Today and Tomorrow are Phlegmatic Days

With the Sun in Cancer (cold/wet) and the Moon in Pisces (cold/wet) it’s going to be a Phlegmatic couple of days.

You may recall that humoural theory is based on the ancient and medieval physiology and medicine as expounded by Empedocles, Hippocrates, and Galen – it’s all to do with the four blocks or ‘roots’ of the material world that manifest in certain humours and their related temperaments:

ELEMENT QUALITY HUMOUR TEMPERAMENT
Fire Hot/dry Yellow Bile Choleric
Earth Cold/dry Black Bile Melancholic
Water Cold/wet Phlegm Phlegmatic
Air Hot/wet Blood Sanguine

Often we experience various combinations of the four humours resulting in mixed temperaments – the more balanced between the four humours – the better but the bad news is that with this energy, there is no way to achieve balance.

The good news, however, is that this is not the cold shower as when we had Sun/Cancer – Moon/Scorpio combination. With Jupiter as the traditional ruler of Pisces, the water feels much different than with Scorpio, the traditional ruler of which is Mars.

As you might imagine the energy ruled by Mars is martial – or warlike. But unlike Mars in Aries (which it also ruPhlegmatic-Pictureles) where the energy is fiery and bright, the energy in Scorpio is dark and dangerous because water cools down fiesty Mars – hence the cold shower.

But now the Phlegmatic energy is different because instead of Mars, we have Jupiter involved – and his traditional astrological job is to bring worldly wealth and priestly wisdom.

Hence this is a moist, wet – dreamy kind of energy – the kind that is best used for learning great lessons and making pleasant plans.

Today and Tomorrow are Phlegmatic/Sanguine – but take heart!

With the Sun in Cancer (cold/wet) and the Moon in Aquarius (hot/wet) it’s going to be a Phlegmatic/Sanguine couple of days.

You may recall that humoural theory is based on the ancient and medieval physiology and medicine as expounded by Empedocles, Hippocrates, and Galen – it’s all to do with the four blocks or ‘roots’ of the material world that manifest in certain humours and their related temperaments:

ELEMENT QUALITY HUMOUR TEMPERAMENT
Fire Hot/dry Yellow Bile Choleric
Earth Cold/dry Black Bile Melancholic
Water Cold/wet Phlegm Phlegmatic
Air Hot/wet Blood Sanguine

Often we experience various combinations of the four humours resulting in mixed temperaments – the more balanced between the four humours – the better and the good news is that with this one, it won’t be hard to get it right.

About a week ago, when the Moon was in Libra we also had Phlegmatic/Sanguine energy – and according to his 16th century translation of Galen’s Art of Physick, Nicholas Culpeper advised that such energy was frustrating – but only so-so.

If you will also recall, Libra was in square aspect (90 degrees) to Cancer. Even more importantly, both energies were cardinal   – representing a direct, unrestrained outpouring of energy in keeping with the change of seasons – the cross-quarter days of the summer equinox (Cancer) and vernal equinox (Libra).cross quarter days

The relationship between Aquarius and Cancer is different; although Cancer remains cardinal, Aquarius is fixed in the sense that it preserves the balance. In terms of the Jungian Functions, Aquarius (air) represents the thinking function and so when Cancer (feeling function) overwhelms (as it is apt to do), you can drop back, re-group, and gather much needed perspective.

No longer feeling pushed/pulled by the energies around you, you can now take a decision and stick with it – that’s what fixed energy like Aquarius is all about.

Beginnings and Endings in Renaissance Drama

‘Cut is the branch that might have grown full straight’ (Dr Faustus).

Are the endings of Renaissance plays implicit in their beginnings? Often this is the case, at least in those Renaissance tragedies where the classical Greek chorus was in whole or part adopted. However the audience may have to work rather harder than might be expected in order to unravel these implications as the above quote taken from the ending chorus in Marlowe’s Dr Faustus suggests.

In that play the chorus performs one of the most important roles of the Greek chorus by preparing the audience for key moments in the storyline. The chorus in Dr Faustus tells us that this play is neither about love nor war nor ‘audacious deeds’. Instead it is about a man born of parents, ‘base of stock’ – and hence signals something akin to the so-called ‘everyman’ plays wherein the protagonist will receive instruction on how as a Christian, he should lead his life and hence save his soul.Greek Chorus

But at the same time this chorus also references the classical myth of Icarus, whose waxen wings melted when he foolishly flew to close to the sun. In classical terms the fate or ‘fortunes’ (as the referenced by the chorus) of one such as Icarus depended more on ‘ignorance’ rather than on the ‘wickedness’ with which the Christian audience would be faced. There would appear little suggestion that the character Faustus is ignorant of his situation; although in the first scene he importantly neglects to finish his quotation from the First Letter of John regarding the effect of confessing one’s sins and hence receiving God’s forgiveness, we have the sense that such omission is more strategic (to justify his chosen position) than ill-informed. Hence quite how the reference to Icarus and his ‘melting heavens’ that ‘conspired his overthrow’ are meant infer how Faustus’ ‘wickedness’ contributed to his sad end is something that audience were perhaps meant to ponder a bit.

