Ferrum (Iron) lies in the 4th period of the Periodic Table along with the metals Manganese, Cobalt, Nickel, Copper and Zinc. This line of metals is concerned with performance, and also with defence.
I have conducted a proving of Ferrum metallicum with the help of some students, resident doctors and colleagues. Twelve of us took a single dose in the 30th potency and noted our symptoms. One male and two female provers had dreams with a common theme, that the parent of the prover is introducing him to someone and is compelling him to marry this person, despite very strong objections from the prover.
When I mentioned this to one of my colleagues, he said that in two of the three Ferrum cases he had cured, he had found the same problem – the patients were being compelled to marry someone they didn’t want to marry and they had been opposed to this. Then I understood the meaning of the prover’s dreams. They had the following elements:
- Being compelled to do something against one’s wishes.
- Fighting against it.
- Guilt of not obeying the parents.
On studying the symptoms of Ferrum, I realized that one set of symptoms (“Obstinate”. “Contradict, disposition to”, etc.) suggested going against the parents. The other symptom was “Anxiety, conscience of, as if guilty of a crime”.
Ferrum also has: “Ailments from anger” and “Ailments from scorn”. So one can visualize a situation where the parents are forcing the child into something he does not want to do. In India, one of the things that parents force their children against their wishes into is marriage.
The parents say: “You know nothing; you do everything wrong. Let us decide what is right for you.” And the child says: “I know what is right for me – who are you to tell me.” So he becomes strong-willed, determined, intolerant of any contradiction, fights his own battle.
At the same time he feels guilty within himself. Phatak’s Materia Medica gives the symptom: “Always in the right”. He becomes rigid and stiff in his attitude. He sees his parents as intruding into his territory and puts up a strong defence to prevent this. This defence itself becomes a performance.
Iron is used in gates, fences, helmets, battle tanks, shields of armour. All these objects are used to protect, to prevent things from the outside from intruding into one’s territory. Ferrum patients have to protect and defend both themselves and their families. And so, they perform by defending. It is as though they are always at war, fighting to defend themselves and their families.
Niccolum is similar to Ferrum with only Cobaltum coming in between both of them. Both defend themselves and perform to defend their families. This theme of defence and protecting oneself is also strong in Cuprum and Zincum (which follows Niccolum in the Periodic Table).
They have dreams of battles, of fights, of wars, also of falling into the water, of seeing dead friends and relatives, of seeing the old school again. Ferrum patients are sensitive and excitable and are allergic to many substances. The main craving is for tomatoes.
- Ailments from anger, vexation.
- Ailments from scorn, being scorned.
- Anxiety of conscience, as if guilty of crime.
- Company, aversion to, friends or intimate.
- Contradict, disposition to.
- Contradiction, intolerant of.
- Delusion, war, being at.
- Strength increased, mental.
- Fear, crossing a bridge or place, of.
- Fear, crowd, in a.
- Fear, misfortune, of.
- Fear, evil, of.
- Irritability, from noise such as even from crackling of newspapers, drives him to despair.
- Occupation ameliorates.
- Dreams, of battles.
- Dreams, of fights.
- Dreams, of war.
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To read about the philosophical approach to developing these remedy pictures, see Dr. Sankaran’s introduction to Soul of Remedies: