Homeopathy Papers

Delusions and Dreams in Homoeopathy

dream interpretation
Written by David Little

Homeopath David Little discusses Dreams and Delusions and how they might be repertorized.

Delusions, Love and Hate as Rubrics

Kent taught that will and understanding compose the inner aspects of the human psyche. On this basis he said that love and hate were the deepest of human emotions and central aspects of case taking. This is similar to the philosophy of Empedocles who wrote that love and hate were the powers responsible for the interaction of the five homœomeries. When one loses their willpower and understanding they are subject to delusions about the nature of reality that lead to misplaced attachments and aversions. This makes delusion, loves and hates central concerns in homœopathic psychology.

dream-interpretationDelusions and dreams are very revealing of the psychological states produced by homœopathic provings because they are controlled directly by the unconscious. The images seen in delusions, hallucinations and dreams carry archetypal information in the form of symbols. For example, the Three Witch Drugs are Belladonna, Hyoscyamus and Stramonium. These Solanaceae family remedies share many similar symptoms yet each has a unique remedy picture. Belladonna has the following symptoms in the repertory extraction of the Complete Repertory found in ReferenceWorks.



Delusions, imaginations: beetles, worms, etc.

Delusions, imaginations: black, on walls and furniture, sees.



Delusions, imaginations: cats, sees: black.









Delusions, imaginations: devils: sees.

Delusions, imaginations: faces, sees: hideous.









Delusions; imaginations: wolves, of.


The above symptoms come directly from the unconscious regions of the psyche and reflect many archetypal images related to witches, wizards and states of possession. Not so long ago many of the states produced by the Three Witch drugs would have been considered possession by demons. Delusions have both literal and symbolic interpretations. In the case of the literal interpretation the person would actually experience the state related to the delusion. In the case of Belladonna they would really see wolves, devils and ghosts that are not present.

The symbolic interpretation of delusions has a much wider application than a literal hallucination. Many forms of delusion are very subtle and subjective in nature yet they affect the entire outlook of a person. In a symbolic interpretation the patient may feel that the people around them act like wolves, are devilish in their actions or have a ghostly personality. These symbolic delusions are revealed through the patient’s word associations, dreams, fantasies and mannerism. A Natrum Muriaticum patient stated she worked very hard to buy her home, furniture and food and that most people tried to get whatever they could get from her for nothing. She considered most people little more than thieves. In this case the following rubric was considered essential.


MIND; DELUSIONS, imaginations; thieves, robbers, sees; house, in: ars., cann-i., con., cupr-acet., lach., merc., nat-m., sil., sol-t-ae.

The Complete Repertory; R. Zandvoort.


The idea that people were trying to steal what she had was essential to the make-up of this patient’s psychology. There were no real cat burglars in her house but she projected the idea that most people were thieves as individuals and collective groups. Some of the reasons behind these projections were that her former husband had left her and she had lost everything. She felt that he took all the good she did in her youth away from her. She had to work exceptionally hard to rebuild her life and was overly protective. The idea that people are thieves permeated her entire view of the world.

A patient may feel that everyone is trying to cause them trouble when this is not the case. In this situation the rubric like “delusions that they feel persecuted” may be of use. Sometimes a child is very needy of their parents and will not take their eyes off them because they are under the delusion that they will be deserted or forsaken. The symbolic use of rubrics can transcend their literal interpretation. Many delusions are very subtle and subjective in nature yet they affect the entire outlook of a person.

Delusions come in different strengths and shapes. The parable of the snake and rope is taken from Vedanta. This analogy has been used in a number of ways throughout the centuries. For a person to be afraid of a snake in their path is a common reaction. To not feel fear would be strange, rare and peculiar. When a person sees the snake and retreats that should be the end of the matter. If the feeling of fear still lingers long afterwards, the individual is under the delusion that the snake can still hurt them although it cannot. When a person sees a rope as a snake this is predominantly a projection of their own internal fears. In this case, the fear of snakes is in the subconscious mind waiting to be projected outward when triggered. When a person sees a snake when there is absolutely nothing there, this is a full-blown hallucination. In this situation the unconscious has such a fixation on snakes that it is creating them. The three levels of delusion are: being obsessed with something that can’t hurt you any more, projecting the delusion on the objects or people around you, and creating the objective appearance of a delusion mentally. These three levels of delusion represent progressively deeper states of psychopathology.

