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Posted on Wednesday, February 21, 2001 - 11:18 pm:   

In the discussion on ear infections, Auriel asked how she could balance the elements. She was particularly interested in fire and water, the two main antagonists since they are opposite in most every respect.

For instance, water tends to want to preserve the past and fire to create the future. Water is cold and moist and fire is hot and dry. Water is building, anabolic, whereas fire is consuming, catabolic. The balance of these two elements determines metabolism as well as a host of other physiological and psychological conditions.

In the case in question, the immediate solution for increasing fire would be to add spices to food when it is cooked. One should use only non-irradiated spices and cook food in such a way that the spices are absorbed while the food in cooking. Spices tend to aid digestion, promote peristalsis, and more importantly to raise metabolism, help to eradicate pathogens, and bring up the body temperature to a level where primitive organisms do not proliferate as easily. Some spices are hugely detoxifying and antiseptic. Cloves and cinnamon are amazing in this regard the volatile oils in many herbs and spices have antiseptic properties. Oregano is especially cleansing.

Bitter herbs are also detoxifying but they are cold rather than warm so if balance is the main objective, spices are quicker in action whereas if fighting infection is more critical, immune formulae can be considered.

One could also consider toothpastes, mouth washes and gargles to help drive immune boosting herbs to the infected areas, many of which are aggravated by dental conditions and dental work that was not performed in a way that is safe for patients.

See my site for more information of this type.
Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2002 - 11:47 am:   

I have read "Homeopathic Psychology", by Philip M. Bailey, M.D. He lists the personality types of the major constitutional remedies. I see a little of myself in several remedies: staphysagria, baryta, aurum, alumina, sulphur, graphites... I've taken 10m staphysagria - and experienced a distinct relaxation for quite a while. I was given sulphur 10m with calcarea 1m -several years ago - did not notice a change with those. Is it a "trial and error" procedure until finding a remedy that has the best overall effect? I usually wait at least 6 months before trying something new if the first remedy is ineffective.
Michelle Thelen
Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2002 - 4:25 pm:   

I am a student of Oriental Medicine at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in San Diego, about to complete my first year of training.
In our school, we discuss 5 elements. Earth, Water, Fire, Metal and Wood. I've also studied astrology for a couple of years, taking classes with an excellent teacher.
The information on water/fire affecting metabolism is very interesting. In the study of herbs, I have learned that bitter, cold herbs tend to drain fire while spicy, warm herbs tend to relieve edema and move qi in the body. Cinnamon (Gui Zhi) is a major herb in many formulas because it moves yang qi anywhere in the body, helping to increase blood flow. It also disperses wind (considered an "evil" that gets into the pores and weakens the body).
I have wondered about how cardinal, mutable and fixed signs react differently to stressors in the environment. Does anyone have info regarding?
Renee Regis
Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2002 - 4:58 pm:   

My name is Renee and this is the second time that I have been to the bulletin board. I hope it's ok to jump in? IF there is a protocol to start I don't know it.
After I wrote last time I got lost and couldn't find my way back. So this time I put this page in my Favorites drop down box.
I think I have very low fire in my constitution and I seem to love Yogi Tea. Sometimes I make a quart and add extra cinnamon. I didn't realize that it turned up the fire. I'm glad that something that I crave is actually good for me.
QUESTION - Has anyone tried a few drops of Cayene in water and held in the mouth. I was wondering if with all the receptors in our mouths if this would do something. I guess I'll try it and let you know. Renee
Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2002 - 6:50 pm:   

First to Astroqueen:

I don't know the work of Philip Bailey and am not a homeopath so I pass completely and leave this to others. I'm an astrologer and herbalist and don't really know all the nuances of homeopathic remedies, but I trust that these are suitable for many people.
Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2002 - 6:58 pm:   


The Chinese system of elements is a bit different from the astrological system I use (that is based more on Ayurveda.) In Chinese medicine, as I understand it (which is not as deeply as specialists), the elements create and destroy each other. They are "circular": water destroys fire and fire destroys wood and so on. In Ayurveda, the elements are hierarchical and are differentiated by vibration, ether being the fastest, then air, fire, water, and earth. They cannot however exist independently of each other.

