The practice of homoeopathy is not easy. Perhaps one factor that makes it difficult is that Homoeopathy is probably one of the very few scientific disciplines, which has a method of identification that begins with specifics, rather than going from the broad to the narrow. Each patient’s state is to be identified into a remedy state. And this is done through symptoms alone.
When trying to identify the remedy for a patient, very often homoeopaths will go by specifics only. We can see the humor in this if the same procedure were to be followed for others things. It would be something like this: We start with three features of a thing to be identified, say… black… big…. moving. One person says, “Oh, I know! It’s an elephant!” A second one identifies it as a black cloud, while a third is sure that we are talking of a steam engine. It is therefore no wonder that when it comes to prescribing the homoeopathic remedy for a patient there will be as many suggestions as there are homoeopaths.
Normally, a scientific discipline should ask – is it a living or a non-living thing? If living, is it a plant or an animal? If animal, is it a mammal or a snake? etc. And then if it is a mammal the black and big and moving narrows our choice down to two or three. Then we can go on to asking more specific questions to differentiate further. Similarly, our task would be made much easier if we were able to follow a system rather than a random search throughout the Materia Medica – a jungle in which we can easily get lost without maps and signposts.
In searching for such a map two directions call for our attention. Firstly the classification of states (patients’ states, as well as remedy states) into miasms, based on the pace, rapidity, and especially upon the level of desperation: the psoric miasm being the least and the syphilitic the most desperate. This kind of understanding of states is useful in differentiating between remedies that may seem similar to each other due to their symptoms.
This line of inquiry led to the second direction, that of the classification of states into kingdoms, particularly the mineral, plant and animal kingdoms. The original question was: “is it possible that a person who needs a plant remedy is somehow different from an animal or mineral remedy?”
This novel thought represents a very big step in homoeopathy. The significance is that for the first time we understand homoeopathy as system based instead of symptom based. Traditionally we only selected remedies according to symptoms but it could still be several different remedies and from any kingdom. For the first time we do not think only in terms of symptoms but how we can navigate and systematize those symptoms.
Is it a plant, animal or mineral kingdom? But more importantly this simple question connected homoeopathy with the world outside homoeopathy. Instead of remaining confined to materia medica, provings, repertories and symptomatology, it suddenly opens to nature. We say homoeopathy is representative of nature itself! There is something else that is beyond symptoms and that is the system. It is what the disease in us is. It is something in nature expressing itself inside of us; a plant, animal or mineral speaking through us. We could hear that directly without passing it through the filter of symptoms.
Our remedies are plants, animals and minerals and they represent the spirit of the source they come from and must have a character of the source. A simple thought conveys words of an animal, plant, insect or a snake expressed in a human being. Suddenly the walls of homoeopathy break and we are one with nature and free to give and take from nature itself and nature become our bigger materia medica.
Patients needing plant remedies have the fundamental issue of sensitivity; with remedies of the animal kingdom it is survival; and with remedies of the mineral kingdom the themes are of structure, relationships and performance.
The knowledge of classification of remedies according to their kingdom has expanded the use of many unused remedies with much more accuracy and simplicity. The approach in any given case now would be to come to the kingdom, then the subkingdom and then to the source to which the patient belongs. [Also what is the pace, depth and degree of desperation perceived? (the Miasm)] We take the case and come to its core, the essence and the most central point in the case and then we know automatically whether it is a problem with structure, survival or sensitivity.
The following information about Minerals serves as a useful tool to understand the energy pattern. User must observe caution and discretion while using it for prescription.
The elementary issue of the minerals is ‘Structure’. The issues of mineral remedies/personalities arise from lacking, formation, maintaining or losing/breaking of this structure or organization. Structure can be understood in the terms of:
The issue is about ‘completeness’ or ‘incompleteness’ (expressed as something is missing or lacking) in the self or structure, or a ‘fear of losing that completeness’. “Am I stable or unstable? Do I need to join with something else to become stable?”
This is conveyed in patients as:
– lack of identity
– lack of stamina
– lack of support
– lack of confidence
– lack of a relationship
– lack of security
– lack of position or power
In mineral remedies, the problem is not with the opposite person, but is always with oneself. For example, they would say, “I have to bear with whatever he is doing to me only because I not independent. If only I were complete, then there would be no problem. It is my insecurity that leads to problems.”
Mineral remedies are understood on the basis of periodic table. The periodic table is a representation of the various stages of human development, starting from Row 1 which mirrors the stage of conception to Row 7 which is about disintegration of structure. Each Column of the table (Column 1 to 18) seems to correspond to the individual phase of development of that Row. The important issues of rows are as follows –
|Row 1||Conception |
|Row 2||Fetal life |
(being part within and separating)
|Row 3||Identity |
|Row 4||Security |
|Row 5||Creativity |
The first three rows correspond to childhood stages, starting from conception, followed by birth and separation and subsequently development of a separate identity. From the fourth row onwards, issues are related to adulthood, namely security (protection, finding a job, money), performing, taking responsibility, etc. We can identify the row by knowing the stage of development in which an individual is stuck. Just like the rows, columns too represent different stages of development; they denote the phase of development of the structure germane to that particular row.
