We can describe people in relation to elemental archetypes, by saying that one is 'ethereal', another is 'fiery, eruptive like a volcano'; or that another is 'watery, wishy-washy', or 'drowning in feelings'; another is 'up in the air, having his/her head in the clouds'; and yet others we may describe as being 'down to earth'.
The four psychological functions described by CG Jung: 1. Intuition, 2. Thinking, 3. Feeling, 4. Sensation; are said by him to correspond to Fire, Air, Water and Earth.
John Damonte, paraphrasing Jung, described how these functions operate in the human psyche as follows:
"There can be seen to be four aspects of psychological orientation, beyond which nothing fundamental remains to be said. This is so because the fourfold aspect is the minimum required for a complete judgment.
The idea of completeness is the circle or sphere, but its natural minimum division is a quaternity.
In order to orient ourselves we must have:
• a function which ascertains that something is there (Earth/Sensation ie. Deriving from one or more of the five senses)
• a second function which states whether it suits us or not, whether we wish to accept it or not (Water/Feeling)
• a third function which establishes what it is (Air/Thinking)
• a fourth function which indicates where it came from and where it is going (Fire/Intuition)."
Our bodies process elemental energies:
the heart and nervous system process elemental Fire;
the digestive system, processes Earth;
the kidneys and bladder, Water;
the respiratory system, Air.
All manner of diseases can be explained by Mappa Mundi. For instance, a patient suffering from fever has an excess of Fire; Some symptoms can be best placed with regard to the temperament,
e.g. cold, swollen glands are associated with the Phlegmatic temperament, paralysis with the melancholic. A homeopath might discover that all the symptoms a patient has, the language they use,
the way in which they approach life, can be fitted into a synthetic whole, and a picture will be revealed showing the principal imbalance of the patient - that is, which direction he or she is moving
in towards death and away from health.
Through the use of Mappa Mundi, symptoms cease to be viewed as isolated phenomena, becoming instead the interrelated symbols of a unity in distress. This is appropriate to homeopathic practice where the prescriber seeks the most fitting remedy, the similimum.
A metaphor for diseases and their cure
A Darwinian metaphor follows as an illustration of how diseases and their curative similima have evolved.
A sick individual, a 'unity in distress', is best understood by appreciating its function in terms of its internal energetics as well as by recognising its outer form. This is because the form is created around the function, as a container for its purpose, rather as a well designed house is created around the purpose of its inhabitant. In respect of the homeopath's search, healing is most rapidly achieved though finding the closest matching remedy to the patient and their disease. This remedy may also be described in terms of its form, usually loosely referred to as its signature, because this
is what it is, being the result (the house) of all the complexities of primary and secondary functioning, active, passive and compensatory: the lock, stock and barrel of the internal forces, the energetic functions which play themselves out on the battlefield of the patient beleaguered by the disease, or in the case of a remedy, the 'battle-field' of the survival of the fittest leading to the evolution of
According to this Darwinian model, we identify a species adapting to an environmental niche, perfecting its outer form in response to the prevailing conditions. This represents an ideal solution,
a perfected outcome and an enduring and stable form, in response to a given situation and its inherent balance of energies.
In terms of homeopathic prescribing, a well selected remedy will act curatively because it is similar enough to the disturbance in the patient - it is the glove which fits the hand.
In summary, a similimum may bediscerned both in terms of function, of which Mappa Mundi is a generalised map, and in terms of form, of which signature is a specific key, sometimes easily perceptible.
The Mappa Mundi plots out the energies or functions of the case and is helpful when choices need to be made regarding which symptoms are truly representative of an individual's disease.
The pattern of the emotions on the Circle follows in much the same way. There is a passivity on the right hand side with activity on left. There is expansion in the top half and contraction and introversion in the bottom half.
Phlegmatic region: an area where emotions are received and rarely returned or expressed. It is a place where emotions can stagnate and it is the state that is often found in people who are ready
to move on but find themselves stuck in an emotional state that is not entirely suitable. Water represents the emotional state of flux and movement but without direction. Unsure of how to react, emotions will often be expressed in tears and weeping.
Phlegmatic: calm and unemotional. Phlegmatic means pertaining to phlegm, corresponds to the season of winter (wet and cold), and connotes the element of water.
While phlegmatics are generally self-content and kind, their shy personality can often inhibit enthusiasm in others and make themselves lazy and resistant to change. They are very consistent, relaxed, and observant, making them good administrators and diplomats. Like the sanguine personality, the phlegmatic has many friends. But the phlegmatic is more reliable and compassionate; these characteristics typically make the phlegmatic a more dependable friend.
Sanguine region: emotions are expansive they are easily expressed and often worn on the sleeve. They take the form of passions. They are not entirely appropriate and will often be excessive
but they are always heartfelt and part of an effort to communicate and understand. Fire is at the summit of the Circle and here emotion strives for perfection.
It should be balanced and appropriate; giving and receiving in equal measure. However as this is not often possible it usually involves an element of disappointment.
Sanguine: personality of an individual with the temperament of blood, the season of spring (wet and hot), and the element of air. A sanguin person generally optimistic, cheerful, even-tempered, confident, rational, popular, and fun-loving. They can be day dreamy to the point of not accomplishing anything and impulsive, acting on whims in an unpredictable fashion.
This also describes the manic phase of a bipolar disorder.
Choleric region: emotion is something that is to be expressed rather than received. It must have purpose and effect. This can take the form of care and concern but it is often expressed as anger.
The Earth point is the place where emotion is understood only through its physical dimension and its effects.
Choleric: corresponds to the fluid of yellow bile, the season of summer (dry and hot), and the element of fire. A person who is choleric is a doer and a leader. Many great charismatic, military and political figures were cholerics. On the negative side, they are easily angered or bad tempered.
In folk medicine, a baby referred to as “cholic” is one who cries frequently and seems to be constantly angry. This is an adaptation of “choleric,” although no one now would attribute the condition to bile. Similarly, a person described as “bilious” is mean-spirited, suspicious, and angry. This, again, is an adaptation of the old humour theory “choleric.”
The disease Cholera gained its name from choler (bile).