Cinnamon is an interesting herb because while it is spicy and therefore stimulating, it is also sweet and demulcent and therefore suitable for use by children as well as the elderly.

In my system, I see the main antagonists as fire and water, but all of the elements compete with each other to some extent. Bitter herbs, being bitter because of alkaloids, tend to neutralize acids. Toxic fire is acidic so use of bitter herbs tends to lower toxic fire, but it also reduces water because the bitter taste is drying. It is suitable for everyone but the air types.

As for the qualities, fixed types are always less responsive, more resistant to change, and harder to treat. Cardinal types are quick and usually decisive and responsive. Mutable types can never heal until they understand what the problem is and how to reorganize themselves to deal with their challenges.


Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2002 - 7:02 pm:   


There is no protocol for "jumping in." Feel free to do so and let us know about the experiment with cayenne.

Digestion begins with an invocation of the senses. Aroma tantalizes and taste triggers gastric secretions and excitement. Cayenne is very stimulating and extremely healing for some people, but it is a migraine trigger for those who do not tolerate it or perhaps other nightshades.
Posted on Saturday, June 22, 2002 - 9:09 pm:   

Hi Ingrid, I was watching the Victory Garden this morning. The narrator was visiting a 17th Century Living Museum Garden that has a designated herb area for the Four Humors. The woman gardener was talking about what herbs a person might use if they had Mars in their throat. I guess that would be dry/hot; she was also talking about what herbs would counter act the wetness of fish. Do you know anything about this way of using and growing herbs?
Posted on Sunday, June 23, 2002 - 4:27 pm:   

I've been reading about digestion at the Kitchen Doctor site. Somewhere in the mid-nineties I went to an Ayurvedic practitioner. He said that I was the TriDoshic type. Pita then Kapha and least was Vata. He suggested that I eat a Pita type diet in the summer and a Kapha type diet in the winter. In the past 2 years I have moved 5 times and have gotten away from my good practices.
As I read about digestion I think that I am fermenting food in my gut now and that I am sort of drunk from this. I've got to find my Ayurvedic cook books. I just started making Dhal again. I cook lentils in Tumeric and saute an onion and add 3tsp cumin and 3tsp coriander. It's hot now so I will put in cilantro instead of cayenne. I think I learned that cilantro cools Pita people.
My question is, what products help with the digestion of carbs and proteins. I think hydrochloric acid aids in digestion of proteins and what for carbs?
Posted on Monday, June 24, 2002 - 10:18 pm:   


I just came back from a little trip out of town and am sort of dazed and tired, but you are on the right track here.

Coriander is the seed from which cilantro is grown and both a cooling. Even turmeric is a bit less heating than some spices. What I find is that a true fire type can tolerate spices but not extremely sour food, such as vinegar. It's people with suppressed fire that act out with spices (and alcohol.)

Hydrochloric acid is needed to break down all foods, but the key is to prepare foods that are easier to digest, such as those that are cooked with spices.

I really like the cookbook by Maya Tiwari (which is sold over this web site) -- the one called Ayurveda: A Life of Balance.

Best wishes,
Posted on Thursday, September 05, 2002 - 6:09 pm:   

Hi Ingrid,
Does vinegar stimulate the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach? If not what food does?
When you talk about the relationship between alcohol and suppresed fire, is this a health condition or a planetary thing that your born with?
I have a really interesting Ayurvedic cookbook, but I'm having having trouble locationg the box my cookbooks are in. Too much moving, plus lot's of travel for work and a small house keep me from looking. With fall coming on, I'm really missing the cookbooks.
Posted on Thursday, September 05, 2002 - 6:19 pm:   

I guess you answered my question about digestion and hydrochloric acid by saying that cooking food with spices helps in their digestion.
I notice as I come back and re-read my posts that I am not understanding what people are saying to me. Plese excuse me if I repeat my question or seem off the mark with my response. I've never posted about such complex topics before. I usually have to read the things written on this site several times before I really remember what I'm reading or understand what's being said.
Posted on Thursday, September 05, 2002 - 7:04 pm:   

Maybe you'd have more luck integrating the material if there were less commotion and distraction? That's excess air!
Posted on Thursday, September 05, 2002 - 7:05 pm:   

P.S. Which translates to ginger and garlic!
Posted on Sunday, September 15, 2002 - 6:52 pm:   

Ingrid, I have been carrying ginger and garlic with me and eating it too. Thanks for the reminder.
Posted on Sunday, September 14, 2003 - 10:13 am:   

Hi Ingrid,
I am a physician and an astrologer and have lately started to study Traditional Chinese Medicine. As you would expect from a Sun and Mercury in Gemini, my brains are currently doing overtime trying to connect the five elements in TCM to the four elements in Western Astrology/Jungian psychology. Can you help me out here, or do you know someone who can?
Thanks a million!
Posted on Sunday, September 14, 2003 - 11:37 am:   


This is an excellent question for which there is no short answer. If you haven't already discovered the book, there is one on Chinese medicine and astrology by an Englishman, Jonathan Clogstoun-Willmott.

The short response to your question is that it is probably not going to be productive to attempt to use the language of TCM in the same way as the Greeks or even the Ayurvedic practitioners. Many experts believe that the Chinese word should not even have been translated as "element" since it does not really have precisely that meaning in Chinese.

Nevertheless, the Chinese do have a system of creation and destruction that is circular as opposed to hierarchical and that offers some interesting insights when studied. However, it is very difficult to interface this system with most astrological systems since it is not humoral in the same sense as our systems.

For you and your "brains"--interesting way to express the Geminian influence--I would perhaps suggest that you check out another of my web sites: I have probably invested more time with the elements than any other astrologer. For a doctor, my system will eventually make perfect sense because you will be able to correlate everything to the endocrine system and connect the dots through this gateway.

Best wishes,
Posted on Sunday, September 14, 2003 - 12:10 pm:   

Dear Ingrid,
Thanks for your quick reply. In fact, I do not really see our four elements as hierarchical either, but rather as different kinds of energies or psychological functions. I find it very unlikely that there would be no (useful)way to connect the western and the eastern systems. I will follow yours and other links and try to "connect the dots", as you put it.
Kind regards,
Posted on Sunday, September 14, 2003 - 1:24 pm:   


You are quick. Actually, perhaps I did not state the case clearly enough. Western astrology basically has its roots in Greek traditions. In the Greek system, the elements were regarded as the building blocks of everything in Creation. Fire, Earth, Air, and Water are complex energetics with affinities and antagonisms. The easiest way to explain this would be in metabolic terms.

Water is anabolic and Fire is catabolic. This is your language. Excess water leads not only to dampness (Chinese terminology) or clamminess (Western term for a symptom) but to growth as well as increased life force, this in terms of the body's capacity to renew itself, the ability to procreate, etc., etc. Fire destroys water so they are enemies. The Greeks would say that destruction occurs through the separating force of hate. The Chinese might say that water destroys fire because it drowns it, and this is certainly a useful psychological perspective but it still leads to alienation the Greeks defined.

I have studied all the systems and learned something from each, but I'm an astrologer and I have built a coherent astrological system.

So far as whether the elements destroy and create in a circular manner, the Chinese perspective, or in a hierarchical manner, the Ayurvedic perspective, one is free to form one's own opinions, understanding, of course, that the goal of Chinese medicine is to come to conclusions that lead to the correct treatment, this regardless of the logic. I might suggest that in India, the goal has been to understand God and form correct opinions about the unknowable Mind of God, this with somewhat less concern for the outcome when the theories are applied to patients.

