2013 July August

A dream proving of Petroleum

by Elizabeth Thompson

A dream proving is carried out each year within the academic programme of the Bristol Homeopathic Hospital to bring us as a group into the direct experience of a homeopathic medicine. We offer students the option to take a 30C of an unknown remedy and to record their dreams for three nights. This dream proving of Petroleum took place in October 2008. It is interesting to see these themes appearing in cases that have needed hydrocarbon remedies (see the Petroleum / Glonoine case in this issue).

In describing the themes of the dream proving, reference is made to Roger Morrison’s illuminating book on the Hydrocarbons, which I would encourage any homeopath to have on their desk. Morrison separates this large group of remedies into various subgroups, one subgroup being its use in the world. Petroleum can be seen as the group of fuel remedies, which include Alcoholus, Benzenum petroleum, Benzinum, Carbo vegetabilis, Carboneum, Fuligni, Kerostenum, Napthalinum, Paraffinum and Petroleum.

Petroleum as proved by Hahnemann was liquid oil held in reservoirs by non-porous shale or rock oil (petros is Greek for rock). A number of homeopathic pharmacies state that they now use kerosene to derive petroleum from crude oil rather than shale oil. The idea to dig deep for oil came with the first oil well in 1859, which began a whole new age of industry and travel.

Some of the major themes seen in the proving include:

Travel, transport, travelling fast, by car, bus, train, coach, rocket

Exhaustion, weakness and depletion

Confusion, disorientation, weird, vacant

Explosion, fire

Violence, unfeeling, blank, kidnap, gangster, sinister

Industrial age, Technological, or nostalgia for the past

Money, exploitation, materialism and poverty

Dream Themes:

Travelling under pressure

One of the main themes of the proving was of travel: travel by bus, tube, train, car, boat, even by space pod. An obvious quality of this fuel substance is its ability to propel vehicles to move us around, sometimes too fast, so that we become disorientated in time and place. Travel under pressure, moving fast, being late, too many people pushed into one vehicle.

Future technology, industrial age, and the past­

The rate of change of society in the industrial age is mainly down to petroleum, and more recently silicon. Technology appears in the dreams: laptop, mobile phones, a blown-up computer combining two petroleum themes of technology and explosion. Travel by space pod looked to future technology. There was also a sense of the past, going back in time, returning to medieval times in a chill winter. A hardworking common man in a boiler suit was an image of the industrial age.


Because of the pressure and urgency, there can be frustration and anger, sometimes explosive. “The confrontation is explosive.” “Suddenly there is a huge explosion and the words ‘the power of the dark void’.” A computer damaged – possibly blown up.

War and superpower

Morrison sees the petrochemical age as one of greed and wielding power with an unfeeling position on the consequences of war. This theme of power is to be competitive, supremely powerful. A theme of the dream proving was war, Iraq, the Taliban and the USA, superpower. Many of the wars currently raging have oil at their centre: oil equals money equals power, which leads to world domination.

Nature under threat

Nature under threat, animals being herded and oppressed. Underground comes through strongly, where the substance comes from; also representing the unconscious mind, and the birth canal (Row 2 carbon). There was also the theme of water, sea, a swimming pool. The drive and thrust of hydrocarbon fuels have put male energy in the ascendancy in this industrial era, and domination of the female energy. Feminine energy is seen in the gypsy woman with an ample cleavage, who is blank and empty. The pharmaceutical industry relies almost entirely on oil, whilst Gaia is left reeling since oil was forced out of the earth for greed and acquisition of wealth.

Unfeeling, blank

A menacing woman: “Her eyes are blank – zombie-like. A great empty space where her irises should be.” “She shows no sign of feeling the injury.“ Unfeeling at the sight of slabs of raw meat on a conveyor belt. The image of blood seen in the dreams correlates with the film “Let There Be Blood”, a story of some of the first oil wells and the greed that drove these men to get more and more.

Sinister behaviour

Sinister behaviour or motives, a sense of hostility and resentment. “He is acting erratically, suspiciously, weirdly.” “They cannot arrest him but the undercurrent is of seedy crime, possibly even child abduction?” Use of force, menace, kidnap, murder; “I was in a car with three or four gangster types. We were discussing murdering somebody in graphic detail … a violent killing and it involved guns. I awoke suddenly sweating.” Inflicting pain in self-defence when grabbed. Assassination: “There was a beautiful lady sitting in the audience. She was there to try to assassinate one of the (presidential) candidates; she had 6 daggers. She threw 5 of them but missed and she kept the last in the sheath that was tied around her thigh.” “Behind the walls one can feel a thudding oppressive noise that is trying to be disguised; not sure what would be found lower down, but a sense of something nasty.”

The birthing process – transitions into and out of life

Carbon represents the moment the foetus decides, “Am I in or am I out?” An alternating state and indecision we know so well of Graphites. “Can I be independent now that I am going into a new world alone?” The need for support; and anxiety, starting from sleep. “I have to lie very close to my husband to get support from him so that I am not alone in the dark void myself.” We saw themes of the second series, the shock of carbon, and the issue of “will I survive?” It is a state between life and death. “Going down in lift got stuck; will I survive this journey?” Images of birth, death and graves, and leaving the elderly and infirm behind when people were selected for travel in a space pod, knowing they would not survive the journey, they would die soon anyway.

Weird, Strange, Lost, Confused – longing for familiar surroundings

There were issues of the early mineral rows, of being on unstable ground, “unsure of ground; test ground”; lost and confused. “It was dark outside. I don’t remember where we were parked.” Familiar places seem strange. “I return to an old house; door way blocked off; couldn’t find the way, lost/confused; familiar but not as I remember.”

It’s a state between awake and asleep (the anaesthetics) “unpleasant, unsure, weird.” “I return to familiar places, in a cinema; trapped in chair – surprise; familiar, weird house felt familiar, narrow long garden; weird places, river.” The confusion was seen as “weird”, a word shared with magnolia’s bewildered sensation. We see themes of magnolia family and the hydrocarbons interlinking in Camphora, where everything seems weird.


Another theme was the exhaustion, depletion and cyanosis of carbon remedies with the colour blue (light, blue, dark blue, changing blues), and low energy state of corpulence and an under-functioning system.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Pumpjack (nodding donkey); JimWmurphy

Categories: Provings
Keywords: hydrocarbon, oil, fire, explosion, confusion, lost, weird, indecision, birth process, exhaustion, cyanosis, kidnap, transport, travel, alone, void
Remedies: Petroleum


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