Is knowledge of the Organon needed for prescribing?

I would definitely recommend the Organon … while it may not be the best for prescribing well it does show you the original philosophy behind homeopathy!

viewed through proving defaultI received the above comment on my recommended reading post . The comment demonstrated so sharply how even those with sincere and constant interest in homoeopathy have clearly been harmed by inadequate (gentle understatement) teaching or from reading material on the internet written by those who (another gentle understatement on the way) have no idea what they are talking about. Continue reading

Homoeopathy – recommended reading

booksRecently I saw a series of responses to a request for recommendations of books on homoeopathy. Predictably, nothing by Hahnemann was recommended. The list – for those who want to know – ranged from Kent’s philosophy, through Vithoulkas, Boericke, Clarke, Coulter, and all the usual suspects. Just not the Organon. No original Hahnemannian provings. No earlier writings at all, really.

I was trying to feel fired up about writing a response, a post, something about how you cannot proceed with homoeopathy without understanding what it was intended to do, using what mechanism and what recommended methodology. But I found I was just too tired of it. Tired of seeing homoeopaths talking about homoeopathy without once mentioning the law of similars – or when they did mention it, making it clear that they did not understand it. Tired of hearing that those (such as me…) who say you have to start where it all started, with Hahnemann, the Organon, the first provings – are pseudo-religious nutters, hanging on to old texts with maddened zeal, ranting (as Hahnemann did) rather than accepting the brilliance and experience of today’s homoeopaths.

But the Organon is really the place to start. It is the only place to start. It is pointless and worthless (and expensive) to invest in a large library of books before you understand what the person who discovered and developed the method intended. It’s not easy to read the Organon. But it’s not easy to be a homoeopath either. If you think you want to be a homoeopath, see first if you can survive the Organon. If you understand the principle and methodology. And then read it again, and again.

If you’re reading later materia medicas you also need to research who copied whom. You will find symptoms repeated from book to book in exactly the same language – which is something of a dead giveaway. This repetition often gives an artificial importance to a symptom, as if many writers are concurring about its relevance – which is clearly not the case. Sometimes the copying was intended as clinical corroboration, but most writers don’t specify that.

The worst is when writers explain Hahnemann – as if their explanation is so perfect that it absolves you from reading the original. That’s almost as bad as claiming to know someone through what other people say about them on facebook.

So what books would I recommend? Before Vithoulkas, before Stuart Close, before Coulter, before Kent, read Hahnemann and Boenninghausen.   Organon. Chronic Diseases. Materia Medica Pura. Lesser Writings.   These books set the foundations, the grounding for your future reading.  Once you have these works solidly under your belt, you will have the tools to assess any other work you read, to see what is useful and disregard the rest.

 

Viewed through proving: Ignatia’s alternating symptoms

I have been somewhat busy… but am reposting this as this kind of information bears constant revisiting…

OK, you prescribed Ignatia.  You’re absolutely sure of the remedy.  You’ve looked at it, repped it, slept on it, thought about it, checked materia medica, checked your patient notes, and you know.  You just do.

You gave the remedy and it did nothing.  Or it aggravated but didn’t seem to do anything interesting, worthwhile or exciting for homoeopathy.  But you were absolutely certain!

Time to look at Hahnemann’s Organon aphorism 251, and (if you can stomach what looks like an 11 line sentence with nary a full stop but lots of commas) the introduction to the proving.  Time to examine Ignatia’s membership in the club of remedies with alternating actions.

Here’s Aphorism 251.  The bold in the text is mine.

“There are some medicines (e.g., Ignatia, also Bryonia and Rhus, and sometimes Belladonna) whose power of altering man’s health consists chiefly in alternating actions – a kind of primary-action symptoms that are in part opposed to each other.

Should the practitioner find, on prescribing one of these, selected on strict homoeopathic principles, that no improvement follows, he will in most cases soon effect his object by giving (in acute diseases, even within a few hours) a fresh and equally small dose of the same medicine.

(Hahnemann’s footnote: As I have more particularly described in the introduction to “Ignatia” (in the first volume of the Materia Medica Pura).)”

