2011 December

Inspired stocking-fillers

by Deborah Collins, Patricia Maché

We have made a small and inexhaustive selection of homeopathic books that have made a real impression on us; thoroughness, innovation, practicality, humanity, humour are but a few words that come to mind when reviewing them. These books will be perfect 'stocking-fillers' and will bring pleasure to homeopaths and to 'normal' people alike! Browse and enjoy![1]

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MathisonWhat a delightful way to spend a morning, or an evening, laughing your way through a whole series of animal portraits in various remedy states. Then, long after that, the images remain – little gems of insight all packed into visual form, conveying the essence of each remedy in a way that only a cartoon can. The book is intended for use in animal homeopathy and is useful for seasoned homeopaths, as well as animal lovers in general, and an excellent text book for homeopathic students. In fact, I suppose it will inspire many to see their well-known remedies in new ways, in humans as well as in animals. The stunned and bruised pig lying on the road, muttering “I’m fine, don’t touch me,” while a truck rambles off in the distance, is instantly recognised as Arnica, as is the love-sick Antimonium crudum dog, yearning after a butterfly, and on the other hand sulking about, grumbling “don’t look at me…” Then, comes the Platina cat, haughty and isolated, spitting and scratching at her own kittens, the Plumbum horse, picturing himself in its full glory of by-gone days yet withered, weak, and decrepit, and the Cocculus mouse, peering in anxiety at her bed-ridden mouselet, with the exhaustion of many sleepless nights etched on her droopy face. And what about the Tarantula dog, who looks as though he has put his nose in an electric socket or the highly emotional Camomilla horse who does not want to be approached or even looked at but … wants to be carried! Every time I turned a page, I thought I had found my favourite, only to be delighted by the next one. The words on the drawings point to the key elements of the remedy, making it easy to commit to memory. The text itself, concise and accurate, presents insights into animal homeopathy gleaned from practice, as well as literature. It is obviously written by someone who knows and loves animals well, and who, through her talentuous pen, is able to show us their world as if we were in their skin, so to speak. It is no less obvious that the author has a tremendous knowledge of her Materia Medica, distilling each remedy to its essential drops with an ease that only comes from an experience steeped in empathy.

In short, this book is delightful, insightful, witty and of course, extremely useful.

My only warning would be “don’t put it down to unpack the rest of your Christmas goodies, it is bound to be snapped, passed around, chuckled at, and put to use, before you get the chance to set eyes on it again.”

 

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When I first received Frans Kusse’s book on children’s types, I put it aside for later reading, thinking there would not be much new in it. After all, I had read and reread Douglas Borland’s Children’s Types until it fell apart in my hands, and kept up on most developments since then. How wrong I was!

The portraits, all 56 of them, are like little jewels scintillating at each turn of the page, highlighting the essence of some of our major remedies, as well as some more recently in use. Frans Kusse’s many years of experience and ongoing learning, as well as his natural compassion, shine through when he writes about the children suited to the remedies. For him, seeing the good in everyone is not just a lofty ideal, it seems to be ingrained in his very nature and put into his daily practice, and this is evident in his descriptions.

KusseWe all know the disturbed side of our remedies – the jealous Lachesis, the feisty Belladonna, the shy and awkward Baryta. But Frans Kusse seems to go inside each of these types and see the world through their eyes, to sense their struggles and their strengths. One learns to recognise these so-called “common remedies” in new ways and to understand their behaviour better, so that we can perceive them in our patients long before the picture has become a full-blown pathology. The remedies are described not only in an individual sense, but also in their relationship to their origin and the family to which they belong.

For instance, Chamomilla, of the Compositae family (Asteraceae), shares with others of that family the problems of setting boundaries, quickly interpreting things as threats. Many Compositae remedies tend to seek help from others, then let their boundaries be overstepped; Chamomilla children deals with boundaries in their own way: defending themselves by challenging and pre-emptively going into attack, in order to reassure themselves that they are strong enough.

The Hyoscyamus child is portrayed not only as attention-seeking and demanding but, in a healthier state, as being spontaneous and devoid of timidity, charming and cute, singing and dancing to anyone who will listen or watch. The background of the remedy state is made clear: the feeling that they are neglected, for instance after the birth of a sibling, when they can exhibit violent fits of jealousy or rage. The portraits can be helpful for parents struggling with difficult behaviours, providing not only homeopathic relief but also insights into the inner world of their child and how they can help him best.

Newer remedies are also described, such as Lithium, Lithium Phosphoricum and Beryllium, all remedies from the second row of the periodic table, which has to do with childhood states. We know Borax as a remedy for oral thrush in children, and Manganum as a remedy for earaches, but how well do we know the children that need them? Frans’ familiarity with Jan Scholten’s approach is evident in his work, and he has made it his own.

Many of the remedies are accompanied by photos from the clinic of Ulrich Welte, Herbert Sigwart and Markus Kuntosch in Kandern, Germany. The likeness between children requiring the same remedy is often striking. Many remedies also have case studies, short, clear and convincing.

