Jason-Aeric Huenecke, RSHom (NA), CCH, is the Principal Researcher at the Northwestern Academy of Homeopathy (Minneapolis, USA), a role that has earned him international recognition for his proving efforts in North America. He has studied Classical Homeopathy with Eric Sommermann, Valerie Ohanian, Laurie Dack, and Karim Adal, as well as Jeremy Sherr, Jayesh Shah, Rajan Sankaran and other major international teachers. He is certified in Transpersonal Psychology from the Psychosynthesis Institute of Minnesota and trained as a Chemical Dependency & Family Treatment Counselor, finding his homeopathy practice enhanced by this knowledge. His provings are published in The American Homeopath and are available for free on the Northwestern Academy of Homeopathy website. In his practice he has found that the new provings bring forward substances that are especially powerful in healing the illnesses of the modern world.
Jason-Aeric’s provings include Gavia immer (common loon), Acer saccharum (sugar maple), Cygnus X-1 (black hole, an imponderable), Lepidolite (a lithium-containing mineral), Didelphis virginiana (North American opossum), Samarium cobaltum magneticum, Lanthanum metallicum, and Promethium muriaticum (rare earth minerals), Odocoileus virginiana borealis sanguis (white-tailed deer’s blood), and Ixodes dammini (deer tick, the carrier of Lyme disease agents), and most recently Technetium (a medical imaging substance).
Can you begin by telling us about yourself and how you envision your work as a homeopath?
I love homeopathy. My whole life is about homeopathy and helping others through homeopathic medicine. I see homeopathy as a spiritual medicine. A lot of people want homeopathy to be accepted like “regular” allopathic medicine but I personally don’t work toward that aim. Of course homeopathy can work as well or better than allopathic medicine for physical pathologies, yet homeopathy is so much more.
Most of the people who come to me don’t particularly know why they’re coming – and these individuals are some of the best patients to work with. They have physical symptoms and illnesses, of course, but there is some deeper healing they’re looking for that they can’t exactly put into words. This allows for a greater freedom in the exploration of the constitutional homeopathic remedy and a wider definition of what healing means beyond what allopathic medicine can offer.
Nowadays, each of us is going to run into people as patients who are suffering from adrenal fatigue, sugar intolerance, gluten intolerance, and so on. But all that, while it’s helpful, is less interesting than what I think we are really doing within homeopathy. It doesn’t mean that those experiences aren’t true. It just means that you are limited if you are staying on that bio-chemical level of why someone is suffering.
I think there are different levels of homeopathic practice. Some homeopathic practitioners mostly aim to cure acute illnesses; others want to specialize in specific things like autism or female issues. For me, if our true task is to heal the sick, this means helping people to be fully on their path of individuation, not ever aiming to cure a specific disease or correct a certain pathology. It means helping them wake up to what is happening with their life in the largest sense of the word, with a true aliveness, and helping them to recognize what their part is in that awakening. I help them to shed any false selves and step into their true self.
What does that mean – shedding false selves and stepping into your true self –from the homeopathic perspective?
One of my spiritual guides, Atisha, a great Buddhist saint-philosopher of 10th-11thcentury, in his Lojong (mind training slogans), reminds us to “regard all life as a dream, “meaning that whatever you experience in your life—sadness, joy, pain, grief, heat, cold or anything else—is like something happening in a dream. This is like the concept of maya or illusion in Vedic philosophy. Although you might think things are very solid, they are truly like passing memories.
I like to think that the whole experience of homeopathy is about waking up from the Dream. When you are living in the Dream, you are suffering; you are not seeing what is possible, you have very few choices, or an inability to make a choice. Your life is full of delusions. So many people are living in a repeating nightmare. In Classical Homeopathic practice, we call the repeating experiences” delusions”. A delusion is what we believe despite evidence to the contrary, and it keeps us in our patterns and stuck in a dream world. We have many layers of delusions, many layers of patterns. What I think we’re doing with homeopathy is helping people release those patterns and become lucid dreamers in life, waking up and living a lucid, individuated life. The suffering person is then able to make conscious choices and live a wider, more authentic life, which eventually eliminates the emotional and energetic sources of their suffering.
