Three butterfly cases
Case 1: Apeira syringaria – Lilac beauty
The patient is a five year old girl who, ever since her birth, catches cold easily, which develop into bronchitis, constricted breathing, and a wet cough if she does not take Flixotide. She also has headaches and painful eyes. She is susceptible to worm infestations since she was 8 months old, which often bring on abdominal pain. Her mother says that she has an abnormal desire for sweets. At the end of a school day, she is grumpy, and her mood improves if she eats a sandwich with sweet filling. She wears glasses, and is seen by an optometrist. She has severe concentration problems at school.
Her mother had recurrent cystitis and often had a hard belly. Labour was induced at 40 weeks because growth was stagnating. The child was in a face-down position. Fortunately, she had a small head; her birth weight was 3000 grams. Her mother immediately felt a bond with her. This pregnancy was postponed because the mother’s mother had been very ill and died shortly beforehand; a few months after her death, the mother became pregnant with this child, her second.
Food: poor appetite; she only started to eat when she was given bread with chocolate
Desires: sweet+++, soft food, cauliflower, meat
Aversions: lumpy food, milk products, eggs, unfamiliar food
She does not eat much fruit or vegetables
< Sun, warmth; she becomes weak and sweaty +++ (head, armpits)
Easily bruised, even when just holding her firmly
Clammy, cold hands and feet
Urine incontinence at night
Vaginal discharge when immune system is low
She is highly sensitive. She is childish in many things, and is the smallest of the class. When her mother is tense, she imitates her facial expressions; mother sees how she empathises. She is slow and needs time to process information, to allow it in and to do something with it. She loves to learn.
If there is any conflict between her brother and her parents she somewhat panics. She can become inconsolable if she is even mildly criticised, as though she has done something wrong. She is very sensitive to pain and if her brother hurts himself, she busies herself with him; she loves to work with band-aids and finds them interesting. She is caring and gentle, and is very sensitive to sounds and noise.
Her mother notices that she is preoccupied with her own cleanliness, and she loves new clothes. She is creative. She has a strong will of her own. At school, it is a real drama if demands are placed on her; she becomes angry and wants to do things at her own tempo.
Buccal thrush from 3 weeks until 18 months
11 months: atypical fever convulsion; she was unconscious for 45 minutes and had blue lips. After that, she did not talk for one year, although she already knew some words.
2 years: pneumonia, 41 degree C fever, deadly ill
During the whole consultation, she sat and played with the doll house, and did not say a word, even when she was asked questions. She has a very frail build and is small for her age. She is dressed in pink and purple, and she has a hair band with butterflies on it. I ask her mother what her hobbies are. “Butterflies, flowers, and rainbows”. She loves pink and purple, and she loves glitters.
Prescription: Apeira syringaria (Lilac beauty).
This butterfly has a tinge of violet in it. Lilac flowers are purple. The Apeira syringaria is a night butterfly and lives on the nectar of lilacs, honeysuckle, elderberry, and (liguster). The themes of Apeira are cited in Jean Pierre Jansen's beautiful case:
Intense look, as if eager to learn
Catching colds easily
Sunny, warm weather <
RADAR: Apeir-s (Proving K.J. Muller: Sieben Schmetterlinge)
Only mind symptoms: making mistakes, speaking
Dreams: he had committed a crime!
Themes from the proving of Muller
Powerless in wanting to help
Feeling responsible as a guide to her parents
Beauty, aversion to wear jewellery (patient loved glitters)
Dreams he only gets attention from others when he presents himself well
Butterfly themes in this case:
Fine, light build
Small, childish Strong desire for sweets, hypoglycaemia
Aversion to lumps in food (butterflies have a hollow tongue; they only eat fluid food) (Food) allergies
Theme of death: Mother’s mother had died shortly beforehand. This grandmother loved butterflies
Sensitive to smog
Aversion to noises, hard sounds
She is full of energy. Her teacher approached her mother saying: “She is so changed. She understands things much better, and is more resilient.” She has become less childish and does not cry as easily. She has less desire for sweets and starts to ask for cheese. She is more demanding at school and dares to talk with strangers. She has become very talkative, even in the consultation room. Her nightly enuresis has stopped. She loves school and after school, she has the tendency to do her own things. She still has tummy aches from time to time, and then she has worms. After one year, she is doing very well and is never ill anymore. She is not as preoccupied by her appearance, and is much more resilient.
Case 2: Inachis io (Peacock
The patient is a slender 49 year old woman with a youthful appearance. She arrives at the appointment a half hour too late, having lost her way, even though she lives close by and knows the way. She has lost the balance between being very active and being inactive; she can only find rest by working hard. She is not sleeping well – her head is too busy. She is very driven in her work (teaching) but now has difficulties listening: “I almost have to fake interest.”
