Homeopathy Papers

Auguries of Truth – The law of similars and the simillimum in wider context with a focus on resonance and vibration, with reference to the arts and philosophy

Homeopath Gill Graham finds the Law of Similars expressed in other aspects of life.


Having done much research, it became increasingly evident that the law of similars, one of the basic homeopathic principles, is ubiquitous and warrants universal acknowledgment, hence the use of the words ‘Auguries of Truth’ in the title. Every living thing has an individual energy signature, a vibration, and a unique energetic force. This has been recognised by philosophers, scientists, musicians and literary geniuses historically and currently. My intention here is to demonstrate how the law of similars manifests specifically in homeopathy but also through the medium of the arts and in philosophy. Each discipline will be seen to link effortlessly, almost naturally, and their tangible connectedness demonstrated. Whitmont (1980:32) states: ‘The law of similars is the law of the basic relationship between analogous phenomena.’  I agree with this statement and feel the need to expand on it; thus, various perspectives, in addition to the strict homeopathic definition will be explored, to help with an overall understanding of its universal significance.

It will be demonstrated that often resonance is difficult to define, or prove apart from the experience of an unquantifiable energy.  In this context, the concept of mesmerisation as covered by Hahnemann in The Organon, will be discussed whilst connecting this phenomenon to Kent and other eminent homeopaths, linking it to the works of Emanuel Swedenborg and the poet, William Blake. Also, it is important to clarify and expand on the fact that this practice of treating ‘like with like is not medically exclusive to homeopathy. For this reason, conventional medical instances will be cited and briefly discussed, helping to put this principle into a greater, possibly more widely accepted and understood context. What will also be established is that law of similars is not just about the remedy; it is about the entire interactive therapeutic experience; mind, body, spirit, and the undeniable, correspondence between every level of our being.


The Law of Similars has been recognised for centuries and early assertions of ‘like curing like’ have been evidenced by Hippocrates as early as 400BC, when mandrake root was prescribed to treat mania, knowing that if ingested it caused mania. Theophrastus von Hohenheim, commonly known as Paracelsus flourished in the sixteenth century. He was a pioneer of pharmacology and made a clear declaration of ‘what makes a man ill’ also cures him, specifically: ‘What makes jaundice that also cures jaundice and all its species. In like manner, the medicine that shall cure paralysis must proceed from that which causes it; and in this way we practice according to the method of cure by arcana.” (Archidoxis, vol iii:18, cited by Morrel, P: 2000)  Carl Jung, described him as such: ‘We see in Paracelsus not only a pioneer in the domains of chemical medicine, but also in those of an empirical psychological healing science.’ Jung’s description captures both the mind and body aspects which integrate, to form a significant part of the art and science of homeopathy.

A Benedictine monk, using the pseudonym Basil Valentine, circa 1410, stated: ‘Likes must be cured by means of their likes, and not by their contraries, as heat by heat. Cold by cold, shooting by shooting; for one heat attracts the other to itself, one cold the other, as the magnet does the iron. Hence, prickly simples can remove diseases whose characteristic is prickly pains; and poisonous minerals can cure and destroy symptoms of poisoning when they are brought to bear upon them. And although sometimes a chill may be removed and suppressed, still I say, as a philosopher and one experienced in nature’s ways, that the similar must be fitted with its similar, whereby it will be removed radically and thoroughly, if I am a proper physician and understand medicine. He who does not attend to this is no true physician, and cannot boast of his knowledge of medicine, because he is unable to distinguish betwixt cold and warm, betwixt dry and humid, for knowledge and experience, together with a fundamental observation of nature, constitute the perfect physician.’ (De Microcosmo, cited by Morrell, P:2000)

