A popular pastime among my friends in high school was anything that had to do with self-analyzing. Handwriting analysis, picture analysis or personality analysis—as long as it helped bring self-awareness, it was cool.

Then came our Tanya teacher and introduced us to aAir has no meaning or substance new form of personality—one not in the books we were reading—and it had to do with four elements. All matter can really be classified into fire, air, water and earth (this was much easier than the elements in chemistry class!), and each of the four elements spiritually symbolizes a core character trait of the animal soul. The animal soul is not evil, but may present negative characteristics in its quest to cater to its own selfish or instinctive needs.


Anger erupts like a raging fire, rising and destructing like fire itself. Fire represents the personality of one who is easily vexed, and whose pride is easily punctured.


Water is key for the growth of many of life’s pleasures, such as delectable foods from both the plant and animal variety. Water, therefore, represents the personality of one who has an insatiable appetite for life’s material pleasures, and who is constantly on the lookout for more.


Air has no meaningful substance; it represents the personality of one who enjoys empty talk or boasting.


Earth represents depression and laziness, as one who is depressed is drawn downward in an earthlike fashion. This personality feels a heaviness and a lack of motivation to get things done.

Then began the guessing game of where each of us fit into which category, analyzing ourselves and our biggest challenges.

Tanya Bit: I will consider which of the four elements resonates as my instinctive nature and will work to make improvements.

(Inspired from Chapter 1 of Tanya)