Melancholic region: emotion is restricted and often denied. It is seen as something that is unnecessary and that gets in the way and so it is avoided until all that is left is sadness.
Finally there is the base point of Air which is cold and emotionless and so which is an open place where the whole cycle can begin again.
The Four Temperaments (clockwise from top right; choleric; melancholic; sanguine; phlegmatic).
Melancholic: personality of an individual characterized by black bile; a person who was a thoughtful ponderer had a melancholic disposition. Often very kind and considerate, melancholics
can be highly creative - as in poets and artists - but also can become overly obsessed on the tragedy and cruelty in the world, thus becoming depressed. It also indicates the season of autumn
(dry and cold) and the element of earth. A melancholy is also often a perfectionist, being very particular about what they want and how they want it in some cases. This often results in being
unsatisfied with one’s own artistic or creative works, always pointing out to themselves what could and should be improved.
This temperament describes the depressed phase of a bipolar disorder.
The Mappa Mundi of Phos.:
VISION: ‘Love my light’
ESSENCE: the bearer of light, conversation, sympathy and affection. Sensitive to you so you are to them. Love me, care for me.
Signature: Phosphorus is the second element in the fifteenth group of the periodic table. It is an essential element for life, necessary in the transfer of energy. Phosphorus ignites into colour flames (entertains and warms).
Sanguine, open, fire: Phosphorus is warm and open, chatting with everyone, seeking to please and be pleased. Melancholic, closed, air: they often dream of a cooler, quieter place and if they over extend themselves they burn out becoming detached, cold and introverted.
Within an individual, the phlegmatic personality is considered to be compatible with the sanguine and melancholic traits - the melancholic personality is too perfectionist, and the choleric is too controlling. Combinations of two incompatible traits may be evidence of masking.
When the theory of the temperaments was on the wane, many critics dropped the phlegmatic, or defined it purely negatively as the absence of temperament. This, however, made it available for the German philosopher Immanuel Kant to reclaim as the temperament appropriate to freedom and virtue. In five-temperament theory, the classical Phlegmatic temperament is in fact deemed to be a neutral temperament, whereas the “people-liking introvert” position traditionally held by the Phlegmatic is declared to be a new “fifth temperament”
Methods of treatment like blood letting, emetics and purges were aimed at expelling a harmful surplus of a humour. They were still in the mainstream of American medicine after the Civil War. Other methods used herbs and foods associated with a particular humour to counter symptoms of disease, for instance: people who had a fever and were sweating were considered hot and wet and therefore given substances associated with cold and dry.
There are still remnants of the theory of the four humours in the current medical language. For example, we refer to humoral immunity or humoral regulation to mean substances like hormones and antibodies that are circulated throughout the body, or we use the term blood dyscrasia to refer to any blood disease or abnormality. The associated food classification survives in some apparently illogical adjectives that are still used for food, as when we call some spices hot and some wine dry. When the chilli was first introduced to Europe in the sixteenth century, dieticians disputed whether it was hot or cold.
The theory was a modest advance over the previous views on human health that tried to explain in terms of the divine. Since then practitioners have started to look for natural causes of disease and to provide natural treatments.
A few psychologists use the four-temperament model even today, some also recognizing twelve mixtures of the four temperaments:
Mel-Chlor, Chlor-San, San-Phleg, Phleg-Mel, Mel-San, Chlor-Phleg; and the reverse of these: Chlor-Mel, San-Chlor, Phleg-San, Mel-Phleg, San-Mel, and Phleg-Chlor.
Representing people who have the traits of two temperaments.
The order of temperaments in these pairs was based on which temperament was the “dominant” one (this is usually expressed by percentages). A person can also be a blend of three temperaments.
In Waldorf (Steiner) education and anthroposophy, the temperaments are used to help understand personality. They are seen as avenues into teaching, with many different types of blends, which can be utilized to help with both discipline and defining the methods used with individual children and class balance. The Unani school of Indian medicine, still apparently practiced in India, is very similar to Galenic medicine in its emphasis on the four humours, and in treatments based on controlling intake, general environment, and the use of purging as a way of relieving humoral imbalances.
MAPPA MUNDI’s APPLICATIONS TO HOMEOPATHY
Hahnemann was the first physician to fully integrate into medicine the innate constitution, the spiritual, mental and emotional temperament, the instinctive vital force, inheritance, predispositions, single and multiple causations, susceptibility, infection, acute and chronic miasms as well as the complete objective signs, coincidental befallments and subjective symptoms. Hippocrates is normally thought of as the father of constitutional medicine, but H.
brought this study to its perfection in Homoeopathy.
The healthy state represents a harmonious tuning of all vital operations (§9). Disease is the mistuning of this harmonious tone by a dissonant dynamic influence (§11). It is the disease-tuned life force that manifests as the essence of the disease-Gestalt through the totality of the symptoms (§12). Homoeopathic remedies cure through their power to similarly alter the tuning of the human condition (§19). The primary action of a homoeopathic remedy over-tunes the disease and elicits a secondary healing response that retunes to the state of harmonious health. This is the Esse of Hahnemann’s treatment method.
The Spiritual-Bodily Organism
Throughout Hahnemann’s writings he uses the phrases, the unity of life, the complete whole, laws of the organic constitution, our living human organism, the bodily constitution, temperament, the make-up of the body & soul, the spiritual-bodily organism, etc.
In the German text H. used the term, beschaffenheit (make up), which is usually translated into English as the word “constitution”. This, however, does not reflect all the usages of the German term. This term can be used in a variety of ways that have nothing to do with the human constitution. The root word “schaffen” means “to do, to make, to work”. Beschaffen is a verb that means, “to procure, make something available”, and as an adjective it means, “constituted”.
In Aphorism 81 of the German Organon Hahnemann uses the term “angebornen Koerper-Constitutionen”, which means the congenital bodily constitution. The genetic constitution represents the essence of the paternal and maternal lineages. This represents the inherited diathetic constitution and temperament including all its predispositions. The interdependence of the mind/body constitution is as inseparable as the link between the essential nature and the instinctive vital force. One does not appear without the other. Such relationships are called functional polarities and complementary opposites. This bipolar phenomenon is innate in nature.
