2011 December

The elements of life; Carbon series

by Jan Scholten, Alex Leupen

The discovery of the underlying system behind the periodic table of the elements, and its relationship to the development of mankind, has far-reaching implications for homeopathic practice. Through understanding the inherent logic in the patterns of nature, one is more easily able to grasp the significance of the placement of the various elements, and to make accurate use of a vast array of new remedies. One is able to incorporate many more aspects of a patient’s life into the anamnesis by  understanding where they fit into the larger picture: where they falter in life can point to a corresponding remedy.

Various aspects of this theory are developed here, in their relationship to pregnancy, birth and early childhood, the times of life that relate to the first rows of the periodic table.

The system, as represented in the Periodic Table of the Elements, can be seen as mirroring the developmental path of mankind. It is a process of incarnation through childhood to old age, decay and death, with all the stages in between. Each element, in the form of a remedy, can be put to use in helping someone to unblock their life’s energy and their potential for growth and creativity.

The Hydrogen series consists of only two elements, Hydrogenium and Helium. These elements have to do with the descent to earth and the process of incarnation, taking on a body.

The next series is the Carbon series, which has to do with the development of an “I”, an individuality, with all the fears and bodily sensations inherent to the process.

The third series is the Silicium series: these elements have to do with the development of relationships. In this series, Silica represents the father as head of the family (as opposed to the role of father in the Carbon series, where he represents one’s self of self-worth.) Sibling relationships, as well as friendships, are represented by the phosphorus element, sulphur represents the partner relationship, and muriaticum the mother relationship. There where a predominant issue is played out by one of these patterns, a remedy containing the appropriate element can be of use.

Each series builds upon the previous series and has the themes of the previous series within it. One can for instance only successfully enter into a relationship with another (Silica series) when one has fully incarnated (Hydrogen series) and developed a strong sense of self (Carbon series.)

The following three series are the “work series”: the Iron, Silver and Gold series.

In the Iron series, work is routine, duty- and task-oriented, and on the work-floor.

In the Silver series, work has more to do with creativity: art, science, and the development and expression of ideas. This is the realm of middle-management.

In the Gold series, work is related to power (or lack of it) and the ability to oversee a larger situation: responsibility, top management, life and death.

The Lanthanides branch off at stage three of the Gold series, and are in fact a sub-series of the Gold series. They, too, have to do with power and responsibilty, but in the sense of  autonomy: power over oneself and one’s inner world, in the form of introspection, and battling one’s shadowdside. Here, it is about self-management rather than the management of others.

The Actinides form the last row: they are instable, having short half-lives, and when they fall apart they become radioactive. They have to do with the end of life, a time of decay and letting go. Everything is falling to pieces, the mirror is shattered, and like the shaman, one has the ability to see beyond the evident. The Actinides have to do with Universal wisdom, and with the use (and abuse) of power on a grand scale. One sees beyond time and space, and so we come back to Hydrogen, where “all is one”, and the circle is complete. 

The basic elements of life are Hydrogen, Carbon and Oxygen: all major biochemical molecules are built from them. Nitrogen can be added to them, as it is essential for amino acids, proteins, DNA and many other biochemical molecules.

Hydrogen is the first element in the periodic table and the first element created in the universe, one of the two elements in the Hydrogen series. The universe consists for 99.9 percent of hydrogenium (88.6 percent) and helium (11.3 percent). Hydrogen is the element with the theme of ‘being’. This is the most primary concept: to be or not to be, to live and be aware. Patients requiring a remedy from this series come across as being ungrounded, in that they have not yet firmly incarnated into the body. There can be an almost blissful state of feeling “one with all life”; on the other hand, a terrible sense of aloneness can prevail, as one has not formed attachments to life on earth.

Carbon series

Carbon, Nitrogen and Oxygen are in the Carbon series, the second row of the periodic table. The theme here is that of personal being, in contrast with the Hydrogen series where it is just being as such. The Carbon series expresses the being as ‘me’, as a living entity split off from the world. It is about ‘me in the world’. The emphasis  is on the person, I, me, the individuality. The vehicle of the “I” is the body with its vitality, life energy and desires and instincts; the body gives the I a place in the world. The theme of ‘good and bad’ is central to the carbon series, and especially to Carbon; the person wants to be good, to feel good, and the major fear is to be bad.


