Organon § 20
This hidden spirit-like power in the inner wesen of medicines to alter the human condition and thus to cure diseases is, in itself no way discernible with mere intellectual exertion. It is only by experience, only through its manifestations while it is impinging on the human condition that we can distinctly perceive it.
Trituration is the method by which you are able to know a substance with more than “intellectual exertion”. It is a process of diluting an insoluble substance for homeopathic use by grinding it to a fine powder and mixing it with lactose powder. In this way substances which are not soluble in water are ground and made ready for making remedies.
I first heard about trituration in my first year of studies of a four year programme of homeopathy. During the beginning of my programme, I was learning information and terminology that were new and unfamiliar. At first, all it meant to me was to participate in the process of making remedies, that was done collectively in a group setting. An article by Wiet van Helmond describes Trituration as,
“During the trituration the person who is grinding the substance goes through a proving as the energy coming from the originating substance is not just transferring itself to the milk sugar, it is detaching itself from the substance and is spreading itself like a radiant field from the mortar. So the person grinding is also exposed and during the cycles of triturating, this prover will notice symptoms in a certain order.”
This explained to me, in theory, what to expect during the process of a C-4 trituration. What happened in my experience with my first substance was not even close to this description. My colleagues and I had participated in a ‘proving’ of Ultrasound and were now doing the trituration of the same substance. A homeopathic ‘proving’ is undertaken by taking a dose of the potentized substance in the form of a remedy. The provers have to keep a journal and note every detail of their mental, emotional and physical symptoms along with any dreams over the course of a month. This information compiled together brings forth the ‘picture’ of the remedy.
As background, Ultrasound remedy has this picture of confusion, irritation, agitation, feeling of being disturbed and not wanting to be disturbed, not wanting to communicate, among other aspects. Even a month after the Ultrasound proving, I, along with other colleagues had remnant symptoms, like joint pains, inability to focus, restlessness, overstimulation etc. The Trituration was intended to clear out the energy of Ultrasound and find a resolution to our symptoms.
The Trituration was conducted by Dr Roland Guenther, who assured me that my inexperience was in no way detrimental to the proceedings. I remember being in a kind of daze, not able to correlate or connect all the information together through the whole two days of grinding and diligently noting all symptoms, thoughts, dreams etc. In retrospect, I was the ‘picture’ of the substance, but as in the process of proving, not self aware enough to recognize the energy of the substance communicating to me.
All my symptoms were resolved by the end of C4. I came away, comprehending the physical mechanics of the process but not at the deeper energy level workings. I couldn’t quite believe that the energy transfers itself to the person grinding the milk sugar and certainly did not believe that I could identify this energy. In this instance, I thought, maybe the substance was too abstract, an imponderable and that is why it was hard to pin down.
A year went by and I participated in another Trituration, this time of Sulphur. A lot of information is already available on Sulphur. It’s an important polychrest, the remedy picture is detailed and complete. I thought I should be able to form an image during the process of Trituration easily.
It was not to be. I felt pressured to come up with something enlightening, something that I hadn’t read about the remedy and now will ‘see’ or ‘feel’ because of this process. I came up with nothing and felt frustrated. Still, I ate ravenously, drank a lot of wine and didn’t bathe for the time duration of the trituration and didn’t think too much about it!
I started to believe that I am not one of ‘them’, who can experience the knowledge of the substance by grinding it, releasing its energy and communicating with it. I was disappointed although not too much, since I didn’t even fully understand what I am to gain by participating in trituration. I just understood that I came away feeling that I didn’t get it.
There is a saying in Hindi, loosely translated, “what does the monkey know of the delights in the flavour of ginger.” It means, some experiences/pleasures are not available to the un-evolved. I could relate to that sentiment acutely by this time!
Recently I participated in a blind Trituration. Somehow, I felt from the beginning that this experience will be good. There is no pressure, I don’t know what to feel or think, since none of us know the substance we are grinding.
As Dr Roland Guenther describes, “In a Shameeah ceremony (Trituration) we rely on our inner senses, our perception of subtle energies in our body, in our emotions, our mind and in our soul. Knowing the origin of the substance that we are dealing with, can be very distracting because our mind jumps in, making up stories. However, in a Shameeah we are the students, we listen to what nature shares with us. So we have to be as quiet as possible in order to hear. Nature does not yell at us. Mostly she just whispers. Not knowing means that our mind can relax in this not-knowing and with less mental interference and more authenticity we can perceive nature’s messages.”
I started Day 1 with an open mind and heart. Before the grinding started, I focussed on my heart chakra for a few minutes to visualize it expanding and preparing itself to receive. My conscious endeavour during this time was stay in this energy. I tried to not analyze or theorize or try to make sense, or even think of what am I writing. Just stay in the energy to receive and when ever my mind drifted, I focused on my heart chakra.
The substance we were triturating were the seeds of Peganum Harmala, a small remedy with very little information about it in the Materia Medica. I didn’t experience very many physical symptoms during the trituration. I did have a distinct impression of the energy travelling from a great distance, across seas, across generations to communicate with me.
I had visions of the flower of this plant in the ceramic bowl while grinding. I saw a white flower which was bleached white from red. Later I found that the seeds of this plant are used to make red dye and the plant itself was layered over wheat in order to bleach it for making whiter flour. And the flower is white.
The plant itself is of Asian origin, growing primarily in India and Pakistan before it was introduced in the United States in 1928 in New Mexico by a farmer wanting to manufacture the dye “Iranian red” from its seeds.
There was a feeling of slight intoxication, relaxation, slight euphoria, a feeling of well-being. A colleague shared some information the next day that she found about the plant and how smoking the seeds gives some MAO inhibition and a mild, marijuana-like buzz.
I can truly say that I was in communication with the energy of this plant. I understood, in my own way, the feeling of this energy which I find hard to put into words. I got a glimpse of the inner dynamic nature of this remedy, and I will recognize this energy if I see it again. I now retain a ‘resonant knowledge’ of this remedy.
This trituration was my first baby step in a world of fuller understanding. It was apt that I was led in by the energy of a plant that had moved continents in its life cycle, traveling the same route as I.
It is recommended to homeopaths to participate in this process, not only to understand how remedies are made but more importantly, for their personal growth as a homeopath.
As Wenda Brewster O’Reilly explains, “throughout the Organon Hahnemann refers to two different kinds of knowledge: ‘Wissen’ and ‘Kenntniss’. ‘Wissen’ is the kind of knowledge you get from studying or reading books, while ‘Kenntniss’ is that deep, personal knowledge you gain through experience. This is the difference between knowing about wetness by reading about it versus knowing wetness by immersing yourself in water. In other words, ‘Wissen’ is intellectual awareness while ‘Kenntniss’ is a knowing that permeates all aspects of a person, going beyond mere cognition” (Interview with Wenda Brewster-O’Reilly, The American Homeopath, 1995).
Homeopathy is healing through the energy of substances. Trituration provides us with an actual understanding of what is this energy of a substance. It is a privilege to come in contact with that energy. It is truly a sacred moment and a gift from nature. I am humbled to receive this gift and accept it with bowed head.