Acute physical complaints
Stitches in her chest
Pressure in her chest, though not on exertion
Sore spot between the shoulder blades
Headaches extending from the neck
Early in the consultation, she starts to make hand
gestures, and I suggest that we follow the sensation method. The words and
gestures that surfaced are as follows:
It needs to come out
Warmth alternating with cold – colours: purple/blue with yellow underneath
Spots that open and close
A repetitive gesture: fists crossed in front of chest
She sees a farmer’s gate, and landscape full of corn, cold wind
Feels a lump in her throat and wishes to stop
Immense need for space
Left side of her face falls away, left cheek is numb; the image is dark on one side
A clear difference between right and left side (repetitive)
Something flutters, flies, something with wings
Colours red, green, yellow, blue, a heart with wings and a point in the middle
Popping sound in ear
Cold draft of air
Half circle with red, purple, yellow and blue
At the end, she feels more symmetrical, more balanced, and lighter than at the beginning
Busy, stressful, fanatic. She has had a nervous breakdown in the past
Responsible position at her work
Fear of failure
Loves symmetry, harmony, beautiful things
Strong intuition, judges people accurately
Does not like to be the centre of attention
Can feel small
In the past, “mother was disappointed in me – my sister did things perfectly.”
Feels as though she has “lost her way”: “What do they want from me, what do they expect from me?”
From a young age, she tried to ensure that her sister would not have that feeling, so she tried to prepare her for everything by explaining things (she still does this)
Tries to create clarity for the students at school
She can be angry
Food desires: dairy, chocolate, liqueur, fruit+++, raw food
Allergies: house mite, pollen, grasses
14 years: cysts in breasts, which came and disappeared spontaneously, operated on once
Heavy menses / anaemia
Migraine first day of menses with nausea and vomiting
Very active at ovulation, clear thoughts premenstrual: empty, grumpy, pessimistic
Asthmatic bronchitis as a young child
Severe blood loss after birth of daughter
Recurrent sinusitis frontalis/ maxillaries
Asthma worse in wet weather
Prescription: Inachis io
Hibernates in its mature form. Lives on stinging nettles and buddleia (butterfly bush). Stinging nettles grow widely, so this butterfly is not dependent on a certain environment. The eyespots, which give the impression of being a dangerous animal, are only exposed if it is threatened by an enemy, for instance a bird.
The reaction was remarkable: at first, she had a severe reaction, with increased tiredness and headaches. After that, she had no need for painkillers anymore – all the physical pains disappeared. She sleeps better. She feels emotionally better, more in balance, more easily able to follow her own needs and less prone to overload herself. She has come to the conclusion that as a child, she did not receive the support or guidance that she felt she needed. She can concentrate much better and feels sturdier. Things do not touch her as deeply or bring her out of balance. She is clearer, and takes on less responsibility for others. She names her quality at her work “the ability to rise above things.” It was a tumultuous period at work, but she says “I am finding my way.”
Inachis io themes according to Patricia Le Roux
Loss of direction leading to a feeling of abandonment
Suffering from lack of concentration
Metamorphosis: loves to dress up, likes lively colours. Attracted by double faced masks: fear of imminent danger/ living a life of pleasure
P. Le Roux
Boy, 6 year, concentration problems, very active; no discipline within the family; he just does what he enjoys, likes to dress up, esp. double faced masks; absence of authority; desire sweets, aversion meat+++
Symptoms of Inachis io in this case
Headache from the neck
Strong difference between right and left, polarity, (Bombay proving), double-faced mask (Le Roux proving)
Anger alternating with tranquillity
Capriciousness, alternating mood
Desire activity, Industriousness
Dreams of birds, dreams of helping people
Case 3: Limenitis bredowii California
The patient is a young woman of 18, who arrives completely dressed in black. She comes due to anger, which she sometimes suppresses and sometimes expresses towards her boyfriend: “I go into defence.” She prefers to stay at her boyfriend’s place than at home, because at home, her father is always shouting at her. She feels his negative energy. Her boyfriend’s house feels like a temple of peace and quiet.
Current physical complaints
She is nauseous in the mornings and cannot eat. Sometimes, she vomits. She has severe blood loss with her menses, and feels down and emotional premenstrually.
Muscular complaints: stiff muscles of legs and back in the morning. Cramps in the neck / headache from the neck
Sleeping problems, difficulty falling asleep
Frequent colds and flu
1-4 years: developmental delay, extremely dependent (supposed deafness), had special schooling
16 years: gout in one finger, left hand
Family: her mother was 10 years old when her own mother died
Sensitive and creative. She outs her emotions through drawings. She loves horror films and thrillers. She is very afraid to lose her boyfriend. She feels small, like a slave: “I am at the bottom.” She feels forced to do housework. She has a poor relationship with her sister, who is good at studying, and who is seen as perfect, like a holy child. This hurts her deeply. She sometimes has nightmares of accidents, where she is wounded or missing a piece of her face or paralysed. She dreams of accidents, where she loses her way. “I don’t do things of my own volition, I need help. I ask too often if I am doing it right.” She loves dark clothes. She was teased at school; “I was different than the rest.”
Desire sweets ++, spinach +++, meat. Thirsty: “I need fluids more than food.”