The entire mental section of the repertory can be used as a reference for these states of delusion. Kent called these affections of the will and understanding and related them to the source of all other mental symptoms. The more untrue, exaggerated, and foolish the mental state is, the more strange, rare and peculiar its symptoms become. This makes these rubrics characteristic of the individual and important when referring to the repertory.

To be afraid of snakes in the jungle is common but to be afraid of snakes where there are none is a phobia. To see snakes in your room when there are none is peculiar. When a person thinks everyone at work is a “snake” this is a word association. In this case, fear of snakes or delusions of snakes could be used as a rubric. In this way, the homœopath may use the doctrine of analogy and correspondence to expand the usage of the rubrics of the mind, delusions, dreams and sensations as if.

A person’s attractions and aversions are closely related to the conditioned responses that reside in the subconscious mind. When a person feels fearful, insecure, and uncomfortable when they are alone, and happy when they are with people, this is a manifestation of their loves and hates. What lies underneath this? Some people do not like bright colors while others feel like crying when they listen to music. What do these things remind them of? Some individuals feel more comfortable with strangers yet very irritable with close friends. Why? Some individuals love to be noticed while others are very shy or timid about being seen in public. Could one person be compensating for feelings of worthlessness while the other is reacting to fear of failure?

All loves and hates are essential aspects of a person’s psychology and characteristic of remedies. Such states are conditioned responses based on unresolved mental conflicts. Aversion tends toward hatred, irritability, anger, envy, resentment and revenge while attachments produce desires, misplaced love, grief, sadness, loss, and pride. Everyone is a mixture of these emotional polarities but certain negative tendencies predominate due to the underlying fixations.

This process becomes much more abstruse because of the phenomena of compensation. One who constantly speaks of being non-judgmental often has very strong fixed opinions about various subjects. Some who constantly profess progressive values and liberal views are often covering up resistance to change and narrow-mindedness. The patient’s interactions with family, friends and colleagues reveal aspects of their hidden personality.

At times the occupation of a person involves compensation. A preacher whose sermons are of hell-fire and damnation speaks of Christian love but is often filled with fear, guilt and anger. They say they hate the sin and not the sinner but in truth their sin is hatred of others. A man who wishes to make money becomes a doctor to “serve humanity”. A bully becomes a police officer to “protect the peace”. A selfish person becomes a lawyer to “help the innocent” through frivolous lawsuits. A thief speaks like the most honest individual, a confidence man makes the best impressions, and a real sinner tries to appear as the greatest saint.

The words people use to describe things are representative of a person’s unconscious material. If a person thinks his boss is a snake in the grass, all the other employees are trying to take his position, everyone is talking behind his back, and his job is killing him, we already have several possible rubrics. If his working situation is relatively normal then most of his experience is a projection of his inner emotional complexes onto the world outside. The rubrics we might use in such a case include; suspicious; mistrustful; fear of snakes; delusions of snakes in and around her; delusions, sees thieves; delusions, is going to be robbed; fear of robbers; delusions, he is persecuted; delusions, he is pursued; delusions he would be murdered; and delusions, being injured; just to name a few.

These rubrics should be underlined depending on how characteristic they are of the inner state and by how distant they are from reality. These types of rubrics would bring the homœopath to consider remedies like Lachesis, Arsenicum Album, Stramonium, Hyoscyamus, Lac Caninum and Opium. If one of these remedies was confirmed by the concomitant symptoms one could consider that remedy a simillimum.


Dreams and Archetypes

In Civilization in Transition (Collected Works, Vol. 10) Jung wrote that dreams were a hidden door to the innermost recesses of the psyche. Dreams are a door that opens into the cosmic night, which represented the psyche long before there was an ego consciousness. Dreams are a portal to a more universal eternal mind residing in the darkness of the primordial night that represents a whole that is still one with nature. It was through his study of dreams that Jung began to confirm that there were components of consciousness. Dreams have played a vital role in assessing the nature of the psyche since the time of the ancient Asclepiads. This is because dreams are beyond the conscious control of the ego and represent the dynamic Gestalt-patterns of archetypes in the unconscious. The dreamer lives in a secret world that is free from the repression that the peer group and society impose on the persona. In the dream world one lives in a secret realm hidden from the minds of others.

