Air transformed by deepening its relationships, becoming more emotional, and opening its mind beyond the proven facts. As the open, arid sky darkens with gathering clouds and rain begins to fall, the final Element appears. Air has turned into Water, and the cycle begins to close.
Picture the ocean. It appears calm and blue and beautiful, stretching from horizon to horizon. Its surface is an endless, wavering line. But you never turn your back on the ocean. The waves that crash and foam on the beach are always much stronger than you think. Without warning they can pull you in. You lose control of your body as you get sucked in by the tide, thrown under water, and swept out to sea. Under the waves you see an entire world you could not see from the surface, the plants and animals so alien, so unlike anything on land. Further out, as the shores drop off, the blue becomes endless before you. Dancing lights above and fathomless darkness below. The ocean is so much larger and so much deeper than you initially saw from the shore. And once you get in it, it becomes almost impossible to get out.
The symbols associated with Water are all interwoven with one another. The moon influences the tides as it cycles, pulling the tide high when she is high and low as she dips low. The moon's 28-day cycle has long been associated with a woman's 28-day cycle, a cycle which ends once she becomes pregnant. She carries her baby within the waters of the womb, and she cries heavy tears when her baby is born. Water is a symbol for nurturing, fertility, cleansing, purifying, healing, and emotion - emotions which originate in the subconscious mind, sharing space with our dreams, imagination, and spirituality.
As we are all made up of the four Elements, Water is our Heart. Many people say that when we are asleep our mind tries to process what we've done and how we feel, and that dreams are our subconscious mind communicating to our consciousness using symbols it understands. When we dream of water the nature of the water reflects our own emotional state. Dirty water stands for negative emotions and boiling water stands for powerful ones. To dream of yourself being consumed by water means you are being swallowed up by your emotions, while flying above water means you are overcoming them. To dream that you are diving deep underwater means that you are taking a deeper look into your subconscious. And to breathe underwater means to return to comforting space of the womb.
Water is an excellent symbol for our human emotions. Like the face of the moon or the ocean's surface, they are ever-changing, but cycling. We are, to use the words of Cardinal John Henry Newman, "like an image on the waters, which is ever the same, though the waters ever flow." Like small streams wearing a crevasse into a mountainside, or glaciers carving out valleys, emotions wear us down by the slow process of erosion. Like thunderstorms our passions can swell into a flurry of crashes and rainfall; but once the tears subside, we become calm again. As water conforms to the shape of whatever container it is in, so do our sensitive feelings reflect and react to the atmosphere of people around us. To be safe we grip the rocks and seek comfort in someone stronger than ourselves. And like two rivers flowing into one another, so do we lose our boundaries through compassion and empathy, feeling the emotions of other people as strongly as we do our own.
Water is an Element all about building those strong, emotional connections with other people. Whether they are our families, our spouses, or our best friends, we need people we can trust present in our lives. Loyalty, love, and sensitivity are crucial for our emotional health. We feel like nobody understand us, and so we keep this part of ourselves private. And yet we long to share it with other people and to be understood so that we know we aren't weird and alone in how we feel. Often we feel like we don't understand ourselves or other people very well because we are naturally conflicted and complicated. Some look to psychology, others turn to spirituality, but everyone needs to make some sense out of the confusing mess that is human emotion.
THE WATER SIGNS
The Water Signs are Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces, in that order. All of these Signs are private about their innermost thoughts and feelings, hoping to only share them with a small group of very close friends and family. They are sensitive, emotional people who feel and express themselves very strongly (although they try to bury it all inside of themselves for the most part). They are also very compassionate people with strong ties to children, animals, and the natural world. But be warned: they have periods of extreme hatred and resentment, as well as dry spells of cynicism where they pretend not to have any feelings at all. These Signs are very complex. Don't be surprised if you think you understand them one day, only to be completely thrown off the next!
Count how many planets in your Natal Chart are placed in those Signs. To have 3 or 4 is good, as then you are perfectly balanced in this Element. To have between 0 and 2, however, means you are very low. And to have 5 or mean means you are very high.
LOW IN water
You are not naturally sensitive or intuitive. You are stoic, unfamiliar with the uncontrollable passions that toss up other people's lives. A chart without Water is like a dust bowl - leaving your personality dry, flat, and lifeless. But not having Water in your chart doesn't make you unemotional, as much as it may seem that way. It means that you lack understanding of your own emotions and the emotional nature of others. You are just as moody as anyone else. You just don't act on your emotions, express them easily, or understand why you feel the way you do or what to do about it.
