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The Missing Element: Inspiring Compassion for the Human Condition

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In The Missing Element , author Debra Silverman describes human nature in a compassionate and succinct way . Everyone longs to be understood and the author offers ways for us to get to know ourselves in depth with the wisdom of archetypes.

The information in this book stands on the shoulders of our elders, who understood the four directions, the four elements, the four noble truths. Whatever pain you experience is specific to your personality type, based on the four elements. Your issues will repeat themselves again and again until you can see yourself and others from the compassionate vantage point that unites all of us.

You will 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... that's why you found this book.

160 pages, Paperback

First published March 15, 2016

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Debra Silverman

3 books14 followers

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5 stars
175 (42%)
4 stars
117 (28%)
3 stars
91 (22%)
2 stars
23 (5%)
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3 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 42 reviews
Profile Image for Sarah.
557 reviews66 followers
March 23, 2018
My grandmother passed away today. I know that’s not something anybody wants or expects to hear at the beginning of a book review, but this blog has always been less about reviewing books (sorry bibliophiles) and more about journaling my own life and growth through the things that I read. And today my grandmother passed away, so this book will forever be hers.

Death has this way of focusing your mind on the important things in life. I’ve been feeling change within myself for awhile now. It’s been brewing and festering and begging me to pay attention. My body and my mind are craving balance. But even more than balance, I’m craving and manifesting a whole lot of feminine energy: peace, soft, calm, slow, gentle, creation, breath. Lots and lots of breath.

As I’ve been going through this transition, I stumbled across Debra Silverman through Rachel Brathen’s podcast, ‘From The Heart.’ Rachel had her natal chart read by Debra, which turned out to be a profoundly powerful experience. I’m closing in on my first Saturn Return and I’m being pulled to explore more deeply my connection to the planets, the stars, the earth, the Universe…

So I scheduled a natal chart reading for April, and I also picked up this book which Debra mentioned in Rachel’s podcast. Silverman outlines the four elements– Water, Air, Earth, and Fire– and encourages a healthy balance of each in our own lives. Not surprising, I’m slightly (or a lot…) out of whack. I’m super heavy in Water and Air elements, with a slight Earth presence, but barely a flicker of Fire.

I’m not sure how or why or when my balance shifted, nor am I entirely certain what I’m going to do about it (the thought of manifesting Fire traits at the moment seems particularly exhausting and maybe impossible…), but I’m hoping to get more information during my natal chart reading in a few weeks. In the meantime, I’m going to take Silverman’s suggestion from this book and spend a lot of time meditating and journaling about my circumstances and the ways in which these elements manifest in my life.

For the emotional and the open-minded, there’s wisdom here for you.


Bye for now, Grandma. You are loved beyond words. 1933-2018.
Profile Image for Mar-Anhelo.
79 reviews13 followers
February 1, 2020
Stick to the practical advice for balancing your elemental energy. Keep reading for unpopular opinion.

If you don't live in a white boomer hippie bubble, beware this book will make you eye roll so much. The stories of the people the author uses as examples are so 1991. Stereotypes people under 40 won't relate to. The moral compass for what defines strengths / shadow for every element lacks human complexity. It's very black and white. The stories that tell the meaning of every element are flavored with white saviorism, bootstrap mentality, nationalism, and more. The gender binary was used as one of the few structures for this book. The conclusion is so simplistic in its portrait of what's wrong with the world, it's concerning.

In one example, a successful couple of Earth people are apparently so generous that they even fought a Native American group to make a chunk of land public to the community. All the while standing on stolen and occupied land. The author completely ignores the fact that Earth people have been fighting for centuries to reverse the damage that colonialism and its effects continue to force upon the Earth. Grabbing land to gift to their white community sounds like stuff white people have been doing for hundreds of years. Seems more like the missing element in American society is self awareness.

I did read the whole book and it does contain some important wisdom, so read it and take what works and release what doesn't.

#DecolonizeAstrology already.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Molly.
129 reviews9 followers
March 27, 2021
Definitely too much on the self help side than the astrology side, which is why it was a 4 for me. However, I found so much of it so interesting and will for sure be referring back whenever I need to analyse someone 😌 Also got me dead on! Fire forever 🔥🔥🔥
Profile Image for Marianne Mersereau.
Author 12 books19 followers
November 1, 2021
This book contains a survey designed to tell the reader which of the four elements (fire, water, air or earth) are dominant in the personality. The author then describes ways to balance the elements and accept and celebrate the uniqueness of oneself and others.
119 reviews8 followers
August 11, 2016
Shifts Your Perspective – AHA Moments Galore!

