Biography Work According to Anthroposophy

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Recently, I’ve come across a very interesting book: The Human Life by George O’Neil and Florin Lowndes. This is a book about biography work, a discipline well known among anthroposophers (Giorgio if you are reading this, thanks for the advice!).

For those who never heard about Anthroposophy, it is a conception of the world founded by the Austrian philosopher, social reformer and esotericist Rudolf Steiner. I don’t want to go into that because it’s a huge topic and this post would probably turn into an article about it. In fact Anthroposophy is the mother of Waldorf Education, Biodynamic Agriculture and the Camphill Movement (just to name a few). So if you are interested you can start from here.

Biography Work

In a nutshell, Biography Work is the dynamic understanding of the human life. It is a way of looking at your biography as a piece of artwork you consciously contribute to create. And I say contribute because your life is driven by its own laws. We can’t ignore them; we need to learn the way to listen to them and understand them. In other words, it’s never a creation from scratch. You can’t pretend to be someone you’re not. But you can definitely be an active part in order to live a meaningful life. That’s the goal of Biography Work.

The Chart

The book comes with a beautiful chart (it’s a poster by the way). It pictures the archetype of a human life divided in septennia (the rainbows below) in a way that they can also mirror each other.

The colors help to catch easily the relationship between events and experiences that we wouldn’t connect otherwise. Those correspondences are based on spiritual laws of rhythm and reflection discovered by Rudolf Steiner. You can think of it as a spiritual “breathing”: outer events and inner processing create together the game of life.

This chart is a potent, living symbol we can work with. Check it out, it’s stunning.

Biography Work Chart by George O'Neil

Planetary Spheres

As an astrologer I was at first interested in the correspondences between planets and septennia. From an astrological perspective they are indeed pretty obvious.

The chart starts at the top left corner with the Moon (0-7 years), and proceeds down through the spheres of Mercury (7-14 years) and Venus (14-21 years). This top-down representation means that as you grow your spirit gradually incarnate from the spiritual realms down to earth. This process ends with the formation of what Anthroposophy regards as the “body”. Please note I am simplyfing a lot, since Anthroposophy talks about a physical body, an etheric body and an astral body.

Then, the central part of the incarnation takes place. From 21 to 42 you are under the influence of the Solar Sphere. Here you go through a long threefold phase (3 septennia) of exploration and learning. If everything goes well, that should lead you eventually to understand who you really are. The central part of the incarnation is about the Soul: the second component of the human being.

Finally, the real spiritual journey begins (yes, at 42!). Now you know where you come from and who you really are. You have everything you need to do what you came down on earth for. It’s time for action, the influence of Mars kiks in (42-49 years). This is also called the “second adolescence” and it is a reflection of the experiences that took place on the Sphere of Venus (14-21).

You are now going upwards, ascending the ladder of wisdom. The Sphere of Jupiter (49-56) makes you a mature person, in the same way the Sphere of Mercury (7-14) gave you juvenile vitality and curiosity. At last, those vital forces begin to retreat as the influence of Saturn (56-63) grows stronger. These three septennia refers to the development of what Anthroposophy calls the Spirit.

In conclusion

The journey, of course, proceeds. But you are now a “child of the gods”: you are free from the influence of the planetary spheres. Or at least from the classic septenary, since the correspondences continue with the generational planets (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto). Your life is now one with the life of others.

This article was just an introduction to a very complex subject. If you are not familiar with Anthroposophy the book itself is nevertheless an excellent compendium. If you want to deepen the threefold nature of the human being according to Anthroposophy I highly suggested the book Theosophy by Rudolf Steiner (you can find it here for free).

Mercury Retrograde, Boosted Christmas Chaos?

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DEC19 @ 16° Capricorn — JAN08 @ 29° Sagittarius

Delays, late public transport, undelivered packages, mobile phone betrayals, messy forgetfulness, last minute hysteria, unsent messages, misunderstandings, scheduling complications, planning drama. Mercury Retrograde is the biggest stereotype among astrology followers.

Let’s face it: Christmas time is going to be like that anyway—either Mercury is retrograde or not. So, is Christmas chaos going to be boosted by this struggling transit? Generally speaking, yes. Also because on the same day Mars—ruler of action—is entering Pisces: the most chaotic sign of the zodiac. Even technology won’t help you since its lord Uranus is retrograde, too.

