provides some pretty critical information. Just try and talk about the weather without mentioning any of the elements and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
How to find your zodiac sign’s element
First, you’ll need to find out your zodiac sun sign if you don’t already know it. This is based on your date of birth and it’s what people are asking about when they ask what your sign is. The dates for each sign can shift by a day or so from year to year, so using this table will help you get it right based on the year you were born. Once you’ve got that information, check out the elements here to see which one your sign falls under, and voila!
- Fire: Aries, Sagittarius, Leo
- Earth: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
- Air: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
- Water: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
Why knowing your zodiac sign’s element is important
It can help you understand yourself from a different angle
The elements give us a high-level understanding of what our zodiac sign is all about. It’s sort of like a genre of music—if you go to a reggae or a country show, you have a good idea of what to expect, but each band within that genre (like the specific signs) is unique in its own way. In general, each element is tied to the following themes:
- Fire: Ambition, power, action
- Earth: Resources, stability, practicality
- Air: Connection, curiosity/intellect, detachment
- Water: Emotion, intuition, depth
It can help you see yourself in nature
With everything going on in our daily lives, it’s easy to forget how important connecting with nature is for our mental health and overall well-being. Paying attention to the elements makes getting outside more exciting because it can teach us more about ourselves. How, you ask? When you’re out on a walk or drinking mimosas by the beach and notice something about an element, you can apply that knowledge right to astrology and your understanding of the zodiac.
Here are a few examples of things I’ve learned about astrology just from being outside—no fancy astrology class, book, or website needed:
- Fire: Just like fire itself, fire signs can be quite unpredictable and spontaneous, quickly going from bringing warmth to utter destruction depending on the opportunities around them.
- Earth: Like earth signs, trees need a strong foundation (i.e. their roots) to flourish and grow strong.
- Air: Air signs are great at getting the other elements moving, just like the wind blows through the trees, starts up a fire, or controls the direction of rain.
- Water: Like ocean tides are controlled by the moon, water signs’ emotions are very dependent on the energy around them.
It can help you understand how different signs interact
A sign’s element is important to know when it comes to compatibility. That doesn’t mean you should call it quits with your fire sign partner because they don’t vibe with your water sign, but it does show what kind of challenges the relationship might face. You can use the elements to look at compatibility between two people or see how different planets in your birth chart work together.
In general, water goes well with earth, and air goes well with fire, but each pairing has its own unique strengths and challenges. We break them all down for you below.
It can help you find balance
Understanding your zodiac sign’s element can help you bring more balance into your life and clear your head when you’re too bogged down in the challenging aspects of your element. Earth signs should seek out water energy and vice-versa, and the same with air and fire. For example, I’m a Scorpio sun, so I tend to be a little (okay, a lot) emotional. If I’m looking to bring more balance into my life, I’ll want to bring in some earth energy, either through the people I surround myself with (shoutout to my Virgo partner) or earth-related activities.
I recommend following your intuition for this one (very Water sign of me), but here are some ideas to get you started:
- If you’re a fire sign looking for balance, seek air energy by connecting and communicating with those around you. Make some social plans with friends, start writing a book, or join a new hobby group in person or online.
- If you’re an earth sign looking for balance, seek water energy by nourishing yourself through staying hydrated, spending a cozy night in, or going swimming in an ocean, lake, river, or pond. A good cry never hurts either!
- If you’re an air sign looking for balance, seek fire energy by getting literal and starting a campfire or lighting a candle, eating fiery foods like ginger or turmeric, or starting a new project that you’re passionate about.
- If you’re a water sign looking for balance, seek earth energy through grounding activities, like walking barefoot in the dirt, making yourself some herbal tea with fresh plants, or starting a garden.
What you should know about your sign’s element
Fire Signs: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
You bring life, warmth, and creative and passionate energy wherever you go. Taking action is natural to you and once you’ve got a dream in mind, you’ll get to the finish line no matter what obstacles try to get in the way. That can mean that, like a planned forest fire, you’ll burn everything to the ground, but it’s only because you know that you need to throw out the old to welcome in the new. You’re not into wasting time and have a gift for inspiring those around you to take advantage of being alive.
Putting all of your energy into your passion comes with a price—which is often that you can burn others as you blaze on. With a “my way or the highway attitude”, you can get a bit out of control (OK let’s be real—sometimes even a lot out of control). Keep that fiery energy burning, but take a step back and let your friends and family offer you a different perspective from time to time
How fire signs interact with the other elements
- Fire & Fire: Two fire signs together can be quite spicy, which can lead to a lot of passion and creativity or a lot of fighting. In these relationships, both people need to be able to express their individuality and maintain a sense of independence.
- Fire & Earth: There can be some misunderstandings here as fire signs are passionate and creative while earth signs are practical. Boundaries are key—with the fire sign respecting the hard work of their earth sign partner and the earth sign respecting the fire partner’s individuality and creative process.
- Fire & Air: Fire and air signs mesh well because they both understand the other’s need for independence but can still come together to create something beautiful. This pairing can be exciting, and often works well as a non-traditional relationship that’s as unique as they are.