Homoeopathy views the spiritual-bodily organism as a highly potentized essential being with spirit, mind, vital force and body. This synergy of natural forces composes a whole human being, which is more than the sum of its parts.
H. integrated the ancient Hippocratic teachings on temperaments, physis, diathetic constitutions and miasms into Homeopathy and brought them up to date for his time. References to this subject can be found throughout H.’s writings and the Paris casebooks.
Although modern Homoeopathy has greatly expanded the psychological aspects of our materia medica few persons understand how Hahnemann used the terms constitution and temperament and their practical ramifications in the clinic.
To appreciate this material the homoeopath must be familiar with the medical history of the vitalist lineage and its greatest practitioners as well as Hahnemann’s original works. This dynamic view of mind/body constitution has its roots in Pythagoras, its trunk in Hippocrates, its branches in Paracelsus, and its fruit in Hahnemann. This fruit carries the seeds for a new generation of healers and will be part of De Medicina Futura.
H. used temperamental portraits that include both positive natural qualities during the time of health compared with the negative changes brought on by diseases. He utilized such constitutional information within the totality of symptoms when prescribing his homoeopathic remedies. The Hofrath gives a complete portrait of Pulsatilla in the *Materia Medica Pura, 3rd edition, 1833, page 345. This example includes the use of classical temperaments.
“The employment of this, as of all other medicines, is most suitable when not only the corporeal affections of the medicine correspond in similarity to the corporal symptoms of the disease, but also when the mental and emotional alterations peculiar to the drug encounter similar states in the disease states to be cured, or at least in the temperament of the subject of treatment.
Hence the medicinal employment of Puls. will be all the more efficacious when, in affections for which this plant is suitable in respect to the corporeal symptoms, there is at the same time in the patient a timid lachrymose disposition, with a tendency to inward grief and silent peevishness, or at all events a mild and yielding disposition, especially when the patient in his normal state of health was good tempered and mild (or even frivolous and good humouredly waggish) It is therefore especially adapted for slow phlegmatic temperaments; on the other hand it is but little suitable for persons who form their resolutions with rapidity, and are quick in their movements, even though they may appear to be good tempered.
H.’s picture includes attributes of the natural constitution (timid lachrymose disposition, slow phlegmatic temperament), positive natural traits during a time of health and happiness (good tempered, mild, good humouredly waggish) and negative emotions brought on by disease (inward grief, silent peevishness). This portrait includes natural, positive and negative qualities. As one can see from the above quotes this information was included within the totality of the symptoms.
Puls. “adapted for slow phlegmatic temperaments”, while on the other hand it is less suitable for those who “form resolutions with rapidity’ and are “quick in their movements”. Such data establishes constitutional portraits as well as the use of temperamental counter indications as elimination rubrics. Pulsatilla is rarely indicated in those constitutions that make quick resolutions or move rapidly because this remedy does not normally suit that type of patient.
This temperamental picture demonstrates several of the essential elements of the Pulsatilla proving. This demonstrates that Hahnemann was the first to open the field of investigation into constitution and temperament in Homoeopathy.
Physiognomy and Temperaments
The use of Hippocratic temperaments (choleric, phlegmatic, sanguine and melancholic) expands the study of constitution in Homoeopathy because it includes physiognomy and the natural groupings of human beings into four major and twelve minor mind-body types. This 2, 500 year old system is the oldest living tradition in western medicine. These classical methods offer much insight into the nature of the innate constitution and temperament as well as potential diathesis toward particular signs, befallments and symptoms. Physiognomy is defined as:
“Physiognomy, the art of judging character from the appearance (face); general appearance of anything; character, aspect-Greek- physiognomy, a shortened form of physiognomoni-physis, nature, gnomon-onos, an interpreter.”
A homoeopathic physiognomist is an interpreter of natural temperament, heredity, predisposition, miasms and constitutional diathesis, as well as the present state of the spirit, mind and body. Let us look at the definition of the key terms, temperament, and constitution. What does temperament mean? The word temperament has different levels of meaning depending on usage.
Temperament from Latin, temperare; to temper, restrain, compound, moderate.
Temperament means a state with respect to a predominance of qualities; an internal constitutional state; a natural disposition; a proportioned mixture of qualities. Specifically it refers to the Hippocratic temperaments, the choleric or bilious, phlegmatic, sanguine and melancholy constitutions.
Temper-noun; a mixture or balance of contrary qualities; the constitution of the body and/or mind; a natural temperament; an innate or acquired disposition; a frame of mind; a mood; composure; to exert self control; to be uncontrolled, a fit of anger.
Temperament is also a musical term for a system of compromise in tuning. An equal temperament is a system of tuning by which the octave is divided into twelve equal intervals. The octave is a system of eight notes that make up the major or minor scale. The twelve note series of tones is called the chromatic scale.
Constitution, temperament, the spiritual body organism, the make up of the soul and body are synonyms for the living whole represented by a complete living human being. It is interesting to see that these major terms also have musical definitions. Even the word ‘organism’ is an archaic name for a musical instrument. The organism (musical instruments) supports the temperament (division of 12 notes of the chromatic scale-natural qualities), which is tuned (German-stimmung-tuning, voice, pitch and mood) by the vital force.
Disease is the mistunement (= Verstimmung) of the life force that causes disharmony in the temperament (the scale of notes -the natural qualities) of the organism (the instrument). Is this the Odes of Pythagoras and the theory of life as music? After all, Pythagoras introduced the 7 note major scale (diatonic scale), the five elements (ether, air, fire, water, earth) and the Mappa Mundi (geometric map of the macro & microcosm)) into western culture.
These hold the keys to understanding the complete system.
The four major constitutions are called the choleric, phlegmatic, sanguine and melancholic or nervous temperaments. The twelve minor types are mixtures of the major type. They are the cholero-phlegmatic, the sangino-phlegmatic, the nervo-phlegmatic, the phlegmo-choleric, the sanguino- choleric, nervo- choleric, the cholero-sanguine, the phlegmo-sanguine, and the nervo-sanguine, the cholero-nervous, phlegmo-nervous and sanguino-nervous. Each of these temperaments represents a natural grouping of constitutional types that have similar mental and physical qualities.
