Dear Friends, today we have with us in our Hot-seat, none other than the very famous Jeremy Sherr (applause, applause!). Jeremy needs no introduction but I would still like to say that he is known as a strong proponent of homeopathy, an excellent teacher and as the person who has revived the art of homeopathic provings. This interview takes place after Jeremy’s wind up speech of the LINKS conference at Heidelberg.
Jeremy, welcome to the Hpathy Hot-seat for this month! There are now 24,000 people waiting to hear you speak and enlighten them. So where do we start?
JS: Thank you for inviting me here. Last month I received a mail from your site about the possibility of having more than one simillimum. I wanted to reply to that. So maybe we can begin with that.
MB: Ok! Let’s begin with that. I have been talking with so many people, and what I have experienced so far is that when I talk to Rajan, or when I talk to Jan, you all have different approaches. As you said in your wind up speech at the conference, if you have a hammer, then everything looks like a nail. So if there is a phase when Jan is working on mineral remedies, then he will be looking for cases where he can give those remedies; if you are proving Chocolate, you would be looking for cases where that proving theme fits; if Sankaran is working on plant classification, he would be inclined to give those remedies to support his work. We have seen many video cases in conferences but if one of those patients comes to you, would you be prescribing the same remedies? Probably not!
I have also seen that there is a huge difference in the remedies being used across various continents. In India, most homeopaths are still often working with the remedies given by Hahnemann, Hering and Allen; your remedies are not easily available in India whereas you often prescribe the remedies that you have proved. Jan often prescribes remedies from the mineral kingdom which are very difficult to source in other parts of the world. In spite of these differences we are all successful at some level. So my question is –
Can there be more than one simillimum?
JS: I have a lot to say about this. Your observation is very correct. If homeopathy worked only by one simillimum, there would be no homeopathy. We would all be out of business. Even if it worked with only five remedies for a patient, we would still be out of business. After 25 years of teaching and presenting cases, I know that in a class of twenty students you can get fifteen different suggestions for a case. Then the teacher says that I gave this particular remedy and the whole class thinks, ‘Oh! I am wrong because the remedy mentioned worked and the teacher must be right’. And therefore it propagates this thing about the simillimum. I think that quite a big range of remedies can work for each patient. I have traveled across the world and have seen how different homeopaths give different remedies and get results. Like you said, everybody is successful to some degree. This is so important. For instance, if in a class, your suggestion is different from the teachers, you should not lose confidence and think that he was right and you were wrong. It could be that your suggestion is right as well. That is one ramification of it.
The next ramification of it is that building up materia medica from cases is very secondary, of much less importance than provings. Because you can say that you saw three or four cases of a certain remedy, but in those cases the remedy could really be just a similar or partially similar. Then you are including all the data from these partial cases into the essence of the remedy, but I don’t think that all the data necessarily belongs to that remedy. Even if you give a partially similar remedy it has the power to sweep away many symptoms in the case that do not belong to the remedy. To know whether a remedy is the simillimum or not, there is a very strict criterion. For instance Kent gave the definition that if you give the simillimum, then there should be an aggravation of the existing symptoms, then the symptoms should get better and then there should be a relapse of the original symptoms.
So now let’s look back at what Hahnemann has said. Hahnemann definitely said that there is no such thing as the simillimum. He said that the simillimum is a theoretical concept. In Paragraph 156, he says you can not fit a remedy to a case like two triangles with equal angles and equal sides. This will not happen. There can not be ‘a’ simillimum. Because by definition if you say ‘this simillimum’, there could be only one remedy that will work for the case. But if you give Pulsatilla nigricans, maybe Pulsatilla nutalliana could be more similar, or maybe Pulsatilla from some other continent would be better, or perhaps a spider remedy we don’t know. All these remedies could help to different degrees, but logically you can never tell if there is a better remedy round the corner.
Remedies are like poems. Some touch you more and some less, but you can never say that there is one ultimate poem to touch a person, there might always be a better one.
So for that reason we have to build on the base of provings. Because a proving creates a positive effect where, once you have eliminated the random non proving related symptoms, you definitely know that the symptoms produced belong to the proving. In a proving you get the positive effect of a substance on 20 people, which is much more precise than gathering symptoms from a few odd cases. Provings provide a solid base from which you can go on working clinically.
It can easily happen that people outside homoeopathy might say, “If there is not one simillimum, homeopathy is not a science. Science should just give one answer.” But that is not the issue. The science of homeopathy is not about giving the first remedy. The science of homeopathy is about giving the first remedy and then follow-up and the next – into the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th prescription, which is the best way to cure the patient entirely. One can start anywhere at the bottom of the mountain and move up. You can choose a good path or you can choose a more difficult path. But when you move up the first step, i.e. the first prescription, you have to follow on intelligently till the next base, then the next base and so on …till you reach the top. There are many paths to the top. The science of homeopathy lies in understanding the second prescription and its principles; and moving on from there and managing the case long term all the way to cure. But most teachings focus solely on the first prescription.
MB: But we never get to see this aspect of homeopathy presented in any seminar or conferences. It is never shown that even the masters go from this to that before a case is cured. What is shown is that a single remedy works for two years for all chronic and acute complaints. And that is so very difficult to attain in the actual clinical practice.
JS: You are absolutely right. Most teachers like to show video cases, and of course they will choose their best cases. Personally I prefer to work with long term live cases. Usually my students follow my cases for 3 years.
But if I am teaching at a conference, I am not going to choose my Nat-mur case. I am not going to choose a long term case with many follow ups either, because people are not going to sit there and look at all the follow-ups of a case. There is no time and no patience for that. In a conference, people come to see one remedy, one picture and the result. So I will choose my best cases of wonderful remedies. But that gives a wrong impression.
And then they go home and they feel this is the way practice is. But the reality is different, that is not the way it happens in practice.
MB: For me it’s like ‘been there, done that’. When I was a student, I would go to a Sankaran seminar and would feel so inspired that this is the way magical cures are done. I will come back home and try to work similarly, but it never worked that way for me.
JS: Most of the time it never works for anybody. I have talked to hundreds of people and it never is like that, except in the few odd miracle cases. Remedies change. And you don’t always get the best one the first time. That’s the way it is with homeopathy. If you ask any practitioner and you ask how many patients have you kept on one remedy for five years? The number would be quite small. Let me ask you Manish, how many cases do you have, where a patient has been kept on a single remedy for 5 or 10 years. I guess very few.
MB: Yes very few.
JS: Less than 5%?
MB: Yes probably less than 5%
JS: That is the same answer I get from most people. So people say, how can this be?
MB: Yes, especially for the young students. Those who are into clinical practice for some years can actually judge, that what is being shown in the seminars is not the whole truth. But for the young students it becomes very confusing.
JS: It is. And the reason for this is that there are commercial reasons, entertainment and that the students demand a happy seminar. You do not want it to become tedious. That’s a deficiency with the conferences. You get 45 minutes and you have to show your best merchandise.
I have a 3 year course and I only do live cases, hardly any video cases, because I want the students to see the good, the bad and the ugly. I want them to see the things in the long run. And, more than anything, I want them to see the second prescription. Because that’s where the real art and science lie for me.
Put it like this. You choose your best first remedy and maybe it works wonderfully and then you say that I want it to work for a long-long time, maybe forever. Actually I don’t. I want to see that remedy finish its work in one or two years. Why? Because let’s say that this patient is Aurum. They come to life to learn a lesson about climbing high and then falling down and climbing again and falling again. That is their karma. That’s their lesson. That is why they are stuck in this life. So you give them Aurum and they do well, great! But at some point you want this lesson to finish, you want them to learn their lesson and move on to the next one. If they haven’t learnt their lesson, they still need the same remedy. It means that somehow we have not completed our job.
