Karmic Astrology (8)

In prior posts, I’ve investigated several different ways of astrologically identifying your past and future karma using invaluable information gained by attending workshops/retreats lead by Judy Hall many years ago. We’ve looked at the Sun, Moon, nodal axis, and karmic relationships (through synastry). Now, it’s time to look at overall chart with regards to its composition re: elements and modalities.

Squaring the circle was a problem that greatly exercised medieval minds. It breaks down the original chaotic unity into the four elements and then combines them again in a higher unity.


The circle is the sign of infinity; as with the universe itself, it has no beginning and no end. At birth, you step into this circle, aligning with the four directions of the material plane, which in turn correspond with the four angles of the chart  (AC, MC, DC, and IC). With this, the circle is squared and the map for your current incarnation has been drawn. All that remains is how it is read.


Each of the twelve zodiac signs belongs to one of four essential elements – fire, earth, air, and water – the elements that have been considered to be at the base of our Western word since the ancient Greeks. One of the first considerations in karmic astrology is whether there is an elemental imbalance in the chart. If you have no planets in one of the elements or more than four, you’re on to something as follows:

ElementChallengeToo MuchToo Little
FireNew HorizonsCan’t sit still long enough to process new lessons. Difficulty ‘burning’ off old karmic patterns in order to transform.
EarthTo be comfortable in one’s body without being weighed down by it.Eating disorders and lack of spontaneity and lack of imagination. Difficulties earning adequate living or dealing effectively with practical issues.
AirDistinguish knowledge (taught) from knowing (intuition)Overly rational, stuck in the dogma (perhaps religious) of how things are and should be. Difficulty detaching oneself from a situation so as to see it through the eyes of another – inability thing rationally about a situation.
WaterDevelop emotional detachment whilst still remaining sensitive to needs of others.Finding oneself adrift in emotions, either one’s own or those of close others – easily pulled into the victim/saviour/persecutor triangle.Difficulty connecting with one’s own feelings, often projecting them on to others and then labelling them as overemotional.


Likewise, we need to consider whether or not there is an modality imbalance in you chart.

Each of the four astrological elements (earth, air, water, and fire) presents itself in the zodiac in one of three modalities or ways of being – cardinal, fixed, and mutable.

The modalities work as follows: in cardinal mode, the energy first forms and presents itself – usually with a forthright bang.  In fixed, the energy holds steady.  It’s just what the package says – fixed – stable – unmoving as a brick wall.  In mutable the energy disintegrates and disperses – getting ready for cycle to repeat again and again.

For example, the element of fire in Aries is cardinal – bright and strong with intent, energy, and little or no control (have you ever known an Aries to stand still for long?).  In Leo (fixed fire) the energy is controlled and steady like the hearth fire, which warms us and cooks our food.  In Sagittarius (mutual fire) the energy is scattered as sparks from the fire, spiralling outwards and upwards until it melts away in the great beyond.

Karmically, we consider the modalities as follows:

ModalitySigns HighlightedKarmic ChallengeExample
FixedTaurus, Leo, Scorpio, and AquariusDevotion and WillThis manifests in a resistance to change, a reluctance to let go of people and experiences that are no longer good for you. Now, you need to cleanup your karmic attic, so to speak, especially in regards to ancestral heritage.
CardinalAries, Cancer, Libra, and CapricornTesting your duty to and relationship with othersThis usually manifests in relieving stress and tension not through knee-jerk rather than carefully considered actions. The trick here is to look more deeply to yourself as to the cause of your problems rather than assuming others are always to blame.
MutableGemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, PiscesWisdom and BalanceThis often manifests with hazy boundaries – what is mine and what is yours? This leaves you with what is often known as a ‘leaky aura’ and hence been over-responsive to others. The trick here is to remain flexible whilst at the same time developing discipline, and focus.


For example, I have no fire (planets in fire signs) in my chart. Yet at the same time, this missing element holds both my greatest potential as well as the seeds for my downfall. ]

Until I can become conscious of this and find a constructive outlet for the f things fire governs, it will function unconsciously through the collective most likely to my detriment.

Fire represents both trust in one’s intuition as well as faith in oneself. Those with too much fire often demonstrated an easy passion in life, until someone or something causes them to loose their connection with their destiny.

With no fire, I have had to work hard to develop my intuition yet its erratic expression has led to such unpredictability in the past, that I’d learned not to trust it. What’s worse, with all the air in my chart, it was too easy for me to rationalise away my intuition, even when it was right on point.

One instance springs dramatically to mind: years ago I was walking home from the metro late one night after work and heard someone running up behind me. Turning, I saw a young man in jogging clothes and so ‘decided’ (rationally) that he posed no threat to me – after all wasn’t he as entitled to use the sidewalk as I was? Of course he was, end of story. It may come as no surprise to you, but it did to me, that as he jogged away ahead of me, he was holding my purse. Although I’d had my purse carefully strung over my shoulder (a no-no – but then, hey), he’d so carefully used a knife to cut the purse strings that I’d not even felt it. I was so angry with both him and myself that I actually chased after him. Later the police told me I was lucky he’d disappeared into the bushes because quite honestly, if I’d been successful in confronting him, he probably would have used that knife on me.

This is also a lesson in modalities: I have four planets in Libra – and that qualifies as an overload of cardinal energy. Knee-jerk reaction instead of carefully consider action that very well might have gotten me killed.

(to be continued)

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