Hyoscyamos niger Anhängsel


[David Johnson]

‘Any attention is better than no attention’. Attention-seeking behavior through verbal or sexual provocation/behavior can be quite dramatic (lewd-/shameless/wanting to be naked/singing obsene songs). But these tendencies are extreme examples.

From a deeper perspective, what would predispose someone to behave in this manner, and how might the expression of that state be less apparent?

One common etiology of the Hyoscyamus state is emotional neglect in childhood (delusion, deserted, forsaken). This stress leads to adaptation in the will to have one’s emotional needs met. The Hyoscyamus person can gain attention by shocking, annoying or provocative speech and behavior (inciting others, mocking, mania to ridicule, disposition to contradict, desire to fight). Hyoscyamus individuals may tell risque jokes or act like ‘clowns’ (jesting), and although not listed in the books, some Hyoscyamus individuals describe an attraction to, dislike or fear of clowns. The desire for attention leads some to behave like chameleons when in company, but these multiple personas undermine a truer sense of self-identity, as the desire for attention distracts them (and those in their company!). The sense of self-esteem or self-worth is often very low, and Hyoscyamus individuals may feel a strong sense of guilt (anxiety of conscience, delusion that he is a criminal, self-reproach).

Along with the Hyoscyamus stresses of emotional abandonment or neglect, the desertion may have been complicated by sexual abuse. This abuse leads to many conflicts later in life–an abuser may offer some ‘attention’, but not the emotional support they truly need. Fundamentally, their trust has been betrayed, and sensitivity to betrayal is a key theme underlying many behaviors in Hyoscyamus. In those situations where that trust was not learned, Hyoscyamus can also experience problems in gaining trust from others (reveals secrets, gossiping, meddlesome, indiscretion).

Hyoscyamus individuals can be understandably suspicious of other’s motives, but can also be jealous if they feel the little attention they receive is being threatened. A sense of this threat can be seen in the rubric ‘jealousy between children, when a new sibling takes the family attention away.’ Hyoscyamus can ‘act out’ if they feel such a threat, and be manipulative in their desire to gain others’ attention. Some adults describe themselves as ‘drama queens’, consciously or unconsciously creating drama in their lives so others will not ‘neglect’ them. Unfortunately for the Hyoscyamus individual, such behaviors can be self-defeating, as people tire of reacting to such needs. Many Hyoscyamus individuals describe anxieties related to situations of being deserted or abandoned by lovers, friends, etc. (ailments from disappointed love).

The opposite pole in Hyoscyamus could be described as ‘it’s better to have no attention than to have someone look too closely’. This tendency appears to stem from the challenges Hyoscyamus individuals experience with intimacy, and relating to people in a trusting manner. They can experience great difficulties learning to be vulnerable in a relationship. The Hyoscyamus adult has not been taught to trust, or if they did trust in the past, the trust was broken. So to have someone really ‘see’ them, with all their fears and defenses exposed, can be very threatening. They may expend a great effort to maintain defenses against this possibility (deceitful, sly).

Vermeulen describes the Hyoscyamus ‘fear of exposure’ with feelings of shame and strong aversion to undressing, or aversion to men because “all they want is sex”. Sankaran also conveys this fear by describing a woman who couldn’t face anyone if she was dressed informally (embarrassment, reserved, bashful timidity). There are often times where both ‘poles’ of Hyoscyamus are seen alternating in the same person. One Hyoscyamus client complained her breasts were too small and no one paid her any attention; then she described a past eating disorder to stay small-chested so men wouldn’t ‘stare and whistle’.

Hyoscyamus can become paranoid about others looking at them (fear of people, delusion – watched, desire to hide, agoraphobia), and what others’ motives truly are. When one feels no trust in relating to others, it may seem others are ‘out to get them’. This helps to explain the rubrics: fear of betrayal, fear of being sold, fear/delusion of being persecuted, fear/delusion of being injured, fear of being poisoned and fear to drink what is offered. Other common fears of Hyoscyamus include water, dogs and dark and alone.

In spite of all the above, many well-adjusted Hyoscyamus individuals have a great deal of insight into their challenges. It is just that they may not know how to get beyond them! Hyoscyamus characteristics can be found in such positive rubrics as precocity, intellectual, introspection, inquisitive, and clairvoyance. Hyoscyamus may be compared to Puls. (= C/Hyoscyamus demonstrates a more extreme need for attention), magnesiums (fears of abandoment), lachesis and other animal remedies (loquacity, themes of attractiveness), veratrum (themes of persecution), thuja (chameleon personality, reproaches oneself) and belladonna and stramonium (other members of the solanaceae family). The reader may read the proving and examine other rubrics for Hyoscyamus in order to fill out the above description.

