The Four Temperaments

The Four Temperaments

Sanguine – Air – Swords – People Person

Sanguine indicates the personality of an individual with the temperament of blood, the season of spring (wet and hot), and the element of air. A person who is sanguine is generally optimistic, cheerful, even-tempered, confident, rational, popular, and fun-loving. They can be daydreamy to the point of not accomplishing anything and impulsive, acting on whims in an unpredictable fashion.

If you are a sanguine, then you are most likely the life of the party. You are funny and relish the limelight. You are affectionate, enjoy social activities, and make friends easily. You are imaginative and creative, and are often the one who enthusiastically promotes new ideas on the job. People call you vivacious, generous, and light-hearted. You wear your emotions on your sleeve, but you are always quick to “forgive and forget.” You probably struggle with follow-through, are chronically late, and tend to be forgetful. As quickly as you discover a new hobby or pursuit, you can also lose interest–when it ceases to be engaging or fun.

Strengths and natural virtues: active, affectionate, affable, animated, ardent, carefree, compassionate, cheerful, creative, docile, eager, enthusiastic, entertainer, expressive, generous, fashionable, flexible, forgiving, funny, fun-loving, high-spirited, imaginative, joyful, light-hearted, lively, open, optimistic, outgoing, popular, responsive, resilient, sensitivity, sparkling, spontaneous, story-teller, vivacious, warm-hearted

Weaknesses and natural vices: attention-seeking, changeable, chatty, distractible, disorganized, emotional, tendency to exaggerate, faddish, fickle, flighty, frivolous, forgetful, gossipy, inconstancy, insincere, lacking depth, scattered, sensuality, smart-alecky, superficial, prone to vanity, undisciplined

Choleric – Fire – Wands – Leader

Choleric corresponds to the fluid of yellow bile, the season of summer (dry and hot), and the element of fire. A person who is choleric is a doer and a leader. Many great charismatic, military and political figures were cholerics. On the negative side, they are easily angered or bad tempered. In folk medicine, a baby referred to as “colic” is one who cries frequently and seems to be constantly angry. This is an adaptation of “choleric,” although no one now would attribute the condition to bile. Similarly, a person described as “bilious” is mean-spirited, suspicious, and angry.

If you are a choleric, you are a dynamic, self-motivated leader who can set your sights on a target and relentlessly pursue it until success is achieved. You are a strong-willed individual who makes decisions quickly and decisively, and who readily and easily grasps difficult concepts and strategies. Learning comes quickly to you, and you like to take action immediately. You think logically and pragmatically, and are sometimes accused of “rolling over” people once you have set a plan in motion. You do not readily reveal deep emotions—except anger. Cholerics are often accused of being stubborn, domineering, and dictatorial. You demand loyalty from your friends, and thrive when you are in control.

Strengths and natural virtues: active, assertive, bold, brave, capable, compelling, confident, competitive, determined, decisive, driving, dynamic, effective, energetic, enterprising, focused, forceful, goal-oriented, independent, opinionated, passionate, persevering, positive, pragmatic, productive, purposeful, quick, resolute, self-motivated, sharp, strong-willed, vigorous, zealous

Weaknesses and natural vices: aggressive, ambitious, angry, antagonistic, argumentative, bossy, combative, defiant, dismissive, domineering, harsh, impatient, intolerant, oppositional, prideful, pushy, relentless, shrewd, stubborn, unempathic, unsympathetic

Melancholic – Earth – Pentacles – Deeply Thoughtful

Melancholic is the personality of an individual characterized by black bile; hence (Greek μελας, melas, “black”, + χολη, kholé, “bile”); a person who was a thoughtful ponderer had a melancholic disposition. Often very kind and considerate, melancholics can be highly creative – as in poets and artists – but also can become overly obsessed on the tragedy and cruelty in the world, thus becoming depressed. It also indicates the season of autumn (dry and cold) and the element of earth. A melancholy is also often a perfectionist, being very particular about what they want and how they want it in some cases. This often results in being unsatisfied with one’s own artistic or creative works, always pointing out to themselves what could and should be improved.

