Hardcover 551 pages
For those of you who are in a hurry and do not like reading book reviews, you may stop here. The title says it all. It is an in-depth study of the way Hahnemann developed homeopathy and treated his patients based on both the Organon and the Chronic Diseases, written in clear and understandable English. It is the most essential book to read and use when studying the very basics of homeopathy, either as a fresh student or as an established senior professional practitioner.
Let me elaborate
We all know how reading the Organon and the Chronic Disease is almost a “rite of passage”, a difficult endeavour, no matter which translation is used, due to the grammatical construction and the style of writing that has always reminded me of Marcel Proust.
Some respected authors have tried over the years to “translate” and explain, simplify, or elaborate on the meaning of the Organon: Robin Murphy, Luc De Schepper, the late Julian Winston and others. Those made things easier but still a lot of hangover…
Ewald Stoteler is a male nurse, trained in Classical Homeopathy, practicing in the Netherlands. He is actually a Hahnemannian Homeopath and not a Classical one, according to his own affirmation that “Hahnemann was not a Classical Homeopath.”
I will not spoil the pleasure for you to find the exact quote and its detailed explanation somewhere in the middle of the book. Ewald strictly follows the rules set by Hahnemann, which does not mean he is avoiding new material discovered over the centuries by other practitioners. I was extremely pleased to see him include the work by Compton Burnett!
This book is based on his practice and illustrated in minute detail by so many Organon Aphorisms and pages of the Chronic Diseases that at the end you feel as if you have read those books with the help not only of a translator but an interpreter.
I will not copy here the whole detailed table of contents but let me give you a taste. After the usual introductory pages, we start with a definition of disease and health, as explained by Hahnemann, with the full text and Ewald’s interpretation and explanation, which transforms what is at times a somewhat confusing text into a simple one, with quite a few “Aha!” moments, when I commented “now that is what he meant!’’ and “I knew it, this is also how I understood it” and a few “Oh, now that is why I did not remember that aphorism, I never understood what he meant, and now I do” … and I have been doing that for thirty years; never too late.
Then he addresses the Law of Similars and how it relates to daily practice, the case taking, Hahnemann’s evolution and the deepening of Homeopathy, the Miasms and their relevance to case taking and prescription, the classification of diseases and the relations between remedies and diseases, different miasms and different types of diseases, the acutes, the epidemics, the familial and hereditary ones, the psychological ones, the evolution of potencies and the use of olfaction; a whole chapter on the Q potencies and a salute to the Banerji protocols, very unexpected; alternation of remedies, palliative treatment, notes on the many types of remedies, when to use them and when not (according to him, of course), ending with cases from his practice, explaining how he approached those cases in the described Hahnemaniann way and why, again based on the Master’s teaching.
All this interspersed with citations, meant to say, “this is what Sammy wrote, in his own words and this is how I apply it, and look, it works, he was right!”
The Organon and the Chronic Diseases are the foundations of our medicine. Good solid foundations are the sine qua non condition of a valid, vivid and successful practice. It does not mean that the house we build upon those foundations cannot or should not contain different rooms, different paintings and art works, different furniture, and different people.
We all understand Homeopathy our own way, depending where we come from and what lead us to it: some were born into it, others were drawn to it or violently pushed into it; we all had different teachers and hopefully we all use our own intelligence to model our treatments, never using the dreaded “one size fits all” pattern. In other words, I do not agree with quite a few ways Ewald treats his patients, and certainly not when it comes to potencies, but there is no contesting success.
This book needs time to be read. Each chapter, I would even say each paragraph, needs to be reflected upon, ruminated and well digested, before moving on. It took me about 6 months to read it and I will certainly read it again in a few years.
Are there some fewer positive comments? I was very irritated by a few incongruencies: confusing DES (diethylstilboestrol) and Thalidomide and the congenital lesions they created; claiming that Syphilis was imported from the Americas by Columbus, whereas it was raging through Europe thanks to the continuous wars long before; claiming that Cancer is a recent addition of the last one hundred years when it is clearly described in ancient papers. It does not change anything to the quality of the book or to the validity of what is written… of course I am an obsessive compulsive when it comes to medical history.
The summary is simple: a must-read book; it should be compulsory for every one of us.
Thank you, Ewald!