Jeremy Sherr – 2

bhatia sherr

Part II of a very exciting and thought-provoking interview with Jeremy Sherr, conducted at Heidelberg, Germany.

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.


About the author

Dr. Manish Bhatia

Dr. Manish Bhatia

- BHMS, BCA, M.Sc Homeopathy (UK), CICH (Greece)
- Ass. Professor, Organon & Homeopathic Philosophy, SKH Medical College, Jaipur
- Founder Director of
- Editor, Homeopathy 4 Everyone
- Member, Advisory Board, Homeopathic Links
- Co-author - Homeopathy and Mental Health Care: Integrative Practice, Principles and Research
- Author - Lectures on Organon of Medicine vol 1 & 2. CCH Approved. (English, German, Bulgarian)
- Awardee - Raja Pajwan Dev Award for Excellence in the Field of Medicine; APJ Abdul Kalam Award for Excellence in Homeopathy Education
- For consultation, seminars or clinical training, write to [email protected]

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