Homeopathy did not appear out of a vacuum. The seeds of this noble healing art go back 1000’s of years to the Bronze Age and beyond. In the Western tradition the origins of the healing arts are found in the works of the lineage of Hermes, Asclepius, Pythagoras and Hippocrates and are linked to works of the ancient Egyptians, Pelasgians and Indo-Aryans of South Asia. In around 2000BC to 1800BC tribes of Indo-Aryans migrated to Greece and brought with them their ancient traditions. They intermingle with the indigenous Pelasgians-Egyptian lineages and established the Bronze Age European lineage of philosophy, psychology and healing. These are the seeds.
The gains of the Bronze Age period of integration came to close with the Dorian invasion of Greece and the area. The art of writing and recording history was almost lost but the bards and scribes who had memorized all the important data saved the older knowledge from being completely lost. This led to the Greek Renaissance in around 500BC, which was led by a Pelasgian named Pythagoras. Pythagoras travelled around the entire Mediterranian area, Egypt and India tracing the teachings to their origins and collecting information. This led to the rise of the Pythagorean school of metaphysics and healing.
Pythagoras taught about the music of the spheres and life, as different frequencies that may be harmonious and dissonant. This “music” has its “scales and tones” that make up different frequencies of vibration in the cosmic pneuma, the universal vital force. He founded the western tradition of classical music, the 7 note scale, as well as the Pythagorean-Hippocratic lineage of the healing arts. It was he who spoke of health as harmonious tone of the pneumatic vital forces and disease as a mistuning of this life power. That is why we still speak of the nervous or muscular system as having “tone” and use statements like “feeling in and out of tune” when speaking of feeling good or bad.
All of these images are part of an ancient archetypal language that goes back 1000s of years. These definitions are linked to the German words Stimmung (tone, tuning, atmosphere, aura, good vibrations, etc) and Virstimmung (dissonance, mistuning, derangement, bad atmosphere, bad vibration, etc.) found in the Organon of the Healing Art. These terms have their origin in the Pythagorean-Hippocratic lineage and have been part of western medicine for 2,500 years.
Pythagoras also elucidated the teaching of the primordial homoeomeries, which are the essential patterns and forces that are the building blocks of the macrocosmic and microcosmic universe. The ancients called these powers the 3 vital forces (+/0/-) and the five elements, the ether, air, fire, water and earth. In the macrocosm the 3 forces manifest as the neutral, positive and negative poles and in the living organisms the psychic force (0), the life force (+) and the natural force (-).
These three forces are witnessed in the atom as the neutron, proton and neutron and in the human body as vital wind, heat and cold. The five elements (earth, water, fire, air, ether) are considered different frequencies of pneuma in the form of solids, liquids, incandescence, gases and space. These powers are witnessed in the macrocosm as gravity, weak nuclear forces, strong nuclear forces, electromagnetic and space. In the human being they are found in life energy and the four chemicals that make up the human genes. In the human body they are also witnessed in the energy centers and pathways found in the spine, organs, systems and tissues.
The primordial homoeomeries and the elements make up the four classical temperaments and their 12 mixtures. Hahnemann was very well aware of this system and one finds references to the classical temperament and diathetic constitutions in his writings and casebooks. In his day this knowledge was taken for granted but today few homoeopaths understand the system. This is because we have forgotten our roots and lost important parts of our heritage.
These teachings are very similar to the Aryur Veda and Yoga because they share a common origin and share images known throughout all the Indo-Aryan peoples from South Asia to Europe. Remember the English language I am using right now is an Indo-Aryan based language that goes back to the same ancient Mother tongue in prehistory. Wisdom from this beginning is still stored in the Collective Unconscious and is coded in history, mythology, religion, fables and stories.
These archetypal powers were called the primordial homomeries by Pythagoras, which means the similars from which all things are composed. The three forces and 5 elements are a symbolic patterns used to catagorize all phenomena. This was an ancient language that sprang from the Collective Unconscious in the form of visions, altered states, dreams and intuition and guided the ancient seers in their investigation of the outer realms of the universe and the inner realms of consciousness. Much of this knowledge was lost during the Dark Ages but during the European Renaissance it reappeared.
