Willa Keizer is the Founding Director of the Caduceus institute of Classical Homeopathy and board member of the Council for Homeopathic Certification. Willa received her initial training in the healing arts during eight years in Indonesia with the Shao Lin White Crane Association and Grandmaster Subur Rahardja.
AS: Throughout your life you’ve taken the road less travelled. You started out studying martial arts in Indonesia. Could you tell us something about that experience and how it affected you?
WK: My motivation for going to Indonesia was to become a healer. I left the US to live in Indonesia at the age of 19 (in the mid 70’s when Obama was there!) and spent a total of eight years there, practicing a form of martial arts known as silat with the intention to use it for healing. Fighting was never an interest for me, but I found great strength and balance from my martial arts practice. I practiced martial arts and meditation for several hours every day, taught English as a second language, and was married and had my first two kids there. I loved the simple, slow and heart centered pace of daily life — no bills, no insurance payments, and no phone (this was pre- computer). It suited me well and I still miss it!
My teacher, Suhu Subur Rahardja, was renowned for his abilities as a healer. While I was there, I became the inheritor of a set of movements transmitted to me by my teacher for healing and spiritual growth. I developed a training program based on these movements which was my first venture in running a school. When Suhu died very suddenly, I came back to the United States. Within a few months of my return, my marriage dissolved. Basically I was a martial artist, and a single mom with two small children returning to a culture that felt quite foreign to me by then. That’s when I discovered homeopathy. I found it to be an amazing and elegant system of energetic healing that resonated with my martial arts energy training.
AS: In addition to practicing and teaching homeopathy, you also practice Vedic astrology. Could you tell our readers something about that?
WK: I started studying astrology as direct outgrowth of my homeopathic practice. I became interested in astrology as I watched my clients, over the first 12 years of my practice, get sick and get well in unpredictable ways. I wondered, what is this cosmic factor that a homeopath doesn’t understand from a homeopathic perspective? Why do some people respond to a remedy, get better right away, and for others it takes a long time? Of course Hahnemann felt the answer was miasms. Vedic astrology gives insight into those miasms in an indirect way– and much more!
Learning Vedic astrology was one of the most mind blowing experiences of my life. It was like growing another sense in addition to our ordinary five senses, a sense of the energetic functioning of the universe and how it affects our individual vital force. The Sanskrit word for astrology is Jyotish which means Light of God. Vedic astrology sheds light on the birth chart, which is a map of the karmas we are dealing with in this lifetime. Of course you need to have a belief in reincarnation and the law of karma for this to make any sense!
After studying Jyotish for a number years and doing astrological research into a few diseases that I was particularly interested in, I was seeing my homeopathic cases from a broader perspective. Sometimes it gives me information about the client that wasn’t clear in the interview. I can also get a sense of how effective healing treatments could be at this particular time and what obstacles might be in the way of healing. The Vedic chart gives remarkable insight. It also offers remedies that are compatible with homeopathy such as sound healing (mantra), gemstones, and lifestyle changes, including diet. Doing readings for people is homeopathic in itself as there is a big sense of relief when one’s daily struggles with health or emotional issues are mirrored back from a larger perspective and are perceived as elemental energies and planets.
Vedic astrology has become such an important modality for me in my care of clients that in 2008 I developed a course to teach it to my students, along with Buddhist spiritual practice and another love of mine, Paracelsian alchemy. I call it the Vitalistic Healing program. (www.vitalism.us)
AS: You taught at three homeopathy schools and now have your own school, The Caduceus Institute of Classical Homeopathy. What do you perceive as the most important elements in homeopathic education?
WK: For the foundation of knowledge, reading and studying the classics such as the Organon and Kent’s lectures are important. Thinking like a homeopath is the first step. When I was a student in Jeremy Sherr’s Dynamis school, I developed a series of study questions based on the 6th edition of the Organon that I have used in my teaching since then. Reading the Organon paragraph by paragraph and reflecting on this great work is something that all students should do.
