Bovidae; docile and submissive
The Bovidae family consists of cattle: cow, buffalo, sheep and goats. Cattle are social creatures and belong in large groups. The group provides them with protection against threats or predators. They are non-territorial but they have a distinct hierarchical order in the group.
They cannot survive alone in the wild, so belonging to the group is of prime importance to them. The compromise for staying in a group is that they have to sacrifice their desires and wishes; they need to be mild, docile, submissive, pliable and adjustable. They think of others before themselves. They try to satisfy everyone and they hardly complain. In cases, we see that issues are related to dependence and independence. Hierarchy is the main issue here, so in patients we see issues of class, race and order in society.
The second prominent issue is surviving against threats or danger because they are all prey mammals. This issue is expressed as intense fearfulness, panic, vulnerability, being taken by surprise, pursued, powerless, defenseless and helpless; their main reaction is to run away from threats and escape.
Expression words: Sociable, Docile, Submissive, Vulnerable, Pliable, Sacrificing, Jumped at, Taken by surprise, Fleeing, Tamed, Molded, Mildness, Gentleness, Obedient, Adjustable, Helpless, Defenseless, Surprised, Unaware, Escape, Run away, Powerless
There is a proving available by Rajan Sankaran; the following are prominent themes from the proving and available materia medica.
The need to belong to the community
To do things for one's friends. Need to not hurt friends or community, to do things which are good for them, helping members of the community. The Lac defloratum person is communicative and sociable. Because of this they feel alone and forsaken without the group or communication and their main fear is to be rejected by somebody, the group or society.
Submissive and docile
Lac defloratum patients are extremely mild, docile and submissive. They are individuals who will not resist and oppose anything, nor will they exercise their own will. This yielding nature reminds us of Pulsatilla, but the difference is that Pulsatilla is extremely sensitive to the misdeeds of the person on whom she depends. (Angry to husband, angry to near and dear ones) while a Lac defloratum person does not complain. Their problems develop because they are not able to express their inner emotions.
Adjustable and pliable
Cows are known for their quality of being adjustable and pliable to different kinds of feed and climate. The word pliable means 'susceptible to being led or directed', 'capable of being bent, flexed, shaped or twisted'. This explains the essence of this remedy. The most common situation is of a woman who gives up all her likes and desires for the sake of her husband, children and family. This quality of a Lac defloratum person gives them a sweet quality, but problems occur when the other person(s) in their life cannot give them the same love, care, and attention. Because they are not able to express or demand something of their loved ones, they expect their loved ones to give this without asking. They expect them to understand what is needed.
One can think of this remedy when Lac defloratum comes up strongly in the case but certain symptoms and keynotes or rubrics point to this remedy. It has an affinity for otitis media, rheumatism, sinusitis, milk intolerance and biliousness. Some keynotes: the symptoms appear on both sides at once; liable to otitis and catching cold. Milk frequently aggravates rheumatism. Ailments from: bad news, mortification; this affects him very much, with general nervousness.
Fel tauri, ox gall
The following case is from a seminar of Jayesh Shah:
The patient was a grocery store worker in the shop next to his clinic, whom he had known for many years and was aware of his general personality. He was mild and gentle, happily doing his job, always busy, working all the time without complaining, a workaholic (Business, desire for/ Industrious, mania for work). His complaint was gallstones. He looked like Pulsatilla: very mild, gentle and submissive but definitely ‘masculine’. He received Fel tauri and his complaints vanished within one to two months.
A Fel tauri person looks like Lac defloratum by nature but his main concern is about business and work, which he does with great power and strength without any demands or complaints. The main physical complaint disordered digestion, especially with gallstones.
The understanding of this remedy came from the proving by the Western College of Homeopathic Medicine.
