This shows you how to calculate the balance of elements in your birth chart to determine if you have a dominant or weak element.
Most birth charts have a fairly even combination of elements, meaning that they have a few planets (and the ascendant) scattered around in signs of all four elements. However, if you have five or more in one element, you will most often identify with that dominant element, regardless of the element of your Sun sign. On the other hand, if you completely lack an element, or if you have only one or two planets in one element, the outcome is a bit different. A lack of an element (or a weak element, as in having 1 – 2 counts) means that the characteristics denoted by the weak element do not come easy to you. It makes it nearly impossible for you to function in the mode of the weak element. But ironically, people with a lack of an element usually respond by overcompensating for those missing qualities, and they end up acting as if they had that element strong in their chart. But it's never easy for them. Two points of an element indicate a minor deficiency; zero to one point may indicate a marked deficiency, unless a compensation exists in the rest of the chart.
The overall balance of elements is fun to take note of, but the entire chart must be studied for a complete portrait. Everything always depends on the rest of the chart.
Please note that there are specific compensations for a weak or lacking element that can sometimes have the effect of balancing the person out, if the compensations exist in the chart. However, compensations do not eliminate the deficiency. Instead, they increase the desire to behave like the particular element, without providing the skill to do so. Some of those compensations are listed in the interpretations below.
Having a dominant or weakest element will be noticeable in the overall temperament, but the element of each House cusp ruler will reveal a person's temperament in the sphere of life denoted by each House.
Here is a key for to show you which element each sign has. You can also use this printable worksheet to help you.
Calculation Instructions – for assessing the Balance of Elements
Give 2 points to each of the following elements:
- element of Sun sign
- element of Moon sign
Give 1 point to each of the following elements:
- element of Rising Sign (the Ascendant)
- element of midheaven sign (the M.C.)
- element of Mercury sign
- element of Venus sign
- element of Mars sign
- element of Jupiter sign
- element of Saturn sign
Add an extra point for each of the following:
- element of the sign of the dispositor of the Ascendant (using traditional ruling planets, not Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto)
- element of the sign of the dispositor of the Sun (using traditional ruling planets)
If one of the above happens to be in the 29th degree of any sign, split the point between that element and the element of the next sign, since it is so close to 0° of the next sign. So give each element in that case half a point. There should be a total of 13 points. Now, count the points for each element.
An element is dominant if it gets 5 or more points, but 5 is not so bad. Having 6 or more points is overly dominant.
An element is weak (or lacking) if it gets zero points, or 1 point. Also, if it has 2 or more points but those happen to be the farther planets like Neptune and Pluto, then consider that element weak.
Here are descriptions and interpretations for having a Dominant Element or a Weak Element (or Lack of an Element):
To learn more about the Elements, see Astrology Lesson 7: Elements, Qualities, & Polarities. Below are interpretations for having a Dominant Element and Weakest Element (Lack of Element).