Humoral Diagnosis – The Heart of Traditional Healing

The Four Elements Humoral-diagnosis-traditional Medical Astrology

Every true Traditional Healing System provides tools to diagnose the underlying elemental/humoral cause of medical issues.

Without such an accurate diagnostic method the treatment provided can address only the symptoms and not the cause.

In Eastern medicine such as Chinese, Tibetan, Ayurveda and Unani (Greek) the diagnostic tool of choice is pulse diagnosis. In Medical Astrology humoral diagnosis is performed using a horary chart. The result is the same: it reveals the underlying elemental cause of the querent’s health problems.

From there the cause and the symptoms can be treated separately and adequately, without any ambivalence or doubt.

Why is that important?

For example: if we have an inflammation we have a hot symptom. But the cause is not necessarily a Fire cause, it could be Air, which also has heat. If fact, the cause could be any of the four elements, including Water and Earth which do not have heat themselves. But the symptoms could still be heat.

So, unless we have a method to distinguish cause from symptom, and determine them separately, we run the risk of making the problem bigger by blindly treating the symptom alone, as if it were the cause, while aggravating the cause. This is a common reason many treatments do not work in the long run. And people simply do not know why it did not work.

That is a sin that belongs as much to modern Western medicine as it does to most alternative healing methods: they either lack the knowledge of the elements altogether or, if they do have such knowledge they lack the diagnostic tool to distinguish symptom from cause. And too often the practitioner does not consider the notion of cause and effect as two separate factors. Symptom is all they see and is all they treat, while remaining blind to the underlying elemental cause.

That is not to say that there are no excellent deeply intuitive alternative healers out there. There are. I have met some. But adding a sharp tool such as horary to one’s toolbox can confirm one’s intuition and can correct one where one’s intuition may occasionally fail.

So here is a real life example of a humoral diagnosis performed using horary, along with comments and recommendations.


The querent has been diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis, a chronic bladder condition which manifests as inflammation, reduced bladder storage capacity, hemorrhages on the bladder wall and pain. The problem was precipitated by a prostate infection and a prostate surgery. The querent has also dealt with the beginning stages of Pancreatitis.

Let’s perform a humoral diagnosis and uncover the anatomy and symptoms from the chart. And then let’s see what else the chart tells us about his situation and what can be done about his health, as I fill in some of the context and comment along.

Humoral Diagnosis

The querent is signified by Venus, L1 (Lord of the Ascendant).

Venus is located inside the 8th cusp.

Following the body anatomy around the chart we see that house 8 is the house of his prostate and bladder. Both Venus and the 8th cusp are in a Fire sign and on the Mars-natured star Antares. We have a picture of much fire manifested as a prostate infection and bladder inflammation.

But hold your horses. These are fiery symptoms. Fire is not the cause. This is really important to note and is where most medical astrologers make a crucial mistake in diagnosis.

Let’s determine the cause shown in the horary.

How do we determine the humoral/elemental imbalance in horary?

No, not by looking at house 6. That is mistake number 2 from astrologers who use Decumbiture technique from old books when interpreting horary. House 6 describes symptoms, not the cause.

The cause is given by Venus’ dispositor. That is, Jupiter, since Venus is in Sagittarius and Jupiter is its ruler. 

Thanks to William Lilly for writing the technique down, and to John Frawley for translating and fully developing the idea, we now know that taking the body’s dispositor is the correct diagnostic method in horary, as verified in extensive Medical Astrology practice and treatment. This is not mere theory.

Now we look at the qualities of Jupiter for a description of the cause of his problems, on the elemental/humoral level.

Imbalance Type

Jupiter is in Aquarius, an Air sign. This tells us the type of elemental imbalance. So, the querent has an excess of the Blood Humor, or Air element in the querent’s body and mind.

