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The Four Temperaments

The Four Temperaments According to Rudolf Steiner

Melancholic Phlegmatic Sanguine Choleric

Physical Etheric Astral Ego

Earth Water Air Fire

"those with a short stout build so

"The melancholic children are as a "those with more protruding that the head almost sinks down into
rule tall and slender" shoulders are the phlegmatic children" "the sanguine are the most normal" the body are choleric"

"The physical body as such expresses "The etheric body expresses itself in "The astral body expresses itself "The ego expresses itself in the
itself only in itself"Read in full context the glandular system"Read in full physically in the nervous circulation of the blood" Read in full
context system" Read in full context context

Build: tall, bowed-head, bony Build: big, fleshy, rotund Build: slender, elegant, Build: bullnecked, upright, short
Walk: slow with a drooping, sliding Walk: plodding, ambling (has a well-balanced legs, husky
gait steamroller-like quality) Walk: on toes (dances like a butterfly ) Walk: firm, heels dig into the ground
Eyes: tragic, mournful Eyes: sleepy, often half-closed Eyes: lively, dancing with each step
Relationships: poor, has sympathy Relationships: friendly, impassive, Relationships: fickle Eyes: energetic, active
only with fellow melancholics reserved Food: nibbles Relationships: friendly as long as
Food: finicky, especially likes sweets Food: eats most everything and is Memory: like a sieve he/she is in command
Memory: good concerning self always interested in food Interest: the present, here and now Food: spicy

Interest: self and the past Memory: good concerning the world Clothing: new and colorful Memory: poor
Clothing: dark, drab, solid colors—is Interest: the present, without getting To stimulate: ask a personal favor Interest: the world, self, and future
difficult to please involved Parent and teacher attitude: show Clothing: individual and outstanding
To stimulate: explain how others will Clothing: conservative friendly interest, but be firm To stimulate: issue a challenge
suffer if he/she is not compliant To stimulate: speak directly to the from Overview of Childhood Parent and teacher attitude: recall
Parent and teacher attitude: show point, use shock tactics Characterstics events and deeds (the next day), be
sympathy and empathize with Parent and teacher attitude: show firm, strong, and to the point
suffering calm strength from Overview of Childhood
from Overview of Childhood from Overview of Childhood Characterstics
Characterstics Characterstics

"In the melancholic we have seen "The phlegmatic develops when the "Sanguines surrender themselves in "The choleric thus comes across as
that the physical body... becomes etheric or life-body, as we call it, which a certain sense to the constant and someone who must always have his
master over the others. As a result, the regulates growth and metabolism, is varied flow of images, sensations, and way. His aggressiveness, everything
melancholic feels he is not master over predominant. The result is a sense of ideas since in them the astral body connected with his forcefulness of will,
his body, that he cannot bend it to his inner well-being." Read in full context and nervous system derives from his blood
will." Read in full context predominate." Read in full context circulation."Read in full context

Factors That Influence Temperament

Since Steiner's tempermanents are used to evaluate and educate your child, it's important to understand how temperaments work at Waldorf.
Steiner says that "temperament is connected to a remarkable degree, with the whole life and soul of a persons's previous incarnation." In other words,
If I were to go into this question in detail from the standpoint of spiritual science, I would have to show you how the child's temperament something really
appears that could be described as the consequence of experiences in previous lives on earth.
Steiner, Rudolf. Discussions With Teachers
At first, it may surprise you that Waldorf teachers are trained to consider the effect of past lives and karmic destiny of your child. However, it is important to be
sensitive and keep an open mind with regards to this practice. You can learn more about reincarnation and karma on the Anthroposophy page.
Melancholic: What Steiner Says
"[The melancholic's] physical body, which is intended to be an instrument of the higher members, is itself in control, and frustrates the others. This the
melancholic experiences as pain, as a feeling of despondency. Pain continually wells up within him. This is because his physical body resists his etheric body's
inner sense of well-being, his astral body's liveliness, and his ego's purposeful striving." Read in full context
Sanguines: What Steiner Says
"Sanguines are incapable of lingering over an impression. They cannot fix their attention on a particular image nor sustain their interest in an impression.
Instead, they rush from experience to experience, from percept to percept. This is especially noticeable in sanguine children, where it can be a source of concern.
The sanguine child's interest is easily kindled, a picture will easily impress, but the impression quickly vanishes." Read in full context

