I have seen so many queries on the internet about the best school to study homoeopathy. About the costs of effective foundation courses. But if someone sincerely wants to study and afterwards practice homoeopathy – their best initial option for true foundation studies is to avoid the schools altogether.
So what’s the cheapest and most effective way to study homoeopathy?
1. Read the Organon. Every word and every footnote. Not as a work of philosophy, but as the users manual for the job. You are about to mess with someone’s health – this is not like the complex i-phone or gadget where many don’t bother to read the users manual. Bear in mind that the 6th edition of the Organon was more or less Hahnemann’s final word on the subject. Bear in mind that while Hahnemann may have changed the way he gave remedies, the principle and basis for giving remedies remained the same through all editions of the Organon – the Law of Similars and understanding remedies through provings.
Read the Organon ensuring that you can build a logical construction and plan of action from Aphorism to Aphorism – without ignoring anything or reducing its importance. Where aphorisms seem to conflict with each other – examine them over and over to check whether it is your understanding that is faulty. Aphorism 6 – “take nothing except what has changed” is a classic example, seen as conflicting with several aphorisms referring to additional information and therefore sacrificed on the altar of a false understanding of “totality”.
2. Read the Lesser Writings of Hahnemann and Boenninghausen. Again, read over and over until the logical process is clear to you, directly from the text. Examine case examples, look at them through a repertory (even Kent’s although by now you know my preference for Boenninghausen), understand the process, the reasons for their conclusions.
3. Read provings in the Materia Medica Pura and in Chronic Diseases. Always read with the understanding that while Hahnemann was constantly working on how to improve giving the remedies and case management – the basic principle for prescribing remained the same. The Law of Similars and understanding remedies through provings.
READ THE INTRODUCTIONS! Hahnemann did not just write – “here is Pulsatilla, it’s the blond yielding woman with blue eyes…”, and he often gave very helpful prescribing information in the introductions.
4. Read Chronic Diseases – the Theoretical Part. Read it first uncritically until you can reconstruct Hahnemann’s line of thought and logical process.
In general your first in-depth reading should be uncritical. Try to get into the writer’s way of thinking, understand their thought process, reconstruct their arguments to be able to follow their logic. In the case of methodology presented, especially in the Organon, work with it as written first, see if it works, how it works. I will never forget my amazement when preparing my first LM in water dosing, giving one dose of this unbelievably diluted substance, and watching it clear symptoms almost totally and hold for three months clear without any need for repetition.
But then bring your critical faculties into play. Question, check, research. Once you have done your reading, once you have stretched yourself and worked, only then read what others have to say.
Some of the best homoeopaths I know were auto-didacts, before they studied case-work with teachers, and deepened their understanding through practice.
When you study with teachers in the schools and foundation courses, you will learn what they think of the Organon (which often is what their teachers thought of the Organon), you will learn what Kent thought of the Organon, you will learn about what everyone thought – except Hahnemann.
When you read other materia medica before reading provings – you will learn what those teachers thought of the remedy, what they saw in the remedy, how they worked with the remedy, how they dreamed or meditated on the remedy – but you will not learn what the remedy itself has to teach you through the symptoms it causes in the healthy, and you will be forever biased by those teachers.
Once you have done this study, or even alongside, look for homoeopaths you can observe, work with teachers who can teach you practical elements, watch case-taking and case management. Ask questions, don’t hesitate to challenge – especially if you see practice that makes no sense. Because the more you read and study on your own, the more you will see practice that makes no sense, does not fit in with the logic of homoeopathy. And as I’ve mentioned earlier, when you are working with someone else’s health, you must be sure of what you’re doing.
Homoeopathy is not intuitive. It is not an arts degree. If it were its results would not be reproducible. If it were – 10 homoeopaths in a room will come up with 10 different remedies for any case, based on “creative prescribing”. (Sadly both states happen, because homoeopathy is so often taught today as a creative arts degree).
Homoeopathy belongs with the sciences, and as such there is a lot of material to study and understand and internalize. It is also like the sciences in that you cannot proceed without having a solid base to start with. In homoeopathy the solid base is the study I have recommended, together with methodical study of anatomy, physiology and pathology.
And those of you who have studied – just think how your understanding and the effectiveness of your practice could be improved by taking every hour of the courses you did, the seminars, the retreats, the meditations on the nature of remedies, every creative, inspiring, wonderful and totally useless hour, and condense that time into focused study of the elements that really contribute to getting results in homoeopathy.
As Hahnemann states in Aphorism 3 (bold is mine):
If the physician clearly perceives what is to be cured in diseases, that is to say, in every individual case of disease (knowledge of disease, indication), if he clearly perceives what is curative in medicines, that is to say, in each individual medicine (knowledge of medical powers), and if he knows how to adapt, according to clearly defined principles, what is curative in medicines to what he has discovered to be undoubtedly morbid in the patient, so that the recovery must ensue – to adapt it, as well in respect to the suitability of the medicine most appropriate according to its mode of action to the case before him (choice of the remedy, the medicine indicated), as also in respect to the exact mode of preparation and quantity of it required (proper dose), and the proper period for repeating the dose; – if, finally, he knows the obstacles to recovery in each case and is aware how to remove them, so that the restoration may be permanent, then he understands how to treat judiciously and rationally, and he is a true practitioner of the healing art .