Ostracion cubicus = Yellow Box Fish
About a year and a half ago, my colleague Pascaline Phillips inquired about my experience producing remedies that do not yet exist. She had taken a case that she felt required the Yellow Box Fish. After making the remedy, Pascaline again requested my assistance, but this time for a Hahnemannian proving of this fascinating fish.
Both of us had participated in Interesting dreams came through in prover #2, regarding the challenges of group decision-making. We can compare fish and birds in this respect, relative to schools and flocks. Perhaps more with underwater life though, it loses or makes boundary in its response to threatened survival.
The idea of being threatened stands out very strongly in Ostracion. Prover #8 was proactively disconnecting himself from others in an aggressive uncaring, cynical, standoffish kind of way: “I will say or do whatever I want…”
He was not holding back, used harsh language, gawked at women, but if perceived gazes were coming his way he would think “What the f*#@ are you looking at?” Other provers became violent or had dreams of war and fighting; escaping from being captured by Ugandan soldiers and feeling free.
Different members of the Ostraciidae secrete toxic steroidal surfactants that permeate their surroundings when under stress. The order of Tetraodontiformes also includes the Pufferfish family, the
2nd most poisonous vertebrates in the world, and if that is not enough for defense, they can expand their elastic stomachs with water and puff up.
The way this defensive kind of puffy expansion takes place presents itself clearly in the Box Fish proving in a very specific way. The threat can arise from being cornered. With this, comes the feeling of being small or inferior, susceptible to being ostracized (as in Ostracion). Then, there is a need to equalize oneself to the larger threat. This even played into prover #10’s expansiveness, as we see when he identifies the disparity: “My consciousness embraced the vastness of the universe, while recognizing the insignificance of my physical being to the larger picture.” Prover #11 wanted to be bigger and felt getting out in nature could do that for him. He felt both big and small in primary and secondary reaction. Coming more from the small side, pre-proving, he then noted: “Now, I’ll defend myself; my point of view is equally valid - they are not an authority.” And another comment: “Feeling equal, not inferior. Not a child in front of a powerful adult. Being free, grown up. Hope it will stay with me.”
Prover #1 contributes here: “My emotional state is great. As if from a child, I finally became an adult. I’m equal! Focused. I do things without an effort. Productive.”
Prover #8 in one dream felt he was equal to the pit-bull he saw, driving in his sports car picking up chicks. Many dreams of dogs and cats, and having to eat an ugly fish.
On the physical sphere, we notice symptoms perhaps related to the poisonous aspect of the fish. It may turn out to be a good food poisoning remedy, with nausea and gripping pains. The gold bladder and liver were also given to nausea, pain and discomfort. On the day of the collation meeting, I experienced 3 expanding poison ivy-like blisters on my wrist, but had not been exposed to anything as far as I knew. It felt like the proving to me. Another prover’s Crohn’s disease was aggravated.
I think fish remedies have somehow been a little underused in homeopathy, but the Yellow Box Fish proving, along with other newer fish provings, should open the way to more cases, as it has and will broaden our understanding of this group. Now, we have an understanding of the unique expression of this cute little awkward cubed polka dot fish you do not want to mess with.
Found inhabiting coral and rocky reefs in tropical and temperate marine waters of the Indo-West Pacific.
Larval fish generally settle on sheltered rocky and coral reefs in the summer months, when juveniles are often found in small aggregations. Adults grow to around 18 inches in length. The Yellow Boxfish is also referred to as the Polka Dot Boxfish, or Cube Boxfish.
It’s easily recognized by its angular box-shaped body, bright yellow coloration and black spots. The young Yellow Boxfish has an almost perfect box shaped body which becomes more elongated as it grows older.
Adult Yellow Boxfish are often solitary and occur on deeper coastal slopes, lagoons and areas where there are crevices and ledges for shelter.
Picking tiny animals like worms, clams, crabs, shrimp and fish from the sand, the yellow boxfish uses its thick puckered lips to blow jets of water at the sand, exposing
any hiding animals. It also feeds prolifically on algae. Ostraciidae comprise one of the oddest of all marine fish groups - encased in a “box” of fused scales, they’re not the most agile of fishes, given their body restriction. Its skin is body armour - the fused scales give this fish a rigid shell. The boxfish needs this protection because it is a very slow swimmer. They are such slow movers that they are easily caught by hand.