If the Aurum was good, you should see that after three years, they stop needing to climb high, they stop needing to fall down and they finish learning that lesson. And if you give one extra dose, and then they start to prove it, then you know that they are ready to move forward to the next lesson.
It is like a baby learning to walk. Once they learn to walk you don’t want to teach them walking again. Now you can teach them how to talk.
People ask, “Is there one remedy for life?” It’s a very common question.
It depends on how you look at life. We see there are a lot of cases where the person needs the same remedy throughout their life. They needed the Aurum when they were conceived and they needed the Aurum till the day you see them. Now they come to see you and you give then Aurum once, twice, 5 times, 10 times. Now they should finish that lesson, and move to the next lesson. When that lesson is over, it is like that life is over. So what you do is that you speed up the process of learning. What they might have learnt in 5000 life times, with the remedy they learn in 3 years. That is what homeopathy does.
Homeopathy says, let’s do it quickly, lesson one, and then lesson two. Now the trick in the science of the second prescription is how to move on in the right direction, like navigating a boat. If you want to win the race; you have to be very efficient. People in a boat race do that. They are calculating the angles precisely. They move from one tack to another tack. That’s what you are looking for. How to move from one tack to another, so that you are moving forward in the most efficient way.
In Chronic Diseases, Hahnemann, after 20 years of practice, wondered why the patients whom he treated for some years were coming back again. He asked himself: What am I not curing? He was very self critical. He realized that something was wrong. That’s why half of Chronic Diseases is dealing with miasms and the other half he is dealing with follow up prescription and case management; how to navigate the boat all the way home. And that is the story. You are not going to teach that in a conference. And that’s ok, that’s the way a conference is. But the result is that most teaching is focused as if there is only one remedy …and that’s not the way in practice.
It could be there are a few geniuses, who are much cleverer than me and are able to base their whole practice on ten year cases with the same remedy. But the majority are not able to do that.
MB: It’s just not possible. Massimo is said to have that gold standard of at least two years on the same remedy and even the acutes should be covered by it. But if all the acutes are to be managed by the chronic simillimum, then what is the need for all the acute remedies that are listed in our books.
JS: I do not agree that acute diseases need the same remedy as the chronic remedy. And this is very clear in paragraph 72. Hahnemann says acute and chronic are two opposite and diverse diseases.
This is such an important topic to understand philosophically. Acute disease is a move towards death or cure. Chronic disease is a slow progressive downfall into the oblivion leading to the demise of the patient. So chronic disease is sliding down the hill and acute disease is attempting to climb the mountain to death or cure. In acutes either they will die, or they will recover and they win. With chronics they just deteriorate. So they are diametrically opposite. So how it is that some people say that the chronic remedy works in the acute? They will help to a degree, but not in the most efficient way. If you are growing tomatoes, and they are attacked by some fly, then you can help the crop by removing the weeds. But in the acute disease, it is better to deal with the fly.
The second thing is, there is not generally a clarity in differentiating between a real acutes and the acute exacerbation of a chronic disease. So a lot of these so called acutes are really acute exacerbations of the chronic disease and not true inflammatory febrile diseases. True inflammatory febrile diseases are usually the inverse of the chronic disease. For example, Belladonna is an inverse of Calcarea carbonica. Chamomilla is an inverse of Magnesia carbonica. All the complementary remedies have an acute-chronic relationship. Complementary remedies in their pure form represent an acute-chronic relationship. If you take Pulsatilla-Silicea, Mag-carb-Chamomilla, Sulphur-Nux v, Nat-mur-Ignatia, these are inside-out of each other. This is a very profound study of materia medica, because if you study both together, you get both the inside and out and you understand how the symptoms flip over from one another.
As you say, these acute remedies have a role. And they are fantastic in acute disease. And part of the case management is in knowing when to move into an acute remedy, and when the acute is over, and therefore time to move back into the chronic disease. These diseases represent different totalities.
MB: There is another common concept, that when you give a chronic remedy and after that an acute comes up, it is often a healing reaction of the body and it should not be touched. Do you agree with that?
JS: Yes. But it has to be more refined than that. An acute, as I have said before, is a step towards healing. Let me give you an example that goes a bit deeper into the philosophy of it. Calcarea carbonica patient gets a Belladonna acute. What is a common exciting cause of a Belladonna fever? One of the exciting causes is getting your head wet. Now the chronic of Belladonna is Calcarea. The Calcarea patient is walking along in the rain with a wet head and then that night they have the fever. And they start to burn out. That is, the wet head state of Calcarea flips over into a dry hot head Belladonna state. Why? Because the wet head from the rain is similar to Calcarea which has perspiration on head. It hits the susceptibility. They had too much water on the head; now after the rain they have more water on their head and they flip over from Calcarea to Belladonna.
That Belladonna is curative to Calcarea because it has lots of dry heat in the head…it’s like drying up the head. Every real acute disease is an attempt to cure a chronic disease. It’s like a pressure cooker. You have a pressure cooker, that’s the chronic disease. Every time the valve goes up, you see the steam – that is inflammation, that is the acute disease and it’s taking the pressure out of the pressure cooker. And that happens in a very systematic way so can you see a reversal of symptoms and modalities between chronic and acute. It’s very clear when you study the complementary remedies.
So, likewise, if you give a Calcarea patient a dose of Calcarea 10m and the next day they develop a Belladonna fever, that’s excellent. Because you know that the body is doing its best to recover, and that should not be touched. They are rolling in a curative direction, and in 98% of cases there is no danger with the fever, because it is an intelligent response. Even if the fever is quite high, it is an intelligent response of the body. The vital force is saying; ok we have got the right remedy, let’s have a party now. However, if you give a remedy and a month and a half later, the patient has an exciting cause and they get a disease, then you have to treat it as a separate acute, because it’s not a direct result of the remedy.
MB: So if you are able to identify an exciting cause you give a remedy, otherwise not.
JS: It also depends upon the time. How much time has passed after you gave the chronic remedy? If time has passed and it’s not serious, don’t touch it. If time has passed, there is a clear exciting cause and the acute is bad enough to deserve attention, then give the remedy.
MB: Can we say the same thing about the acute epidemic diseases?
JS: An acute epidemic is exactly the same as an acute individual, except that it is collective. An acute epidemic is an attempt to cure the collective Psora. As you know there is a lot of congestion on this planet, over population. Hahnemann says that epidemics occur when there is lot of thickly populated masses of human beings. That means there is a basic miasmatic soil problem. There is pressure, there is over population, there is lack of resources. Now the vital force of the collective has to deal with this congestion some how. And it deals with the pressure by bringing up an acute- war or epidemic.
Epidemic is an attempt to cure by letting the steam out and at the same time by reducing the population. But if there were no underlying miasm, there would be no overpopulation and no need for war or epidemics.
MB: Continuing in the same thought, can you share your thoughts about homeoprophylaxis.
JS: Homeopathy prophylaxis definitely works. It has been used all through our history, or let me say the first 100 years of our history, and then it fell in disrepute. People are not so sure about this now, but in the past they would say similar similibus preventur. It’s easier to prevent disease than it is to cure disease. We have this technique to prophylactically give homeopathic remedies, but this is not just a matter of giving a remedy made from Whooping Cough vaccine and Tetanus vaccine. That is the lowest form of prophylaxis, and does not fit with homeopathic thinking
So when is prophylaxis permissible? When there is clear and imminent danger. That is, the epidemic is definitely coming. Now if an epidemic of cholera comes, kids can die in four hours. You don’t have time to treat everybody. You need to control the epidemic. So you want to give the prophylactic remedy. In the old days, the villages with a homeopath suffered 10%, or less mortality, as opposed to villages without a homeopath, having only allopathic care, with 60- 90% mortality. And much of this was due to prophylaxis.