Portions of the established Church resisted these changes, so inquisition was begun to purge culture of “pagan ideas”. At this time the ancient wisdom was driven underground in secret societies and into alchemical language. This ancient wisdom again went into decline “during” as the industrial revolution was on the horizon but the Deists of Europe and America rebelled against the materialistic scientific paradigm because they wished to integrate the best of the ancient classical wisdom with the new sciences. Samuel Hahnemann was one of these individuals as he was a Deist, Mason and Universalist. He was a master of ancient as well as modern languages and was a great student of history, metaphysics, philosophy, psychology and medicine. His studies in all these fields formed the basis for the development of Homoeopathy.
There is no wonder that many homoeopaths wish to study the seeds, roots and branches of human thought. It is no surprise that they wish investigate deeper than the surface and peer into Collective Unconscious so they can re-enter a world where archetypes function and images of wisdom appear in the twilight of consciousness. These impulses to go deeper come from the Self and are part of the process of Individuation. In this way, they are only walking in the footsteps of Hermes, Asclepius, Pythagoras, Hippocrates, Paracelsus, Hahnemann, Goethe and Jung.
MIASMS IN HAHNEMANNIAN HOMOEOPATHY
Hahnemann is the Founder of modern epidemiology. He was very well aware that infectious diseases are caused by microorganisms and he called these disease causing powers “miasms”. This word was used by Hippocrates to described epidemic diseases. The ancient Greeks also used the word “psora” to stand for a host of skin complaints and their concomitant symptoms. Hahnemann did not invent these words but he did bring them up to date for his time. We must do the same.
Hahnemann was the first to introduce a coherent study of infectious diseases which included constitution, temperament, heredity, predisposition, susceptibility, the moment of infection, the prodrome, the primary stage, latent stage, secondary stage and the suppression syndrome. He also noted that the congenital constitution and environmental factors are strong conditioning factors in the development of the pathological symptoms. He once suggested that some skin disorders were caused by “miasmatic animalcula”, i.e. microorganisms. On the spread of Asian cholera to Europe, Hahnemann wrote:
“On board ships-in those confined spaces filled with moldy, water vapors the cholera miasm finds a favorable element for its multiplication and grows into an enormously increased brood of these EXCESSIVELY MINUTE, INVISIBLE LIVING CREATURES so inimical to human life of which the contagious matter of the cholera most probably consists.“
Hahnemann introduced the terms acute, half-acute and chronic miasms and recorded the differences of these infections most accurately. On this basis he introduced the collective case taking method so that he could discover specific genus remedies that had the power to prevent, abort and treat the affects of these infectious complaints. On this foundation Hering introduced the nosodes, which are potentized miasms. He made his own nosodes for several acute miasms as well as half acute miasms like rabies and chronic miasms like psora, tuberculous, sycosis, and syphilis. These remedies also play a great role in preventing, aborting and treating infectious diseases and their affects.
Hahnemann’s early study of infectious diseases and their sequelae is based on observations of how epidemic diseases affect the human psyche and soma. Acute miasms are self limiting infections like cholera that reach their crisis quickly and end in death, recovery or feeling never-well-since the attack. Half acute miasms are infections that have a longer incubation period like rabies and reach crisis after a short to medium period depending on the circumstances. Chronic miasms are life long infections like syphilis that are not self limiting and do no naturally resolve over time. Toward the end of his career Hahnemann noted that the affects of a chronic miasma like psora could be passed by heredity. These ideas completed the system. All of this has proved valid by modern science.
On the basis of this information one can say with all certainty that Hahnemann’s definition of the miasma is microorganisms and miasmic diseases are the negative effects of unresolved infections on the human organism. This is an early study of acquired infections, auto-immune states and immuno-deficiency disorders that goes far beyond the understanding of modern medicine. This may have been hard to understand in 1828 but in 2005 Hahnemann’s teachings have come of age. It is very surprising that some homoeopaths still don’t realize this! To some the miasms have become everything BUT the affects of infections on the vital force, the human organism, and the immune system.