They move awkwardly using their side fins and the tail fin only in case of emergency or to get food.
It is common for them to "sit" still in one spot for very long periods of time.
They are cute and colorfull, and their engaging personalities and unusual locomotion seduce many hobbyists. This group of fish grows too large for the typical home aquarium. Some reports note that this fish may be aggressive towards its own kind; therefore, care should be taken when adding a new boxfish into a tank with an established boxfish.
In addition, they produce toxins that can wipe out an entire system. These toxins are released by stressed individuals and upon death. There are many cases reported in which every fish in the tank was killed by a toxic event.
When disturbed or frightened, all species of this family can discharge poisons into the water from their skin. This poison can kill other fishes including the boxfish itself.
Boxfish secrete poison from their skin when they are in danger or stressed. Boxfish toxin (= ostracitoxin) is an ichthyotoxic, hemolytic, non-protein poison found in the mucous secretions of their skin.It is apparently unique among known fish poisons.
These fish are not highly sought after because their organs are poisonous. The poison in the fish actually comes from a type of toxic algae that the boxfish eats.
Skilled Japanese chefs prepare boxfish and porcupine fish (= fugu) in a way that retrieves the meat and almost all the poisonous parts are cut out.
A slight amount of poisonous meat is left to be served with the safe portion. The diner feels somewhat woozy after eating the fugu, with slight numbness felt at the lips or mouth area. So prepared these fish are considered a delicacy. On occasion, a person eating the fugu dies.
As an aside: Mercedes’ Bionic concept car: When Mercedes-Benz began to contemplate its next generation of high - efficiency small cars, it sought aquatic inspiration.
But instead of considering obvious forms such as sharks, the Mercedes team turned to a fish that resembled a car: the boxfish. Ostracion cubicus is surprisingly slick. Wind-tunnel testing revealed
a drag coefficient (Cd) of just 0.06, startlingly close to the ideal 0.04 of a water droplet. Like the droplet, the boxfish’s face is small in proportion to its overall length, and its streamlined surfaces encourage air to move over it without creating the turbulence that robs aerodynamic efficiency.
The reason for choosing to potentize the yellow boxfish was to treat a young patient (the case follows). Having gone to the effort to triturate and work up the remedy, it only made sense to conduct a proving. This proving came about a year after Louis Klein’s Blue Tang proving (also a coral reef fish, which elicited some very similar symptoms).
Compared to terrestrial animal and plant species, there are very few marine organisms in our materia medica. This needs to change, especially given the decline in fish, coral, and other aquatic organisms which is being driven by an increase in toxic compounds in the oceans, over-fishing, as well as a rise in water temperatures.
The yellow boxfish (Ostracion cubicus) case:
In October 2011, I saw a new patient - a 9 year old boy whose main symptoms were insomnia, anxiety and bad breath (his mother’s concern).
He’s a stocky boy, with very short blonde hair, very pale skin and a round face. There’s a staring, impassive quality to his face - although he’s very intelligent, he appears somewhat vacant or lost in thought.
The insomnia was ‘onset’ in nature: he usually would lie in bed for roughly 2 hours waiting for sleep. He would look at his clock and note the times
- rhyming off times (11:24, 1:08 etc) that he would be lying there “like a lidless fish - staring”. He repeated this again later in the appointment, which prompted me to ask what kind of fish he was. His response was “a cube fish”. He named his remedy! - further confirmed by other characteristics of his (very similar to the boxfish).
He is quite solitary by nature - happily spending hours alone at home on the computer or reading or drawing. At school, he often chooses not to play with the other children at recess. Instead, he walks round and around a tree, thinking.
He has, however, an easily triggered temper. Should another child bump into him (accidentally or intentionally) he flies into a rage and attacks, hitting or punching.
He is ungainly in most sports; although he does “run”, he’s often the slowest in the group. His mother described him as a “water baby” - from infancy, he’s always loved being in the water, and could spend hours in the water. However, he’s not a good swimmer; he’s quite content just to paddle around.
