The fire element appropriately begins the zodiac with energetic Aries because this element symbolizes the vital thrust behind the “will to be” that gives rise to all action. Life means movement, and fire stirs our basic need for motion. Think of fire as representing the essential, vital spark within every seed just waiting to explode into a rush of activity that initiates a plant’s growth cycle (amazingly, seeds found in the tombs of ancient Egyptian mummies have been known to come alive and sprout—their inner life force, although dormant, survives for centuries of time without weakening). Thus, all sorts of beginnings and births in life are associated with fire. Freshness and newness belong to this element. Yet at some pivotal point, fire’s expansive energy will need structure and organization to be useful. Such necessary containment comes from earth, an element that logically follows fire throughout the zodiac.

We live in a material realm that imposes all sorts of constraints, yet activity on Earth requires a slower pace so that we can better deal with most issues of physical reality. The heaviness of gravity abounds, and time is ever-present, but together they help us feel securely anchored to the solid, comforting world of form. Fire is more at home with a rapid, even agitated, alteration of conditions—it’s highly kinetic force—but to undergo too much of that could prove hectic and disorienting (not to mention physically debilitating). We instead need a more leisurely pace in order to function reliably, and thus earth makes sure that fire’s dynamic energy is grounded and better conserved. Humankind long ago learned the value of preserving actual fire, rather than wasting it by letting it burn itself out. Astrological earth is urging us to do the same, especially on the psychological level.

Earth is admittedly less showy and vibrant than fire. It appears passive and inactive (a clump of dirt or a log of wood seems inert and dull compared to the high drama of a raging inferno). Nevertheless, earth provides a necessary stillness and an economy of movement that helps fire’s energy endure longer and thereby extend its potential.

Earth doesn’t like to use things up too quickly or to run out of needed supplies prematurely. Less refueling is required by this stable element because it conserves fire’s life force in smart, effective ways. Actually, earth is not so much “smart” in its operations as it is blessed with common sense—an instinctual “know-how” that is not based on mere intellectual knowledge.

As a result, earth is very savvy when it comes to understanding the material world and figuring out what can and cannot be accomplished with available resources. Earth signs all share a respectful awareness of life’s inherent limitations. Fire may balk at accepting that life issues restraining orders now and then, but earth makes peace with this obvious fact and learns to function well within such conditions. (By the way, all elements have their own take on “reality,” but earth’s version of what actually exists—seems less open to debate or subjective interpretation; at least that’s how earth sees it.)

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