The Oriental philosophies teach that all life is a dream not just the images seen in sleep. This image arises in an old American folksong that is sung in rounds, “Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream!” This song is full of symbolic meanings that go far beyond taking a boat ride. The Freudian view was that dreams were basically a medium for the wish fulfillment of repressed complexes and traumatic libido conflicts. People commonly see dreams as symbolic of their hopes and fears. Individuals often speak of dreams in terms of their wishes for this life. What is a hopeful expectation? What is a daydream? What is an idle fantasy? What is a hallucination? What is a vision? How different are these from dreams at night?

The conscious mind displays its hopes for a better life in linear terms while dreams are irrational and full of synchronism. Dreams often reveal sides of a person one would not guess existed from just talking to them. Dreams often contain repressed fantasy and compensations for what the conscious persona cannot express. This is why the interpretation of dreams held an important place in Greek Asclepiums. The homœopath will also find this to be a fertile field to investigate in many cases.

To understand dreams takes good knowledge of psychology, mythology, comparative religion, fairy stories, folk tales, poetry and the visual arts. Comprehending dreams includes attention to form, setting, pace, mood, rhythm, color, themes, images, actors and emotional feeling tones. In The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche (Collected Works, Volume 8, par. 505) Jung wrote that a dream is a spontaneous symbolic self-portrayal of the actual situation in the unconscious.

Each component in the dream represents an aspect of a person’s unconscious. In the classical Jungian method it is taught that the shadow appears mostly as equisexual characters and the animus-animus appears as contrasexual figures. The purposeful guiding element behind the process of dreaming is the Self. Dreams are a medium for compensation and complementation of those areas of the psyche that need integration.

In The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche (Collected Works, Vol. 8, par. 509) Jung wrote that a dream is a theater in which the dreamer is the scene, player, prompter, producer, author, public and critic. The motif of the theater is an archetypal image that shows that life is a stage on which the psyche takes the role of the composer, actors and audience. Dreams also have a dramatic structure which includes exposition, peripeteia, crisis and lysis.

These four stages are the setting, development, climax and resolution of the inner drama. The setting is represented by the geographic location in which the dream opens. The setting establishes the foundation that helps put all that follows into perspective. The peripeteia develops the movement, themes and dynamics that expand on the potential of the dream. The crisis is the peak of the dramatic movement of the peripeteia where maximum tension is reached.

The final stage is the lysis in which the crisis ends in resolution or catastrophe. Thus dreams tend to follow the same four stages as the classical Greek plays. In dreams, however, various stages may be lengthened or shortened and may overlap. Some dreams seem to end at an impasse reminiscent of serials that close with the words, “to be continued.” These types of dreams are often continued in various ways at a later date.

Dreams present themselves in a language of images that may be understood by allegory, symbols and rebus. An image is considered allegoric if the dream message can be translated into rational concepts and symbolic when the meaning cannot be conceived logically. A rebus is something that is represented by phrases or pictures that suggest syllables, words or concise ideas. In order to gain a deeper understanding of dream language the practitioner uses associations, explanation and amplification.

Associations are any ideas, notions, memories, reactions and feelings that arise in the dreamer’s mind when discussing a particular dream image. Associations are invoked from the dreamer by asking questions like “What does that remind you of?” The association that carries the biggest emotional charge is the interpretation that is confirmed by the unconscious. This shows that the association relates to the present or past psychological state. The process is deepened by asking the seven universal questions; who, what, where, why, with what, what modalities and when? Associations offer access to the subjective regions of the psyche that lie behind the dream images.

Explanations are rationalizations that proceed from generally accepted facts that are either objective-collective or subjective-individual. A pen is an object that carries a collective definition in the mind of everyone. It does not matter if the pen is used for writing or a weapon to stab a person. A pen is a pen. In a subjective personal definition the pen may stand for creativity, communication or a means of self-expression. Here the image of pen has a greater meaning that goes beyond the pen as an object.

