It seems to me, no matter how long one has been studying a subject, the journey never seems to end, and new paths appear on the horizon, when one least expects it. There are times it seems we return to the course one was on before, and realized we did not truly explore or investigate it thoroughly enough. This was what happened to me, not too long ago, when I began wondering why people with similar charts reacted to things and events so differently. As I was pondering this, I was remembering my encounters with the temperaments in the natal chart, which is an innate component of our being unlike character and personality which is learnt and developed, and why one needed to learn and master it. It had totally slipped my mind, because even though my first teacher emphasized the importance of mastering this technique, she did not go into details of the importance it may have in our delineations. As I continued my studies, temperaments got left on the shelf collecting dust, as other things caught my attention and seem more important at the time.
I regret not paying more attention and mastering it, but as I have always believed, it is better late then never. The first thing I remember about the subject was trying to memorize what planet and signs were hot, dry, cold and wet, and their relationship to one another. In time these qualities were adapted and assigned to the following four temperaments. Sanguine is described as honest, liberal, cheerful, thoughtful, methodical, accommodating, etc. Melancholy as reserved, ponderous, studious, cynical, untrusting, etc. Cholerique is optimistic, aggressive, action, opportunist, etc. Phlegmatic is pensive, reticent, withdrawn, acquiescent, mutable, etc. How does one use this? It is in synthesizing the elements in the chart and seeing which of the temperaments, or if it is a combination of the temperaments that is the major factor in helping the individual to fulfill the promise of the chart. This technique is similar in judging how much of the charts are in air, earth, water and fire sign to quickly to determine if the individual is more into thinking, into having, into feeling or into getting things done.
By determining the temperament, we can rapidly come to an accurate decision on how the individual will approach each situation before our thorough delineation is begun. This method will indicate whether the individual will take the initiative, is laid back, is the analyst or is more reserved and contemplative. I have come across several teachers such as John Frawley who feel that one cannot have an accurate and insightful delineation without first establishing the temperament of the chart. To be convinced of this, one only needs to do what I just recently did myself, is to go to the internet and to look up the article “The Well-tempered Astrologer – Using an Ancient System in Modern Astrology” by Dorian Gieseler Greenbaum. Don’t just read it, but study it and you wonder why you have not incorporated this system in your delineation sooner. One thing I have learnt is that any technique that is going give me the edge on better understanding the chart and a more correct prediction of what the future will hold, I will use it as my own. Temperament will give us a clue to the hidden agenda of the person that just seeing, analyzing, and comparing the ascendant, the Sun and the Moon, may not as quickly reveal. I am happy to conclude and to announce to all who will listen that I may have forgotten the astrological temperaments, but they have not been lost to me – thank you.