Generalizations are always risky. In the hierarchical system, God is the Creator and the further manifestation is from the Creator, the greater the density. The elements are differentiated from each other by density.

Ergo, while Earth contains some moisture and some heat and some space, it is "earthier" if it is dry, cold, and heavy; but as we all know, it can never be so dense that there is no space at all in the solid. As the distance or vibration is increased, there is more moisture: mud. Eventually, there is also more heat and emptiness or wind.

Personally, this system is more useful to me because I can correlate everything to planets, signs, aspects, transits, body behavior, emotions, etc., etc., etc. However, I have books and correspondence courses and lectures on the subject and can therefore never really make my point in an email.
Posted on Wednesday, September 17, 2003 - 6:34 am:   

There are many ways to look at the phenomenons, and as you put it, the important thing is to find an approach you can work with. I know close to nothing about Ayurveda, but it seems a very "western", linear system to me. The way you describe it, it reminds me of the Greek system, where all originated from the duality between heaven (Uranus) and earth (Gaia). From one comes two, from two comes...
I am very much intrigued by the approach of Jung, who links the four elements to psychological types that can easily be understood as the astrological elements (or the other way around). It it curious that the cosmological cycle in Chinese Medicine also describes four "elements", or rather transitional states(like the four seasons), where earth is put in the centre. On the other hand, all attempts to describe and understand the phenomenoms in our earthly "reality", have always used the symbol 4. Like the base of the pyramids...
Anyway, thanks for the explanation!
Posted on Wednesday, September 17, 2003 - 6:38 am:   

I forgot something: according to Jung, it is not so much water and fire that form oppositions, but water and air (and fire and earth), since the former two symbolise two different approaches to "judgement" (emotional and rational) and the latter two symbolise two different kinds of "observation" (intuitive and practical).
Posted on Sunday, September 28, 2003 - 5:55 pm:   


I think it's best to study this systematically and comprehensively as you seem to have done with Jung and are doing with the Chinese system. Jung's daughter, Gret Baumann-Jung, is one of the foremost astrologers in Switzerland, but we cannot take something as vast as the elements are reduce it to a few summaries.

On this web site, I list an introductory set of audio cassettes on the Elements, $40. There is also a correspondence course with four lessons devoted simply to the introductory part of this topic. In addition, there are three audio cassettes that I have on the conflicts of the elements, just three of the six pairs because my experience is that if I lecture on something, someone else will publish it under his name and mess up the system because of lack of understanding of what he has copied.

This said, Jung really described earth as the shadow of fire, not the opposite . . . and this is a different concept.

So far as linear, dualities, and other concepts of creation, we must find our own truths!

Best wishes,
Cynthia Hawley
Posted on Saturday, September 25, 2004 - 4:28 am:   

I am interested in any comments on charts that lack one of the elements. I do not have any planets in earth signs although I do have a Sun-Saturn conjunction.
Posted on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 11:51 pm:   

I also have no earth and a Sun Saturn conjunction, is yours in Cancer by any chance? They say that we who lack earth make up for it by over compensation. I am not sure what this means exactly, I do no have much luck accumulating posessions and earthy things like a mortgage escape me, as well as any professional designation... tho I have studied much throughout my life. I am wondering, as chronic conditions seem to creep on with advancing age, whether the lack of earth might show as some kind of lack of balance, thus a difficulty perhaps in grounding/balancing body systems and processes like blood sugar, adrenals, thyroid, weight, cholesterol etc. It is also said that the Saturn conjunction to Sun "makes up" for lack of earth,also that a preponderance of planets in the earth houses would also stabilise. Do you have any earth on the Asc or MC ? I find that Asc in Virgo cloaks my unearthiness quite well.... even if it is a sort of disguise.

My Moon is in Fire, again, likely a tendency to overdo, out of balance, burn-out without adequate stops = lack of checks and balances.

I will be interested in your response and to hear of anything you might like to divulge about your own constitutional type.

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