Basic Concepts of Dream Interpretation in the Homeopathic practice
It always was my goal to give the aspiring homeopath a full education in the Art and Science of Classical Homeopathy and beyond. This will be the fifth book that will complete this lofty goal. In the following order, I wrote “Hahnemann Revisited,” “Achieving and Maintaining the Simillimum,” “advanced Guide for the Professional homeopath,” the new in depth Materia Medica “Discovering Life: Homeopathic Portraits,” and now in the works, a book about the other half of humankind, unknown to Hahnemann and to homeopaths around the world, about the actions of the unconscious communicated by dreams. Add to this as usual, the Organon and the student will receive more information than in any school around the world. This last work might be the most challenging but very rewarding to the reader and the aspiring healer and homeopath. It will still take several years to complete this last volume, but it has and still is giving me the opportunity to enhance the practice of homeopathy without sinning against any of Hahnemann’s Teachings. What follows is the working introduction to this work.
“I woke up in a cold sweat and was filled with rage. My dream finally told me what I so long suspected: I saw my husband seducing another woman. Upon awakening, I did not hesitate to confront him immediately, and from the surprised look on his face, I knew I had caught him in the crime of deception. The more I insisted on hearing the truth, the more flustered and confused he became, stammering that I had been caught with a whiff of insanity, but the more he pleaded, the more he was signaling to me that there was no doubt! He was possessed of the spirit of the sex craved Rasputin, the demonic confident of Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarita Alexandria in the early 1900s. Guilty as charged!”
I often wonder how such similar story and even more incredible stories have sawed thorns in mankind’s garden of love, and to what disastrous results they have led: emotions like jealousy, suspicion and rage descended with tsunami-like forces on the dwelling or Self of the dreamer, threatening to fracture the bearer’s integrity of the ego. To whom should we look for explanation? To the long trusted family physician? He will reassure you with a wink and a gentle touch on your shoulder: “You know that these dreams are all nonsense!” To the psychiatrist, the physician who deals with derangements of the mind? Certainly the reaction of the dreamer and the created story in the dream look like the handiwork of a delusional person and the creation of an evil genius respectively. But after examining the state of your married life, the stress at work and the support of your extended family, he throws his hands up and declares you “sane”—not needing any of the readily available allopathic “wonder” drugs to restore your out-of-bound neurotransmitters.
What about alternative physicians? Chiropractors? Naturopaths? Not a chance to receive any explanation about dreams from their art of healing! Maybe TCM physicians, who have studied the Chinese ancient books, where the word Tao means the union of opposites and whose techniques have brought relief for many ailments to so many sufferers over the last five centuries? The “Spiritual Axis” in chapter 43 says: When the Gall Bladder is deficient one dreams of fights, trials and suicide (Spiritual Axis, p.85).” For the Chinese, as the mind resides in the Heart, all dreams are somewhat related to disharmony in the Heart organ, but more specifically (as the Heart belongs to the Fire Element), dreams of fire, volcanic eruptions and smoke.
However, how much and long I studied TCM and loved its practice for decades, I wonder how many of its practitioners deal adequately with explaining dreams and are able to bring peace and understanding in the mind of the dreamer. Dream analysis is certainly not high on the curriculum of TCM schools. Well, at least we have the homeopaths! Its modality and science certainly is able to penetrate deep in the mind of the body, linking diseases to subtle (or not so subtle) unbalanced emotions. Its founder, Samuel Hahnemann, was the first physician in his time, to advocate the humane treatment of the insane and epileptics, the latter, which were also considered insane! But when one examines Hahnemann’s master work, The Organon of the Medical Art, not one mention can be found in his masterful treatise of health about dreams. Throughout the ensuing years, one phrase seems to have come up in the homeopathic world: “recurrent dreams are important.” No further explanation and no further investigation has ever been given, and yes no further understanding by almost any homeopath was and is forthcoming, unless they are a Jungian analyst or studied Jung’s extensive Collective Volumes (20!). Rare indeed is that bird in this world. If so far any small attempts were made, its authors failed to connect the two sciences, homeopathy and dream analysis to the point that homeopaths in their practice could use to the full extent that important “other” part of the human being in healing their patients: the unconscious and its messenger, dreams!