When temperament is used in a general way it means the mental and emotional disposition, state, mood, composure, etc. There are other references to disposition and temperament in H.’s writings.
When temperament is used specifically it means the Hippocratic constitutional temperaments, the choleric, phlegmatic, sanguine and nervous melancholic. Hering expanded this temperamental portrait by adding the names of the Hippocratic temperaments and physical descriptions of the patient in the portrait. The source of this information is the observation of the Hippocratic temperaments during the provings and recording which constitutions developed
the most characteristic symptoms. This was then combined with clinical confirmations in patients under treatment. Hering created a separate section for constitution and temperament in his materia medica called Stages of Life and Constitution.
In Hering’s 5-point system of grading remedies II (5) is the highest grade, I (4) is the second grade. We find similar rubrics in Allen’s Keynotes under the title “adapted to”. Allen includes temperaments, miasmic tendencies, diathetic constitutions and symptoms in these rubrics. These are all constitutional general rubrics.
The above rubrics are an extension of Hahnemann’s original portrait of Nux Vomica. This temperamental portrait includes natural temperament (bilious, choleric, melancholic, nervous dispositions with their traits), diathetic constitutions (melancholic with venous constitution), mental rubrics (angry, spiteful, impatient, etc), physical descriptions (thin, dark hair), lifestyle (sedentary or great mental exertion), habits, (addicted to wine, coffee, drugs), as well as predispositions to regional symptoms (tendency to hemorrhoids, indigestion, hepatic affections). On this constitutional basis the signs, befallments and symptoms are further investigated for those rubrics that are strange, rare and peculiar to the individual organism (Org. §5.6.7). To utilize this method completely one must understand the teachings of Hippocrates as well as H., Boenninghausen and Hering.
Hering’s proving collection and his clinical confirmations are the source of constitutional characteristics such as:
Nux-v. is well adapted to angry, irritable, dark, thin, dry, bilious, choleric persons;
Puls. is well adapted to gentle, blond haired, blue eyed phlegmatic temperaments;
Phos. is well adapted to tall slender persons of sanguine temperament, fair skin, delicate eyelashes, fine, blond or red hair, with quick perceptions, and very sensitive nature;
Ars. well adapted to the over anxious, chilly, nervous anxious temperaments. Symptoms do not automatically lead to remedies by themselves, as they are only part of the totality of the symptoms.
[Ai-Ling Su Makewell]
The element theory and implicate archetypal order
… psychological response patterns representing aspects of the human life-drama are duplicated in the structure and life activity of the earth’s substance. The psychosomatic totalities of ill person and medicines appear as “similar” field patterns, mutually inclusive of human organism and nonhuman, “external” and supposedly “inanimate” substances (Whitmont, 1993:4).
Within this “similar field patterns” unfolds the mystery of healing and of life. What Whitmont has written sums up the fundamental principles of homoeopath and its essence succinctly. It describes the essence of life on Earth in a nutshell - “as above, so below” - without separation. Yet, in the development of human consciousness, we became steeped in viewing life, the world, and everything else in the universe as fragments, separate from one another, which, arguably, has led to our present day’s emphasis on a quantitative and mechanistic determinant reality at the expense of a qualitative, unseen and immeasurable part of life - the essence and the vital force that animate life.
Descartes, the influential seventeenth century philosopher accentuated this split by considering the universe and body as machines. From the perspective of body health, this separation of mind and matter has not only subjected humanity to fear based manipulation, but also given rise to the piecemeal approach to health. As a consequence, this provided the foundation and greater credence to
the development of allopathic medicine, and its subsequent systemic dominance over healthcare worldwide.
Allopathy considers human bodies to be machines, embedded in which is an ideology fixated on prolonging life by any which means possible. “Allopathy” is more than just a word that encapsulates
a philosophic approach to medicine, critically, it reflects a world ensnared in a dualistic conflict - “us and them”. Following of which, it naturally entraps all aspects of life and subjects it to a constant state of warfare, power struggle and dominance over one another from the national and societal level down to the small unit of the individuals’ body. The ethos of allopathy is to divide, conquer and destroy. Healing and health become territorial to the exclusion and subjugation of all other holistic oriented medicines. Such metaphoric use of the military phrases, “we must fight to win the battle against cancer,” reflect a state of internal conflicts and disarray of humanity as a whole. Resultant is our dire dissociation with the body, and the fragmentation seen in every aspect of life is evidently mirrored in the state of our health, which keeps the population dependent and dis-empowered.
In contrast, the perspective of a holistic medical system (e.g. homoeopath) is to consider the illnesses as the externalisation of an inner state - disharmonious and out of balance. This means that one’s illness, to a large extent, may have less to do with “bad luck” or unsound genetic inheritance and more so with abdicating responsibility to care for one’s mental, emotional, and physical hygiene.
The word “responsibility” in its Latin root means “the ability to respond” to a given situation. As such, being responsible for oneself leads to independence and empowerment. Healing, in this sense, has to do with the healing of the emotional, mental and spiritual patterns rather than drugging oneself to the hilt in an effort to suppress body’s innate self-healing ability.
Illnesses are only one among many possible manifestations. They, like life’s crises, accidents, and traumatic experiences, are encoded information communicates that certain changes are required in the unfolding of life and of ego-consciousness. Whereas in the absence of creating a conscious relationship with our body, mind, and spirit, we destroy our health (e.g. war against our own body with the indiscriminate use of antibiotics) and quality of life, as well as our environment, in the single pursuit of material greed and gratification. Over time, this modus operandi (effects of the sycotic and syphilitic miasms in humanity) becomes the norm, while other more subtle aspects of life are subjugated and shunned.
This one-sidedness exacts a costly price; resulting from the drug therapy to health is that the majority of humanity has long forgotten what it feels like to be vital and alive. Instead, life has become a series of broken down episodes of “coping” strategies managed by “animated corpses” (a phrase borrowed from Grossinger) rather than the unfolding of one’s splendid self, innate beauty and creative potentials that are meant to be experienced through encountering the many challenges presented by living a vital life.
