Peter Raba, born in 1936, studied German language and literature, dramatics and psychology. He works as a homeopath, therapist and artist. He practices and teaches homeopathy and has written numerous books on homeopathy and related subjects. www.peter-raba.de , www.peter-raba-photo.de, www.andromeda-buch.de.
KS: Welcome to Hpathy, Peter! It is a great pleasure for me to interview you for our Hpathy Ezine on Sleep and Dreams. We look forward to you sharing your wisdom and insights with us. You have studied German philology, psychology and dramatics, and worked as a photographer and producer. Art has been part of your life for a long time. What lead you to include homeopathy in your healing practice?
Dreaming female (© Peter Raba)
PR: Dear Katja, first let me thank you for your invitation to contribute to Hpathy. To answer your question, it is by no means so that I included homeopathy into an existing practice. After having recognized the possibilities of Hahnemann’s “spirit-like remedies” in a flash I rather came to the decision to give my life once again a new direction, by becoming a therapist and dedicating myself to this art of healing with all my heart. With the first treatment successes I realized that many patients were faced with intra-psychic conflicts during therapy which they had formerly lived out on the physical level. So, the necessity of integrating certain additional psychotherapeutic techniques such as Gestalt, NLP, and active dream work into the practice arose.
My maternal ancestors were all physicians. Although they had made a name for themselves based on exceptional writings and from their work as famous surgeons or psychiatrists, I disliked my mother’s wish to follow the family tradition by studying medicine. I answered that “something is missing with this type of medicine” but I couldn’t say what at that time.
The missing link of today’s medicine
I turned towards art and a second aspect started to interest me more and more, the shadow side of the human soul. The topic of my dissertation already dealt with this. It was: The Situation of The Modern Shadow Play. However, it hasn’t been published because my doctoral adviser and mentor died shortly before my graduation. Thereafter I soon started working for television. By means of a one-man show given in Munich’s town museum and the Vienna’s secession I became famous as a photographer almost over night. The exhibition of unusual black-and-white images under the theme of Eva & He – a paradisiacal fantasy, again dealt partly with the shadow sides of the soul.
Eva & He (© Peter Raba)
When they published my now famous photograph of a young woman in which one half of her face appeared to be of a tiger, it should have been clear to me which path of life was programmed into my genes. The side of the tiger lying in the unconscious and which constitutes the libidinal side of man, could only be expressed in photography by means of a double exposure on a diapositive. After receiving several orders for this type of work I created the expression PAN-OPTIC for it.
PAN-OPTIC: Tigerlady (© Peter Raba)
After a few years of working as a commercial and fashion photographer I became ill and nobody from modern, academic medicine could help me. As if caused by providential guidance I came upon the book “The New Perception Of Healing Art” written by the famous Swiss homeopathic physician, Adolf Voegeli. That was the beginning of recognizing the possibilities of potentized, homeopathic remedies.
Information and information carrier
Suddenly it became clear: Homeopathy goes far beyond treating patients with globuli and dilutions of highly potentized remedies. It relies on the fundamental, cosmic law of resonance of similar vibrations and their characteristics in the form of similar phenomena. It acts in all areas of existence and is not bound to the exchange of matter. The master Samuel Hahnemann, called this the “spirit-like action of remedies”, which is still not understood nowadays, even though we are living in an era where information is transmitted via several information carriers. Also, the brains of obstinate agnostics can’t grasp that non-material information can be transmitted to the material carrier of milk sugar globules. When producing a CD or DVD a similar process is used thousands of times a day. Nobody would dare to claim that the piece of music stored on the CD carrier doesn’t exist just because the chemist can’t find it upon investigation.
Apart from this, in many places a type of primitive homeopathy is practiced according to the laws of curative similarity, without those people ever having heard about homeopathy. Just think of the Bedouins, who drink hot tea in the hot desert and not cold Coca Cola to satisfy their thirst.
Homeopathy – a cosmic law of cure
Therefore the title of my first book inevitably became: “Homeopathy – the cosmic healing law” which became a standard work.
When viewing my life retrospectively I can say that my path lead from the outer pictures and stage direction of the movie actors and photography to the inner pictures of the soul and the stage direction of the conscious processes. Today I know that a good homeopath has to master not just the materia medica – with its many aspects. He also has to have knowledge of the impact of miasms and be aware of the possibilities given by a careful repertorization. For me, it was also necessary to include into my work, Jan Scholten’s approach of the periodic table.
