“Music is the real universal speech of humankind.”
This is an exploration of Homoeopathy using the language of music as a metaphor, with a symphonic structure in sonata form (i.e., four parts). As a 200 year old system of medicine, which is based on consideration of the effects of disturbances to the subtle inner nature of human beings, and which existed before, for example, the formulation of theories or acceptance of the existence of anything like an electro-dynamic Human Energy Field or Kirlian photography, HOMOEOPATHY has had to borrow many musical terms to describe both diseased states and their treatment.
Many of these terms are still also akin to those in use to describe the movement and qualities of energy. Both analogies are appropriate. The energy patterns of both the human organism i.e. instrument (particularly, the voice in the production of sounds) in disease states and the patterns of remedy pictures are referred to time and again, as having the utmost importance in the literature of Homoeopathy. E.g. a Remedy Picture must resonate with the Total Symptom Picture of an individual being treated homoeopathically. The effect of resolving a disturbance in this way would be described as using counter- poise in terms of musical composition i.e., a force or influence that balances or equally counteracts another, resulting in a state of equilibrium.
OVERTURE (1st Movement)
“When a humanfalls ill it is at first only this self-sustaining spirit-like vital force every where present in the organism which is untuned by the dynamic influence of the….dis-ease agent.”
Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) Para 11. The Organon of Medicine 6 th Edition, “A New Translation. Pub. Victor Gollanz Ltd. 1989)
“It is only the pathologically untuned vital force that causes diseases. These…manifestations accessible to our senses express all the internal changes, i.e., the whole pathological disturbance of the dynamis: they reveal the whole disease.“
(S.H. para.12, Organon)
Since Homoeopathy was founded as a system of medicine in the late 17th century by Samuel Hahnemann, there has been an increasing upheaval in the way humans choose to regard their ails and ills.
This essay that you now read, itself attests to the resurgence of esteem for the ‘connections’ between body, mind and emotions. The dissonance that many of us have or will experience at sometime in our lives is now being viewed in many quarters with an apparently ‘new’ perspective.
SONG OF SEPIA
Sepia sings as she washes the clothes,
Sings and laments over worries and woes.
“What is this burden I carry around,
SAG on the inside, weighing me down?”
Sepia chants in an apathetic drone,
Wife, home and children mean little,
It’s clear from his tone.
Indifferent, he wails, Leave me alone!
So, if you happen to hear
their irritable dirge,
Let compassion arouse,
Get them out of the house!
So much better are they, if they do something active,
Then they are seen at their most attractive!
2nd MOVEMENT (Slow & Extended)
‘In the state of health the spirit-like vital force (dynamis) animating the material human organism reigns in supreme sovereignty. It maintains the sensations and activities of all the parts of the living organism in a harmony that obliges wonderment. The reasoning spirit who inhabits the organism can thus freely use this healthy living instrument to reach the highest purposes of human existence.’
(S.H Para.9. The Organon of Medicine.)
When working with fellow patients’ Vital Force to aid their healing, we learn to work with the symbolic substance of life which often speaks in metaphors and similes, i.e., people often begin to describe their varied sensations and feelings with “It’s as if….” Or “It’s like…”
We become watchers of the shifting images and hopefully the liet motiv, which illustrates the essence of their suffering. We listen to and trust in these inner patterns that unfold, so that it is possible to help fellow patients participate and co-operate with the possible transformation that can occur during the process of cure.
To understand and recognize the nature of this energy we need to develop a new archetype; a new way of relating to and experiencing both our own and the patients’ inherent wholeness.This archetype is not a form or structure but a sacred space within, where we are able to reconnect with our own essential nature and therefore with that of others requesting help to heal themselves.
The nature of this space is defined more by its qualities of connection and similarity rather than by boundaries and limitations. It can allow us to be our own true self and to recognize the individuality of others. Within such a space it is possible to feel the sacred wholeness of all life and at the same time appreciate the profound uniqueness of each facet of creation; of each perfect note. However, this newly emerging archetype is not yet present when we first encounter both our own process of healing or those who seek homoeopathic treatment. Instead, we are confronted by the decaying forms and distorted manifestations of consciousness. Old patterns and out-moded rhythms must be let go; must die for the new to be born, but it is mainly these discordant melodies that are perceived. They are still in the forefront of our consciousness whether we are aware of them or not and will express themselves through the physical form as disease states which we are conditioned to notice and value.