Newly proved remedies contain all kinds of dreams, but I have never seen any symbolic subjective translation of these dreams in these provings in relationship to the prover’s existing conscious situation. They are just treated like the other proving symptoms−registered as facts without depth analysis, which in case of dreams is far more important than for the other objective and subjective symptoms. So the extreme value of dream content importance in provings is not at all addressed, missing the true meaning of these important messages. What about the neo-gurus in homeopathy? They are always busy to introduce a “new” theory expressed by a single “new” (not invented by them though) word in order to step backwards towards the more Hahnemannian classical homeopathy, albeit without giving up the esoteric, based on the same squiggles, and then pronouncing this again as the “advanced and only method” to succeed in practice. After having misled the homeopathic community for a long time, leading to therapeutical failures and homeopaths abandoning the field in droves while still mesmerizing the simple souls, backpedaling is the only resource left and the new theory has to be wrapped in a new inflated packing in order to obtain a new impetus to maintain their name and to set themselves up on their little thrones. But even for them dreams remain too mysterious and taxing their brains too much to even attempt to approach this scientifically proven field. Besides this subject is indeed very difficult, not only for intellectual reasons, but even more on account of personal, subjective resistance as it demands from the homeopath ruthless self-knowledge and courage, two characteristics unknown to most people in general. “Know Thyself” is not a favorite topic and yet one of the meanings of life is to find out how to meet and resolve one’s own difficulty!
One of the major principles in homeopathy is selecting the simillimum according to “the totality of symptoms.” So far in the homeopathic practice, this has entailed Aphorism 5 and 7 of the Organon: the exciting and underlying cause, usually a chronic miasm, the physical condition of the patient, his intellectual character, his activities, his life style, his habits, his social position, family relationships, his age, his sexual life (A5). A7 refers to the appearance of symptoms, the outer image expressing the inner essence of the disease, of the disturbed vital force, that must be the main, even the only, means by which the disease allows us to find the necessary remedy…(Hahnemann, Organon of Medicine, 162, translated by Alain Naude, Cooper Publishing, p.11-12. ((emphasis by author). Is it truly the only means for determining the simillimum in the practice and does it truly reflect the “totality” of the symptoms homeopaths should prescribe on? Although Hahnemann could have known about the importance of dreams in assessing the health of his patients (dream interpretation goes back to the ancient Greeks), homeopathy has failed to understand the power of the unconscious and its cryptic message through its messenger−dreams, exposing more of the patient than the conscious ever can reveal. The information we obtain from our patients is far from complete. One only has to attend a day in the clinic of homeopaths, physicians and healers alike, to find out that what is elicited during the inquiry reflects only one quarter of the patient’s life story. This small part is the “totality” of the Personal story the patient is aware of and wants to display no matter how deep the healer probes! The other quarter of the conscious, because it is too shameful, too painful, and its contents are of such nature that they would impede further living as they are a shock to the system, is promptly delegated to the unconscious. Therefore the other half of the human life, the ever-growing personal unconscious, remains dark and unattended. It becomes the garbage can, the dark and threatening cellar in the house where one rarely pays a visit. What the homeopath so much wants to know, the real character of the patient and the undiluted time line of events in his life, is hidden, deformed, skipped over and left alone along the lines of the empathetic advice of the Philistine to “let sleeping dogs lie.”
We can’t fault Hahnemann for not having incorporated dream analysis in the homeopathic practice as it required his life time to formulate his six editions of the Organon in spite of constant opposition to the practice of his Art. It is left to us, his disciples to expand the homeopathic investigation with the unknown element of the human being: his unconscious and its messenger, dreams. The ASD epidemic has made the understanding of dreams even more important. Too many of such children seem to be caught between conscious and unconscious where the selective filter of the conscious has become closed to let elements from the outside world pass through, making increased communication and exchange impossible if not undesirable. Children in general are caught in their own dreamy world and understanding dreams help us navigate the maze of their world. Moreover, depth-psychology, especially dream interpretation, enables the crossover to biology and medicine, with great benefit to the medical and homeopathic community. The benefits to the homeopathic practice are enormous and every homeopath should make it his duty to master the art and science of dream-analysis. As the homeopath will study the contents of this book, besides receiving an in-depth new and expanded view of the patient’s suffering, dream analysis will contribute important information that will assist him in finding many aspects of the homeopathic Art:
- To find the simillimum (expanded by the elusive Cyber delusion, hidden in the unconscious-See my book, “Advanced Guide for the Professional”).
- To know when to change the remedy or not during the homeopathic treatment
- Why a remedy would not work, even when there is no miasmatic block and apparently the remedy is seemingly well-chosen
- Tells the homeopath about the management: is he on the right track or not? Is he going too fast or too slow? Can he go full steam ahead (as the VF is strong enough) or is the dream indicating a hidden serious disease that should warn the homeopath to use low potencies and infrequent small doses (the latter always advisable)?
- Dreams, through their symbolic message, show the patient and homeopath where the patient is straying from his individual path (and therefore straying from the direction of cure creating an impasse) and whether he let certain aspects of his life remain unconscious; they reveal those factors in the patient that are in conflict with his conscious attitude and therefore not only cause numerous neuroses but also horrible physical conditions. No matter how much the patient will try to hide the truth, a dream will always remind him of the real situation till he is willing to correct it.
