Absence of element/modality means strong?


Active member
Ok, I'm gonna rock the boat a little bit here...

So I was just introduced to this concept of "lacking an element emphasizing it," and I have to say it sounded very counter-intuitive. I started reading more about this, and if I understand correctly, lack of an element creates one of two possibilities:

1) The lacking element suddenly becomes strongly emphasized.
2) The lacking element stays just what it is... lacking.

With this all or nothing situation, it got me thinking about what else could be causing such results in the data (First of all, if I'm wrong in understanding that it creates these all or nothing types of results, you can stop me right here!).

So here's what I got to thinking... and I don't think people are gonna like this:

What if the tropical zodiac (based on the seasons) is not good for reflecting the distribution of elements, and we actually need to use the sidereal zodiac (based on the actual star positions) for this?

Due to the precession of the equinox, there is currently a discrepancy of about 22 degreed between the two zodiacs. So basically, in all of our charts, we would have to move everything back by 22 degrees, for them to reflect the actual position of the planets, the ascendant, etc, against the backdrop of the zodiac.

This could very well account for the very mixed results that we seem to be getting with this lack of an element theory.

For example, my chart drawn up with the tropical zodiac shows a complete lack of air. But the same chart drawn up with the sidereal zodiac shows 4 planets in air!!! (see attachments below)

Now, I haven't read the book that Astrologer50 has recommended (Shirley Lyons Meier, "Elemental Voids, More than Meets the Eye"), so I don't feel fully qualified to challenge the theory.

But all the same, I just thought I would bring up this idea. Because this would account for how in some charts, lack of an element emphasizes the element (as the actual location of planets as viewed from earth will reveal a greater emphasis on this element), while in some charts it will leave the element de-emphasized (because the shift is only 22 degrees, and not a whole 30 degrees... meaning if planets are at the 'end' of their signs, they will just 'move back' to the beginning of the sign in the sidereal zodiac).

Just a thought...

I can't imagine many folks liking this idea though, as it could potentially throw off 'everything we know' about astrology...


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dr. farr

Well-known member
Interesting theory-I think there is quite possibly "something to it"...however, elements (as "doshas") are involved in Vedic astrology as well, and element voids are also found in some cases in Vedic and they do use sidereal; in Chinese astrology the animal zodiac is fixed (it is actually equivalent to our tropical) and they are perhaps the most advanced (or at least detailed) in elemental thinking (they use the 5 element model) In our Western model, I personally believe that the typical chart-elemental analysis is far too simple to yield anything more than quite general indications: historically in addition to the full signs involved, there are also subdivisions (decans: the pre-Ptolemaic Manilius decans, or the more commonly applied Chaldean faces)) which contribute elemental qualities, and a further subdivision (sign 1/12th called duads or duodenaries) which contribute additional elemental qualities (this tripartite "viewpoint" was how charts were often analyzed in the Greek times, when elemental qualities-and their implications-were accorded great meaning in chart delineation)
Analysis of a typical tropical natal chart in this light, will yield a more detailed, individualized and specific elemental picture.
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You have 2planets in AIR houses which helps. Plus let's not forget secondary progressions, as we age they is a chance of 'gaining' that element by progressions. Starlink is correct, if you do lack an element BUT have it on Asc or MC, then it does help compensate. I only have mars in gemini in 5th,but Aquarius Ascendant and 4planets in AIR houses. I also lack water (only 1 Neptune singleton in scorpio) so this acts like a funnel or handle of bucket chart, plus I have 4planets in water houses. Plus Neptune opposite 'luminaries' softening ego, emotions and adding neptunian/watery energies.

So if after making the necessary adjustments like Asc/MC and planets in houses you still have a lack of element or quality then there's concern of how to express this missing element/quality. You could compensate for lack of water by having moon aspecting pluto to, for lack of air mercury could aspect uranus or mars. But there will always be 'some' kind of uncomfortable reaching or expression when something is missing or low in elements/qualities.

You could be attracted to people with this missing element/quality or over compensate by going over the top with. Classic lack of earth but saturn or planets in 2nd, 6th 10th. But with Saturn it shows also where we 'lack confidence' and also have to compensate by putting more effort and energy into it's sign, house and aspects to...

