individually, studying its laws and its nature, savouring it, and moving on to the next, gradually building up a body of facts and experiences which allow them to function in life by dealing with the things of this life.  Render unto God what is God's, and unto Caesar what is Caesar's.  The fire signs tend to spend a lot of time on God, while the earth signs court the careful acquaintanceship of the needs and expectations of Caesar - or, as the Cathars would have said, of rex mundi, the Lord of This World. 

Earthy people tend to be at home with their bodies.  They like bodies, they feel comfortable clothed in flesh; often they believe themselves to actually be their bodies.  If you ask a group of people individually, 'Who are you?' and ask for the first honest spontaneous answer, you will see the elements very quickly coming to the fore.  The intuitive will seek to articulate - if possible - that he is his innermost spiritual essence, his creative source.  The earth sign will tell you, or experience himself as, his body.  After all, what better friend than his body?  It is as far as many of us know of reality.  So earthy people are usually healthy, because they neither repress nor undervalue the needs of the body. 

They are at home with objects, and can usually manage money and responsibilities in an apparently effortless way which is most upsetting to their fiery comrades.  Earthy people have a gift to actualizing their desires.  They take the time to explore all the practical aspects of a situation, and do not reach for what is impossible.  So they are successful in those areas which require discipline, hard work, application, diligence, patience and care.  Fire is much too sloppy to be bothered with this kind of patience.  Earth knows that every birth must be preceded by a gestation which is awaited with tenderness and caution.  If your eyes are fairly kept close to the ground, you won't miss much on the path you are walking. 

The problem, of course, is (as the quote at the beginning of this chapter humorously points out) that if you keep your eyes fairly closely to the ground, you never get to see the sky; and you are likely to form a picture of the universe which, rather than spanning the broad, interconnected canvas of fire, will be bitty, and reduced to constant monotonous round of daily details and facts.  The failing, the one great danger with the earth signs lies in the secret dark side which we have been talking about.  Because there is a tendency to ignore or undervalue or repress the wilder, grander, more fantastic visions and leanings of their natures, earthy people are prone to dogmatism, narrowmindedness, over-possessiveness, over-simplification, and a compulsive ordermaking.  Just as the details of mundane life threaten the fire sign's vision, too much vision threatens the security of earth.  Fire fears order; earth fears disorder.   As the French poet Paul Valéry wrote: 

The world is constantly threatened
by two things:  order and disorder. 

Because the innate chaos of life, its randomness, its movement, its incessant propensity to shift and change, are so terrifying to earthy people, they have a tendency to build bastions in which they can retreat and feel safe from the ever-present threat of the unknown.  As fire loves what it does not know and has not yet seen, earth cherishes what is known, familiar and trustworthy.  Life is, perhaps, a paradox containing both.  While earthy people can manage with ease the complexity of the world of objects, they are dangerously liable to miss the inner significance of their own lives.  Because of their fear of chaos and that which is unknown or changeable, earthy people are often beleaguered with irrational fears and vague apprehensions. 

Sometimes you will see earthy people who have stomped so ruthlessly on their imagination, their intuition, that they live in an endless grey twilight of labours and routines that, while gradually increasing the pile of objects around them, never ease the real hollow

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