Aves Anhang 3
Transformation Between the Realms
There are two types of symptom in any case. Most symptoms make up what can be seen as the background of the case. These are stable and distinctive and they will lead the prescriber to a group of remedies.
Background are: the Miasms, the Botanical and Zoological Families, the Periodic Table, the Realms and the Kingdoms.
It is sometimes possible to find the indicated remedy by cross referencing the various background features of the case.
This approach has great appeal as it appears to be ordered and systematic and does not require a detailed knowledge of the remedies. In fact a completely unknown remedy can be prescribed purely on its relationship to other known remedies.
However, this approach is not as easy to work with as it seems as the slightest misunderstanding in classifying the case will invariably lead to the wrong remedy.
The background in the case will usually lead to a group of remedies and it is differentiating within the group and finding the specific group member indicated in the case that is the most difficult part of remedy selection.
Although other backgrounds do differentiate somewhat, there is usually a correspondence between different backgrounds. Many remedies that are of the Sea Realm are also Phlegmatic in nature and so knowing that a case is both of the Sea and Phlegmatic is not very helpful.
The foreground is the place in a case where there is dynamic energy and movement. It is the place where the patient becomes animated and where the symptoms are changing and contradictory.
This is the place that restricts, that prevents the patient from moving on and growing but it is also the place through which they will move and grow. This is perhaps the most distinctive feature of the foreground of the case;
it is as positive as it is negative and it is as healing as it is destructive. It is also unusual, individualistic and characteristic. No one else expresses it in quite the same way and for no one else would it quite make sense in the way it does for the patient. It is also something that appears in different aspects of the case but with the same distinct character.
The foreground is what Hahnemann refers to as the totality of the characteristic symptoms.
Finding the foreground in a case gives you a deep insight into the patient and without understanding this aspect of their life it is very difficult to understand the case and to discover what it is that is to be cured.
Finding the foreground features in a case requires attention to the patient’s way of expressing him or herself and of describing his or her symptoms. The key indicators are animation and contradiction and wherever either of these appear in a case they need to be pursued because here will be found the information that allows an accurate differentiation between the group of background remedies. Animation is important because it indicates that the things under discussion are dynamic and alive for the patient. Contradiction is important because the path to illness and the path to healing are the same, just as the symptoms of the disease and of its cure are the same.
The same process that is involved in finding the foreground features of a case is involved in finding the foreground features of a remedy. Again, animation and contradiction are the key indicators of foreground symptoms.
This is why it is important to study remedies from the provings as all too often these are lost in secondary materia medica.
In some classes of remedy there is at least one point of dynamism and change that is the same for all the group but which the individual remedies each handle in slightly different ways.
Each remedy has different issues that dominate the same dynamic process. One of the clearest points of this dynamis is when there is movement from one Realm to another.
Birds, Trees and Insects all involve movement from the Earth to the Sky.
Feathers were clearly used to aid flight. It is unlikely that Archeopteryx could take off from the ground and it probably used its claws to climb a tree and then flew from the tree. Most of the other specializations found in birds followed at a later date. The reptilian tail was lost, the clavicles fused to form the furcula (wishbone), the sternum developed a keel or carina to anchor the large flight muscles, the toothed jaw was replaced by a beak, a gizzard developed to grind food and the bones developed hollow air spaces.
The ability to fly comes at a great cost, mostly in having to keep the weight low while at the same time having available large reserves of energy. In evolutionary terms flight must be actively selected for or it is very quickly lost. In island situations, especially where there are no resident mammals, some birds tend to lose their ability to fly and many of the necessary adaptations very quickly.
This can be seen in the Cormorants of the Galapagos
Islands, the birds found in Madagascar and particularly the bird life of New Zealand.
In order to fly birds must economize on anything that might increase their weight. In order to power flight a great deal of energy is needed and it must be energy that is immediately available; this in turn requires a FAST metabolism. The contradictory requirements of these needs govern much of bird physiology and behaviour. In spite of the need for food and energy the digestion of grasses and leaves requires carrying a large caecum filled with bacteria and this is usually found only in flightless ratites such as the ostrich, though birds like geese and ducks do graze and eat grass like plants. They also eat a variety of invertebrates and high energy grain.
Flying birds tend to eat a combination of nutritious insects and animals and the high energy parts of plants, especially the seeds and fruits. Those, such as Hummingbirds, that need energy in its purest form live mainly by drinking The birds are an amazing group of animals. They represent the evolutionary summit of the enormous reptilian branch of the tree of life that includes, or included, all the reptiles and the dinosaurs. The mammalian branch that culminates in the great apes is minute in comparison. The birds have adapted not only to using the Realm of the Sky but they have made it their home and they are completely comfortable in a place that was not originally theirs.