Four Temperaments – Waldorf
In Waldorf Education, the four temperaments are seen as a tool to help us understand the child as a “whole” human being. The idea of the four temperaments
was not new in Steiner’s time; it came about during the Greek times and again during the Middle Ages (some of you may remember hearing about the four
humors or the four fluids).
Roberto Trostli writes in “Rhythms of Learning”: “Our temperament mediates between these two streams; it allows us to reconcile our hereditary
characteristics with out destiny.”
Here are a few things to be aware of with the temperaments:
 You cannot tell what temperament your child is before the change of teeth. You may see glimmers here and there, but things do change over the
years. So , if you have small children under the age of 7, please save this information for the future. I would even argue you can see the temperament
of your child best as they approach the nine-year change.
 According to Steiner, each period of the lifespan has a temperament associated with it: childhood-sanguine (most sources say sanguine, some sources
say choleric; I say sanguine); adolescents- choleric; adulthood-melancholic and old age-phlegmatic.
 As an adult, the goal is for all your temperaments to be in harmony with none of the temperaments. So if you see one thing predominating in yourself,
then you may have to work to cultivate the other temperaments and bring yourself into more harmony.
The workshop I attended required some artistic work and rendering of the temperaments, so know that is an option for home. We worked with a color wheel
and the temperaments and drawing. It was very interesting, and now, without further ado, let’s talk about each of the temperaments:
CHOLERIC: (colors: black, reds). Cholerics are associated with fire, summer and a predominance of “I” for an adult… (in a child, the astral body is said to
predominate in this temperament). Cholerics are people such as Napoleon (okay, he was a badly unchecked choleric), Nero, President Teddy Roosevelt, Donald
Trump. They are strong people who “DO” – the leaders of our times. Some Waldorf teachers feel less of these cholerics are coming to us as we see less leaders
and people wanting to step forth and lead during our times, as opposed to times such as World War II.
At any rate, these fast, fiery, strong-willed and quick-tempered individuals are also very fair and associated with the mathematical process of division. They
can have great warmth and can be exceptional leaders. They are also very hard workers and are very goal-oriented.
From a physical standpoint, cholerics can be short-statured, with shorter necks. They also can be associated with having health problems involving the heart.
The challenges of an individual with a choleric temperament includes being bossy or stubborn, quick-tempered and then regretful afterwards, not listening to
others well.
SANGUINE: (colors: yellows, the rainbow!) Sanguines are associated with spring, air, sweetness, and a predominance of the astral body for the adult (for
children, the etheric body predominates). Sanguines are such people as President John F Kennedy and President Clinton. They are full of life, they have lots
of ideas, they are the social glue of a classroom, the social movers and the shakers of society. They notice everything, they respond to everything and move
quickly from one thing to another. They are personable, light-hearted people. Sanguines are often associated with the mathematical process of addition.
Physically, they are often have balanced, graceful body types and are beautiful or handsome. They can be drawn to smoking, and have health problems
associated with the lungs.
The challenges of an individual with a sanguine temperament includes starting many projects but not finishing, being prone to social pressures, possibly one
could see a teenager with this temperament being predominate that they would seek out inappropriate things in adolescence in order to ground them. They
can also be seen as shallow, superficial and fickle.
PHLEGMATIC: (colors: greens and blues) Phlegmatics are associated with winter and water and a predominance of the etheric body (in children, the physical
body predominates). Phlegmatics are slow, steady people who love their physical comforts, order, repetition. They have a hard time starting things, but once
they get started, they become engaged and will stick with a project until it is completed. They tend to be loyal, patient, dependable. They can be deep thinkers
that come up with great ideas.
I always think of phlegmatics and digestion and inner bodily processes (due to being associated with water, like the tides going in and out and the inner rhythm
of the etheric body. Physically, there is often a softness to how a person with a predominantly phlegmatic temperament looks. They tend toward
obesity. They can be prone to such health problems as gout and problems associated with the lymphatic system.
The challenge of this temperament is to interest them in something besides comfort and food. They can be rather lazy – or are they just taking it all in and
thinking deeply? Transitions can be a problem, for once they are started and caught up in something, they do not want to stop. But most of all,
the phlegmatic individual can have a temper! A temper that makes a choleric look like a kitten. People who have a predominantly phlegmatic temperament
are very patient indeed, but once they are angry – look out, because it all explodes.
MELANCHOLIC: (colors: indigo, purples, violets) Melancholics are associated with the fall and earth, along with the mathematical process of
subtraction. They have a predominant physical body, although in children one sees a predominance of the “I”. A melancholic person is introspective,
thoughtful. They tend to be insightful people and take everything to heart and are often sad or despondent. They can have a great capacity for sympathy and
tend to be perceptive about other people’s pain. They typically can articulate their thoughts and feelings well.
Physically, a melancholic is often tall and thin and can be prone to rheumatism and arthritis. Due to their sensitivity, they often make good workers in the
health care field.
The challenge of the melancholic is that they can become self-absorbed and feel their problems are like those that no one else in the world has ever
experienced. They also can get lost in details and lose the big
picture. They can be prone to perfectionism.
In the next post, we will talk about some ways to work with each
temperament effectively.
Many blessings,