A small section at the back serves as a handy introduction to some common children’s problems: ADHD is mentioned, with a differential between some important remedies, as well as a brief section on ear and eye complaints and skin problems. It by no means serves as a complete guide, nor should it be used as such, but it could give parents an idea of how a consultation works in these cases – looking for the deeper cause rather than merely looking up the symptoms. The book is rounded off by an index of emotional characteristics and remedies that (often) display them.

All in all, this book has been a delight to read, helping me to see these children and their remedies’ pictures afresh. It is impossible to give a complete portrait of all remedies applicable to children – after all, every remedy can be used. But it gives a beautiful template for the study of other remedies in future, creating a picture of a whole remedy, and a whole person. It can be useful for both students and practitioners of homeopathy, and for parents, and I am sure it will find its way into many a waiting room. There is, after all, something quite wonderful in having a parent come into the practice, having recognised a remedy, and to find that it is the perfect one.

 

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welteIn 1996, Jan Scholten published his ground-breaking book “Homeopathy and the Elements”, translating the periodic table of the elements in such a way that every element and every compound could be utilised in homeopathic practice. This discovery has changed the world of homeopathy and its possibilities for cure. Gradually, homeopaths from every continent have put these insights into practice, with varying degrees of success. Those who have persevered, despite the inevitable difficulties inherent in a new method, have come to hail Scholten’s work as an enormous advance in medicine for, indeed, illnesses which could not previously be treated were becoming treatable. Some have cast his work aside in derision, claiming that it is not possible to know the effects of a remedy without thorough proving, while others have recognised the possibilities but have found it too difficult to apply in practice.

After fourteen years of putting these concepts into daily practice, testing them for their validity and their usefulness, Ulrich Welte has written a much- needed and welcomed book: “The Periodic Table in Homeopathy, the Silver Series.” Through close contact with Jan Scholten and through his own meticulous approach and intuitive insights, Ulrich Welte has made the system his own, applying it with confidence and flair. What was previously the initial map of a new territory has taken on more detail and contour, and the inhabitants of this land more familiar features. 

The book opens with a refreshing recapitulation of general ideas, giving an oversight of the periodic table and its use in homeopathy. It then focuses on the Silver series, illustrating each element with up to four cases. Through a thorough explanation of the developmental stages, following the rise and fall of the Gausse curve as it is inherent in nature, one learns to extrapolate this series to the whole of the periodic table.  This differentiation method can also be applied to the plant kingdom, and will prove to be invaluable for finding many hitherto under-utilised remedies as Jan Scholten’s map of the plant kingdom comes into use.  It is in the extensive differentiation between the various stages that this book shines, for this has often been a stumbling block for those using Scholten’s method; a whole chapter is devoted entirely to this topic, giving countless examples of the subtle nuances between one stage and another, and another chapter deals with the differentiation between the series.  The ability to discern accurately between the various stages is not only essential when using mineral remedies; it will be increasingly required to differentiate the various members of plant families, as Jan Scholten’s map of the plant kingdom comes into use. When using remedies which have incomplete provings or none at all, we are dependent on our ability to discern one state from another by other means of analysis: behaviour patterns, career choices, that which triggers illness or problems, and other personal characteristics. Welte leads us in a masterly way through the process of differentiation, starting with the initial impression (confident or not? trusting? impulsive? conservative?) and then fine-tuning the two or three selected remedies. The situations of the remedies are brought to life through vivid descriptions, as in Indium: “The younger guys are thronging behind you: nowadays, they know their way around better and are already calling the shots. You must cut back, partially withdraw, and restrict yourself to the tried and proven.” Having the patients read these pictures can become part of the consultation process, as they recognise themselves in one remedy or the other. Other tools, such as colour preference and hand-writing analysis, as well as a study of facial features and body build, serve to confirm the remedy choice. Ulrich Welte makes use of all available information to find a remedy, from the more traditional proving material to the newer insights.  As he says “it is like two sides of one coin, why not use both.”

The cases are clear illustrations of the remedies and are convincing in their extensive follow-ups. The book is completed by a history of the development of the periodic table and by easy-to-use charts and oversights. The layout and cover-design are attractive. The patients’ words are appropriately left in their colloquial form, which makes it very lively, and here comes my only (minor)criticism: a more formal written style in the text itself would have, perhaps, been more appropriate and have better suited the rigorous approach of this book. Those who are reluctant to apply the element theory in their practice, as well as those who already use it, will have much to gain from the grounded philosophy and expertise of this book.

 

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whole againThe co-operation between Christa Gebhardt, journalist, and her husband Jürgen Hansel, homeopathic physician, has led to an extraordinary book. “Whole Again” is a collection of 13 case histories from various homeopaths, documenting life stories, illnesses, homeopathic treatment, and subsequent improvement in severe illnesses. The authors have travelled throughout Europe and to India in order to speak personally with the people involved, and they have succeeded in bringing across not only the life stories but also the surrounding atmosphere in such a way that one can readily relate to each person. The illnesses themselves, often severe pathologies, such as meningioma, auto-immune illness, or deep depression seem almost secondary; a natural manifestation at a physical level of the distress that is played out at a soul level. This is no dry summing up of facts, with tables of rubrics and remedies, but an encounter with real people whose individuality is of utmost importance. The remedy choice is clearly explained and convincing, as are the astounding results, even in cases which would normally be considered incurable. As one would expect of a truly holistic approach, not only the physical amelioration is taken into account but also the person’s sense of inner freedom.