His anxiety manifests as “stomach aches” which prevent him from going to school; these can last 2 to 3 days. He also describes a feeling of nervousness (to his mother), but can’t actually give me much more detail when I ask about the anxiety.
Plan: I prescribed an acidophilus/bifidus supplement to be taken once per day.
I know that I need to get potentized yellow boxfish (I know it’s this species because the patient mentioned that a car company had designed a car based on the yellow boxfish).
Follow-up: (discussion with the patient’s mother)
The day after the interview the patient’s father asked what he’s been given because he was so dramatically different: the insomnia, the anxiety and the bad breath had all cleared up. The patient remained symptom-free until the first week in January. It was the day before school resumed (after Christmas holidays), and the anxiety symptoms returned full-on. His mother, anticipating a night of sleeplessness, gave him a dose of Ostr-c C 4. He was asleep within 10 - 15 minutes and was fine to go to school the next day.
The provers gathered to share their experiences, which were transcribed as they spoke.
Food and beverages were provided. The mood was markedly split between easy - going and light for those provers who had a positive experience vs. edgy and suspicious for those provers whose overall experience was not pleasant. Interestingly, each group ended up sitting together - naturally aligning themselves with those who had similar experiences.
The meeting was ended with a closing meditation to disperse the proving effect.
Notes from the meeting: (supervisors talking): there was a sub-theme around ‘trouble connecting’ - on the phone - or the prover was too busy; irritated by the phone calls.
(P12): I felt like in the 2nd 2 weeks it was over for me.
(P5): (via skype - out of town prover) you don’t need to make me big (referring to her image on the screen)
(P9): make me small
(P5): 6 hrs after the first dose - stomach pain. Around 3.30 h. a Gallbladder attack - seemed to me. When I stood up it went away. As if the pain was imaginary. The pain came lying down.
And I had an intense dream: that I had to go to the crawl space and put handles inside. I had to prepare to hide. Something was going to occur. Someone was going to come to the house - someone threatening.
They started as heart burn. And then by around 23 h. - pain on my right side (RUQ). Some nausea. Very steady pain - like a bruise - didn’t let up. This lasted till wednesday. Every evening. Started then and went till 2 - 3 h.
I also woke up at 6.30 h. with a start - unusual for me. Not socially normally - I don’t sleep on a socially acceptable schedule.
(P9): I felt very uncomfortable in my solar plexus - felt vulnerable, powerless. Very threatened - similar to a previous situation. I was living with this woman, then I got tossed. I was talking on the phone with her and the moment
I hung up, a collage fell on a box (collage of owls and a mouse)
- I felt like the mouse - with the owls - all these women around me. After I got off the phone, I was clasping my hands (strong clasping gesture).
I had several dreams with people who have passed. My parents; a friend who hung himself; another friend who drove his car into a river.
One of the main themes was: I was having a difficult time journaling - a lot of dissatisfaction with where I am in my life. Things were holding me back - seemed to bother me a little bit more.
[(P11) almost didn't make it to the meeting. Serendipitously, the co-master prover ran into him just beforehand and was able to coax him to attend. He was depressed,
sleeping a lot, and had little appetite. He was filled with self-loathing and angry with himself.
He would note something good about himself, and then diminish it. He was complaining about his low - income job and of a breakup with his girlfriend. At the meeting he was outside the room for a time hesitant to enter,
diminishing his value to the process.
Finally he came in agitated and was unclear about all the people present - what his and their roles were:
Who’s a supervisor vs a prover - except he said “superior” instead of supervisor - so there was a flavour of hierarchy, and bigger vs lesser roles in the proving. Spent a few minutes discussing and clarifying this for him.
One to two days post-extraction meeting, his mood altered entirely. He was happy, confident and had found a new well-paying job.
(supervisor L via skype - representing P3): she had stomach aches to start with. On the 19th - no changes. Then took the 2nd dose on the 20th. At 12:30 h. a stomach ache - dull ache till 15.30 h. Didn’t recall any dreams.
Suddenly I heard that the prover was in a horrible state.
On May 27 - lost total interest in sex. Couldn’t deal with her husband and kids.