- Fire & Water: In these relationships, the water sign can feel emotionally unfulfilled, and the fire sign smothered. For a pairing like this to work, the water partner needs to feel emotionally secure in the relationship so that they feel confident honoring the fire partner’s need for independence.
Earth Signs: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
You’re a reliable and stable presence to the people you love. To the world, you’re the one who speaks up as the voice of reason and provides a realistic plan in the middle of chaos. Honestly, if it wasn’t for earth signs, we might not get much of anything practical done around here. Just like growing a forest, you know that creating something meaningful takes time, resources, and sacrifice. But besides being serious, Earth signs are sensual and teach others how to appreciate and enjoy what they’ve created once the hard work is done.
You can be so practical that you forget there’s a whole emotional side to life. If you don’t pay attention to your emotional needs, it’s possible to come off as cold or be resistant to change, even positive ones. With all the hard work you do, it’s extra important to take time for self-care and check in with how you’re feeling—the work will still be there waiting for you afterward.
How earth signs interact with the other elements
- Earth & Fire: There can be some misunderstandings here as fire signs are passionate and creative while earth signs are practical. Boundaries are key—with the fire sign respecting the hard work of their earth sign partner and the earth sign respecting the fire partner’s individuality and creative process.
- Earth & Earth: Two earth signs together can really get sh*t done, but they can also be super critical of each other. It’s important to remember that each person is doing their best and set aside time for emotional conversations and sharing.
- Earth & Air: Air signs can get frustrated with the stubbornness and inflexibility of earth signs while earth signs can get annoyed with air’s go-with-the-flow spirit and inability to implement their ideas. To make this work, earth signs can provide structure for the air sign partner and the air sign can help by teaching their partner to be more flexible.
- Earth & Water: Earth and water is one of my favorite combos personally. Earth signs can really provide a stable presence while water signs are lost in their emotions and water signs can provide earth signs with the emotional support they often need.
Air Signs: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
You’re a social butterfly with a gift for building bridges between people, ideas, and communities, which is super important at a time when many of us are feeling disconnected. With your quick-moving mind, you love coming up with and sharing innovative ideas, even if they’re sometimes too out there for people to grasp. Like the wind, you create beauty from an invisible force—just think of rustling leaves or ocean mist.
All those fresh and exciting ideas need to come from somewhere, meaning your head can move at a thousand miles a minute if you’re not careful. You can easily over-consume media and information to the point where it burns you out. To avoid getting overwhelmed, anxious, and stuck in your head, give your ideas a place to go by getting lost in a passion project or hobby, writing, or talking with a friend or therapist.
How air signs interact with the other elements
- Air & Fire: Fire and air signs mesh well because they both understand the other’s need for independence but can still come together to create something beautiful. This pairing can be exciting, and often works well as a non-traditional relationship that’s as unique as they are.
- Air & Earth: Air signs can get frustrated with the stubbornness and inflexibility of earth signs while earth signs can get annoyed with air’s go-with-the-flow spirit and inability to implement their ideas. To make this work, earth signs can provide structure for the air sign partner and the air sign can help by teaching their partner to be more flexible.
- Air & Air: So. Many. Ideas. These signs together can have a huge and thriving social life, but they need to take time to prioritize their relationship and find a balance between nourishing each other and exploring the world on their own.
- Air & Water: These two bring a lot of emotions and ideas to the table without much structure. In these relationships, the air sign partner can help their water sign partner not take things so seriously. On the other hand, the water sign can teach the air partner how to actually feel their emotions, rather than just talk about them.
Water Signs: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
You’re incredibly intuitive and can easily see past the masks people wear out in the world. You get where others are coming from just by feeling their energy—no words needed. Emotions flow through you just like water, which can leave you feeling like you’re taking on a different form or mood constantly. In a society that’s always on the move and putting emotions on the back burner, you know that sometimes it’s important to just exist and cry. This depth of emotion allows you to love, protect, and nurture your family and friends deeply.
You can be quite sensitive and when people don’t understand your emotions you can be prone to moodiness and closing yourself off. Because you feel so deeply, you can struggle with depression or forms of escapism—whether it’s scrolling mindlessly on your phone or partying a bit too hard a bit too often. Be mindful about moving out of your heart and into your head every now and then. Grounding exercises, like going outside or meditating, can help you let things go easier.
How water signs interact with the other elements
- Water & Fire: In these relationships, the water sign can feel emotionally unfulfilled, and the fire sign smothered. For a pairing like this to work, the water partner needs to feel emotionally secure in the relationship so that they feel confident honoring the fire partner’s need for independence.
- Water & Earth: Earth and water is one of my favorite combos personally. Earth signs can really provide a stable presence while water signs are lost in their emotions and water signs can provide earth signs with the emotional support they often need.
- Water & Air: These two bring a lot of emotions and ideas to the table without much structure. In these relationships, the air sign partner can help their water sign partner not take things so seriously. On the other hand, the water sign can teach the air partner how to actually feel their emotions, rather than just talk about them.
- Water & Water: This can be an intense and emotional relationship that either leaves both feeling emotionally nurtured and seen, or heartbroken. When two water signs come together, they should be extra careful about balancing their own emotional needs with those of their partner. Empathy is key.