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

    Elemental Sequence
    Figure 4:  The Elemental Sequence through the Year, linked to the Increasing  Decreasing Power of the Sun.

    Astrology and Health
    vitalism and humours [part 4]

    Natural Cycle

    Hippocrates pioneered a natural approach to medicine based upon the natural cycle of the seasons, created by the relationship of the Earth to the Sun during its orbit of 3651/4 days. Each season, he observed, lead to a predominance of a particular humour in the body, in turn leading to preponderance of particular diseases at certain times in the year.

    Elemental Sequence

    The seasons were conceived as a sequence of the four Elements through the course of a year (Fig. 4).
    Spring is linked to the Air Element; summer is linked to the Fire Element; autumn is linked to the Earth Element and winter is linked to the Water Element, this sequence of change being brought about by the alteration of the primary qualities of hot, cold, wet and dry.

    • In the spring, the coldness and moisture of Water is transformed into the heat and moisture of the Air Element by the increasing power of the Sun.
    • In the summer, the heat and moisture of Air is transformed into the heat and dryness of the Fire Element by the Sun at its most powerful.
    • In the autumn, the heat and dryness of the Fire is transformed into the coldness and dryness of the Earth Element, due to the decreasing power of the Sun.
    • In the winter, the coldness and dryness of the Earth is transformed into the coldness and moisture of the Water Element, due the Sun being at its weakest.

    This seasonal transformation of the Elements Hippocrates identified as being echoed in the strength of the constituent humours within the blood (see Figure 5).

    Accordingly, the sanguine humour was seen to be most powerful at the vernal equinox, corresponding to the heat and moisture of the spring. By contrast, the sanguine humour was seen to be weakest at the autumnal equinox, corresponding to the coldness and dryness of the autumn.

    Next the choleric humour was seen to be most powerful at the summer solstice, corresponding to the heat and dryness of the summer. By contrast the choleric humour was seen to be weakest at the winter solstice, corresponding to the coldness and moisture of the winter.

    Subsequently the melancholic humour was seen to be most powerful at the autumnal equinox, corresponding to the coldness and dryness of the autumn. By contrast the melancholic humour was seen to be weakest at the vernal equinox, corresponding to the heat and moisture of the spring.

    Finally the phlegmatic humour was seen to be most powerful at the winter solstice, corresponding to the coldness and moisture of the winter. By contrast the phlegmatic humour was seen to be weakest at the summer solstice corresponding to the heat and dryness of the summer.

    These ideas were directly incorporated into Culpeper's writing, as he explains in his Pharmacopoeia Londonensis:

    All time is measured out by motion, and that the original of all motion is the heavens.  For it is the motion of the Sun which causeth Day and Night, Summer, Winter, Spring and Harvest From which conversion of times and years, all changes proceed, both heat and cold, dryness and moisture, by which four is caused life and death, generation and putrefaction, increase and decrease of elementary things.9
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    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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