Clinical Cases

The Gym King and His Nightmares: A Case Of Dendroaspis Polylepis (Black Mamba)

Nightmares featured

Homeopath Vatsala Sperling shares a case which was solved using the Animal theory of Drs. Bhavisha and Sachindra Joshi

Case intake: August 2016

Client description: A 52 year old male, RC, presents with complaint of nightmares since 12 years of age. RC is of medium height and a solid and highly muscular build. He wears his shoulder-length jet black hair in a neat ponytail secured with a red silk bandana. A string of Rudraksha beads peak through his black silk shirt that is unbuttoned till mid-sternum. I peek into the reception room and find him dozing. The moment he senses my presence, he springs to action with lightning speed, grabs my hand in a brusque and powerful handshake, and tries to fix me in place with a direct stare, “You are the homeopath I have heard so much about. You must fix my problem.”

Before I can say anything, in a few quick strides, he goes ahead of me in to the consulting room, sprawls on a chair of his choice, rearranges a few of the kid’s toys on the table and says, “Doc, get to the core of my problem. You have a reputation. Don’t fail me. Don’t waste my time.”

Observations: Client is attractive, very fast, direct, emphatic and commanding /dictatorial. He has high expectations. Gives off an air of ‘Don’t mess with me.’

I find his behavior irritating. I make a conscious effort to set aside my irritation and remind myself to be an unprejudiced observer (Aphorism 6). In sickness, the sum total of all expressions point to a remedy state. My only job at this moment is to remain calm, identify the remedy state and find the remedy that the client is asking for with his every word, gesture and expression.

We begin the session.

Me: What is bothering you?

RC: Bloody nightmares. Began around 12 years of age, maybe earlier. Never got along with my half-brothers. They said I had a quick and lethal temper. I said, they were freaking useless blobs of flesh crowding the earth. I could devour them for a snack and nobody would miss them. We had many bloody battles. Dad always sided with my half-brothers and asked me to control my temper. Mom could not speak for me. Parents fought round the clock but when I made a show of my temper, everyone had to back off. I told them in graphic details what I would do to them if they messed with me. My nightmares had scenes from my life during the day, the arguments, fights, beatings, chasing, running, hiding, killing. Most of them were about hard chase. I would streak across the terrain like lightning and would escape most of the time, but every so often, the enemy would get hold of me, bang my head on rocks till my brain went flying in pieces, splattering blood all around, and my body going limp and lifeless…. I would wake up screaming and yelling on top of my lungs, thrashing about violently, kicking, eyes glazed, and hurling whatever objects I could get hold of. My nightmares have caused me a few divorces. Luckily, as I am getting older, my wives are getting younger!! I am 52. My fourth wife is 29. Our life together is exciting and interesting!! (HE WINKS AT ME IN A SLY AND SEDUCTIVE MANNER).

Theme: Me vs you issues from a young age. Temper, violence, aggression, parental neglect. Nightmares reflect the happenings of the day. Gives hints about the sexual side of life / marriage even without being asked (high sexuality).

Me: How often do you see these nightmares? How do they affect you?

RC: I see them 3 – 4 times every week. The day after the nightmare, I feel so unrefreshed, I cannot rouse myself from bed in the morning till 11 AM. I feel physically weak, totally drained, useless, aghast that I should see such violent nightmares and behave so violently in my sleep. I feel completely incapable of being with people or holding a conversation. Total anti-social. People sense this. They leave me alone. They see that I am very angry.

Theme: Worse upon waking. Me: Very angry?

RC: People are idiots – ordinary, useless, lazy and scattered. They waste their time scampering about doing meaningless chores that fill their days. I have a purpose in life. If someone gets in my way, I strike with precision and deadly force. For some reason, I am the Gym King in my city!

Themes: Very low opinion of others, high opinion of himself. Condescending. Purposeful. Strikes with precision and deadly force. As he calls himself “Gym King” his facial expression indicates immense pride and he smiles with smug satisfaction. This term, Gym King, is meaningful to his narrative.

Me: Gym King?

