Continuing on from last week where we covered choler, this week we’re going to look into the third temperament of the cycle; melancholy.
Melancholy is associated with autumn and this time of year is classically considered to be dry becoming cold. The dryness and lack of rain of the previous summer season continues on, but the reduction in daylight hours and the apparent weakening of the Sun brings the temperatures down. In the theory of Natural Place, Earth (the element associated with melancholy) is on the bottom of the universe as everything else sits on top of it. With this combination of qualities and Place, we start to move into the classically undesirable temperaments. Melancholy is undesirable for two reasons: firstly because the natives tend to be more sickly than others (coldness and dryness are the two qualities antithetical to life, and here they are combined into a single temperament), and secondly now we start to move into temperaments that are not as naturally motivated as sanguines and cholerics are.
Melancholy has two planetary rulers; Mercury and Saturn (See? Undesireable!). Like choler’s two rulers, these two embody the positive and negative aspects of their temperament. Mercury takes the melancholic down the path of learning and skill building, whereas Saturn tends to be the more moody, somber, loner type. Children of the malencholic temperament are much more detailed and deliberate in their actions and don’t really commit to anything without having weighed it all out first. Success only comes to the melancholic through hard work and persistence, and as a result of this they tend to have the “life isn’t fair” attitude that starts out as a healthy realistic attitude but can quickly rush over into self-pity and pessimism. This tends to make melancholics notice how “lucky” they perceive other people as being and will tend to shy away from those types of people as comparison makes them feel worse. This causes an odd non-social streak that forces the melancholic to be isolated while simultaneously hating being alone.
The inherit coldness in melancholy keeps it from having the ambition and optimism that choler has, but it also keeps the melancholy on the more precautious and safe side of things. Melancholy asks “is this a good idea?” and choler says “hey guys, watch this!”. Both temperaments are good at planning and doing detail-oriented work, but melancholy is more likely to succeed the first time due to forethought and superior reflection skills that coldness gives. The dryness of melancholy keeps it from having the social interactions that the phlegmatic temperament experiences, this leaves melancholy with the smallest circles of friends as they tend to have “best friends” and “acquaintances” with no inbetween. This also plays out in the structure and rigidity of the dryness quality, it’s much easier for melancholy to make plans and goals and stick to them (such as diets or weight loss goals, exercise goals, long term projects, etc), whereas phelgmatic struggles with sticking to anything.
Physically, melancholics will suffer from either an abundance of coldness or dryness, but will typically suffer from dry conditions as it is the dominating quality (we’ll discuss cold conditions with Phlegm). This means that melancholics will suffer from dry mouths, troublesome coughs, and sensitive skin issues. They can also suffer from arthritis in the joints (the wrists and knees are particularly susceptible) and jaundice. This increased dryness can also cause some slight mental problems in the form of paranoia and irrational fear. It’s very important for melancholics to limit the amount of dry foods they put into their system and to introduce more healthy sources of fat into their diet.
If you’d like your own temperament analysis consultation by Ryhan, visit the Astrological Services Page and purchase a session now!