Melancholic Temperament in Astrology



The Melancholic temperament brings together the Cold and Dry qualities and is associated with the Earth element. He has a thoughtful and focused personality. It can be quite reserved and moderate in its manifestations; he is sometimes underestimated as he seems less interested in things than he really is.

Melancholic temperament

He is not very exuberant in his expression, but he is very specific in his actions. His focus of attention is on objective reality, which gives him a lot of solidity and security. You tend to treat facts better than ideas. He is generally resourceful and a good researcher, showing great patience and perseverance.

Emotionally, he is not very demonstrative and, like Choleric , he is rigid in his sensitivity. However, the Cold quality makes him very susceptible, tending to sadness, pessimism and, when emotionally unbalanced, depression.

Due to the Seco quality he finds it difficult to cry and holds back his anger for a long time, and may even become resentful. The rigidity of this temperament makes him very stubborn, distrustful and antisocial, which can bring him some loneliness. He is generally critical and a perfectionist in his achievements, and in extreme cases he can be intolerant and relentless.

When combined with the Sanguinean temperament he becomes more social, bold and cheerful, presenting a less pessimistic and defensive behavior. This combination is said to be very moderate, as it combines opposite qualities.

If you present a sub-tone of Choleric, you gain more dynamism, sociability and determination. However, the predominance of the Seco quality gives it a lonely and individualistic attitude.

When combined with Phlegmatic , it emphasizes the predominance of Cold, which reinforces reserve and retraction. It originates a behavior similar to pure Melancholic, although a little more flexible and adaptable.

Physiognomically speaking, the Melancholic body tends to be of average height and slim build. The skin is rough and cold to the touch, generally yellowish and dull and with little hair. Hair tends to be dark.

The Melancholic temperament is associated with a state of mind called “black bile”. Its function is the retention of substances in the body, giving consistency to tissues and liquids, solidifying bones and strengthening memory and sobriety. Its receptive organ is the spleen.

Practical Application of Temperaments

Temperaments are the key to interpreting a horoscope.

Each planet or sign has affinities with one of the four temperaments, which serves as the basis for defining its characteristics.

The combination of the temperament of a planet and that of the sign where it is placed is the basis of astrological interpretation.

In Natal Astrology it is possible to determine the temperament (or combination of temperaments) of each individual. This global temperament describes the basic characteristics, which condition all behaviors, motivations and personal dynamics.

The manifestation of the particularities indicated on the map is always subject to the dominant temperament. For example, an astrological indicator of aggression will have a different expression on an angry temperament map (which reinforces the aggressive tendency) or on a phlegmatic temperament map (which retracts it). The temperament is, therefore, a background plane on which the personality is manifested.

The calculation for determining individual temperament has a degree of complexity, which takes into account the relative weight of the four primitive qualities of the horoscope.

In the weighting, the primitive qualities of the Ascendant and the Moon (as well as the planetary configurations associated with it) are considered, to which the temperament of the sun sign is added.

Source: Helena Avelar and Luis Ribeiro, in Treatise on the Spheres - A Practical Guide to the Astrological Tradition. Editorial Pergaminho. Cascais, Portugal, 2007, pp. 45-6.

Primordial Qualities - The Principle of Everything

In astrology, vital energy initially manifests through Primordial Qualities (also called Primary Qualities or Primitive Qualities). These are present in nature and in matter, subtly regulating cosmic energy.

All life forms are expressed through the Primitive Qualities and they are also the pieces that constitute the elements, the signs and the planets, that is to say, they are the basic basis of astrology.

Each of these axes represents opposite attributes:

  • Hot and cold
  • Dry and Wet

I know that:

  • Hot - action, movement, impulsiveness
  • Cold - receptivity, passivity, melancholy, observation
  • Dry - permanence, stagnation, crystallization, concentration
  • Wet - flexibility, volatility, malleability

Primitive Qualities and the Energy of the Planets

Planet / Quality / Element / Temperament

  • Sun - Hot and Dry = Fire (Choleric)
  • Moon - Cold and Humid = Water (Phlegmatic)
  • Mercury - this planet does not have a defined quality, as it tends to absorb the qualities of what it comes into contact with. However, when viewed in isolation, without any other influence, it is considered Cold and Dry. (Melancholic)
  • Venus - Cold and Humid = Water (Phlegmatic)
  • Mars - Hot and Dry = Fire (Choleric)
  • Jupiter - Hot and Humid = Air (Blood)
  • Saturn - Cold and Dry = Earth (Melancholic)