For prophylaxis, which remedy should you use? The best remedy to use is the current Genus epidemicus. Find the genus remedy; you know what works in the majority of people. That works the best. Second best is to give the common remedy for that disease, like Drosera for whooping cough or Pulsatilla for mumps. Third best is to give a nosode like Pertussin. And the least homeopathic of all, is to follow the allopathic vaccination paradigm of giving remedies made from vaccines routinely according to the allopathic format. That is prostitution to conventional medicine. Some people come to a homeopath and say they need a prophylactic remedy for whooping cough for a 3 month old. That is not homeopathy. There has to be clear cut danger and then you can prevent the worst of the epidemic from happening.
You can be less precise with the prophylactic remedy compared to when people are actually sick. That is because you are giving them prior information. It’s like giving inside information of the stock market. You say, look something is going to happen here. It might happen or not. We don’t know exactly what but it’s in that area… be ready. When the disease is there the vitality is low and the disease is strong and already taking hold, so you need to be more precise.
MB: There has been some research in the use of homeoprophylaxis in conditions that are not really epidemic at present…only sporadic. It’s like homeopathic vaccination, like giving Diphtherinum for diphtheria, Variolinum for chicken pox etc. There has been some research into this done by Isaac Golden from Australia .
JS: Maybe it works, but I can’t say. I have not seen the research. When we say something works, it’s very dangerous in homeopathy; because you can say surgery works, acupuncture works, osteopathy works, and homeopathy works…everything works. Works is not the way to define. We have to have an idea of where we are coming from and where we are going to.
Giving lots of remedies to prevent patients from getting various non-existent diseases comes from a mentality of fear, just like allopathy. In theory, you could get tetanus, you could get bankruptcy, you could get AIDS, and you could get a divorce. You can try to get vaccinated against all these. That is not a healthy approach to life. We need to work through positive health, not fearful mimicry of allopathic procedures.
Secondly, if these diseases are not present, then why do it? How do you know that when you give these remedies, you don’t get a proving of each one of them? Hahnemann says in Paragraph 156, 256, if you give a remedy and if it’s not precise, you will get a proving. So you give Diptherinum and two weeks later…the kid develops a cough and dyslexia. You are not going to connect it to the remedy. Your researcher is not looking for the proving symptoms. People see only what they are looking for. With these so called ‘vaccinations’ you just put a lot of stress on the organism. You are trying to prevent non-existent diphtheria and you might be getting a proving. Has the researcher taken a full case daily or weekly as a follow up, to ensure that there is no proving?
MB: I have discussed this with Isaac and he has been giving these nosodes in high potency and he has not noticed any proving symptoms.
JS: According to homeopathic philosophy, which I have verified thousands of times in practice, any remedy that is similar but not similar enough is going to develop a proving. Now in practice we know that not all remedies given are simillimums or even similar, but most practitioners do not notice provings unless they are aware of the philosophy. The patient comes after six weeks and they develop a skin eruption and the practitioner thinks that it’s an aggravation. They develop diarrhea and they say it’s a healing crisis. They give Phosphorus and the patient develops a nose bleed and they even forget to connect it to the medicine. Or after a remedy the patient was irritable for three days. Nobody connects it to the proving. Now if you give Diphtherinum to 20 people there is no chance that this remedy is a simillimum or even vaguely similar to all those people. Not even one in 10 million chance. So you are going to get provings, there is no doubt! So I must wonder if he had daily supervision and took the whole case.
Let me tell you an experience where I learnt a lot. When I proved Hydrogen the first time, I didn’t know much about provings. After three days all the students said that nothing happened. I said how could that be? Hahnemann says in Paragraph 32 that you give a remedy you are going to get something happening every time; you must get a proving. So then I said ok, I will send each one of you with a supervisor to go over the case. I was waiting. Two hours later they all came out and said ‘Oh my God! We got all these symptoms but we never noticed.’ People do not notice the provings symptoms easily. They do not see the changes unless they are supervised. First, they don’t connect whether they just had a bad day, an irritable day or a flu, and taking the remedy. And secondly, they are part of the proving so they don’t actually perceive that they are changing. So that’s when I realized that to understand a proving you need a daily supervision, which Hahnemann of course had realized right from the beginning. Without this supervision, provers say there is no proving, they are looking for something big with bells and whistles. Vithoulkas did a proving of Hydrogen, to see if it works or not. He got eight symptoms and I got 1000. So then they came out and said your proving is 10000 percent overproved and I said “No, your proving is 10000 percent underproved, because my proving has been clinically verified in hundreds of cases.”
MB: Is there a difference in methodology that is resulting in this difference in the number of symptoms?
JS: Definitely! The first difference is daily supervision. Supervision makes a proving, because if you don’t supervise you get nothing. In the Vithoulkas proving he asked the provers “Write a report after a month”…and everybody writes that nothing happened. Nobody is going to notice or remember all the small details without supervision.
Provings are delicate, they are fine. Usually you do not get loud things. Occasionally you do, like I nearly got a heart attack from a proving that I did recently, and that was really bad. But I have done nearly 30 provings and that is not the norm. If someone is not watching, you won’t notice most of the proving. So I don’t buy this idea of giving vaccination remedies with no proving symptoms resulting. If I were to give Morbilinum to 10 people, would I get a proving? If homeopathy works, yes I would! My experience with provings suggests that I would. So when someone is giving 10 kids Morbilinum as vaccination, why shouldn’t he get a proving? He should! But he is not checking out closely for the proving symptoms. Now if you keep giving the same person Diptherinum and other nosodes …who knows what kind of confusion you are passing on to the vital force just to prevent a disease that does not exist as an immediate threat.
It should be clear here that homeopathic prophylaxis actually works because it is causing a proving. No proving means no protection. If one of the group happens to be a Morbilinum constitution, that person will be cured. All the rest will prove. Causing a Morbilinum proving in those people is fine if there is clear and present danger of an epidemic. Otherwise it is unnecessary and dangerous.
It’s the mentality that is the problem underneath …that we will prevent all the diseases. In homeopathy we say that we want to eliminate the susceptibility and the best way to eliminate the susceptibility is to give the similar remedy.
But now I want to say the opposite, something in the other direction. Some homeopaths also think that if they give the simillimum to a person, that person becomes immune to all diseases. The patient is going to malaria country, yellow fever or typhus country and they give them a simillimum and imagine they become like a superman …nothing is going to happen to them. That is not the case. What will happen is that if they had 52% susceptibility to malaria, now they will have 45% susceptibility to malaria. The malaria can still run over them. It’s not that once you get your so called magic simillimum, nothing will ever happen to you. One simillimum does not give life long immunity to everything. You know these diseases are very powerful and they can not be held back even if you have the best constitutional treatment. It just reduces the chance. Same thing happens with cancer. People say, “How come he had homeopathic treatment for five years and now he has cancer?” Because five years of homeopathy doesn’t mean that you can’t get any disease. It reduces the chance from 70% to 60% to 40%.
MB: But you can still have it.
JS: Yes, you can still have it. It will take many generations of good constitutional treatment to bring the susceptibility down to zero percent. And if you have zero percent susceptibility, I don’t think you will want to come back to this planet.
MB: Let me ask you a question about provings. These days we see a lot of mental data coming up in provings. In the old provings done by our masters, like Hahnemann, Hering, Allen, there is not so much data on the mental and emotional aspects. There were lots of physical generals, modalities, concomitants, particulars and common symptoms. But now days the amount of mental and emotional data is unbelievable. In fact, there are provings out there with hardly any physical symptoms, but books full of mental symptoms. Why is it so?