Carbon is the most central in the Carbon series. It is in Stage 10, the middle column, the centre of life, just as carbon is central in all biochemical molecules, making the chains possible. Carbon is very general for the feeling of being someone; its quality is not specified further than “being someone” or “being good”. When asked about their fear, it is the fear that they are not good, that something is wrong with them, but there is no other qualification to their feeling.

Carbon relates to one’s sense of self-worth. It also corresponds to the father, in the sense of someone who confirms one’s basic self-worth.


Nitrogen has aspects of Stage 11 to 15, the 11th to 15th column of the Periodic system. Stage 11 has to do with enjoyment, so Nitrogen is about enjoying life, enjoying motion, food, sex, and wanting to win. There is an enthusiastic quality here. This is exaggerated by the aspect of Stage 12 of overdoing things: Nitrogen is overdoing life, enjoying it too much, for example eating too much fat and protein and thus developing arteriosclerosis. Nitrogen gives the boost to life, pushing it into being, to expansion, to growth. The main component of artificial fertilizer is nitrate, which makes crops grow more abundantly. It is also used in some explosives, such as TNT. Nitrogen complaints are often accompanied by bursting sensations, too much expansion, such as explosive headaches or vascular problems (usually venous). Nitrogen also has the fear of loss, which is an aspect of Stage 15. They become irritable when they start to lose their possessions and health. They can become cynical and sarcastic about their losses, aspects of Stage 13. 


Oxygen is in Stage 16, the 16th column of the Periodic system. It is the stage of loss, half loss. It has the fear of losing everything, so in the carbon series, this translates as the fear of losing life. Oxygen is the remedy of giving and taking, of eating and being eaten. In order to utilize the food that is eaten, oxygen is necessary for the burning process, thus it brings energy into the system. But to gain that energy, other beings must die: Oxygen embodies the danger of death and the need to eat in order to survive. The fear of Oxygen is to lose life, totally or partially. They fear becoming handicapped, becoming poor and having nothing but dirt and ruins to live on. They feel pushed out of life, on the side track, into the dirt. Oxygen fits people who feel as though they are victims of life, such as beggars. They can also make other people feel indebted to them, making them feel guilty that they have a good life whereas these people do not. Oxygen has a quality of feeling used, and of using others in return, as though life owes them something.


The personality is developed in childhood, the age that belongs to the Carbon series.

Lithium, age 0 to1 year

Lithium is the first in the carbon series and expresses his personality in an impulsive way. The personality, being split off from the world, is experienced naively without thinking about it. It is just accepted and lived without self-reflection. It is like a baby, who just follows his moods and instincts without changing them.

Case, Alex Leupen

A 35 year old woman comes for a consultation due to a recurrent hydradenitis inguinalis: almost every month she has a painful inflammation in her groin. She has had many relationships in her life, and every time she quits after a few months, as she has “had enough of him.” Her emotions fluctuate strongly, up and down. After Lithium Sulphuricum, the painful inflammations disappear, and there is more rest and stability in her life.

Case, Deborah Collins

A young man of 25 comes due to “depression”, the inability to give form to his life. “Everything is ‘up and down’ with me – one minute I am happy, the next minute I am dissatisfied with myself because I never achieve anything. I couldn’t concentrate at school, so I never got anywhere. I spend money as fast as I earn it, and I give it all out in trying to keep up with my friends. I have gone into a relationship impulsively, and now I am a father, but I can’t maintain my role. I’m just a child myself!” Lithium Phosphoricum helped him tremendously: his moods stabilized and he was able to work consistently and to save money, getting himself on track for the first time. Of interest is the fact that his birth was by Caesarian – he was ‘coming and going, up and down’ but not pushing through. See below for the relationship between the birth process and the remedies.