When you don't have Water in your chart you need to coax the rain and let the storms come in and out of your life. Right now you are closed off and emotionally distant, unable to relate to people on that level. You might try to empathize with their situation or pretend to know how they feel, but you never really feel what they are feeling. Like all the other Elements so far, if you are low in Water, you need to put it into your life starting with changing the way that you think about emotion.
Often people who are lacking Water get into close, personal relationships with challengingly-emotional people, forcing you to become the parent-figure of the relationship and take care of them. But as you become more accepting of your own emotional nature, you will begin to understand that of others, and your relationships will greatly improve over time. People won't be such a confusing mystery anymore. Instead of trying to figure out why people are feeling the way they do, you will respond to them with the kindness and sympathy they need in that moment. Over time you may become spiritual and imaginative as you become more comfortable in this area of life. It will all come with time and patience, kindness and understanding, and acceptance.
You need to acknowledge your feelings as valid and important. You need to understand that they are signals from your unconscious mind (which has intuitively picked up on things you haven't even consciously thought of yet), sent into your body to tell you something. Stop ignoring them. Feel them in your body and listen to what they are telling you. Your emotions may tell you to truths you are not ready to accept yet, but you need to listen anyway. Finally, express your feelings in a visceral way: cry, laugh, yell, or whatever else the situation calls for! You are allowed to submerge yourself in these waters. And you will feel better for it!
HIGH IN water
Greek Medicine correlated Water with Phlegm and a Phlegmatic temperament. Problems with this humor was said to cause sleepiness, lethargy, and "mental dullness", which were made worse by stress, burnout, a lack of sleep, and poor diet. To have your personality overrun by Water does very much the same thing.
Your chart is flooded. It is overcome with emotions to an extreme. It makes you unpredictable, changeable, irrational, hyper-sensitive, passive-aggressive, and manipulative. You bottle up all your emotions, keeping them buried deep inside of your chest for months, years even. And then one day you finally burst, and all the water you had built up drowns the people around you. Overcome with feelings you may look elsewhere for an escape - alcoholism, addiction, art, music, religion, and spirituality are all ways you try to numb yourself or make sense of how you are feeling. Part of what brings this on is how vulnerable and sensitive you feel and how afraid you are of confrontation. The combination creates a volatile cocktail of brewing emotion, which all comes to a head in one dramatic incident, and then sticks with you long afterward as a grudge.
You need to scale back the Water in your chart by building "dams" - or, in this case, putting up boundaries. Right now there are no walls between your emotions and the people, places, and events surrounding you, so you get hit by everything. You are an empath. You soak up other people's negativity and hold it inside of you, dwelling on anger and grief that weren't even yours to begin with. All of their bullshit brings you down, sours your mood, makes your life miserable. Spirituality, psychology, imagination, and psychic insight may help you deal with things for a while, but dumping positivity on top of negativity doesn't clear you up.
Arm yourself with detachment. There are a special few people who should affect you, and all of them should know you really well. A big part of this is learning to become more comfortable with conflict. As difficult as that is for a sensitive person like yourself, it is essential to you overcoming your problems in life. You have to learn how to tell people "NO" and mean it! Rejection sucks, and I know you don't want to hurt anyone. But you can't let people walk all over you either. When you don't want to do something, be honest about how you feel and tell them no. Fire employees who don't work out. Discipline your kids. Stand up to your parents. Break up with the spouse that treats you like crap. You are entitled to your body, feelings, happiness, and success, and there is nothing wrong with side-stepping the people who don't add to your life.
(PS: My mother has this, and her advice is to "learn to block or release emotions in a positive way". I guess she would know. She has a massive Scorpio stellium.)
THE WATER TRANSFORMATION
As the cycle closes with the Water Element, it starts over again with Fire. Cancer becomes Leo, Scorpio becomes Sagittarius, and Pisces becomes Aries. The pot is heating up. As the water gets warmer it begins to let off steam, and once it gets hot it burns anyone it touches. Emotions are all released in a torrent of rage and then they are gone forever. The introverted person becomes louder and more outgoing. Eventually all the steam is let out completely, with no more pent up feelings to express, and the pot become a dry, hot piece of metal. Water has evolved into Fire by learning to express itself without fear of reprisal. And once it does, it will never go back.
Water becomes Fire as it becomes more comfortable with confrontation. As it matures it begins to put up boundaries between itself and others, becoming almost down-right insensitive to how other people feel. They learn to love themselves more than they love other people. They go from only showing themselves to the people they built a relationship with to their personality virtually exploding all over anybody they meet. Fear and secrecy give way to honestly and bravery. Fire appears once more - and the whole thing starts all over again.
That concludes our series on the Elements. Next up are the Qualities, starting with the Cardinal Signs. Click below to get started!