Classical Literature

In classical literature too, there are many references to the law of similars. Robert Graves, an English writer and poet, wrote ‘I Claudius’ (1934) and ‘Claudius the God’ (1935.) The books are written in autobiographical form about the Roman Emperor Claudius and are taken from Claudius’s own account, as a historian who documented his own life.  Bearing in mind, Claudius was the fourth Emperor of Rome in 41-51 AD. In ‘Claudius The God’, Claudius is being treated by Xenophon, the physician.  Xenophon outlines his proposed method of curing by treating ‘like with like ‘by stating: ‘I am a native of Cos and at the Cos school of Medicine we classify diseases by their remedies which are for the most part the herbs that if consumed in great quantities produce the very symptoms that when eaten in moderate quantities they cure. Thus if a child wets his bed after the age of three or four we say ‘the child has dandelion disease.’ Dandelions eaten in large quantities produce these symptoms and a decoction of dandelions cure them.  When I first came into the room and noticed the twitch of your head and the tremor of your hand and the slightest stutter of your greeting. I summed you up at once. ‘A typical brony case’ I said to myself. Bryony, massage, diet (Graves, R: 2006.) Claudius stated: ‘Well, brony cured me, for the first time in my life I knew what it was like to be perfectly well. ‘Even though Graves’s account is written long after the event, it is allegedly taken from Claudius’s autobiography, circa, 41-51 AD.  With the adjunctive advice on diet and massage, it is truly representative of homeopathy as set out in The Organon: ‘It is an indubitable truth that there is absolutely nothing else but the totality of symptoms – including the concomitant circumstances of the case by which a disease can express its need for help. We can categorically declare that the totality of symptoms and circumstances observed in each individual case is the one and only indication that can guide us to the choice of remedy.’ (Hahnemann, 2005: 23, Aphorism 18.) I am fairly certain of the validity of this account as I fail to see why anyone would fabricate a story such as this and for what purpose. In addition, it is in keeping with other literary examples of ‘like curing like’ such as that seen in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (1587) Act 1, scene 2:

‘Tut man, one fire burns out another’s burning

One pain is lessened by another’s anguish.

Turn giddy, and be helped by backward turning.

One desperate grief cures with another’s languish.

Take thou some new infection to thy eye,

And the rank poison of the old will die.’

Additionally, illustrative of ‘like curing like’ Johann Wolfgang  von Goethe,  (1749 – 1832) a great advocate of homeopathy, was seen to introduce homeopathy into his famous work ‘Faust’ (1808) via Mephistopheles, a lead character in the play: “To like things like, whatever one may ail; there’s certain help.”

Similia Similbus Curentur, the first homeopathic principle

Having alluded to some examples of this phenomenon in classical literature, it is necessary to discuss and explain exactly what it means in homeopathic terms. The derivation of the word ‘Homeopathy’ (originally homoeopathy) comes from the Greek homoeo, meaning ‘similar’, and pathos, meaning ‘suffering’. This leads on to the first principle which is ‘Similia Similbus Curentur,’ translated from the Latin as: ‘like cures like.’ This principle predates Hahnemann and in fact, goes back to ancient ayurvedic scripts. The idea/concept of ‘the law of similars’ had first been mentioned by Hippocrates (The Father of Medicine, 460-377 B.C.), then, as discussed above, by  Paracelsus (1493-1541) although Hahnemann was responsible for creating ‘Homeopathy’ as we now know it; a complete system of medicine.

Hahnemann, through much research and hands on practice, proved that a substance that can cause disease in a healthy person, can actively heal the same or similar disease in another.  Homeopathy was a result of his great disillusionment with what he termed ‘allopathic’ medicine (allos, from the Greek, meaning ‘other’) and much research on his part; starting with the proving of cinchona bark. In short, he experimented upon himself with the substance and experienced the characteristic symptoms of intermittent fever.  Cinchona in turn, was seen to cure this condition. This was the first homeopathic proving and is reminiscent of Hippocrates’ observation, ‘that which may poison, may also heal. ‘Another simple example is belladonna, used to treat high fevers, redness in the face and tongue. Were belladonna to be ingested in its raw form, the symptoms of the poisoning would be exactly this. ‘Cases of belladonna poisoning have frequently been mistaken for cases of scarlatina.  Can control and act as a prophylactic for cases presenting with smooth red surface.  When such an epidemic is about, those who may be exposed to infection may obtain almost certain immunity by taking belladonna two to three times a day. ‘(Murphy, 2006: 324.) Also, think of what happens when you are exposed to a raw onion.  Your eyes water and nose burns.  The homeopathic remedy allium cepa (made from onion) can relieve these symptoms, once again, treating ‘like with like.’ ‘A picture of coryza, with acrid nasal discharge and laryngeal symptoms, eye secretion bland; singers cold, worse in warm room and towards evening.’ (Boericke, 2004: 27.)

About the author

Gill Graham

Gill Graham

Gill Graham BSc (Hons), BA (Hons), DHMHS, RSHom lives and practices, for most of the time in rural North Buckinghamshire, England. The rest of the time she lives in Toronto, Canada. She graduated from Purton House School of Homeopathy (University of West London) in 2009. She went on to do a 'Special Advanced Graduate Program' at The Ontario College of Homeopathic Medicine. Over the last seventeen years she has qualified in, and practiced many other holistic therapies and is constantly updating her knowledge in the field of complimentary medicine. She has a passion for writing, both professionally, and creatively. She is a member of the Advisory Board for the Applied Research in Homeopathy Foundation of Canada (www.ARHFC.ca).

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