When I first encountered homeopathy I was living in the Czech Republic. I was lucky to have had the opportunity to be treated by a homeopath on several occasions when was in my twenties. I was surprised by the effectiveness of the treatment and by the depth of action of homeopathic remedies. I started reading homeopathic literature that was available in Czech translation at the time. The information about remedies was so interesting, and so overwhelming! How does one know which remedy to choose? There are so many indications and so many possibilities! And why does it seem to me that every other remedy I read about fits my own case?
Upon moving back to the U.S I had a strong feeling that homeopathy would have a place in my life. I learned about the NYSH program, attended the first informational session, and knew I wanted to know more! My awareness of the vastness of possibilities in homeopathy deepened with each year of my studies. The more I expanded my knowledge, the more fascinating and more complex homeopathy became!
I am now approaching the end of my fourth year as a student of NYSH. Since the beginning of the third year I have been applying what I am learning to real life cases in the school’s clinic. Every new case is different and to find the right remedy can be overwhelming considering the current number of remedies that is available. I find that remedy selection would be much more difficult without the tools that allow me to narrow the possibilities. During my studies I learned to use the Repertory and Materia Medica, Grouping classification, and the Sensation System of Case Taking (where the source information leading to the remedy is directly revealed by the patient). I find that having all these methods available is important and useful.
Remedy classification into Kingdoms and Groupings has been a valuable tool that allows me to narrow the search and choose a remedy with much more confidence. Kingdoms and Grouping characteristics also make it possible even for the less experienced homeopath to select a lesser known or unusual remedy, which would be much more difficult to find when using the Repertory/Materia Medica system, which is solely a symptom-based approach.
The groupings approach to remedy selection is based on the fact that we can divide remedies/substances into groupings. An example of these would be the Insects, the Snakes, the Spiders, the Acids, or the Drug remedies. These groups of remedies have common characteristics. By identifying these common themes in a patient we can narrow down the window of the remedies we are considering. When we identify big ideas of a group we can look for particular characteristics in the case which will lead us to a specific remedy within the group.
A good example of the grouping work is the case of Jill, a 33 year old female who came to the clinic in November, 2010. In Jill’s case, we were led to a less common remedy which turned out to be helpful and curative in her case – Mantis religiosa (Praying mantis).
Before I discuss the case, I will show you our list of symptoms and characteristics of the insect grouping. A patient would display or speak of at least four or five of these issues during the interview:
Insects In Homeopathy- Tubercular miasm
1. Restlessness, hurriedness
2. Hyperactivity, industriousness
3. Life is short, time is short, delusion that time goes fast
4. Fear of death – esp. sudden, violent, or by suffocation, panic
5. Sudden symptoms, sudden attack, sudden violence
6. Claustrophobia – encroached upon – fear of being crushed
7. Talk of food, sex and reproduction: basic needs
8. Metamorphosis, transformation, camouflage talk (e.g. I was one person before puberty, now I am a different person- all insects go through multiple changes.)
9. Repulsion, dirty, disgusted, toilet talk, (will feel repulsed, but they themselves also feel repulsive)
10. Independence/ dependence, social/ solitary
11. Symbiosis/ parasiticism
12. May express a highly structured social organization (Apis, Formica rufa) – hierarchy within social structure
13. Anger, impulse to kill (sting, poison), revenge, jealousy
14. Delusion – persecuted/ tortured
15. Delusion they are small – they feel inferior, yearn for respect
16. Irritable/irritating – (physical and mental)
17. Sensitive to external stimuli; light, bright colors, noise, music
18. Burning, itching, stinging pains, rashes
A CASE OF MANTIS RELIGIOSA, Praying mantis
This case was initially taken by Bara as a 4th year student homeopath, supervised by Susan Sonz, Oct. 2010. It was a case that we analyzed using the Kingdoms and the Groupings analysis, and the Sensation System of case taking.
Following are excerpts from the case illustrating several big ideas of the Insect grouping which led us to Mantis religiosa as a remedy for Jill.