Further, this quote taken from conclusion of Dr Faustus seems to suggest that Faustus actually had a choice as whether his ‘branch might have grown full straight’. This raises the importance of the Calvinist doctrine of predestination; those in the audience who adhered to this view would have wondered at such a suggestion for in their view Faustus is clearly damned from the beginning and hence there was nothing he could ever have done – no choice he could ever have taken – for his branch to have ‘grown full straight’.

In Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy, clearly influenced by the Roman dramatist Seneca, the ‘chorus’ in the form of the interchange between the ghost of Andrea and Revenge, works slightly differently. Although it does imply the ending in the general sense that justice will be done – i.e. Balthazar, the Portuguese prince who killed Andrea, will get his just-deserts at the hands of Andrea’s old girlfriend, Bel-Imperia – it does not prepare the audience for key moments in the story line. Instead it rather long-windedly sets the scene of the pagan underworld in which none of the play actually takes place. Naturally the audience is meant to hang on the final words of Revenge in that opening chorus – ‘here we sit down to see the mystery’ but they remain none the wiser as to nature of that ‘mystery’ – indeed they do not even yet know who will be the tragic protagonist. At least they can take heart in that unlike with the chorus in Dr Faustus, they are not being deliberately misled except perhaps to the extent they might expect the play to unfold in that so carefully described underworld.

The ‘Argument’ and ‘Prologue’ in Jonson’s Renaissance comedy, Volpone, likewise works similarly to the Greek chorus – the ‘Argument’ preparing the audience for key moments to come by summarising the plot and, as did the ghostly chorus in Kyd, implying that justice will be done when at the end ‘all are sold’. The Prologue adds to this by suggesting that ‘our play’ will be a ‘hit’ as the result of the dramatists’ salty ink – with which he intends to ‘rub your cheeks’ till ‘red with laughter’. This is a clear signal that the play is not tragedy but comedy and satire.

In those Renaissance plays without a chorus or prologue, the ending is sometimes suggested with the opening lines – as for example, in Middleton and Rowley’s The Changeling. Here Alsemero hints at the play will be a tragedy with words like ‘omen’ and ‘fate’. But at the same time he suggests that it may be a comedy with words of love and matrimony. Clearly the audience will need to work to unravel that. However with Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi, there is neither chorus nor prologue nor argument and rather like a 21st century novel, the opening lines jump straight into the action as the (soon-to-be) husband of the Duchess chats amiably with his friend, Delio, implying very little of what is to follow except perhaps that it is meant to ‘instruct princes what they ought to do’.

In summary, in those Renaissance plays that adopt a Greek-style chorus, the ending is more or less implicit in the beginning in the sense that the audience is being prepared for key moments in the storyline. Often however the audience will need to work hard to unravel the various clues given because often enough they are (deliberately or not) misleading. Renaissance plays with prologues and arguments work in a similar fashion often summarising the plot as with Volpone and making clear whether what is to come is meant to be tragedy or comedy. However in those plays with neither a chorus nor prologue nor argument, the opening lines may still give a hint what is to come although not nearly in so much detail.

The Institution of Marriage in English Renaissance Drama

‘Marriage is a merri-age, and this world’s Paradise’ (Rachel Speght).

Catherine Richards notes in her essay, ‘Tragedy, family and household’(Cambridge Companion to English Renaissance Tragedy), there were two rulers to every household – the husband and wife – and although they were not equal (women always subservient to men) both parties were expected not only to work together for the benefit of the household but also to show mutual respect for each other.

As Richards also points out, the household was seen as the microcosm of the nation-state – the assumption being that to the extent individual households succeed, the nation-state does too. However the closeness of human relationships constrained by the physical shape of the household – a private yet familiar space – can and did lead to rather bizarre results especially when household loyalties break down.

Understanding the institution of marriage in this way, it becomes readily apparent that the romantic love that we in the 21st century so favour in relationships was not a key factor in the Renaissance equation. Hence it would appear that Ms Speght’s definition of marriage as ‘merri-age’ and ‘this world’s Paradise’ requires a wider interpretation than simply romance as no doubt she, herself a product of the Renaissance, would have understood.