JS: That is a very good question. And partly I am to be blamed for that. I’ll start with that. When I proved Scorpion and Hydrogen and Chocolate and the early remedies, there was already an emphasis on mental symptoms. And it’s partly due to this idea that when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. These days people are more interested in mental symptoms. That is what they are looking for, so they are going to find them. Of course a good proving will have a full range of symptoms. And if a proving just has mental symptoms, it is lacking. But the proportion has changed. Other than our prejudice, we are looking much closer at the mind today. Where people said ‘Irritable’ back then, today you will find a more precise description, which is again partly due to me, e.g. ‘I woke up in the morning and I was going to explode, I was cross with my wife, I screamed at the children, I shouted at the dog and I kicked my cat’. They wouldn’t describe it that way in the old days. So we take the same idea and describe it in more detail. This has got benefits and deficiencies. The benefit is that, in the old provings when the patient said he was irritable, he was anxious. What could you do with that? In Clarke’s Dictionary, the mind symptoms are useless -for instance: irritable, very irritable, anxious etc. You can’t use that. But if you know that this person was irritable and he kicked his cat, or this person was irritable and he wants to bite somebody’s head off – it makes a difference. You have got the language, you have got a finer version of it and that makes it easier to prescribe on. For example, in my proving of Damselfly, the people were saying “I am irritable and I want to bite people’s head off. I have since seen cases when people have said that I want to bite your head off and the Damselfly works. So this is a valid concept. It’s much more refined and the provings have more color and they are more three dimensional. The simple language of the prover, idioms and expressions, are very important for accurate provings and prescription.
MB: But I don’t think that all patients go to that level…the level of sensation and gestures …where you can get the theme out of that.
JS: Yes, they don’t.
MB: Yes, but that information is often missing from modern provings. You can get to the Sulphur by looking at the red orifices or by looking at the 11 am aggravation or by finding the mentals of the patient, by understanding the core delusion or the underlying sensation. But not every patient goes to that level of delusion and sensation, so where are those hardcore physical symptoms?
JS: They must be there. And if you look into my provings they are all there – the particulars, the concomitants, the modalities, the disease name …they are all there. That is first and foremost and then you should climb up by degrees of refinement – into the simple language, into the delusion, into the sensation. The more three dimensional the proving, the better. But you need to have the concrete first – the red mouth, the cracked tongue, the desire for salt and all that kind of information. I have that in all my provings.
These days I have videos of all provers …and it’s amazing to see the same idioms, same gestures, and same expressions. But without a solid base, it is like a head without a body. So I absolutely agree that all levels are needed. I believe that the provings today are better than the old provings because you can see the picture more clearly on more dimensions. But I am not saying that for all provings. There are lots of poor provings today, provings with only the mental symptoms, only wha-wha information without the concrete stuff. That’s a low level proving for me. On the other hand, if the proving is not edited well, you get lots of extra information that is useless, such as: I woke up in the morning, I went to the supermarket, my friend called, I answered the telephone’. Who can use it? It becomes so difficult to read and understand what is happening. It’s overdone. And to make things worse, they repertorise everything and we get a lots of useless information in the repertory.
Another problem with poor editing is that the provings aren’t edited in an ‘As If One Person’ format. They are presented as Prover 1, day 1,2,3, Prover 2, day 1,2,3. It makes it difficult to perceive the picture.
MB: How do you filter the noise? Also, what do we do about too many rubrics from the new remedies getting into our repertories? Like Bambusa and Vanilla seem to come up in top, in nearly every repertorisation these days.
JS: First, how to filter the noise. My philosophy is that at the first stage you must say yes to everything. Because you never know. In my proving of Chocolate one prover had the desire to go to the country. And I thought “Everybody wants to go the country”. Take that out. Only when I collected all the symptoms, I saw that another prover said ‘I want to go out of town’, another one said, ‘I want to go near trees.’ Another one said ‘I need the bushes.’ Suddenly I thought “Hey! Look at that”. I wouldn’t be able to see it until I put it all together. So you can’t filter the noise at the prover level because you never know what will be meaningful once you have the totality. But you can make a note that you are doubtful about the symptom. Once you collect the totality and put it together as one person, then you need to start chopping. First you chop out all the rubbish, such as ‘I answered the telephone’; ‘I woke up in the morning.’ Then you start chopping out that which is very common or which was doubtful or which was due to some external factor. You have to start pruning, and it’s really a fine art to decide what to take in and leave out. In the first edition of my book on the Dynamics and Methodology of Provings, I wrote “If in doubt, take it out.” But in the second edition I changed that – “If in doubt, leave it in”. And this was the opinion of the old masters, Hahnemann, Hering etc – you never know what might eventually prove valid. I have seen this many times- symptoms I thought were noise which proved to be essential. Symptoms I thought were useless proved to be valid clinically.
I have since understood that a lot of people are looking at the provings as a 100% complete and final document of the remedy, that contains everything in the remedy, not more and not less. This is mainly the more ‘scientfic minded’ homeopaths. They relate provings to clinical trials and therefore they think in absolutes. They think “This is the complete remedy”. But it cannot be. A proving is just a suggestion for materia medica. At best any proving can only be 80%-90% correct, there is always going to be some noise. You can’t avoid that. Sometimes you just can’t find out whether the prover had a headache because he ate something with MSG, or if it was due to the proving.
The second thing. Consider this; I did a proving of Dama dama, which is the fallow deer. We got a picture. Two months later my wife comes and tells me that she wants to do a proving too, so I give her Dama dama. During the proving she changed completely, and she started painting the side of the bath tub with small fishes for eight hours! My wife has never painted before, she doesn’t like painting. And she certainly could not do it for eight hours on our bath tub. She developed a fine appreciation of art that she never had before. She is not a refined art connoisseur and suddenly she wanted all the pictures out of the house saying that they are rubbish….the pictures that she chose. Now, and this is clinically verified, I have seen patients with a similar desire to paint and refined art taste doing very well on Dama dama according to this and other indications! Now if she wasn’t in the proving, we wouldn’t have that aspect, meaning the original document would not be the whole remedy. With every prover we add or subtract from the proving, the result will change, so you can never say that a proving is a final 100% remedy picture. But it is the best base to start constructing a materia medica, there is nothing that comes close to it!
So with every proving that you have, the picture is going to change. You can’t say that this is the complete final 100% document. You can put it forward to the community and say “Look, this is what I have got at stage one.” Now take it away, let’s confirm, let’s see what’s valid and what is invalid over 5 to 10 years. Because some people are more scientifically minded, they are trying to make it so scientifically tight, that they are going to lose a lot of important symptoms, because they are so worried that something will come in that does not belong to the remedy. But they lose much more then they gain. They are filtering too much and too early, this is not the stage of final filter. The result is that these over scientific provings are flat and unusable.
MB: Is your wife your prover number 32?
JS: No. that’s my magic prover, she proves the very deepest level of the substance, the CM level. My wife is also an excellent prover, but on a different level. She brings out the emotional side. Every prover proves on a different level, on different affinities or areas of the being, and they are all valuable.
Now I just want to answer your second question. The question about repertory. The problem is, the proving organizers try to repertorize it themselves. They want to give it to the repertories, because they are justifiably proud of their provings. They start repertorising and they repertorise everything…every cross on the ‘t’ and the dot on the ‘i’, every little symptom. The result is that they flood the repertory with new minor and unconfirmed symptoms. Therefore you get a disproportion in the remedy balance, new provings that are over-represented. I made the same mistake with Hydrogen. And suddenly I saw that every case I was repertorising is Hydrogen. I went back and I reduced all the symptoms by one degree and I removed all that I was not sure of. Since then my policy for adding new provings to the repertory is to use only the minimal amount of definite and meaningful symptoms so that people can use the remedy while we gain knowledge about it. If we don’t add it to the repertory the remedy will never be used, but if we add too much it is disproportionate. We should add the main symptoms and then increase based on our clinical experience and confirmation. .