Anyone here wants to research the differences between tropical v sidereal try here -

Sidereal v tropical astrology


Active member
@ Astrologer 50,

Ok, I see what you're saying, and that makes sense. I guess I had not got into the topic in detail enough to know all of the compensations! So it sounds like even when we get the element in one of these supplementary ways, it is likely to be in a very specific way that it manifests, outside of which we're again in the dark in terms of that element?

About that last post, sorry I thought I'd be a smart alec and throw a curve ball into the discussion ;-) :p


Well-known member
I have two good friends who both are lacking in Air. Interesting thing is that they are my friends, when my ruling planet is Venus in Aquarius and the truth is that our relationship has much to do on talking about their problems and me bringing it all into a perspective in a larger view, using my Air for their good when they do not have it themselves.

Both of these people are very interested in languages. Learning languages and using it. But I have to say that neither of them are really intelligent in the way that intelligent would be normally understood in our society. They are very emotional and practical, wonderful people, but they have hard time understanding large concepts of ideas, mathematics and abstract ideas. They are not too interested in anything that does not concern their immidiate lifes. They do not read newspapers or read theoretical books and they get bored really easily if they have to read anything that's too "airy". They do not know anything about politics and I would be surprised if they knew who is the president at the moment. ;)

I think that if people with lacking element try to overcompensate the element, is shows in a concrete ways. For example, both of my friends love to learn new languages and society and new cultures and travelling short and long distance will be their career. They will never become more logical or socially talented in their mental mind, cause they are the way they are (and good that way), but they compensate on they ways that they can - by going in to things that are ruled by AIR.

I have heard this before too. That many times people who lack in element are overcompensating the lack in a way that things that rule that element may become ones career or lifetime task. Just like Freud did not have any water in his chart, he had a career in things that involve water element things - psychology and emotions. He still did not have the natural understanding of his own emotions, but he did overcompensate that by his actions and his career.

My mom does not have anything in water and I feel her as being quite inconsiderate and insensitive. She cannot "read"/feel situations at all and she does not really respect peoples personal space. She has hard time to understand deeper meanings of things and she seems to overcompensate her lack in water by listening to melodramatic music and crying with it. :tongue: I guess it is the only way for her to get in touch with her emotions, to really make concerete actions about her emotions - when she is angry, she is REALLY showing it, when she is sad, she has to cry two days for it to know her self that she really is feeling something. So emotions are not natural for her cause she makes TOO big deal out of them.
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Active member
Classic lack of earth but saturn or planets in 2nd, 6th 10th. But with Saturn it shows also where we 'lack confidence' and also have to compensate by putting more effort and energy into it's sign, house and aspects to...

Hello Astrologer50, I am curious if you can offer me any other insight into this exact scenario. This fits me so perfectly! No earth..Saturn in 6th w/tight sq to sun in 10th. Can moon in 2nd. Ive had lots of opportunity and great success at times in my life, but no stability...no grounding. Lots of tough lessons! There has been growth & astrology has helped me understand and recognize my limitations in these areas. NN in Sag speaks to treating this life as a quest..journey of expansion and new philosophic grounding - oh and there is that "word again".
I would be grateful for any insight you have that might help me. My life came crashing down hard 2yrs ago & I have been feeling extremely blocked and defeated since. I so desire forward movement but feel apprehensive...lots of fear around all of this.
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Szanne, prob best to create your own post and attach a chart from astro.com as the one you posted (for me at least) is inadquate....
Re: Need some education: Which charts to use when?