At least in regards to tragedies of the period, romantic ‘love’ seems to have been a drawback. In Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy, the marriage of Bel-Imperia is very much a political game. When she decides to love Horatio, the son of the tragic protagonist, Hieronimo, rather than Balthazar, the choice of her brother, Lorenzo, and presumably also her father, the King of Spain, everrenaissance marriageything goes wrong; the result is that all the lovers must die. Likewise in Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi, the Duchess, a young widow is second-guessed by her jealous (and likely incestuous) twin brother, the choleric Ferdinand, on her choice of her household steward, Antonio, as a husband; again all lovers must die.

In The Changeling by Middleton and Rowley, there is some compromise in regards to romantic love. When Beatrice’s fiancée, Alonzo, chosen by her father, dies (murdered by Beatrice and her servant, Deflores), her choice of Alsemero (who took every opportunity to butter up Beatrice’s father) is accepted. Yet in this play ‘romance’ is still not straightforward, at least in the eyes of the tragic protagonist, Beatrice. Although she would say with her rational brain that she loves Alsemero, with her irrational unconscious she choses to become both emotionally and sexually entwined with her accomplice in murder, Deflores.

Yet because both women and slaves are considered exempt from (or incapable of) rational behaviour, the apparent requirement that both Beatrice and her lover must die here, remains to me, a bit of a mystery. I can only conclude that the breakdown of a household such as this was seen as such a political threat that it required death to bring such threat to an end.

In Renaissance comedy, the treatment of marriage is quite different. Usually one of the key ingredients of a comedy is that the play ends either in marriage (as does Shakespeare’s Midsummer’s Night Dream) or the promise of marriage. Unlike with tragedy, romance in our 21st century sense is more in evidence in comedy and it usually is rewarded as with Midsummer’s Night Dream where all the warring couples are at the end, happily united in matrimony. However unlike with the tragedies, the comedies do not usually probe the personal dynamics of a marriage as deeply as do the tragedies.

For example, in Jonson’s Volpone, the character Corvino is shown to be as unjustifiably jealous of his pretty wife, Celia, as is Leontes over his wife, Hermione, in Shakespeare’s tragi-comedy, The Winter’s Tale. Indeed the jealous husband is often a motif in Renaissance drama – perhaps reminding us again that all is not right when in a marriage, there is no mutual respect. The outcome of these comedies differ dramatically however with how the jealous husband reacts. With Corvino the slightest provocation (Celia only tossed her handkerchief out her window – she was hardly caught in bed with another man) sets him to berate his wife most unbecomingly – taking his sword he threatens to ‘strike this steel into thee’ and then promises to ‘lock’ her up and ‘keep thee backwards’ which has rather seedy implications of its own.

Whilst Corvino later appears to try to patch things up with his wife, it is only to lure her to Volpone’s house – where (unbeknownst to her) he has arranged lease her out as a whore. With this, Corvino has now gone much too far and we are not surprised when later the four magistrates punish him by taking away his wife and sending her home to her father. Like Corvino, Leontes also loses his wife – at least for a time – but he does finally see the error of his ways (in a way that we can imagine Corvino never could) and when he has suffered enough for his bad behaviour, his wife is (more or less magically) restored to him.

In summary, during the English Renaissance, the institution of marriage was viewed as a partnership whereby both husband and wife had responsibilities to the household as a whole. Because the household was seen as a microcosm for the nation-state, the success/failure of the individual household had important political implications and hence romance, as we might understand it in the 21st century, was not usually a key ingredient. In the tragedies, romance was usually an impediment and always gave way to more important political goals. However in the comedies, romance was not necessarily seen as a problem and indeed many comedies end with a happy marriage, as with Midsummer’s Night Dream. However this was not always the case and in some comedies such as Volpone or tragi-comedies such as The Winter’s Tale, a marriage partnership that had become sufficiently unbalanced was either terminated or (painfully) repaired.

Today and Tomorrow are Phlegmatic/Melancholic

imagesWith the Sun in Cancer (cold/wet) and the Moon in Capricorn (dry/cold) it’s going to be a Phlegmatic/Melancholic couple of days.

You may recall that humoural theory is based on the ancient and medieval physiology and medicine as expounded by Empedocles, Hippocrates, and Galen – it’s all to do with the four blocks or ‘roots’ of the material world that manifest in certain humours and their related temperaments:

ELEMENT QUALITY HUMOUR TEMPERAMENT
Fire Hot/dry Yellow Bile Choleric
Earth Cold/dry Black Bile Melancholic
Water Cold/wet Phlegm Phlegmatic
Air Hot/wet Blood Sanguine

Often we experience various combinations of the four humours resulting in mixed temperaments – the more balanced between the four humours, the better – but this one won’t be be easy to balance; the shared quality between the Sun and the Moon at the moment is cold and that suggests a combination of low energy and a rather sober mood.

By nature, the Phlegmatic is shamefaced and sober and the Melancholic, suspicious and musing. Put the two together and there isn’t much you can do to balance out what is likely to feel like a cold shower.