Having said that, the point here is to accentuate the necessity to create balance within our selves as well as between the holistic and the allopathic approach to health without the dominance of one over the other as each of the health modality possesses strength in its own specific spheres of application. Homoeopathy has the potential to heal individuals at the deep soul level that brings about the integration of opposites and of inner conflicts. As we begin to heal individually at this deep level, the healing of the Cartesian split of body and mind becomes a real possibility where healing of the physical is the manifestation.
This article explores my reason and thought in considering the element theory to possess the intrinsic qualities to heal humanity in great depth and integration of all levels. In order to do this, I will explore it from the perspective of Jung’s concept of archetypes. As Scholten has written in his book, Secret Lanthanides, “An archetype is a basic element of the psyche, … can be expressed with more than one concept” (2005:20).
Therefore the focus here is to chart the close relationship between an individual and the healing substance at their “implicate archetypal order” (Whitmont, 1993), the essence, as they share a similar field pattern that is both the source of disease manifestation and its ultimate healing. Scholten (2005:21) defines the “essence” thus:
"The essence can be formulated on many levels (see chapter “Seven Levels”). Most often it’s formulated on the Thought Level because that level is the language level. But the essence is a disturbance that can express itself on all levels. … The essence is the source of the problem. It starts at the Archetypal Level and emanates through all the levels and finally into the physical body. The symptoms are expressions of the essence.” (emphasis is mine)
First, a discussion of my reason for writing this article is in order. Second will be an exploration of the meaning of implicate archetypal order in relationship to homoeopath and to the element theory in particular. Third, I will consider the psychological complexes and the somatisation of illnesses. The last part explores the archetypal aspects in the concepts and the language of the element theory. At a fundamental level, this article examines the element theory from a deeper implicate order of our life where disease as information in the development of consciousness. Healing is a question of consciousness.
WHY THIS ARTICLE?
The journey of my becoming a homoeopath traversed thus far is literally beyond my wildest imagination. When I first wrote the article, in 2005: “Is Scholten’s Element Theory the Future of Homoeopathy? An Address to Students,” I had an inkling of the breadth and the depth of the element theory’s significance and the potential impact on homoeopath as a healing modality.
Now 4 years hence, that sense of awe has not diminished and continues to expand and deepen with an increasing sense of freedom for me as a homoeopath and a healer.
The precision and accuracy of remedies selected by way of the element theory is breath taking and awe-inspiring. Healing can be deep when the elements required converge in a singularity: the individual’s deep desire to be healed, the keen insight and perception of the practitioner, and the methodology (e.g. the Element Theory, Sankaran’s Miasmatic Approach, Family Constellation, etc.) applied is appropriate to that therapeutic relationship. The element theory is thus much more than just a theory based on the periodic table. It is fundamentally a way and a tool of perceiving the essence and the theme of an individual (case) systematically that lead to the selection of the remedy required in each case. Whether the remedy we search for is derived from the mineral, the plant or the animal kingdoms, the underlying principle is the same - understanding the theme.
For me, the element theory comes in a neat package. It is comparable to that of Doctor Who’s TARDIS (anything that is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside) that can be explored endlessly. Our ability to locate a remedy by way of the element theory, freed from the constraints of traditional drug provings, describes the (archetypal) essence of both the remedy and the individual. In other words, they share a similar field pattern where the law of similar can be truly realised in its great breadth and depth.
My experience in healing with the homoeopathic mineral remedies has shown that they are capable of reaching deeply into the individual soul. This is for reason that the elements of the periodic table are the fundamental building blocks of the universe and of human beings. Unlike the plants and the animals, the elements are not “individualised” therefore can be combined to bring about very precise and powerful elemental forces and unique patterns that simultaneously and synchronistic mirror our own.
Nothing stands still; life is constantly in a state of flux and dynamic change. It is two hundred years since Hahnemann and the inception of allopathy. Since then, and especially over the last twenty-five years, development in all areas of human activities have altered beyond recognition, so have the disease manifestations, as everything is integral to who we really are.
The diseases, in the developed countries, are no longer the simple uncomplicated acutes as of the epidemics in the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries but are of those that ravage our immune system at a much deeper level. Children, with the implementation of vaccinations, do not get measles, mumps, or chickenpox anymore. Instead, have bargained these away for those florid autoimmune diseases that kill insidiously in a slow and painful manner - childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes, even Alzheimer’s, the list goes on.
As such, the time-honoured polychrests, while relevant to the societies of the bygone era with simpler structures, now lack the complexity in their power to heal deeply and to meet the necessity in addressing the fundamental spiritual issues of individuals living in the twenty-first Century. My understanding is that the changing social structures over the past one hundred years, coupled with the underlying ideology regarding health and human life, power and profit, have greatly influenced and changed the nature of diseases. At the same time, they have generated much greater need for the mineral remedies to heal humanity than the remedies derived from the plants or the animal kingdoms. The reason being such is that our life and everyday living is much more complex, more structured and unarguably is organised with certain rigidity and control - we live and die by the ticking of the clock.
Scholten’s element theory is a timely revolution to meet the challenges of changing human consciousness and the aetiology of disease manifestation (Makewell, 2006:June). It bridges what Grossinger (1998) considers the struggles between “ and futurism” in the homoeopathic profession. Datedness, according to Grossinger, is the attempt to “re-establish Hahnemann’s original orthodoxy and archaic characterology” (1998:10) on the one hand, and on the other, the hope that the quantum physics and psychology (particularly the Jungian) may vindicate its far-reaching capacity in healing the sick and the mentally disturbed. My experience shows that the depth and the breadth of the element theory have every potential to take the homoeopathic profession into the uncharted mysterious psychic waters in deep healing and that the true healing of the physical is a REALITY. In this context, homoeopath is markedly beyond what the prosaic materialistic oriented and the so-called “scientific medicines” could possibly comprehend.
The significance of the element theory to homoeopath is manifold. First, it brought homoeopath from the first stage of its development as a science to the second stage (Scholten, 2004, Autumn; Makewell, October, 2008). Secondly, it took homoeopath from the piecemeal approach in case taking (repertorisation) to perceiving patterns and essences. Thirdly, not only has it opened up a whole range of previously inaccessible and unknown remedies, it has, more importantly, freed homoeopath from the information constraints derived from traditional drug provings to limitless possibilities via the perception of patterns, themes and essences reaching into implicate archetypal order.