I see my role as helping people let their inner light and love shine through them and eliminate any obstacles or blocks that keep them small, held back, and in a state of confusion.
You’ve contributed a number of excellent provings to homeopathy, and provings seem to be central in your mission as a homeopath. What draws you to this work?
I am dedicated to helping eliminate suffering in the world. Provings are an excellent vehicle for this purpose. They help to advance homeopathy by increasing the knowledge of how substances can be used to heal. One of my teachers taught that you can only go as deep into someone else as you can go within yourself. You have to learn how to dive deep. I believe that provings are one way to learn how to dive deeply into yourself. Homeopathy is a deeply spiritual practice for me. I feel that participating in a proving is a way to deepen your awareness about yourself and the world in which you live.
A proving is a kind of trust fall. A trust fall is a trust-building experience often conducted as a group exercise in which people deliberately allow themselves to fall backwards, relying on the other members of the group to catch them. In a proving you are asked to take a substance that stimulates your energy field to manifest symptoms (this is like the fall) and then to carefully record your experiences, symptoms, and sensations both subjectively and objectively. The Master Prover and your personal Proving Supervisor are your spotters, who catch you as you fall. We are most interested in how you experience the fall, the length of the fall, and your experience in as much detail as possible. Therefore, in a homeopathic proving, you’re opening yourself up, albeit temporarily, to suffering for the benefit of others. The proving symptoms generally appear and disappear over time, with a typical proving lasting 30 to 60 days.
The Way of the Bodhisattva inspires the way I practice homeopathy: we are doing our inner work and these proving experiments to heal all beings without exception. In this way a proving is a noble act. Allowing yourself to suffer temporarily in a proving helps to potentially free humanity from its suffering in a greater way.
For those homeopaths and students who are willing to open up and try, what are the benefits of doing a proving?
Technically, we do not promise a particular benefit to doing a proving. However, many people have reported that the process is what really helped them learn how to take a case and also how to be a better patient.You learn how to observe and articulate what is happening to you in a very precise way, with modalities, sidedness, and a clearer body consciousness. You may achieve a deeper awareness of your sensations and emotions.
It’s one thing to have book knowledge; it’s another thing to actually have an experience. You start to understand the essence of the substance without knowing what it is (in a proper blinded proving). The knowledge of the substance comes through all these different provers’ voices that eventually become one voice, as Jeremy Sherr puts it. I’ve participated in several provings and it’s always remarkable. You’re always uncertain about what is going to happen next and this helps you maintain a kind of open-hearted curiosity.
Once you open your door, you begin to see yourself in 10,000 ways, in a much larger context. You begin to learn what your true prejudices are. You get to learn what you are tolerant of, what you are intolerant of, what you enjoy. You learn about power and powerlessness. You begin to come to understand the universality of human suffering. It’s a very exciting and beautiful process.
Would you say then that doing provings is a way to expand our capacity for empathy?
What’s nice about doing a proving is that you get a retreat from your everyday chronic lifetime suffering and you get to temporarily join in the suffering of another. What I observe is you can take a prover who is somewhat aware, who has had a good homeopathic journey prior to coming into a proving, and they will begin to understand more deeply the difference between I, me, and mine – my symptoms, my expression, my way of being – and the Other, which is the proving substance. There is a moment in a proving when someone realizes, “Oh, I’m acting, I’m expressing in a way that my typical I-me-mine is not usually interested in.” The genus of the substance is then speaking through them. They begin to have a greater awareness, an experience of the Other. So, yes! Participating in proving may increase one’s mindful empathy. This is priceless.
Let’s go back to the beginning of this work for you. How did the Northwestern Academy proving program get started and how did you become involved?
Our proving program started with one of the co-founders of the Northwestern Academy of Homeopathy (which opened its doors to training non-physician Classical Homeopaths in 1995), Eric Sommermann, who did the first three provings: Branta canadensis (Canada goose) in 1998, Lac ovinum (sheep’s milk) in 2002, and Chelydra serpentina (snapping turtle) in 2004. Under his guidance I led the proving of Gaviaimmer (common loon) 2006. When Eric died, I organized and wrote articles on each of his provings to get the materials out into the world so that they can be used for what they were intended for: to heal the sick.