In summary (with apologies to Shakespeare!), the Hyoscyamus state can be respectfully characterized as: ‘To be exposed or not to be exposed, that is the question.’


Folgendes hat anthroposofische Einschlüsse

Followed gypsies? throughout Europe/N.Africa/Asia. The most important and characteristic among them is the henbane, a very strange variation indeed on the basic type, and yet entirely a solanaceous plant. Shaggy and defiant, something belonging to the forces of darkness rises up in the midst of summer light and warmth, absorbing from those elements forces which nevertheless cannot liberate, cannot resolve, the crouching, cramped form. Into softly swelling form it puts something that is rigid and bony.

Hyos. is annual/on waste-land and in dust-dry ditches. One year, the plant collector will find it among the stony rubble in a river bed, the next, miles away among the broken ruins of an old castle; there are always just a few plants, inconstant like gypsies. The henbane does not show gratitude for loving care, and in the herb garden it will grow in a place of its own choosing rather than one assigned to it. Late in the year until the soil is broody with summer warmth.

The small grey seed germinates. Small cotyledons are followed by the first long-stemmed leaves which are soft and full of sap, spreading out over the ground. Then the shaggy, wild-looking herb comes up rapidly, the main shoot holding the leaf stems shackled to it, allowing only the lamina with its ear-shaped lobes to unfold, slowly and hesitantly, until finally the leaves spread outward, incised and with pointed ends, reminding of bats' wings. A leaf form like that might be expected in a thistle, with its hardening tendencies, but hardly in a herb as tender as this. Glandular hairs grow in thick confusion, covering every part of the plant. --A strong stem rises up, promising tall growth.

But this upward growth soon ceases. Foliage piles up and congests, and further growth seems not just held up, but indeed crippled. Suspecting a fungus or an animal pest, one steps closer to discover what it is that has so effectively put a stop to the growth of the shoot--and behold, it is the first blossom. Yet the herb may be only two weeks old! Now the side shoots curve away sideways, growth is diverted into them, and is at first very much compressed. The side shoots form rolled-up spirals which in spite of their dusty green color are in fact already inflorescences. Thus early and deeply is the flowering process embedded, impressed into a leaf element which is only just developing. In "normal" plants a tendency to spiral brings about the rhythmical sequence of leaves around the shoot, so that the leaf shoot may find full expression before it goes on to form the flower. In the henbane, this spiral tendency is taken hold of by the flowering process from the beginning, and deformed.

In his Astronomy Course, R.S. pointed out how certain planetary rhythms are imprinted upon the leaf spirals of the plant. In the henbane, however, such planetary influences as have been taken up have not been properly transformed; it is this which makes the plant so poisonous. The henbane does indeed show distortion of the spiral tendency.

The side shoots now begin to unroll from their spiral coils, starting from the inside. From the growing point which is shrouded in darkness there emerges bud after bud; always one leaf and one flower, with leaf, shoot and flower stem intergrown. Each bud travels along a spiral line: first it points inwards and upwards, like the hour-hand of a clock at 2 h.; it wanders on, always pointing outward from the center of the spiral, down to the 6 o’clock position; it then rises up on the outside, reaching the horizontal in the 9 o’clock position. There the flower opens, a gloomy, violet throat from which dark veins branch outwards into the sulphur-yellow marginal zone of the calyx, an impressive image of darkness acting into light. The attendant leaf has its plane in the vertical, however, a most unusual sight in the plant world. The structure continues to turn until it has reached the 12 o’clock position and the flower stands vertically and the leaf horizontally. But by that time the flower has faded and the leaf is beginning to wither. The turning movement ceases for the first pair of leaf and flower, and the next pair starts along the same root, as do all that follow. This succession produces a linear shoot standing obliquely outwards, with the spiral like a crosier at the end as it continues to unroll. The staff shows the rhythmical sequence, like a spinal column, stiffly bearing the upward-pointing, prickly-tipped, drying capsules and slowly withering leaves. All the "staffs" together form 3 to 7 rays of a funnel, open at the top and with its point at the place where the first branching took place and the first flower unfolded down below. Into the center of the funnel drop the seeds discharged from the dry capsules.

If one looks down on the plant from above it will be seen that the leaf-and-flower pairs emerging from the spiral center, point to the right, then to the left in rhythmical alternation. Like all horizontal flowers, the flower shows bilateral symmetry. The calyx does not drop off when the flower withers, but forms a sphere enveloping the ripening fruit and opening into a five-pointed funnel at the top. The fruit is green at first, and similar to that of Belladonna. But it then turns into a dry capsule with a little lid which finally opens, and discharges the seed. And still new flowers with their leaves burst forth from the spiral, pointed left and right in turn, emerging from darkness into the light of day, on and on until the first frost puts an end to it.