With the above stated, I am not suggesting that the traditional proving be made redundant. Rather, that this manner of obtaining information is limited in its scope, as it lacks the capacity to reach the archetypal level of the human psyche. The language and words used by the individual patient to relate his/her experiences and life situations describe patterns of instinctive psychological urges and archetypal images. These cannot be captured by the traditional drug provings, as via which the information obtained is fragmented and incoherent. Moreover, provings are reliant upon the conscious perception of the provers to relate the sensations from the effects of the potentised substance. What is known and described by the provers can only be the tip of the iceberg so to speak. If we change how we perceive our patients from our accustomed way (repertorisation) to perceiving patterns and essences (implicate pattern or archetypes), then, we are entering into the unfathomable depth of homoeopath and of human psyche where the healing of the soul with the homoeopathic remedies becomes possible.
IMPLICATE ARCHETYPAL ORDER
Whitmont, as far as I know, coined the phrase “implicate archetypal order” in his book - The Alchemy of Healing, following the quantum physicist David Bohm’s concept of implicate order.
For Bohm, the universe is an entangled wholeness where everything is a seamless extension of everything else in a dynamic interconnectedness. Implicate, enfolding, order is a deeper level of reality underlying all of the manifestations, explicate, unfolding, order, including the continuum of health and disease. Implicate archetypal order can be equated with what Jung considers to be the collective unconscious (the deepest layer of the unconscious) in the human psyche, the primordial instincts and archetypes. Spring from which are the expressions of life in their unequivocal glories at one end of the spectrum and abject inhumanity in the other.
Instincts are psychological urges and inborn behaviour patterns with an inherent drive to become conscious. They make known to the ego through archetypal images where they are experienced in the form of complexes, e.g. father, mother, inferiority, Oedipal or God complexes, etc. The ego is also an instinct created spontaneously and automatically when born. Its development is in accordance with a pre-existing pattern and time table, the entelechy (the inherent drive to fulfil the wholeness of life pattern), which can be perceived by way of the “enforced” changes and crises one encounters in life or through the symbolic language of the astrological birth chart.
Ego is a vehicle for the development of consciousness. Via the mechanism of ego projection and our ability to reflect we are able to transform and integrate, to a certain extent, the unconscious instinctual patterns to evolve into greater consciousness. Without the ego consciousness to mediate the instincts we are of little difference from the instinctual behaviours of animals.
Instincts create archetypal images, which create our psychological complexes. At the core of complexes are archetypes they are not pathological, nor are they negative or positive. How the complex develops in an individual is in accordance with their inherent personality, childhood environment, and subsequent life experiences that shape its expression either in positive or negative ways. However, traumas (e.g. sexual/physical abuse in childhood) can contribute negative personal associations to the archetypal core of the complexes. Our personal complexes are the cause of ego disturbance of which can be understood in terms of Sankaran’s idea “disease as delusions.”
Just as the DNA is an encoded container of the physical hereditary so the psychological complexes are the encoded energetic container of the psyche (Whitmont, 1993; Laughlin, 1982). In our development of consciousness, our complex makes itself known by way of projection through which we come to know our wounding as well as the necessity in its healing. Our woundedness is reflected in our emotional reactions, ideas/ideals, belief systems, imaginations, and worldview. In turn, the patterns of these create our personal reality and its physical manifestation. If change takes place on one level it affects changes on other levels too. Similarly, the continuous suppression of physical pain will eventually drive those disease symptoms into emotional pathology (e.g. depression) and perhaps mental illnesses (e.g. confusion) also. Therefore, healing of the physical begins from the healing of our psychological complexes and damaged instincts.
Where instincts are damaged (e.g. through physical and/or sexual abuse) it creates damaged behavioural (many forms of addiction to a greater or lesser degree) and perceptual patterns (surrounded by enemies) - often expressed in our behaviours, actions and reactions as well as in the way we formulate what we imagine. As such, healing is to heal all the way from the damaged instinct, negative psychological complexes to the ego disturbance (delusions). It is only then possible to restore the ego to a proper relationship with the Self, which is also an instinct. This same process, reflected in the physical healing, begins at the deepest level and work its way back out from the most important organs to the least, symptom by symptom.
From the Jungian psychoanalytic perspective, an analyst can only assist to activate the self-healing function in a patient if he or she possesses a thorough understanding of each instinct of its form and meaning represented by the archetypal images (Laughlin, 1982). In the same manner, for a homoeopathic remedy to stimulate the self-healing capacity of the vital force to heal at the deep soul level the remedy must reflect a similar pattern of the damaged instinct. This can be perceived via the words and the concepts laid out in the element theory.
It is at this implicate archetypal level that all life on Earth - humans, animals, plants, nature, etc. are connected, share similar field patterns - the Oneness of all. As such, at the core of our potentised remedies (spiritualised via the process of succussion and dilution) is archetypal, in a similar way, found at the core of human complexes. Soul healing becomes possible when resonance between a remedy and an individual reaches deeply into implicate archetypal order.
Scholten’s element theory, perceived from this archetypal level, is an encoded system. The words and concepts belong to the eighteen stages and the seven series assist the practitioner to perceive an individual life’s deeper reality - implicate archetypal order. It is from this level that springs the manifestations in life as well as where the healing must also begin. The elegance of the element theory
is its intrinsic capacity to perceive the patient and the remedy simultaneously - both at implicate level. Essentially, that which can cause harm can also heal. Such is the paradoxical nature of healing.
COMPLEXES AND THE SOMATISATION OF ILLNESS
At the archetypal core of a complex are levels of reality -spiritual, mental, emotional and physical- they share similar archetypal essence, “similar field patterns,” though experienced as different realities to our present awareness.
The spiritual level relates to the ultimate purpose in the development of personality and the evolution of the soul in fulfilling a grand evolutionary design. The next is the mental level that involves thought patterns, belief systems, and perceptions, which are at the core of how we experience life. The emotional level is concerned with our feelings and emotional responses; typically, when a complex is activated there often accompanied by emotionally charged reactions. The last level is the physical manifestation of the dynamic energy.