Had a short fuse: angry and yelling. She said “I don’t like sharing this: my husband’s going to send me to the crazy house.”
At work, no problem, but couldn’t concentrate. She had more compassion for her clients - but not for her kids (2 young girls) and husband. She started dreading driving home from work. Just wanted quiet time for herself. “
I began to feel I didn’t want my children. And bitter toward my husband.”
On May 24 the same stomach cramps came about 15.30 h. A knot in her stomach. “I’m usually a very vivid dreamer - it’s unusual for me not to recall them.”
Also - she didn’t tell her husband that she was doing the proving.
On June 13 she was given an antidoting rx (Sepia). After, she had some diarrhea and by the next day she was feeling better. Her mood was good. She’s currently feeling better. But she’ll never do another proving again.
(supervisor A.): I moved out of my house for a week. I left the kids. Left X (= husband). I was done.
(P11): My supervisor split in the middle of my proving. He called me a bunch of times. Then I finally opened up to him - and then he split. It didn’t make sense to me. It’s almost like I hate that guy. I’m a bit pissed at the situation
- or at my life. I thought it was my fault at first, when he didn’t call me back.
(supervisor L. via skype) I felt pissed off at P3 because she was so pissed off at the whole proving. And, I’ve been a bit indifferent the past few weeks. Not really wanting to be with people.
(P11): I feel like I don’t want to go out - do anything - don’t want to talk to anybody. I want to be not moving. I’ve been really, really angry.
*at this point he’s really agitated and gets up and excuses himself - he needs to get outside and walk around for a bit.
(supervisor A.): I found it very difficult to get a hold of people. I was getting really irritated - feeling frustration with the whole process. It was difficult - not smooth at all.
(supervisor B.): my other prover (P4) didn’t want to talk to me after a point. She had too much going on - she’d say “I’m too busy to talk”. There was no contact after about 2 weeks. She was pissed off and didn’t like the
way I was questioning her. I’m not sure that was a huge deviation from the norm for her.
(P9): she (supervisor A) called me for the first few days - then a few times a week. At one point I thought she wasn’t getting in touch with me, so I used that to justify not journaling as much as I should have.
(supervisor A): you said in a message that you were kind of angry with me.
(P2): these provings are bizarre. Misconceptions and misunderstandings....
I’ve been so agitated. Hypersensitive to people.
Cornered by people (bold) and angry because they dump on me. You know - at a party.......
And dreams about cats! - I don’t know why.
I’m agitated coming into this room tonight.
I didn’t know who was who - no-one introduced themselves.
A few days ago I had a dream I was in a glass room and I had an anti-gravity thing on - so I was flying up and down, with people looking at me - and it felt so good.
(P10): I had a dream with a black cat. It was strange - it didn’t have a reason. And things were technicolour - I felt very aware after 1 dose. It altered my consciousness. I felt sort of spaced out. My mind was racing.
I felt so expansive - and so connected to the universe.
Consciously I felt huge, but I was restricted by my corporeal self. That lasted almost a whole day.
(P2): I felt really compassionate toward people - expansive. When the agitation wore off I felt really connected and calm.
(supervisor J): I had one prover with the agitation and anger.
(P1): for me, it was as if I took my constitutional rx. At the beginning - lots of numbness for the first few hours: fingers, legs, thumb, and forehead. It felt as if a lot of anger concentrated there. As if a little child who doesn’t
feel equal to adults - really frustrated because of the age and power difference.
Since then I feel equal. It’s almost a celebration of feeling equal to other people. The theme of connection......
1st day I had pain in gall bladder area - it aggravated badly - but then it was gone.
Feeling paralyzed - inability to move. Theme of disconnection - alone in the world.
Another big healing came with me feeling connected to my family - my roots. In the past I was estranged form my family. But now, a deep connection to my parents and grandparents. I know I’m connected to them.
(supervisor B): (P4) also had similar physical sx’s (liver/GB) the first few days.
(P1): the 2nd week I wanted to be in my space. Almost like hiding from others. I know I was pushing my limits - being with my children, with work,.........
