©2010 by Guest Blogger, Gretchen Lawlor
Donna says: Now that we have tests for all four elements, I wanted to offer something that would help heal any imbalances. Gretchen Lawlor is my long-time friend and colleague for both astrology and flower essences. Her recent Question and Answer session on the Progressed Moon was one of the top posts here on Skywriter last month. She is also trained in naturopathy and medical astrology, so when I read this article on healing with the elements, I asked her to share it with you.
Just as the elements, fire, earth, air and water, are the building blocks of life to an astrologer, they provide the foundations and vital indicators for the health and well being of an individual. Each of us has a dominant element in our makeup; when we identify it we’ve got an excellent tool for improving our health.
How do you identify your dominant element? Start with your sun sign for an indicator of your essential vitality.
(Note from Donna: To measure which elements are strongest and weakest in your charts, follow the links below to Skywriter’s tests on the elements. )
The fire signs, Aries, Leo and Sagittarius, are the most radiant and vital of the signs, then the air signs, Gemini, Libra and Aquarius. The water signs, Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces are more dense. They are a more difficult medium through which to manifest, and take longer to charge up again. Earth, Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn, is the most dense, giving tenacity rather than vitality.
Fire signs are conductors, they like to spread their energy around. Air signs are curious and ready to relate. Water is more self protective and indirect. Earth is cautious and conservative. Water is accentuated in childhood, fire is strongest in adolescence. The air element increases with age and earth strengthens with maturity.
To Balance Fire
With a deficiency of the fire element it may be hard to burn off or fight disease. The digestion and absorption of food are inadequate and need stimulation, but must be done gradually to prevent irritation. Eat foods that are light, hot, dry and aromatic, and avoid cold foods. Hot spices and sour food, such as lemons and yogurt are good, as are whole grains cooked in oil, spices and even salt. Keep dairy and meat to a minimum; frequent light meals are best. Midday is a good time to eat your main meal, as the maximum amount of fire your body can marshall is available at this time.
Headaches are frequently caused by low fire, where the only partially digested food begins to ferment. Physical exercise help strengthen the fire element.
Herbals: low fire is strengthened by digestive stimulants such as cayenne, ginger, mustard and cloves. Use circulatory stimulants such as cinnamon, garlic, ginger, and hawthorn berries.
Excessive fire has a tendency to burn out as they find it difficult to conserve energy or pace themselves. They are prone to skin problems, acne, pimples and have a strong body odor.
Fire is hot, light and dry and is therefore balanced by foods that are cold, moist and heavy or slow burning foods that ground energy. A voracious appetite reflects excess fire, anything that stimulates this should be avoided, particularly if you are thin and wiry. If this is the case, eat bland foods, avoid stimulating spices, have little oil, meat, nuts, beans. Raw or steamed vegetables are good, as is fruit (avoid sour fruits, peaches and bananas). Milk is good but not yogurt as it is too sour.
Herbals: excess fire should avoid spicy herbs. Goldenseal, aloe and milk thistle help detox the liver. Blood purifiers such as yellow dock reduce inflammations.
To Balance Earth
Excess earth is prone to heaviness in the body and sluggishness in the system, with dullness and lethargy. Digestion and metabolism are slow, increasing density of body tissue- i.e. thick skin, sclerosis, calcium deposits, tumors and increased body hair. Excess earth eats too much, too frequently.
Light foods are indicated, such as fruit, salads, sprouts, steamed vegetables with spices added to increase fire . Meals that consist of liquids, juices, soups and teas are better than heavier diets. If possible the main meal should be taken at midday when digestive fire is strongest. Meals should be simple, keep combinations to a minimum, with no desserts and plenty of time to digest. Avoid dairy and fried foods. Fasting is helpful as earth signs tend to retain toxins.
Herbals: use bitter tonics such as gentian or Swedish bitters, and hot spices such as ginger, black pepper and cayenne
Low earth needs grounding. They tend to ignore the body and are not instinctive about what they need. They need activities and routines that stabilize the life and give a sense of security. Foods need to be heavy and nutritious, such as potatoes, unrefined grains and dairy. Use vegetables steamed and served with cheese and butter. Reasonable amounts of sugar, butter and oil are well tolerated. Keep fruits and raw foods to a minimum. To improve the digestion-, cook with plenty of spices, garlic and onions.
Herbals: low earth should use demulcents such as licorice and slippery elm, seaweed and minerals. Ginseng is grounding, as is astragalus and the auryvedic herb ashwaganda.
To Balance Air
Restlessness, excessively dry hair and skin, dry mucus membranes, nervous disorders, problems with balance, even Alzheimer’s are associated with too much air. Excessive air tends towards insomnia from an inability to turn it all off, as well as memory loss from systemic overload. Air benefits from a schedule with intervals of relaxation with minimal stimulation (not even television or radio), to allow the nervous system to recharge itself.