Aggravations: Olives, fruit. Aversion to coffee
Menses: Profuse blood loss++, anaemia, Down, emotional before menses. Diarrhoea during menses
Sleeping problems, cannot fall asleep easily. Sleeps on stomach
I am stuck, in a box
Stuck with knives, crazy from pain. Butchered. So angry, and afraid
Wrapped up like a mummie. Buried
The light is receding farther and farther away
Flies, freedom, caterpillar. Light comes to them, happiness
Castle, temple, safe here
Symbols of peace from all cultures pass my mind’s eye
Festivities. They dance in a circle around my friend and me
My friend puts his wings around me – safe
A sort of mosaic of wings
Peace and love. Brown and yellow colours (the colours of Limentis bredowii)
A brown-yellow butterfly, which is almost invisible on the bark of the oak tree. The alkaloids of the oak trees, which the larvae eat, are poisonous for birds.
recognised from the proving of Nancy Herrick:
Children feel unprotected by adults. State of unprotected adolescent. The eggs of this butterfly are laid in the open air and are not covered, so they are unprotected.
Children without guidance, feel anxious.
Relationships are focus of life. Relationships are good, sweet and smooth.
Dead beloved relatives. Deep missing of mother who died some years ago.
Dreams sacred temple. Dreams of danger.
Dullness, difficulty of thinking and comprehending. Aversion mental work. Inability to think.
Oversensitive, picking up emotions of others.
Symptoms of case of Catherine Javelle, SSC nr. 2 2011
– Dutch homeopathic doctors journal
Making oneself small
Vomiting in mornings
Feeling under pressure, caught, trapped
Fear of robbers
Desire for sweet+++
She became very ill and had the flu. Many emotions surfaced, then she was able to sleep better, and was more peaceful in the daytime. She says that as a child she used to flutter with her hands. She is not so concerned about her schooling and she is less angry. She realised that she is not reacting so strongly to her father. She was able to tell him what was bothering her, he became angry at her but she was able to ignore his outburst.
Her body is functioning better: she is less chilly and she is perspiring much less. She feels supple and lithe, and she has a lesser tendency towards bruising. She also eats fewer sweets.
Emotionally, she has made tremendous progress. She is overcoming her anxieties and can let go of things much more easily. “My sister and I have a better bond.” She is taking initiatives; she was the first in her class to have a training placement. She has let go of her gothic clothes, and feels happy. “I am where I want to be.”
themes in these cases:
Sensitive, even highly sensitive. Antennas
Fine build, slender. Small, or feeling small
Strong need for sweets hypoglycaemia (need for nectar), especially fluid food (sucking up nectar with a hollow tongue)
Clothing, beauty, silk, metamorphosis: passion for dressing up
Lack of guidance as a child, losing the way, unsafe, unprotected, taking on a caring role
Great feeling of responsibility, trying to make the other feel safe, trying to guide the other
Own world, dreamy, in a cocoon; other polarity: play, amusement, fun
Concentration problems+++ Emotions, not the mind. Inability to think
Sensitive to noise, sensitive to changes in atmosphere, smog
Theme of death: In Asia, moths are seen as the manifestation of dead souls who have returned to protect the living
Dreams: of birds
Apeira syringaria: caring, beauty
Powerless in wanting to help
Feeling responsible as a guide to her parents
Dreams he only gets attention from others when he presents himself well
Moth theme: all energy has been going into trying to overcome the parents’ problems
Inachis io: lost, overactive
‘Lost’ feeling / loss of direction
Double face as protection against possible danger/ eyes camouflage
Lack of concentration
Limenitis bredowii: unprotected,
Feeling unsafe is a strong theme (the eggs are not covered); dreams of danger/ dreams of buildings: the home represents the protection
Parents who do not want to think about rules, they just want to feel love for their children
Aversion to responsibility
Loving feelings; Relationships are focus of life
Emotions, not the mind; Inability to think
Sensitivity to environmental circumstances
Mutations of butterflies after the tsunami in Japan, Fukushima 2011, through exposure to radioactivity: smaller wings, damage to eyes. The larvae were hibernating in that area during the disaster.
Le Roux, Patricia. Butterflies, An innovative guide to the use of butterfly remedies in homeopathy, Narayana Publishers, 2009
Jansen, Jean Pierre, A guide to the muse. A case of Apeira syringa, Homeopathic Links, Spring 2001, Vol.14
Herrick, Nancy. Animal Mind, Human Voices. Proving Limenitis Bredowii
Javelle, Catherine. Vlinders: ‘Blue morpho’ a ‘Californian sister’. SSC Year 41, number 2, 2011 (Dutch homeopathic doctor’s journal)
Le Roux, Patricia. Lilac beauty (Apeira syringaria): case and proving. Interhomeopathy May 2010
Maher, Patricia. A case of Vanessa Atalanta, Interhomeopathy, October 2011
Muller, K.J. et al. Sieben Schmetterlinge, die Homoopatischen Prufungen
Sneevliet, Annette. Study in Sankaran’s Sensation Method
Photos: Wikimedia Commons
Apeira syringaria; entomart
Limenitis lorquini: Calibas
Inachis io; Jürgen Weiland
Keywords: oversensitive, dreamy, concentration problems, abandonment, trapped, unprotected, allergies, bronchitis, urinary incontinence, asthma
Remedies: Apeira syringaria, Inachis io, Limenitis bredowii