The distinguishing feature of the birds is the ability to fly. That is not to say that all birds fly, a large number have become flightless, but in all such cases it has been an evolutionary choice to move from being able to fly to flightlessness. The many features that are characteristic of the birds as a whole have been developed in order to make flight more efficient. The fossil record of the development of birds is fairly patchy, though recent discoveries in China have been filling in many details. We do have a number of fossils of a dinosaur that, if not the actual ancestor of the birds, was very close to it. Archeopteryx was discovered in 1861 in quarries in Germany that produced extremely fine-grained limestone. The form of the feathers has been preserved and their detailed structure is also visible. Archeopteryx not only had feathers, but had feathers that had been specialized for flight. They were asymmetrical and had barbules that held
them together. Whether feathers, which are modified reptile scales, had originally been selected for the insulation they provide or for flight is unknown but by the time of Archeopteryx they
Vertigo and nausea can accompany such feelings. However, the pathological state, and so the one that is of most importance in prescribing, is a feeling of heaviness and an inability to take to the skies. Heaviness and constriction are therefore the most important sensations and they are found in dreams and delusions but more importantly in the physical symptoms and they can be expressed in any part of the body from the head through the lungs to the lower limbs.
Freedom is, by its nature, indefinable. Any definition or description of what freedom is, or what freedom does, is a limitation of that freedom. True freedom has no boundaries and no conditions placed upon it. It is defined by a negative: the complete absence of limitation.
The most important symptom in people who need Bird remedies is the feeling that something prevents them from attaining true freedom. What it is that thwarts or prevents their freedom is the key to differentiating between the birds.
Understanding this is important not only in understanding the remedies but in knowing how to ascertain the patient’s feelings and needs. If a patient talks about freedom we are likely to want to know more about what freedom means to them but this is likely to be a fruitless line of questioning that will create more confusion than clarity. Likewise if a patient says they feel trapped and need to escape this would seem to be a promising line of enquiry.
However, the thing that the patient needs to escape from is not necessarily of importance. It can throw some light on what is thwarting them but more often than not it is little more than a manifestation of the need for freedom.
The line of questioning that will be most helpful is one that concerns the means to achieve freedom and the things that thwart or stymie the reaching of freedom. In reality these will be the same thing. It is when it becomes clear that the path to freedom and the thing that prevents the attainment of freedom are similar that you know you have found the important
Birds in General
The feature that distinguishes the birds as a group is their ability to fly. Some birds have relinquished this ability and, although when they do lose the ability they do so very quickly in evolutionary terms, they only give up flight when they no longer have a need for it. Usually flight is lost because the price paid is no longer worth paying when the advantages are reduced.
This is most often when there is very little predation. In some cases the bird has developed other strategies and abilities that make the ability to fly unnecessary. Penguins and Ostriches are examples but perhaps the most interesting is
one where the process is on going.
The Roadrunner can fly but it doesn’t often and doesn’t seem to enjoy it. The Roadrunner finds its freedom in its ability to run and to move very fast. It is not therefore the ability to fly that is of greatest importance in the Bird remedies; rather it is the freedom that flight has given them.
Flight offers many different forms of freedom to the birds. The most important is the freedom to escape from predators. There is also a freedom to go and be wherever they want. This in turn offers freedoms around what and when they eat and where they live. There is also an indefinable quality of childish excitement and exuberance that arises from the freedom of flight and this factor, the least tangible, is perhaps the most important feature of the freedom of Birds.
Birds are creatures of the air. They grow naturally from chicks to fledged animals that take to flight by right. Unlike the Insects they do not have to work and change to become able to fly. Unlike Bats they are not exceptions to the normal pattern of their kind. They do not have to be extraordinary in order to fly, it is their natural condition.
There are many symptoms in the Bird remedies that are associated with a sense of flying and floating. Dreams and delusions of such sensations are common.
Very few of the Bird remedies have been absorbed into the repertories at this time. Some of the materia medica programmes will generally show indications for a general Bird remedy, rather for any specific Bird.
There is one Bird remedy that is well represented in the repertory and will often appear in repertorization. This is Falco peregrinus. That it is strongly represented is a matter of chance, it was an early Bird proving and it was a reasonably large one that produced a strong clear picture. At the time there was no indication that much of this is the general Bird picture and much less of it is specific to the Falcon.
This mere coincidence is not, however, the whole story in that there is something about Falco that makes it a type for the Birds in the same way that Tarentula is the type for the Spiders and Lachesis for the Snakes. Most of the Bird remedies have a particular issue that both facilitates or thwarts their freedom.