However, these all remain mere instruments, similar to the techniques of a pianist who performs the work of a composer simply by using his dexterity. But that doesn’t say anything about how much he understands the personality of the composer and could understand his work.
As computer repertorization is subject to certain limitations, I’ve already long since departed from it. Background symptoms and connections stored in the computer of my own brain when I am treating one of my patients, are not listed in the repertories. Those who really want to enter into the depth of the true healing art and not merely want to scratch on the surface of symptoms have to study the depths of the human soul where originate the disturbances of human well-being which we call disease.
Of course, in one way or another, this finally always relates to the deviation from the order of the divine creation as given by the so-called Seven Hermetic Principles. In my books The Cosmic Healing Law, Eros and Sexual Energy through Homeopathy (in the chapters about the seven deathly sins) this is described in detail.
Homeopathy is the cryptology of the soul
Therefore a homeopath interested in treating the cause, should also be an archaeologist delving into the pathology of the soul of his patients. He should learn to develop an intuition for recognizing the reason for the patient’s derailment from his personal. Furthermore, he should keep an eye on the disturbing factors in the patient’s outer life which might impede his cure. From all this results the first prescription. If the patient should dream more intensely afterwards we can assume this to be a sign that the remedy was a good choice.
At best the good homeopath should also be a type of a cryptologist of the soul who is able to work through the patients dream with him, after the remedy. I say “to work through” intentionally and do not mean “to interpret them”. Only the patient himself can interpret them. However, for this he often needs the support of a trained therapist who is familiar with techniques from Gestalt therapy and NLP. He views himself as a guide in the patient’s processes of recognizing the meaning of her dreams. I have described these techniques, including several case studies in my book Homeopathy and the life of dreams.
The use of books interpreting dreams is unnecessary, as in most cases the symbolism of the metaphors in relation to the personal dream, is different for each person.
On the conveyor of life (© Peter Raba)
KS: Working with dreams is a large part of your practice. Why is dream work of so much benefit in homeopathic practice?
Dreams are psychic-homeopathic analogies
PR: Our dreams are the key to understanding the desires of our soul, and how we have to conduct our life to become happier human beings. Just as we shower each day to clean our physical body, our soul too endeavors to provide us with daily hygiene. By following the Principle of Similarity (the second Hermetic Principle of Analogy) the soul demonstrates what is burdening it by showing us enciphered images. The properly chosen homeopathic remedy promotes awareness and getting rid of disturbing soul contents. It can “repair” that which has gone to pieces, that is, move it to its rightful place. Homeopathy is above all, a psychic hygiene. It acts as a regulator of the order of creation within the human soul.
Of course, the same holds true for the animal soul, when for example a dog is suffering from the loss of his deceased master. Suffering of this kind always arises from a more or less strong attachment to another being. On one hand this explains why Buddhism teaches one to resolve attachments. On the other hand it explains why in such cases a high potency of Ignatia often helps overcome cognitive and emotional attachments in a sustainable way. The liana of Ignatia twists around strong primeval forest trees because she would not reach the roof of the jungle without their help.
Nightmares are “the best dreams”
Seen in this way even nightmares are the “best dreams”. They are understood as the last cry for help of an agonized soul, to lead the person back onto the right path before he comes to a catastrophe – such as an accident. I have analyzed many accidents and there is not one that happens “accidentally”. Each accident is prepared in the long term in the human mind and soul and “comes to us in this way” according to existing laws. Our soul is very patient with us. The life of our dreams contains many hints and warning signals which we shall consider. If we don’t consider them, we come closer to the danger of a catastrophe.
Homeopathic remedies are catalysts to prevent catastrophes.
On one hand, homeopathic remedies confront us with the denied parts of our reality, which remain mysterious in the shadow of our consciousness. But they also help us to get to our most inner, divine resources whose support enables us to solve existing problems…things which seemed impossible without their help (or things we did not want to recognize due to blocking belief patterns).