Case, Deborah Collins

A young man of 29 is brought in by his parents due to recurrent periods of manic depression, for which he had frequently been admitted to a psychiatric ward. At the least disturbance in his life, he becomes hyperactive, sleepless, and feels that he is capable of great feats. “I could run a hundred meters in ten seconds if I tried! I could heal people just with my hands! Life is wonderful, I am so full of energy and good spirits, and I don’t want people telling me I’m sick.” But then his energy burns out and he sinks into a deep depression, unable to get out of bed and tend to himself. “I’m worthless, I can’t do anything for myself. I’m good for nothing. Why should I live?” There were no further qualifications to his symptoms – it was purely a case of an extremely unstable sense of self-worth, “up” one moment and “down” the next. Monthly doses of Lithium carbonicum over the next year completely stabilized him, and he was able to stop taking the allopathic Lithium, move out of his parents’ home and build a life for himself.

Beryllium, age 2 to 3 years

Beryllium is Stage 2, the age of the toddler. He is starting to reflect on himself, being more aware of the fact that he is separate from the world. But it goes together with amazement, a sense of wonder at what it all means. The Beryllium patient is very sensitive to criticism. He is still very dependent on his parents, running back to them at the least unexpected thing or danger. There are many unspecified fears, as though the “big world” is too dangerous for him to venture into.

Case, Jan Scholten

A woman of 40 suffers for years from tiredness and listlessness. During the daytime, she is somber, in the evenings, she starts to come to life. The tiredness is accompanied by severe feelings of inferiority: she is an anxious type and does not dare to express herself well. “I want to know what my surroundings expect of me, and then I react to them.” She adapts to her surroundings and does what others ask of her. After Beryllium MK, her fears disappear fairly quickly, and she starts standing up for herself more.

Boron, age 4 to 5 years

Boron is Stage 3 of the Carbon series, the age of 4 to 5. He has discovered what it is to be someone but does not know who he really is. He doubts himself, since he starts to see so many aspects in himself. He has discovered that he can be quite different depending on the situation.

Case, Alex Leupen

A 58 year old man has been hospitalized in a psychiatric clinic due to severe depression, which started after his early retirement, appendicitis, and family problems. All his certainties about work, health, and family started to wobble, and he became depressed. He felt like a child in an unsafe world. He is oversensitive to noises; if his wife drops her fork on her plate, for instance, he becomes upset for hours afterwards. A few months after being given Borax (natriumtetraborate) 200K monthly, he feels much stronger and more able to manage his life.

Carbon, age 6 years

Carbon is at Stage 10 of the Carbon series, the centre, success and stability. Carbon has found himself and accepted his personality. This raises questions about the meaning of his own life, where he is coming from and where he is going to. He questions life, God, and life after death. Children at the age of carbon, about 6 years old, often question their parents about life and death. They do that especially after a family member has died. Rajan Sankaran refers to “instability” as the opposite polarity of the stability of Carbon: in Graphites, they resonate with everything in their surroundings, like a tuning-fork.

Case, Alex Leupen

A 35 year old mother of two children comes due to severely itching urticaria for the last two months; she is at the end of her tether. She also feels emotionally unstable. She feels that her complaints have to do with her neighbor, who she finds intimidating: he stands in the street and shouts at her, her husband, and her children, accusing them wrongly of all sorts of things. She is very nervous and can’t stand it anymore. After two doses of Graphites 200K, her skin calms down and she feels much more stable.

Nitrogen, age 7 to 8 years

Nitrogen is at Stage 11 to 15 of the Carbon series. It is the age of 7 to 8, the age when one has the desire to be more than just ordinary: the idea is that one can become even better. He starts boasting, telling others he is the best, the biggest, the strongest, the wealthiest, etc. In games, he wants to win, he needs to win in order to show that he is the best. Nitrogen gives enthusiasm to the personality; they like to live life to the fullest. They like to cook, eat, drink, and enjoy sex. They are often the ones who start a party, or the ones who stand on the sidelines shouting to their child on the soccer field “Go for it! Get him!”

Case, Alex Leupen

A 13 year old boy comes with his mother due to large warts on each finger, which started three years ago. The warts are localized around the fingernails and therefore cannot be treated with liquid nitrogen, the usual treatment. His parents are separated and he lives with his mother, together with his three brothers. He is cheerful, enthusiastic, energetic, and spontaneous in his contacts. Cheerful, enthusiastic, and energetic fit the theme of Nitrogenium in the phase of its vitality. Spontaneity fits Hydrogen, the acid component in acid combinations. After weekly doses of Nitricum acidum C30, all his warts disappeared after six weeks. Here, we see a Nitricum acidum person in his vital stage, in the enjoyment of life.