A pen can be either a prop during a dream or a starting point for the further application of association. Such relationships can be accessed by asking questions like, “What does that represent to you?” If the patient takes such questions seriously it often begins a stream of associations. This is further enhanced by the seven universal questions. Once again this can open a wider field of the mental symptoms. If the pen is a prop it will not inspire further emotional feeling tones but if the pen is pivotal it will lead to deeper emotional-affect responses.

Amplification is the enlarging of the dream images with corresponding motifs from fairy tales, mythology, metaphysics, alchemy and other storehouses of archetypes. This process is most useful when the dreamer offers information that involves the collective unconscious. To attempt to impose amplification of the props found in a dream or images that offer rational explanations is counter-productive. Archetypal motifs convey collective energy patterns that represent the complexes that surround a person’s individual myth. These images symbolize the way in which the dreamer responds to universal, spiritual, philosophical, social, and ethical dilemmas that make up the transpersonal grand themes of existence.

Some dreams are fairly mundane reenactments of the daily activities of the persona. Other dreams are shadowy compensations in which the dreamer does things they would never do in the waking state. There are also dreams that include anima and animus figures, images from the collective unconscious and messages from the Self. These take positive or negative forms depending on the psychic contents within the unconscious psyche. The homœopath may use association, explanation and amplification as a tool that reveals the greater psychological profile of the patient.

Dreams have their literal and interpretative applications in Homœopathy. When the patient repeatedly dreams of the ocean, looking up the symptoms related to water is a literal interpretation. This approach only offers the limited number of rubrics found in the dream sections of the repertory and materia medica. The interpretive use of association, explanation and amplification opens up the use of all the rubrics found in homœopathic reference works. When the homœopath inquires into the dreams of the client they are looking for clues that uncover the patient’s core archetypal delusions and central loves and hates and their somatic concomitants.

The most important dreams are those that have a strong effect on the waking state of the person or have reoccurring themes. Dreams that are repetitive contain areas of fixation in the unconscious and are characteristic of their complexes. The different persons and objects seen in dreams are symbolic representations of certain aspects of the psyche seeking expression. Physical, general and particular symptoms can frequently be found in the locations, sensations, modifications and concomitants of the dream body. The use of the mentals, physical generals and particulars in relationship to the dream body goes far beyond the rubrics in the section on dreams alone.

A patient dreams they are lost on a raft in a vast ocean with no one to help to find the shore (setting). The ocean symbolizes the deepest aspects of unconscious where most mental activity takes place well below the surface. In the dream ego feeling alone and lost on the ocean brings up fears of sinking, being attacked by sea monsters and drowning (development). The dream body feels the cold winds and is chilled to the point of shaking and shivering. The dreamer’s legs feel cold, achy, weak, numb and paralyzed and they fear they will die (climax). Then the dreamer suddenly wakes up feeling fearful, chilly and shaken during the day (to be continued). Such an experience may have a strong effect on the conscious ego and may make them feel fearful of those things that symbolize the oceanic unconscious.

Sometimes a fearful situation is transformed by hopeful symbols of life that surface from the ocean of the unconscious. Maybe the dreamer surrenders to their fate and some dolphins suddenly appear and show the dreamer the way forward. Perhaps seagulls fly overhead showing that land is near. These are images from the Self that are symbols of guidance and bring a sense of completion (lysis). This opens the use of rubrics like > by company and consolation and brings in states like exhilaration, exaltation and cheerfulness. Now the dreamer wakes up feeling hopeful and inspired.

Perhaps the opposite closing scene takes place and the raft sinks throwing the dream ego into the water causing a sinking feeling that wakes them up (catastrophe). A positive lysis often carries a better prognosis about the situation in the unconscious than the catastrophe. A catastrophe may be a sign of a repressed death wish or that the complexes in the unconscious are overwhelming for the ego structure. Death in a dream may also mean that a certain part of the ego structure must die for individuation to take place. Such dream riddles must be solved individually through association, explanation and amplification.

