The diagram on the right shows how the four elements, plus Spirit, are associated with each point on the Pentagram. Spirit is also considered by many to be the equation arrived at when the four Elements are added together. I have overlayed an image of a human being to show that although this is a complex metaphysical concept, it relates directly to us.
Each element is associated here with one of the fixed Zodiacal signs. In fact there are 3 signs per element, as follows: (each element is described in detail at the links shown)
The fixed signs are singled out as representatives because they act as amplifiers of energy. Think of these as the most "obvious" examples of the elemental natures of the Zodiacal signs.
It is usual in the Northern Hemisphere to think of the elements as shown on the diagram on the left, with Earth representing North, and so on in order clockwise. This is commonly how Wiccan and similar Pagan circles are cast. It is largely because of the Eurocentric nature of these traditions, the South being warmer, the Atlantic ocean to the West etc. But there are many who dispute these positions for reasons of logic, for example, Earth may be more appropriate to the East if you are in the British Isles, as this is where the huge landmass is, and the wind (Air) blows from the North. Obviously this simply doesn't work for Australians! Perhaps even in parts of in North America Water should be East, and Air should be West, and so on...it could be reasonably argued in many orders, but for others the traditional arrangement has nothing to do with geography, and is symbolic at a different level.
I will look at these traditional associations for each individual element.....
See also:The Four Elements and the Bible