About a year and a half ago, my colleague Pascaline Phillips inquired about my experience producing remedies that do not yet exist. She had taken a case that she felt required the Yellow Box Fish. After making the remedy, Pascaline again requested my assistance, but this time for a Hahnemannian proving of this fascinating fish.
Both of us had participated in a proving Louis Klein had directed of the Blue Tang, another beautiful coral reef fish. Lou had preceded Pascaline’s actions by first prescribing the remedy successfully, and then doing a proving. Prior to the proving of these two fish remedies, Louis Klein’s case of Blue Tang had firmly given clinical confirmation of his hypothesis of the common theme of fish remedies in general; these remedies address neurodegenerative brain problems, such as Alzheimer’s disease. His Blue Tang case of an undefined progressive dementia and prior to that, his Oleum jecoris case of advancing Alzheimer’s disease, were especially convincing.
Louis Klein has an uncanny way of distilling highly pertinent associations between disease pathogenesis and the natural history of remedy sources, allowing him to create hypotheses for remedy affinities that can then be further verified clinically. On the topic of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease, both involve lesions in the brain that are thought to originate from prion formation. Prions are misfolded and seemingly infectious proteins forming brain lesions that disrupt neural communication. The corresponding bovine disorder is Mad Cow disease, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). Epidemics amongst cattle have been inoculated by the recycling of infected tissue used as feed, from both sheep and cattle sources. In essence, Mad Cow disease is bread via forced cannibalism. Louis Klein suggested that the most cannibalistic animal species known in nature is – you guessed it – fish.
Another supportive analogy has to do with “Dori”, a caricature of the Blue Tang that was featured in Disney’s Finding Nemo. Dori was portrayed as a fish that was a little vacant at times. Disney animators are said to have studied the species they portray, as they try to capture the essence of the animal. Pascaline, with her choice of the Yellow Box Fish, had considered the staring and vacant aspect of her patient’s experience and disposition.
It was interesting to compare what was found in the Blue Tang and Yellow Box Fish provings. In terms of supporting clinical observations for the brain disorders, the commonality in both provings that underlie that terrain has to do with memory problems and a sense of disconnectedness. The latter comes through in the provings in a more socially existential form. Like in the Blue Tang, we see in Prover #3’s entry: “I feel like I’m in a bubble, something buffering my interface with people, my family especially…” In the Yellow Box Fish, especially prover #1, who was normally familiar with a sense of isolation and not being included or supported, instead felt a deep sense of connection to her family, to family roots, and felt wholly involved socially. The opposite was seen in prover#15 who felt totally detached from her family, to the point of indifference, aggression, and depression around them, even with a dread of having to care for her children. Sepia was successfully given as an antidote.
Another “inside-outside” experience, probably a source expression, was seen in prover #2 who entered: “Dreamt I was in a glass room with people staring/gawking at me, while I jetted up and down in an anti-gravity machine.” When we start fishing around in provings, we can understand this disconnectedness as a general fish theme and perhaps, the best symptomatic expression for the neurodegenerative conditions. We see it clearly in Susan Sonz’s seahorse proving with the sense of being cut off, muffled, isolated, inward, and dissociated. Isolation and imprisonment is stressed in Palmer’s Carrasius auratus, the goldfish. And in Jeremy Sheer’s salmon, we see isolation, being unloved, and unsupported, on a difficult journey to conception, where new roots have been grafted.
When the symbolic fish tank is broken and the boundaries lost, the outward side of the Yellow Box Fish comes through strongly in prover #10: “Open to energy, open to thought… felt very open with crown chakra and the universe… felt like opening up of the skull; sloughing off of an exoskeleton… like a cracked egg… consciously felt huge… expansive, but limited by my corporeal self.” Oleum jecoris could be on par here, since he feels he is losing his mind.
Ostracion is a solitary fish, but it may be just one pole of the single verses group dynamics present for all fish. Interesting dreams came through in prover #2, regarding the challenges of group decision-making. We can compare fish and birds in this respect, relative to schools and flocks. Perhaps more with underwater life though, it loses or makes boundary in its response to threatened survival.
The idea of being threatened stands out very strongly in Ostracion. Prover #8 was proactively disconnecting himself from others in an aggressive uncaring, cynical, standoffish kind of way: “I will say or do whatever I want…” He was not holding back, used harsh language, gawked at women, but if perceived gazes were coming his way he would think “What the f*#@ are you looking at?” Other provers became violent or had dreams of war and fighting; escaping from being captured by Ugandan soldiers and feeling free.
Different members of the Ostraciidae secrete toxic steroidal surfactants that permeate their surroundings when under stress. The order of Tetraodontiformes also includes the Pufferfish family, the second most poisonous vertebrates in the world, and if that is not enough for defense, they can also expand their elastic stomachs with water and puff up.
The way this defensive kind of puffy expansion takes place presents itself clearly in the Box Fish proving in a very specific way. The threat can arise from being cornered. With this, comes the feeling of being small or inferior, susceptible to being ostracized (as in Ostracion). Then, there is a need to equalize oneself to the larger threat. This even played into prover #10’s expansiveness, as we see when he identifies the disparity: “My consciousness embraced the vastness of the universe, while recognizing the insignificance of my physical being to the larger picture.” Prover #11 wanted to be bigger and felt getting out in nature could do that for him. He felt both big and small in primary and secondary reaction. Coming more from the small side, pre-proving, he then noted: “Now, I’ll defend myself; my point of view is equally valid – they are not an authority.” And another comment: “Feeling equal, not inferior. Not a child in front of a powerful adult. Being free, grown up. Hope it will stay with me.” Prover #1 contributes here: “My emotional state is great. As if from a child, I finally became an adult. I’m equal! Focused. I do things without an effort. Productive.” Prover #8 in one dream felt he was equal to the pit-bull he saw, driving in his sports car picking up chicks. There were many dreams of dogs too, and cats, and having to eat an ugly fish.
On the physical sphere, we notice symptoms perhaps related to the poisonous aspect of the fish. It may turn out to be a good food poisoning remedy, with nausea and gripping pains. The gold bladder and liver were also given to nausea, pain and discomfort. On the day of the collation meeting, I experienced 3 expanding poison ivy-like blisters on my wrist, but had not been exposed to anything as far as I knew. It felt like the proving to me. Another prover’s Crohn’s disease was aggravated.
I think fish remedies have somehow been a little underused in homeopathy, but the Yellow Box Fish proving, along with other newer fish provings, should open the way to more cases, as it has and will broaden our understanding of this group. Now, we have an understanding of the unique expression of this cute little awkward cubed polka dot fish you do not want to mess with.
To read the full proving, go to: www.homeopathycourses.com.
Photos: Wikimedia commons
Yellow Box and Blue Tang fish; Norbert Potensky
Keywords: brain disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, Creutzfeldt-Jacob, prion, fish remedies, Tetraodontiformes
Remedies: Ostracion cubicus