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

    Schematic of the Humours
    Figure 2:  The Sanguine Humour (Blood) containing the Choleric, Melancholic & Phlegmatic Humours.

    Astrology and Health
    vitalism and humours [part 2]

    The humours are here explained in detail, from both symbolic and biochemical perspectives, as well as showing how humoral physiology can be used parallel to biochemical medicine.

    In comprehending humoral ideas it is important to stop analysing what the humours are, in the same way that blood is currently broken up into its anatomical and biochemical components, but to allow the symbolism of the Elements to reveal in your mind's eye the nature of the humours.

    Elemental Air Symbol The Sanguine Humour

    The sanguine humour is the principal humour of the blood, which embodies the other three humours, the choleric, melancholic and phlegmatic, within it. The sanguine humour is perceived with the Air Element and is synonymous with the totality of the blood. Since the blood and the Air Element are both hot and moist, this where the symbolic connection is made.

    Air is unique amongst the four Elements, since it is the only one of the four gross Elements that is able to embrace the other three equally. Similarly the sanguine humour embraces the other three humours. In a state of health the choleric, melancholic and phlegmatic humours are indistinguishable within the sanguine humour. See Figure 2. They only become manifest when disease occurs.

    This is simply demonstrated by a bruise. Following trauma to the tissues of the body, the damaged cells cause a localised swelling in which blood pools in the vicinity of the injury. This increased blood flow brings the extra materials needed to rebuild new tissue and helps get rid of the waste from damaged cells.

    This immediate phase of the inflammatory response involves the sanguine humour, which initially is a benign protective mechanism.

    Next the red blood cells that have saturated the swollen area lose their oxygen and in so doing their hæmoglobin, the pigment that carries the oxygen, changes colour from a bright to a dark red. Through the skin this appears as a black colouration that causes the distinctive appearance of a bruise. This subsequent phase of the inflammatory response involves the melancholic humour, or black bile. This is when the damaged cells die and are broken down.

    Next the de-oxygenated red blood cells are also broken down, releasing the yellow bile pigments formed from the destruction of the hæmoglobin. This causes the bruise to turn briefly to a pale yellow. This ensuing phase of the inflammatory response involves the choleric humour, or yellow bile, which is when the new cells grow to replace those destroyed in the injury.

    Finally, once the new tissues have been regenerated, a slight residual swelling remains, that has no distinctive colour. This is when the last of the waste products is removed from the area, allowing the injured part of the body to return to normal. This concluding phase of the inflammatory response involves the phlegmatic humour.

    Jupiter Jupiter Rules the Sanguine Humour

    Jupiter is the planetary ruler of the sanguine humour. The seat of the sanguine humour is the liver, which is responsible for maintaining the balance of the humours in the blood. Modern physiology recognizes that the function of the liver is precisely reflected in the biochemical composition of the blood (See Figure 3).

    Jupiter in ruling the liver – the largest organ in the body – ensures that the sanguine humour is properly composed of its three constituent humours, so facilitating the flow of the vital force through the body and maintaining health. Jupiter can also be seen as mediating between the spiritual and material realms, maintaining the psyche within the body.

    Jupiter also traditionally rules the lungs. With each inspiration the chest expands, air flows into the lungs and diffuses into the blood. The condensation of the hot and moist air onto a mirror or plate of glass held in front of the nose is a clinical sign of life. No condensation occurs when the body is dead.

    In contemporary hæmatology, the sanguine humour can be equated with the complete composition of the blood. The principal role of the blood is the transportation of the respiratory gases (Air) and nutriments to the tissues. The importance of this function is highlighted by the brain cells dying in a matter of minutes if deprived of oxygen. Culpeper states the balance of the sanguine humour nourishes the judgement.1 In humoral physiology the word sanguine is synonymous with health.

    Read more on the Humours
    About the Vital Force
    Back 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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