HERING, HEMPEL AND KENT
The origin of the metaphysical concepts of the miasms is Hemple’s comments on Hering’s statements in the preface to The Chronic Diseases Their Peculiar Nature and Their Homeopathic Cure; S. Hahnemann (Hering’s Preface of Hempel’s Translation, 1845). Hering wrote:
“The shallow opponents of Homeopathy (and we never had any other!) pounced upon the theory of the psoric miasm with a view of attacking it with their hollow and unmeaning sarcasms. Making Psora to be identical with itch, they sneeringly pretended that according to Hahnemann’s doctrine the itch was the primitive evil, and that this doctrine was akin to the doctrine of original sin recognized by the Christian Faith.“
To Hering’s statement Hempel added the following comments:
“As it would be absurd for a philosophical Christian to reject the doctrine of original sin, so it is absurd for any one who professes to have a clear perception of Homeopathy, to reject the doctrine of an hereditary morbific miasm. It is this principle which Hahnemann calls Psora.“
The Deists held the view that human beings were shaped in perfection and fell from an Eden-like paradise into a state of delusion and suffering. In Hempel’s additional comments he quotes the teachings of Rousseau on this subject, which Samuel learned from his father at a young age.
“If we admit with Rousseau that everything which leaves the hand of God, is perfectly holy, then the first created man must have been perfectly pure, and must have appeared in the image and likeness of his maker.”
Hempel then proceeds to discuss the fall of humanity from this Eden-like state. He notes, however, that the decline from this harmonious state, was in reality, a necessary phase of human development. Experiences that look like a negative development often have positive long-term evolutionary goals.
“This is relatively speaking, a fall, although, this fall, having been the first necessary phase of human development, it may, in reality, be considered a progress.“
Hahnemann never said psora was the original sin but in The Friend of Health he said that the real blessing in this world was wisdom and health that beckons one “Back into Eden”, the archetypal paradise. In the Deist philosophy which Hahnemann professed, human destiny is to be reunited with Divine Life through the seeds of the celestial harmonies deposited in human nature. The delusion of separateness rising out of the human psyche naturally produces a corresponding negativity in the physical world.
Homeopaths have always held a universal vision that includes humanity as whole, as collective groups, and as individuals. The ultimate goal of Homeopathy is the restoration of the human race to harmony with nature and the spirit.
“In proportion as man’s spiritual nature becomes developed and purified, this psoric miasm will be diminished, and will finally be completely removed from the life of humanity. This complete physical regeneration of human nature will necessarily be attended with great changes in all the external relations of man, education, mode of laboring, living, etc., etc.“
Hempel believed that as humanity’s spiritual nature becomes purified they would become more immune to psora and the other miasms.
James Tyler Kent’s Lectures on Homeopathic Philosophy echoed a similar vision of the origin and the fall of humanity. Boenninghausen taught that innate predispositions were the proximate cause and that the fundamental cause was psora. Although the psora stems from prior infection, its ramifications go back to the ancient of human days.
The first mention of the words “original sin” is found in Hering and Hempel’s discussion with the critics of the psora hypothesis. Hering was defending Homoeopathy from the charge that homoeopaths thought psora was like the original sin. Hempel tried to turn the same argument around on his opponents by showing how the Deist looked at such things. About the deeper aspects of the genesis of disease, James Kent said:
“It is altogether too extensive, for it goes to the very primitive wrong of the human race, the very first sickness of the human race, that is the spiritual sickness, from which first state the race progressed into what may be called the TRUE SUSCEPTIBILITY TO PSORA which in turn laid the foundation for other diseases.” (Lectures on Homeopathic Philosophy; J. T. Kent, Chronic Diseases – Psora, page 146.)
Kent does not called psora the origin sin! He says that the spiritual sickness that developed in humanity is what led to the SUSCEPTIBILITY TO PSORA. This is really quite different than the idea that psora IS the original sin. Some have tried to blame Kent for saying psora was the original sin and say this is all because of Swedenborg’s philosophy. One can see, however, that this discussion predates Kent and goes back the philosophy of the Deist, which includes Rousseau and Hahnemann!
Charles Hempel is responsible for introducing metaphysical ideas into the subject of the miasms. His source of inspiration was Rousseau, a principle Deist philosopher with whom Samuel Hahnemann was familiar with since childhood. Hempel equated psora with the principle division of the humanity from its spiritual nature. Kent actually sought to correct this idea by saying that first came the decline from spiritual perfection and THEN this established the SUSCEPTIBILITY to psora and all other physical diseases.