The axis that is out of balance is the Air-Earth axis. So, we know this person is too hot and has too much moisture, and lacks coldness and dryness. This condition is ideal for infections. Bacteria love an environment that is warm and moist. The heat gives energy and movement and the moisture gives the ability to connect and spread. It is the perfect breeding ground. So, this type of imbalance is highly susceptible to infections. Air, not Fire.

The querent has a chronic bladder inflammation which causes, among other symptoms, glomerulations (hemorrhage) on the bladder wall. That is: too much Blood/Air in the bladder. (the element “Air” is equal the humor “Blood”).

What else does Jupiter’s position tell us, besides the imbalance type?

Two more things: the degree and mode of the imbalance. With these three pieces of information, we have a complete picture of the cause of the health problems, its strength, and how it will play out over time.

Imbalance Degree

There are four degrees of imbalance with the first degree being the lightest and the fourth degree being the most severe. Light degrees require light interventions and treatment; conversely, severe degrees require severe interventions and stronger medications.

The earlier signs in the zodiac produce low degree imbalances. So, a planet in the sign of Aries, Taurus, or Gemini indicating the cause of the illnesses would show an imbalance of the first degree, for example (depending on the planet). As we move towards the end of the zodiac the imbalance becomes more and more severe.

Jupiter in Aquarius shows us an imbalance of the 4th degree as it is located in the last quarter of the zodiac. Jupiter is an Air planet located in the last air sign of the zodiac. This is as severe as it gets in terms of Air imbalance and will take severe measures to be remedied.

The Four Elements Humoral-diagnosis-traditional Medical AstrologyImbalance Mode

The imbalance mode refers to how the imbalance manifests in time, as per one of three modes:


A cardinal imbalance shows symptoms that arise, and if treated correctly will subside and go away. The person “heals” that particular problem and the treatment is no longer necessary.


A mutable imbalance shows symptoms that arise, and if treated correctly will subside. But if the treatment stops the symptom will come back or some other symptom will take its place. Mutable imbalances require maintenance.


Aquarius, however, is a fixed sign, so the imbalance indicated by Jupiter is fixed and will not change or go away easily. Add to that the fact that this is a chronic condition and we know that the body will not respond easily or readily to treatments aimed at restoring the humoral balance. 

It may respond to strong treatments aimed at reducing inflammation or combating infection but they will rarely address the underlying cause unless specialized knowledge of the elements is part of the healer’s toolbox. 

Chronic problems in fixed imbalances require persistent work and often the querent must learn to live with the symptoms and devise an adequate management routine to alleviate them and have a more-or-less normal life.

Now we know the cause of the problems. It is not given by the sign Venus is in, so, not Fire. And it is not given by house 6. Just a reminder! It is given by Venus’ dispositor. The planet that has power over Venus and thus, in the context of medical astrology diagnosis, makes the querent sick: Jupiter.

In summary, Jupiter in Aquarius shows that we have a fixed excess of Air of the 4th degree as the underlying elemental cause of the querent’s health problems.

Anatomy and Symptoms

Every medical diagnostic chart must show the main anatomical players in some detail and show the symptoms. Here, we know the querent has bladder and pancreas problems. And we know the bladder problem was triggered by prostate problems.

The ruler of the 8th house, Jupiter, can be taken as his prostate. Jupiter is the natural ruler of the organs related to semen. Antares is on the 8th cusp: he had a prostate surgery to remove a protrusion which was afflicting his bladder. The South Node is present in the 8th house showing weakness in that area of the body. Here we can already see the accuracy of the symbolism in the horary chart and how sharply it describes his organs and his condition.

Jupiter is conjunct Saturn, the natural ruler of the bladder, describing the mutual effect between the two organs. And, since Jupiter is the planet representing the cause of the Air excess we have an indication of the prostate being the physical cause of his bladder problem and that still being in play. 

That is an important piece of information, because we now know that when it comes to the elemental treatment the prostate also needs attention, not only the bladder. They are both very hot, and moist.

Mistake #1

Here we can see in practice the mistake #1 mentioned in the beginning of this article. Western doctors and, regrettably, most alternative healers, would look at the bladder and treat the bladder alone, for the simple reason that that is where the pain, and thus the complaint, lies. They only see the symptom. But we have a strong indication that the cause of the bladder problem still is an overheated prostate and that alone would be something to be investigated by the practitioner.

They can treat the bladder as much as they like. And they may be successful in cooling it down with steroids or even herbs but unless they do something about the prostate and the overall humoral imbalance there is a strong evidence that the problems will continue elsewhere, or in the bladder itself the moment the treatment is stopped or the body is saturated of it.

Saturn is in its own sign suggests the bladder is relatively in good shape. But it is conjunct a peregrine Jupiter which afflicts Saturn by proximity. That is: prostate upsets bladder.

Mercury, his L6 of illness/symptoms, closely trines the ascendant, indicating there is another major symptomatic factor in his condition. What could it refer to?

Mercury is conjunct the Sun. The Sun, L5, is the accidental ruler of his pancreas. It is known that the querent has obstructions in his pancreatic ducts. Ducts are naturally ruled by Mercury. Mercury is combust in a sign of Saturn. We have a picture of “restricted/obstructed pancreatic ducts”. More remarkable and congruent symbolism.

We have a picture of the querent’s main complaints: prostate, bladder and pancreas issues. That is more than enough detail for practical purposes. 

Ok, so now what do we do with this information?


Traditional treatment occurs in three areas, and we may add Western modern treatments as a fourth area. Even though Western modern medicine is blind to the elemental cause we can take advantage of some of the treatments they offer, especially if we use horary to determine their usefulness before we spend a fortune undergoing them.


In the words of Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food.”

The first and most basic treatment area is “diet”. This is so obvious that most people fail to see it. Like our noses. Common-sense is not so common, after all.

For those who have common sense, the practitioner armed with this knowledge will prescribe a diet regimen that will decrease Air forming foods and increase Earth forming foods. Foods that make the querent hot and moist are bad for the querent. Foods that cool and dry are good for the querent and should be increased. Less fresh olive oil, less chicken and more potatoes and beef!

But remember: this is a 4th degree fixed problem. This is a dietary change and guideline for an indeterminate period. It could well be for life. It is not something that you do for a week or a month and then it’s over.

For example, we would look at the list from the link below and increase cooling foods and decrease heating foods. With some adjustments for moisture.



Enough exercise to make heat circulate and be eliminated from the body is necessary. A sedentary life is extremely detrimental or someone who has too much Air. One of the functions of urination is to remove heat from the body. Here we have someone who has difficulty in eliminating urine so the imbalance gets worse with time. The querent needs to sweat it out. But the type and length of exercise sessions must be prescribed carefully according to the specific imbalance otherwise it may be counterproductive.

Lifestyle also pertains to the mind and emotions. So, less activity and interaction and more introspection and meditation. Less Facebook and Instagram and more gardening. Put your feet on the ground. Earth is medicine for the querent. Calm is to be promoted and frenzy avoided.


Herbs are used in two different ways:

To treat the humoral imbalance. That is, for this particular querent: to reduce Air and increase Earth, and

To treat the diseased organs, systems and/or one or more of the seven energy streams that circulate throughout all organs and systems to promote the restoration of each deficient function.

In this case, we have several candidates for herb selection by a knowledgeable herbalist, based on the chart symbolism and indications.

Jupiter is the prostate here, so a herb of Jupiter nature for such afflictions would be selected. Saturn is the most dignified planet and has power over Jupiter by disposition and proximity so a cooling and drying herb of Saturnine nature would be ideal as it also could work directly on the bladder affliction since Saturn is its ruler.

Venus is the natural ruler of the Pancreas. As the Sun is the accidental ruler here, and Mercury rules the pancreatic ducts. So, herbs for each of those points based on their planetary signature could be prescribed.