Raped (© Peter Raba)
After a sculpture of Prof. Johann Weinhart / AT)
“Psychosomatic” – Case study 1
A female patient consulted me because of chronic asthma. A recurrent nightmare constituted the cardinal symptom of her pathology. Recurrent dreams indicate that a change in the patient’s life is urgently needed. If not, her existing distress cannot be alleviated. Without the process of expanding consciousness a solution of the existing evil / illness cannot be reached.
The patient dreamt of being in the desert where she had always met a Medusa. She usually fled from the Medusa’s head, rushing into awakening and thereby into the next asthma attack. The homeopathic remedy now caused the same dream to reappear but this time she did not flee anymore. On the contrary, she approached the Medusa and asked: “Who are you?” Medusa answered: “I’m your hate!” Now she was able to partake and accept this part of her personality as a part of herself. By even embracing the Medusa the snakes on the head disappeared. The whole energy which she formerly used to repel the awareness of being able to hate, was now available to her. She woke up shellshocked, drowned in tears, but for the first time without an asthma attack. During the next days and weeks, her other distressing symptoms from which she had suffered from also disappeared.
- When our consciousness is unable to cope at the inner psychic level of reality we awake. When we are unable to cope on the near side of reality we faint, thereby giving the power about our self-determination to the Self.
- Without homeopathic intervention humans are often unable to unfold beyond their previous norm, or only after long, painful experiences. In these cases aggressive parts are directed to the outwards or act in an auto-aggressive way on the inside of the organism and slowly but surely destroy her own personality.
- It is not the physical organism which is ill at first but always the whole human being, primarily his mind and soul (sanskrit; manjusha – “The human carrier of the soul”).
KS: Even if dreams reveal our innermost self, they are often not easily comprehensible. What methods do you use to find their meaning?
PR: Our dreams resemble the broken pieces of a shattered mirror. When we look at the pile of shattered pieces we can’t recognize our wholeness. We receive a distorted picture of ourselves. Now it is important to recognize that we either destroyed the mirror by ourselves or it was destroyed by belief patterns running contrary to the order of creation, which have been stamped on us from the outside – such as from ”education” – and in which we started to believe (“It will happen to us according to our belief”).
Splints of the soul (© Peter Raba)
Each human is a cosmic precision instrument of highest order
The seismograph of our Higher Self constantly compares whether our belief patterns agree with the universal truth. If not, the soul tries to make an adjustment by means of automatic corrective measures according to the law of unconditional love (Jesus: “Love your enemies!”). Every nightly dream tries to evoke a concussion by means of producing smaller or larger “psychic quakes” (Greek.: catharsis –“clearing, expiation“). In the Greek tragedy this happens by means of allegorical (“homoion“) stories (the actual core of a tragedy is that inevitably that happens which is avoided deliberately).
Homeopathic remedies are “Mediators” to becoming whole
In homeopathic therapy the “similar” remedy best adjusted to deviation of the soul takes ocer this function. If the homeopathic analysis finds a correct remedy (as from examination of an extensive anamnesis), the patient experiences an increase of his dream activities. Ideally, the remedy can effect the re-integration of splintered personality parts (see the above described case study). In other cases the meaning of the different parts of the dream needs to be deciphered. However, this is not the same as “interpretation” or “analysis” from the classical point of view.
Gnoti s’auton (© Peter Raba)
“Gnoti s’auton“ – Know thyself
With the help of the therapist, the patient now learns to put the single parts of the broken mirror of himself together to recognize himself. This happens according to the following paradigm:
Sexual suppression – Case study II
After taking the homeopathic remedy a female patient with severe abdominal problems (endometriosis) has the following dream: By the hand of a physician she is lead to the brink of a green meadow on which there lies a beautiful red ball. The physician asks the patient to tread on the meadow and to play with the ball. The young woman refuses to do so, arguing that it was not her meadow but the property of a bad old woman who was living behind the meadow – invisible for the time being. The old woman would appear and try to displace her from the meadow each time she would attempt to play with the ball. After this she would awake regularly. Without any help she feels unable to put the broken pieces of the puzzle together.
