Book review: Homeopathic Mind Maps - Birds by Alicia Lee
With Birds, Alicia Lee adds another volume to her series of Mind Map books, the first three of which covered the Mineral kingdom, the Plant kingdom and the Animal kingdom. As she writes in the foreword, she had originally intended to devote this volume to the winged creatures, thus including butterflies and flying insects. Happily, she has chosen to limit it to birds alone, as she has collected information on over eighty different provings, making it the most comprehensive homeopathic atlas of birds. Not only the birds themselves are charted, but also any substance from the avian realm, thus including Lecithinum, Oscillococcinum, Guano australis (bird excrement from Patagonia) and various part of the egg shell and albumen. As she notes, information on birds in homeopathy has taken off in the past years; it is fascinating to read the history of bird provings over the course of time. She includes information derived from many types of sources: the more traditional provings, with ample clinical confirmation, as well as trituration provings, shamanic provings, dream provings, and some short provings. Some mind maps are based on case studies, illustrating the correspondence between provings and practice.
Mind maps are a very handy way of remembering large amounts of proving information by putting it in an easy to read context. Starting from the central theme, the thread is followed as it develops into a complete picture. If we take, for instance, Erithacus rubelcula, the European robin or Robin redbreast, we start at the top with “birds”, then go to the next line, “freedom versus restriction”, which is common for all birds. “Freedom”, in this case, points to “connecting people together for a purpose, desire to meet strangers, feeling responsible for family arrangements,” which in turn points to “feeling of being late, missing things, feeling of panic and disorganisation, mishearing people.” “Restriction”, on the other hand, points to “I feel stuck in this room,” “must meet people’s expectations, but I’m only so little ,so I’m not sure whether I can be responsible to my family,” and then to “delusion he is a very young child.” The chart thus further develops into a complex but easy to read map of the proving, indeed a very pleasant way of studying remedies. It is not intended to replace the full proving, but it gives a valuable overview of the key features. Generals and physicals are listed, and folklore, mythology, and traditions fill out the picture. Beautiful and well-chosen photos accompany each map, and the occasional poem or quotation adds a certain lightness. It is amazing how much information can fit onto one page and still be so readable.
The book is very logically structured, providing an introduction to the taxonomy of aves, and a tree view of the 45 orders. The themes pertinent to birds are developed in “Bird generals, expressions”, where one finds the over-riding theme of “freedom versus restriction” spelled out in many examples. This helps us to recognise bird themes as they arise in practice, and to differentiate them from other animal remedies with similar themes of freedom and captivity. The various orders are introduced, such as the Accipitriformes, or order of hawkes, kites, eagles, buzzards, old world vultures, with its subfamily the Circinae, the harriers. A very handy part of the book is the comparison between various members of the orders, noting for instance the differences in their perception of similar circumstances. For instance, “restriction” is perceived by Buteo buteo as “very easily persuaded to do things, the well-being of those in my care is more important to me than my own freedom,” while for Buteo jamaicensis it is” “obligation, I wish I could be carefree like others, I want to experience how it would feel for me to live for myself.” Physical attributes are also thus differentiated in a clear overview. We gain the feeling of the bird realm in general, as well as an accurate distinction between its various members. The book ends with a somewhat whimsical map of the Phoenix, the famous firebird that rose anew from the ashes.
It is of course, as Lee herself writes, one person’s interpretation of the materia medica of birds – the best thing is to do the work oneself and to delve deeply into the topic in order to fully appreciate it. For those who have neither the time nor the inclination to invest such a great amount of time in one topic, however, it is a boon to have such a reference at hand.
This book is very well documented: one can find references to all the information concerned, and an extensive bibliography provides possibilities of further study.
With its handy A-4 format, sturdy cover, durable paper and ring binding, it is easy to use and will stand up to long use. I know that in any case it will certainly be put to good use in my practice, along with its well-thumbed counterparts. I now look forward to the butterflies and flying insects!
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