The case has been shortened and excerpts are not in chronological order. The patient’s name has been changed.
Several short forms or punctuations might be used throughout the case. This NYSH legend below explains their usage.
M = The client
CAPITAL LETTERS= The homeopath’s questions
My comments are in [square parenthesis]
HG = Hand Gesture
SD = Spontaneous Denial
bold Indicates significant statements made by the client
CONF= confluence or repeated ideas
Jill (age 33) has had stomach problems since her teen years but this condition has gotten very severe since August. Eating anything causes bloating and “unbearable” pain. She has tried a variety of diets (gluten free, lactose free, etc.) but nothing helped. The pain is much worse just before her period. She has “dry heaves” almost every morning upon waking, then feels fine until she eats something. She has had multiple tests, including endoscopy of her G.I. tract, and everything has come back negative. When Jill came to the clinic she had an aura of “rough energy”. Her first words were “It would be easier to do this with a shot of vodka”. During the interview, she used a lot of curse words and made other comments related to drinking.
Following are the excerpts from the case that demonstrated the kingdom (animal) and sub-kingdom (insect) and the specific insect (praying mantis):
J: I get angry at it, whatever it is.
Sometimes it (the pain) wins in a battle. I feel like it is a constant battle I am fighting every day, I am trying, I am not gonna let it beat me…
I am an angry person so I don’t want to pretend I’m not. It’s like an instinct. We are all violent, except my step father.
J: [speaking of her brother]:
He scares people all the time, like any minute he’s gonna snap. He is a very angry person, it runs in the family. As a kid he scared me because he was bigger. No matter how scared I was I would never back down. I feel kind of strong, don’t care how much bigger he is. Standing up for myself, having dignity. [bigger/ smaller]
At the birthday party when I yelled at him I felt strong. Taking a beating doesn’t bother me so standing up for yourself is worth it even if you get a beating.
J: [about food] Aged cheese makes me feel like three people just walked into the room and beat the crap outta me.
My mom would kill everyone in the room for me if she had to.
LIFE IS SHORT, TIME IS SHORT
J: Every night I have very violent dreams, anxiety producing, I always wake up in panic. I always feel like time is running out. I have a recurring dream – looking for something. I feel anxious because I feel like I need to find it before I wake up. I know there is a time limit. And I have to get it done NOW, right NOW. It’s horrible, I wake up panicked.
DO YOU HAVE FEARS?
J: That time is running out. That I am not going to get things done. Other people, they just don’t have sense of urgency. Just do it now. Time’s going to run out, you are not going to get it done. You turn around and you’re 33, 43, 53. Being in pain sucks because I can’t get anything done.
[when discussing her anger] J: it’s like an eruption. Before I realize what I’m doing, I’m doing it. It’s not me, it happens in a split second, I just snap, [CONF}
Life is impermanent !
J: Stomach pains have gotten unbearable, I feel fine one minute and the next… [SNAPS HER FINGER]
J: I ate cheese and I fell over on the floor.
J: It’s a violent, eruption, something I can’t control. Before I realize what I am doing I am already doing it. Happens in a split second, would be completely fine and then I don’t even recognize who I am.
I don’t like being alone with my brother, we are on edge, one wrong word and I don’t back down. He has a gun in the house. He’s got it in him to be violent, I got it in me to do it back. One of us is gonna get killed. We are both very, very violent people.
I had a dream of prison guards chasing me and they are trying to break down the door of the bathroom. Why can’t they just get in, I wonder? Suddenly they are stabbing me, blood everywhere. I’m stabbing them, blood everywhere, sometimes I even stab their eyes. Like out of a gory movie.
I dream of dead babies, or it would die in my hands, I can’t bring it back to life.
HOW DOES IT FEEL WHEN YOU CANNOT FOCUS?
J: Frustrating, alien
J: I feel like a different person, unfamiliar, lost. It’s like I woke up and I am in somebody else’s life. It’s like an alternate version of myself.
