The Key to Astrological Compassion? “It’s elemental, my dear”

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

This article is a spiritual book review. I recently got the chance to review Debra Silverman’s ‘The Missing Element’. And I need to say how much I loved reading this book! Deborah has been a person I used to learn astrology from a while ago (before astrology became popular on Youtube, in the dawn of the Pluto in Sagittarius era). I remember her witty and theatrical rendition of each of the 12 zodiac signs’ characteristics, and was impressed by how well she captured their essence (both the flaws and the qualities). So being sent her book was a welcomed surprise. In this post, as I’m describing the reasons why I enjoyed reading her book, I also hope to equip you with some inspiring astrological knowledge.

The book cover to Deborah Silverman’s book ‘The missing element’

Debra is a famous American astrologer with a background academic education in Psychology (a thing we share in common). She’s been practicing astrology for the past 40 years, and furthermore she is a Gemini Sun – which means that she is a natural at verbal and written, communicative skills. I’m really suprised to see that given her experience, this is her first astrology book! To give you some insight, I’m placing below the editorial description of her book:

In The Missing Element, author Debra Silverman describes human nature in a compassionate and succinct way. We are all made of four basic elements – Water, Air, Earth, and Fire. When we’re in pain, it means these elements are out of balance in our lives. The key is to be able to discern your own personality and understand where you can strengthen the parts of your elemental nature that are out of balance.  But even more important, this book is about waking up the Observer in you, so you can experience the beauty and fullness of who you are far away from judgment. Becoming the Observer inspires your compassion and nurtures your wisdom for all of us. When we aren’t judging ourselves and others we are more loving. And when we are loving we take better care of ourselves and other people and the planet. The Missing Element will help you understand that your life and all its stories were designed by your soul to get your attention right now. It is inviting you to seek the wisdom of the ages to help you grow. By gaining an awareness of unique behavioral tendencies under stress, you will gain an understanding and compassion for yourself and others.

I thought it was interesting how the book focused on how understanding the elemental differences between our personalities (that some are Airy, others are Watery, some more Fiery and other more Earthy) served the purpose of living together with more compassion. The core idea of the book is that an awareness of our innate elemental differences helps us mend ‘broken bridges’ in our personal relationships, where previously there was a lack of understanding, intolerance and division. I think that is such a beautiful and necessary message for the upcoming collective upgrade of the Age of Aquarius. Although, I must admit it is also hard to put into practice such a beautifully ideatic perspective.

Sample page from ‘The Missing Element’ – the book is wonderfully decorated with inspiring and colourful photographs

For example, I used to live next to some neighbours who would blast me with loud and repetitive music each night (even as I was trying to write this blogpost 🙂 My fiery neighbours don’t fit so well with my watery nature (seeing as I am Pisces Sun). So my need for peace and tranquility clashed with my neighbour’s need for daily disco. It was either a case of ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ or the flight response. I chose the latter, as the only way I could solve that conflict was by finally moving out. So on a pragmatic level, some elemental differences are better left as they are (even if they can be mentally understood and processed into more noble nuggets of wisdom – i.e. that perhaps my neighbour found it hard to stil in stillnes and listen to his own thoughts due to some childhood wounding).

But coming back to the book, I love the way the book is structured, especially the sections about the story of each element and how to work with them. As a reader you get a useful list with the characteristics of each element and then also their shadow aspects. Even if you have little time to spare, you can open the book and quickly skimm it for quick facts to use in your coaching/counselling practice (although I would recommend reading the book fully, for sheer enjoyment). There are also condensed chapters on the elemental man and the elemental woman. I thought it was interesting to describe them in such a way, although my Millenial mind kept thinking about how tran-sex individuals might use this book. Maybe in a subsequent edition (and I’m sure there will be many), the book can be enhanced by including an elemental analysis on the gender spectrum.

Sample page from ‘The Missing Element’ – the book is wonderfully decorated with inspiring and colourful photographs

In conclusion, as a young astrologer and socio-psychologist I find this book to be useful because it helps me link the signs to their element and then connect these to their deep psychological needs. For example, the watery trio of Cancer/Pisces/Scorpio, who have watery natures also have different and specific needs compared to the earthy trio represented by Virgo/Taurus and Capricorn. By understanding the elemental needs of each trio you can then figure out how to love them, work with them, teach or coach them and just relax or have fun with them. This elemental approach to astrology reminds me of the Chinese Zodiac and how each of the 12 animals represented in the Chinese Lunar calendar also come equipped with a specific elemental charge (Earth, Wood, Metal, Fire and Water). The book is also really fun to read, so I would strongly recommend purchasing and enjoying it!

If you’ve made it this far, let me know down in the comments section: What astrology books have you been reading and would recommend?

With universal love,

Lexi ❤

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