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Originating in India several thousand years ago, Ayurveda (Sanskrit for "science of life") is a system that classifies physical ailments and mental conditions according to one's basic constitution, or body type. Called doshas (Sanskrit for "temperament"), these three distinct types are categorized as Pitta (hot and sharp), Kapha (heavy and water-retaining) and Vata (dry and windy). Pitta is intense, active and volatile with a craving for spicy foods and caffeinated drinks. Kapha is even-tempered, slow, depressive and tends to overeat. Vata is meticulous, moody, nervous and often suffers from poor digestion. When Pitta is overstimulated, Kapha indulges or Vata becomes irritable, conditions and ailments associated with these doshas erupt. To allay the symptoms and promote the dosha's positive qualities, Ayurvedic practitioners recommend specific lifestyle changes including diet, exercise, environment and even attitude. In this article I will examine the Pitta dosha. I will examine Kapha and Vata in subsequent articles.

Kathie Lee Gifford: The Pitta Profile

While most people identify with a combination of two doshas, Kathie Lee Gifford's Pitta nature is unmistakable. A vivacious personality whose auburn hair frequently shows up in Pitta types, Gifford has never had a problem being center stage, from her early triumph in the Junior Miss pageant to her current stint as the second half of Live with Regis and Kathie Lee. Highly competitive and likely to overwork to the point of exhaustion, Pitta people easily suffer from burnout. Not only has Gifford been Philbin's co-host for fifteen years, but she has a clothing line, hosts holiday specials, is the Carnival Cruise Lines spokesperson and has just finished substituting one night a week on Broadway for Carol Burnett. Let's not forget Gifford's duties as wife, mother and her tireless work for charity. If anyone fits the Pitta profile, she certainly does.

Astrology Reveals your Body Type

Astrologically, each dosha has traits in common with the zodiacal signs and their ruling planets. The enterprising, active and outgoing fire signs, Aries, Leo and Sagittarius, are categorized as Pitta. Despite its classification as a water sign, Scorpio, too, is Pitta, since it produces stressed-out “Type A" personalities. Mars (ruler of Aries and co-ruler of Scorpio), the Sun (ruler of Leo), and Pluto (ruler of Scorpio) are considered Pitta planets. Jupiter, ruler of Sagittarius and co-ruler of Pisces, is both Pitta and Kapha.

Astrologically, Gifford's horoscope perfectly confirms her Pitta nature. Along with Mercury, the three Pitta planets, Sun, Mars, and Pluto form a stellium (a group of three or more planets clustered closely together) in Leo, making fire the strongest element, and Leo the most prominent sign, in her chart. Besides ambition, high energy and endless activities, Leo, like Pitta, is characterized by a flair for drama, and the need to be noticed. Often interrupting to make herself heard, Gifford's blunt way of speaking has become her trademark style, and indicative of Mercury and Mars conjoining the IC (Imum Coeli) and South Node. Add to the equation her passionate, controlling Scorpio Moon, and there is no doubt that Pitta is her dominant dosha. (Since her Gemini Ascendant, and its associated planet, Mercury, are Vata, this dosha also figures in her personality.)

Transits Activate Pitta Imbalances

In light of recent transits to her Pitta planets, Gifford's decision to leave her daytime hostess duties and streamline her activities is no surprise. Since July, 1998, Saturn has been moving through Taurus, a fixed sign that naturally opposes Scorpio, the sign of her Moon, and squares Leo, where her stellium is situated. Uranus' movement through Aquarius filled out this fixed grand cross and placed her entire chart in a state of crisis, ranging from marital problems to public scandals involving her clothing line. With her Pitta nature out of control, it is no wonder that she has reacted by speaking her mind and angrily flaring up at the press. Rather than bringing out the Pitta type’s easygoing, charming and productive traits, the transits have left her aggressive, hostile and tired of the daily grind.

Recommendations for Healthy Living

Since Pitta is a "hot" dosha, Gifford should literally cool down by avoiding warm climates, relaxing, taking things in their stride and consuming cold foods like fruits, salads and sherbet. By the same token, she should avoid hot soups, spicy foods and stimulants such as chocolate, coffee and cola.

Quitting her daily job may in fact be the perfect remedy for improving her mental and physical health. But like most Pitta workaholics and fire types, Kathie Lee Gifford will probably fill the gap with new activities until she is forced to slow down once again.



Ronnie Dreyer is an internationally-known astrological consultant, lecturer and teacher based in New York City and the author of several books, columns, articles and book reviews. She lectures extensively for astrology groups & national conferences, and conducts ongoing courses & workshops in Vedic astrology. She co-founded one of the first astrological computer services in Holland where she lived for ten years and was Astro*Carto*Graphy's Dutch distributor. Ronnie was AFAN's secretary from 1992-1998 and is currently its presiding officer. She is editor of the NCGR memberletter. She is on the Board of Directors of ACT. In 1994, she received the Jyotish Kovid award from the Indian Council of Astrological Sciences, and in 1998 received the Jim Lewis Community Service Award from AFAN.

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Other StarIQ articles by Ronnie Dreyer:

  • Astrology and Ayurveda: Kapha   8/25/2012
  • Charlie Sheen: From Sin to Spin   5/3/2001
  • Martin Sheen: Long Road to The West Wing   3/29/2001
  • Steve Martin: That Wild and Crazy Guy   3/25/2001
  • Jesse Jackson: Saint or Sinner?   2/27/2001
  • Sarah Jessica Parker: The Gal With the Midas Touch   1/12/2001
  • Rick Lazio: Still a Mystery   10/26/2000
  • Move Over Madonna, Rocco's Arrived   10/20/2000
  • Astrology and Ayurveda: Vata   6/19/2000

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