Essential Concepts in Humoral Medicine

Medical astrology, rooted in the ancient tradition of humoral medicine, offers a unique approach to diagnosing and treating illness.

According to humoral medicine, based on the four elements — fire, water, air, and earth, the universe and all living beings are composed of these elements. Illness arises from imbalances among them. In this article, we’ll explore how horary astrology can diagnose and address these imbalances.

The four elements in traditional astrology—earth, water, air, and fire—are also referred to as humors.

Earth aligns with black choler (melancholy), characterized by dryness and coldness.

Water is linked to phlegm, embodying coldness and moisture.

Air corresponds to blood, symbolizing warmth and moisture.

Fire relates to yellow choler (choleric), denoting warmth and dryness. These humors not only represent physical conditions but also influence emotional and psychological states, forming the basis of ancient medical theories.

The Four Elements and Their Axes

The four elements are paired as opposites along two axes: fire opposes water, and air opposes earth. Through horary astrology, we can identify if one of these elements is out of balance. For example, an excess of fire might manifest as skin rashes, while an excess of water might cause respiratory issues.

Humoral Medicine Across Cultures

Humoral medicine is integral to various medical traditions. Ayurveda divides the elements into three doshas, Chinese and Tibetan medicine incorporate a fifth element (ether or space), and Western medical astrology, along with Unani-Tib or Greek medicine, focuses on four elements. These systems provide a comprehensive approach to healing, using foods, herbs, and other remedies aligned with the elements.

Diagnosis with Horary Astrology

Horary astrology is a valuable tool for diagnosing current health conditions. Unlike a birth chart, which shows the innate temperament, a horary chart reveals present imbalances. This method can pinpoint the afflicted part of the body and distinguish between symptoms and causes. For instance, a high fever might be a symptom of an underlying cold and moist imbalance.

Essential Concepts in Humoral Diagnosis

Elemental Imbalance Type: The sign where a critical planet is located indicates whether there is too much fire, water, air, or earth.

Mode of Imbalance: The mode (cardinal, fixed, mutable) of the sign determines how the illness progresses.

Degree of Imbalance: Imbalances are categorized into four degrees, with the severity increasing from first to fourth degree.

Practical Application

Every herb and food in humoral medicine has a specific degree of strength, corresponding to the degree of imbalance it can address. For example, peppermint, a third-degree herb, is suitable for third-degree imbalances, while chamomile, a first-degree herb, is used for milder conditions.

Tools and Techniques

Astrologers use various tables and charts to diagnose and treat imbalances. These include tables of planetary significators for body parts and systems, and lists of fixed stars that affect specific health issues like eyesight. Additionally, essential dignities help determine the quality of affected organs, and receptions show how treatments will interact with the body.


Medical astrology offers a nuanced approach to health, aligning closely with ancient medical traditions. By understanding and applying the principles of humoral medicine, astrologers can diagnose and treat imbalances effectively, ensuring a holistic path to wellness. Whether you’re a practitioner or simply interested in this fascinating field, exploring the interplay of elements, modes, and degrees can lead to profound insights and healing.

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