As one can see some of today’s homoeopaths have taken up a very metaphysical view of the miasms, which is similar to the ideas of Hempel. They do not, however, make the clear demarcation between the perfection & spiritual decline – susceptibility & predisposition – and physical disease, psora and the miasms like James Kent did! Are they all followers of Hempel then? It is not surprising that they are looking for a deeper meaning to health and disease but they have confused the spiritual and mental decline with its outcome, which is the susceptibility to physical diseases like psora.
Psora did not come before the susceptibility to psora appeared. It is understandable, that some persons like Hempel, wish to see something positive in the fall of humanity, the miasms and human suffering in general. A wish to see suffering as part of our evolution is a human need to give meaning to the bitter-sweet qualities of life. After all, a well treated miasm produces more immunity, vitality and a better sense of well being. In the long run miasms and anti-miasmic treatment may make the human race stronger. There may be some truth in the idea that a greater good may come from what looks bad at the moment.
Secondly some have mixed up the miasms with the primordial homoeomeries. They have tried to make psora, sycosis and syphilis the three forces (0/+/-) rather than realize that the three forces come BEFORE the miasms! Once again it is a matter of putting the cart in front of the horse! The miasms, like all phenomena, follow the patterns of the primordial homoeomeries. This is why they may say things like a plant has the syphilitic miasm when a plant can’t possibly have syphilis but it can share certain archetypal disease patterns with human beings.
This is because the same homoeomeries (forces or elements) are affected in man, animal and plant so the patterns are very similar. All carbon based organic structures share the Anima Mundi, the vital principle that comes with the primordial homoeomeries. That is why similar archetypal patterns can be witness in the plant and animal realms. Even the mineral world shares these patterns and energies but in a more inert state (without ‘life’).
So one can see that the desire for understanding the collective Unconscious and returning to the roots of our psyche is at the base of the metaphysical views that have been part of Homoeopathy for a long time. Even Hahnemann coded certain Deist and Masonic teachings into the Organon and other writings. The text of aphorism 9 is a perfect example. Some of these words in his writings come directly from the texts of these traditions. His letters are full of philosophical and religious counseling as well as suggestions on diet, exercise and regimen. In one letter he spoke of God as the “Divine Architect”, the true Grand Mason! This is because one must use every tool available to heal the body, mind and spirit.
I do not seek to set any boundaries on the human mind nor do I attempt to set limits of the research of my colleagues. I only ask that they go deeper and understand the origins of our science, philosophy and terminology. I only ask that they get their terms straight so it causes less confusion and ridicule. I only ask that they educate themselves better by going back to the roots rather than accepting confused new age ideas. I only ask that they understand exactly what Hahnemann was talking about when he spoke of the infectious miasms. I only ask that they learn how to use the tools Hahnemann left to treat these deadly diseases that kill 1,000,000s every year.
I only ask that they understand the role of the homoeomeries in Eastern and Western medicine and do not confuse them with the miasms. I only ask they don’t put the cart in front of the horse and go backwards by using the wrong terms. When we are speaking of the homoeomeries at least we should use the correct terms. When we are speaking of the infectious miasms and sequels let us use the correct terms. We do not need to “get rid” of any of these ideas, we need to correct the mistakes of the past and move forward with more knowledge.
I would also request that my colleagues, as they “reach for the sky” (psyche, homoeomeries, archetypes, metaphysical studies, etc.) to keep their feet very well “grounded on earth” (the study of medical science and pathology). I beseech them to study the *clinical view* of the miasms I have been speaking about. Hahnemann has left us tremendous tools to treat the effects of epidemic and endemic infectious diseases but very few are really using them. When homoeopaths think that miasms are everything BUT the affects of infectious diseases our science is in danger of losing one of its greatest assets.
As Hering said it is the duty of all of use to advance Homoeopathy further than the Founder and correct any mistakes that have entered our science. We need to bring all this data up to date in accordance to the latest scientific information without losing our vitalist principles and sophisticated methods of studying both the group and individual anamnesis. At the same time, we should investigate the mysteries of Nature and the human psyche and spirit as deeply as we possibly can and apply that wisdom to the healing arts.
I have taken the time to write this letter because the healing arts are a sacred trust. I don’t want to argue with people nor get into long debates but I am willing to stand up for what I believe in and what I think is in danger of being lost or confused. My fingers are sore and my eyes are tired but my spirit is strong in the knowledge that I have given what I have to give without taking anything from others.
Sincerely, David Little
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