Oxygen, age 9-10 years

Oxygen is most prominent at the age of about 9 to 10. It is the age where one realizes that he has received everything from his parents; until that time, food and clothing were taken for granted, they were just coming. Now, there is the realization that most things have been given, which can give rise to feelings of guilt, of being indebted. It can give rise to the anxiety of not getting things in the future. Later in life, it can lead to bitterness concerning what they have lost. Life is taking things away and that feels unfair. They feel they have a right to existence but it is being taken away, for instance by disease. Handicaps are typical for oxygen, like an amputated arm or leg, a mutilation. They fear poverty and robberies, the fact that things can be taken from them.

Case, Alex Leupen

A 55 year old man has arthritis psoriatica for several years. Late in his life he has started studying piano, beside his job as an organizational advisor. Just before a piano exam he developed arthritis in his finger joints, wrists and ankles. He receives a few doses of Rhodium 200K (stage 9 of the Silver series, relating to the period just before reaching the top of his performance), and his arthritis improves about 70%. Then, an old feeling from his childhood surfaces, the feeling that he is under a bell jar, cut off from the world. This is a key-note for Cerium, stage 4 of the Lanthanides. As a child, he had felt misunderstood and emotionally neglected by his parents (Oxygenium). After some doses of Cerium Oxydatum his arthritis improves even more.

Fluorine, age 11

Fluorine is at Stage 17 in the Carbon series, the age of about 11. It goes together with the realization that one’s parents do not live forever and one has to fend for oneself. It can lead to a kind of hardness. After all, when one can only rely on oneself for survival, what is the point in doing things for others. In the most extreme form, this can lead to psychopathic behaviour. The positive aspect is that one frees oneself from one’s parents and becomes an adult, an independent being. It is as if the umbilical cord is again cut, but now for a second time, emotionally.

Case, Jan Scholten

A woman of 35 has problems with vaginal infections. She has greenish yellow, thin, burning discharge, and the entrance of the urethra is irritated. Her complaints are worse before the menses, the day after making love, and after tensions at her work. She has had a calvinitistic upbringing, with strict norms and values. She was not taught about sexuality; that was a taboo. When she was 17 she lost her virginity to a “loser”, which was horrible for her. She is still sexually inhibited and she often has arguments with her husband about sex. After Natrium fluoratum, the vaginal discharge is considerably diminished; she feels much better and has more energy. 


The process of ego and personality development is reflected in the process of birth.

Lithium is at the start of birth, the first contractions. The imbalance here is the early or late start of birth, alternating between starting and stopping.

Beryllium is the second stage of birth, the engagement of the head. It is the positioning, the basic aspect of Stage 2. Imbalances are positioning problems like breech and transverse positioning, or not getting engaged into the birth canal.

Boron is at the third stage of the birth. It is the dilatation of the cervix and the breaking of the waters. Imbalances are early dilatation of the cervix in the pregnancy or the opposite: dilatation does not continue during birth.

Carbon is the stage of the contractions, the real labor or work. Imbalances are weak or insufficient contractions, or too strong, very painful contractions. It is the maximum moment of life and death, of being able to bear the pain and do the labor.

Nitrogen is the stage of expulsion, being in the narrow birth canal and the desire to exit. Imbalance here has to do with being stuck into the birth canal; the head or shoulders of the baby can be too big, or the birth canal can be too narrow.

Oxygen is the first breath of the baby. It is the first moment of being alone in the world, cold, wet, and dirty. Imbalances are expressed in respiratory problems of the baby, for instance blue babies.

Fluorine is the stage of the separation from the mother, the cutting of the umbilical cord and the expulsion of the placenta. Imbalances here are a placenta retention, and post-partum hemorrhages.



Lithium has an instinctive value of himself. It is not questioned, it is just accepted as is. It gives the talent to say ‘yes’ to the world, to oneself. The relationship to the father is not differentiated yet, Lithium just feels good or bad, depending on the circumstances. If this stage is not gone through well, it can lead to bipolar disturbances, manic depressive psychosis.