Classically trained Chinese, Tibetan and Ayurvedic doctors are masters in making combinations of herbs for such cases. A Western herbalist could do the same.

In acute and Cardinal mode imbalances one can afford trying herbs out oneself and self-prescribe and see what happens. If the choice is wrong, no big deal. Try another one.

For chronic and fixed mode imbalances like this case self-medication is not advisable at all. The assistance of a competent Traditional Doctor is required. There is little or no room for error.

Modern Western Treatments

Finally, if the pain or discomfort is excessive one can resort to modern chemical treatments. This can be a double-edged sword and would require the use of extra horary charts to determine their suitability. It is common that modern Western treatments will abate the symptoms of inflammation or infection but at the same time will aggravate the underlying humoral imbalance thus most modern treatments come with significant side-effects.

In order for any treatment to remove the symptoms to work adequately the humoral imbalance must be corrected first or else, even if the inflammation is abated for a time it will return with a vengeance later or some other problem will develop.

This has already been the case. The querent has already had Prostatitis and had surgery. After that, the Interstitial Cystitis came up. He tried some treatments which worked for a period but the symptoms returned when the treatment stopped. This is a remarkable corroboration of what the chart is showing.

The querent has been trying different treatments unsuccessfully for several years. And here we see Pluto on the 10th cusp, showing affliction in house 10 matters and the difficulty in finding adequate treatment. Another accurate corroboration of symbolism with actuality.

Cause vs. Symptoms

One of the main difficulties a Westerner has when considering treatment is because of Western medicine’s blindness about “cause vs. symptoms” and the fundamental difference between the two. That is not an issue in Eastern cultures. In the East, it is well known that illnesses (symptoms) arise from an imbalance in the elements/humors (cause). Yes, there can be other factors such as genetics, but the elemental level is fundamental and cannot be disregarded in a true healing system. Western medicine is blind in that respect.

If we just treat symptoms and leave the cause unaddressed it stands to reason that the problem will not go away. And if for some reason it does go away another one will take its place. As has already been proven to be the case for this person.

What else does this chart show us?

Psychological Factors

The Moon, the querent’s emotions. is located in house 12 and conjunct the ruler of the incepted sign in the 12th. Mars, therefore, is in effect the 12th ruler, since Jupiter is busy being the prostate and the cause of his imbalance.

We have an indication that a stressful life and/or negative mental/emotional patterns are a strong component related to the querent’s problems. We have someone over-active and whose emotional life is not contributing to the querent’s health, quite the opposite. The illness makes him more stressed and upset. A catch 22 that can be tackled only with accurate knowledge and careful treatment steps.

Modern Western medicine is clueless as to the case of this disease and cannot heal him. It may well provide some palliative measures that will abate the inflammation for some time. But that will not last, which can hardly be called “healing”. It is a patch. Patches may be necessary but the need to encounter a true healing modality is apparent.

Next Steps

The medical Astrologer can analyze the querent’s diet and lifestyle and recommend adjustments and corrections which will begin acting immediately in favor of his health and well being. if the Medical Astrologer is also a competent Herbalist he/she can prescribe helps based on the planetary signatures the chart indicates.

Also, Eastern Medicine is highly advisable. And by Eastern Medicine, I do not mean the acupuncturist around the corner. I am talking about seeing a Fully Classically Trained Eastern Doctor, who will be able to confirm this diagnosis and devise a suitable treatment plan for the long run.

Study Applied Medical Astrology

In this article, I have touched upon the main factors involved in diagnosing using horary using one particular case and demonstrating one particular imbalance type.

In the Traditional Medical Astrology Courses I teach the student learns the full technique and all its variants. The student practices on approximately 100 real-life charts under my guidance. Upon graduation, he/she is prepared to answer medical questions on a variety of topics and is prepared to perform humoral diagnosis for a wide range of medical conditions.


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