(P11): really strong feelings of getting out of adolescent head - space; a defiance. But, I’ve been breaking down the past 4 days. I want to pull back - the more you get
involved and tangle yourself in relationships, the more karma you create. Why do I want to confuse things more?
I get involved, but it all gets screwed up anyway. So, that’s why I was crawling, pulling away: to simplify.
(supervisor J): Can I read what (P8) experienced? Very dark and aggressive. I was gawking at women. No filter. I didn’t care what others thought; off the cuff with people.
Cynical, sarcastic, and negative. And Crohn’s was aggravated.
He had a dream he was with a pitbull driving a car. A sense of equality with the pitbull.
(P12): I had a lot of vivid dreams. In one - a black dog with a strong presence. At first I was nervous - then really connected. Then I took the remedy on Saturday (May 19)
- my in-laws had just come into town. My senses were heightened. I was really calm, happy, relaxed; kind of sedated. Normally, I’d be a bit tense as hostess. I felt like a happy cat purring in the sunshine.
I took the rx again - I felt completely carefree, relaxed. Everything seemed really vibrant.
With the 3rd dose, maybe slightly less heightened. Then, during the week, back into routine. I also felt less tired than usual; more energy than usual. Then a little more back to normal. Not so glowing and purring cat.
But, every time I thought about the rx, a feeling would come over me.
A couple of weeks later I had another dream about a dog (I’m a cat person). In one, a dog with a long snout pressed it into my neck - it woke me up with a start. It felt like something was there, at my neck.
Like a gun was pressed there.
(P9): I had a dog in a dream with a hole in its belly - an abscess - where the umbilical cord is. I notice he’s neutered but he doesn’t have a penis. Somehow, we’re connected through the hole in the umbilical cord.
Then I see Jake inside - almost like a snake shedding its skin, giving birth to himself. This is similar to an earlier dream I had - there was an abscess on my face near my lip - sticking straight out.
(supervisor A): This reminds me of when I did the blue tang proving, I sat in my sunroom - all glass - windows all around me - for 3 months. Isolated.
Equal/not equal (typically more shy with criticism)
Now: I’ll defend myself; my point of view is equally valid - they are not an authority. 11, 03:
• Typically I have a subservient attitude. On set today, the leading actor and director came by. I spoke with them like it was no big thing. Usually I would be
really shy, trip over my words, be really uncomfortable, star-struck. 11, 03:
...feeling equal. Equal, not inferior. Not a child in front of a powerfull adult. Being free grown up. Hope it will stay with me. 1, 01: 16:30
• Desire to clench my hands, inability to move. Like in front of authority figure. 1, 01: 16:26
The remedy has a therapeutic effect for me - still feeling equal with others..... 1, 25:
• Dreamed of a pitbull, driving in (my) sports car. (I) was really dressed down, picking up chicks, and looking kid of dirty. And, there was a sense of equality
- that he’s (pit-bull) not that different than I am. 8, 08:
Transitioning from child to adult
There’s this tug of war, me feeling like a man, but my life is so infantile. Inside I’m this strong guy that should be something otherwise. (I’m) feeling like a man, not an adult, but a grown - up. 11,
My emotional state is great. As if from a child I finally became an adult. I’m equal!
Focused. I do things without an effort. Productive. 1, 06:
In the beginning I was walking around like superman; felt I was taller. 11, 03:
• ..the idea that I think sun and nature makes us bigger. If people spend their time in nature they’d be bigger, I’d be bigger. Like seagulls - in nature grow bigger,
they’re out in nature. Here in the city there’s these little things with shrivelly feet. I’ve got to get out in nature because it’s going to make me bigger. 11, :XX
My consciousness embraced the vastness of the universe while recognizing the insignificance of my physical being to the larger picture. 10, 07: 12:19
Numbness - emotionally & physically
I’ve been frustrated and depressed. I feel completely hopeless, like I’m going through the motions of the habits and relationships I created, but there’s a numbness about it. 11,
• Slight numbness of legs, right leg is worse (from knee down). Numbness of the face (slight). Numbness of the tongue, the tip of the tongue. General sense of
numbness in arms, hands, face, legs. Numbness on the surface, skin. 1, 01: 12:10 - 13:00
Numbness of right hand fingers. Went away in 10 minutes. 1, 02: 11:00
• If I would think what numbness represents it’s more like a fear to connect, being not sure. Desire to clench my hands, inability to move...... Or feeling paralyzed by. 1, 01:
Confidence, clarity & strength If decisions had to be made I felt I would be more solid and decisive on my decisions. 11,
• Aware of what I want, my needs, following them. 1, 01:
(dream) working at the hospital - freely talking that I’m also working as a homeopath, not shy about it, proud; understanding that knowing more, deep knowledge, connecting both professions... 1, 01:
• Feeling very calm and self-assured. I could care less what people are thinking - not concerned about what people think about me ...