The authors make clear that not all homeopathic patients enjoy such spectacular results as those narrated in their book. A realistic view of homeopathic practice is given, with all the ups and downs, and the sometimes lengthy search for the simillimum. The concept of “spontaneous cure”, often cited by sceptics as the cause of improvement after homeopathic treatment, is laid to rest.

A wide variety of approaches is offered, with cases presented by well-known and respected homeopaths, such as Jan Scholten, Rajan Sankaran, Ulrich Welte, and Jayesh Shah. The choice of remedies, too, varies from the well-known Carbo animalis and Plumbum metallicum to the lesser known Neodymium Oxydatum and Chonchiolinum, or to the even totally unknown Scorzonera. This variety offers much to the new homeopath and to the experienced practitioner alike. The manner of case-receiving itself serves as a shining example of how the art and science of homeopathy can be practiced in depth, to the fulfilment of both patient and practitioner. The book is complete with a periodic table of the elements and a glossary for those who are unfamiliar with homeopathic terms. The simple and clear narrative style elicits such a sense of proximity that one could be forgiven to think oneself present during the case receiving; a silent but attentive witness. Whole Again is a book which practitioners, after having absorbed the content themselves, would want to put in their waiting rooms, or pass on to family, friends, and all those interested in discovering the depths of healing possible with homeopathy. Whole Again is, indeed, a beautiful work of love.

 

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butterflyIn her book, “Butterflies”, paediatrician Patricia Le Roux explores a whole new family of remedies. Inspired by cases from Jean Pierre Janssen from Holland and Chetna Shukla from India, Patricia and a team of colleagues have undertaken a series of provings of various butterflies and moths, in an attempt to understand more about this fascinating and elusive aspect of the insect realm and its application to homeopathy. In total, thirteen provings are presented and vivid descriptions are given of each of the butterflies’ characteristics. The illustrations, in colour, are beautiful and the lay-out is delicate and tasteful.

Specific themes have emerged during this process, which seem to be quite particular to the butterfly/moth realm.  These small creatures are known for their ability to transform, to metamorphose from egg to larva (caterpillar), from larva to chrysalis, and finally, to adult butterfly. They live a very short life, flitting from one thing to the next, ethereal, and unsubstantial, before laying their eggs and then dying. Unsurprisingly, these various aspects have surfaced in the provings.

An important theme, which runs through all the butterfly remedies, is the feeling of ‘abandonment’ and ‘lack of guidance’. Important, too, is the ‘reduction in mental agility’, which often manifests itself by a lack of concentration; the agitation of the “butterfly mind”, its lack of concentration, and its tendency to flit from one thing to the next. Consequently, one of the main applications of this family of remedies is in the field of behavioural problems; a whole spectrum of complaints, from memory lapses to hyperactivity, often diagnosed as ADHD. The propensity to dress up in pretty clothes and to wear masks, particularly in children, is another sign which can point to the butterflies. On the physical level, allergies and skin complaints are often observed.

Dr. Le Roux has illustrated each butterfly with a case and has clearly shown the thought process involved in choosing a particular remedy. The cases themselves are striking, both by their likeness to the butterfly that has been prescribed and by the results of the treatment. As Patricia is quick to point out, however, this is only a preliminary study. More research and more clinical experience are needed to deepen and enlarge our knowledge of this numerous and diverse family.

The question is often asked “Why do we need more remedies at all? We already have more than 3,000 remedies and we do not even know them well. Does this search for new remedies not make homeopathy more difficult than it already is?” This book can, perhaps, give an answer to that question for it shows how in learning to recognize the different aspects of Nature, mirrored in our patients, we open ourselves to all the healing possibilities that she has to offer. By observing its inherent patterns, in this case the ‘butterfly mind’, we are gifted with yet another means to heal.   

 

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“Spectrum of Homeopathy”, Narayana’s now two year old journal, is making its mark in the homeopathic world. Its initial aim to present the rich diversity of homeopathic practice in an open and encompassing way has been achieved and even surpassed. The name Spectrum of Homeopathy beautifully illustrates the aim of combining modern insights and the ancient wisdom of our forefathers. Well-known and respected homeopaths regularly contribute to the three yearly issues of Spectrum, sharing with us their knowledge, experience, and research. Each issue is based on a particular theme, allowing a throrough and comprehensive coverage of the chosen theme. The articles are of high quality, and the photographic work is stunning. With a more than reasonable subscription price, Spectrum will keep you at the edge of homeopathic research and in touch with the homeopathic community worldwide, It is a magazine definitively worth collecting, sharing, and recommending to friends and colleagues.

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[1] You can find all these books on Narayana’s bookshop site: www.narayana-publishers.com

 

Categories: Reviews
Keywords: Mathison, Kusse, Welte, Gebhardt/Hansel, Spectrum of Homeopathy
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