The help now consists in making clear to her that each of the parts of the dream stand as a cipher for a part of herself. She finds out the meaning of the dream when imagining each of the parts as a stage play being played by an actor, giving them their voice and encouraging them to be in dialogue with each other. She is admonished to express herself in the I-AM form of the particular aspects of her personality (I am this or that part). To the questions asked to these personified parts she has to answer spontaneously by gut reaction. When, at the same time, hearing herself and what she was saying from a distant position (supervision) the meaning of the dream can be decoded. In a seminar about dreams the patient would be asked to sit on different stools one after another. The first would symbolize the green meadow the other stool the red ball and the third one the bad old woman.
Course of the process
Physician (therapist): Go to the MEADOW and play with the BALL!
Patient: I’m not allowed to do so. It is not my MEADOW.
Therapist: Represent the MEADOW! Give her your voice! – Please, in the I-AM-form!
Meadow: I’m the MEADOW. I’m a beautiful, green MEADOW. I’m a PLAYING MEADOW.
Therapist: Stop! Did you hear yourself right now, and what you have said ? Repeat it again!
Patient: I’m a PLAYING MEADOW. (The head of the patient turns red.)
Therapist: Please, now ask the BALL whether it is ready to answer your questions and then give the BALL your voice.
Patient: Dear BALL, are you ready to tell me what you represent to me?
Ball: I’m a beautiful red BALL. I would like you to play with me. I’m PLAYING BALL. I would like to be played with. (The patients face turns purple now.)
Therapist: It is clear to you what you just said?
Patient (bashful): Yes.
Therapist: Then now ask the OLD WOMAN who means to be the owner of the MEADOW why she doesn’t allow you to play. We always assume that there isn’t a single part within us who wants to do mischief to us. Each part is believed to fulfill an important task. Also the object raising parts of the personality have an important task. Most often, these are the parts which think they have to protect the personality in one or another way because the subject isn’t able to do so at the time.
Patient: Hallo, OLD WOMAN. Why do you not allow me to play with the BALL on the MEADOW?
Old woman: Because you are not able to take responsibility for your lust at the time.
Therapist: Ask whether she is ready to let you know when you’ll have learned to take the responsibility for it.
Patient: Would you let me know here and now when I could have learned this? (Astonished: Now I got a quite warm feeling in the belly.)
Therapist: Ask whether this is the way to answer with yes. If so, the inner censor shall cause the same feeling again so that we can be sure.
Patient: The warm feeling is there again.
Therapist: Thank this part of your personality for her willingness to cooperate.
Therapist: Then let us ask now when you could have learnt to take responsibility for your lust and orgasms.
Patient (nods and turns red again).
Therapist: Within a week? – Or two? – In three weeks? – In four weeks?
Patient: Now the warm feeling was there again. Even as a quite strong hot shiver.
Therapist: That means in four weeks. Then thank all your dream parts for their willingness to cooperate to clarify the dream.
Comments: It turned out that the patient was introjected with her parent’s opinion that sexuality were a forbidden area. The helping remedy came from the vegetable kingdom.
A homeopath has to observe carefully. The therapist also has to be quite alert. The explanations for the dream lie between the lines of what the patient is saying “ by acting on instinct” and what we like to designate as “Freudian slips”.
If the dream consists of several parts it is recommended to hierarchize the parts according to their degree of importance. Here paragraph 153 of Hahnemann’s Organon about the strange, rare and peculiar symptoms is applicable. If the dreams consists of several peculiarities, first see the essence of all, or, the patient is asked what he experiences as the most peculiar part of the dream and afterwards the next strangest part etc.
If these (parts of the self) are encouraged to talk to each other the dreamer learns very important massages from the realm of his inner Hades. This God who was known as Aides in old Greek is not only the God of the underworld (Roman:Pluto) but also the “master of the inner wealth” who reveals and conveys his treasures to the dreamer – provided we not only understand, but also value them.
KS: This approach of working with dreams is quite different from Freud’s or C.G.Jung’s methods.
PR: It was Fritz Perls, C.G. Jung’s pupil and the father of Gestalt therapy who practiced working with dreams as outlined above, and who laid the foundation to work with dreams in this way. Moreover, the work of hypnotherapist Milton Erickson was of importance to me as well as the findings of the founders of the so-called NLP (neurolinguistic programming), Richard Bandler and John Grinder. Here it is in particular a facet of the comprehensive program, the so-called Six-Step-Reframing. But it would be too much to explain this within the scope of this interview. (Interested readers can read about these techniques in my book Homöopathie und Traumleben which is full of case studies.