Along the process of unfolding one’s life, with its many punctuations, pauses, starts and stops, we are required to transform the instinctual patterns into consciousness. It is when the necessity to change and grow is met with ego resistance, then, the outcome is often an impasse (e.g. depression). Something, then, must give involving a kind of sacrifice or giving up of something held dear
such as an ideology, entrenched belief system, a compulsive relationship, or as in illness in order for one to move beyond it. Jung (1978:71) states:
The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate. That is to say, when the individual remains undivided and does not become conscious of his inner opposite, the world must perforce act out the conflict and be torn into opposing halves.
The unconscious inner situation demands recognition as to establish a more conscious relationship on the part of the ego with the Self. Therefore, the development of physical problems often has to do with suppressed emotions where one has difficulty in acknowledging those unacceptable feelings and conflicts. Symptoms of illnesses or diseases are thus “channels” for discharging the obstructed energy flow and when inner situations are denied their proper expression or fail to reach consciousness. Somatisations are ways of “acting out” the inexpressible. This is also the reason why we often experience stressful times in life through illnesses - so the dammed up psychic energies could be transformed. What one experiences as illnesses, accidents, or emotional traumas are the reflections of an inner state; they are of non-causal connecting principle - synchronistic and mysterious.
All illnesses are thus somatised complexes. Healing, consequently, is a question of consciousness and is always about healing one’s psychological complexes and the damaged instincts. The reason for the mineral remedies to heal so deeply is because the element theory has enabled us to perceive the individuals from implicate archetypal order where the remedies are the other side of the same coin.
ARCHETYPAL ASPECTS IN THE ELEMENT THEORY
The words and concepts of the eighteen stages and the seven series in the element theory are those that reflect a particular set of value systems, worldviews, and the way of perceiving “reality.” Words such as success (stage 10), doubt (stage 3, 4, & 5), challenge (stage 6), retreat (stage 13), destruction (stage 15), extinguish (stage 17), etc. carry specific feelings and emotions that are imbued with certain feeling tones of the complexes. When one’s complex begins to heal so will the language and words the individual communicate also change to reflect the healed inner state - the inner and outer are seamlessly connected, and are mirrors of each other. Healing of the complex is a process and often the remedy required to heal one’s particular complex may change (from one series or stages to another) as one evolves and develops through the unfolding of individual consciousness.
THE EIGHTEEN STAGES
The eighteen stages are a bell-shaped curve of life’s progression from the beginning to the end, from birth to death. Although this developmental curve describes the natural development of a human being, each stage could indicate WHERE one is potentially “stuck” unable to progress further safe the issues related to that stage are addressed consciously or healed. The stages tell how one is relating or dealing with the life-task (indicated by the series). They are not clear-cut in a regimented way and contained within each are fragments of the previous one and the links to the next. Additionally, these stages may also be perceived as spiral in nature - death, at the closing of life, signals a new beginning, another cycle of life on a different level.
I will now sketch a brief outline of the stages of life mapping these from the natural development of an individual to the eighteen stages.
A separate physical life begins at birth, during which, one is in a symbiotic existence with mother - awareness of others is virtually non-existent. The focus is on one’s instinctual needs for survival (the first stage). Then, the awareness of oneself in relationship to others expands as one grows, albeit in a self-conscious way (second stage). Next, feeling uncertain about where one fits in relationship to others as one ventures outward from a small family oriented environment to the larger external world, the third stage. At this stage of development there is still the doubt and the uncertainty regarding the boundary - where one ends and others begin - scanning the surrounding environment.
As the bell shaped curve rises higher through the stages it culminates at the tenth stage - the height of one’s achievement, the summit of success. One is self-assured, full of confidence and self-satisfied. An air of superiority and haughtiness often accompanies the tenth stage as those feelings of self-doubt (2nd stage), the hesitation of what to do (3rd stage), and the trepidation of being a novice starting a new job (stage 4) filled with doubt and uncertainty about one’s ability in “making it” (stage 5) are no longer present.
The sixth through to the ninth stage relate to the qualities that are required to achieve success in the external world. The 6th stage relates to a sense that one must take the plunge - courageous and foolhardy - in spite of how one feels, whether competent or not. What follows this stage is the acquisition of more skill while on the job - teaching, learning, and cooperating with others (7th). Next stage comes the struggle and hard work (8th) to ensure success as one climbs higher and higher to reach the summit. The stage nine has a sense that the hard work is almost paid off, success is in sight.
After achieving the goal of one’s desire, the summit of success, the way from the top is a downward slope - the start of steady decline. From attempts to preserve and holding onto what have been achieved (11th stage) to over shooting the mark because one tries too hard to keep things as they were at the tenth stage - this is the 12th stage.
The stage thirteen relates to a sense of time passes by too quickly; one can no longer keep up with the tide of change. Subsequently, the feeling of being discarded (14th stage) rises up into one’s awareness. The responsibility attached to a career at the height of success (stage 10) is slowly eroding; the feeling of loss (15th) that one is almost made redundant ensues. Thus the decline has truly began only the memory of what it felt like to be important and successful remains and the time is now spent reminiscing the past glory (16th stage). A sense of futility (17th stage) accompanies this stage of life although one still has a great need to hold onto that, which is slipping away, letting go may be the only option. The last stage, the 18th, is inevitable and irrevocable when life comes to
its natural conclusion all the strivings and hard work, self-doubt and certainty, love and anguish, successes and failures, power, exploits and possessions are no longer relevant - death frees all attachments. The conclusion of one life cycle heralds the beginning of another.
THE SEVEN SERIES AND THE ELEMENTS
The seven series are aspects or spheres of life experiences that form the background, or the stage, upon which unfolds one’s life drama - psychological complexes, inner potentials and creative impulses. They account for WHAT we intend to master, the life task, which is also our focus in life. Essentially, it is the life-task one is “assigned” to undertake so it also furnishes one with a sense of meaning and purpose for one’s existence. Niobium (Silver series), for example, belongs to stage five where one feels doubtful of one’s creative ability and talents. Therefore, in order to develop one’s innate potentials the inner feeling of self-doubt (delusions that one lacks talents/abilities) must be overcome and laid to rest if one is to fulfil one’s life purpose as a creative individual in one’s chosen field.