Beginning to Study Astrology

How to attach a chart as thumbnail

what members like to see in a thread – help forum

May I suggest you read the 'welcome to the world of astrology’ and other ---sticky' at the top of this forum? It has some great explanations, links etc. At the top of every forum there are lots of ‘stickys’ which explain matters in that forum, along with guidelines & tips

There is a 'plethora' of information on AW, espec in the 'stickys' at the top of every forum, our Education forum and Recommendations forum to. Plus we have a good search feature,[but not foolproof obviously, so try here first] bit like google using keywords – initially select advanced and try just selecting 'titles' rather than posts or you'll get too many threads. If this doesn’t get results then try google

What Astrology Can and Can Not Do

Perhaps you should read this thread entitled: astrology predicts meanings, not events


Active member
Hello Astrologer50,
Thank you so much for all the info and links. As you probably saw, I am new to the forum. When I read your comments on previous post I got too excited! It's ME.
I know "some" about astrology. I have studied it off and on for many years. This forum is extremely enlightening and I need to spend a lot more time on the basics - so thank you for reminding me. I can definitely go over to astro.com and use their chart. It does show a lot more complete information.
I especially enjoyed reading Susan Miller's "What Astrology can and can not do?".
Her comment about when you are going thru hard times....astrology can give you hope~ Thankyou again...smiles


Well-known member
So if a person with no planets expressed in an element still has one or two planets housed in airy planets, that means they still have it expressed, at least at bare minimum? is this correct?

now you actually mean traditional 'airy houses' such as 3, 7 and 11, correct? and not houses that an individual has an air ruler (like gemini rising)? or is both correct?


Well-known member
Someone I am close to has no earth planets, no earth signs on angles, and no earth on either nodes!!!! He does have 4 planets in the 2nd house, south node in 10th. He has developed ways to ground himself some, but the lack of earth is incredibly obvious!

Another person I am close to has no water planets and no planets in water signs. He has pisces south node though. He is very objective in his dealings and it takes a lot to get his feelings hurt. His whole family have water sun signs though, so he is surrounded by water.
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Well-known member
i know! almost all my planets are air but almost most all of them are in the 5th house witch is leo idk tho lol but i do act like self confident and that stuff too so i think its juss like a secondary thing you are with your houses


Well-known member
A very interesting post and something I have wondered about myself for years!

I have no air in my chart (apart from NN if that counts)
Im also limited in water having saturn at 0 degrees pisces and neptune in scorpio.

I have no lack of communication though in my life (im a lecturer who talks all day and have a great empathy with the people I associate with)
I do struggle with concepts that are not fact based, and have alot of difficulty with predominant air/water sign people, basically its because i have no idea where they are coming from and seem to be annoyingly unpractical in everything they do.

I have read that sometimes people compensate by having partners that contain the element the other lacks, however, the love of my life also has no air, slight amount of water and completely earth even more than me!
(he has earth sun, mercury, venus, mars, uranus, pluto, MC and fire moon, jupiter, saturn and ASC)
(I have earth sun, moon, mars, jupiter, uranus, pluto, MC and fire mercury, venus, and ASC)

note - after discussing the empathy statement I have just made with my SO he has said I am not empathetic as I dont associate with many people, I have thought about this and decided he is right - so amended lol.

and NO we are not BORING haha
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New member
I have no Air in my chart, except for Chiron in Gemini.
Gemini asc, Mercury in Pisces square Uranus...
Can Venus be considered an Air as it rules Libra? It's in my 11th house and trine Uranus.

I have poor memory for facts and usually I "feel" my way through conversation, reading body language and read between the lines (Piscean Merc), and it's very easy for me to drift away.
I'm good at learning new languages, but my brain can't handle Physics or Chemistry subject.
I enjoy reading Philosophy cos the concept interest me (perhaps this is cos Aquarius is the ruler of my 9th, and Jupiter in Pisces there), but I wouldn't remember what I read after a while... It's frustrating =.=

Anyway, my sis once said "you look like a dumb person and someone who doesn't know anything, but inside you know a lot." (Gemini asc => I smile and laugh too much). Thanks to my Pisces Mercury quintile Neptune, I'm saved =)
Mom said, I'm too naive.

So yeah... No Air, poor memory, lack objectivity, trouble in expressing myself clearly in common words (I write poems, in Neptunian language), and I dislike small talk, talking about everyday stuff just kills me, plus terrible at "mind games".


New member
Can I ask though, can someone be lacking the element when having only one planet in that element makes it a singleton? And doesn't singleton mean doubling the tendency of an element?
For example, Mars in Aquarius is the only planet with air element. Or someone with a Mars in Capricorn, only planet in Earth. Both Mars singleton.
With Mars in Aquarius singleton, always know what to say, always coming out with reasons, "headtrip" it.
Mars in Capricorn, bury themselves in work when problems come up. And more obvious than just anyone with Mars in Capricorn.