I can already imagine people going crazy, rushing around aimlessly like a bunch of beheaded chickens. But can we say this is going to be the case for everyone? Of course not. You should—as always—check at least in which specific house of your Natal Chart is going to fall Mercury Retrograde (from 16° Capricorn to 29° Sagittarius). For example, the list above is a typical third house Mercury retrograde general trend.

Well, now that we have decreed that this Christmas is going to be a messy-mess we can move forward and see what we can do about it.

Planning Drama and Self-Control

When direct, Mercury in Capricorn is the mind who analyzes external events in order to control them. It is a business oriented mindset who uses data and statistics for market forecasts and risk management.

But when such energy goes retrograde you can expect external things not to go exactly as planned. The mind turns inwardly and it is asked to better understand the inner life of the soul instead of focusing on the outside world.

At first, this can easily turn into an attempt to self-control. After all, when you suddenly lose your grip over external events the first reaction is usually to freak out, right? In this case self-control could indeed be useful. But there’s more than that.

When you step into your psyche you learn pretty soon that there are few things you can control. Actually, the only element you are allowed to control directly is your thought process. I don’t know if you ever tried to control your thoughts (it is a meditative practice) but let me tell you it is something very difficult to master. And please don’t ever try to control your emotions: it’s going to end up badly.

So, here are some questions to deal with the first part of the transit consciously:

  • What did not go as planned? How did that make me feel?
  • How do I react to unexpected events?
  • Am I able to control myself when the situation requires it?
  • How disciplined is my mind?

You can give this questions a specific context by checking in which house falls 16° Capricorn in your Natal Chart. For example, if it falls in your eleventh house this transit is mainly going to concern your friendships and personal projects.

Allowing the Inspiration

I like the way this transit evolves, fading slowly from Capricorn to Sagittarius. The second part of the transit (second stationary point of Mercury) is about letting go to open yourself to inspiration.

Mercury in Sagittarius is in its detriment. The mind is overconfident, so it refuses to analyze a situation since it believes to have it all figured out. This by the way usually becomes that annoying tendency some people have to teach others everything. They speak more than listen, because they love the sound of their “truthful” voice.

But when Mercury turns retrograde, all this comes to an end. The outside world proves you wrong, again and again, showing you that in the end you don’t know anything. When you are challenged this way, you are ready to open yourself to inspiration: the direct flow of knowledge and intuition that fuels endlessly creatives and artists all over the world.

But why is that? Whether you want to control something, or you think you already know how things are, you are closed. But when you let go and simply accept the fact you don’t know—you become receptive. In other words you allow yourself to be guided and to attune with your inner voice or—as someone call it—your internal guiding system.

I simply call it learning to trust yourself.

How Materialism Is Deceiving You

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Our society is drenched in Materialism. If we were true to ourselves we would say that we are all materialists. And I’m not talking about that shallow accusation of “not being spiritual”. I am talking about the materialistic mindset we have all been raised with.

Please be aware that you can call yourself spiritual, being nevertheless a materialist to the coreTwitter . In fact if you approach to spirituality without changing the way you approach to things in general you are missing the whole point.

The point is that Materialism is an insidious, subtle way of thinking that makes you focus mainly on results and outcomes rather than on the process, whatever it is. So the real question here is not “are you a materialist?” but rather “are you focusing mainly on results?”.

Let’s say you are. So, what’s wrong with that? Please note that I am not trying to demonize Materialism: I believe everything comes with pros and cons. Actually, I think that if you want to achieve something concrete you should definitely embrace that perspective. Nevertheless, it comes with a price and I believe you should at least know if it’s worth it.


Let’s take an example. Let’s say that Jessica loves painting. She likes it so much she doesn’t actually care about the final outcome—in this case, paintings. Loving what she is doing is what really makes her spiritual here. And yes, you don’t need to talk about spirit to be spiritualTwitter . She is free, because she is completely focusing on the process, she is enjoying it, and she has no other reason for doing that than painting itself.

One day, someone tells her she’s very good at it and she could definitely earn some money by selling her paintings. Let’s say she accepts the deal. Now, this is crucial: what once was an end in itself (painting) has now become the means to another end which—in this case—is making money. This is when Materialism kicks in, and no—money doesn’t have necessarily anything to do with it.

