The Four Humours

Every culture has their superstitions, their ways of categorizing people and personalities, of attempting to divine the success of relationships or the future of a person’s life path. Astrology is no longer applicable because it requires Earth as a reference point… and so alchemy came back into vogue.

No one’s really sure how the popularity of the four humours spread across the worlds. Most scholars give credit to the Children of Earth for preserving and sharing the concept, but true believers think that there’s some veracity to the humours and that’s why the concept has stuck around so long and become virtually universal.

Much like with astrological sun signs and Myers-Briggs personality typing, most people know their alchemical temperament even if they don’t believe in it.  Some will talk about it jokingly, as a social ice-breaker or point of trivial amusement. Others are more serious about it and have delved into alchemical theory and study, talk about how to balance their humours, and engage in or suggest humour-balancing practices in response to illness or distress.

Note: The four humours and their temperaments will be relevant to the game mechanics of Temet Nosce, to be released in summer 2018. 

The Four Humours

Summary

  • Blood: Haima, “sanguine” temperament, corresponds with Air. The Etamui are considered sanguine as a culture.
  • Yellow bile: Khole, “choleric” temperament, corresponds with Fire. The Fanseeth are considered generally choleric.
  • Phlegm: Phlegma, “phlegmatic” temperament, corresponds with Water. The Nurani as a whole are considered phlegmatic.
  • Black bile: Melaina chole, “melancholic” temperament, corresponds with Earth. The Children of Earth are believed to be culturally melancholic.

Sanguine

Blood, Sanguine, Air, Spring, Liver

The most common temperament, and considered the most balanced (although there is debate on that point).

Personality Traits: Patient, thoughtful, contained emotions, measured deliberate action… Tends towards extroversion. Amorous, happy, generous, optimistic, irresponsible… Sociable, outgoing, talkative, responsive, easy-going, lively, carefree, leadership, conventional, conformist, social… Exuberant, enthusiastic, outgoing, optimistic, confident, expansive, generous, romantic, sensual, indulgent.

Promotes: Joy, mirth, optimism, enthusiasm, affection, well-being

Imbalance: Insensitivity, indifference to the fate of others. Frivolous, hedonist.

Dreams are pleasant, charming, amusing, romantic dreams of travel/fun/games/distractions.

Culture: Etamui

Phlegmatic

Phlegm, Phlegmatic, Water, Winter, Brain/Lungs

The second-most common temperament.

Personality Traits: Calm, serene, stable, concentrates well, clear judgment… Tends towards introversion. Passive, careful, thoughtful, peaceful, controlled, reliable, even-tempered, calm… Good natured, benevolent, kind, very empathic, nurturing, compassionate, sympathetic, charitable, religious/spiritual tendencies, sensitive, sentimental, emotional, calm, relaxed.

Promotes: Passivity, lethargy, subjectivity, devotion, emotionalism, sensitivity, sentimentality

Imbalance: Slowness, sleepy, apathetic, lack of drive or care, dull/foggy mind, sluggish, cowardly.

Dreams are languid, placid, with water/aquatic themes.

Culture: Nurani

Choleric

Yellow bile, Choleric, Fire, Summer, Spleen

The third-most common temperament.

Personality Traits: Reactive, quick-tempered, decisive, quick-thinking, action-oriented… Tends towards extroversion. Vengeful, short-tempered, ambitious… Touchy, restless, aggressive, excitable, changeable, impulsive, optimistic, active, bold, daring, imaginative, visionary. Thrives on challenge… Dramatic, bombastic, driven, passionate, bold, courageous, confrontational.

Promotes: The passions (provokes, excites, emboldens the passions), anger, irritability, boldness, ambition, lust, envy, jealousy, courage

Imbalance: Uncontrolled rage, easily angered, acrid, negative, reactive, violent

Dreams are militaristic or violent, fight/flight stress dreams often featuring fire and red things.

Culture: Fanseeth

Melancholic

Black bile, Melancholic, Earth, Autumn, Gall-bladder

The least common temperament.

Personality Traits: Tendency towards moodiness and episodes of mild melancholy. Tendency towards introversion. Introspective, artistic, empathic, grounded, efficient, reliable, dependable… Sentimental, gluttonous, practical, pragmatic, realistic… Moody, rigid, somber, pessimistic, reserved, unsociable, quiet, nervous, high-strung, reflective, stoic, philosophical, risk-averse.

Promotes: Pensiveness, melancholy, withdrawal, prudence, caution, realism, pragmatism, pessimism

Imbalance: Deeply sad, very pessimistic, sullen, withdrawn, sensitive, rigid/dogmatic, nervous

Dreams are dark, moody, somber, disturbing, with themes of grief/loss.

Culture: Children of Earth

Sources

Writing credit: Dani Higgins