Dreams are fascinating because the patient gives us a view in an indirect way into his soul which also contains the unconscious motive. A number of approaches ‘how to work with dreams as homeopath’ are discussed. Dreams are especially valuable during the follow-up consultations because they hand us new exploratory elements, which we cannot get from the physical or emotional-mental angle of incidence. Moreover the change and development of the patient’s dreams gives us information to evaluate the energy of that patient over a period of time. The chronological follow-up and homeopathic analysis of the patient’s dreams can be compared to the continuous monitoring of the pulse of that patient. By directing the homeopathic treatment, following those indications, the patient will become more healthy in a very fast and effective way and will moreover be saved in a preventive way from serious diseases.
People have been interested in dreams since classical antiquity where dreams were considered mostly as messages from the gods. On the other hand, popular belief elaborated quite a lot during the following centuries on the rather doubtful predictive character of particular dream symbols, leading to a lot unconscious and archetypal images being included. The consequence was that a very unrealistic and misleading meaning was given to most of the dreams.
The modern, scientific interpretation of dreams and the use of the contents of dreams for psychotherapeutic purposes only really started in 1900, with the publications by Freud, Jung and many others. Freud was the first to say that a dream is an expression of the unconscious and that we go through wishes and emotions in our dreams in a way we don’t allow ourselves in everyday life.
Consequently the dream is a very subtle, sensitive and a precise indicator of what is taking place in the unconscious, namely which process is going on there and in what way it is directed. Dreams tell us in an indirect way what the ‘personal’ psychic and emotional tensions are in each of our patients. Moreover, dreams show us the individual processes of assimilation as reactions to these tensions. Dreams often are expressions of unconscious conflicts or emotions which can lead to emotional and / or physical complaints. So dreams are a reflection of the whole person.
But there are people, for example the Senoi, a tribe in the central highlands of the Malayan Peninsula, who consider the condition of dreaming as real. It should be consequently continued and completed during the morning dream session. Thus these people have developed a number of dreamwork techniques to make a positive link between the personal development of the individual dreamer and the ‘greater totality’ of the wider social context. Kilton Stewart, who lived together with the Senoi people and introduced the Senoi dream theory and psychology to the world through his publication of an article dated 1951, mentioned among other information that in the Senoi society for at least two to three hundred years no acts of violence had been reported.
Considering dreams ‘as real’ is in my experience congruent to the way in which homeopaths approach dreams to evaluate them.
Of course this may not be postulated as absolute, because many dreams also contain among other things mythological motifs and signature elements. On the other hand the emotional perception of the dreamer is of prevailing importance and also the deformation of the dreamed material in the mind of the dreamer is of great value homeopathically. Moreover, in homeopathy it is very important to know what is going on in the unconscious mind of the patient because the propelling force of the person is situated there. And because mind and body are one, all the aspects of being of the patient are penetrated by that very same energy. We can check on the dreams of the patient if we have recognised the nucleus of the patient, as we have deduced as hypothesis from the complete story (mostly without using his dreams), or vice versa. If these match, we finally get the “aha“ feeling and the certitude that this hypothetic homeopathic remedy is the true remedy for the patient.
Dreams belong, according to Rajan Sankaran, to the level of the ‘delusions’ (level 4), but according to my experience dreams reach the deepest roots of the energetic identity of the person because they bring to surface the deepest sensations of the person. The reason: Our deeper energetic layers are in connection with the entity earth and cosmos, and this bridge is formed via the dreams. Doctor Rajan Sankaran often uses the technique of free association. This technique draws the patient from his original complaint, mostly physical, to bring him finally to an emotionally loaded sphere wherein the verbal expression and body language stand in the centre (level 5 and 6).
While analyzing the dreams of my patients I tend to use directed association, starting from the unconscious dream themes of the patient, to better understand the underlying emotions and the nucleus elements of the dreams. From dream research it is proved that if one wakes somebody during REM-sleep and if one then asks the person to make associations, this will happen in a very bizarre and illogical way because at that moment the person is in a hyper-associative state.
