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    The Humours: part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4 | part 5The Vital Force

    table of humours table of humours
    table of humours table of humours
    Figure 1: The Humours, with their Elemental Planetary Correspondences.

    Astrology and Health
    vitalism and humours

    This article seeks to explain the principles of humoral physiology, for when properly understood, humoral ideas are just as valid today as they have been for thousands of years. The concepts of the humours were originally developed by the Greek physician Hippocrates (c460-377 BC). He was born and lived on the island of Kos. He was trained in the Asclepiad tradition of medicine, as revealed by the opening address of the Hippocratic oath:

    I swear by almighty Apollo, by Asclepios, by Hygeia and Panacea...

    Asclepios was the Greek god of medicine and a mythological healer strongly connected to the Solar cult of Apollo. Hygeia is the feminine consort of Asclepios, while Panacea is the universal medicine (or vital force) generated by the Sun.

    Waters of the Psyche

    The word humour derives from the Latin humor meaning "fluid, or liquid". The term encompasses not only the body fluids, such as blood, bile and lymph, but also the "Waters" of the psyche.

    Humour as expressed in comedy is also included in the term. Jokes by invoking incongruent images in the mind cause a sudden release of emotional energy that truly reflects the spirit of the person. Such is the power of the emotional release that it can generate Watery physiological responses such as crying or urination in the body, as exemplified in the phrase "pissing themselves with laughter"!

    The objective of humoral physiology is to understand how the patient's vital force or spirit is manifesting by the way the body fluids are circulating in the body.

    Humour and Temperament

    The four humours are perceived within the blood using each of the four Elements in turn.
    As shown in Figure 1:

    • The melancholic humour (Gk. melanchole = black bile) corresponds to Earth
    • the phlegmatic humour (Gk. phlegma = phlegm) corresponds to Water
    • the choleric humour (Gk. chole = bile) corresponds to Fire
    • the sanguine humour (L. sanguineous = bloody) corresponds to Air.

    Each humour has its own temperament in terms of hot, cold, wet and dry, and is traditionally ruled by different Planets, according to their sympathetic natures. For example, Jupiter is associated with the hot and moist, muggy atmosphere before a thunderstorm, so therefore rules the hot and moist sanguine humour. As already discussed, scientific medicine, in following a chemical definition of an element as a unit of material composition, has lost all sight of what is described by these powerful symbols.

    Since humoral physiology is based upon the active perception by the physician of the Elemental symbols within the body's physiology, this materialistic definition of an element effectively blocked the perception of the humours.

    The subsequent, exclusive pursuit of a purely physical basis to the body's physiology (explaining changes solely in terms of biochemistry), effectively caused an abrupt decline in humoral knowledge in Western medicine.

    Once again medical propaganda has proclaimed this change as a triumph of science over the mumbo-jumbo of the past. However, since the basis of humoral physiology is essentially one of perception, there is absolutely no reason why humoral ideas cannot be considered alongside biochemical physiology. In fact, when the two disciplines are juxtaposed, further fascinating insights into both are generated which essentially puts the spirit back into medicine. This knowledge can train physicians and therapists to be more sympathetic to patients' needs and shows how mental and emotional experience affects their diseases. It offers solutions to treating illness other than the purely physical. It helps patients to regain responsibility for their own health and illness. Finally and most importantly, it enhances the healing process.

    Humoral physiology may at the outset seem very naive and simplistic; however, deriving from a two thousand year tradition, it has a depth and subtlety linking mind to body that modern biochemical medicine is desperately in need of.

    Go ForwardRead more on the Humours
    Go ForwardAbout the Vital Force

    Go BacklBack to Health by the Stars

    The Humours: part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4 | part 5The Vital Force

    Astrology and Health is a clear and easy guide to how the signs of the zodiac influence our physical and mental well-being. It covers the five elements and how they balance; sun signs and the elements; parts of the body and diseases associated with each sign; visualizations and exercises to aid healing; diseases associated with the planets; herbal medicine; and medical astrology in action. Excellent presentation and value. Astrology and Health:
    A Beginner's Guide
    by Dylan Warren-Davis.
    Published by Headway: Hodder & Stoughton
    ISBN 034070518 3
       84 pages
    To order your copy click here!
    Astrology & Health by Dylan Warren-Davis

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