Sorry I'm a bit confused... =.=


Well-known member
I have practically no air in my chart at all, which has caused me some insecurity since I learned about it (especially because I'm an academic!) From my experience, earth sign reasoning tends to be a little more detail-oriented and inductive, and air sign reasoning a bit more top-down and theoretical. So I'm good with details, and not so great with the bigger picture all the time. And it does help being around my air sign friends, whose reasoning I can observe in action so as to figure out how to use it on my own. And then my fire signs (and perhaps the water) make it very, very difficult for me to do anything that I don't absolutely love for very long. If I'm miserable, it shows in my work. I can't compartmentalize worth ****.

My lack of air might also explain why I had a crisis of faith over studying a discipline that didn't seem to have any real practical application. I love art, and I love working with ideas, and I totally respect people who love ideas for their own sake, but for my life's work I'd prefer to be getting my hands dirty a bit. And I absolutely, absolutely have to feel like I'm solving a problem. I also think this is an cardinal sign (Capricorn and Aries, for me) thing, and perhaps an earth/fire thing as well. I think all signs can be great problem-solvers, of course, but solving problems is sort of how I define myself. I feel most proud of myself when I've fixed something that no one else could figure out how to fix, whether it's a computer or a camera or a relationship. I like finding the missing piece. I don't generally sit back and analyze things, and I'm not the best at just providing support; whether with emotions or physical issues, my first impulse is "how do we fix this?" Which is great sometimes and not so great at others.

Oh yeah, and I also have NO mutable anything in my chart. I'm roughly half fixed, half cardinal. I envy people with mutable immensely.
Hello Astrologer50,
Thank you so much for all the info and links. As you probably saw, I am new to the forum. When I read your comments on previous post I got too excited! It's ME.
I know "some" about astrology. I have studied it off and on for many years. This forum is extremely enlightening and I need to spend a lot more time on the basics - so thank you for reminding me. I can definitely go over to astro.com and use their chart. It does show a lot more complete information.
I especially enjoyed reading Susan Miller's "What Astrology can and can not do?".
Her comment about when you are going thru hard times....astrology can give you hope~ Thankyou again...smiles

Your chart ruler mercury is a singleton BUT having Asc and 5planets in air houses really helps to compensate for this. In Equal house your mercury would be 8th house. Remember planets are modified by signs, where they express are houses and how they express are *aspects*

Your lack of earth element however suggests you are not very practical or a 'doer' so what you like at gardening or changing plugs??


Staff member
nuthatch et al.--

I just have one planet in a water sign--and not the strongest sign for this planet (Mars in Pisces) at that. My chart is mostly air and fire.

I do think people can train themselves to compensate, just as a person with poor sight can train themselves to hear or tactilely feel details the rest of us would miss. You never really get the element in question (except through progression) but you can develop a workable alternative.

Having planets in "air", "water", &c. houses helps. The sign-house correlation is vastly overdone, but I have seen cases where someone without much water in her chart seems more watery, for example, by virtue of strengths in the 4th house.

Similarly, someone might have no planets in mutable signs, but an emphasis on cadent houses.

But one always has to look at the whole chart. For example, a singleton planet in a sign, as the "handle" on a bucket formation or the tip of a yod, and dignified in its own sign, would be a big focal point in the horoscope.

One of the best books I know of on this topic is Stephen Arroyo, Astrology, Psychology, and the Four Elements. Basically the elements indicate what is very real to the individual:

air: ideas
earth: material things, practicality
fire: initiative
water: emotions, feelings.

As an academic, nuthatch, you are no doubt surrounded by people to whom the abstract world of ideas is very important. But a field like studio art seems well-suited to earth and water: earth because of the media (ceramics, sculpture, even paint and canvas) and water because of the ability to key into one's inner feelings.


Well-known member
waybread, that's quite helpful. I'm sure my Jupiter in Aquarius (the tip of my "kite" has a lot of energy focused on it. I've also got my Pallas in Gemini, for what that's worth, and I love wordgames.