Beryllium questions himself, asking who and what he is. He looks in wonderment at the world in a rather amazed way. He asks himself if he is good or bad. Beryllium learns to say ‘no’ to the world. He learns to say no to himself, to his instincts, like urine and stool in potty training. He learns that his father can say no to him and tell him he is not good. But he also learns that one can say no his parents, his father. Beryllium is in a state of wonderment about himself, as he has just discovered that he is someone, but he does not know what it means to be someone.


Boron is doubting himself. He sees many aspects in himself, some of which are good, some of which are bad. He feels confused about himself, tries to be good, but often is told that he is bad. He looks up to his father, his parents for confirmation that he is good. He is very soft and dependent, but also nice in his efforts to be good.


Carbon is the first stage where there is a stable personality, the feeling that one is good as he is, even with his bad sides. A healthy Carbon state comes from a father who gives him the feeling he is alright the way he is. The father is there (or is not there) and it is good.


Nitrogen wants to make himself better than ‘just good’; he wants to be the best, the winner. It leads to enthusiasm about himself. At the other extreme, it gives boasting, a kind of romance. He can come from a father who pushes too much. He has the feeling that he has to be more than he is in order to earn respect from his father.


Oxygen feels neglected by the world, left out. He feels neglected by his father, which leads to the feeling that he is not good enough. It goes together with the feeling that nothing can be done about it, a resignation. So, he becomes lazy and starts neglecting himself, and he also starts neglecting his father. Oxygen has a sucking quality, expecting to get things from others, blaming others for what they did not get or what they have lost.


Fluorine feels rejected by the world and by God. This can come from a situation where the child was rejected by his father, an unwanted child. It can be that the father has left the mother when hearing about the pregnancy. It can be that the father wanted an abortion, scolding and beating the child, abusing him and so on. In incest situations, one can think of Fluor, or Fluor combinations. He feels bad and left alone. On the bad side, it can make him feel hard and closed, and it can lead to criminal behavior such as seen in many unwanted children. On the other hand, they can also reject their father, since he has done nothing for them.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Bring mir Glück fürs neue Jahr!; Brüggmann Eva
Tattoed man with child; Jason Regan


Keywords: Carbon series, birth process, father, mother
Remedies: Beryllium metallicum, Borium purum {as Boron metallicum}, Fluor purum, Graphites, Lithium metallicum, Nitrogenium, Oxygenium


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Posts: 12
Reply #6 on : Mon January 02, 2012, 18:23:04
Incarnation is just meant as birth. It is coming into life. Just as death is leaving life.

Posts: 12
Reply #5 on : Mon December 26, 2011, 11:37:57
Para 3 of this article: "The system, as represented in the Periodic Table of the Elements, can be seen as mirroring the developmental path of mankind. It is a process of incarnation through childhood to old age, decay and death, with all the stages in between." Beloved Jan Scholten, can you please enlighten me the context of the word "incarnation", here??? Thanks

Posts: 12
Reply #4 on : Sun December 04, 2011, 10:01:49
Dear Louise,

I don't have enough experience in this field to give a definite answer. But I assume that the baby's head being asynclytic or he baby lying in a posterior position which can cause slow and very difficult to rotation through the birth canal is a problem of expulsion. So it is probably related to Nitrogen.
I would be pleased to hear about your experiences.

All the best,
Jan Scholten

Posts: 12
Reply #3 on : Fri December 02, 2011, 19:51:02
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas about the carbon series especially in relation to birth. As a midwife I use homeopathy in my practice. I encounter lots of births deviating from normal that are due to the baby's head being asynclytic or he baby lying in a posterior position which can cause slow and very difficult to rotation through the birth canal. This slowing down of labour often results in caesarian section or the use of synthetic oxytocic drugs which often push the body too hard and cause fetal distress. Do you have any ideas about this and the use of the carbon series for birth. I would be very interested to hear your comments especially as the caesarian rate is rapidly rising in western cultures. Thank you. Louise

Posts: 12
Carbon series
Reply #2 on : Thu December 01, 2011, 19:40:04
Thank You for this great overview and summary!

Posts: 12
Reply #1 on : Thu December 01, 2011, 11:37:29
thank you for this excellent summary.