The point is her focus has changed. She is not focusing anymore on what she loves to do: she is now focusing on the result which comes from it. Do you realize how tricky is that? Apparently nothing has changed—she is still going to paint anyway—but the fire of the spirit is lost!

In order to be aware of the consequences, take this definition of Materialism I found online:

[muhteer-ee-uh-liz-uh m] noun

1. preoccupation with or emphasis on material objects, comforts, and considerations, with a disinterest in or rejection of spiritual, intellectual, or cultural values.

and replace the word “spiritual” with “what you love to do”:

Materialism is preoccupation with or emphasis on material objects, comforts, and considerations, with a disinterest in or rejection of what you love to do.

This is the price: a materialistic mindset is always going to deceive you confusing the ends with the means. It is in its nature. You want to achieve A but you must get B and C first. This because you want to achieve something rather than focusing on what you love to do. And there is always a strategy, a procedure, a series of steps to be taken in order to get what you want. But eventually this can only take you away from what you really love. On the contrary,  when you love what you do you the reward is in the action itselfTwitter .

“The fundamental maxim of free men is to live in love towards our actions, and to let live in the understanding of the other person’s will” — Rudolf Steiner (Philosophy of Freedom, Chapter 9).

This may sound very odd for us, considering that we have been educated to always think we need to do something to get something else. But this is what being free—and spiritual—is all about.


Venus in Scorpio, a Nasty Burn

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Sometimes life is wierd. Simple, everyday actions sudenly go wrong and you find yourself injured—stuck in a hospital for three weeks. This is at least what doctors are saying, and no—I’m not talking about me.

Last week my boyfriend had a bad burn, caused by a hot water bottle that blew up behind his lower back. I am still cursing that damn thing. How can an object so small and common make such a damage? I still can’t figure it out.

Burns are hard. They are probably the worst kind of injuries you can get. They loose liquids, you are exposed to infections and the skin is not able to regenerate easily by itself. It takes time—if not a surgery—and you need to be very patient.

Furthermore, hospitals are like holes in spacetime. If you stay in bed long enough they start to mess with your head. Daylight and night time blend together—eclipsed by articial light—while restelessness, pain and meds welcome you in Wonderland.

Apparently, this is burns time. The staff of this department is very busy because a lot of people get hurt trying to start stoves or fireplaces (guys, please don’t use alcohol!). Personally, I like to think that this is the bad influence of Venus in Scorpio which—when this blog is published—will be in Sagittarius. Let’s talk about it.

The Skin according to Astrology

In Astrology the planets ruling the skin are Saturn and Venus, which give us two very different perspectives on the matter.

First of all, being the Reaper, Saturn has power over all dead things. Furthermore—as the Guardian of the Threshold—he also rules all sorts of borders and boundaries. Combining these symbols together we’ve got “dead borders”. This is obviously related to the skin considered as the border of our body which—at least on the outer layer—is made of dead cells.

In regards to Venus, we can say that she rules beauty, as well as pleasure or—in this case—well being. All women know that a luminous and young skin is the secret of beautyTwitter —otherwise why bother with lotions and makeup? Our well being is seen by the skin, too.

Boundary (Saturn, earth element) and appearence (Venus, air element) are the two pillars of the skin according to medical astrology.

The Goddess and the Serpent

Scorpio is ruled by Mars and Pluto. It is the sign of death and rebirth, so every process of regeneration deals with its energies. This also applies to skin regeneration—just think about the well known metaphor of the serpent changing its envelope. This is mainly due to Pluto’s influence on the sign.

What about Mars instead? This fiery planet—the God of War—is the lord of all injuries. This is the main reason why the goddess of pleasure is not well here. Beauty and contentment are both sacrificed on the altar of deep regenerationTwitter that requires a blood toll. Ironically, in my previous blog I compared red wine to blood, just inspired by Venus in Scorpio.

In conclusion I’d like to say that I don’t believe that a single planetary transit is able to affect people in such a deterministic way. As you may know I look at the sky looking for inspiration, not for mass predictionTwitter . If you want to use astrology to dispel the darkness of an unclear event you should always—always—go back to your Natal Chart.

Have a good week.

What Astrology Has to Say About Friendship

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Friendship is a form of love—the most free and lasting, they say. It may have some ups and downs—like most of relationships—but time and distance will never prevail against this precious bond, right?