This is the best get to know YOU books, for real. It is filled with directives that are easy, and simple, to follow so you get to know who YOU are and who others are in your life. Once you learn that, your life will change. You’ll gain an understanding of others, see things more clearly and then your compassion will increase to the point of not judging others but rather observing with a knowing that only comes from understanding, here we are full circle, the understanding which comes from reading this book. A very quick read. Filled with lots of AHA moments for YOU as well as others. Highly recommended.
February 12, 2018
Amazing Insight into Humans and being Human

I enjoyed reading this book. To be able to better my skills as an Observer and see new ways of looking at myself and other was truly an amazing gift.
Profile Image for kate.
13 reviews
April 15, 2018
It is not enough to flip through the element descriptions in hopes of identifying what you need more of and what you lack. This book must be read from start to finish. It feels dramatic to say that I’ve found myself in this book, but I’m going to stick with that and say that it’s true. I discovered reasons for my strengths and weaknesses and ideas on how to balance my inner self.

It gave me an understanding of others differences and a reason to not only accept but find pleasure in them. Debra teaches us to observe others with compassion but most importantly to come at ourselves with the most compassion of all. I know that I will carry this book with me and reference it from time to time.
It made me feel like a student in my favorite professor’s class again.

“Most of us were brought up to act like nice, civilized boys and girls, and to hide the aspects of ourselves that might be inappropriate or might upset people. It’s not a bad survival tactic if you don’t mind being in pain much of the time-- which is what it’s like when you’re only letting your so-called good side show.”
March 21, 2021
What I liked about this book: So often the Western world argues that we are either masculine or feminine in our behavior. Silverman instead argues that we are made up of the four elements (Earth, air, wind and fire) and that we must balance these elements in order to balance our emotions and actions. She had a quiz and (predictably) I had an abundance of earth. I like grounded, stable, energy and also things (props/set dec here, guilty as charged). What I didn’t like as much was that she still broke each element down into male and female “types”. Which seemed to undermine the general thesis. But I just treated them as two different “types” or earth or air people. On the whole I think 4 elements is a much better way to look at talking about human actions than gender. “She’s super fire-y aka passionate” sounds better to me than “She’s super masculine or feminine”. I would solidly recommend this book 📖 to discuss with a book group.
132 reviews9 followers
April 3, 2021
This was not what I expected. Having watched several of Debra's videos during her 2020 summit, where she made reference to this book many times, I expected it to be a voyage of self-discovery, culminating in permission to be my whole self (after first working out what that was), since that's her schtick. Alternatively, I thought it might tell me how to incorporate more of the element I lack in my natal chart into my life, to feel more balanced.

Most of it is descriptions of archetypal elements (each in turn), and it does make some effort to that latter, telling you the sorts of things that honor and bring out more of each element. She makes the point that you'll have an ebb and flow throughout your life, with more focus on different elements and less on others. So you'll want to keep the book to refer to as your priorities, focus, and life change, and you realize the missing element has shifted.

It was okay, and I don't regret buying and reading it. It just wasn't what I expected.
24 reviews
March 22, 2019
My sister and I enjoyed Rachel Brathen’s podcast episode with Debra Silverman a few years ago, and recently I ordered this book for her birthday. I ended up giving it to her late because I just had to read it myself! At first I was unsure, the book was a lot smaller than I imagined (thought it would be a larger, more comprehensive book on the elements, I hope that exists somewhere?), and the pages were magazine quality. But the contents were straight to the point, easy to read, and I found myself resonating strongly with all of the elements... I am triple air but don’t really remember the rest of my chart. After this I am inspired to try to understand where the other elements lie in my chart. I journaled while I read this. 4 stars because I came across several errors... I just don’t have it in me to give any book 5 stars that wasn’t thoroughly edited.
Profile Image for Lisa.
672 reviews
October 9, 2018
Thanks to Colette Baron-Reid's generous recommendations of other healers/authors work, I "met" Debra Silverman through her online astrological video lessons (entertaining and enlightening), which led to purchasing this book. Best to have your star chart ready when you start reading the book. This is not a how-to astrology book; rather Silverman shares her unique perspective on the "elements" shaping different aspects of our personality. There are survey quizzes and meditative tips for each section, plus stories of life transformations by real living people and the steps they took to accept, heal and grow their gifts. I do wish there was more astrology involved — Silverman is a bright, bouncy guide to all things cosmic — but this is her heartfelt debut book with (hope!) more to follow.
Profile Image for Cindy Lakatos.
283 reviews1 follower
July 22, 2020
This book was about understanding and coming to terms with your main elements and trying to achieve balance of all 4. Water, air, earth and fire. They all have value and struggles. We all tend to resonate with one or two more than others.

It gave me another lens to see people through (a very airy thing to do) which helped me understand me and others better. It gave insight on how to grow and also in how to support others so they can be the healthiest in their element as possible.