J: (about looking at an old photograph): I used to be a totally different person. With my last girlfriend I looked at the photograph and I don’t even recognize that person.
J: I don’t feel like myself. I look like a completely different person.
I don’t recognize me, I lost the spark. I’m exhausted, tired, and in pain all the time.
J: Where did I go? I look like someone who is suffering from a disease. The whites of my eyes look darker. I started to break out like a 15 YR OLD BOY!
J: I am side stepped by this debilitating pain. I can’t even read.
It’s a lack of function, movement, like being handicapped. At least if you lose an arm or a leg you can move on, not with this.
LOSING AN ARM OR A LEG?
It’s ok because you are incredibly adaptable, so if you lose an arm or leg you can still adapt.
Being handicapped makes you dependent, you lose your independence.
J: I want to stop trying to be something I am not. It just makes you miserable.
I try to be a better person than I am, but I have stopped trying to be something I am or not.I am an angry person so I don’t want to pretend I’m not.
J: I don’t like to be crushed, in front of me. I will easily push back. Big bags. I hate that feeling. I’ll knock that bag right back.
I don’t mind crowds (SD). I just like personal space. If it’s not a parade, there’s no reason to be on top of me.
It’s worse in the winter, on the subway. I feel like I’m being crushed. It makes me want to start pushing people. I don’t like to be crowded, I leave the bathroom doors open.
I don’t need to be this crushed. You are moving or I will move you. In a crowd I feel like I am being crushed. It makes me want to start pushing people. I will easily push back. If I can move it, I’m going to move it.
HOW WOULD PEOPLE DESCRIBE YOU?
J: Confident, strong personality, I won’t back down, tenacious
I’m a distant, private person, I keep a lot of things private. I’m creative, I need to be alone, I need to be inside myself, it requires distance.
J: I see a lot of red in my dreams. Always against something that makes the red stand out.
I see colors, they are very intense.
J: My dreams are very visual, beautiful. Rocket ship, I could see black hole, I can almost touch the colors. Stars were everywhere, rockets were propelling, colors coming off the boosters, coming off the Milky Way. I was happy in this dream.
We saw that Animal kingdom was strongly indicated in the case. The big ideas of the case were the sudden violence, both in the patient’s life and in her dreams, the tubercular miasm, delusion – time is short, violence, claustrophobia, metamorphosis, colors, fear of sudden death and of being crushed, all of which are insect characteristics. We felt we needed an insect which is carnivorous because of the violence that she described in the case. We were looking for an insect that attacks its prey in a sudden, violent way, is solitary, and uses camouflage. Praying Mantis fits this picture. It is a fearsome predator that is not afraid to attack prey larger than itself. The mantis waits motionlessly until the insect is close enough, then strikes with its forelegs, capturing the prey. The mantis almost always starts eating the insect while it’s still alive. Praying mantises eat insects and other invertebrates. They also eat vertebrates such as small tree frogs, lizards, mice and hummingbirds. Murphy’s Materia Medica shows that Mantis religiosa has “Dreams of anger, brutality, violence, mutilation, rape, war, escape”, and “Dreams about children” amongst symptoms of Mant-r, which supports our remedy choice.
Jill initially took a dose of 200C, and since then almost monthly, she has taken seven doses of Mantis religiosa 1M. She had two follow up appointments in the clinic, during which she showed a marked alleviation of her stomach pain and menstrual problems. By her figuring it is reduced by 80%. She says her symptoms have improved greatly. She still gets violent dreams but they seem to switch over to more calming towards the end of the dream. This is another case that will require good case management for quite a while. In fact we are considering a 10m for this case if her improvement discontinues at some point. But the last time we saw Jill in clinic she was softer, calmer, and smiling. Her violent edge was gone along with most of her pain. She is working again and is much more positive than when we met her. She stopped drinking in late Fall.
I am convinced that without using the “Groupings” method of case analysis it would have been difficult, or impossible to arrive at Praying Mantis as a remedy for Jill. The more methods at hand, the more successful our homeopathic practice can be.