Last week we covered melancholy, this week we’re going to wrap up our introductions of the temperaments with the final temperament phlegm.
Phlegm is associated with the winter season, and this time of year is considered to be cold becoming moist. The drop in temperatures that was introduced in the previous autumn season continues and intensifies while the rains, sleets, and snows begin to blanket the earth to introduce moisture. According to Natural Place, Water constantly seeks to fall as most commonly seen in waterfalls or in the natural flow of rivers which naturally take downhill paths. This combination of the falling direction and the cold and wet qualities make phelgm the least desirable classical temperament due to the difficulty in motivating and controlling it.
The phlegmatic temperament also has two planetary rulers: Venus and the Moon. Unlike choler and melancholy, the two rulers don’t represent a clear cut positive/negative duality with the characteristics of the temperament. Phlegm has a strong feeling nature and is very compassionate and concerned about people and will donate generously to causes they support. Children of phlegm are reserved, shy, and contemplative, but they tend to think deeply about rather mundane subjects which gives the impression of someone who likes to contemplate their navel rather than come up with practical solutions to real problems. The phelgmatic temperament has difficulties with addictions, these can range anywhere from something relatively harmless (like sweets), to be a real serious problem (like substance abuse) as phlegm is only successfully motivated by its desires or emotions. Phlegm can be best represented by a spilled glass of water; it spreads over its surface in a large area, but only thinly, it lacks direction so it ends up everywhere and it’s difficult to direct.
The cold quality of phlegm keeps the more adventurous moist quality reigned in more than its brother the sanguine temperament does. Phelgm tends to be more of a homebody who doesn’t like to get out and do things very often. If they do go out, it’s usually to the same places over and over again, establishing an emotional connection with it or having it operate as something of a secondary home. Phlegm is a creature of habit, which is something sanguine is very much not. This also plays out in respect to relationships where sanguine will try to make many connections and acquaintances, whereas phlegm doesn’t really see the point and will be social with the same people or group over and over again and sees outsiders or new introductions to these groups as invasive and uncomfortable.
Phlegm’s moisture makes it more personable and caring than the other cold temperament melancholy. It’s much easier to win the heart of a phelgmatic, and they concern themselves more with others than melancholy who tends to keep to themselves. However, the moisture also causes issues with structure and responsibilities. It’s not uncommon for phelgmatic to be the first temperament to drop some kind of plan they make for themselves (such as diets and exercise or study regiments) and phlegm is very good at ignoring problems and hoping they go away rather than dealing with them.
Physically people with a predominate phlegmatic temperament will suffer from an excess of either cold or moisture, but more commonly cold since it is dominating. This can manifest in colds, allergies, and other communicable diseases (so be careful around flu season). This is also the cause of people being “cold natured”, or more likely to be cold in temperatures most would consider “comfortable” and can cause a coldness or numbness in extremities and all of these things may be symptoms of anemia which is also common in people with predominate coldness. Phlegm also holds on to body fat more tightly than other temperaments partly due to its qualities and partly due to a lack of energy and slow metabolism and digestive system. It is not recommended that those natives who are predominately phlegmatic take part in a vegetarian lifestyle.
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