In Falco there does not seem to be any particular issue; rather it is about freedom and restriction in its purest form.
Any repertorization that brings up Falco strongly (lesser Haliaeetus leucocephalus = another strong early proving) should be seen as a possible indication for a Bird remedy and not necessarily one just for Falco.
The Galloanserae are the more primitive birds with the modern palate. They are therefore more advanced than the Ostriches and Kiwis, which have the ancient palate, but they are more primitive than the majority of birds,
the Neoaves. There are two orders of Galloanserae: the Anseriformes, waterfowl, and the Galliformes, fowl.
The feature that seems most apparent in these animals is a susceptibility to domestication. The Ducks, Geese and Hens of the barnyard, the Peacocks and Swans that decorate the lawns and ponds of stately homes and the Ducks, Partridges, Grouse and Pheasants that are bred to be shot by the wealthy all come from these two orders.
Other birds such as Parrots and Canaries might be kept in cages but they are never domesticated in the way a Hen is.
Some of these birds do not seem to have quite the same degree of intelligence and the sense of freedom and joy in life that are characteristic of the Birds but much of this has been bred out of them rather than not being part of their natural character.
In Wild Swans, for example, the features that we associate with Birds are apparent in a majestic and beautiful form.
Almost all of these birds are flocking birds at some time in their lifecycle. Some, like Swans, pair off and some, like the Rooster with his harem of hens, form polygynous relationships but in all of them the relationship with a wider group is very important.
The Anseriformes are the waterfowl, the Geese, Ducks and Swans. They are all water birds but some of them are fairly at home on the land. They tend to be more substantial than many birds and include the largest extant birds that can fly. In the Ducks and the Geese there is a tendency to the martial, and a concern with the contrary principals of aggression and discipline.
All the Anseriformes seem to have an issue with believing that they are ugly. They have a particular connection to their legs and can feel sensitive about the way in which they walk, often that it is in a peculiar manner. There is a feeling that the feet have become flat and there is often a desire to run.
There is a desire to have fun, to dance, sing and tell jokes. This is cruder and more childlike than it is in many of the other Birds.
Anas platyrhynchos: = Mallard
The Mallard is one of the best known of the Ducks. It is often seen in an ornamental setting but it is also bred for shooting and found in a domesticated situation. It is thought to be the ancestor of most other species of domestic Duck. It pairs in the breeding season when the Drake’s iridescent plumage becomes much brighter. Males who do not find a partner can join together to chase, pester and gang rape any unpaired females. The male stays with the female only till the eggs are laid when he leaves her to look after them. The chicks are precocial and can swim and feed themselves as soon as they hatch, though they stay near the mother for protection.
Outside the breeding season they form large sords (flocks). The Mallard lives in wetlands and ponds where it dabbles for weeds and small fish and animals. It will eat small frogs and will also graze and eat insects and slugs.
A remedy of the whole egg, without the shell, of the Indian subspecies was conducted by Dr Chetna Shukla in Mumbai. The first thing noticed about the proving was that it was fast. The symptoms appeared quickly after taking the remedy and the proving was over quickly, barely extending into the 3rd week.
Symptoms also had a quality of speed coming and going quickly and changing rapidly. There was also a desire or a need to move fast and do things quickly. Both in reality and in dreams walking felt wrong and there was a compulsion to run. Generally there was an amelioration from activity.
There are three different remedies from the genus Cygnus: C. cygnus, C. bewickii, C. olor. Though they have some similarities they have quite different pictures and can be closer to other Geese or Ducks than to other Swans.
Whether this is a feature of the remedies or the result of inadequate provings is hard to tell at this time.
The Swan is a byword for beauty and particularly for elegance. It is also known for its aggression and for its sexual energy. The Myth of Leda has Jupiter taking the form of a Swan to seduce Leda. One of the issues of this union is Helen, the most beautiful of mortal women.
Cygnus cygnus: = Whooper Swan
The Whooper Swan is a large migratory Swan. It breeds in Iceland and Finland and winters in Germany, Denmark, the UK and Ireland. It is one of the largest of the flying birds, the closely related N. American Trumpeter Swan is a little larger. Like many other Anseriformes it generally mates for life. Its diet consists of small fish, invertebrates and various water weeds. It is protective of the young and adolescents in their first year – unpaired juveniles often stay with their parents to help with the next brood. They tend to spend much of the time on the water as their legs cannot support their body weight for long.
The remedy was proved by Jeremy Sherr at the Dynamis School. The proving is an extensive one. It almost feels as if there is too much information in the proving and it is quite hard to winnow.