So while one is dreaming, one is also in a hyper-associative state. Moreover in the dreams there is no censorship and there is no deception about our feelings. Only when some feelings are painful or taboo for the dreamer, will the dreamer project those feelings onto the opponent person/antagonist in the dream, not being aware that those feelings belong also to himself, namely to his personal shadow 1.
The dream shows on all levels the sensation of the dreamer. Dreams show us in an early stage exactly where the energetic function is blocked, as seen under a magnifying glass. This energetic dissonance shows itself by means of a mental or emotional delusion (in the dream) that is a mirror image of the energy in disharmony. Practice proves that almost any dream is worthwhile and useful to the homoeopath! This is contrary to what is often lectured. The main reason why dreams are very useful, is that dreams are carriers of powerful primary energetic information of the patient because censorship of the conscience has fallen away.
note: The pure energy only can be controlled by means of its energetic reflection at the height of the acupuncture points and meridians, and via their associated muscles.
In a common homeopathic interview, without paying attention to dreams, the unconscious underlying motives of the person normally are difficult to fathom.
Dreams are a letter from the unconscious to the conscious (cf. S. Freud) and open a world of different feelings and motives of the individual that otherwise would not be touchable. Moreover a dream contains a lot of unconscious personal and collective data that are connected with the essence of the homeopathic remedy to be prescribed.
Explanation: The man rowing the little boat on a lake is the conscious part of the individual. Everything under the water‘s surface belongs to the unconscious part of the individual, which consists of different layers from where all kinds of pulsations rise to the surface in the form of symptoms and dreams. So elements of the unconscious can become conscious to man.
The unconscious roots in different layers. It can be compared with the bottom of a lake, which consists of mud, waste, earth, gold, pearls, … and which also roots into a much deeper subsoil, namely the ‘whole’ earth from which it is part.
Ways in which We Can Look at Dreams in Patients
Concerning the different possibilities we have, to look at the dreams of our patients
Sometimes the remedy to prescribe reveals itself almost literally in the dream:
Case 1 : Zincum case:
A 44-year-old man dreams that he consults a doctor and is prescribed ‘zincum metallicum’. In another dream he wants to drive up the road and notices that from the left there is a hearse with blue flashing indicators approaching.
note: I have a number of Zincum patients who indeed dream about hearses (maybe a link with the fact that Zincum belongs to stage 12, and has the feeling of being already in decline).
Case 2 : cf. Case: Lycopodium (Bernard LONG, Revue Belge d’Homoeopathie – 1993, n°4, p. 116) : Here a case is mentioned where the remedy, next to other confirming symptoms, reveals itself in a cryptic way. The case is about a nine-year-old child who suffers from a swollen right tonsil. This child has also a distinct fear of dogs. A dream that occurs repeatedly is one where a wolf comes up to him and starts munching at his legs and feet. The dream presents itself in a cryptic way, as in a rebus, the remedy: wolf (Latin: lupus) + foot/leg (Greek: podos) = Lycopodium.
Definition: The signature theory refers to a connection, an interaction and a resonance between different entities.
So it happens that a dream explicitly refers to some kingdom (mineral, plant or animal), to which the remedy to be prescribed belongs.
A patient with hypertonic muscles at the height of the left breast, back and shoulder (which refers to Lachesis2) dreams that he is the only one of the diving club who has not got a pair of diving goggles with oxygen. Therefore he asks one of the members where he can buy such a pair!
To this patient Naja tripudians (the spectacled cobra) was prescribed successfully.
A nine-year-old boy dreams that they, in a group are searching for a suspect person. They pass a house and see from the outside that the suspect is inside there. All of a sudden the suspect comes outside and immediately one of their group drops dead. The only thing, he could finally say, was: ‘Do not look into his eyes!’ This dream suggests a remedy with hypnotizing, even deadly properties. In another dream he is on a ship at sea and suddenly the ship with people on board is swallowed by a gigantic monster. While passing through the throat of the monster he especially feels the local warmth there. This dream refers to a remedy belonging to the animal kingdom, namely by the theme of being swallowed completely, and moreover accentuated by the animal warmth which is experienced. Logically we then think in the first place of a snake remedy (a snake also swallows its prey as one entity). And indeed, further examination shows that Lachesis is the simillimun.