Dancing, any slow and rhythmic exercise, yoga or yoga breathing or any breath meditations are particularly helpful for air signs. The wearing of warm colors and the adoption of consistent daily routines will bring out the best of air’s vivacious and versatile nature.
Excess or deficient air causes weak digestion and benefits from digestive enzymes or swedish bitters, and small frequent meals. There is a tendency towards gas in the intestines and the bowels evacuate very quickly.
Air is cold and very drying and needs to be balanced by moisture and heat. In terms of diet use dairy (especially yogurt), cooked rice and oats, vegetables cooked in oil, nuts and seeds.
Air energy tends to collect high in the body and gains from any opportunity to connect with earth, to be drawn or enticed downwards. Grains and root crops are particularly helpful. Raw foods aggravate the naturally cold quality of air. Raw salads should be kept to a minimum, though are easier to tolerate in the warm summer months. Otherwise use plenty of dressing, and add or replace with lightly steamed vegetables, nuts or croutons to ground the energy. Avoid yeasty foods, mushrooms, refined sugars, beans, and too much cabbage and broccoli.
Herbs for excessive air signs include nervines, such as skullcap, passionflower or even valerian. These can be particularly soothing to the anxiety of the air type.
For those lacking air there may be problems with the flow of body energy. Circulatory stimulants such as garlic and ginger, anything that is light, dry and stimulating will be helpful. Nervines can also be helpful, but specifically those that are tonic but not particularly sedating, such as skullcap or oats.
To Balance Water
Excess water manifests as excess weight, in the form of water and fat. Even without an excessive appetite, these people have sluggish digestion, poor assimilation and slow metabolism. Stagnant excess water may manifest as mucus, cysts, tumors and swellings, as well as systemic candida. It is seldom helpful to decrease dietary intake alone, better results come from increasing the metabolic rate, decreasing the liquid intake, changing the diet and increasing physical activity.
Excess water is balanced by foods that are hot, dry and light. Vegetables are well tolerated, steamed and spicy, with minimal salt. Sweets increase water and fat; if eaten, should be eaten separately. Excess water is cold, wet and heavy, balance this with foods that are hot, dry and light. Avoid heavy oily foods, dairy, sweets, yeasty foods, breads and salt. Beans and fruit are good, but avoid large quantities of melon.
Herbals: excess water should use digestive stimulants and expectorants such as sage, basil and thyme. Diuretics such as parsley, uva ursi and juniper berries help drain excess water from boggy tissue.
Low water constitutions have trouble flushing toxins from system, and lack lubrication to their system. They tend to be stiff and dehydrated and have a difficulty sleeping. They suffer from conditions similar to excess air, such as skin and hair dryness and difficult absorption of nutrients. They find it hard to receive emotional nourishment. Add baths, drink plenty of liquids, and live near water. Use wheat, rice, oats, seaweed, dairy products and natural sugars. Avoid beans and natural diuretics such as carrots, celery, cabbage and asparagus. Don’t fast, take care with extreme exposure to heat or sunlight and take extra salt with exertion or warm weather.
Herbals: low water should use herbs sparingly as they tend to be diuretics, except for licorice(sweetened with honey). Fruit juices add water to the system.
This is an excerpt from a much longer article which you can read here: Healing With Fire, Earth, Air and Water .
NOTE: See Gretchen’s guest appearance on Skywriter here: A Question and Answer Session on the Progressed Moon by Gretchen Lawlor.
Test the Strength of your Elements here:
- Are You a Water Type? Here’s the Score!
- Are You a Fire Type? Here’s the Score!
- Are You an Air Type? Here’s the Score!
- A Terribly Tentative Test for the Earth Element in your Chart
- See the rest of the astrology tests here: Planetary Tests
More Healing for the elements here:
- Flower Essences for Difficult Patterns of Water and Air Signs
- Flower Essences for Difficult Patterns of the Fire and Earth Signs
- Missing Elements and How They Affect Your Relationships
- Bailing out the Water Signs–The Emotional Hangover Remedy
- Ways to Use Water to Heal Yourself and Others
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gretchen Lawlor has been a professional astrologer for nearly 40 years. Her predictive work has been published in We’Moon Almanac for the last 20 years, including the We‘Moon 2011 Datebook, which you can order online. She has taught at many gatherings and conferences in the U.S., U.K. and in her native New Zealand. Her training as a naturopath, herbalist, homeopath and registered counselor adds dimensions to her client sessions and teaching.
Experiential and applicable astrology holds a particular fascination for her, encouraging the development of plenty of innovative tools and techniques. She has a special passion for sharing astrology with high school students, which she has been doing for years. She will be teaching at Women of Wisdom Conference in Seattle Feb 18-21. For more information and a collection of articles, visit her website, Gretchen Lawlor, Astrologer. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to receive her free astrological ezine.