The same problem, from a different aspect is that certain proving organizers send the proving to the repertory companies to do the repertorisation. The advantage is that these companies have a very good knowledge of the repertory, but without a deep understanding the proving. So they also take every symptom and repertorize it. The result is the same. Therefore I have adapted a new method, where I mark all the symptoms that I think are relevant to the repertory and I give this to the repertory company. I don’t do it myself because these repertory companies know the repertory much better than I do, they are the experts. But I have an understanding of the proving, what’s meaningful and what’s definite in the proving. It needs cooperation and it needs to be kept minimal. So you see my later provings, like Germanium or Neon or Haliaeetus won’t come up every time you repertorise. You will get them occasionally. If they do appear, it is in a good proportion. Over the years I add confirmations, building it up.
MB: I think you are also building up a database of all the provings on a website. Can you tell us something about that project?
JS:Many interesting things are happening in the proving world. For many years we have had a database on my website where proving organizers register their proving details and contact information. We have redone the proving database on www.provings.com and are registering new provings daily- there are now over 700. If someone has done a new proving it is important to register it so everyone knows they have been done. We also now have a facility for uploading the full proving text, so there are many provings you can read online. Therefore I appeal to those doing provings to register and even upload their provings on the site.
It has been 11 years since I published the first edition of ‘The Dynamics and Methodology of Homoeopathic Provings,’ and it is wonderful to see so many provings done on a constant basis.
MB: Another problem that we often come across these days is that the source of the drug and the mythology associated with it is often projected onto the proving. So is that the right approach? We get a book on proving and half of the book is about the projection, not on the proving. And even the symptoms are analyzed in respect to the projection.
JS: I agree, this is a big problem. Your question about whether this is right or wrong depends upon the sequence. It is not that we should ignore the substance, as some homeopaths advocate. Of course we need to know that Lachesis comes from a snake, and it is highly relevant to understanding the remedy. The mistake that is often made is in the point of view, the sequence. Let’s say someone does a proving of tiger. And now they are thinking tiger and they are looking at the proving through the spectacles of a tiger and its mythology, and they highlight everything that looks like tiger. They make this a major theme, for example “Isn’t it wonderful that the patient had a dream of a tiger, they wanted to jump, and they wore a striped pajama.”. They are fascinated by the fact that the source shows in the proving, but this breeds a really simplistic and superficial ‘signature’ view of homoeopathy. The mistake is viewing the proving through the eyes of source; it should be the other way around. You look through the proving as the primary factor. First study the proving and understand its message, and then try to understand the deeper aspects of the source through that understanding. Maybe you will find some symptoms that fit the source, and that’s interesting, but really not the most interesting. What is much more fascinating are the symptoms that do not immediately match the source, the analogies that are produced, the unexpected rather than the expected. This is the realm of analogy and it is homeopathy at its most profound. Like the hedgehog in Chocolate. We can’t ignore the source because if you are proving a tiger, it has its significance, but we need to learn the deeper aspects. It depends where you start from in your analysis. So when I get such provings, it makes me despair slightly, because it is so predictable, we are not learning the deeper aspects.
MB: And this theme is then extended to the families and kingdoms…
JS: Kingdom is a nice idea and I am sure it works at a certain level. But it is not the highest form of homeopathy, it reduces us back to signature. I find it limiting and constrictive. I feel it is ignoring the higher potency of perception, aspects that transcend kingdoms, the world of simple substance where all the kingdoms mix, Why does the eagle appear in Helium, the leopard in Krypton, the tiger in the Adamas, the hedgehog in Chocolate, the platypus in Brassica? Why does the animal in the abdomen come up in Thuja, why did the rats appear in Calcarea? Why does Tarantula see colours of plants. Because there is a cross analogy between the kingdoms. I don’t think heaven is arranged as per animals, plants and minerals. It’s all mixed in the spiral of information, the Akashic records. We are working in the world of analogy. Homeopathy is about analogy, and this is its great power.
In fact I prefer to give something from a different kingdom than what the patient looks like. If a patient comes in and they are barking like a dog and they want to bite you, they are growling and aggressive and salivating, what would you give them? To me it looks like Belladonna or Hyoscyamus. I won’t give them Lyssin. The proving of Lyssin is very different. That means many plants bring out animals, many animals bring out plants. If you look at rubrics such as violent, escape, suspicious and jealous, you will get plants coming up, you will get minerals coming up.
MB: Probably more plants …
JS: Mostly plants, then minerals and very few animals! So it’s over simplistic to say that this is this and represents the animal kingdom. As I said, I prefer that it is another kingdom, because analogy is the game of homeopathy. Isopathy is a very weak form of homeopathy and there are reasons why this is so. For instance, if there is a lady sitting here and I tell her: “Your hair is brown, your lips are red, and your nose is a nice 90 degree angle” – she wouldn’t be very impressed. But if I say “Your hair is like the autumn leaves, your eyes are like almond lakes and your mouth is like the pomegranate flower”…that might get her interested. Homeopathy is analogy, like poetry, art and music, it’s working by giving something different and not the same thing. That’s what makes homeopathy powerfully profound, because analogy is more profound than the sames. I am not saying that if you have general suspicious nature, aggressive behaviors etc., then an animal remedy won’t work. It will work just as many levels of similarity work in homeopathy. But by actually using more distant analogy, you will get a deeper response because you are moving futher away from isopathy into homoeopathy
MB: There is such a wide variety of energy levels even within each kingdom …like not every plant is flexible, not every plant is sensitive. Not every animal is fast. What about the sloth, the slowest animal?
JS: Absolutely. Many minerals are as sensitive as plants, many minerals as aggressive as animals, many animals have plant aspects.
Let me give another example that relates to kingdom. We just did a proving in my class in Minnesota. And there was this theory that some people said that if the master prover knows the substance, he will inflict it to others through his consciousness. I said okay, I will not know the substance. I chose three remedies – one animal, one mineral, and one plant, and the proving remedy was chosen randomly by the pharmacist, without me knowing. After the proving we heard all the provers’ stories and I asked, “You have seen the proving, you have heard the stories. Now tell me which kingdom you think the remedy belongs to”. 70% said mineral, 30% animal. Not one said plant. It turned out to be a wild rice.
In all my provings I have rarely seen the provers guessing the substance or even the kingdom correctly. So if the provers cannot guess what it is, how can you guess correctly in a case? Provings bring out a new world of images, not what we expect.
That is one thing that I like in a proving, when you bring the animal out of the plant or plant out of the animal. Just like inside every male, there is a female; inside every female, there is a male. I think that inside every plant, there is an animal, inside every animal there is a plant, inside every mineral there is a plant and an animal …they all have a variety of opposite information inside. This is why what comes out in the proving is always a surprise.
So if you want to call homeopathy a science, start with a proving, without expectation or prejudice, without hoping that it will ‘show the substance’. Then build on that proving, synthesizing it to ‘as if it was one person’, perceiving the hidden meanings. Work with it clinically, make a picture. Take out symptoms that are irrelevant. Then make a better picture. Then we get the best materia medica.
I can understand that people look for shortcuts to finding new remedies, because maybe we don’t have enough remedies. But these shortcuts should be used with caution; shortcuts often prove to be the long hard way in the end.