A 20-year-old student complains of tiredness and doesn’t recover after the exams that she passed successfully. Moreover she has a vague throat ache at the height of the larynx. She had a dream that had to do with what happened some months ago, when she had a conflict with a friend. Since then she has had no more contact with him. Recently she dreamed that she was confronted with the parents of that friend and that these people were getting angry with her, even in such a way that she could neither answer back, nor get a chance to defend herself. She couldn’t tell me more during that consultation. Nevertheless we can retain two ideas from her dream:
– being snapped at
– the family of that former friend reacts as ‘one close-knit ‘clan’
This made me think of a remedy coming from the animal kingdom, and I supposed it would be a remedy made of an animal that lives in a group and scares others by ‘barking’. Consequently I chose Lac-lupinum which meets those criteria. This remedy cured her throat ache and even her tiredness.
A seven-year-old boy with about thirty warts (molluscae contagiosae) has the following dream: He has to take part in a swimming competition but does not know what he has to do exactly. He asks his friend but the friend cannot give him a clear reply. Then the competition starts and he dives into the water. Moving forwards he is pushed upwards above the water by a force coming from under the water. As a result of this he describes a kind of oscillating movement. He reaches the finish line first, a yellow line on the bottom of the swimming pool. The movement he performs while swimming reminds me of the style of swimming, the dolphins sometimes playfully use over the water surface. The remedy Lac delphinum is thus prescribed and cures him of those annoying molluscae.
a/ Psychoanalysis (Carl Gustav Jung)
The concept personal unconscious of Carl Jung contains the concepts of Freud, namely his preconscious as well as his unconscious. Jung calls this personal unconscious the shadow. Jung also introduced the new concept of a ‘collective unconscious’, which encloses content that are not specific for our individual ego. This material contains the myriad psychological ways to react and to experience humanity, since the beginning. It is a fact that the human being shares with all other human beings, so that he is unconsciously in connection with all his fellow people. The collective unconscious represents the real foundation of the individual psyche and contains the inheritance to the possibilities of picturing, not in an individual, but in a common human, and even common animal way 3.
The instincts and the archetypes build the collective unconscious 4.
As the instincts bring the human beings to a specific way of living, so the archetypes force the perception and the concept into specific human shapes.
So the collective unconscious encloses primal images or ‘archetypes’.
According to Jung these primal images or archetypes are inherited material which is present in the brains. The archetype can best be compared with a basic thought or an immaterial idea that already exists before its material shape can be seen. Archetypes thus are an arranging principles of the unconscious part of the human psyche. They are centres of power and fields that rearrange material that is sunken in the unconscious. This is a process that hides itself from our field of consciousness, but that is of vital importance for all our doings.
In human beings there is from time immemorial a dualistic attitude toward snakes. Placing snakes in a negative light is seen particularly in Western culture. The biblical story of Creation is the prototype in which the snake, the first friend of Eve, becomes the personification of all evil and deprives the human race of its near absolute freedom. Also, the snake appears frequently in dreams, even in people who never were confronted in reality with a snake. Here the snake motif often functions as an archetype image and refers not necessarily to a homeopathic snake remedy. So the snake can be related as much to good as to evil, as to anxiety and night (as it was the case in Old Egypt) and can also refer to the mother figure or to the girl 5.
A 54-year-old woman consults me in February. The last months she felt bad because of tiredness and a chronic ill feeling. She has always to give as much of herself in her profession, (she’s social worker in a hospital), as at home.
She had the following dreams:
– Among the coats on a chair in the hall she finds a snake. The snake is 1 metre long and consists of alternately yellow and black rings of about 3 cm breadth. Her son takes the snake while she’s looking for a knife to decapitate it. This act results in a wet yellow spot on the floor which leaves a broad black stripe after it has been swept away.
– She’s in a garden with a connected orchard. The fruits (pears) are very big and most are overripe, however not rotten, yet they are not any longer edible, even after cutting away those spots. I find it most unfortunate.