‘When not in freedom the individual says, “I feel…” It is this disturbance of an invisible character which comes from cause, and appears by changes in the activities of the body, changes in sensations, changes in functions….No feeling a human can have is without purpose, as there is nothing in the universe without its use.’ (Dr. J.T. Kent, “Lectures on Homoeopathic Philosophy.” Pg.79. B. Jain Publishers)
As healers and wayfarers on the path of healing and transformation we learn to welcome what we do not yet know – that which is coming from beyond into consciousness; a new aria, an enlivening euphony. The new will always be threatening to those of us attached to the old ways, to the forms created in the past. Yet amidst the structures we have created and evolved from the past, the present is dynamically alive, not as a problem to be solved but as life giving of itself. It is a seed that must be sown with the appropriate energy to bring us into consciousness of the nature of our disease, of the quality and form, which initially must be identified and then urged to move on. When we remain in identification with outmoded rhythms and forms we can become isolated because forms are defined by their separateness. In space there is flow; and in its movement the music of life is hidden. Rhythm is more than a mere harmonizing influence; it is the vehicle for higher or more subtle forms of experience.
Human consciousness is carried on rhythms of heart-beat, breathing, sleeping and waking, night-day, winter-summer, and life and death itself. In Homoeopathic treatment the practitioner can use the Minimum Dose of a dynamically resonant Single Remedy to help create space by matching the essence of the chosen remedy picture to the essence of the distorted pattern manifesting in the patient. Otherwise, imprisoned in the forms we have created, life ceases to flow from the source, disease results and problems abound. When those who come to seek solutions appear, what their learning and healing process encompasses is to recognize the need to open themselves so that life can flow freely. Healers of all kinds cannot exempt themselves, it is the learning we all need. It is life flowing from and to its source that will heal the earth, just as in humans the Vital Force is the prime agent in any personal healing.
3rd MOVEMENT (Minuet – Regular rhythm)
“Outer malefic agents that harm the healthy organism and disturb the harmonious rhythm of life can reach and effect the spirit-like dynamis only in a way that is also dynamic and spirit-like. The physician can remove these pathological untunements (dis-eases) only by acting on our spirit-like vital force with medicines having equally spirit-like dynamic effects that are perceived by the nervous sensitivity everywhere present in the organism.
So it is only by dynamic action upon the vital principle that remedies can restore health and the harmony of life after perceptible changes in health (the totality of symptoms) have revealed the disease to the carefully observing and inquiring physician fully enough to be cured.”
S.H. Para.16. The Organon of Medicine
In the Overture, we mentioned briefly that Homoeopathy is based on The Law of Similars. This in fact states ‘Let likes be cured by likes’ and this is the point of resonance that is required to treat the aforementioned Totality of Symptoms. But this is not the only reason why homoeopathic treatment can be so swift-acting, so deeply affecting or so subtle and direct in its action. Another hugely important factor is that homoeopathic remedies are potentised or dynamised. This brings us closer to the counter-point where the language of music and descriptions of energy and its qualities meet. Samuel Hahnemann’s second outstanding contribution to medicine was made when he devised the technique of potentisation. At first he tried to dilute substances chosen by the Law of Similars to treat patients and he immediately found this reduced toxic effects of the substances, but it also appeared to reduce the therapeutic effects in proportion to the amount of dilution. Whether through his background in chemistry and/or inspiration from some other source, Hahnemann hit upon the idea of adding kinetic energy (or rhythmic vibration) to the diluted substances by shaking or ‘succussion’. The groundbreaking effect he observed was that the combination of serial dilution and succussion brought a greater therapeutic effect whilst still extinguishing the toxic effects of the substances.
