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Humorum Practicum: Elements, humours and temperaments in western herbalism (Washington, USA)

  • bow, washington USA (map)

This is a 4-day workshop led by myself and jim mcdonald, on the energetics of the four temperaments, and the practical applications of this system in western herbalism. 

Here's a breakdown of what we'll be studying each day: 

In order to understand temperaments, we have to understand the context they arose from. The temperaments correlate to the elements of earth, air, fire and water, and these elements give rise to humours and the energetic principles of heat and cold, dampness and dryness, tension and laxity. Understanding these patterns, and how temperaments and energetics work together gives an important framework for using the temperaments in a practical manner. We’ll also look at how historical and social themes affected our understanding of temperaments, adapting, refining and misrepresenting them over time. 

We'll spend the day exploring the melancholic and sanguine temperaments in depth, looking at how they incline one towards physical, behavioral and emotional predispositions. How do these inclinations present in a balanced state? When in excess or deficiency? When overtly blocked? How do these inclinations manifest in the body, and what herbs can be used to exacerbate and balance them? 

We'll continue looking deeply at the temperaments, this time focusing on the choleric and phlegmatic. As with friday, we’ll be exploring the temperaments from various angles and discussing herbs too. 

Just as the color brown cannot be reduced down to one of the primary colors it is made up of, understanding single temperaments isn't enough to make use of this constitutional model: we have to consider combinations. We have to see how an individual manifests each of their humours, which are in balance and which are not, and consider how their environment and experience has affected the expression of their temperament.


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