RC:  I worked for a few years as a paramedic after completing pre-med course at the college. Saw a fair share of domestic violence – mostly to do with alcohol, drugs, guns and adultery. Bloody people. Weak men, weak women and weak kids get chopped up. 911 gets called. Many times I have arrived at a blood-splattered living room and seen both the victim (if alive) and the perpetrator shaking with fear. I have wanted to pull the trigger on the perpetrator and finish him off. I have not acted on this impulse though and the buggers have wasted tax-payer’s dollars on life imprisonment and extended courtroom drama to establish a case for mental illness and get off the hook. I like quick justice, chop chop chop, fix the problem, move on.  Wimpiness of victims gets to me. They are little sloths, docile, helpless, slow – they, just surrender and get killed. They don’t fight back, don’t stand their ground. Me, I could just strangle the perpetrator. I see these scenes in my nightmares….on and on… many times I get the bad guys, many times I get

caught and my head gets smashed, but I do not go down without putting up a great fight. I scare the the hell out of anybody just by moving very fast.

Themes: Intense exposure to violence and graphic description of what he would like to do to people – shoot, strangle. Suppressed desire for avenging the wrongdoers. Very quick and fast action.

Me: Tell me a bit more about the Gym King.

RC: I stopped being a paramedic and started a gym so I could train weak people, give them some courage, some muscles, some backbone so they can fight back instead of taking it lying down. Now I own a chain of gyms in my city. My training is intense and ruthless. Rules are strict. No cell phones in the gym, no texting. I have smashed many cellphones with my bare fist.

Observation: He slams his fist on the table with great aggression and force. There is intense energy in this gesture.

Me: What bothers you about these cell phones?

RC: It is not about the stupid cell phones, it is about focus. When I am focused, all my senses come to one point. It is me and my target. When I see my target, and I am focused, I reach out fast, grab it, I am done. It has no way to escape my grip and I will not let it go till it surrenders. When I get distracted, my energy is scattered, I can get subjugated. Gym is about focus, discipline, goals, endurance, performance at top speed, accuracy and form. You can’t be distracted when you clear 150 pounds of iron above your head. You mess with that you never get anywhere. Cell phones, with their ding-dong bells, do not allow people to focus. When you lose focus, accidents happen, you get subjugated. When you are focused, you are sharp, nothing can bring you down.

Observation: While talking about focus, he had particularly high energy, intensity, and he reached out with his hands and made a grabbing gesture. I wanted to check out the value of ‘subjugated’ as it appeared to be exactly opposite of what he was trying to express with his description of focus.

Me: Subjugated??  Upon hearing this word, RC made a whole-body gesture, tucked his head to his chest, slumped his shoulders, his erect back went limp…but very, very quickly he composed himself.

RC: You see, when you are on the very top, you can be toppled easily. To stay on top, you have to perform on top so that you do not get subjugated and killed. The very top is not the place for goofing around. You must remain alert, focused and go after your goal with top speed or else you can be toppled, subjugated.

Observation: He quickly recovers from expression of subjugation and reaches out very fast with his hand and makes a grabbing gesture.

RC: I do not like to be subjugated. That is what I teach in my gym. My students learn to stand tall and assert themselves. My faithful students call me Gym King.Theme: Issues of power, focus, anger, and speed are clear and so are his sense of accomplishment.

Me: Faithful students? I ask this question to ascertain his place in the hierarchy of his world.

RC: People might start in my gym as weaklings. By the time I am done beating them into shape, they become strong and powerful. They become loyal to me and the gym. I don’t have time to indulge them. I would rather kick ass than hang out with suckers.

Theme: Highly accomplished successful person, condescending attitude toward less accomplished people. Loner.

Me: Any other complaints?

RC: NOOOO. Just fix my nightmares then I will leave you alone.

This last sentence comes out more as a direct order than as a request for help. In effect, he has concluded the interview at a time of his choosing. I take this hint about his need to dominate and opt to end the session because I have the information that I need to make a prescription.


Allowing the case to unfold naturally has enabled me to unlock this case according to the teachings of Dr. Bhawisha and Dr. Sachindra Joshi (2,3,4). The Joshis have advocated that an assessment of the level of self-esteem and capability of the client can point toward the row of the periodic table that best represents their individual development and they have used Jan Scholten’s work (6) on the periodic table of elements to explain the level of development in human beings.

While working toward a deeper understanding of the animal kingdom, the Joshis have found that animals do encompass the mineral issues of inadequacy and incompleteness and therefore, they can be placed along the rows of the periodic table. This placement is based on the animal’s prey/predator instincts and the central theme of their lifestyle in nature (3,4).