(I’m surprised in my dream because it is only March in my dream and the fruits are already ripe.) I prescribe her Castor equi relating to Hering’s dream symptom: dreaming of fresh fruit hanging on trees in winter. This gives her a boost by which she regains her energy. The dream of the snake doesn’t points to a snake remedy but refers to some ‘evil / bad presence’ inside the person which must be eradiated by the conscious, yet which cannot be done totally because it leaves a broad black stripe.
Further archetypology is strongly connected with mythology, and besides the fact that only a few people still know mythology, it appears frequently in dreams and visions 6.
In this way we also see that practically, only the dream reveals the secrets of the soul.
The soul represents the opposite of the spirit, which means that the spirit conducts the psychological functions that are connected to physical physiology. The soul contains also the unconscious 7. The soul consists of a conscious as well as an unconscious part. Both parts make up in a living creature ‘one’ entity 8. Only an animated creature is a living creature. The soul is consequently the living part inside a human being, which drives on life and pushes that human being to dare to live life. But because the soul encloses also so many contradictions, it expresses itself often in a capricious way 9.
Myths are original expressions of the preconscious soul. These myths are archetype unconscious content which reaches the conscious level during a phase of low intensity of consciousness and consequently are not created by the consciousness. They express the emotional and psychological life of a primal tribe 10. Consequently the mythical images belong to the structure of the unconscious and are impersonal. We have them in collective ownership with all peoples, the past and present 11. A lot of myths were transmitted long ago from generation to generation via oral tradition, and are still present nowadays in an unconscious way in each of us.
A 41-year-old woman consults because of frequent pain in the lower abdomen.
She further tells me that she can be very touched by the spontaneity of a child, this since the last consultation. In that period she had the following dreams:
Dream 1: She is sitting at the table in the kitchen and is looking outside. She is amazed by the fact that the tree tops further down the garden now reach her level of view. The trees have sunk into the ground with their roots and trunks.
Dream 2: She and another girl are kept apart at a great distance from others so that they cannot have contact with each other. Nevertheless they have a kind of telepathic contact by which they can communicate the information derived from images concerning the future they saw on a kind of a television screen. These images were not intended for them because these images contain foreknowledge and will have an influence on what will happen on earth in the future. They, on the other hand, will try to do everything to protect mankind from abuse and manipulation derived from these future images.
Dream 3: Preface: the last years she has the idea that she cannot reach her husband in his thinking and feeling and that they are living beside each other like brother and sister. She finds him rigid and presumes that perhaps he is having a love affair at his work. As a result of a discussion she had with her husband about that subject, she is dreaming that they are living in a detached house, on which people of her husband’s work are descending. So the house is now full of people. Even the woman, with whom her husband is supposed to have an affair, is in her house. Notwithstanding she is looking among all the people present for her husband, she can’t find him.
Dream 2 has surely something to do with a possible “expansion“ and abuse of power. There is also an analogy in dream 2 with what Prometheus has done: they namely want to inform and warn mankind about threatening events which are ruled by higher powers. Once I recognized the remedy Promethium, I understood the symbolic meaning of dream 1. In dream 1, heaven, symbolized by the tree tops, is literally descended toward the earth so that heaven comes at eye level of the human being. This is analogous to the action of Prometheus who brought the fire from the gods to earth, by which it was possible for mankind to develop. Also the fact that the tree tops come now at eye level refers to Prometheus, which literally means: visionary (= looking and thinking ahead into the future). Related with dream 3, she doesn’t feel at her ease with her husband whom she suspects of having a secret affair at work and that gives him some power she cannot stand. Also the fact that she was amazed by the spontaneity of a child reveals that she wants to be more free and more creative, which are typical features for the lanthanides.
Prescription: Promethium metallicum MK followed by Psorinum LMMK.