- Warns the homeopath of dangerous aspects in his patient’s life (latent serious disease or imminent death) to be remedied by the suitable medicine, or information can be obtained through the compensatory dream where the patient’s conscious mind cannot see the reality of his dangerous life style and ambition but now a corrective dream, beyond the control of the patient’s conscious mind, will warn the dreamer to slow down, talking in fact directly to the dreamer.
- Understanding and bridging the gap between the patient’s conscious behavior or mask and what he wants to hide from us (Shadow), the information that is most important for the homeopath in finding the simillimum. Through careful integrating of the unconscious contents, the homeopath receives a higher point of view where the “true totality,” the unconscious and the unconscious are represented, which is called the Self.
- Tells the homeopath how the patient is hiding unconsciously (in his Shadow side) dormant good qualities which when integrated into consciousness would give the patient a greater meaning of life and vocation as well as providing a ground-plan of future activities and potentialities for personal development.
- Tells the homeopath about the prognosis (direction of cure and prophesying dreams) and about the psychological, mental or physical causality of his neurosis (NWS) as well as errors of life style (A77 and A5 and 7), so that the patient does not become an obstruction in his own cure when he repeats the same mistakes over and over again; so dreams are helpful in differentiating between organic and psychogenic diseases.
- Dream interpretation adds elements, unknown to the patient and physician, to his subjective and objective symptoms, on which the homeopath can rely for the diagnosis, including knowledge of the patient’s true temperament and constitution, as he really is, not as he wants to be perceived, in other words the emperor without clothes. Dreams are indeed your number one ally for ruthlessly puncturing your illusions and delusions of grandeur.
- Gives the homeopath a wider view about the true causalities or what derailed the patient from his life course by examining his formation of Anima and Animus or possibly being forced to function in his archaic conscious function
- Will shorten the length of any analysis and homeopathic treatment
- The simillimum helps the patient’s ability to bear the pain and conflict and protecting his ego that is too fearful and brittle when faced with the analytical dream work and discovering the hidden truths in his unconscious, avoiding a psychotic break
Similar to the need of taking his own simillimum, the homeopath finally sees the necessity and finds the courage to apply the same perseverance to investigate the unconscious on himself as he heaped on his patient, rather than remaining in the dark while claiming he enlightens others! And lo and behold, such discovery might remain very unpopular as he might discover that he himself is not able to live up to the standards he demands and expects from his patients! But who claims to be enlightened when he remains in the dark? Who educates others if he himself remains uneducated? The man who suffers from a contagious disease is not fit to treat others! Rather than clinging to his conceit of authority and intellectual bluff, the homeopath must have the courage to drop his professional mask, take his simillimum and understand the long hard way to recovery full of vicissitudes and dead ends, finally understanding that “Knowledge increases suffering.” Even Jung found those benefits of analyzing his dreams as it warned him of the wrong attitude he had towards one of his patients. In Memories, Dreams, Reflections (C. Jung, 1941, page 133), he was warned by his dream that he looked down on his patient rather than looking up at the patient; this interpretation once communicated to the patient was immediately followed by a change in the patient’s situation and a going forward of the treatment, annihilating the counter-transference problem. Because of the process known as transference and counter-transference, the homeopath through a dream receives not only information about his patient’s simillimum but also about his own. Unconscious contents are always projected upon concrete persons, and because of a similar situation in the life of the homeopath, transference always affects both parties. We should remember what Jung had to say about this: “The neurotic maladjustment ofthe patient is now transferred to him (the homeopath)…When two chemical substances combine, both are altered. This is precisely what happens in transference…it is inevitable that the doctor should be influenced to a certain extent and even that his nervous health should suffer (counter-transference) [C.G. Jung. The Psychology of the Transference. Page 7; 1954))
After reading this book, the homeopath will understand that the possessor of the dream, which started this introduction, should investigate her unconscious to discover the skeletons in her cupboard before divorcing her husband, and that her threatening dream was nothing more than a projection of her own archaic Animus and the result of lack of true love, which is the kernel of all jealousy. Moreover, we will discover in this book that all of us need to start the Herculean task of cleaning our own Augias’ stable where masses of deposited manure threaten to overtake our conscious life. Where Hercules was ordered to clean King Augias’ vast stables in one day, at least all of us, normal mortals, can use the rest of our lives to take this vast venture on, where each step rewards the owner with becoming a more enlightened and complete person, although few will reach the stage of Self-realization, truly the real Herculean task.
