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Ayumi  Ayumi is offline
Join Date: 03 Aug 2005
Location: Japan
Posts: 78
Hi Cinammon Sue.

The Four Temperaments, by the time of Tarot cards, had developed beyond a strictly "medical" context into four fundamental character types. A person was believed to conform to one of the four types, determined by the planets of ones natal horoscope. I guess we could say the temperaments are how the four elements reveal themselves in the psyche and interaction of human beings.

In a nutshell, the choleric (Fire) is a leader, takes action immediately and decisively, and gets angry easily. The sanguine (Air) is a "people person," warm, enthusiastic, cheerful, but can be an "air-head", and superficial. The melancholic (Earth) is philosophical, analytical, hard working, a perfectionist, idealistic, yet highly critical and prone to depression. The phlegmatic (Water) is amicable, frugal, calm, cooperative, reserved, but can be lazy and timid.

I've attached an old engraving that might illustrate some possible connections between the temperaments and the Tarot suits (from the Shepher's Calendar, published by Nicholas Le Rouge, Troyes, c1495).

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT; Choleric, Sanguine, Phlegmatic, Melancholic.

The Choleric man, on the far left, stands on a bed of Fire, accompanied
by a lion and holds a SWORD, (an aggressive nature and an angry scowl).

The Sanguine man on the middle left is standing on a puff of Air and is accompanied by a monkey, which represents the flighty changable nature of the Sanguine. He holds a bird (falcon?) which could be connected to the Air element or to the leisurely pleasure of falconry.

The Phlegmatic man stands on Water accompanied by a sheep, representing his timid nature. He holds a COIN purse, illustrating the
Phlegmatic's tendences to be frugal.

The Melancholic man stands on the Earth accompanied by a boar,
representing his tendency to work hard. He holds a wooden staff (BATON), perhaps, like the Tarot's hermit, showing his Saturine tendency for seclusion.

I hope this was helpful Cinammon Sue.

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