And I’ve paraphrased the introduction to the proving to make it readable – with a little literary license (the original is in italics just below, I did warn you about the sentence…):

When Ignatia is used, sometimes the first dose doesn’t help as it’s acting on the disease with its opposite symptoms and not as a similar.  It could even aggravate.  Don’t give any other remedy, just give one more dose of Ignatia in the same dilution.  You’ll get the cure with the second dose. This is probably because of the alternating actions of this amazing remedy. But you won’t see this often, as usually in an acute disease (which is what Ignatia is best for), the first dose will do all it can if it was really homoeopathic to the case. (my version)

Original: (breathe deeply)
“In its employment it sometimes happens, which is seldom the case with other medicines, that where the first dose has not done what was intended, because (for some unknown cause) it first acted on the disease with its opposite symptoms and consequently soon caused an aggravation of the disease in its secondary action, like a palliative remedy, then (without any intermediate medicine having been given in alternation) a second dose of the same dilution can be given with the best curative effect, so that the cure is only obtained by the second dose. This is no doubt owing to the directly opposite symptoms (alternating actions) of this remarkable drug, of which I shall speak further on. But such cases do not often occur, for, as a rule, in an acute disease, the first dose effects all that this medicine can do in a homoeopathic way, if it has been accurately selected according to similarity of symptoms.”

So from Hahnemann’s directions here, we can use Ignatia’s alternating symptoms to understand and manage the progress of a case where we have prescribed Ignatia, are absolutely sure of our prescription, but the remedy doesn’t seem to be doing what we want it to do.

Where can these alternating symptoms be found?  Here are several examples from the proving, taken from Hahnemann’s notes referring to alternating states:

Does stooping low aggravate or ameliorate?

Symptoms  16, 17, 19, 47 and 51  describe situations where the prover must keep his head down, where raising the head will aggravate.
Symptoms 20, 21, 22 and 58  describe situations where stooping aggravates.

Do the pupils dilate or contract?

Symptom 106 describes contracted pupils.
Symptoms 107 and 108 describe pupils that are dilated, and have a tendency to dilate easily.

Is music agreeable to the Ignatia patient or not?

Symptom 120 states that “music causes an uncommon and agreeable sensation”.
Symptom 121 describes “insensibility to music”.

How about sour things or fruit?

According to symptoms 194 and 197, they really like sour things and fruit and do well on it.
But symptoms 193, 196 and 328 imply that it would be best to keep the Ignatia patient far away from the fruit bowl.

What about fears – fearful or fearless?

Symptom 762 says “fears every trifle”, whereas symptom 763 declares – “audacity”.

These are only a few of the alternating states highlighted by Hahnemann in the proving – Hahnemann notes around 25 issues in total.  If we work based on the principle that Ignatia is a remedy with alternating states – it’s very likely that we could see many situations of alternating states that won’t appear in the proving.

“If it is not done with exactness, let no one boast to have imitated me, nor expect a good result”

It is difficult to shift one’s mindset from an allopathic to a homoeopathic mode of interpreting and treating illness. However, once that shift is made, the new way of seeing things comes sharply into view, almost like the moment you are able to see an apparently three-dimensional image jump out of a two-dimensional page. Once you see it, you cannot “unsee” it.

Oddly enough, it seems to be even harder to make the shift from a Kentian, constitutional view of homoeopathy, to return to the original basics as practised by Hahnemann and Boenninghausen. Perhaps because so much is similar – even if the mistaken Kentian premise has catapulted the entire therapeutic method along a completely different trajectory than originally intended. The same terminology is used, often the Organon is quoted (usually minus Aphorism 6), the same polychrests show up, and despite the plethora of new and fantastically proven remedies (fantastic as in fantasy…), often many of the same older remedies are used.

Which brings me to a footnote that appears towards the end of the theoretical part of Chronic Diseases. I have always seen this quote as very clearly expressing the importance of experience over intelligence, the importance of recognizing and learning to use what works even if we don’t understand it. However, I find within this particular context, the following sentence stands out: “If it is not done with exactness, let no one boast to have imitated me, nor expect a good result.”

Or in colloquial British, ’nuff said. Over to Hahnemann:

  … It requires quite an effort to believe that so little a thing, so prodigiously small a dose of medicine, could effect the least thing in the human body, especially in coping with such enormously great, tedious diseases; but that the physician must cease to reason, if he should believe that these prodigiously small doses can act not only two or three days, but even twenty, thirty and forty days and longer yet, and cause, even to the last day of their operation, important, beneficent effects otherwise unattainable.