Well, as I write this sentence my mind is going back to all the friendships that ended in my life for the most different reasons: stupid little fights followed by pride; hurt feelings that you (or they) never wanted to talk about; others that just faded away—swallowed by the abovementioned time and distance (here we go).

Bonds are living creatures. They are just like plants: they may sprout naturally in the beginning, but if you don’t nurture them winter is going to take them away. Nothing thrives in your life if you don’t put some effort into it, and the same applies to friendship. But shouldn’t it come naturally? Shouldn’t it be something simple?

Personally, I don’t believe people are simple. I believe we are all made of several parts that most of times want different things. So no, to me friendship isn’t simple—as well as any form of love. Sometimes I need someone to open up to, others I just want to hang out and have fun. The truth is we all experience different types and levels of friendship. And it really depends on who we are relating with and what we expect from other people.

Ah! Expectations! You shouldn’t have any, they say. But how can you possibly trust someone without having expectations? I would rather say to not have unrealistic expectations, and honestly expecting a text reply is not one of them—especially from people who basically live on their phone.

So, what do you expect from your friends? I believe it’s an important thing to figure out.


Friendship according to Astrology

Everybody has their own idea about friendship, and that’s fine. There are indeed many ways to consider it. But now let’s have a closer look to what astrology has to say about this topic. To me, the most interesting aspect of it is that according to astrology the energy of friendship is based on freedom and equality (which fall under the eleventh house, strictly related to the sign of Aquarius).

This literally means that we can’t be friends if we are—somehow—forcing each other; nor if the relationship isn’t based on an equal exchange. And in my opinion, this is also what usually stresses out an actual friendship. Just think about how many times your friends’ expectations went against your personal sense of freedom (and vice versa); or when the relationship is unbalanced because “I’m the one who always has to call”. There can be no friendship without equal exchange.

This exchange can occur on many levels, but we can boil them down to four (the elements):

  • Physical—Earth Element: “you can count on me”
  • Emotional—Water Element: “I’m here for you”
  • Mental—Air Element: “let’s have some fun”
  • Spiritual—Fire Element: “we can evolve together”

Obviously these levels can intertwine—there is no strict rule. Through your Natal Chart we are also able to see what specific planetary energy is triggered in you when it comes to friendship.

In conclusion, here’s some tips:

  1. Be aware about what you expect from each one of your friends. In other words, pay attention on which level you are living the relationship: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.
  2. Are they living it on the same level? It can be frustrating if you are trying to confide (water) to a gossip (air), or rely (earth) on a fickle person (air). You both need to be on the same wavelength.
  3. Try to better understand how your friends are limiting your personal sense of freedom. This is perfectly normal to happen, especially in long-lasting friendships. Basically you need to be aware of your friends’ expectations and simply talk about it. Don’t let a simple misunderstanding ruin a special bond.

Have a good week

Attuning with The Moon Energy

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In astrology, the Moon represents emotions. In this article we are going to talk about how we can attune with this planetary energy, in order to better understand them; we are also going to see how to find out our unmet needs through their help.

First of all, most people consider emotions as a pain in the neck. They think that if anxiety, anger, fear, etc. didn’t exist the world would be a better place. They would like to switch them off, so they believe they can “get back to normal”—whatever it means. Substance abuse is the new “don’t think about it”, and it has become the main cause of emotional illiteracy in the western world. Instead of looking at emotions as a resource, we anesthetize them—throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Why? Because they carry precious information we should at least consider; because emotions are on our side and are trying to tell us something; because they are like a second brain, thinking for us for free (interestingly enough, the Moon rules both the stomach and the brain).

The Emotional Message

Let’s have a look at the top three unpleasant emotions that usually go unheard, and let’s see what they are trying to say.