Hierarchy versus equality and the uniqueness of each individual
Bison live in group of cows, calves and old bulls; younger bulls live separately, either singly or with other bulls. The stronger cow leads the herd. Here, leading the group does not involve overpowering the weaker members of the herd; cows do not fight to become head of the herd. The leader will give up her position to a member of the younger generation when she perceives more power and strength in a younger cow. In the herd, each member is equal; even calves are equal to mother cows. Lac bisonis patients are extremely sensitive if they are treated without respect. Lac bisonis considers the entire group as a unit and each individual has their own individual space in the group with equal value and identity. In patients, the problem starts in the work place or family when someone begins to impose power upon them; then they show their immense strength in the form of aggression. They can strike with excessive anger without warning.
Highly sensitive to disrespect
Five of the seven provers experienced anger, one to the degree of rage. In all cases, the anger was triggered when they felt treated disrespectfully. By using their anger, they tried to restore the safe space within their personal boundaries. They have a group feeling along with the desire for personal space; they are not sacrificing their own identity for the sake of their own safety.
Great power and strength
Bison are a symbol of strength and power. As a member of the bovid family they do not use their power to harass others or abuse their strength; they are naturally mild. However, in Lac bisonis we do not see the intense submissiveness of Lac defloratum: they do not sacrifice their personal life to please someone on whom they are dependent. They can do anything for the safety and security of the group but we do not see the docile, pleasing nature of the cow in them; instead, we see more self-assurance.
Unpredictable, attack without warning
Lac bisonis people show their power and strength when anyone tries to overpower them or does not give them due respect. After this, no-one is able to stop them. They become furious and attack with intense rage without warning.
We need more provings to gain clarity about this remedy.
Themes are from two provings, one by Kees Dam and another by Rajan Sankaran
Fear of pointed, razor sharp objects; the neck being the vulnerable area
Goats fight by head-butting; they injure each other in the neck with their razor sharp horns. Goats are totally defenseless against predators and slaughter. They tend to be attacked by sharp canine or felid teeth, which are like the sharp knives of slaughter houses. In patients, we see this expressed as: fear of pointed objects like razors, knives, scissors, injection, needles, etc., and intense sensitivity around the neck area, with fearfulness and vulnerability.
Desire to be at a higher position
The issue of hierarchy is a very important aspect of the goat's social make-up. They tend to go higher up the mountain to keep away from predators. In patients, we may see this as ‘low self esteem' and a 'desire to attain a high position, high social position, high status, high rank, high profile’ in order to compensate. We may also see the opposite pole as 'fear of falling or fear of heights' or ‘fear to lose position’. The attitude is to keep going and not give up, to win at any cost. (Lac rupicaprinum, the chamois, has same the attitude, but their degree of endurance is higher than Lac caprinum).
Feeling of being wrongly punished for the misdeeds of other persons. For example, in an organization, the boss forces all his misdoings on a subordinate and escapes the blame or punishment, thus making the other a scapegoat.
Sexual aggression, shameless sexuality, sexual perversions. Very territorial, very sensitive to being crowded together (guests taking up their sleeping space). Rude and angry. Bang their head, head-butting. Oppositional, snappish. Strong vitality, high energy, hectic and restless or nervous (Tubercular miasm), very playful. Sharp, stitching, shooting pains which provoke a fright reaction. Patient is very chilly. Left side is prominently affected.
Lac rupicaprinum (chamois)
We understand this remedy from the proving by the Société Hahnemannienne Dauphiné-Savoie in France.
Endurance, energetic, positive, optimistic
Chamois live in high altitude mountains, where life is not easy. They need to climb high everyday for food and drink. They have to survive severe changes in the environment, such as a cold winter and a hot summer. So, nature gives them enormous power, physical strength, energy and capacity to sustain themselves in diverse situations. We can see these themes very strongly in the proving. Lac rupicapaprinum people do not surrender easily. They are real warrior types of people, similar to Ferrum metallicum. Strangely, in the proving, there are some incidences where provers mention things made of steel. Lac rupicaprinum people are goal oriented and go straight forward despite obstacles. They are courageous and we see a high level of self-assurance in them.
Another mammal remedy with this same quality of endurance is Lac cameli. Camels also live in tough situations in the desert, where they need to fight constantly for food and drink.