The result was the development of an ingenious but simple technique of extracting the therapeutic energy of a substance without altering its pattern, which could therefore still be administered according to the basic resonance principle of the Law of Similars, but now with the enhanced effects of an increased intensity of pitch in the electro-dynamic field of the therapeutic agent. The liberated energy originally contained within the crude substance is now more able to interact with the dynamic plane of the organism and produce a lasting cure of the total organism.
“Aggravation’ is…used in homoeopathic parlance to describe those conditions in which, under the action of a deeply acting homoeopathic medicine (or from other causes), latent disease becomes active and expresses itself in the return of the old symptoms…In such cases it represents the reaction of the organism to the stimulus of a well selected medicine, and is generally curative in its nature.”
Stewart Close Pg.152 The Genius of Homoeopathy; B. Jain Publishers
The nature and purpose of the Homoeopathic aggravation has caused much confusion and at times controversial debate over the years both in the Homoeopathic profession, amongst patients undergoing treatment and in medical circles. It represents the greatest departure from other therapeutic systems because its place in homoeopathy heralds an exceptional view of the process of cure, ie. homoeopathy does not consider the simple disappearance or removal of symptoms to mean that someone has been cured of their disease. As indicated in the above quotation, the prescription of a deeply resonant Single Remedy given at any one time, which produces an aggravation, shows the homoeopath, that the vital force of the patient has recognized its similimum. It is therefore desirable that the organism responds by attempting to throw off symptoms which have previously been suppressed by defensive postures, allopathic drugs or by will power.
“To be completely free, an organism must be fully expressive and creative in the context of its immediate reality. When its expression is inhibited, suppressed, rendered secret, or obstructed, then we have an ill individual.”
George Vithoulkas Pg. 228 “The Science of Homoeopathy.” B. Jain Pub.
Again, in the quotation at the start of our finale, it is stated that the aggravation is ‘generally curative’. This is not the case when repeated doses of a remedy are given without waiting to assess the response of the vital force, (e.g., remedies that are sold in health shops often have instructions that they should be taken three times daily for a month!) What is likely to happen in these cases is that, whether the remedy is apparently the ‘correct’ one or not, the person will begin to manifest symptoms that they did not previously have; their original symptoms may worsen and remain so or they may be suppressed to a greater degree than with, for example, antibiotics. If the person begins to exhibit symptoms of the remedy, not an aggravation of their original complaint, which may be suppressed by ‘overdosing’ of the chosen remedy, this is what is known as a ‘proving’.
It is a myth that Homoeopathic remedies are always safe. They are only so when used properly and their effects monitored by someone who is trained at least to some degree to be able to differentiate whether the process of cure has been initiated or not. Professional homoeopaths are trained to assess the action of remedies by using clearly stipulated Laws of Cure, which were formulated by Constantine Hering (1800-1880).
In general and briefly, they are as follows:
a) Symptoms move from the innermost (vital) organs of the body to the outer organs.
b) Cure takes place from above downwards.
c) Symptoms move from within, outwards.
d) Symptoms clear in reverse order of appearance.
Obviously, the process of cure for each person is as individual as they are, but it takes some considerable understanding of the disease process from a homoeopathic perspective in order to accurately assess the dynamics of each case. After a thorough training in Homoeopathic theory and clinical practice, there is no greater teacher than experience in accumulating the skills necessary to tune the ear to hear the individual melody, thereby being able to choose the Keynote symptoms expressing the liet motiv leading to the Simillimum, and to further discern a curative response after applying the Single Remedy in the Minimum Dose.
“Emotions of any kind are produced by melody and rhythm; therefore by music a human becomes accustomed to feeling the right emotions; music has thus the power to form character, and the various kinds of music based on the various modes, may be distinguished by their effects on character – e.g., working in the direction of melancholy, …. one encouraging abandonment, another self-control, another enthusiasm and so on through the series.”
“It has long been recognised that music is a universal means of communication. It has been called a non-verbal language. What has yet to be more fully realised is the range of expression that is possible in this ‘language’. The variety of human experience that can be communicated through music is highly diversified and virtually unlimited.”
C. Robbins & Dr. P. Nordoff in “Music Therapy; A New Anthology” (New Knowledge Books)