KS: Archetypal dreams are a fascinating manifestation of the collective unconscious. What importance do they have within the dream life of patients and how are they assessed?
Archetypes are prototypes of the human psyche
Touched by the Energy of Life (© Peter Raba)
PR: Since millenniums, archetypes have influenced our inner life by means of psychic structural dominants. Their appearance in dreams signifies that the psyche is already working on the solution of the existing problem. Therefore one should not necessarily try to search for remedies in the repertory which cover this “symptom”. This would mean viewing the action of the psyche as requiring treatment. However, archetypes often appear as a result of a previously successful remedy prescription. An archetype such as the appearance of one’s own anima already offers in most cases the solution, or at least points to the direction in which to work or think. For example, in dreams of women the unresolved animus appears as the evil, black man, or as a naked man below the blanket (Pulsatilla).
It can have different meanings when the archetype of the snake appears in the dream, which has to be clarified with the above described verbal interventions. It can have to do with “poison”, or with a gift or present. In the German language the word poison is contained within the word “marriage portion” as the dowry (German words Gift and Mitgift). Eventually the dream snake will always give us the present of bringing to life a greater mobility. Thereby it comes to psychic skinning or rejuvenation. This may lead the patient to announce that he “feels as if newborn”.
New birth (© Peter Raba)
Using a ceramic from Barry Allaway, DK-Bornholm
In such cases one should not try to treat this redemption symptom of the appearing dream snake by means of homeopathic intervention and repertorizing the respective rubric (dreams of snakes).
Jan Scholten describes in his book Secret Lanthanide the case of a woman whose frequent dreams of snakes finally stopped after taking Dysprosium, but only after a huge snake crept upwards on her body and wound around her throat to bite her in a very terrible dream. This releasing bite was obviously necessary to defy the smoldering poisons of her own psyche. Afterwards the woman felt freed from the extreme sense of responsibility for her boarding pupils, terminated her job, married and bore a child. Before, while the director of a sanatorium for drug addicts, she had been subject to many assaults and conflicts, a typical theme of the Lanthanide Dysprosium. However, this remedy is not to be found in the snake rubrics of the repertory.
If a patient suffers from the same snake dream for years the homeopath will consider it and find a lot of remedies whose proving produced dreams of snakes. However, these rubrics only seem to be of value for me if these remedies are listed in the second or third degree. Here we could think of Argentum nitricum, Lac caninum, Lachesis or the Ranunculaceen.
The most similar remedy will act as a catalyst, making the patient clear that, for example, his tendency to be jealous impedes him from becoming alive, because it literally devours a great part of his vital energy. In this case, it would be appropriate to prescribe Lachesis due to the extreme jealousy. Further, Lachesis symptoms were an additional confirmation for the choice of this remedy.
If the patient would report having been overly affected by his mother emotionally in his early years, we would rather think of Lac caninum. In this case, the dog as a human’s friend takes over the role of a foster-mother helping the patient get out of this dependency and instilling in him symbolically the “milk of a pure way of thinking”. We may also think of Mogli in Rudyard Kipling’s Dschungel book, who has been raised by a she-wolf.
KS: Are the homeopathic polychrests of special importance in covering archetypal dreams ?
PR: According to my experience, no. The so-called big remedies are not always the best. It may be that routinely prescribed polychrests fail for unknown reasons but that a properly chosen “small” remedy evokes archetypal dreams and thereby makes cure possible.
KS: There are numerous entries for dreams in the repertories and materia medicas. Are these reliable to work with?
Fighting is not a measure of winning
PR: As already mentioned the answer is clearly no! These rubrics are to be used with caution. The experienced homeopath might consider them, but of course he will not rest his prescription on this single symptom. The content of the dream is not to “combat” by means of prescribing a high potency. Fighting is not a measure of winning, at any level…. neither outside on earth, by using bombs and grenades, nor inside one’s psyche. Cultivating anxiety by showing television-programs about murder and killing will not lead to peace. For us this means that homeopaths who “combat” symptoms are like master-mechanics who remove a red warning lamp from the car dashboard and say they have solved the engine’s problem, of have it running with half the power. However, in my experience, the rubric of “repetitive dreams” is quite reliable for remedy choice.