Mountains, height, open space, overview versus claustrophobia and nailed down
Chamois living in high altitude. Lac rupicaprinum patients will like mountains, country side, grass, fields, open space, enormous structures, stones and wildlife. In the proving, provers mention mountains and high buildings several times, looking down from a height or across an open space from a height. Lac rupicaprinum people feel claustrophobic in narrow places and elevators. They like wide open spaces, and prefer villages to cities. Lac rupicaprinum people have interest in mountain climbing, skiing and other snow games. They feel oppressed from crowds and feel trapped or nailed down where there is limited movement. We see one more correlation: the chamois’s herdsmen tie down their legs and keep them all together in a confined small space.
Chamois molt their coat every year: the old coat scales away and is replaced by a new coat. In the proving, this is reflected in activities and incidences such as repairing, putting away, scraping and cleaning.
Lac caprinum and Lac rupicaprinum share several themes
In both we find: angry and irritable at the smallest contradiction, very diffident and oppositional. They both have a high level of energy, with hastiness and restlessness, which is tubercular in nature. High sexuality, shameless sexuality, carefree and playful. They both want to be on top and they have the attitude of “win at any cost”. They feel defenseless and vulnerable from life-threatening attack. The main sensitive area is the throat and neck.
Attacks from the sky (Chamois’s main predators are eagle, vulture and felids which attack them from a height); fear of losing vision; a sensation of heat which is subjective as well as objective; locked hip and unable to go forward.
These themes are from two proving, one by the Northwestern Academy of Homeopathy and the other by Olaf Posdzechs.
Easily impressionable and follow anyone without thinking too much
During herding, sheep have a strong tendency to follow, and a leader may simply be the first individual to move. The word “sheepish” implies “timidity” or “stupid, timid person”. Lac ovinum people are shy by nature. They may find the hustle and bustle of life easily overwhelming.
Being part of group, avoiding the centre of attention
Sheep are herd animals and they become stressed when isolated. For Lac ovinum people, being part of the group is very important rather than being in the limelight. This could be expressed as an extreme shyness. They could withdraw and hide in order not to show their feelings of inadequacy (sycotic state).
Gentle, uncomplaining (Lac defloratum like)
Sheep do not defend territories, although they do form home ranges. Lac ovinum has a gentle nature. Not wanting to be hurt by others, they also take care to avoid hurting others. They will avoid expressing their anger or lack of comfort in order to not upset the other person. When they do act, they will be concerned that someone might be angry with them.
Feeling inadequate; the task is too big
They can easily feel overwhelmed and feel that things are too big for them. They can feel that any effort is futile and that they will never be successful. They might feel they have to keep working continuously in order to be accepted.
Being attacked, unsafe (Lac caprinum-like)
Sheep have no natural defenses against predators, they are “sheep for the slaughter”. Lac ovinum people get anxious when they have to face a conflict; they prefer to avoid conflicts if at all possible. They feel entirely at a disadvantage in situations of personal safety. In dreams, they may find themselves running away from harm.
Self-sacrificing, desiring to be helpful, leads to depletion and exhaustion; desiring equality on principle; duty, sense of responsibility, and the sense of being mother to all; fear of inadequacy, lack of confidence, and timidity; giddiness, laughter, and glee, childlike innocence; helplessness and defenselessness, and yet may be defiant; slow moving, monotonous, same thing, different day
Lana ovis (sheep wool)
We obtain an understanding of this remedy from the proving by Della Hedger
Protection, comfort, warm, cozy
Wool gives protection to sheep from the harsh environment; it gives them a warm and cozy feeling, as if carrying a blanket with them all the time. In the proving, this issue is strong. Lana ovis people may desperately .seek protection and comfort. Some expressions of the provers demonstrate this: “I love my family, my home, my friends.”; “I feel nourished and nurtured and cozy and warm.”; “A feeling of coming home”. We can see clearly that provers seek nourishment, nurturing, care, and a homey feeling. It is not only receiving nurture and care from others but also a strong desire to take care of others. There are several expressions in the proving which are related to baby, pregnancy, mothering and taking care of young children. So, Lana ovis could be a mother who wishes to care and nurture a baby and give protection, just as she does during pregnancy. The connection to the womb can be seen in these expressions: “Curling up in bed”; “I want to snuggle up and lie down.”; “I feel I want to curl up and snuggle, to be held safely in this all-encompassing, all-knowing, all-forgiving space. Womb?”; “I really wanted to curl up in a foetal position.” In short, Lana gives us the same experience that we have in the womb: total care and nourishment, full protection, and a warm, cozy feeling.