In a ground-breaking work, the Joshis have proposed that once a person’s place in the rows of the periodic table is clear, and if this person is calling out for a remedy from the animal kingdom, then it is possible to select an animal from the rows of the periodic table that best mirrors the energy and self-esteem of the person.

Keeping this approach in mind, I have studied the case and come up with the following findings:

Themes pointing toward animal kingdom (1)

My observations: Attractive. Very fast. Dictatorial. Natural leader. With his dominating demeanor he makes himself in charge of ‘my consulting room’.

Patient expressions:

Siblings are beneath him. Experience of vulnerability and victimhood in his nightmares.  Me vs you theme is strong and he easily establishes his superior place in his environment. But there is also a hidden aspect of feeling like a victim – this comes up in his nightmares when despite his speed and ability to escape, he gets caught by the enemy once in a while and his head is smashed up, he becomes a victim.

Reptilian themes (1)

High sexuality, seductive behaviour. Independent and alone. Contemptuous view of weak people. Lack of parental care. Suddenness of anger, action, fast and hard chase. Fighting, beating, running, hiding, killing. Aggression and intense violence. Worse upon waking.

Row 6 language (2,3)

Superior and condescending attitude. Spontaneously exhibits leadership in his behavior – even in the consulting room where he has come seeking help for his nightmares. Ordinary people are idiots, stupid, lazy and scattered. He is superior because he has a purpose in his life. Very low opinion of others, high opinion of himself. Purposeful. As he calls himself “Gym King” his facial expression indicates immense pride and he smiles with smug satisfaction. He has founded and now leads a chain of Gyms.

Predator animal language (3,4)

Strikes with precision and deadly force. Desire for avenging wrongdoers. Extreme, unchecked aggression, makes others afraid just from his speed. Intense focus. Very fast. Performs at top speed. Nothing can get away from his grip. Aversion to subjugation. Even though he shows the body language of subjugation momentarily, he recovers very quickly and is back to saying what he must do to stay on top.

So far, it is clear from the various themes and observations given above that this client is in row six of the periodic table (leadership, very high self-esteem, condescending attitude toward lesser humans, high achiever) and he expresses the energy of a predator animal. The language of snakes comes through clearly. But which snake?

The Joshis have placed several snakes in row six (3, 4). The issues presented by this patient point to snakes and the snakes in row six (Joshi’s periodic table chart) are venomous snakes of the viperidae and elapidae group and the constrictor snakes like pythons and boa. Intense speed, striking with high precision and force, evoking fear just from his speed are themes that have come up over and again not only in the life narrative but also in the client’s nightmares.

One snake well known for its speed, intense aggression and deadly precision is Dendroaspis polylepis. It is the fastest snake in the world. It is highly aggressive when threatened. It bites repeatedly and death comes quickly to its victims. This snake has no predators as no other animal is able to kill it (except humans when they are able to catch it). It is an anti-social reptile (1).

During case taking, I have given the patient complete freedom to speak about what matters to him the most. I have refrained from pursuing my agenda, i.e., asking him questions that will lead me to uncover sensation and source of any remedy. In fact, I am not thinking about remedy atall but trusting in the process that when a patient is given a safe space to go in to his life narrative, he will spontaneously reveal the energy pattern and the remedy. There is no need to aggressively direct the patient. Just by being present completely and mindfully, the case is allowed to open up and the remedy is revealed (5).

Recurrent emergence of key themes can be observed simply by listening to the life narrative. These themes are important to the patient. From understanding these themes, it is possible to find out what row of periodic table he belongs. Since this client has shown reptilian themes as well as given indications of being an accomplished achiever and leader who must stay on top form, he

is placed amongst the reptiles in row six of the animal periodic table (3,4). Remedy selection:

For this process I use information from Rajan’s work (1) to rule out various reptiles and focus on ones that display immense speed and attack with deadly force. Dendroaspis polylepis emerges as top choice.


Dendroaspis polylepis 1M, few pills dissolved in three teaspoons of water and a teaspoon of the mix taken on three days.

Follow up 1: Two months after case intake- October 2016:

The client appears to be cheerful. I observe that he is sitting attentively in the consulting room reading a periodical instead of snoozing. He reports that he has not seen even one nightmare in the past two months and is very happy with the outcome.