Anxiety Anxiety is telling us that something bad might happen. If your second brain intuitively perceives a threat maybe it’s right. Maybe you should pay attention and check it out. Sometimes you are right—there is nothing to be afraid of. But other times—unlike you—your second brain gets the bigger picture, so it is rightfully trying to warn you. Learn to trust your gut.
Anger Anger is the emotion of injustice. It’s telling you that “this should not be happening” or “that’s not right”. This is definitely the best emotion we’ve got to explore our belief system. Basically, by paying attention to your anger you can discover your unconscious morals and ethics (what’s right/wrong for you) which have been encoded by your education. Anger can become a way to know yourself.
Anguish Anguish is a form of suffering, grief, or pain. Some people use it as a synonym for anxiety—I personally don’t. I think that anxiety is mainly anticipatory (the possible danger is lying ahead). On the contrary, we grief for something that has already happened. In my opinion, anguish is the emotional perception of death—which is essentially change. Anguish is telling us that things have changed: what gave us life once, no longer exists. It’s a request to go on—turn the page—and start looking for that life we have lost, but elsewhere.

As you can see each emotion bears a message—they always do. If you listen to them you can use them to your advantage; if you don’t—well—you risk to go to war with yourself. Emotions are just like a sonar—or a litmus paper: they enable you to perceive the world on a deeper level. But if you pay them no attention they are going to increase the volume.

It is literally like having to do with a baby: the only thing they can do is to cry louder until you don’t understand what they want. In other words the archetype of your inner child—again, the Moon—has been triggered. This is critical, especially for emotional people.

Meeting your needs

The word emotion comes from the Latin emovere, “to move out”. This means that emotions require you to do something about it. Once you have understood their message most of the work is done. You now know what you have to do to meet your needs. Anxiety is asking for caution; anger is asking for justice (balance); anguish, that you need time to grief and to move on, and so on.

They are always a request of some kind—I can’t stress this enough. Mastering emotions is a long journey and sometimes is difficult to understand them. But in the end I think it is the only way to fully achieve happiness in life. In fact if you leave behind the weakest and most sensitive parts of yourself—your inner child—you will never feel truly complete.

Balancing the Elements

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In this article we are going to talk about the Elements within the human psyche, and their correspondences to the four temperaments. Mainly, we are interested in deepening the way we can balance them in order to achieve a healthy equilibrium in our personality. We are going to consider their imbalances as well, to better understand how each element is able to lead us astray.

As you may know, in ancient medicine illness was caused by the imbalance of the humors—fluids of the human body which carry specific qualities. In Western medicine, they were related to the four elements: yellow bile carries fire; the blood, air; phlegm carries water; black bile, earth. According to this school of thought, the excess of each humor in the body determines a different temperament in the psyche.

So, what is a temperament? We can think of it as a basic personality type which is able to connect the psyche to the body. In fact humors affect not only the physical body but also the ancestral part of the psyche—the part connected to our basal instincts—through hormones and other psychosomatic mechanisms. In other words it is the foundation of the personality on which everything else is built. In this way, a dominant temperament is determined.

We can say that every person has a dominant temperament, and a possible secondary temperament. Reading this list you are probably going to easily recognize yours:

temp_fireCholeric It’s the temperament produced by yellow bile, related to the fire element. Choleric people are strong, fiery, proud, prone to anger, easily provoked, stubborn, cocky, reactive, loyal, and generous; they always speak their mind, they are natural leaders, and they want things to go their way.
temp_airSanguine It’s the temperament produced by the blood, related to the air element. Sanguine people are lively, funny, sociable, talkative, always smiling, carefree, fickle, prone to laugh, joke and gossip. They get bored easily, so they are always looking for new ideas and stimuli.
temp_waterPhlegmatic It’s the temperament produced by phlegm, related to the water element. Phlegmatic people are good hearted, calm, compassionate, sensitive, emotional, patient, silent, good listeners, lazy; they love to stay in their comfort zone, enjoying good food and company; they are creatures of habit.
temp_earthMelancholic It’s the temperament produced by black bile, related to the earth element. Melancholic people are serious, responsible, pessimistic, realistic, negative, cautious, reliable, efficient, and steady. They are easily discouraged and they tend to be conservative.

Too much, too little

Problems come when we’ve got too much, or too little, of an element. The point is that you can’t have too much fire without having too little water; and you can’t have too much air without having too little earth (and vice versa). This because opposite elements naturally balance each other.

Since we talked about temperaments as the result of a natural excess of an element in the body, we are going to discuss the matter from this perspective. This means that choleric people are mainly going to face issues coming from an excess of Fire; Sanguine people, from an excess of Air, and so on.