The flower has an aromatic, musty, scent; the herb and stems are also scented and one notices this particularly if one strips off the shaggy glandular hairs with one's hand. The scent is similar to that brought into the house by long-haired dogs when they are wet.

The active principles of the plant (which can be explained only if one sees them as the result of activity, as produced by the henbane process) are: l-hyoscyamine, d,l-hyoscyamine (atropine), l-scopolamine, d,l-scopolamine; the latter alkaloids predominantly in the seed. Also choline, some volatile oil, bitter principles, and tannin. In terms of chemical analysis, this means great similarity to the deadly nightshade. But at the same time the henbane is quite different, as a medicinal plant, from Belladonna.

If one considers that "active principles" are preceded by the "active forces" which produce them and which have created the plant form as their image, their living image, one will find more significant information on the medicinal action in the signature and language of the plant than in what the chemist has to tell. The results of chemical analysis are not without significance, but they are only part of the total information provided by the plant.

In the henbane, the focal point of the whole structure is obviously the spiral interweaving of leaf and flower, rather than the thick tap-root. This root offers itself up, wholly to the flowering process, it dies off when flower and fruit are formed. (Hyos. the other hand withdraws its vital powers into the root in autumn, it has a much stronger root life.) The focal point of the medicinal action will therefore lie in regions where the processes of metabolism and limbs meet with processes of the rhythmic system; in these regions the action of the astral element upon the physical and etheric principles will be influenced. Depending on the dose, an astral body which is not coming in strongly enough will be stimulated to act more strongly, or an astral body which is pressing in too strongly, and is held as in a spasm, will be pushed out. The form-giving impulses of the rhythmic region, of the "middle man", interact with the metabolic organization to give rise to the muscle organization in the limbs of man. The astral organization, providing the impulses for movement, needs to act particularly upon this muscle organization, as on a tool, building up as well as breaking down. It is here that the henbane has a particular sphere of action, because of its "astrality-filled synthesis of the rhythmical leaf process and the flower process". Suitable remedies prepared from the henbane will effect spasmolysis, better nutrition, and anabolism in this region. Nutrition of heart muscle and of the musculature of the limbs is promoted when suitable preparations of henbane are combined with other indicated remedies.

According to R.S., Hyos. stimulates the solar plexus: the astral body (and ego organization) act upon it more strongly. Steiner put it like this: "If we use Hyos. to transmit the astral principle, we transmit . . . that which lives in the mantle of warmth around the earth and forms the outer part of the atmosphere; we transmit this to the solar plexus of man . . „. In the introductory chapters, it was described how spheres and processes of being which for the plant lie outside, at the near or distant periphery, are interiorized in man, as internal processes, internal organs. The astral spheres belonging to the henbane have a special relation to the regions of warmth mantling the earth. (A "mantle of warmth" forming the outer limit, at a very great height, of the atmosphere, was predicted by R.S. in the early twenties. Years later, this was confirmed by meteorologists.) The solar plexus, and the associated autonomic system with its interplay of sympathetic and parasympathetic, enables part of the astral body to act on the etheric and physical functions; this part of the astral body is the one which must work unconsciously. Indeed, the very role of this nervous system is to keep the astral body unconscious in this region, to extinguish the powers of consciousness. If spirit and soul qualities do become free in this region, the results ( as described earlier for Mand. ( are a somnambulant pictorial consciousness, visions, and hallucinations. Because of these effects, the henbane was used for evil purposes in the Middle Ages, in form of an ointment. The herb, once dedicated to Apollo, was finally restored to its rightful place through homeopathy. In that field, it is used for a wide range of muscular spasms, states of excitement, epileptic seizures, and also disorders which indicate that the brain no longer forms the healthy physical base, the "mirroring unit", for daytime conscious awareness, so that there is confusion of ideas, and manic (and also depressive) states. According to R.S., "mental" disorders always have physical causes. In the medicine based on anthroposophical spiritual science, Hyos. also plans an important role in the treatment of twilight states based on a state where "the brain is not properly maintained in its structure", so that its astral organization does not come in to act firmly enough in the physical brain. If a remedy prepared from henbane is introduced into the human organism, metabolic activity has to make intensive efforts to overcome the constitution of this very poisonous plant. This gives rise to a particularly intensive power-form in the etheric body of the metabolic region, a form that is hard to dissolve, much harder than that arising through a food plant (which resolves in about 24 hours). As a counter process to this activity in the lower organization there arises in the upper organization a better cohesion between the organizing forces of the brain and the astral organization. While at the lower pole a plant element is being overcome which had astral forces impressed into it too deeply, the upper pole can properly draw close to itself an astral element which had loosened its connections.



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