MB: Recently I have been discussing the provings with Jan. I asked him why he doesn’t confirm what he has been projecting synthetically through proving, and he said a couple of things. One, he gave your reference that you have proved a couple of remedies from the periodic table and you have found symptoms that confirm what he has synthesized. And he said that he doesn’t believe that the provings are the thing to do, because they take a lot of time and there is a lot of noise in them. And there is no way to decide what is noise and what is the real symptom.
JS: I will start by saying that I highly respect Jan and his work and dedication, but I strongly disagree with these statements. First of all, because provings take lot of time doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do provings. What we are doing now is for generations to come, and if we don’t build it on a firm solid base, where would we be? When it comes to the healing arts, the fact that provings take a lot of time should not be an issue. We have got our materia medica, our heritage, from our ancestors hard work, suffering and time, and it is only right we should carry on with that.
Secondly, Jan built his whole hypothesis on the base of provings. If he didn’t have the provings of Aurum, Sulphur, Calcarea, Ferrum, Magnesia etc, he would never have been able to build the materia medica that he does. It is also true that I gave him many of my provings to help him with his work, and I am happy that this is so. But we should not throw stones in the well we drink out of.
Thirdly, the pictures that Jan produces, accurate or not accurate, are only a very small percentage of what comes up in the provings, a fraction. So while my provings occasionally verify his finding, I cannot say that his findings verify more than a small portion of the proving. He may give a hypothetical essence for Krypton which is interesting and useful, but this is very limited and partial aspect of the full picture. It revolves around the stages of a project, and this is only a small aspect of life. When you do a proving you get a picture which is so much more accurate, complex and multi dimensional.
I have compared my provings with Jan’s pictures. There is no comparison to the breadth and accuracy of a proving. This in no way negates Jan’s work, which I value, but I cannot accept his negation of provings, which surprises me. It is useful to have his ideas if you don’t have the proving. For instance when you want to give Zirconium. You think some patient may need it. There is no proving, so I will refer to Jan’s work, and that is great. But today I saw the new proving of Zirconium from Andreas Bjorndal of Norway, it elevates the understanding of the remedy by many degrees, a much more profound and broad picture.
Regarding noise, meaning random symptoms that happen during the proving and don’t belong to it, this is a minor problem. Noise is only a very small percent of symptoms. From my 30 provings I haven’t found noise to be a problem. In fact it is the opposite. Many symptoms that I thought were noise later proved to be very significant. You can eliminate most of the noise in the filtering process. There is much more noise in cases than in the provings.
Once you have done the proving you can’t compare the quality of information. Without a proving you are not going to get any strange, rare and peculiar symptoms because you can never guess these things. If it is rare and strange by definition it defies logic, so no way to guess! Without this information the remedies are difficult to use. Homeopaths today look for generalizations, like the kingdoms or periodic table or plant families, various classifications which are generalizations. But the more you generalize, the less individual, strange and peculiar symptoms you are going to get. A strange symptom is one that only few people have. By generalizing you will only get the common denominator and you will lose important information. I am not saying that generalizations should be thrown out, but to claim that this is the only way forward and we should neglect provings is shortsighted. There should be a balanced harmony between generalizing and the individual and unique provings.
You can’t guess that Pomegranate is going to make big herpes on the lips or feel that she is a saint. You cannot guess that Sapphire will have images of parrots, or that Plutonium will have delusion of bats and profuse nose bleeds which they want to drink. It’s strange, rare and peculiar.
Jan once said in a conference that provings are not accurate, and gave an example of the proving of Lycopodium, which he claimed does not have ‘dictatorial’ in it. He said it is nothing like the picture of Lycopodium that we have today. But this is misleading. First of all, in the proving of Lycopodium it says, ‘reproachful, presumptuous and imperious’, that is the same as dictatorial. Number two, the fact that people don’t know or use the original proving of Lycopodium doesn’t mean that it is not valid. Some homeopaths may be using a modern essence of Lycopodium, but it does not invalidate the proving. If they have not read or prescribed on the proving, how would they know it is invalid? And third, there would never be a modern essence of Lycopodium if we did not have the original proving to base it on in the first place.
Again, to me, it’s a matter of sequence. I am not saying proving is the only thing. I like to use all sources of information. I agree with what Massimo said at the conference, we should use proving, source, mythology, clinical experience, hypothesis, families – it all has to be used, and I do. But there is a sequence and the sequence is much better if it is built upon a solid base. Proving, then understanding the proving, and then bring in all the rest. If you start shaky, you can go anywhere and create whatever picture you want.
Also this. Provings are our tradition. We are a science that is built on provings. Homeopathy is also a shamanic medicine, and one of the principles is trying your own medicine. Hering said that you can not consider yourself a homoeopath without partaking in provings, and I agree. It is the way to learn, about ourselves, remedies, nature, the universe.
MB: Another new thing that we often see these days in assessment at conferences and seminars is that the way a patient reacts is linked to the source of the remedy. Like the patient ‘pounced like a tiger’ or ‘flew like an eagle’. So do you see that kind of change in gestures and movements during provings or is it very derivative?
JS: Occasionally you see it. For example, in the Eagle proving you see desire to fly, desire to be on top of a mountain, dreams of flying etc. The thing is that I don’t think it is the most interesting information. It is interesting, but that is not my first priority. All you are doing here is saying ‘Wow, provings can produce a similar picture to the animal.’ What I am interested in is what I did not expect. For example Eagle produces an amazing perspective on good and evil, it has dreams of trains and fascinations with parallel lines, it has obsessive compulsive behaviour. I didn’t expect these things, so that is what is interesting to me. Otherwise why would I do a proving? Just to prove that they can bring out similar issues as the source? We already know that.
MB: I have seen this use of a particular part of an animal in proving a remedy. They just get the most easily procurable part of the animal and they potentise it and give it to the patient. But wouldn’t there be a difference in the proving, if we prove a Tiger’s urine, a Tiger’s milk, a Tiger’s bone or the whole of a Tiger.
JS: Definitely. They are different provings. I know this from many experiences. For an example, there are at provings of two eagles and they are very different. One I did was from blood and another from the feather was done by Divya Chabra. The part taken makes a big difference. This goes for plants too- The proving is very different if you use the root or the leaves. This is one of the problems in families. If some of the remedies in a family come from the plant root and others from the stem or flowers or fruit, to my mind this makes a bigger difference then the family, and you will only see the true picture through a proving. Take Phytolacca as an example. This is one of my provings, published in the Dynamic Materia Medica of Syphilis. If you study it you will find many root themes, and very different from other remedies in the family.
MB: And what about the life themes. Can we get a remedy out of the life themes? Like, if a patient has had an issue with her mother, you give a ‘muriaticum’. If there were problems related to father, you give a ‘carbonicum’.
JS: I personally find the idea superficial. It doesn’t work for me and I don’t use it.
MB: Ok. You have talked about poetry twice in this interview and I have read some very beautiful poems in your book Syphilis. What is the inspiration? I am asking you, because I know you were a rogue. And being a rogue and poetry doesn’t seem to go well together.
JS: On the contrary, I think some of the best poets were rogues. Poets are rogues by nature because you need a little bit of passion to be a rogue …the passion of freedom, to sing your song. I think poetry is one of the closest things to homeopathy because it has similar principles. For instance poetry is based on the principle of analogy, which is similar to homoeopathy. Also the principle of less is more. With prose, you use a lot of words, but with poetry you keep it to a minimum. So poetry reaches deep into the being, much deeper than prose. A poem is like a potentised remedy to the right person and acts like a similimum.
I was bored by reading many of the long lectures in our materia medica, so I thought of condensing mine into poems. They can be more effective by hitting the spot.
Apart from all that, my wife is my inspiration.
MB: That’s great!
Another thing I wondered about is that you seem to often mention Tarot cards in your presentations. Where does that come from?