Also consider the other side of the coin: choleric people tend to lack water; sanguine people, earth; phlegmatic people lack fire; melancholic people, air. In addition, your secondary temperament might naturally balance the main one.

el_fireAnger Too much Fire leads to anger issues. The dominant thought here is: “nothing is as it should be”. You are easily irritated, and you are not able to restrain yourself. The result is a cocky temper which is unable to relate peacefully with others. You may also experience heartburn and blurred vision.
el_airAnxiety Too much Air causes anxiety. Your thoughts are chaotic and you bounce around from one thing to another. You are overstimulated and stressed—you can’t catch your breath. This slowly wears you down until you burn out. You may experience anxiety attacks or worse: panic attacks.
el_waterApathy Too much Water leads to apathy. You don’t feel like doing anything, and nothing really interests you. You feel stuck and isolated in this stagnant and boring feeling. You passively contemplate the world around you with a hypnotized gaze. You feel like a zombie and nothing really makes sense.
el_earth_Melancholy Too much Earth causes “melancholy”. It is a sad feeling of being trapped in a world of duty and responsibility. You are efficient—you do our job—but you are not able to find joy in life anymore. You feel like a robot: you work rather than live. Together, apathy and melancholy leads to depression.

Let’s see now what we can do to balance the elements within.

Tempering the Temperament

First of all, you can’t simply get rid of an element. Statements such as “don’t be angry!” or “cheer up!” are useless—they are only proving that people around you don’t understand how you feel. Actually they are a form of denial; we don’t want to go that way. Instead we want to recognize our dysfunctional mood as a form of elemental imbalance.

Let’s say for example you have a sanguine temperament and you face anxiety on a regular basis. This means you are not able to balance the air element. Actually you have so much air energy that even your body inhales much more (physical) air than it exhales (hyperventilation is an interesting physiological reaction related to air and anxiety issues).

The first thing you want to do is to “consume” the element in excess; then—and only then—you can proceed by introducing balancing activities related to the opposite element.

So, in the case of anxiety you want to use your air, to consume it. A good way to do that is to go outside, hang out with your friends, chatting and laughing (social interaction belongs to the air element). This is going to dispel the air in excess. Instead, sitting still at home is only going to bring that air energy totally in the head—as a result you are going to be overwhelmed by thoughts. Don’t even try to say to yourself “don’t think about it” because that air energy has to go somewhere. If you can’t go outside you may want to consider Mantra Repetition, which is also a good way to dispel that kind of energy.

The opposite element of air is earth, so any grounding activity will work. In fact, many people instinctively overeat or work hard to overcome their anxiety. Instead of doing that unconsciously, you can choose the grounding technique you prefer.

Here’s a list of consuming and balancing activities related to each element. Obviously any balancing activity will be element-consuming for the opposite one, and vice versa:



Fire / Choleric / Anger

Element-consuming activities Balancing activities
  • Sports / Going to the gym
  • Sunbathing
  • Challenges
  • Making Love
  • Spiritual Development
  • Sleeping / Resting
  • Cocooning
  • Intimacy / Emotional interaction
  • Arts / Crafts
  • Escapism


Air / Sanguine / Anxiety

Element-consuming activities Balancing activities
  • Shopping
  • Chatting / Social interaction
  • News / Social Media
  • Reading / Writing
  • Laughing
  • Gardening
  • Walking in Nature
  • Eating
  • Manual labor
  • Planning


Water / Phlegmatic / Apathy

Element-consuming activities Balancing activities
  • Sleeping / Resting
  • Cocooning
  • Intimacy / Emotional interaction
  • Arts / Crafts
  • Escapism
  • Sports / Going to the gym
  • Sunbathing
  • Challenges
  • Making Love
  • Spiritual Development


Earth / Melancholic / Melancholy

Element-consuming activities Balancing activities
  • Gardening
  • Walking in Nature
  • Eating
  • Manual labor
  • Planning
  • Shopping
  • Chatting / Social interaction
  • News / Social Media
  • Reading / Writing
  • Laughing

Usually we tend to naturally express our temperament, so we find it hard to behave according to the opposite one. Choleric people for example are not able to rest: they have so much fire energy to funnel in their projects that they simply forget to do it, they even forget to eat sometimes! On the other hand, for phlegmatic people competitions or challenges are a pain in the neck. In the end it’s just a matter of perspectives: we can evolve only if we learn to look at things from another point of view.