Timber by Grantby
Air is considered the first ingredient of influence in Tropical Astrology. The moment a baby takes its first breath of air is considered its official birth. Many astrologers argue that the magnetism from the earth’s magnetic pole is encoded in the baby’s spine when the baby inhales for the first time. Air is roughly 20% oxygen, 80% nitrogen. The amount of water vapor in the air depends on how hot the weather is. Humid climates like Miami Florida, tend to have a lot of water in the air. This is why such areas can have intense hurricanes when the water condenses out of the air to quickly it can form a cyclone. But for the purpose of this article, air is considered an element with water properties that has 3 states: Cardinal, fixed and mutable. In Astrolosophy, don’t think of these states as the physical or chemical building blocks of matter, rather imagine them as characterizations of modes of behavior, activity, or process.
If you look at the year as one (1) giant clock, Spring would represent the sun moving from 9-6 Through the first second and third house. The information presented here represents the Northern Hemisphere (NH) for seasons. This model is reversed for the Southern Hemisphere (SH) as that is the cardinal point where Libra ushers in spring. Spring also represents the “first quarter moon” aspect for the whole year in the NH.
Aries is the cardinal force of this quadrant. Cardinal energy in chemistry is like atoms in the air that are moving fast and spread out (heat). So imagine the air as steam rising off of a teapot of boiling hot water. Because of the “initiating” process all Cardinal signs begin each season and identify the personality type that needs both space and control to feel successful. The Cardinal sign positions are also called angular houses. (1, 4, 7, 10) Each Cardinal sign is 90º degrees apart forming a Geometric Square.
Taurus is the stable fixed force of this quadrant. Fixed energy of the air in chemistry means that the same atoms you seen moving quickly in a (hot) Cardinal state have slowed down so much that they appear to not be moving at all (cold). Each of the air atoms are close to each other yet neatly and uniformly spread out and cannot be pushed any closer together. This is what makes the air solid like ice. Each Fixed sign is 90º degrees apart forming a Geometric Square. Fixed signs define the essence of each season. Cardinals are known for getting things going while Fixed signs are known for getting things finished; the stubbornness or “determination” gives them staying power.
Gemini is Mutable force of this quadrant. Mutable energy represents the ability of air to be a “happy medium.” In a mutable state, the air is just fast enough not to be solid (cold), yet too slow to be in a gaseous state (hot). The Mutable energy allows the air qualities to temporarily exist as a body of (warm) water. Each Mutable sign is 90º degrees apart forming a Geometric Square. This quality prepares the season for transition into the next season.
The mutable state can get to a freezing (slow or fixed) state or change to a hot (fast or cardinal) state with much less energy. This is why Mutable signs such as Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces are so versatile and accommodating when it suits them. The change of state in the air is easier for Mutable signs to make than it would be for fixed air to change state to move fast enough to boil. This lack of flexibility between states for fixed signs is that which makes Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius notoriously stubborn. The fixed personality is resistant to change, preferring rigid routine that is consistent and reliable. While their loyalty is admirable, fixed personalities are likely to go down with the ship even if the ship is parked at a dock. Any of the Fixed signs may try to bend and flex for you at times but since they are not accustomed to the emotional, political and spiritually yogic form that Mutable signs are born with, they may break (metaphorically speaking, of course).
Just like Fixed signs, Cardinal signs require a lot more energy than Mutable signs to slow down enough to freeze or become solid. Cardinal signs like to initiate actions. They are active, pioneering vigorous and proactive. So it may come as no surprise to you that they don’t take orders easily. Usually people with many placements in Cardinal signs have a strong desire to be in command and one step ahead of the crowd. All three states are the natural states of air. But all three of the states here do not apply to orthodox and contemporary science.
Ian Thurnwald explains the symbolism quite well on his blog.
Signs that are hot in nature, the fire and air signs, put out energy and are quick to act, their focus is on the people and things around them, they are excitable and behave in an enthusiastic manner.
- Signs that are cold in nature, the earth and water signs, draw in energy and are slow to act, their focus is on their own thoughts and feelings, they are controlled and behave in a dispassionate manner.
- Signs that are dry in nature, the fire and earth signs, are tense and nervous, they relate by differentiating themselves from others; they think in an analytical or concrete way, by making distinctions, breaking bonds and separating things out into their unitary parts.
- Signs that are wet in nature, the air and water signs, are flexible and relaxed, they relate by connecting with others; they think in a creative or abstract way, by blurring boundaries, making connections and bringing things together as a unified whole.
In the old mystery school’s of alchemy it is air’s fixed property (the heart) that connects and regulates the mind (Fire, Cardinal) with the body (Water, Mutable) but that is a subject of an upcoming post. Stay Tuned.