Some of the symptoms that you might expect from the signature include a fascination with the colour white or with white and black. There are many symptoms in the region of the neck with spasms, stiffness and pain, sensations of constriction or restriction and sensations of a lump in the throat. Generally the throat is sore or raw and the voice hoarse or lost.
There is the heaviness and the desire to fly. There is a love of water, a desire to go swimming and the use of water metaphors and imagery. As in Branta there is a sensation of having feathers, particularly on the face.
The Swan has a very long syrinx not only because of its long neck but it is also looped into the abdomen. It can be very loud when vocalising, particularly when threatened, though it does also hiss loudly.
When dying the air is slowly released from the body as it collapses, making a long sound which is mistaken for a song. This dying expression is called the swansong and represents the final work of an artist. The Swan has therefore been associated with the poignant beauty of death, nowhere more so than in the ballet dance of the Dying Swan by Anna Pavlova. Death is very important in the Whooper Swan. There are thoughts about death and also
about birth. A concern with the completion of things and also for the beginnings of new things. The grief they feel is very strong. It is usually for a certain person such as the father.
Pavo cristatus: = Peacock
Medicines are prepared from the feather, claw or blood of the bird since any part contains the essence of the whole.
When we think of birds we think of flight, soaring high in the air, bird song, the countryside, freedom, preening… It is fascinating then to find that patients needing bird remedies often demonstrate these themes in their lives. Each individual bird will have a particular theme or issue which characterises it.
Peregrine falcons, cruelly persecuted for centuries in the British Isles, were driven nearly to extinction and are now making a modest comeback.
The central theme in this remedy is a deep sense of isolation. There is a very strong feeling of being excluded. The patient feels neglected and repudiated by friends, family and society as a whole. Patients may well have been actually deserted by their birth parents. They will usually have experienced severe abuse of a physical, emotional and/or sexual nature. As a result, there is a great deal of anger, which may either be suppressed or expressed. The anger is often directed at family members. There is often a feeling that siblings were more loved, more accepted, considered more important. There is also a very strong aversion to injustice.
The negative feelings are internalised. There is a very negative self-image with feelings of disgust at oneself and at one’s body, a feeling of ugliness. There is a very deep sense of shame, humiliation and resentment.
These feelings can lead to a deep sense of hopelessness and apathy. The patient may become discontented, discouraged, indifferent and lazy. There is indifference to household duties, to work, to family members, to everything.
I have used this remedy in about ten patients. Some of these are people who have suffered very severe abuse in childhood. Their feelings of anger, isolation and the negative feelings they have about themselves have been greatly relieved by the remedy, as have a range of other psychological and physical symptoms.
Ravens, the largest member of the crow family in the British Isles, are known to be extremely intelligent birds. They have been severely persecuted for centuries and this may be why there is such
a strong sensitivity to danger, the wellbeing of the family and to the suffering of others in this remedy. The deepest inner feeling is the conflict between the desire to care for others and the desire
Coming from the central dilemma, there is worry about work and activity, a tendency to be “hyperactive” and constantly hurried. There is a feeling of being intruded upon – of one’s space being taken up, and a desire to escape from that pressure. There is a pre-occupation with caring for one’s dependents and worrying about them. In the individual’s dreams and imagination, she is flying away from these obligations, up in the air, in nature, in the mountains where she is free, where her mind is released from constant worry.
One of my Raven patients cared for a family member for many years in her own home. She carried out her duties towards this person faithfully and without any resentment but suffered greatly because of the way it restricted her freedom. She said to me, “I wish I was a bird. I would like to open my wings and glide – I’d like to feel the air in my wings, to fly away for a day. It would be lovely to be soaring and admiring the view and then hopping back to security when I wanted to. To have freedom, which I feel robbed of in my home.” What amazing imagery!
She went on: “Singing is a definite outlet for me, I love it. I have singing lessons. I’ve got to keep myself sparkly so that I can cope. I feel like a food machine.” Aren’t these feelings so like you would expect a bird to feel – the obligation to feed, feed, feed the young in the nest and the desire to fly away from it all and soar in the air! After the remedy she felt much more at peace with the situation.
Eagle patients project an image of self-confidence and power. There is a feeling of contentedness with oneself and confidence to confront injustice, authority and people in positions of power, to express oneself freely and to get one’s way. The individual is calm, self-assured and poised.
The essence of the Eagle state is extreme anger +/o. fear, which is very deeply suppressed. This suppression can lead to insomnia and other symptoms of stress. There is a very strong desire for self-control, due to fear of expressing anger and/or violence. The patient has extremely high standards, and expects a lot of himself and others. He can be critical. The ability to control himself also equips the individual for positions of power and influence in which it is necessary to maintain order and structure and to control and dominate a number of other individuals.