One can arrive at the column by understanding the following aspects:
1) How much has the structure developed? 2) How much is the structure capable of carrying out the function of that row? 3) Is the structure losing or has it already lost its capability? How much has been lost? The column is decided by judging how much relatively developed or undeveloped the patient is with regards the particular issue of that row. It has been observed that remedies on the left hand side of the periodic column experience a lack in their structure, in the middle, they are successful and on the right side, experience loss of their structure.
The correct column should not be evaluated by what is the actual situation, but by what it is perceived to be. For example: a person may be at the height of power and very successful in reality yet he constantly lives in a delusional situation where he has lost the power. All his actions, emotions, sensations and expressions are similar to the one who has lost his power. The column is decided on his perception and not on reality.
Remedies on the left side of the periodic table have a ‘feeling of lack’; hence they show dependence on others for support and for completing their structure. On the other hand, remedies on the right side of the periodic table have the feeling that they have to do it on their own, i.e. complete their structure themselves without help from anybody.
Mineral remedies can be further classified into various groups:
Among the mineral remedies, the metals have to do with performance and defense. The Row 4 metals in the Periodic Table are concerned with defense more than with performance. This line consists of Manganese, Iron, Cobalt, Nickel, Copper and Zinc. Metals of Row 5 have to do with performance rather than with defense; they include Rhodium, Palladium, Silver, Cadmium and Indium. The elements belonging to the 6th Row have the strongest defense/performance issues. This line consists of the heaviest metals namely Osmium, Iridium, Platinum, Gold, Mercury and Thallium. Thus it is seen that the degree of defense/performance increases as we go from Row 4 downwards.
The main theme of the cations is the need for a relationship, but this theme gets a characteristic turn in each group.The theme of cations of Group IA (i.e. Sodium and Potassium) is forming of relationships. For the cations of Group IIA, i.e. Magnesium, Calcium, Strontium, Barium, the theme is a need for support. Group III elements Boron and Aluminium have in common a feeling of confusion and a sensation as if there was a cobweb on the face. Common themes of cations can be summarized as follows:
Need for relationship/Formation of relationships – Need for support- Feeling of confusion.
The main theme among the anions is the effort to keep or maintain a relationship. In Group V (Phosphorus, Arsenic, Antimony, Bismuth), the theme is a feeling of being unloved and alone. The symptoms common to elements of this group are: ‘Fear of being alone’, ‘Desire for company’ and ‘Clinging’. Among the elements of Group VI (i.e. Sulphur and Selenium), we see the common symptoms ‘Aversion to company’ and ‘Incapacity to work’. The theme here is one of making an enormous effort which is expected from them. Group VII contains the halogens, Fluorine, Chlorine, Bromine, Iodine. They have a central feeling of being let down and betrayed. Group IV contains the non-metallic elements, Carbon and Silica. The feature common to both is that they are non reactive.
A salt represents the union of two qualities which balance each other and together are appropriate in certain life situations. Of the two components of a salt, the cations need to form a relationship while the anions sometimes seem to repel a relationship. For example the quality of Natrum is a strong desire to form a relationship, so much so that any rejection would cause tremendous hurt and disappointment. This need of Natrum has to be balanced by a quality of expecting disappointment and rejection, and unwillingness to form relationships. This is provided by the muriaticum element (Chlorine). Thus, Natrum muriaticum is understandably a very basic salt, for it represents man’s need to form relationships, and at the same time the ability to withstand rejection. It is important to note that both elements of a salt are expressed together in a patient, in the same situation/sentence and not in different incidences.
The main theme of the acid group is a struggle followed by collapse. The acid of a particular element represents a constant effort/struggle in the situation of that element. For example the main feeling of Phosphorus is that he is unloved and he reacts to this feeling by being affectionate, friendly and sympathetic in the hope that his love and care will be reciprocated. The effort of Phosphorus is therefore in the direction of caring for others, being sympathetic towards them, etc. When this effort becomes constant, i.e. when he feels the need to make a constant effort to care for others, the state calls for an acid remedy of that element i.e. Phosphoricum acidum.
The basic issue of plant families is sensitivity and reactivity. The person gets easily affected and describes it as something happening within him. A small example: a mineral person giving a history of a headache will probably start as “My first attack of headache started on a certain date and time”. This is a structured talk. A person needing an animal remedy would say, “This headache is after me. It has been after me for a long time and now I have to get rid of it once and for all”. A plant person would say, “This headache really affects me, hurts me and causes me to weep”. This is plant sensitivity and reactivity. They are emotional, sentimental and usually disorganized.