Comment: In general, after the administration of the correct individual remedy, the (sleeping) ancestral energetic layer of the patient (awakes and) comes to surface and can consequently be treated. Because psora is the basic miasm, in most of the cases Psorinum, which is the nosode that directly touches the core of the psoric miasm, is needed. (as in the above mentioned case of Promethium) In other cases also another classical or Bowel nosodes may to be needed to treat this ancestral layer. The treatment of this ancestral energy, which causes epigenetic changes, results in a prevention of degenerative and chronic diseases in the subject.
In which dilution do we prescribe the ‘ancestral’ nosodes, following the prescription of the correct fundamental or constitutional remedy of the patient?
Hereby I want to mention my own results obtained in an empirical (energetic) way. Two categories of nosodes are to be distinguished:
- Medorrhinum, syphilinum, all tuberculinums, all carcinosinums and all Bowel nosodes. On prescription of each of these nosodes the potency determined by energetic testing varies mostly between 200 and XM K.
- Psorinum on the other hand is prescribed mostly in a XMM K or L MMK (flux continu) potency. According to Hahnemann there are three fundamentally important miasms.
– Psorinum refers to the psoric miasm that has existed for millions of years, from the origin of human evolution. Psora is, according to Hahnemann, the basic miasm. This miasm is inherent to the whole humanity and cannot be totally eradicated by either an anti-psoric remedy or by means of any other therapy. The psora is the ‘thousand headed monster’ which returns every time, even after admistering the correct ancestral correction. It is as if we decapitate only one of the thousand heads the monster has with each prescription.
– The sycotic and syphilitic miasms on the other hand have their origin more recently. Those miasms can be treated well and even eradiated by a correct homoeopathic treatment by which every time the awakened ancestral energy must be treated as well. So we see that after some years of treatment the nosodes which are linked with those miasms and their combinations (= tubercular and cancer diathesis) normally are not repeatedly prescribed during continued homoeopathic treatment.
Three months later I see the patient again. She says she felt very fine with the last remedy. The bellyache quickly disappeared and she feels again emotionally much stronger. She doesn’t brood any longer about a suspect relationship her husband would have had.
c/ Fairy tales:
Freud saw in fairy tales symbols of deeper psychological processes and suppressed sexual desires. Jung was interested in fairy tales also. He, however, saw them more as an expression of our collective unconscious in which primal images are present as a witch or a bad fairy (= evil, bad), a good fairy (= love and goodness), a forest (= darkness or not knowing what to do), … . He mentioned that they are a spontaneous naive product of the soul 12. So it is not difficult at all to understand that Freud saw in the the big bad wolf a symbol of the sexually active man and in Little Red Riding Hood a symbol of blood and passion (cf. Drosera; Symbolische Materia Medica, Bomhardt M.).
One of my Drosera-patients dreams that she is travelling with her husband and that they stay in a hotel room. While her husband is going that night to a concert, she stays alone in the room. Suddenly there is a knocking on the door. She opens the door. An obese man intends to intrude her room. She feels intuitively that this man wants to rape her and can close the door just in time. She calls her husband but he does not take up his mobile. Then the man tries again to enter by a round opening in the door, he does not succeed. Again she tries to call her husband and now he picks up. Then he soon comes to her. So the threat has disappeared.
The vulnerability, or the essence of the remedy, the patient needs, can be found frequently “in an enlarged way“ in the dream even when there is virtually nothing to be observed at present in a visible or objective way. Cf. the parable of the mustard seed: In Matthew 13:31-32, Jesus said that the mustard seed was “smaller than all other seeds,” but that when it was full grown, it would be large enough for birds to nest in its branches.
IDEA: in the dream the essence of what will develop later in reality is already present.
A 42-year-old woman who is married to a man with a light physical handicap has the following dream: She dreams that she is going to park the car while her husband, who had already got out of it, sits waiting for her on a little wall. She parks the car, gets out and goes to him to ask him for his parking card, yet she already had it in her hand from in the car (1). When she walks back to her car and wants to cross the street, a lot of cars are arriving. She sees a little dog, walking in the middle of the road in front of the cars. She is surprised that this little dog is followed by such a large number of cars with driver (2). When the little dog suddenly turns into a street, also the cars turn into this street.
Strikingly, her dream shows the mental disconnection of the person during the incident.