The four humors of Hippocratic medicine were black bile (gr. melan chole), yellow bile (gr. chole), phlegm (gr. phlegma), and blood (lat. sanguis).
Essentially, this typology theory from Hippocratic medicine held that the human body was filled with four basic substances, called four humors, which are in balance when a person is healthy. All diseases and disabilities resulted from an excess or deficit of one of these four humors. These deficits could be caused by vapors that were inhaled or absorbed by the body. The four humors were black bile, yellow bile, phlegm, and blood. Greeks and Romans, and the later Muslim and Western European medical establishments that adopted and adapted classical medical philosophy, believed that each of these humors would wax and wane in the body, depending on diet and activity. When a patient was suffering from a surplus or imbalance of one fluid, then his or her personality and physical health would be affected. This theory was closely related to the theory of the four elements: earth, fire, water and air; earth predominantly present in the black bile, fire in the yellow bile, water in the phlegm, and all four elements present in the blood.
This typology has personality traits/temperaments associated with each.
Below is an article from J. Carstarphan on the “phlegmatic type.” Because there are handwriting indicators for all of the typologies, I have inserted, in parenthesis next to various traits, what the handwriting indicator would be.
Phlegmatic personality types are symbolized by a yellow whale, because they have BIG, caring, loving hearts.
People with a phlegmatic personality are definitely the friendliest of the four personality types. They are characterized by their sincere to desire to help other people.
They are generally low key, and avoid confrontation at all costs. They will even go as far as to experience pain to prevent hurting someone else.
The phlegmatic personality type is a great listener, and is concerned about quality more than quantity when it comes to relationships.
- Great listeners (open, wide ‘e’ formations)
- Easy to get along with (garland connections between letters, rounded formations)
- Adaptable (good zonal proportion)
- Flexible (flexible letter formations, bouncy baseline)
- Love people, and good team players
- Shy (narrow ovals)
- Low energy
- Slow to take action
- Indecisive (tapered endings)
- Needy (narrow letters)
- They don’t take criticism well
- Worry warts (presence of anxiety)
- Compromising, and avoids conflict at all costs (overly rounded)
The Good, The Bad, &The Ugly
You can sometimes recognize a yellow whale by their family. Since they are family oriented, they tend to have large families, and more than one child. They are the glue that holds a group together, whether it be a family or a business organization.
Because the phlegmatic personality type is so selfless, they tend to get taken advantage of by more aggressive, manipulative people. An extreme example of this is a person who remains in an abusive relationship, while continuing to shower the perpetrator with love.
The phlegmatic personality can sometimes be unbelievably longsuffering and forgiving, but when they do finally reach their threshold, watch out! The transformation will be as extreme as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
When doing business with a phlegmatic personality it is important to be cordial, polite, and focus on building a relationship first. If you get straight to business, you may come off as pushy and insensitive.
How to recognize
They usually walk and talk at a slower pace. Their dress is usually casual. They are prone to wear sandals when possible. They also tend to dress plain, and to wear earth tones.
There are some extreme yellow whales out there, but fortunately we all are made up of a blend of the four personality types. One is usually stronger than the others, which is your dominant personality type.
Handwriting analysis is able to help identify one’s typology through the scoring of the handwriting indicators of type.