The Roman Empire, Fresh Starts and Renewal, and ‘Becoming’


The Roman Empire conquered TikTok in 2023 with the #romanempire hashtag racking up three billion views. “The trend started after a Roman re-enactor who goes by Gaius Flavius posted on Instagram ‘Ladies, many of you do not realise how often men think about the Roman Empire. Ask your husband/boyfriend/father/brother–you will be surprised by their answers’.TikTok was then flooded with videos of men solemnly confessing they think about the mighty ancient empire as much as four times a day”.(1) And my goal this year is to have you thinking of the Doshas even more often than this.

“Researchers..are on the brink of deciphering a language from Herculaneum once thought to be unreadable”.(2) Fragile carbonised scrolls found inside a villa believed to have belonged to Julius Caesar’s father-in-law, were discovered near Pompeii, preserved in the wake of the 76AD volcanic eruption.” Using computer tomography (similar to x-rays) and AI to ‘read’ marks on the papyrus, a student has recently unlocked the first word–‘purple’, winning $40,000 in the Silicon Valley funded Vesuvius Challenge” as a result.(2) And using the Doshas, without any need for AI, you can learn to read your own bodily language as well.

Our elemental make-up transforms around-the-clock, meaning we’re constantly in a state of flux with our bodies continuously ‘becoming’. This is because every lifestyle choice we make has an elemental impact, resulting in the Doshas endlessly sending us signs about their current state of play. And it’s through the distinct qualities of the elements of Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth that are revealed in our different organs and channels, that Vata, Pitta and Kapha are able to communicate these changes to us. If for example you suffer from wind, Vata is letting you know through your colon, that there’s a choice you’re making in your daily lifestyle that’s unsettling her Space and Air elements. If your face repeatedly gets red and full of blemishes, Pitta’s sending you a sign through your blood and skin, that her elements of Fire and Water are also unhappy. If you wake up most mornings with no appetite, Kapha is conveying she’s struggling in your digestive channel with the balance of her elements Water and Earth. And if you don’t attend to these communications sooner rather than later, these supposedly inconsequential and nearly missable signs, may one day develop into much bigger and more unsettling problems, that won’t be able to be so easily ignored.

Last year the Natural History Museum in London discovered a record 815 new animal species. One new find was a genus of wasp called Dalek-in celebration of the 60th anniversary of Dr Who, that “rather gruesomely lays eggs inside another insect”, allowing hatched baby wasps a fresh food supply, as they eat their way out. “According to Dr Gavin Broad, the museum’s resident wasp expert, ‘It shows how ingenious wasps are.’ “(3) The Doshas are equally as inventive, as the elements provide them with endless possibilities as to how they can share their level of discomfort with us. For example they may send us a feeling of heat or coldness, a manifestation of roughness or smoothness somewhere in the body, or an oily or dry feature, and it’s these details that make it far easier for us to decipher the cause of the unease, and to shed light on what exactly might be going on. The Doshas also send us communications in varying colours, such as the green of snot, the red in eyes, and the white of phlegm, and signs may arrive at different times of the day, during certain seasons, or at a particular age-in tandem with these natural cycles of time. And your job, is to work out the relationship between these communications, and the choices you’re making. Dr John Noyes, one of the Natural History Museum’s scientific associates, said that “in the past 60 years three species of Encyrtodae-a group of parasitic wasps, had been ‘incredibly important -one in preventing the possible starvation of up to 300 million people in Africa, a second preventing the rainforest from destruction in Thailand, and another the collapse of the economy of Togo’.(4) And noticing the signs of the three Doshas is equally as beneficial for our own long term health outcomes. Like the Dalek wasp we have the opportunity to nourish ourselves, but only if we learn how to respond effectively to the correlations these communications signal.