Although Carl Jung wrote, “I know of so many who, opening one of my books and stumbling upon a number of Latin quotations, shut it with a bang…I am afraid my works demand some patience and some thinking.” (Psyche and Symbol, 1958, Preface, xi), I have mainly followed Carl Jung’s ideas in dream interpretation, as throughout his writings I found him speaking as an unconscious homeopath, using the same language to explain dreams: the principles of like curing like and of individuality (1974, Dreams, par.489); for what reason and what motivation is the patient behaving like this and “that the initial dream which appears at the very onset of the treatment often brings to light the essential etiological factor (our NWS) (Dreams, 1974, p. 88);” he pays attention to peculiarities (our A153) in dreams, considering them as most important and follows the time line or orderly process of the individual development when he analyzes long dream-series. He even refers to miasmatic influence when he says that “one must not forget that under certain circumstances compensation may lead to a fatal outcome owing to the preponderance of destructive tendencies …apparently preordained in the life pattern of certain hereditary tainted individuals (C. Jung; Dreams. 1974, par.547) and “we think of the conscious and Personal psyche as resting upon the broad basis of an inherited and universal psychic disposition which is as such unconscious…(1972. Two Essays on Analytical Psychology, p147, par234). And further, “…for psychiatry, the essential etiological factor is the inherited or acquired pathological disposition, (1972, Ibis, Par270), referring to mainly the syphilitic miasm. Building upon such homeopathic-like structure becomes therefore easier than using the limited dogmatic Freudian analysis of dreams with its accent primarily on sexuality or the pleasure principle while (according to Freud) concealing the real meaning of the dream to the ego. It is a pity that Jung did not seem to have “discovered” Hahnemann as he never mentioned his name; and even when he refers to “I readily admit that Hippocrates, Galen, and Paracelsus were excellent doctors… (C.G. Jung, 1954, par22), there is no mentioning of the founder of homeopathy, a mystery to me as Jung immersed himself pretty much way back in medical history.
Carl Jung was not the first one following homeopathic principles in his writings. The Oneirocritica, written by Artemidorus, a philosopher of Daldis, a town in Lydia in the second century of our era, the oldest and most known work on the interpretation of dreams in five volumes, stresses that it is necessary to study the customs of land in which the dreamer lives as well as of knowing the dreamer’s identity, occupation, birth, financial status, state of health and age (Oneirocritica, Introduction, p. 16),” referred to by Hahnemann in Aphorism 5 of the Organon.
I do not pretend to be a full-fledged Jungian analyst, far from it, even after reading with the utmost interest and study all of Jung’s works. It is only my intention to open the door for homeopaths to let them know that there is a different world in man we have been neglecting in our practice, to the detriment of the patient. If as a result, the homeopath feels motivated to introduce dream interpretation in his practice and if it stimulates him to investigate further study, and to explore Carl Jung’s phenomenal books, which require concentration and careful reflection, then the goal of this book will have been reached! The work of a homeopath makes higher demands on his mental and moral structure than the allopath with his mere applications of routine techniques and protocols. Any homeopath should study first the Organon and Chronic Diseases, to honor and respect the founder of homeopathy, and any homeopath interested in dream interpretation should be stimulated to study in-depth Jung’s Collective Works to honor his genius regarding dream work, as well as his extensive research about the conscious, and personal and collective unconscious. Very few physicians in the history of man considered in their teachings the individuality of the patient, and dream interpretation which is always individual should therefore be especially an attractive and vital tool for the homeopath to introduce in his practice. I hope also that it will strengthen the homeopath’s will to succeed and to acquire the strength to swim against the stream of collective prejudice he will encounter in his life and above all to be concerned with the quality of cures rather than just the quantity.
References and Bibliography
- Spiritual Axis, (Ling Shi Jung). 1981. People’s Health Publishing House, Beijing. First published c. 100BC.
- S. Hahnemann. The Organon of Medicine. 1982. Jost Künzli, MD. Alain Naudé and Peter Pendleton. Cooper Publishing. Washington, USA.
- C.G. Jung. Memories, Dreams, Reflections. 1963. Recorded and Edited by Aniella Jaffe. Vintage Books. A division of Random House, New York.
- C.G. Jung. The Psychology of Transference. Translated by R.F.C. Hull. 1954. Bollingen Series XX. Princeton University Press.USA.
- C.G. Jung. Psyche and Symbol. Translated by R.F.C. Hull. 1958. Bollingen Series XX. Princeton University press.
- C.G. Jung. Dreams. Translated by R.F.C. Hull. 1974. Bollingen Series XX. Princeton University press.
- C.G. Jung. Two Essays on Analytical Psychology. Volume 7. Translated by R.F.C. Hull. 1972. Bollingen Series XX. Princeton University press.
- White, Robert. Artemidorus. The Interpretation of Dreams or Oneirocritica. 1975. Original Books. Torrance. California.