Are there any provings you’ve done that really stand out to you?
I’ve participated in all sorts of provings and there is always something remarkable in each proving. The genus of the substance speaks through the provers, as seen in Chelydra serpentina (snapping turtle) when the provers became snappish, easily offended, and angered. The provers by and large experienced increased irritability, anger, resentment, and annoyance. They often felt this in response to people not meeting their expectations or being forced to do something they didn’t want to do. How do we explain what is happening? It’s not easy.Some homeopaths who want us to be like “regular” allopathic medicine might not have interest in this. That’s fine. I say let the provings speak for themselves.
Can you give us a sneak preview of your latest proving?
We just completed a proving of Technetium, which is a man-made radioactive substance used in medical imaging. Jan Scholten has written about his idea of the substance based on his logic, but here we’ve actually done the proving. As I was repertorizing the proving, it was remarkable that I kept seeing the same three remedies popping up: Lac humanum, Plutonium nitricum, and Carcinosin. In a way you could say Technetium is like Lac humanum, or humanity, meeting Plutonium nitricum, or the nuclear age, and the resultant is this chronic condition of cancer. We could say it like this: Lac humanum + Plutonium nitricum + Carcinosin = Technetium; or Lac humanum + Plutonium nitricum = Carcinosin, and this man-made radioactive substance is what can help heal those kinds of conditions. I hope that in clinical practice people can find out something else, but this is what I’m seeing on first diving into the materials we collected.
In 2012, you worked with colleagues Tina Quirk, Todd Rowe and Sally Tamplin to establish a set of proving standards for the profession. Can you tell us about this project?
This initiative came out of a North American Network of Homeopathic Educators meeting that discussed a need to set standards within the schools. Todd Rowe took the lead, along with Tina Quirk (who works with Jeremy Sherr’s school), Sally Tamplin (who worked with Misha Norland’s school) and I, so all of us have had a long involvement with provings. Together we worked on finding very clear and direct language to describe how to conduct a Hahnemannian proving, which included guidelines for repertorization. I believe the standards we outlined ought to be followed as much as possible.
The highlights include the importance of triple blinding, where no one knows the nature of the proving substance – neither the provers, nor the proving supervisors, nor the Master Prover who collates the information and creates the repertorization. They also include the need for a thorough recording of proving symptoms over a 30- to 60-day period, with the precise timing of the symptoms recorded (for example, a fever that starts at 9 pm and lasts for five days, breaking at 11 pm). Another guideline is the repertorization of the proving symptoms using existing rubrics as much as possible, since new rubrics with only one remedy in them are not useful.
[To view theNorth American Network of Homeopathic Educators proving guidelines, visit http://homeopathictraining.org/nanhe-proving-standards/]
On the topic of standards, do you feel that the use of placebo is necessary in provings?
What we have learned over time in our provings is that the placebo prover often is the clearest channel for some reason. They are clearly and directly telling us what the genus of the substance is about. This is why we need homeopathic philosophers to help us to understand the field of the substances that we are using. According to proving standards of allopathic medicine trials, you are supposed to dismiss those placebo provings from the findings. This is troublesome and unnecessary.
We are in a dramatically changing world. Science has benefited us greatly and yet still does not have all of the answers.There is also a strong movement of science deniers, including climate change deniers and skeptics who are regularly called upon to decry homeopathy. Skeptics frequently claim that there is no research to support homeopathy’s efficacy – but they are not willing to look at the hundreds of research studies that do exist.
The recent documentary Just One Drop details the efforts of skeptics working together to discredit homeopathy. These skeptics are not actually testing a hypothesis about homeopathy or seeing if it works. There is little or no funding, or the will to carry out unbiased homeopathic experimentation that is based on the Classical Homeopathic paradigm.The skeptics and allopathic scientists prejudge that homeopathy can’t possibly work because it is so far out of their paradigm. They’ve lost their objectivity.
A scientific mind, by definition, is one that is willing to maintain and develop a curiosity about science and the natural world, develop skills of scientific inquiry and investigate and evaluate each proposition analytically, critically, and creatively, rather than saying from the start, “This is not possible” and ending the discussion there. Apparently this is the attitude of National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). It will not fund research into homeopathy because, it asserts, homeopathy does not have a plausible mechanism of action. But we know that homeopathy does work; therefore it must have a mechanism of action. So why not put research funds into investigating it? Wouldn’t that be the true scientific attitude?
