space. And deep inside you can hear the plaintive cry, the longing for some sense of purpose, some feeling of being part of a larger life, some hope for the future. All those labours make it hard to live creatively. Another way of putting all this is that the earthy person's problem is : he doesn't know how to play. He has forgotten the state of childhood, which doesn't leave us just because our bodies are 'adult'. There is a secret child in all of us, full of wonder and na´vetÚ and the hope is that life will bring surprises, joys, bounties unexpected - like Santa Claus on Christmas morning. If fire is the eternal child, earth is the eternal old man or old woman. He is often old when he is young, being more sensitive to and more willing to undertake responsibility; and this very gift which allows him to look realistically at what he must accomplish in life, is also his greatest enemy. Unless he can break loose from the treadmill of his bondage to what he calls reality, he is especially liable to fear death as the final reckoning: a definitive summation of his own life, whose underlying significance has somehow eluded him.
Fire signs often have a terribly intense secret longing for the very security, stability, and 'ordinariness' which in public they may be heard to condemn as drab and suffocating. Earth signs, by contrast, have an equally intense, equally secret, equally unspoken longing for the spiritual. This is frequently in the guise of superstition, which is even more embarrassing, since they are so quick to demand the facts, and so apparently anything but gullible. But there is no more spiritually gullible element than earth, although you may have to get your earth sign friend drunk to get him to admit that he knocks on wood all the time, won't pass under ladders, and has a horror of spilling the salt. Earth signs are often fascinated by ghosts, psychism and other para-psychological phenomena which are an everyday part of life of fire. But the earth person will often not consider these things as part of the universe, a natural part which is perhaps not yet understood. He 'believes' in the 'supernatural' in a covert way without recognizing the implications of such a world. So - predictably - he will look for these qualities in a partner. Earth is attracted to fire, just as fire is attracted to earth. The earthy type will often be seen in careful, systematic pursuit of a love-object which symbolizes the medium, the inspiration, the creative spirit - the guide who can share with him the secrets of the cosmos, the bringer of drama and fire and life. Unfortunately these fiery partners, who may perhaps be in touch with some inner mystery, be it spiritual or unconscious, cannot parcel out this kind of insight like bread and cheese. Such experiences are wholly individual, intensely personal, and inexplicable in concrete terms. As Lawrence Durrell wrote:
Intuitives find language an obstacle, a clumsy hurdle. The eyes understand wordlessly - for words conceal more than they reveal.
You can imagine what sort of a problem it is for the earthy person to understand the abstruse and volatile symbolic language of fire.
For earth can accept nothing unless it is backed up by the testimony of his senses. He is often like a dog bound by a long lead to a post. He runs round and round, yet can never get beyond the circumscribed length of the chain - a chain forged by his insistence that the senses are the only means of apprehending reality. What a problem! The following is a typical dialogue one may overhear at parties:
EARTH: But don't tell me you believe in all that sort of rubbish.
FIRE: I don't 'believe' in it, and it isn't rubbish. I just know certain things. I've had experiences.
EARTH: Maybe you were on drugs at the time. What kind of experiences?
FIRE: Oh well, you know. I can't explain it. But I believe things happen which we can't explain rationally.
EARTH: Nonsense. Everything has a rational explanation.