Listening to Stone, Wood and Shell
Extract - Listening to Stone, Wood and Shell
INTRODUCTION to Listening to Stone, Wood and Shell
Nature speaks in many languages. What we hear and understand depends on our ears and on our minds. To a devout buddhist the blue stone talks about the Healing Buddha, the ‘Tathagata in Lapis lazuli shine’. An ethnologist listening to Cowrie will learn about fertility and wealth. Talking to a pharmacologist Ephedra reveals the indirect sympathomimetic actions of its alkaloid contents. Reading Goethe’s Ginkgo poem we learn about secrets of duality hidden in the leafs and the legend of Ginkgo talks about the true tree of life. There are many ways to understand the substances we use in homeopathy.
But the master key to the hidden healing power of each substance is the encounter between potentized matter and human consciousness. In this encounter there is no preconceived notion of the nature of a substance. In a homeopathic proving we just listen to the tune of a potentized substance taking possession of us. It is a kind of shamanistic experience located along the borderline of science. The proving explores the spirit-like medicinal power of a substance using the subjective perception of various individuals. Human beings, their consciousness, their perception, and their individual responsiveness become the measure. Whereas the natural sciences basically strives to eliminate the individual by the use of experiments and statistics, this very individual is the focus of interest in homeopathic research. Every participant of a homeopathic proving can add significant symptoms to a remedy picture, particularly if these symptoms were not observed in any other prover.
Although we are dealing with subjective experience all the characteristics of a subctance known from mythology, ethnology, traditional medicine, pharmacology, biology or chemistry may present themselves in a homeopatic proving. Take Ephedra: There is the drug-like action of the Mormon tea as well as the vasoconstriction of Ephedrine. There is the symptomatology of common cold disease and influenza as in the use of Ma Huang in traditional chinese medicine and there is the theme of dismemberment as in the use of psychoactive drugs for shamanistic initiation. The proving gives you all the important information about the plant in a nutshell. It is hard to grasp that modern pharmacology takes no advantage of such an extraordinary source of information.
And it is almost incredible how much the spirit of a substance may influence an individual, even though the substance was diluted to the degree of being physically unrecognizable. “Cowrie has changed my life”, stated a participant of the Cypraea self-experience. Unfortunately these kind of changes are not always agreeable. Some provers felt rather miserable after taking the same potentized Cowrie. Even their supervisors suffered the consequences. One of them complained: “The supervision is exhausting, it drains me”.
An experience like this shows that the proving of a remedy is an experiment that cannot be taken lightly, but deserves a lot of respect. Provers and supervisors need to know what they are getting involved with and carrying out a proving needs a lot of experience in homeopathy. It is not uncommon for participants to discontinue the experiment and require therapeutic intervention.
However, without this courageous kind of interaction with different potentized substances, homeopathy would not exist. Every experience on this path – positive or negative – enriches homeopathy and those homeopaths who are traveling on this path. Some participants have even found their personal similar in this way. For example, one supervisor described her Cowrie prover: “Every day my amazement about the prover increases. Since she took the proving substance, her development has grown in quick, huge steps. Usually this would require far more time. She has made an important move towards greater personal freedom.” Moreover: Provers like her will enable others to make the same move. Due to those provings, they will also have the chance to encounter their similar in form of potentized stone, wood or shell.
But according to Hahnemann the participation in a proving also affords the future homeopath an educational experience. First of all, it creates an understanding for the law of similars. Furthermore, the homeopathic proving offers an equally important practical part of our holistic art of healing. It helps us to develop an understanding of proving experiences in general and enables us to better study and understand new and old provings and the reported symptoms. Finally: Having experienced the „similar“ a therapist will recognize it more easily and directly in a patient.
Hahnemann emphasizes the importance of proving experiences in a footnote to § 141 of his Organon: „By means of such remarkable observations, he will develop an understanding appreciation of his own sensibilities, of his mode of thinking and emotions which is the basis [fundamental nature] of all true wisdom. By observing himself so closely, he will develop into a good observer, [a skill in which] no physician dare be lacking. (see „Organon of the Medical Art“ edited by Wenda Brewster O’Reilly, p.160)
The exercise of a proving magnifies the perception of unusual symptoms, of “strange” sensations and therefore actually of oneself. Because naturally nothing can emerge unless it has been lying dormant inside. One could say that every remedy only gives rise to what already exists. In this way the contact with one’s self is established, with “the fundamental nature of all wisdom“ as Hahnemann puts it (see above). During the many years of supervising such self-experiments, we have noticed again and again that – triggered by participation in a homeopathic proving – prospective homeopaths experience expansions of their own consciousness on a deep level. In our understanding the self-experienve of a homeopathic proving is an integral part of homeopathic training because it fosters an inner growth necessary to guide patients in crisis produced by disease.
Listening to stone, wood and shell will help us listen to our patients and hopefully give us the chance to prescribe these remedies correctly. Although being the master key to the spirit-like healing power hidden in so many a plant, animal , rock or even a grain of dust homoeopathic provings are but a first sketch, a starting point for the use of a new remedy according to the principle of similars. This sketch is filled in and closely defined by the experience of patients who are cured on all levels by the remedy. In order to take this important next step, some sort of scientific solidarity amongst homeopaths is badly needed. We ask everyone who has success in treating with one of the remedies in this book to document their findings and pass them on to the authors.
The provings introduced in this book give an idea of the amazing healing power contained in these remedies. As we could already observe in our practice the potentized minerals, plants and shell can obviously change a life completely. Thus, it is worth the effort to study the symptoms diligently. As experience with synchronicity in homeopathy shows, people who suffer in a similar way, will then appear in your practice.
Anne Schadde and Jürgen Hansel