Sense of Connection
After shearing, the wool coat from the sheep is called the fleece. The fleece goes through a series of processes: cleaning, picking, teasing and blowing until after spinning it is a consistent web that sticks together. In spinning, a special spinning oil is added, which helps the fibres slide against each other and also helps them stick together as this fine web. Eventually, after the final processing, the web forms a tight bond, the wool yarn. The following expressions show how Lana ovis people try to stay connected: “Feels connected to everything”; “Strong and connected to heaven and earth / feel detached”; “Feel disconnected from my body”; “Strong and connected to heaven and earth, spirit and ground”; “Connection with my crown chakra/ Connected to higher self”; “We are all linked together, one to the next in a circle.” Staying connected is not the end of the story, though. If you are not connected then you are hovering in the air like a single piece of hair, (consistent with the blowing phase of production) so associated with staying connected is the sense of being grounded. In the proving, we see the clear polarity of grounding and connection and the opposite: ‘lifted, hovering in the air, free flowing like a spirit’, and expressions which suggest out of body experiences. Grounding expressions: “Feel a bit more grounded. Know where I am – well aware of the outside.”; “This is a very grounded substance – earthy.”; “To be grounded in myself.” Out of body expressions: “Feel as though I’m not in my body, but watching.”; “More out of my body, lifted.”; “Feel disconnected from my body, like I don’t know what I am feeling.”; “I’m going to leave my body, fly away. I have to work to keep myself inside my body.”
Creativity, art and craft
Wool is often associated with creativity, for example knitting a beautiful sweater. In the proving, creativity was expressed by three provers as follows: “Looking to create something new.”; “Giving a new form”; “Creating a blanket for the new baby.” As we see earlier, Lana ovis could be a good mother who is taking care of her baby, who has potential to create a new form, to give new life. Interestingly, in the proving, there is a strong connection with the ovary, which is the creative organ of women and which has the potential to transform a woman into a mother.
In the proving, there are several expressions which are directly connected with the source.
Lana ovis has lot of similarities with Lac ovis because both have a common source: sheep. Lana is also very innocent and child-like, as can be seen in the theme of protection; they demand it as any child demands protection from the mother. The second common theme is “Stupefaction” as can be seen in Lac ovis: blandness, slowness, and inadequacy. In short, when we have a case which is similar to Lac ovis but which demands protection, safety, comfort, and also presents the polarity of connected and unconnected, as well as issues of creativity, we can think of Lana ovis.
Acceptance of everything as in the sycotic miasm. Sensitive to cold and snow and desire to stay near the fire. Extreme irritability with rebelliousness. Rebellious but less courageous, not sure of himself, change opinion very easily. Acute senses, vibrant-looking colors, and sense of smell is increased.
This is the case of a fifty-four-year-old woman from Bulgaria who complained of severe vertigo and chronic fatigue syndrome.
D: Tell me about you and your problems
P: I have had this weakness for many years. I get tired very easily; I can’t walk for half an hour or stand for more than twenty minutes. I need to lie down after my house work. This is the way I work: I wake up and work and then lie down, then work and lie down again. Constant work is impossible for me. In the last three months, I have a new problem: I have severe vertigo and dizziness when I lie down. It also comes in attacks. There are whole days when I don’t have any vertigo but then one day it comes and I can’t even open my eyes. I close my eyes like this (covering both her eyes with her palms) and sit like this (supports her back and sits up). This is the only way I feel better and I tolerate the vertigo.