JS: It’s not me. I don’t know the Tarot. The provers bring it out in dreams and incidences that happen to them, so I talk about Tarot in that context. But I don’t know Tarot, I am sorry to say, because it is an amazing tool.
MB: I was wondering that if you do use Tarot, then is there a metaphysical side to you too like Hahnemann had?
JS: There is a metaphysical side to me of course. You can’t avoid that with homeopathy. Kent says ‘You cannot divorce Medicine and Theology’. So I use many metaphysical tools. But Tarot is not my game. I use Kabala because it’s something that I know a little bit more about. I use the I Ching, Taoist philosophy, Shamanism, omens etc. But Greek mythology is very difficult for me to connect to. I cannot remember who Prometheus was, it just doesn’t stick. . Whereas I can use the Bible, it’s closer to home. Many provings bring out these connections.
So I am very metaphysical but I like to keep my feet on the ground, and give a solid base to the metaphysics, otherwise you just fly off like a cloud.
MB: I have read your connection with Tai-chi and Chinese philosophy and your school is also called Dynamis, the vital force. So what is the vital force for you?
JS: You know it’s very interesting. According to my understanding of Hahnemann’s vital force, it is an animalistic, stupid, automatic soldier that has no thinking of its own and often makes terrible mistakes.
MB: Is it the soul or is it the energy?
JS: It is not the soul. Because if it were the soul it would be intelligent. In health the vital force is one with the soul, so it is endowed with intelligence. And likewise in acute disease. But in chronic disease the vital force is disconnected from the higher intelligence, and hence it makes mistakes. Hahnemann says this in various places, for instance Paragraph 72. He says that the vital force is imperfect, unsuitable and useless. People tend to say the vital force is intelligent, because they are learning from Kent’s philosophy. But Kent says this in his discussion about Paragraph 9, which is a discussion about the vital force in health. In disease the first thing to go stupid is the vital force. It starts heading up the wrong road.
All chronic diseases are essentially auto-immune. In every chronic disease the vital force is working in the wrong direction. After that manifesting a real autoimmune disease is a matter of time. The vital force suddenly turns stupid because it is the lower form of intelligence, and in disease it is disconnected from higher information.
Kent says that the vital force is the vice president of the soul. The soul is the higher intelligence and it is connected to the higher intelligence of the universe. The vital force is the soldier. The problem happens when the communication between the soul and the vital force goes wrong. It’s like a soldier who is very efficient but is fighting the wrong war because it has lost communication with the general.
So now the vital force has low intelligence, animal intelligence, and it needs the connection with the super-human soul. In Thuja when the soul leaves the body, there is an animal left in the abdomen. That animal is the vital force, not capable of thinking in a high way for itself. And the superconscious soul is looking from above and reproaching the poor stupid animal. At the same time the lower vital force says, I am under the super human control and the soul thinks that there is an ugly animal below.
The vital force is fighting a problem that doesn’t exist any more. And in that, it is taking all the resources and going in the wrong direction. If it can get reconnected to the emperor, it will turn in the right direction and resume an intelligent battle.
In health the communication of intelligence is all the way from above down -God, simple substance, the soul, the vital force, the nervous system – everything is intelligent. There is no separation. In disease there is disconnection, they start functioning in separate directions.
MB: Can you share your opinion on the concept of miasm – whether it is valid or not and whether there are three miasms, four miasms, or seven miasms. What is your perception of this concept?
JS: It is a big question. Are they valid? They might be valid. Is it used according to the way Hahnemann designed it? I think not. Hahnemann says very clearly that he didn’t choose miasms as a gimmick to find the remedy. As soon as people hear about the concept of miasms, they think, oh, another gimmick to find the remedy. Hahnemann says this is not the idea. Miasms are a road map, designed to tell you whether you are on the psoric road, the sycotic road or the syphilitic road. In which group of remedies you should be working? What kind of disease do you have? But that is not a great help in finding the remedy, just like finding whether the patient is a hot patient or a cold patient minimizes the search for a remedy by 50% at best. So if you say a patient is syphilitic, we still have a few hundred remedies to choose from. Miasms are meant to see how to navigate your boat through the chronic disease. And that’s why the book Chronic Disease has two sides to it. One, the follow-up prescription and long term case management, and two, the Miasms.
Miasms is the sea in which you are navigating the boat. In which sea are you – is it the Mediterranean, the Pacific or the Indian Ocean? Otherwise it’s difficult to tell what’s happening. The miasms are also a concept to understand whether we are progressing towards the cure. What happens if the picture suddenly changes drastically from one miasm to another after a few prescriptions? So I think Hahnemann’s miasms were very deep and philosophically amazing. Hahnemann’s definition of Psora, as I understand, is where everybody sees a different aspect of truth, through the eyes of their identity and prejudice. It’s like the blind men and the elephant – one feels a leg, another feels the trunk. So the aim of curing the Psora is that everyone shares the same great truth. Still holding diversity but all coming from one general truth – no more war, no more famines, no more hate, no more jealousy, no more division. So philosophically this is an important concept and it has practical ramifications, but it is not a great gimmick for finding the remedy.
Are there three or more miasms? By definition miasms belong to chronic disease. Therefore, strictly speaking in Hahnemann’s terms, miasms can not be acute infections like typhus which is an acute disease. So a typhus classification may be a valid concept, but by Hahnemann’s definition you can’t call an acute disease a miasm. It is an epidemic. Miasms are chronic, while epidemics are acute. It is important what you call it, since the definition has a philosophical base and leads to certain actions. We should use words precisely.
As to the number of miasms, people divide things in many ways, and they are all valid in terms of case analysis. You can divide any case by 3, 4, or 5 or 10 ways depending upon the system of analysis that you use. You can use Ayurveda and divide by 3 elements, you can use Chinese medicine and divide by 5 elements. You can use I-ching and divide by 6; you can use Kabala and divide by 10. You are free to choose how you cut the cake. .
In my book on Syphilis, what I explore is the essence of a miasm. It’s very difficult to get the essence of miasms from cases. When you see a case in class and ask what miasm it is, no one agrees. People will identify 3 miasms in most cases. Defining miasms by abstract philosophical terms such as destruction or lack of function is also tricky, often too airy.
So I decided that the purest form of miasmatic study was to be found in the materia medica. Therefore I chose 11 purely syphilitic remedies, Aurum, Mercury etc. I explored the most profound understanding of each remedy. Then I found the common denominator of all, and so I synthesized a concept of the syphilitic miasm. Of course as you go to the common denominator, you go to much simpler things. It is a long and fascinating journey, and the conclusion of the book is a drawing, just one simple drawing.
MB: It’s a beautiful book. Usually books on materia medica are not supposed to be read in one sitting, but when I got your book, I read it in one sitting.
JS: I appreciate that! I was trying to escape the tedious norm of materia medica.
MB: Yes, it’s very nice. Every remedy is presented in a different way.
You have just come out with another project, Repertory of Mental Qualities. Can you tell us some thing more about it?