Rubrics and sub-rubrics for dreams of water are in the repertory. This is a literal interpretation of the dream. Through association, explanation and amplification one can find more psychological components and general symptoms from this dream. Perhaps under questioning the patient remembers that they almost drowned when they were young and they have felt insecure and fearful ever since. This is a rational explanation with a cause and effect line. Many times there is no literal cause and association further elucidates the dream symbolically.

Perhaps the dream reminds the dreamer of being a young child who was overwhelmed by fearful images in the sea of darkness at night while alone in the bedroom. Perhaps they felt lost and abandoned by their parents without anything solid on which to support their existence. They could have felt as if they were nearly drowned in an ocean of fearful images and attacked by monsters from the unconscious. The image of being lost at sea is a mythological motif that may be filled in by the specifics of the dreamer. Such images involve the interpretive understanding of the dream through associations.

To be lost and afraid in the middle of the vast sea must be transferred into the language of the repertory by analogy. Such images may lead to rubrics like: delusions of water; fear of water; delusions of being lost, for salvation; delusions he cannot succeed; delusions of being alone, castaway, alone in this world; fear of being alone, least he die; fear of death; delusions of being doomed; delusions of frightful animals; delusions he might be injured; delusions sees frightful images, phantom, specters; delusions of being injured; delusion he is being pursued, by enemies; delusion he is sinking; feelings of being forsaken, isolated or not loved by his parents; fear of dark, etc.

There are an infinite number of possibilities depending on the associations, explanations, and amplifications related to the individual case. Some remedies that have the major components of the water dream are Arsenicum, Stramonium, Mercury, Veratrum, Hyoscyamus, Lachesis, Mercurius, Belladonna, Cannabis Indica, Carcinosin, Medorrhinum, Natrum Carbonicum, Sepia, Lyssin, etc. The general symptoms demonstrated in this dream might be: < damp, < cold, < open air, chills, trembling, trembling from fright, trembling from cold, chilblains, gooseflesh, blueness of extremities etc. The particular symptoms might include coldness of the extremities, numbness of the legs, weakness, paralysis, < motion, < exertion, etc. Any physical symptoms experienced by the dream body can be used as a general or particular symptom. These dream components should then be compared with the symptoms of the waking state for confirmations.

If the dream remedies are also applicable to the symptoms of the case that appear during the waking state the remedy is a deep simillimum. The interpretation of dreams is a subjective art that may help to clarify certain remedies that might be overlooked. The rubrics listed under dreams and delusions are similar in nature as they are projections of subconscious material. Fantasy related to mental states and sexuality is very revealing of some of the unconscious contents of the mind. The mental, general and particular symptoms are sometimes very useful in analyzing dreams, daydreams, fantasies, delusions, visions and psychic impressions.

About the author

David Little

David Little was born in the USA in 1948 and has been a student of Homeopathy since the early 1970s. He has studied Homeopathy in the USA and India. His first teacher was the late, great Dr Manning Strahl and he was a colleague of the late Dr Harimohan Choudhury. He started HOE, Homeopathic Online Education in 1999. David Little has recently published The Homoeopathic Compendium, a unique series of textbooks designed to provide a complete guide to Homoeopathy. This monumental work is presented in 6 volumes, with over 4,500 pages. To order online and for more information, including free chapters visit: www.friendsofhealth.com


  • A wonderful clear article on the power of dreams and a segue to understanding the core imbalance and consequent remedy for healing. When used with the temperaments of the individual ( as our remedies have affinity to temperament types) , it is a way to differentiate between remedies and move whatever imbalance exists in the nervous system toward allowing the immune system to respond.It opens the door to mind cures and further inductions to maintain ongoing healing.I owe a lot to David’s work as it has greatly influenced my process of integrating psychotherapy and homeopathy ( website http://www.drkennethsilvestri.com for related articles).

  • Well done David by giving this clear introduction which should open the door to homeopathy as to understand that the totality of symptoms for most homeopaths is one quarter of that person as most patients suppress and project while being unaware of the personal and collective unconscious, the real drive behind our conscious life! May every homeopath start studying Jung,s Collected Volumes to enrich the homeopathic practice with another true science

    Dr luc

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