Key 6: Humor

Sense of Humor-Where Do You Think Yours Comes From?

Sense of Humor-Where Do You Think Yours Comes From?

Sense of humor. How do you think you got yours? Were you born with it? Is there a genetic component? Likely, a lot depended upon the atmosphere in which you grew up.


Shakespeare and Greek Philosophers

Shakespeare viewed the origin of the universe from the perspective of the ancient Greek philosophers, Aristotle, Hippocrates, and Galen. You may not know that I’m a Shakespearean-trained actress. I studied the humors in relation to character portrayal. Being a psychotherapist as well, I see the relevant application of the humors in the strengths and weaknesses of personality types.

Hippocratic Medicine

Hippocratic medicine paid attention to the four humors. Back then, the humors referenced the excess or depletion of black bile, phlegm, yellow bile, and blood. This is not so funny, when you think of it.

What Affected Humors

The elements of earth, water, fire, and air affected the four humors. Additionally considered, were the four qualities of cold, hot, moist, and dry.

The humors looked at physical qualities of the human body that affected behavior. It was believed that personalities were determined by the balance, or lack thereof, of these humors.

Seasonal changes influenced the humors, as did the time of day, gender, age, emotions, and disposition over the life span. Action and movement were triggered by heat. Inertia and lethargy were thought to be prompted by cold.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “Youth was hot and moist, age, cold and dry. Men as a sex were hotter and drier than women.”

The Four Humors


(Melancholic types tend toward traditions and routine. They are orderly and accurate.)

Humor: Black Bile

Element: Earth

Season: Winter

Age: Old Age

Qualities: Cold & Dry

Organ: Spleen

Planet: Saturn


(This type is rooted, loyal, dependable and concerned with interpersonal harmony.)

Humor: Phlegm

Element: Water

Season: Autumn

Age: Maturity

Qualities: Cold & Damp; Moist

Organ: Brain

Planet: Moon


(This type is driven, goal-oriented, logical and analytical.)

Humor: Yellow Bile

Element: Fire

Season: Summer

Age: Childhood

Qualities: Hot & Dry

Organ: Gall Bladder

Planet: Mars


(This type is pleasure-seeking, adventurous, and creative, sometimes moving to the next shiny thing if interest is lost.)

Humor: Blood

Element: Air

Season: Spring

Age: Adolescence

Qualities: Hot & Moist

Organ: Heart

Planet: Jupiter

Curious About Your Type?

For fun, you can take this quiz and see where you show up on the scale.

If you aren’t a fan of your type, it couldn’t hurt to mindfully cultivate some qualities to change your humor now.

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