Energetics in the Western Herbal Tradition: Elements, Humours and Temperaments with jim mcDonald

Posted January 5th, 2017 by VCIH

3 full days: Fri-Sun, March 10-12th
$325 / $295 Members / $250 VCIH students | Register Here!

Join us for this intensive exploration of the temperaments, a Western constitutional system that jim is working to revive and enliven in modern herbal practice.

jim is a fantastic, fun, and accessible teacher and this is his first time teaching in Vermont. This intensive will be appropriate for beginners and practitioners, alike. We hope you’ll join us!

Beginning with the context the temperaments arise from, we see that they correlate to the elements of earth, air, fire and water. The elements in turn give rise to humours and the energetic principles of heat and cold, dampness and dryness, tension and laxity. Understanding these patterns, and how temperaments and energetic qualities work together, gives an important framework for using the temperaments in a practical manner for ourselves and others we work with. We’ll also look at how historical and social themes have affected our understanding of temperaments, adapting, refining and misrepresenting them over time.

We’ll go on to explore each of the four temperaments in depth, looking at how they incline one towards physical, behavioral and emotional predispositions. How do these inclinations present in a balanced state? When in excess or deficiency? When overtly blocked? How do these inclinations manifest in the body, and what herbs can be used to exacerbate and balance them?

Just as the color brown cannot be reduced down to one of the primary colors it is made up of, understanding single temperaments isn’t enough to make use of this constitutional model: we have to consider combinations. We have to see how an individual manifests each of their humours, which are in balance and which are not, and consider how their environment and experience has affected the expression of their temperament.

jim mcdonald is an herbalist in southeast Michigan (that cool state that looks like a mitten you can see from space) where he teaches, sees clients, wildharvests, and concocts herbal formulas. His approach to herbalism is a blend of traditional folk and indigenous influences mixed up with a bit of 19th century eclectic and physiomedical vitalism, which he tries to blend with a bit of humor and discretionary irreverence so as not to appear to be too serious about life. jim hosts the website www.herbcraft.org which lists his offerings and conveys his thoughts of plants and herbalism.