ASSESSING CONSTITUTIONAL TEMPERAMENT
The Key to Astrotherapy
In Greek Medical Astrology, the most important key to all diagnosis and treatment is assessing the natal horoscope to determine the individual's constitutional nature and temperament. This is the heart and core of the personalized owner's manual to your body and mind. Knowing your individual constitutional nature and temperament is the key to optimal hygiene and self care, and nowhere is it depicted with such depth, sophistication and detail as in your natal horoscope.
For each of the Four Temperaments, there are a number of distinctive planetary configurations or signatures. The Medical Astrologer must familiarize himself thoroughly each of thes configurations or signatures, and learn to recognize them in the natal horoscope.
The primary indicators for each of the Four Temperaments are as follows:
- A predominance of planets in Air signs
- Jupiter and / or Venus dignified or emphasized in the natal horoscope
- Jupiter and / or Venus in an Air sign
- The Ascendant in an Air sign, or conjunct Jupiter or Venus
- The Sun conjunct or aspecting Jupiter or Venus
- The Moon conjunct or aspecting Jupiter or Venus; the New Moon or the Waxing
- A conjunction or hard aspect between Jupiter and Venus
- A predominance of planets in Fire signs
- Mars, and to a lesser extent the Sun, dignified, exalted or otherwise emphasized in
the natal horoscope
- Mars or the Sun in a Fire sign
- The Ascendant in a Fire sign, or conjunct Mars or the Sun, especially Sun in Aries
- The Sun conjunct the Midheaven, or conjunct or in hard aspect to Mars
- The Moon conjunct or in hard aspect to Mars, or a First Quarter Moon
- Conjunction or hard aspects between the Sun and Mars
Melancholic / Nervous Temperament
- A predominance of planets in Earth signs
- Mercury and / or Saturn dignified or emphasized in the natal chart; also, Uranus
emphasized or critically placed
- Mercury and / or Saturn in Earth signs
- The Ascendant in an Earth sign, or conjunct or in hard aspect to Mercury or Saturn
- Sun conjunct the Descendant, or conjunct or in hard aspect to Saturn or Uranus
- The Moon conjunct or in hard aspect to Mercury, Saturn, or Uranus; the Full Moon
- Hard aspects or conjunctions between Mercury, Saturn, Uranus
- A predominance of planets in Water signs
- The Moon and / or Neptune dignified or emphasized in the natal chart
- The Moon in a Water sign; Neptune in a Water house
- The Ascendant in a Water sign, or conjunct the Moon or Neptune
- The Sun in a Water sign, or conjunct the Nadir
- The Moon conjunct or aspecting Neptune, and to a lesser extent Venus, especially
in a Water sign; the Third Quarter Moon.
- Venus in a Water sign
Assessing Individual Temperament
Pure types are rare, and very few individuals will have only the indicators for a single temperament. The vast majority of us are of mixed temperament, which will show up in our natal horoscopes as an assortment of planetary indicators involving two or more temperaments. Nevertheless, patterns of relative dominance will emerge.
The beauty of medical astrology is the incredible level of depth, sophistication and detail with which it portrays individual constitution and temperament. The natal horoscope will show which parts of your physiology and metabolim are of which temperament. Against a general background of relative balance or planetary makeup by element, or temperament, the core factors of the birthchart - the Sun, Moon and Ascendant - will each show certain inclinations of humor and temperament:
The Ascendant will show the nature and temperament of your physical body.
The Sun will show the nature and temperament of your Ignis, Vital Force, Innate Heat and Thymos - your metabolic Fire.
The Moon will show the nature and temperament of your fluid metabolism and the condition of your Radical Moisture - your metabolic Water.
Assessing Natal versus Evolving Temperament
Each of us is born or comes into the world with a certain constitutional nature and temperament. Over the course of a lifetime, various exogenous or environmental stresses, influences and pathogenic risk factors work on the individual to mold, shape or change him or her in a certain direction. The juxtaposition or contrast between one's inherent constitutional nature and temperament and the nature of the forces shaping his or her evolving temperament is a key consideration for assessing the individual's overall health karma in life.
In Medical Astrology, one's natal temperament is indicated by the sign placements of one's planets and Ascendant. One's evolving temperament is indicated by the house placements of one's planets and Ascendant Ruler.
Soimetimes, the natal temperament and the evolving temperament will be quite similar; sometimes, there will be radical differences between the two. The nature and temperament of the first type of person will change little over the course of his or her lifetime; the nature and temperament of the second type of person will change radically and profoundly, especially past middle age.
There is a relatively quick and simple procedure for assessing your natal versus evolving temperament. It uses a point system to place different levels of emphasis on the various planetary factors in your natal horoscope, according to their relative levels of importance, with the core factors of Sun, Moon and Ascendant being given the most weight:
Ascendant or Ascendant Ruler - 4 points
Sun and Moon - 3 points each
Planets Mercury thru Saturn - 2 points each
The Outer Planets - 1 point each
Now, take a blank piece of lined paper. At the beginning of the first four lines, write out the names of the Four Elements - Fire, Air, Earth and Water - in that order. At the beginning of the next three lines, write out the names of the three Modalities: Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable.
Now, fill in the chart with the symbols of the planets pertaining to each classification of element and modality. Use the letter "A" to denote the Ascendant. In this first part of the assessment, the planets and Ascendant will be tallied by their sign placements.
Since Taurus is Fixed Earth, for example, you would enter the symbol of a planet in Taurus twice - once on the Earth line, and once on the Fixed line. Since Sagittarius is Mutable Fire, the symbol of a planet so placed would be entered on both the Fire and the Mutable lines.
Now, tally up the planets on each line according to their number of allotted points to determine the relative balance, emphasis or makeup of elements / temperaments and modalities in your natal constitution. This is what you were born with.
With the next seven lines, we're going to use a similar tallying procedure with the house placement of the planets in your natal horoscope. This will show how your natal temperament is changing or evolving due to the impact of various exogenous or environmental influences accumulated over the course of your lifetime. This evolving temperament will be especially important to consider past middle age.
The element and modality of a house is derived from its natural or essential correspondence with a sign of the zodiac. For example, the Second House (Taurus) is Fixed Earth, whereas the Ninth House (Sagittarius) is Mutable Fire.
However, a special problem arises when tallying up the Ascendant. Because the Ascendant is always the cusp of the First House (Aries) in everyone's natal horoscope, using the Ascendant would unduly bias the tally in favor of the Fire element and the Cardinal modality, since Aries is Cardinal Fire.
This problem or bias is overcome by using the Ascendant Ruler(s) instead of the Ascendant in the tally by house placement. The Ascendant Ruler is the planet that rules the sign on the Ascendant: if the Ascendant is in Taurus, that planet would be Venus; if the Ascendant is in Sagittarius, that planet would be Jupiter.
The planet that is the Ascendant Ruler is tallied once as the Ascendant Ruler, receiving four points, and again as a regular planet, receiving its usual allotment of points. For Ascendant signs having both a modern and a classical ruler, like Scorpio, Aquarius or Pisces, the four points allotted to the Ascendant Ruler would be split equally between both rulers, each of which would be tallied again as an ordinary planet.
Planets placed within three degrees before the cusp of a certain house would be counted as belonging to that succeeding house. If whole sign houses are used, the sign placement of the planet would automatically indicate its house placement, regardless of its degree.
This is a 'quick and dirty" assessment system that leaves out many factors, such as angularity and the like, that can also affect a planet's dignity and emphasis in the natal horoscope. Nevertheless, it does give you a good rough overview of your natal temperament, your evolving temperament, and the nature of the various exogenous environmental influences affecting your health karma in life.