In terms of the Jungian Functions, feeling is infused with sensation – hence your perception of what’s going on around you is likely to be as overwhelmingly gloomy as it is accurate. But brooding over the current state of affairs won’t change them. Hence the best way to deal with this Phlegmatic/Melancholic energy is to sit tight and avoid taking unnecessary action for it won’t be too long before the Moon shifts into Aquarius and then you’ll be able to gain some much-needed distance and perspective.humor theory

The Troubles of a Certain Mr A & the Predictive Technique of Firdaria

In conjunction with other classical predictive techniques, the Firdaria is brilliant. Rather like the Dasha periods in Hindu astrology, the Firdaria assigns periods of our lives to various different planets in keeping with the Chaldean order of the planets as follows:

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Continuing on with the case study of ‘a certain Mr A’  (28 June post), we learn that his current ‘daunting difficulties’ started to really manifest in 2010-2012 when he entered in his Saturn/Venus Firdaria.

Saturn is always ambitious, striving to bring achievement and success into our lives through hard work. Mr A’s Saturn is highly successful in this regard – being in its sign of rulership, Aquarius (and also in its own terms). Indeed when Mr A entered his Saturn Firdaria in 2004, I can only imagine that he really began to enjoy the fruits of his labours.

In the Saturn/Venus Firdaria, Saturn’s ambitions are funnelled through Venus, whose job is to provide money and/or relationships and self-worth. Because Venus (26 Aries) is in the terms of Saturn, she willingly provides all the help that she can to Saturn – but unfortunately because she is in detriment (or damaged), it should come as no surprise that she provides Mr A with a fiery (Aries) and damaging (Venus in Aries) relationship in connection with the place where he does all his hard work. I can only imagine how at this time, such a relationship fanned the fires of his own feelings of self-worth. I can also imagine that it might even have added to his status at work.

However in late 2016-2017, Mr A will experience his Jupiter/Mars Firdaria.

According to the Liber Hermetis, Jupiter in Aries (in sect and in good condition) suggests a ‘powerful leader’, a ‘victor in battle’, and a ‘trusted councillor’. This not only sounds fantastic but also worth all the hard work. However when we remember that all this bounty is to be funnelled through his Mars in Pisces (which in the earlier post we found suggestive of ‘working as a slave’, having ‘little regard for danger’, and throwing himself into ‘violent situations’ where he ‘looses his mind’ with the ‘excitement of it all’), we are not so optimistic.

When we further discover that his Mars in Pisces is in the terms of Venus in his natal chart, we have reason to fear that the fiery relationship forged during 2010-2012 will now come back to haunt him. This serious potential for disaster during this period is further highlighted by Jupiter (21 Aries) being in the terms of Mars.

Mr A would be well-advised to take action now to put damage control measures into place. Further, he should keep a watchful eye on avoiding ‘violent situations’ during which he might ‘lose his mind’ with the ‘excitement of it all’. If he fails to do so, then (as Robert Zoller suggests) that Venus in detriment ‘might have at first seemed to fulfil its promise’ but ‘then it will destroy what it has given’ (and more).

Today and Tomorrow are Phlegmatic/Choleric Days

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With the Sun in Cancer (cold/wet) and the Moon in Sagittarius (hot/dry) it’s going to be a Phlegmatic/Choleric couple of days.

You may recall that humoural theory is based on the ancient and medieval physiology and medicine as expounded by Empedocles, Hippocrates, and Galen – it’s all to do with the four blocks or ‘roots’ of the material world that manifest in certain humours and their related temperaments:

ELEMENT QUALITY HUMOUR TEMPERAMENT
Fire Hot/dry Yellow Bile Choleric
Earth Cold/dry Black Bile Melancholic
Water Cold/wet Phlegm Phlegmatic
Air Hot/wet Blood Sanguine

Often we experience various combinations of the four humours resulting in mixed temperaments – the more balanced between the four humours – the better and this one, although not the easiest to balance – can actually be quite beneficial. For although the Sun (in Cancer, cold/wet) has nothing in common with the Moon (in Sagittarius hot/dry) – indeed they are at opposite ends of the spectrum – the two energies can work to balance each other out rather like if you and a partner were on a see-saw.humor theory

According Nicholas Culpeper’s 16th century translation of Galen’s Art of Physick, we can expect the Phlegmatic/Choleric energy of the next two days to be dreamy but not lazy – sluggish but still merry.

In terms of the Jungian Functions, feeling is infused with the bright sparks of intuition – hence your emotional responses to outside events can give honest and valuable insight into both you and the situation. Just take care not to get too carried away – the name of the game at the moment is balance.

Remember that Fire (Sagittarius) and Water (Cancer) makes steam – either blow it away or harness it to your benefit (as with a steam engine) – this time it’s up to you.

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