It wasn’t earth shattering. I wasn’t super inspired by it but it was an interesting perspective.
95 reviews
June 11, 2023
Before picking this book up, I was looking forward to begin learning about astrology and how it impacts our lives. Although I was expecting The Missing Element to go a bit deeper into the zodiac signs, it does do a good job of explaining the four elements of Water, Air, Earth, and Fire. I found myself thinking of specific close family members of mine who were born in each of the signs to see if the explanation matched up with who I know as people. There were definitely correlations, especially with the description of Water people (and men specifically) as it relates to who I am. Because of this, I will continue to find books that explain astrology further. This is also a book that will be easy to pick up and read specific chapters when I meet new people and want to relate who they are based on my perspective to their elemental signs. As part of purchasing this book through Debra Silverman, I received a birth chart, which will be helpful as I continue my understanding of the subject outside of my sign (Cancer) being water.
Profile Image for Casey D Wilder.
76 reviews3 followers
June 20, 2021
Really good read. Great for understanding yourself. If the reader has an open mind, they don't even need to subscribe to Astrology or anything like that. The idea of the four elements provide simple to understand archetypes making processing complicated identity crisis bits easier to understand (because there's a framework in place and not just an isolated issue. It provides context you could say.) Def got a lot of value out of it.
Profile Image for Amy.
273 reviews7 followers
June 16, 2017
Amazing book! Very thorough, and definitely will help you "fall in love with your fate" as Debra loves to sing! Smiles! If you want change in your life, need some perspective, clarification, or even if you are just learning, this book is for you! Get all four wheels of "your car" in line, balanced, and back on the road again! ;)
2 reviews
January 7, 2018
No need to be an astrologer to get a lot out of this book - a great jumping off point. The balance of elements - fire, earth, air, water - in the birth chart... too much fire? no air? How this presents in the personality and simple actions you can take to bring balance to dominant or missing elements. Fascinating!
3 reviews
February 23, 2018
Astrology with purpose

Debra Silverman is a unique astrologer who uses humor as well as practicality to help you determine how to think about your life and interact to reach your highest potential. Take her quiz, do the work and you will be rewarded with greater understanding of your goals and abilities to reach a higher level of satisfaction.
Profile Image for Emma Steinmetz.
56 reviews6 followers
August 5, 2019
Astrology and the elements are not my thing. However, Debra has a background in psychology, and I think her overall goal in this book is admirable. Essentially, she breaks humanity down into archetypes and elaborates on how each type thinks and feels. We can use these as a tool to understand the people in our lives better, and be more empathetic to them and towards ourselves.
Profile Image for ABCme.
320 reviews28 followers
April 4, 2021
The Missing Element is an interesting way of discovering why you are who you are and behave like you do. The parts of you that need more work are offered generous assistance in this book. The teaching moments are introduced by real life stories which makes them easier to comprehend. It does help to have some basic knowledge of astrology and the elements. Food for thought for sure.
49 reviews4 followers
October 14, 2017
Very interesting perspective on learning more about yourself. Definitely what I needed next on this path of personal awareness and growth. Also helpful in considering traits and behaviors of other people.
Profile Image for Sandy Burkett.
7 reviews9 followers
November 8, 2020
Easy read and conversational in its delivery. Many astrology books can be BORING but not this one. The book is insightful, funny and easily understood. Congratulations for helping anyone interested in self discovery and astrology engage in the journey. Much gratitude.
Profile Image for L. A. Day.
104 reviews1 follower
January 18, 2023
perfect book to read in the new year

I really found this book quite fascinating. If you are even mildly intrigued by astrology, this book will give you a deeper understanding of yourself and those around you.
Profile Image for Claire.
66 reviews1 follower
July 29, 2023
Read as part of the Tell Me a Story workshop. Easy fun read with useful self-inquiry questions to help see the world from different perspectives (water = emotions, air = mind, earth = practicality, fire = passion).
Profile Image for Karen.
Author 2 books22 followers
May 23, 2017
Pretty basic, but a good start to Self Love and Astrology.
Profile Image for Mare.
26 reviews
March 5, 2019
Inspiring quick read! Definitely a book to keep close by and reference for reminders.
Profile Image for Kyle Barber.
37 reviews2 followers
October 20, 2019
I adore Debra Silverman from her YouTube series. It’s a beautiful blend of astrology and therapy, delivered but a no-nonsense dynamo.
5 reviews
April 13, 2020
Everyone needs to read this book so our world can heal. Heal yourself so that you can find your purpose.
Profile Image for Kitsune.
1 review
July 14, 2020

Brilliant, eye 👁‍🗨 opening gem,
Love every page of the book.
Thank you so much for your magical work Debra
July 25, 2020
Great book with valuable and kind lessons.

Very interesting book to read and it is amazing how with it you can self-reflect on what you want to accept or improve in your life.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 42 reviews

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