Time alone is vital for this reflective, introspective temperament. A perfectionist at home and on the job, the melancholic is likely the one with the perfectly organized closet and kitchen, the tidy desk-top, and the painstaking attention to religious observances, sometimes to the point of scrupulosity. A melancholic longs for a deep soul mate, yet when he is around people, he often finds himself mistrustful and disappointed. Sensing this criticism, others will keep their distance—thus further entrenching the melancholic in his solitary life. In relationships, the melancholic tends to be slow to initiate, cautious, hyper-critical, and pessimistic–yet, once committed, they are unwaveringly loyal and self-sacrificing.

Strengths and natural virtues: analytical, artistic, careful, cautious, choosy, conscientious, deliberate, delicate, discreet, detailed, elegant, exacting, guarded, idealistic, introspective, judicious, lover of truth and beauty, meticulous noble, orderly, painstaking, particular, quietly passionate, persevering planned, pondering precise, prudent reasoned, reflective, religious, reserved, restrained, romantic, shy, serious, sensitive, studious, thorough, thoughtful

Weaknesses and natural vices: aloof, apprehensive, brooding, cool, critical, demanding, distrusting, envious, fearful, grudge-bearing, haughty, hypochondria, highbrow, jealous, judgmental, nitpicking, perfectionist, pessimistic, reluctant, scrupulous, self-righteous, skeptical, snooty, standoffish, strict, superior, suspicious, timid, uncommunicative, unsocial, undemonstrative, wary

Phlegmatic – Water – Cups – Easy Going

A phlegmatic person is calm and unemotional. Phlegmatic means pertaining to phlegm, corresponds to the season of winter (wet and cold), and connotes the element of water. While phlegmatics are generally self-content and kind, their shy personality can often inhibit enthusiasm in others and make themselves lazy and resistant to change. They are very consistent, relaxed, and observant, making them good administrators and diplomats. Like the sanguine personality, the phlegmatic has many friends. But the phlegmatic is more reliable and compassionate; these characteristics typically make the phlegmatic a more dependable friend.

If you are a phlegmatic, you most likely possess a dry wit and a steady, amicable demeanor. You are dependable, polite, and even-tempered. You feel more comfortable in a small group of friends or even spending a quiet evening relaxing at home. You are never flashy, belligerent, or self-aggrandizing. You would rather take the blame (even unjustly) than stir up controversy or pick a fight. On the job, you seek neither power nor the limelight, but work steadily, patiently, and methodically. You are reliable, patient, and methodical on the job, and can work alone, or with the most difficult of personalities. You will prefer job security, working within a structured organization, but can also be a leader of great character and service.

Strengths and natural virtues: amiable, calm, collected, composed, conservative, coolheaded, cooperative, courteous, constant, content, deliberate, dependable, diplomatic, dry, easy-going, efficient, even-tempered, fair, friendly, gentle, good-humored, kind, level-headed, meek, mellow, mild, modest, neutral, peaceful, philosophical, polite, quiet, relaxed, reliable, self-controlled, self-possessed, serene, sincere, sober, stable, steady, sympathetic, tactful, traditional, understanding, undisturbed, unflappable, untroubled, without hostility

Weaknesses and natural vices: apathetic, boring, distant, indecisive, indifferent, impassive, inattentive, lackadaisical, listless, lukewarm, obtuse, passionless, procrastinating, sluggish, slow, simple, spiritless, unconcerned, unenthusiastic, unopinionated, unmotivated, unresponsive, languid, content with status quo, lack of aspirations

Temperament Combinations

Pure Choleric – Fire

Choleric/Sanguine – Fire/Air

Choleric/Melancholic – Fire/Earth

Pure Phlegmatic – Water

Phlegmatic/Sanguine – Water/Air

Phlegmatic/Melancholic – Water/Earth

Pure Sanguine – Air

Sanguine/Choleric – Air/Fire

Sanguine/Phlegmatic – Air/Water

Pure Melancholic – Earth

Melancholic/Choleric – Earth/Fire

Melancholic/Phlegmatic – Earth/Water

Choleric and Phlegmatic (Fire and Water) and Sanguine and Melancholic (Air and Earth) are opposites and so have no combinations.


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