One of my Eagle patients was a young woman suffering with insomnia. She had been so keen to fly that she learned to fly at the age of 16. She was someone who appeared completely comfortable
in herself – confident, poised, free of worries and in control. Just how you might expect an eagle to feel! Her job was one in which she had to control and organise a large number of people and she said she both enjoyed that and was also good at it. The remedy cured her insomnia.
Macaws are very colourful birds, having bright blue and red feathers. They live together sometimes in groups of hundreds. They are parrots, birds famous for their ability to communicate.
A Macaw patient is someone who is very comfortable with being themselves. They like “to speak their truth”, are confident and happy to be seen and to be heard. In fact it is very important for them to be heard, for what they believe in to be spoken out loud in a group – rather like the macaw, so colourful and noisy you cannot miss them!
They have good relationships with their family and friends. There is a feeling of effortlessness – that everything is good and will continue to be good in their life.
I treated a woman suffering with acne and eczema. One of the most remarkable things in her description of herself was how completely happy, contented and free of resentment she was. She was very comfortable with herself and described a childhood that was absolutely wonderful. What specifically led me to Scarlet macaw as her remedy is that one of the things she concentrated most on
in her description of herself was how important it was for her to “speak her truth”. She did wonderfully well on this medicine which cleared up her skin complaints.
There were two other interesting aspects to this case. She was unable to eat nuts (which she loved) when she first came to see me – they would aggravate her skin. She can now eat nuts without aggravation. Scarlet macaws, of course, love nuts. The second intriguing thing is that at a subsequent consultation she attended wearing a small red feather around her neck – just to give me an extra hint in case I hadn’t found the remedy!
In the provings there are feelings of being light, immaterial, out of the body, dreams of flying and of being a bird. The patients can be light in the sense of being free of psychological “baggage”. They may be very content with their lives and contented with themselves. Not in an egotistical way but just having no hang-ups. They are people who let go of past problems and antagonisms. They do not want to be dragged down and dragged back by negative memories. They want to be able to fly in the psychological sense, get above mundane problems, which inhibit the expression of their higher natures. They are interested in spiritual matters, music and the arts.
They often have a very spiritual perspective, seeing events in their lives and hardships as being necessary for their soul growth. This contributes to their ability to lack rancour.
There can be a strong sense of being free or on the other hand a deep feeling of being trapped by their circumstances and a very great desire for freedom, for their personal space, for psychological freedom or to get into the country, to be in the mountains, in nature. They can sometimes strongly resent circumstances or individuals that inhibit their freedom. There can be a great desire to escape from obligations.
A very strongly developed sense of duty and responsibility towards the family means they take very seriously both the emotional and physical well-being of their loved ones. At the extreme there can be a feeling of being “a food machine” – just providing food and material comfort or, on the other hand, a strong desire to get away from this responsibility with indifference to the family and domestic duties. One thinks of the parent birds working every daylight hour to feed the young in the nest!
Feelings of persecution, danger and of being attacked may relate to the fact that a number of the bird remedies which have been proved have been persecuted, especially birds of prey.
Perhaps as a result of the abuse and persecution of birds there is a strongly developed sense of injustice, an aversion to the mistreatment of others, to authority and mistreatment in general.
Patients requiring bird remedies have a very strongly developed sense of sympathy. With a deep intensity, they feel not only for the suffering of humans but also of animals and are greatly pained by the destruction of the natural environment.
This theme runs very strongly through the bird remedies. There is a strong feeling of being rejected, deserted and isolated. Again this feeling of isolation may relate to the persecution a number of bird species have experienced over a long period of time.
Patients may be extremely intuitive; their physical senses may be heightened too, with very acute vision and hearing.
There is a love for music and an aptitude in creating it. Patients have a tendency to sing and whistle.
There are often complaints concerning quite trivial symptoms, eg minor skin blemishes, slight problems with the hair or fingernails. The patient may even appear to preen during the consultation!
They love to be outdoors in the fresh air and are often very good sports people. There may be a strong desire to fly aeroplanes, climb mountains, or bungee jump.
Appetite may be ravenous and constant.
A patient can sometimes be clumsy with a tendency to drop things or bump into things. This may be analogous to the ungainliness of birds on solid ground in contrast to their poise and elegance in the air.
There is a desire to travel associated with an inquisitive nature, a desire for learning, knowledge and understanding.
Some or all of these themes can be found in every case requiring a bird remedy.