The world is calling out my name - people are responding well to me. 2, 06:
I’m not caring much how others think, but feel satisfied and noticing more “being pretty”.
I have been choosing to wear mini skirts and feel it’s pretty. It is like a self-satisfaction - I’m not even trying to prove I’m pretty. 2, 11:
Loss of confidence I was thinking about women and I’m usually really confident with them, but now if a girl looks at me, I don’t even really want to look at them. I feel I’m hideous - don’t look at me, I’m an ugly dude. 11,
Feeling high, rushing ......
Instant euphoria, giddiness; Big awareness of my 3rd eye, the 6th chakra. 10, 01: 11:45
• Mind racing. Vibrating like a coffee high. Felt lie a caffeine rush. Body working quicker, body was rushing. Symptoms of heart racing but not racing. Hard to
keep an open mind with treatments (at work) - difficult to articulate (because) distracted by random thoughts. Too many thoughts in too many directions. Open
to energy, open to thought. 10, 01: 13:45 (took 2nd dose) The next 2 - 3 hours energetic; awareness with crown chakra. Felt on a high. 10, 04: 13:00
• Felt very open with crown chakra and the universe. Crown sensation vibrates to intense feeling at 6th chakra. Felt like large wound/heat on forehead. Felt like
opening up of the skull; sloughing off of an exoskeleton. Like a cracked egg. 10, 05: 17:23
I was more happy - on cloud 9. Got my porch done - washed, painted. More energetic; crazy busy. 4, 02:
• It was noticed that I was incredibly energetic and ”busy”. 6, 02:
I had the same effect throughout the day - high energy level and constantly keeping myself busy. Felt like my mind was racing - what if... what if...... 6, 03:
Relaxed, calm Felt really relaxed in a happy way, glowing - like a happy cat lying in the sun. 12, 01: 17:00
• For the first three days, strong relaxation, happy relaxed feeling: relaxed, flowy, easy - going. Usually stressed after a long week-end, felt totally relaxed. 12, 04:
Feeling very calm and self-assured. 2, 26:
Connected - to family, others,
Thinking about my day today noticed that (I) was able to feel connection and speak open(ly) about my beliefs to a person that I thought she is not interested in me much.
I was involved, it was easy to express myself. Before I would feel not included, not interesting. 1, 01:
• Was watching family movie from my mom’s birthday last year. My parents sent it to me. (I) was crying deeply. Deep sense of forgiveness and connection to my
family. (I must say that since my childhood I did not feel that connection, idea of support was foreign for me, feeling alone in the world and having to do it on my
own). I feel different now. 1, 11:
... sense of connection with the family and sense of unconditional love towards them. Easy to express myself; no fear. 1, 25:
• Feeling more connected to people, more compassion and patience. 2, 05:
Had a very lovely time socially this week-end. 2, 30:
Overly sensitive, overwhelmed socially, intolerant (after 2nd dose) Feeling very agitated. Agitated socially, sensitive to light, sound, intolerant, impatient. Things are
hyper-real. Overwhelmed by the intensity of conversation(s) and feeling ambushed socially by those seemingly needing to unload angst..... everyone was yelling.
(I) just wanted one person to talk to me at a time. 2, 03:
• Felt very agitated tonight (extraction meeting) as soon as I entered the group/room tonight since I was friendly and forthcoming with my name yet no one
was clear on who they were, their names, were they provers?, etc. (thought there was a lack of social concern). 2, 31: 19:00