I lie down on the bed like this (left side position). Whenever I turn from a straight position to the left side, I am dizzy. I have severe vertigo whenever I lie on my left side or raise my head a little from the pillow. Once I wake up, then it’s no problem but if I lift my head up from the pillow my head is terrible. I’m lucky that the vertigo is not constant otherwise how could I live my life! My life would become hell. I have so many problems (she is crying).
D: How do these all problems affect you?
P: It all started when I lost my job. My husband has been retired for many years but I had my job, so we were living our life very happily. Suddenly they fired me, though, and we both became dependent on our son. I’m still looking for a job, but because of this weakness how can I work? (she cries loudly).
You know very well that when a person becomes jobless, then they have no value in the family or in society. Now, we have both become like a servants in our house. Of course, we love to help our son and daughter-in-law and they also love us, but in the end, we are dependent on them. We have to ask for money if we have to buy clothes or gifts for our birthdays. Nobody loves you when you are not working, so we agreed to help them with household chores. We have both accepted this situation but my physical issues are harassing me from time to time.
D: Do you accept this situation?
P: Yes, because we are social animals so we are not able to live our life without society or friends or family. We need to have their support. Even if you are financially independent, you need at least emotional support! I don’t know about others but I can’t live without the love and care of my family and friends. I need to call my parents every week even though they are very old now.
Since I have come here with my husband after our marriage, I try to stay in touch with my parents. Yes, off course I try to satisfy my family by taking care of them, but I do have my personal life. I need support and care. I don’t have big expectations from them but at least they need to say something to me or give me a gift, even a small flower!
D: Tell me about loving your family?
P: I love them very much, even more than my life. I fulfill their wishes first and then, if there is time left, I do what I want to do for myself. I’m taking care of my daughter-in-law as if she is my own daughter. We have never fought since she came into our house after their marriage. I never wish to fight with anybody. I hardly get angry; I always stay silent even if I am badly insulted. I’m always keeping everything inside me and if it’s too much, I cry alone but I can’t share it with others. Others see me as a happy and positive person but on the inside, I have sorrow and sadness. Of course, I am a happy person but since I have had these physical issues, I’ve become sadder and sadder.
D: Tell me about the word ‘dependent’ as abstractly as you can.
P: Dependent means somebody else is taking care of you. You are totally helpless. I have dreams where I lost or get separated from my family or group and I don’t know anybody there. Because of my shy nature, I can’t ask anybody for help, so it’s a helpless situation for me.
P: Alone, forsaken, nobody else is there to help you, to take care of you or at least to reassure you “don’t worry, I’m with you.” To die without your loved one is most terrible thing in the world.
D: Which is your favorite color?
“Somebody else is required to live my life. I’m totally dependent and the other is important for me. I will die without my family and friends.” This group aspect, “my group versus the outside world”, relates to the animal kingdom.
- Totally dependent
- Social animal
- Desperate need of friends and family
- Taking care of family while neglecting herself
- Need to call her parents
- Need to share her thoughts with others
- Taking care of others while she neglects herself
- Desperately need of others and society
- Person feels they have no value if unproductive so try to become productive their whole life
- Shy and docile
- Tolerates everything rather than complaining
There are common themes of bovidea running through the case, which are very much pronounced in the cow.
According to Rajan Sankaran this is the “fingerprint” method of repertorisation, where you select one fully-explored, prominent and peculiar area of the case and then select all peculiar symptoms for choosing the rubrics. If the case is fully expressed in one peculiar part, then it will ring true for the whole case, the way we identify someone by just their fingerprint.
Prescription: Lac defloratum 200C, one dose twice on one day, then one dose whenever needed.
In the course of eighteen months, she received eight doses of Lac Defloratum and recovered from all her complaints; she started a new job and felt very calm.
Photos: Wikimedia Commons
Limpurger Rind; Public domain
Sheep; Ziegler 175