“In the early 2000’s, Swedish researchers from Karolinska Institute studied body tissue renewal by measuring levels of a radioactive material called carbon-14. What the researchers found, is that the average age of cells in the human body is seven to ten years, and that cell renewal happens at different rates for different organs and channels. One percent of our nearly 30 trillion cells are replaced every day, but other cells like some found in our brain, heart and eyes stay with us our entire lives”. (5) According to the researchers, cells in the colon are replaced every three to five days, stomach and intestinal cells typically last five days, skin cells rejuvenate every two to four weeks, red blood cells have an average life span of 120 days, the liver renews itself every 150-500 days, bones although they’re renewing constantly take a full ten years to complete the renewal process, and muscle and fat cells can take up to 70 years to renew. (4) “The cornea can regenerate in as little as one day, but the lens and other eye areas don’t change, and the neurons in the cerebral cortex that governs memory, thought, language, attention and consciousness stay with us from birth to death, but the olfactory bulb that helps us smell and the hippocampus that helps us learn can and do rejuvenate. “(5) Renewal then is a long-term project, and the signs the Doshas send us from our different organs and channels, are often a good yardstick for measuring Just how well this renewal process is going.

“WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said the threat of ‘non communicable diseases’, are taking ‘an immense and increasing toll on lives, livelihoods, health systems, communities, economies and societies,’ and that by around 2050 chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and respiratory illnesses, will account for 86 percent of the 90 million deaths each year, a staggering 90 percent increase in absolute numbers since 2019.”(6) And “as the sun sets on the hottest year on record, climate change and its disastrous effects figure prominently in discussions among global leaders. In December, the U.N Climate Change Conference known as COP28 saw the official launch of a ‘loss and damage’ fund to provide financial assistance to developing countries facing severe impacts of climate change.” (7) Both sets of figures are deeply entwined, and highlight our growing disconnection from nature. And although climate change, conservation and nature recovery are clearly on our radars, what’s still to be more fully grasped is how directly connected our health outcomes are to the natural world, and how useful the elemental language of the Doshas can be, in revealing to us whether we’re living as part of Nature, or apart from it.

When AI chatbots were recently asked to predict their fate, Google’s Bard predicted “AI could power new breakthroughs in ‘personalised medicine’ also known as ‘precision medicine’ in the coming year. Bard said it ‘aims to tailor treatments and preventative strategies to the unique genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors of each individual.” (8) Skilled Ayurvedic doctors and practitioners have also been personalising medicine for thousands of years. Using analysis of a patient’s pulse, tongue, and eyes et al, they’re able to recommend certain lifestyle adjustments, herbal medicines and body treatments, as a direct result of the individualised data these practices supply. And it’s this personalised Doshic approach which is one of the greatest gifts the science of Ayurveda gives us.

Foula in Shetland is one of the UK’s remotest inhabited islands, and like the Russian Orthodox Church and the North African Berber communities, its inhabitants adhere to the ancient Julian Calendar. Invented by Julius Caesar, and used for 16 centuries, it was replaced in 1582 by the Gregorian Calendar, after Pope Gregory Xlll’s advisors found an error resulting from the leap years, which had added ten extra days than was needed by that time. This means the Newerday of the Julian Calendar, or New Year for those of us using the Gregorian Calendar, won’t occur until mid January in 2024.(9) Calendars are irrelevant if we really desire new beginnings though, as change can be grasped whenever the moment feels just right.

When you’re ready to ‘become’, complete the Dosha Quiz and make yourself familiar with the Vata, Pitta and Kapha information on this site. Then start noticing the signs your body is sending you and respond to what you observe. Fresh starts usually involve new ways of thinking and doing, and renewal requires action, and the Doshas are endlessly providing you with a report card on the habits you need to tweak. And even though we may not all have the advanced smarts of wasps, we do have the ability to build ourselves a great daily lifestyle-and it’s this that’s key to unlocking your well-being future. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and ‘becoming’ requires time, but opportunities for transformation are possible in any moment. And with the knowledge of how wonderfully supportive the Doshas can be, perhaps that moment is now.