Homeopathy requires a paradigm shift and scientists who are unbiased in their exploration and investigation of its principles. Science requires the unbiased investigation of phenomena, not stopping when we reach a so-called limitation to our knowledge, but persevering until we have a deeper knowledge based on honesty and respect.
What are the steps and time frame from an actual proving to getting the material out into the world? I imagine it’s quite an onerous process.
A proving process is quite onerous and, surprisingly, there’s not a lot of financial support from the homeopathic community for provings, even though the community does benefit from them. Each proving itself takes hundreds of hours of work. There are homeopaths that do provings in 24 or 48 hours but we monitor our provers’ symptoms over the course of 30 to 60 days.
At the end of a proving, we compile the proving notes, which run to about 100 pages for a 15- to 20-person group. We organize the entries into date and time order, as if they were one voice, and then the Principal Researcher repertorizes everything, starting at the top. This process takes about 225 hours. I personally use rubrics that are already in Synthesis rather than continuously making new ones, but in some cases where there are no existing rubrics I will suggest a new rubric. I try to create one that expresses the new symptom accurately while also being appropriate for other remedies, since homeopathic practitioners do not want a repertory full of new rubrics with only one remedy in them.
After the repertorization, our proving counselors go through the material and identify recurring themes. These are not based on the nature of the substance (which is still kept secret or blinded at this point) but rather on what is showing up in the proving, what keeps being repeated. In the end, though, it’s essential that homeopaths use the remedies with their clients and give feedback about what is valid and true. You might see one thing in the proving and something different in clinical practice. All rubrics are only suggested until they bring about a cure in someone. This is called clinical verification and presently there isn’t a clear channel for recording these findings.
Once you’ve finished your work, how does the proving information reach the homeopathic community?
I have made the decision to not charge for access to our provings, which can be found on the Northwestern Academy of Homeopathy website. I also try to publish my provings immediately in The American Homeopath journal so they can be out there for the benefit of humanity.
Right now Radar Opus is the only homeopathic medical software program that is taking on our provings. It’s a long and painstaking process for them to get the provings into the repertory. We did the three Lanthanide provings several years ago and they’ve just now been integrated into the current Radar Opus release. I am still working toward getting the other provings into Synergy and other programs.
Many homeopaths express a mix of fascination and fear at the prospect of doing a proving, often claiming they need to wait for the “right” time. Do you think there’s an ideal time to participate in a proving?
There really is no good time to do a proving because it is a disruption of your life. But most likely you are always going to have some disruption in your life. Wouldn’t it be nice to consciously choose when to have a disruption and go on a journey?
Of course if someone is mentally unstable, we would not want them involved in a proving. I also wouldn’t recommend it if you’re pregnant, postpartum or nursing; if you’re recovering from a major surgery or illness; or if you’re about to have a major exam.If your homeopathic practitioner has just recently found a remedy simillimum that’s really working for you, then probably it’s not the best time either.
Some people feel afraid. We reassure them that any changes from the proving are only temporary and the benefits are long lasting. There is no good time. Life interrupts and disrupts us all the time. But who knows who you will help as a result of doing a proving? I think if you really want to be successful as a homeopathic practitioner, you have to have some altruism. You really have to have a desire to help the maximum number of people.
Have you ever decided to stop or antidote a proving?
This is a really good question. Can something that has been set into motion actually be stopped? I’m not sure that’s possible. Still, we always assess how people are doing and we have learned in our proving how to use the proving substance itself to bring down symptoms that we feel are going beyond what is safe. We try to keep things within this kind of parameter and we have done a very good job of it.
In the Cygnus X-1 proving, several of the provers felt like they were having symptoms of a panic attack, with one woman going into a complete cold sweat, her heart pounding in her chest. We watched her carefully as the symptoms slowly resolved. She was scared but I reassured her that it was a proving symptom, since we observed that several other provers had already had these sensations and experiences, and she was a young, healthy person with no risk factors for a heart attack. We also told her that she was welcome to go to the hospital for observation if necessary. She is now a major proponent of homeopathic provings and she is encouraging others to participate in them.