Follow up 2: Four months after the remedy – January 2017.  Patient reports feeling better overall. He has not seen any nightmares since taking the very first dose of his remedy. He talks about his gym a little bit but his language for describing the lesser mortals is definitely softer than before. Instead of calling new students wimps, he calls them ‘beginners’. That is a big shift in his perception of the others who happen to be less than him. He asks, “Do you think the remedy is still working?”

This is a hint for sac lac which he is very happy to take. Follow up 3: Nine months after the remedy – June 2017.

RC: Once in a while I see some boring dreams…nothing much happens, there is no drama. My young wife is pregnant since March 2017. She uses all her time to nurture herself. She refuses to have intimacy with me saying I would hurt the baby. That is ridiculous. I find myself envying the fetus that is getting all the love and I am left out in the cold. This is a big adjustment for me. I never had to think of anyone but myself. Now, I am thinking of my wife and our kid. Being a parent does not come naturally to me. I find myself getting angry…but it is not like the anger that I felt before. I am angry because I need my wife’s love and attention. I am used to being the leader who does not need anyone, is totally independent…this new development is upsetting to me.

Emerging themes: Envy, jealousy, competition with his own child for the love of his wife, increased awareness of his own sexual needs. Though nightmares are significantly absent and he has just seen some boring dreams, emergence of themes mentioned above make me wonder if he needs a repetition of his remedy. This also brings me to the question, is his remedy just for addressing his nightmares or it is for balancing his entire constitution? I am convinced that a remedy chosen with emphasis in the core life narrative and the energy expressed in the matters that are most significant to the client, must be able to balance the constitution. I decide about repeating the dose even though the presenting complaint has not resurfaced.

Prescription: Dendroaspis polylepis 1M one dry dose.

Follow up 4: Fifteen months after the initial remedy, and five months after repetition of the remedy:

RC: We have a baby boy. He is very fast in everything, just like me. (I sense a streak of pride in his voice). RC shows me pictures of him and his wife gazing adoringly at their new baby boy. He says, ‘We have been doing great …. I have been sleeping very well – no nightmares! Baby sleeps right next to my wife so I  do not hear him cry at night. She is a very good and attentive mother.’

Observation: Since starting homeopathic care at my office, RC has mellowed. He smiles, feels good and is free of his nightmares. He is relishing his new life as a father. He is doing good. No need to repeat the remedy or even give sac lac.  I wish RC the best and congratulate him on the birth of his baby boy and offer a reassurance that anytime he needs help, he can reach out to me.

In my practice, the Joshi’s method of placing patients and animals on the periodic table based on their self-esteem and natural behaviour, works like a charm. This case shows that we can be relaxed, peaceful and stress-free during case taking. Our peaceful energy affects our patients. They feel relaxed during case taking and reveal their innate remedy state more readily. They also tend to connect better with us and become more receptive to the healing potential of the remedy.


  1. Survival, the Reptiles, volume II, Rajan Sankaran with Meghna Shah, Homeopathic medical publishers, Mumbai, India, 2010.
  2. Homeopathy patterns in the periodic table, Bhawisha Joshi, published by Sachindra Joshi HUF, Mumbai, India, 2008.
  3. Quick book of minerals and animals, Bhawisha and Sachindra Joshi, published by Sachindra Joshi HUF, Mumbai, India, 2013.
  4. Seminar notes from 2010 till 2017, Bhawisha and Sachindra Joshi seminars, USA.
  5. The scientifically intuitive case-witnessing process, a journey of three steps. Dinesh Chauhan, Philosia publications, 2011.
  6. Homeopathy and the elements, Jan Scholten, Stitchin Alonnissos: publishers, 1996. Author bio

About the author

Vatsala Sperling

Vatsala Sperling, RSHom (NA), CCH, MS, PhD, PDHom was the Chief of Clinical Microbiology services at a children’s hospital in Chennai, India, when she published extensively and conducted research with WHO, Denmark. On moving to the USA, Vatsala pursued a 4½ year course in Homeopathy at Misha Norland’s school. She has authored twelve books including her latest, Colubrid Snake Remedies and Their Indication in Homeopathy Practice. Journals from US and abroad frequently publish Vatsala’s writings on spirituality, health, and homeopathy. Vatsala continues to study with several teachers and practices classical homeopathy. She has served on the board of directors of NASH and currently she serves as a volunteer with NCH. She can be reached via her website (

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