JS: It evolved from a practical need. It is based on the Boenninghausen method of general rubrics, but on the mental level. So if you know you have a patient who talks of snakes and dreams of snakes and you have to decide which rubric to take, whether this is ‘delusion, snake’, ‘fear, snake’ or something else, you just use my general rubric ‘snakes; which should contain every remedy that has any issue to do with snakes. The same with money. The patient says that “I need a lot of money”. Why do you want lot of money – so you will be rich or so you will not be poor? And he dreams of gold at night. Difficult to differentiate. So I take all the remedies which have any issue about money and make one super rubric – a Boenninghausen rubric. Then if I have got any money issue that is prominent in the case I can use the rubric ‘money’ with 98% confidence that the remedy is in there. I have made other rubrics that I think are useful to the modern day practitioner, such a ‘low self esteem’, ‘failure’, ‘obsessive compulsive’, ‘water’ ‘animals’ ‘victims’ ‘knives’ etc. So if people have some water issue like dreams of water or desire to jump into a sea, you will find the remedy in the ‘water’ rubric. This is like working with affinities. So if I have a case that has issues of perfectionism, money and bones, then I have two rubrics from my repertory and one bone affinity from Boenninghausen or a similar repertory, three super rubrics which result in 30-40 remedies. Now I can work with that. I can look at those 30 remedies and find the one that matches the case in no time. So it makes it easier and safer. We have put an emphasis on quality. Each remedy has been checked personally by me and at least one other homeopath.
I have also distilled in each of these rubrics those remedies that have the theme in a very intense and qualitative way. And in this I have tried to emulate Phatak’s Repertory. I love Phatak, his work. At the moment this repertory is available with RADAR as a repertory program.
MB: What about your case taking software ?
JS: My software is for case taking. It’s a tool for homeopaths. For 25 years I used to think that it’s not good to type a case, that I should write the cases by hand. After 25 years I said, my goodness, because by that time, I had two rooms in my house full with filing cabinets and I was losing cases all the time, or I could not read my own writing. Every day I had to take the cases out, take them to other clinics, fly with them, and file them again. It took a long time to access each case. In short it was no longer practical.
I started typing my cases and I realized that life is so much easier. The computer doesn’t come in between you and the patient. I can actually relate to the patient better when I type. A common mistake is that people think that you have to look at the patient all the time. It’s actually very uncomfortable for the patent if I one looks in their eyes all the time. And the homeopath gets stressed out and tired. So now I type and I look, type and look – at the right moments. Of course most people today can type very well, everyone does email.
Now you can type in a word processor but it’s not very useful for homeopaths. The Case taker is designed for homeopaths. It has homeopathic dictionaries, medical books, homeopathic short cuts, homeopathic auto-complete. It makes typing much easier and more efficient for the homeopath. And it has an index feature where you can index the case and easily see the main features on the follow-ups. You don’t have forms or have to choose in which section to type the case. You just type what the patient says and the software automatically classifies symptoms in generals, mind, dreams, particulars, food affinities etc, so it’s easier to manage the information and the case. When you come back to a case after two months, you can see at a glance what the main issues were. The Case-taker does not think for you. It just lays out the information so that you can process it in a better way. This results in a more efficient practice.
Another great feature is you can view two or more follow ups at the same time, it is very convenient. If you use a word processor, you have to have a few files open at the same time and switch back and forth from one to another, or you must scroll up and down. So in the Casetaker you have the index with which you can jump from subject to subject in the first consultation while writing in the second consultation at the same time. This software is designed by homeopaths for homeopaths. It’s not about finding the remedy. It’s about taking a good case, recording a good case, helping to analyse and understand the case, and helping to manage your practice well.
MB: Jeremy, you were living in UK but your roots are in Israel.
JS: My roots are in Israel. Now I spend time in both.
MB: So, we know what is happening in UK. There is a lot of debate going on about Homeopathy. What is happening in Israel? Is there any homeopathy there?
JS:Israel is very good on homeopathy. The alternative system is very well represented and integrated into the mainstream medicine. All the health insurance companies pay for alternative practitioners. I just lectured at a conference on alternative medicine and 600 conventional doctors came. And that is in a country of 6 million people.
Many hospitals have an alternative medicine department. It’s a very forward thinking country and people are open to alternative medicine. So it’s pretty good compared to other countries. There is no systematic attack on homeopathy. Since I have been to Israel, I have been on the radio two or three times, and also on the television.
The UK is a different matter. As you pointed out in your recent and excellent email. There is an orchestrated attack on homoeopathy in the UK, and the results are devastating. Homeopathy became so successful that the pharmaceuticals got scared and began funding all kind of people to attack homeopathy. It is vital we act together about this issue, because it is just the beginning. I fully support your campaign and I hope this will be the beginning of a response, because until now the response has been very sleepy.
MB: Today when you were closing the conference, you were very optimistic about the future of homeopathy. What future do you see for homeopathy in practical terms, considering the current scenario where there is a current against homeopathy, a wave against homeopathy?
JS: I can’t say I was totally optimistic. I was also looking at the pessimistic side. If we play it right we will move ahead. If we don’t play it right, we will fail. Homeopathy is in a precarious position now. To my mind these attacks are coordinated by very powerful organizations. The market is big and it attracts attention. If demand for homeopaths goes down, as it has, then the numbers in school go down and everything else with it. If people can’t make money out of it, then it’s difficult to practice.
On the other hand the grass roots movement is very strong. My message today was that we need to work on all aspects of homoeopathy- foundation schools, good solid education, research, third world work, epidemics, funding and publicity, politics, celebrities who use homeopathy, newspapers, TV, books. We need to give it everything we have, and it would be better if we did it as a harmonized body.
MB: Yes, in UK they have just made a survey of SOH members and the results are that most homeopaths there are seeing less than 10 patients in a week.
JS: Yes, things are very difficult. They are not making a living. Maybe the reason for this is that the number of schools grew too quickly. There was no organic slow growth. Suddenly there were too many schools, too many homeopaths, and not enough patients. Secondly, the attacks have taken a toll.
There is a problem because in England we are not getting the young people studying homeopathy as a first career. We have excellent people coming into homeopathy as a second career, especially mothers. That’s a wonderful, intelligent and experienced resource, but we also need the power of the young academics. In Homeopathy it is difficult to begin a practice because you need much more patients than osteopathy, acupuncture or conventional medicine. You see a patient once every six weeks whereas others get to see the patient every week or twice a week, so it is easier for them to build up the numbers. It can take 2-3 years for a homoeopath to build up a practice.
It’s time to work the system. We must do proper research and a lot of it and show the world that homeopathy works. In spite of all the recent research, they continue to claim there is no evidence. We have to push it in their face, in the papers, in the television. That can make a difference.
MB: …and good provings!
JS: Yes good provings too. But above all, we need to move together as a group. What you are doing is great. Your ezine helps us to move together, to become more known. But we need also to go to the outside world too. We have to improve our research and bring it to the outside world. I have been doing some research along with colleagues on the mechanisms of provings. But my biggest interest is in researching homeopathic treatment of AIDS. I’m in the process of setting up a research in Africa and although getting the money for it is challenging, I am eager to do it because I think it will show homeopathy’s ability to treat this serious disease.
If you want to make an impact, you need to have air-tight research. There is lots of research coming in but people outside of homeopathy don’t know about it. It needs effort from the whole community in all those areas. Then I will be optimistic.
MB: I also hope that the whole community will come together on these issues in spite of the differences in the ways we practice. We will be able to come together and stand together in the face of the threat that we are facing from outside.
And finally, how old are your olive trees now.
JS: My olive trees are the same age as my Homeopathy. When I was living in Israel and I bought my land in 1979, I decided to study homeopathy. I had to decide what I should do before leaving for the UK – build a house or plant olive trees? I decided trees are better than a house. So I planted 60 trees 28 years ago and I went to study homeopathy. And that’s how old my trees are. And I did a proving of the olives from my area, which is very fascinating, a reflection of world peace. The olive is a symbol of nourishment and peace, and this is my wish for global homoeopathy.
MB: Thank you Jeremy for your valuable thoughts. I hope our readers will pause and ponder on what you have said. I really appreciate your thoughts and your wisdom. Thank you for being in our Hot-seat.
JS: Thank you very much! I appreciate it.
(Thank you to Tina Quirk for her help in editing this interview.