How would you respond to someone wondering whether provings can have undesirable long-term consequences?
Really, I haven’t seen any major cases where people have had symptoms that have not resolved within the context of the proving. I think that’s partially because we do a really excellent job of containing, resolving, and then dissolving the field at the end of each proving. We contain the proving by carefully monitoring the provers. Each prover has a supervisor, plus there are two Proving Counselors, master supervisors, and myself as the Master Prover. We have each person or prover record whatever arises throughout the proving and then wrap it up to dissolve the field.
Sometimes we see people make major changes in their lives as an unexpected coincident of the proving. Stagnant relationships break up or people decide they don’t want to be in their job. Something breaks that needed to break. We’ve had people who have undergone a coming out during a proving, realizing their deeper sexuality. Doing a proving teaches you about fearlessness – how to be courageous and how to be present with whatever arises. We can say that in some cases the proving hastens the individual’s karma – all these words that allopathic people and skeptics don’t want to hear.
It’s like this karma that ripens. In every life journey there is this process called dulshukin Tibetan Buddhism. It refers to a “critical eruption,” where you really begin to move through an obstacle and you experience a breakthrough. This critical eruption happens within every proving for some of the provers. There is this tension, then something breaks, and then there is the other side that happens. The benefits of it far outweigh the temporary suffering.
Very often, for whatever reason, the substance being proven is the simillimum for one of the provers, which is really an odd side benefit of doing a proving. This is just remarkable. There was an office mate of one of our students who said, “I would like to be part of the proving.” Wouldn’t you know, the substance resonated with him. He was not a homeopath; he didn’t get homeopathic treatments; but it remarkably transformed him over the course of 60 days. His life was forever altered in a positive manner because of his willingness to participate in the proving process.
Are you currently looking for provers?
Yes. We now have 13 triple blinded substances that we are looking to prove. This means that a homeopathic pharmacy has 13 new remedy substances ready for proving, whose identity would be unknown to the provers, proving supervisors and even the Master Prover. We’ve had a dearth of provers and we welcome volunteers.
Our provers don’t all have to be homeopaths. Sometimes the people who aren’t homeopaths give us the best symptoms because they speak the language of the 21stcentury, whereas homeopaths tend to use homeopathic jargon or repertory language. Another thing to keep in mind is that a proving can be done at a distance. If you decided to participate, we would send you the substance and connect you with a supervisor, someone from our community who would meet with you via electronic media.
I’m also available to travel. If there is a group of at least ten people who would like to do a proving, we can explore the possibility of doing something near them. There would need to be enough skilled supervisors available, each willing to take on two people. There are different ways to do this.
Is there anything you require of provers in terms of “hygienic living”?
We want provers to be in their regular lives as much as possible. Some homeopathic practitioners have laid out very strict ways to do provings, suggesting that people should refrain from certain foods, stimulants, and stressful interactions, but I think it’s good to see how people respond in modern life, not in an ideal realm.
What does your proving process typically look like, from the perspective of the prover?
Our provings last about a month, even though some people continue to take notes after that if they’ve had a really good experience. The most important period in the proving, however, is the first ten days. After that, your supervisor connects with the prover each day for the first ten days and then once or twice a week until the end of the proving.
All our substances are triple-blinded and we typically use a 30Cpotency. When we do provings at the Northwestern Academy of Homeopathy, we ask the prover to take one dose while sitting with their supervisor, who records their symptoms for the first hour or two – without interrupting, without guiding, just letting the person be completely immersed in the state. I modified this method after studying with Dr. Jayesh Shah of Mumbai, India, who takes people on remarkable trance journeys, the journey within. Sometimes the prover will go into a trance-like state after taking the substance. During this time, the provers allow themselves to go into a free flow of consciousness, or whatever it is that happens, allowing their body to move and express itself dynamically, and they begin speaking about their inner experience, thoughts, feeling, and sensations – whatever arises.
We instruct people to take one dose once a day until they have symptoms, but lately, as we have been doing this trance work, people take one dose and they pretty much go directly into the field of the substance. My understanding of the field of the substance is akin to Rupert Sheldrake’s morphogenic field concept.