After getting a grasp of homeopathic philosophy, materia medica, and skill in using the repertory, clinical training is needed to bring those studies alive and see how it all works in the real world with real cases. Many of the students in our program live in places where homeopathic education is non-existent, but with technology of video conferencing some programs, including ours, are able to offer clinical training online. I think that is a great blessing for homeopathy.
And finally, but probably most important, some kind of religious or spiritual path that helps develop the heart of healing in the would-be homeopath is crucial. I believe that with energy medicines like homeopathy, the intention of the healer plays a big role in whether healing can occur. It is not all about little white pills and analyses techniques! That might be a controversial thing to say about a highly technical modality such as homeopathy, but it is my strong belief.
AS: There appears lately, to be an organized movement to destroy homeopathy. Phony studies undermining homeopathy, homeopathy attacked in the media, lawsuits against our pharmacies and political maneuvering that has led to the closing of homeopathic hospitals. How should our community respond to this?
WK : That is a good question. I am not much of a politician and perhaps people who deal in the media and with lawyers representing the pharmacies would have more informed ideas. I really do appreciate those people who have put themselves on the front lines and are fighting for truth in the media. The attacks on the pharmacies are just awful, and I am grateful that there are heroes who are working to set the record straight. At the same time, it is also good to focus on one’s friends, community, clients, and peer groups and not focus too much on media lies. Those lies out there come in so many shapes and flavors these days; people with discrimination ignore that kind of stuff or look for more nuanced information. A good example of this is the whole vaccine brouhaha currently going on.
I don’t think there is any reason to try to convince anybody of concepts, such as how homeopathy works, if they are not open to it. Some people resonate with homeopathy, and feel a natural attraction. That’s how people end up in our educational programs. Other people don’t know anything about homeopathy, and don’t need to know the details, but are open to trying it because they want help. These types can become supporters of homeopathy due to seeing it work in themselves or in family or friends. All of this is a natural, personal process which is at the level that people make decisions for themselves and their families. That is what matters.
AS: Every homeopath has had certain cases which were supreme tests of their skill or which affected them deeply. Could you summarize one such case and share how it affected you?
WK: I find autoimmune conditions to be really interesting. When the immune system turns on the body in a disease like lupus, we often see internal, emotional conflict as well. One example of this was a woman I treated who was suffering from a severe case of lupus. Even the powerful chemotherapy drugs she was taking were losing the battle against her immune system and she was in danger of dying from kidney failure. To analyze this case I looked at the characteristic symptoms of her case rather than the common symptoms of the disease, as there was not much unusual to work with on a physical level. She had been on immunosuppressive drugs for years, which of course is known for making a case complicated or even incurable.
The core of the case seemed to lie in a strong death wish and along with other indicating symptoms, I chose Platina for her. Interestingly, the first thing that shifted was her whole outlook on life. The deep death wish that was so hard for her to admit to in the interview dissolved quickly and never came back. Eventually the blood work started showing a remission of her terrible disorder, even though Platina is not known for being a kidney remedy. I saw her for almost five years and brought her up the LM scale through LM 30 and beyond. She continued to respond to Platina, stayed in remission of her lupus, and having been freed from the deep death wish, had vastly more emotional freedom in her life. The one symptom that never cleared up on Platina was her strong craving for sweets.
After several years working with her and keeping her on Platina, I experimented a bit by analyzing her case according to HFA (homeopathic facial analyses) and determined that she needed a remedy from the “blue group” which is the syphilitic miasm. It also certainly made sense from the point of view of self-destructiveness, and Aurum also repertorized well. I was curious to see if another remedy could address the sweet craving. For that reason I switched her for one month to Aurum. At the first follow up on Aurum, she was very clear that she didn’t feel well on Aurum and asked to go back on Platina! Eventually I graduated her from daily doses on the LM scale to occasional, as needed, C potencies.
It is gratifying to know that homeopathy can deal effectively with deep seated issues like autoimmune disease, and with careful case taking, it is not so hard to find a remedy.
AS: Thank you Willa for sharing your thoughts with us today.
Visit Willa at her websites: http://www.homeopathytraining.org and
Editor’s note: Willa Keizer will be interviewed on a NASH telecast regarding the Caduceus educational program on August 31 at 5 PM Pacific time. Open to all NASH members.