What are the elements of the wisdom we aspire to, when we see Hahnemann’s motto of “Aude Sapere” (Dare to be Wise)? The answer in O’Reilly’s translation of the Organon is “insight, discernment, knowledge and awareness” (S3). We aim consciously to foster all these qualities in our students through their programme of homoeopathic education and clinical training at the North West College of Homoeopathy based in Manchester, England.
Hahnemann talks of discernment of disease; we grow physicians. Of knowledge of remedies; we build prescribers. Of awareness of cure; we give birth to healers. As for insight, we promote understanding of ourselves, our patients and our profession, confident of our underlying principles and the evidence that supports them.
In this magazine, we showcase the work of our students, current and recent. You will read a limited amount that is not written by students, and – with very limited editing for understanding or updating – you will read it in their original words. This is a deliberate choice; an invitation to you to evaluate their insight, discernment, knowledge and awareness.
There is a thread running through the magazine, a loose theme of boundaries. Accordingly, we invite you to read the issue in this order:
Emma Cox starts us off with her exploration of the Mini-Kingdom of Sea Mammals. Emma is inspired by developing materia medica, but wants to ground her expanding reading in what she knows, and so includes kingdom insights and new perspectives on familiar remedies like Sepia. Emma makes an interesting point about the permeable boundary between the element of the sea and its minerals in which these creatures live, and their animal nature, reminding us that considering remedy kingdoms is an analysis tool which can be useful, but has its limitations and ambiguities.
As we move on to the cases, we admit to pushing at the boundaries of the ezine’s rules about duration of treatment: one is new, but too exciting to miss out; in two cases we have considered end of life treatment, where death may be the best body response, and keeping somebody alive for six months the cruelest treatment. We aim to integrate the clinical and academic, and many Year 3 and 4 assignments ask students to draw on their own case taking; accordingly, most cases are presented with explicit reference to the philosophy of material medica.
Keeping around the water, Hayley Pinches has a patient requiring Cygnus Cygnus, the Whooper Swan. Hayley outlines her detective work in finding the remedy for this rape case through research into kingdom literature. Despite the tragic case history, it is presented with Hayley’s characteristic lively inspiration.
Our next case brings us to the boundary between life and death. We take an animal case in College every year, to train our students into good habits of observation and out of bad habits of transcendental speculation based on the patient’s story. In the Animal and the Mineral, Nicki Miller and Denise Lund re-create the case of the end of life palliation of Hermione the dog for us.
With or without remedies, we can all act homoeopathically with dying loved ones, supporting their bodies into the best resolution of their disease. The article Into Death is the moving account of our Academic Director Angela Needham’s resolute support of a remarkable woman on her final earthly journey, using remedies and insight.
The next pair of cases demonstrates the permeable boundary between our personal and clinical experience. It is early days for Cath Donovan’s Physostigma case and the patient that appeared after she needed to study legume remedies (peas and beans) for a lecture nobody else could do (these things happen, even in the best managed colleges). Whilst Beccy Goldberg calls on decades as a classically trained musician to explore the silver series and specifically Argentum Nitricum in the Orchestra before prescribing… Gelsemium, reminding us always of the primacy of symptom similarity.
Nazia Ahmed rounds off our exploration of remedy boundaries by her workwoman-like Review of the Kingdoms with a brief Lac leo case, and neatly brings us full circle back to the sea with her consideration of Natrum Muriaticum. Vlado’s is a Christmas Story retold. Angela Needham traces the progress of an acute case of pneumonia from her time in eastern Europe.
On the margins of care because of her profound disability, the patient voice in this edition comes from a deaf woman who chronicles her life Trapped in a Cell, Crying Blood Tears over a period of twenty years in which she describes herself as addicted to GP and over-the-counter medication.
I’m conscious that so far, we have tended to focus on remedies. This is a very English thing to do, in homoeopathic terms; the philosophy of material medica has driven the revival in homoeopathic education in the UK in the last thirty to forty years. Homoeopathic philosophy was less well understood, and often co-opted to other world views (a process which will be familiar to anybody who has tried to unpick Hahnemann from Swedenborg when reading Kent). One of the strengths of the College, alongside its practical clinical education, is our clarity about fundamental principles and ever evolving understanding of the Organon as a practical manual. So, we wanted to reflect something of Hahnemann and homoeopathic philosophy in our offering to you, but we probably need another issue to give it due prominence and credit.
We start with the interviews: two rather different homoeopaths both expressly influenced by Hahnemann. The warm-up act for the interview section is George Garlick, Chair of North West College of Education, because we wanted to reflect the life of the many working homoeopaths who rarely venture onto a wider stage. In “I Never Meant to Say This Much…” Manu Mistry and Angey Kennedy conduct the interview.
Top billing goes to Vega Rozenberg’s Homoeopathy as Spiritual Science. Vega, who taught at the College recently, describes himself variously as a Master Healer and Teacher, an Internationally Renowned Alchemist of Personal Evolution and an expert in the spiritual science and art of Hahnemannian homeopathy. His “Universal Affluence” seminars may be a curiosity to some, and you can explore them through a web search, but our student interviewers (Mahavir Singh Sangha, Denise Lund and Claire Knight) focus on his homoeopathy.
I’m interested in most things that can give an insight into homoeopathy for people who otherwise aren’t interested in, or attracted to it. I’d even change the name of homoeopathy if I had the chance, to something that the person on the street understood, could pronounce and could spell (now that would make a good competition!). Some of this interest in exploring other ways of thinking is reflected in the penultimate article – a work in progress, and the first two chapters of the book I might write. In it, I explore Designing a medicine for humans.
We say ‘Become the homoeopath you were meant to be’ at College, and the article of the same name closes our contribution, and serves as a brief introduction to the school. Diversity is reflected in the variety of perspectives to which we expose our students; we encourage students to evaluate different ways of understanding homoeopathy as a critical friend. I hope this ezine has given a flavour of that.
Finally, as a reward for reading this far, here is my favourite set of non-homoeopathic principles for someone daring to be wise:
How to be an explorer of the world
1 Always be looking (notice the ground beneath your feet).
2 Consider everything alive and animate.
3 Everything is interesting. Look closer.
4 Alter your course often.
5 Observe for long durations (and short ones).
6 Notice the stories going on around you.
7 Notice patterns. Make connections.
8 Document your findings (field notes) in a variety of ways.
9 Incorporate indeterminacy.
10 Observe movement.
11 Create a personal dialogue with your environment. Talk to it.
12 Trace things back to their origins.
13 Use all of the senses in your investigations.
I found this at , but would be delighted to trace it back to its origins.
As I say at the end of every College assembly: let’s learn and dare to be wise!
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