If the main thing in the plant kingdom is sensitivity, then each family must have its own kind of sensitivity. Remedies from a particular family share at least one common sensation or type of pain. As an example, remedies of the Composite family share the sensation of being injured or hurt. This common sensation expresses itself in all remedies of the family, in differing ways. Some like Arnica express the sensation directly as a bruised pain; yet others likes Chamomilla express it as a reaction by hurting others. But the main feeling in all of them remains common.
The sensation could be expressed in four different ways viz. as the sensation itself, as a passive reaction, as an active reaction, or as compensation. For example if the sensation is being injured or hurt, the passive reaction is to get dazed, the active reaction is to strike back and the compensation is to become the tough one who can take any hurt. On closer examination we realize that all the remedies of a given family have all these types of expressions, though one type is better known in each specific remedy.
Despite the common feeling or sensation, there is a wide difference in the pictures or symptomatology of the various remedies in the same family. This difference is because they belong to different miasms. In other words this means, that though the sensation is common, each remedy perceives it in a different depth and degree of desperation, and this accounts for the difference in the symptoms.
In asking the question, what is common between Nux-v, Gels and Ign., we see that Nux is a bossy, fastidious, impatient, irritable person. Gels is a nervous, tremulous, sleepy, drowsy person who cannot take bad news. Ign is a woman who has had a big grief, disappointment or shock and has to hold everything within herself (silent grief).
Although the three remedies have different expressions they share a common sensation i.e. “Shock- How can this happen!” The difference is that each remedy perceives the shock in a different degree. Though the common sensation is shock, each remedy has its own pace, depth and degree of desperation i.e. the common sensation is experienced in a different way by each of the remedies.
Nux-v feels, “How can I recover from this quickly? (Impatient) The stock market has fallen and I must recover quickly.”
Gels has the feeling, “I cannot withstand the shock, I am too weak and must avoid anything that causes the shock” In anticipation of the shock he becomes tremulous, gets an urge to go to the toilet or becomes sleepy. If asked to give a speech on the spur of the moment he avoids it.
Ign. perceives that she cannot avoid the shock and must be in control of herself in the face of shock. e.g. A woman with children suddenly learns about the death of her husband. Her life is changed from total order to chaos. She needs to hold the grief within herself and be in total control.
Nux perceives it as a critical situation (typhoid), Gels needs to avoid (sycotic) and Ign perceives as chaos and needs to be in control (cancer). The three remedies perceive the situation of shock in different ways. . So we understand that a particular family has a particular sensation that is common to all the remedies of the family and each remedy in that family perceives it in a different way, which is the miasm.
The main theme of the animal remedies is the issue of survival. In humans, regarding survival we hear these themes: competition, high and low, aggressor and victim, strong and weak, predator and prey, one versus the other, dominating and dominated, persecutor and persecuted. The split exists within the self also. I hate myself. I versus myself. I am disgusted with myself. I hate myself. The attraction and sexuality is very important for the propagation of the species. This is the story of the animal kingdom. Contradiction of will is a strong animal theme.
We think of an animal remedy in a case when:
- The patient doesn’t give us a clear-cut local sensation or gives many local sensations.
- And the local sensation leads to the issue of survival, victim-aggressor, hierarchy, competition, attractiveness etc. (Listed below) Every aspect of the patient’s life can be narrowed down to such issues. All these themes may be present together in the case.
- The energy pattern and hand gestures always show one thing doing something to the other, i.e. He is pouncing on me.
- The patient may show the connection with the source in his dreams / fears / fascinations / interests and hobbies.
The issues found in an animal case are:
- Issue of Survival, threat to life. They can also be deceitful, malicious and aggressive. Patient uses the expressions like,” They will kill me”, “…cuts me”, “…bites me”, “…rips me off”, “…tears me apart” etc.
- Victim and aggressor. Feels victimized by people, illness. Patient uses the expressions like,” People are doing this to me”, “Illness is doing this to me” etc.
- Trapped, caged and needing freedom.
- Hierarchy – superior, inferior, they are above me, they are dominating me, over powering me, high and low.
- Sexuality and Attractiveness – There is a need to attract attention, and these personalities are attractive in their behavior and appearance. Feeling dirty about themselves.
- Competition (which is the key to survival in the animal world).
- Split – a “conflict” which has its basis in a split within the self. There are two different sides to such personalities: the animal side and the human side. Their human side seems to have contempt for the animal within. The way they feel about themselves is often reflected in their expressions which may be: “…by human beings”, “Human beings are so cruel”, “I feel split up”, “I jump at them”, “I am not good enough”, etc.
- Connection with the source. Fear / Fascination / aversion to animals.
- Need to belong to a group.
Among the animal remedies, different sub-kingdoms e.g. snakes, insects, mammals, birds etc., will each represent its own characteristic features. Some points that help us in the process of differentiation are
- Connection with the source and relation with other animals
- Kind of attack and being attacked feeling
- Group feeling
- High pace, hyperactivity
- Other qualities
- Connection with the source and relation with other animals :-
Fear or fascination, aversion to or dreams of some specific animal. (Seen in all animals)