Nevertheless this true theorem is not to be reckoned among those which should be comprehended, nor among those for which I ask a blind faith. I demand no faith at all, and do not demand that anybody should comprehend it. Neither do I comprehend it; it is enough, that it is a fact and nothing else. Experience alone declares it, and I believe more in experience than in my own intelligence.

But who will arrogate to himself the power of weighing the invisible forces that have hitherto been concealed in the inner bosom of nature, when they are brought out of the crude state of apparently dead matter through a new, hitherto undiscovered agency, such as is potentizing by long continued trituration and succussion.

But he who will not allow himself to be convinced of this and who will not, therefore, imitate what I now teach after many years’ trial and experience (and what does the physician risk, if he imitates it exactly?), he who is not willing to imitate it exactly, can leave this greatest problem of our art unsolved, he can also leave the most important chronic diseases uncured, as they have remained unhealed; indeed, up to the time of my teaching. I have no more to say about this.

It seemed to me my duty to publish the great truths to the world that needs them, untroubled as to whether people can compel themselves to follow them exactly or not. If it is not done with exactness, let no one boast to have imitated me, nor expect a good result.

Do we refuse to imitate any operation until the wonderful forces of nature on which the result is based are clearly brought before our eyes and made comprehensible even to a child? Would it not be silly to refuse to strike sparks from the stone and flint, because we cannot comprehend how so much combined caloric can be in these bodies, or how this can be drawn out by rubbing or striking, so that the particles of steel which are rubbed off by the stroke of the hard stone are melted, and, as glowing little balls, cause the tinder to catch fire? And yet we strike fire with it, without understanding or comprehending this miracle of the inexhaustible caloric hidden in the cold steel, or the possibility of calling it out with a frictional stroke.

Again, it would be just as silly as if we should refuse to learn to write, because we cannot comprehend how one man can communicate his thought to another through pen, ink, and paper -and yet we communicate our thoughts to a friend in a letter without either being able or desirous of comprehending this psychico-physical miracle! [these days, we can add so much more to this list, driving a car, using a computer, using a cellphone and more...vr]

Why, then, should we hesitate to conquer and heal the bitterest foes of the life of our fellowman, the Chronic diseases, in the stated way, which, punctually followed, is the best possible method, because we do not see how these cures are effected?

A chat with the Master: Evil spirits and Aphorism 148

Originally posted on Vera Resnick. Homoeopathic Consultant I.H.M:

A chat with the Master:  Evil spirits and Aphorism 148

(DISCLAIMER!  No dreams, drugs or hyperphysical means were actually used or abused in the writing of this article!)

I’m sure I was holding my pipe…now where did I put it…

After spending perhaps too much time studying opium, I had an extremely vivid dream.  Dr. Samuel Hahnemann was sitting in front of me, in the flesh! (well, it was a dream).  He was smoking his pipe – when I asked him to stop, he looked meaningfully at the cappuccino which had materialized in front of me, and I understood that we would just have to tolerate each others’ bad habits.  Dr. Hahnemann leaned back in his chair, puffing vigorously, and said: “I know you have questions.  This is your chance, young lady!” (I was about to correct him but thought – he is after all over 200 years old…)

View original 1,236 more words

Kent, the Constitutional Remedy, Aphorisms 5 and 6

Kent James Tyler

So what should it be – Aphorism 5 or Aphorism 6?  Let’s look at them… (text taken from 6th edition)

Aphorism 5:

Useful to the physician in assisting him to cure are the particulars of the most probable exciting cause of the acute disease, as also the most significant points in the whole history of the chronic disease, to enable him to discover its fundamental cause, which is generally due to a chronic miasm. In these investigations, the ascertainable physical constitution of the patient (especially when the disease is chronic), his moral and intellectual character, his occupation, mode of living and habits, his social and domestic relations, his age, sexual function, etc., are to be taken into consideration. Continue reading

The Real Reason why Children Fidget

picture of a boy who really misses sitting at a desk...

this kid really misses sitting quietly in a classroom…

We all treat children who have been labelled ADD/ADHD or any number of combinations of letters… So often we get caught up in the case itself, looking for the symptoms that will guide us to the best prescription – where really no prescription is needed.  Often there are very practical, commonsense reasons for the problem – and by the same token, very practical commonsense approaches for its partial, if not full resolution. 

Does anyone out there remember what it was like to play in the street? Continue reading