Temperament: Astrology's Forgotten Key

Price: $59.95

AUTHOR:  Doran Gieseler Greenbaum

TITLE:  Temperament: Astrology's Forgotten Key

PUBLISHER:  Wessex Astrologer Ltd

ISBN:  9781902405179


The author, Doran Gieseler Greenbaum gives a full history of the origins of temperament in astrology, then shows clearly and succinctly how readers can work to assess temperaments themselves. Copious case histories support her technique.

Temperament: Astrology's Forgotten Key by Doran Gieseler Greenbaum, It is human nature to want to put things into categories, whether they be as broad as animal, vegetable and mineral or as narrow as Delicious versus Macintosh apples. We are no different in our urge to categorize human beings in every way possible. Jung says it is because we want to "bring order into the chaos"[1] and he may very well be right. We have been classifying humans physically, mentally and psychologically for thousands of years. One kind of classification, temperament, has been used by scientists, doctors, philosophers and astrologers for over 2000 years. What is the relationship between temperament and astrology? What is temperament, and how did the theories about it evolve? What is the history of temperament in western civilization? How has it been used in modern times? How can we use it to better understand ourselves today? All these questions will be explored in the following pages.

The first part of this book, Temperament: Astrology's Forgotten Key by Doran Gieseler Greenbaum will be devoted to a definition of temperament, discussion of the four qualities and the elements, and a look at the theory and history of temperament in the west. The second part will describe a study I did correlating Rudolf Steiner's theories of temperament in Waldorf education to the astrological birthchart. The third part will provide some ideas for using temperament in modern astrological practice, along with examples. All three parts will be useful in giving a complete picture of the nature of the relationship between temperament and astrology.

What is Temperament? (pp.1-2)

It might be easier to define temperament by what it is not. In the first place, it is not the same as personality, although personality can incorporate parts of someone's temperament in its expression. Personality is shaped by both internal and external factors, whereas temperament is entirely innate. Temperament is not character, though in some ways the two concepts have a commonality. Character can refer to the distinctive features or qualities that distinguish one form from another, and so is innate like temperament; but it also refers, at least in modern English connotation, to the moral nature of a person. The original Greek meaning of the word charakter is "stamp", as in something used to make an impression in wax or metal. So character is an impression on the person which, in that connotation, implies something from without (parental or societal) rather than within.

Temperament, by contrast, is inherent. We are born with our temperaments, and while there may be overlays of one temperamental style or another during our lives, what we get is what we keep. A card-carrying phlegmatic does not suddenly become a raging choleric. Any mother of more than one child can see temperamental differences in her offspring almost from the moment of birth, qualities which only become more pronounced as her children age.

Such differences have even been the subject of books on child development.[2] So temperament really has to do with a person's nature or disposition. As a primary phlegmatic, I can admire the innate social skills of my daughter the sanguine. I might acquire some of those social skills through my interactions with the outside world, but I have to learn them; they are not a part of my nature. Our inborn temperament is also what we fall back on when faced with a new situation: are we the take-charge, choleric type who rushes in to meet every new experience with gusto? Or the quiet melancholic, who hangs back and analyzes and would rather die than be the life of the party? Are we sanguine, looking to make new friends and social contacts, or phlegmatic and just want to be left alone?

That I can even use these words today and know that many people will know what I mean is a testimony to the enduring ideas behind temperament theory. Even though we now tend to think of choleric as angry, melancholic as depressed, sanguine as happy-go-lucky and phlegmatic as lethargic, these words are still very much in our vocabulary.

If we go back into the past, we can discover the origins behind our modern use of these temperamental words. The word temperament comes from the Latin temperamentum, which means "mixture." But a mixture of what? A "temperament," according to the Greeks who evolved the theory, is a mixture of qualities that combine to form elements in physics and humors in medicine. There are four qualities: hot, cold, wet and dry. There are also four elements: fire, earth, air and water; and four humors - choler or yellow bile, melancholer or black bile, blood and phlegm.

The Greeks looked for a state of equilibrium or balance among these four elements and humors: such a person was said to be well-mixed, or well-tempered. (Such a phrase even comes into modern English when we speak of someone with a "good temper." ) It was important to know a person's temperament so that imbalances could be treated.

The ideas about temperament evolved from ideas about the nature of the world, and the original building blocks of the world. The Greek philosophers and physicists (the word "nature" is phusis, in Greek) of the second half of the first millennium BCE developed the theories out of which temperament arose, using the qualities and the elements. It will be useful now to take a look at what the qualities and elements are, what they represent and how they act.

About The Author:

Dorian Gieseler Greenbaum graduated from Douglass College, Rutgers University, with general honors and honors in Classics. Her M.A. is from Columbia University in history (Egyptology). She taught Classical Languages (including Egyptian, Ancient Greek and Latin) at a Waldorf School for six years. Her astrological training was from Joseph and Jill-laurie Crane, and Robert Hand. She has been seeing clients and teaching astrology since 1992, and has taught at The Astrology Institute since 1994.

In 1997,Dorian was asked by Robert Hand to translate the Introduction of Paulus Alexandrinus for ARHAT, along with the Scholia to that work, and the commentary on it by Olympiodorus. In 2001 Dorian became a Certified Astrologer through the National Council for Geocosmic Research. Her book on temperament developed out of the research paper she produced for that certification: "Temperament and Astrology in Theory, History and Practice".

Dorian is currently pursuing a PhD at the Warburg Institute in London and may be contacted by email: