Author- Michal Yakir
Price -124 Euros ($141)
Pages – 848
Publisher – Narayana Verlag
ISBN – 978-5-95582-109-8
Translated from Hebrew (1st Hebrew Edition 2005, 7th Hebrew Edition 2016)
My initial impression was, ‘Wow what a book’!! Think of the best ever coffee table book. It is huge and weighs around 4 kg – I put it on my kitchen scales!! It is a massive work and seems to be an ongoing project. Look on it as a working reference book.
My interest in this book was fuelled by a day’s seminar on this system that I attended last year. That presentation by Annette Sneeviet made a lot of sense to me. This was before the book was published.
Michal Yakir conceived this system about 20 years ago and it was translated into the Hebrew edition of this book in 2005. On the back of the book Dr Mahesh Gandhi writes a synopsis of the book as “the story of parallel journeys: the evolution of plant groups……….alongside the development of the individual, humankind and the cosmos itself, including interplay between feminine and masculine archytypes”.
This book itself starts on the inside cover which is easily missed. Here, there is an essential study chart entitled “How to work with the Materia Medica and what can be found there”. It basically tells you how to use the fabulous pages and is numbered from 1-12. To quote:
“In order to understand the remedy it is best to read the common themes (3.4) of the order (1) or Family to which it belongs. Reading the theory part in the beginning is also very useful. The remedy homeopathic information is found in the centre (8.9) while botanical information is found mostly at the sides (5,6,7,10, 11, 12) and at the very beginning (1)
The back inside cover contains the General Overview Table which is the basis to Michal’s whole system. It is entitled “Attributes (Themes) Evoked within Plant Orders at the Meeting between each Row and Column: Maturity levels in each Stage of Individuation development”
This book is divided into basic botanical background, a detailed portrayal and rationalisation of the columns and rows of the periodic table which provide a basis of the Table’s features and lastly the general themes of every plant remedy’s families. The text is accompanied by the most amazing photos and is an important part of the book. There are over 650 groups of mono and dicots described here, which is why I called it a massive work.
The Foreword by Dr Mahesh Gandhi is essential reading as he explains why and how he is using Michal’s system with his psychiatric patients.
Part A of the book is entitled “Sources, Structures and usage of the Table.” Michal explains in her Foreword that she was “a former botanist and models ecologist and was intrigued by the idea of a developmental order found in nature…….. and the homeopathic implications …….” She goes on to explain that she developed a table schema which underlies the association between the plant remedies and their evolutionary development stages with the stages of human heath, development and disease processes. Her reference sources for each remedy were firstly various materia medicas and repertories. She also used lectures from well known homeopaths, to be found in the Contributing Practitioners section, and her own clinical cases.
The Introduction chapter is entitled “The structure of the Table of Plants and how to use it”. In this chapter Michal explains how the order in the plant kingdom is compared to the order in the Periodic table. The horizontal axis denotes the Subclasses of the larger botanical groups and the vertical axis the Families and orders. This chapter needed a lot of study to take it all in, and the seminar I attended did help with this. Basically you have to look at the Table at the back of the book in conjunction with this chapter to understand what Michal is saying. On the Table is found The Columns which show the Human Evolution, the Ego formation and the ‘I am’ Individualisation” The Table shows that the 1st row represents those plants connected with Before Birth, The 2nd row – Beginning of Life, 3rd row- Infancy, 4th row- Early childhood, 5th row- School age, 6th row-Adolescence, 7th row -Early adulthood, 8th row- Adulthood and 9th row – Old Age, described as the summing up of life.
To try to explain this better I am using the Polygonales group of plants as an example. This group is placed in the 6th and 7th Rows – Adolescence and Early Adulthood. It is described as follows:
“Mood swings, desire to grow vs. fear. Difficulty studying. Will to act but feels hindered. Wants to be a mother but not ready. How to give? Sourness. Skin, Joints.”
This was on the Feminine quality side of the table. Next I went to the Section on the Polygonales and saw remedies such as Fago, Lapa, Rheum and Rumex. Here you have great detail on the Themes and then a great deal of MM on each of the remedies, giving mentals and emotional, as well as physicals. At the sides of the pages are excellent photos telling you where the plant is found. In the case of Rheum in this group there are 2 cases histories.
I then went to the Masculine quality side of the Table for rows 6 and 7 and found the Lamiales. Here is written “Prove yourself to the world, Over masculinity (feminine quality and reproductive system is debilitated). Intimacy problems, cold. Struggle, ambition, desire more of the world, not enough. Criticism, competitive. Overactive then exhausted. OCD”
Again in the section on the Lamiales – shrubs and grasses- which include remedies such as Coll, Onos, Symph, Lycps, Teucr and Verv, there are the themes of this group. This is followed by MM in great detail of some of the remedies and also case histories. The detail and new information on the remedies has to be seen to be believed.
Michal does have “How to work with the table of Plants – useful tips” which is easy to follow. She suggests you start by reading the themes of all 6 columns and 9 rows to try to locate where your case is on the Table. Once done, see if your repertorization of the case includes a remedy from that stage. She suggests making use of the Index to find the remedies you want to read about and that index is most comprehensive. Her email address is given so you can forward questions and comments after using the book. She says that she looks on the Table as another tool to put some order into the multitude of plant remedies and to find the remedy for your patients. The Table doesn’t conflict with any other systems but may explain them.
Part B is called “Introduction to Botany” and is just that, with the most beautiful photographs of flowers.
Part C is “The Table of Plants Overview and Theory”. The development aspects of the Table was written with the collaboration of Koby Nehushtan. This was done in a similar way to the Periodic Table. The columns are loosely attributed to the work of C. G. Jung and the rows are based on the work of Erik Erikson’s stages of human development. This part starts with a useful definition of the psychological terms that have been used in the book e.g. The Self, The “I” (Ego), The Shadow (unconscious parts), the feminine and masculine principles. At the end of this Part C is The Plants Table showing the themes which come up, expressed solely in different stages of development.
Using the Polygonales (Caryphyllide) and Lamiales (Asteridae) as an example again they represent Rows 6 and 7. Michal then expands this to full detail on the six columns.
Column 1 is “Pre-separation” (c.f. Column 1 Hydrogen in the Periodic Table), One, unity, beginnings, need to belong – these are examples of keywords.
Column 2 is “Here or There”, keywords include:- Indecision, Separation and Coming together, Lack of Confidence, and is where the Ego begins to show.
Column 3 is “The Hero”, keywords include: Under the influence, Rebellion and Struggle.
Column 4 is “Maturity and nurturing”, keywords include: Mother-child relationships, Responsibility to the family and Digestive system problems.
Column 5 is “Split”, keywords: Power of the mind, Oppression and Me and the other.
Column 6 is “Me versus the World, keywords:-Unique, War and Headaches.
Column 7 is “The Sabbath” which doesn’t actually exist as it I still unrealised and no plants represent it. It brings in the biblical Sabbath and represents the One, the Whole, the Perfect.
In each of the discussions in Column 1 -6 there is a section on Religion and another on Human history and Social Evolution. The sides of the pages abound with beautiful photos representing the text.
Next come the Rows which are “stages determining the level of maturity with which one faces the issues of the columns”. They are based on the theories of Erik Erikson from his book ‘Childhood and Society” (1950). So we have:
Row 1 – Pre-life concerned with before life, pregnancy and birth,
Row 2 – Basic needs concerned with infancy,
Row 3- Autonomy- age 1-3, The anal stage,
Row 4- Initiative- age 3-5,
Row 5 – Ability and Skill- age 6-12,
Row 6-Ideas, Identity – age 12-18,
Row 7 – Intimacy vs Loneliness – Early adulthood,
Row 8 – Life coming to Fruition- age 35+,
Row 9 End of the Process and death – Old age.
In everything up to Row 5, as well as a detailed discussion on this stage, there is a comment about the Row in each Column. I am not sure why this stops in Row 4 but it’s there in Row 9.
Part D gives us the Materia Medica of the Dicotyledons and then the Monocotyledons. I note that the lovely helpful chart (see photo), which shows the layout of each page, produced in the front inside cover, is here as well. The Dicotyledons begin on page 109 and finish on page 658 i.e. the bulk of the book. See the photo above for the layout of each page. All pages are richly illustrated.
To start we have Column 1 – the Magnoliidae (the Subclass) with the themes of the group and then pages on the 10 Orders of this subclass e.g Magnoliales and Papaverales. This is continued for the other 5 Columns. For each of the Orders of the subclasses there is a detailed MM of plants within them and some case histories.
In the section on the Materia Medica of the Monocotyledons it starts with an explanation of the differences between a Dicotyledon and a Monocotyledon plants, for those who didn’t study botany deeply. The same format as above is then given with the themes of the Columns, the Subclass and the Orders and then the MM of the plants. This begins on page 660 and continues to page 805.
Part E – The Appendix. There is a Bibliography and References, and then Contributing Practitioners – mostly from Michal’s home country, Israel, but also includes well known homeopaths like Declan Hammond (Ireland), Didier Grandgeorge (France), Louis Klein(Canada), Massimo Mangialavori (Italy), Farokh Master (India),Vega Rozenburg (USA), Rajan Sankaran (India), Jan Scholtan (Netherlands), Jeremy Sherr (UK), Alizer Timmerman (Netherlands, Frans Vermeulen (USA), Ulrich Welte (Germany), Harry van der Zee (Netherlands) and many others.
Next there is a Repertory of Themes which is very useful as it gives the Column/Row and sometimes the plants that have been found useful e.g.
Autism: Hamamelidae, Orchidales, Poales, bros-g,cact, chen-a, lachn, olib-s, op, oryz-s, sin-a, verat
Naiveté : Column 1, Row 1, nelu, nuph, nymm nym-a, nym-c, posi
Stuck: Row 9.
War: Column 5, Column 6
There is a Photo Credits list, an Index of Remedies and Other Indexes by Order and Family names, by Latin names and by Common names. Lastly there is a beautifully illustrated Concise List of Plant Remedies by Botanical order arranged by Subclasses, Orders and Families and The Table Schema, General Overview.
This book in its most simplistic of descriptions could be called a pictorial, encyclopaedia of plants with their themes and essences and therefore of interest to any homeopath who wishes to study plant remedies in detail, be this the groups or individual remedies.
This is Book 1- Flowering Plants, and I can’t wait to see Book 2.