Viewed through proving: Lycopodium – without all the hot air

Viewed through proving:  Lycopodium – without all the hot air…

There is so much to write about in Lycopodium.  But a recent conversation with a student brought the following to the fore.

I had prescribed Lycopodium in a case where, in addition to other symptoms that agreed, there was a tremendous melancholy and weariness of life.

“Are you sure about this?” she asked.  The reason for the questioning was that classic picture of Lycopodium taught religiously in schools.  The picture presenting  “the Lycopodium personality” – full of hot air, (if there’s flatus you have to prescribe Lyc, right?), very uncertain and frightened inside, making himself larger in order to overcome his internal sense of insecurity, etc. etc. and more variations on this theme.

Part of the difficulty in battling these characterisations of remedies is that they are so much fun to do.  It’s interesting to extrapolate from physical symptoms (gassiness) to mental/emotional conditions and develop a characterization for a remedy.  One who suffers from cramping is a person who cannot let go.  One who suffers from gassiness is full of hot air.  One who cannot breathe deeply is not willing to enjoy all life can offer.  Etc. etc. ad nauseam.

There’s just one major problem with all this fun – it’s not homeopathy.  It is speculation, pure and simple.  It also involves a very speculative reading of the patient’s character and psyche from one or two sessions – again, not part of the certainty true homeopathy strives for.

I have heard that a certain well-known teacher read out part of the Lycopodium proving at a seminar many years ago without identifying the remedy.  When the audience failed to name the remedy, the teacher used this to point out the irrelevance of Hahnemann’s provings in the prescription of Lycopodium.

To work according to the homeopathic process, exact, non-speculative case-taking is essential.  Core reliance on provings that are known to be carefully carried out and non-speculative is mandatory.  Otherwise there is no certainty that the Law of Similars is being used in treatment, and as a result, no certainty in terms of the projected outcome of treatment.

The following is how Hahnemann summarized the 73 emotional symptoms in the proving, together with his knowledge of the action of the remedy in his practice.  He presents this emotional picture of Lycopodium in the preface to the remedy:   Melancholy ; grief ; anxiety, with sadness and disposition to weep ; fear of being alone ; fatigue ; irritability ; obstinacy ; sensitiveness ; peevishness ; peevish, disagreeable thoughts .

The symptoms themselves run the gamut of human emotion, through extreme sadness and depression, fear, irritability and anger, bordering on fury.

I’ve included the emotional symptoms below – read and reflect.

  1. Hypochondriac, tormenting mood ; he feels unhappy (the first two days).
  2. Exceedingly melancholy, dejected, joyless.
  3. Sad, hypochondriac (peevish) mood.
  4. Depressed mood (aft. 17 d.).
  5. The child loses its cheerfulness, becomes quiet and dispirited. [Htb.].
  6. Seeks for solitude.
  7. Dread of men (1st d.).
  8. When other persons come too near her, she feels anguish in the scrobiculus cordis.
  9. She flees from her own children.
  10. Melancholy, in the evening.
  11. Melancholy ill-humor, sad thoughts.
  12. Sad mood; she has to weep all day long and could not content herself, without cause.
  13. Sad, despairing, at last disposed to weep
  14. Despair; weeping.
  15. Sad of heart.
  16. Extremely sad and disheartened.
  17. Disposition to weep, with chilliness.
  18. He weeps and cries, at first, about the past, then about the coming evils.
  19. Great oppression in the scrobiculus cordis from vexation.
  20. Great anxiety, as it were, in the scrobiculus cordis, without any particular thoughts (aft. 24 h.).
  21. Internal anguish, in the forenoon, and internal chilliness, like an internal trembling.
  22. Anxiety in the evening, things are half confused before her eyes.
  23. Anxious, fearful, timid.
  24. Great timidity (10th d.).
  25. Great fear of phantoms, which crowd upon her fancy in the evening ; during the day she is disposed to weep.
  26. In the evening, in the dark, he is frightened because a door he wants to open, opens with difficulty.
  27. He is afraid in the evening, on entering a room, as if he saw somebody ; by day also he sometimes imagines he hears somebody in the room.
  28. She is afraid of being alone.
  29. Internal restlessness (aft. 24 h.).
  30. Impatience.
  31. Very much discouraged and tired.
  32. Lack of confidence in his strength.
  33. Pusillanimous, sad, fanciful.
  34. Distrustful, suspicious, inclined to take things ill.
  35. Extremely distrustful and suspicious.
  36. Despairing and inconsolable.
  37. Extremely sensitive in spirit; she weeps on being thanked (aft. 20 h.).
  38. Excessively irritable, timid and peevish.
  39. Great timidity.
  40. Very timid, all day.
  41. She is easily frightened and startled.
  42. Every noise hurts her.
  43. Discontented (aft. 72 h.).
  44. Very irritable and inclined to melancholy.
  45. Peevishness. [Gll.].
  46. Peevish and dejected (15th d.).
  47. She thinks of a number of disagreeable occurrences in former times, which vex her, even at night, when she wakes up.
  48. He has trouble to conceal his internal obstinacy and vexation.
  49. Excessive excitement and apprehension.
  50. He smiles without being merry, capricious.
  51. The child becomes disobedient, though not ill-humored.
  52. Obstinate, self-willed, refractory, passionate, angry.
  53. Very violent and irritable.
  54. Violent mood, without peevishness (aft. sever. h.).
  55. She cannot bear the least contradiction, and at once gets beside herself for vexation.
  56. Angry fury, partly against himself, and partly against others.
  57. Easily excited to vexation and anger.
  58. He quarrels in mind with absent persons.
  59. Insanity and fury, breaking out in envy, pretensions and ordering others about (aft. 12 d.).
  60. As if insane, she seeks for quarrels, makes ungrounded reproaches, abuses most violently and beats the person whom she abuses (aft. 2 h.).
  61. Ennui (aft. 2 d.).
  62. Insensibility to external impressions.
  63. Indifferent to external impressions, with irritable mood.
  64. Indifferent in the highest degree.
  65. Indifference. [Gll.].
  66. Aversion to talking. [Gll.].
  67. Simultaneously inclined to weeping and laughing.
  68. After being anxious, there is a great inclination to laugh about trifles, for several hours, and then weeping for half an hour, without cause.
  69. Over-merry, with whirling giddiness.
  70. Overweening and extravagantly merry.
  71. When any one looks at her, while relating a serious matter, she has to laugh
  72. Involuntary whistling and humming tunes.
  73. After excessive merriment, as if he was obliged to distort his features, there follow ill-humor and impatience
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