Not sure if you were talking about me specifically, but I'm actually not in studio art--I was more speaking about art in general. I studied Renaissance literature for a time (which I loved, but I felt too cloistered), then switched to communications and composition pedagogy (which I'm trying to connect to fiction writing--have always been trying to bridge the gap between "creative" and "academic" writing), and I'm now feeling like I really need to make something of my own. I'm fine with theory as long as I can also feel like I'm being creative and solving practical problems.

I actually have a friend with a very similar chart pattern to mine, except that she's got almost all air and practically no fire. And she is actually a very expressive, passionate, outgoing personality with great ability to get others "fired up" about things. And, like you said, she says that she actually had to work to allow herself to express those feelings. I wonder if sometimes the elements that are missing in our charts are things that we have but don't feel comfortable expressing.

For me, my intellect and communication in particular was always a huge source of insecurity--I'd been told I was intelligent, but I always felt horribly inarticulate, and I believed that it didn't matter how smart you were if you couldn't properly express it. It's gotten better, but sometimes I still feel like I have the amazing ability to leave the one vital piece of information out of every sentence when I talk.

Chiron in Gemini didn't help that either, I'm sure. Nor did having natal Mercury in Retrograde. Jeez, I'm amazed sometimes that I can put two words together, much less speak three languages :) But somehow languages have always been a thing of mine, and I pick them up very quickly. Might be because I am overcompensating and am thus eager to study any rules.


Staff member
nuthatch, your Jupiter as the tip of a kite in Aquarius sounds good for an academic. Jupiter rules higher education.

I had an academic career for many years, although I retired a few years ago. My Mercury is retrograde, as well, and I don't think it's always a bad thing. It confers the ability to look over and review--repeatedly--any facts or evidence that do not seem to fit, until you find the "key" that makes everything fall into place. Also, I don't expect events to run smoothly, with Mercury retrograde, so I tend to build a lot of redundancy into my plans, so that I have a back-up plan for anything important.

When I was lecturing, Mercury retrograde was a disadvantage, so I learned to keep a solid set of notes and then to work from slides in which the key points were itemized in a logical order, so that students had some visuals to follow.

Do you have a strong 3rd or 9th house?

I don't think compensation is a bad thing. With so little water in my chart, I couldn't guess how people would react on an emotional level to many things. I had to learn to really listen to people and to observe their behaviour in detail. Now that I have the time to indulge myself in hobbies like astrology, this mental habit is proving useful in horoscope readings. It does help to "connect the dots" in seeing how what people write is a manifestation of their horoscope placements.


Well-known member
I have no air planets, I feel it's important to get a degree even though school has always been hard for me. I am very good at understanding concepts especially philosophical ones. Some of my best marks have been in psychology and philosophy courses. Teachers trying to teach me geometry on the other hand, horrible experience. I was also told I would never be able to read or write........... I am now in university. Even the guidance counselors would tell me school isn't for me. I think my main issue is lack of focus and fleeting interest in things. I think my biggest challenge is critical thinking and coming to provable conclusions not just feeling them out without explanation. My main self critique is that I understand things very quickly but can not explain how or make solid points. Like if I meet someone and say ' I don't like them they have bad intentions', I can't give a real reason why. I am very sensitive to how my body reacts around people, though I always know when someone is staring at me lol. I also say some pretty crazy stuff and can ask some questions in school that make people crack up laughing. I remember I was learning about the Buddhist religion in an advanced religion course, which was my first religion course I ever took. I couldn't stop thinking about the Buddhist monks rules against sleeping with the Naga (serpent like creatures) people. People didn't get it but I realized these rules could also apply to dream realities. People laughed but the professor actually said I was right.. so I don't think I am dumb I just might have a weird way of going about figuring things out. Also, I can hand in assignments get A's on them and then the next week not want to do any work and not hand in my assignments, also I have to write my assignments in one shot without thinking. This even applies to 15 page assignments. If I stop I might get confused and I usually don't remember what I wrote until I reread it (Mercury 12th house???). I still pass but I could get better grades if I was more consistent.
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