When the focus of life sphere is on the family and personal relationships (Silicium series), for example, we meet the archetypal patterns of our fate embodied in our family, which is also about the ancestral psychological inheritance passed down the generations (Greene & Sasportas, 1987). It is in this sphere of life experience one is learning and healing the ego disturbances (delusions) and damaged instinct so that one comes to embody the greater meaning of “family” and human relationships - the family of humanity.
Although we experience the different spheres of life and the stages of development in a personal way, underlying these are the archetypal patterns, vividly dramatised in theatre plays and portrayed in the mythologies of various cultures and civilisations.
CARBONICUM, CHLORINE, AND SULPHUR IN THE ELEMENT THEORY
A discussion of the archetypal meaning of the elements, Carbonicum (Father), Chlorine (Mother), and Sulphur (Marriage) in the element theory is in order here. I consider these three elements constitute the core of one’s development of personality and the eventual healing of the wounded self. The archetypal Father and Mother are images of the masculine and the feminine self respectively; they also symbolise our creative process within, the (parental) marriage. Any disturbance in the parental marriage affects each individual in different ways owing to it being perceived selectively in accordance to one’s own inner pattern. As such, relationship issues, either with oneself or others, occupy a central place in one’s psyche, and the tendency to meet the same pattern throughout life encounters of those issues relate to triangles, betrayal, hurt feelings, abandonment, etc. re-enact itself repeatedly. Therefore, it becomes urgent for one to make conscious a pattern through harking back to one’s relationship with the parents if one is to fully live one’s own life.
In homoeopathy, the elements of Carbonicum and Chlorine represent the archetypal parents. They are at our disposal to heal the experienced disturbances relating to the parents - Carbonicum and Chlorine take us to the source of the disturbance. This is where homoeopath differs from psychoanalysis, as healing with the potentised remedies is much more direct without subjecting one to the lengthy analysis required. These two elements thus represent a process of integration of the masculine and feminine aspects within oneself if the remedy selected is the simillimum.
The element Carbon in homoeopath encompasses a father complex at its archetypal core. Carbon has to do with the Father Principle and the life force relate to the concept of self-worth, personal value systems, integrity, inner morality, inspiration, purpose, etc. These are influenced by one’s personal relationship with the father either in positive or negative ways; subsequently, it also impact
on how one relates to one’s inner masculine, the creative spirit, and men in general.
Father symbolises the spirit and the creative power. The archetypal images are the Hero, Wise Old Man, Saviour, etc. As with all things there are two poles associated with this archetype; one is Father as the spirit, authority/authoritative figure, bright, shinning, and creative. The other is the Terrible Father who is the dictator, tyrant, the oppressor, etc.
Mother can be associated with the element of Chlorine (Muriaticum). The archetypal Great Mother who embodies the spectrum of nurturing and Mothering. She is the vessel of form, the giver of
life, the incarnation of the spirit - essentially, spirit in manifestation. One’s relationship with the personal mother can greatly affect how one relates to this aspect in oneself and to women in general whether positively or in a negative manner. The nurturing capacity in oneself relates to one’s ability to make manifest one’s own creative spirit (symbolised by the father) - the ability to nurture one’s inner creativity or externalised in nurturing the children and others.
The Mother archetype also has two poles. One is the nurturing, life giving, protective pole that we associate with the good mother and the nurturer. The other is the Terrible Mother; the dark, chthonic figure symbolised by the Gorgan-Medusa who strikes fear and terror - a goddess of death, the counterpart of the life womb (Neumann, 1963). She is the womb of death - devouring, destroying, castrating, etc. In other words, she who gives life also takes away.
The element Sulphur in Scholten’s theory may be considered the archetypal marriage pattern in the varied relationship dynamics between two people. The marriage of Hera and Zeus, in Greek mythology, is archetypal and symbolises a particular marital pattern with specific set of value systems, behavioural patterns, and psychological dramas. However, in homoeopath, irrespective of the nature of the relationship problems or issues brought to the consulting room by the patient, the dynamics of relating when belongs to the spectrum of matrimony or as in intimate personal relationships, are contained by Sulphur.
In Homoeopathy, we find the concept of unbroken wholeness of spirit, soul, mind, body and substance - a universe in itself, in a dynamic continuous interplay between the two orders, implicate and explicate, to create a living reality.
The reason for the homoeopathic mineral remedies to heal individuals deeply at implicate archetypal order is because Scholten’s element theory has opened the door into the archetypal realm of both the individual and the remedies via the 18 stages and the 7 series. Healing at this level is the unfolding of life’s innate purpose and the true self. What we can expect from this process is that the changes are coming from deep within, rather than the cognitive level. As such, there may be the changing in attitudes, recognising certain outmoded behavioural patterns, letting go of toxic relationships that impede one’s growth, or accepting certain conditions in life as given, being our fate and destiny. In other words, one’s awareness expands far greater than before as one heals to incorporate new awareness or new essence into life. More importantly is the unmistaken sense of loyalty to obey one’s inner laws.
Illnesses, like many of life’s happenings, are explicate manifestation reflecting the underlying implicate order. Once we can perceive and understand the meaning or the symbolic representation of
an illness via potentised remedies, we begin to heal. My experiences in many cases, while applying Scholten’s element theory, have shown that healing with the mineral remedies jumpstarts the integration process that brings the unconscious energies of a negative complex into ego consciousness. Although the patient may not have the knowledge or understanding of how this is achieved,
the sense of whatever is happening within oneself feels RIGHT is ever present. Such healing generates changing patterns of perceptions, emotions, and behaviours over time.
Whether this healing of the deep psyche be permanent, or have the capacity to assist individuals to continue evolve beyond the healing brought forth by homoeopathic remedies, remain to be seen. This willingness on the part of the individual to participate must also be taken into the equation. However, it is healing at the realm of implicate archetypal order that the healing of the Cartesian split becomes possible for humanity. At the same time, this deep healing launches an individual on his/her way to know “who one really is” - beautifully integrated in a seamless wholeness - with the realisation that there was never any separation between body and mind.