A.B. is a 56-year old Caucasian woman with short blondish-brown hair, of average height and weight, and dressed casually. She first came to me in June 1999. The case below is presented mostly in her own words. The phrases that relate most directly to ones used by the Germanium provers are footnoted and discussed later.
“I’m in a peaceful place. I don’t have to work; I look after my investments in the mornings and then I’m free. I recently moved to a nearby city to be near my partner. We’re not married but committed, and want to explore deeper parts of ourselves. Parents are elderly but well, and my son is grown. Lots of searching for purpose in life. I used to be a lost soul. At times I get very very sad. Lots of sadness. Grief over lost years related to menopause and loss of youth. I need a stronger commitment to inner wisdom and the courage to act on it. I need to muster the courage. I have doubt. I was trained as a good little girl. Never coming to ‘me’ is an example of me looking for answers outside…It’s been a lifelong struggle.
As a child I felt bad. I apologized for being alive1 until my 30’s. I felt in the way. There has to be a reason for the suffering that I see. My family has a pattern of secrets and alcoholism. I’m the first generation to deal with it psychologically. My son has freed himself from the dysfunction by finding a spiritual life.
I’m very strong. I work out, play tennis, golf. I have a strong respect for the body because I know it is strong and blessed. I want to let go of all this stuff-it’s time to move on or through.
I’m very loving and kind and compassionate. Before I was too sensitive, there was too much darkness. I was an only child and grandchild. I was so precious and so light, like this light bulb, and I got overwhelmed by the darkness. I was frightened all the time, as I lived with alcoholic people. Grandfather was inappropriate with me. Grandmother overpowered me; she was overwhelming of my spirit. Lots of old aunts and uncles who were old and very dark. My family was feuding and surrounded by darkness. It was very scary to me.
My son is pure and spiritual. I have a shadow side. I don’t pretend I’m Mary Poppins, but as a child I was precious and pure. It speaks of something, anger and frustration. I hope that I can use those feelings to do good. I spent 35 years in the dark and healing myself. I have a lot of wasted years. If there is a way I can help children I could do it.
I got stepped on and smashed and told I was not good and not valuable enough to get loved. I got squished and was the squished self for 40 years, as if my soul or spirit wasn’t welcome here (weeps). It was like a soul destruction. I think it’s a sin.
I have a history of self hatred and limiting myself. 2 I was reinforcing that I’m no good. I’m no good. I’m constantly blaming myself. 3 I did this in my childhood. I had shame as a child. I apologized for being alive. 1 I knew everyone had anger and jealousy toward me. They had rampant hatred for me. “Please forgive me for being here,” I said in my therapist’s office. I literally felt alone and abandoned. In my childhood everyone felt dangerous to me. I can relate to the kids in Kosovo. 2,4
At age three, dad was at work and mom was in a factory. Grandmother was caring for me, but drinking. I fell in a pond and had a very near death experience. I saw no light, just darkness, and my grandfather pulled me out. The doctor came and I got resuscitated. I feel brain damaged and dyslexic from this. I write things backwards and had to learn to study in college. 5
I’ve never been able to have a conversation with mother. I never asked her why she gave me to grandmother. I felt forsaken. Mother: she either worked or was drunk or was in pain or was cleaning the house. The most powerful parent abandoned me and gave me to grandmother. Father was shy and embarrassed to talk of anything real. He told me to never talk about my mother’s problems or I’d give him a heart attack. I don’t want to blame them any more. I’ve been stuck in victimhood and want to get on with it.
I have dreams of trying to find something and I’ll be lost and going in the wrong direction. I have lots of water dreams. I will be swimming with creatures in the water. They don’t harm me, but they are a little frightening. I also have dreams of people lying to me, of knowing that people are not what they pretend to be.
There are some people I don’t like.
My husband and I were married 7 years. He left after a year and got another woman pregnant. The other woman gave birth 10 months after me. Then, 3 years later, I married a man 20 years older than me. He got sick and died, and I raised my son.
I had many relationships. One lasted a year. This one has lasted for three years and is the best one yet. He is a fun-loving guy. He works and is also an artist, but he’s going to retire soon. He’s helped me in my relationship with my parents.
My first husband was a precious man. He was a forest ranger and had grueling work. Emotionally he wasn’t mature, and I wasn’t either. He got more and more unhappy as we went along. After seven years he began to drink. He’d pass out on the porch and I’d have to pull him in. It was a big shock to find out about his adultery.
I like to eat a little of everything. As a child I ate a lot of dairy. I loved cottage cheese, but don’t now. I eat yogurt, soy, fish, salad, spicy, garlic. I don’t like fried food, or gravy, or beets. I can bulk up muscles easily. My right hip hurts if I sit or drive too long. I’m warm all the time.”
A.B. feels worthless and unwelcome. She has sympathy for the children of Kosovo who were refugees from a war. She also has a strong feeling of guilt and blames herself for things; she apologizes for being alive. All of these feelings relate to important aspects of Germanium-an intense feeling of worthlessness and a great concern for the opinion of others. When I prescribed for A.B. , it was not really based on rubrics per se, but rather on the overall feeling expressed by her. Repertorising, however, helped me rule out Aurum and the Bromatums. Scholten’s writings about Germanium in Homeopathy and the Elements was also useful, as it gave support to the kinds of feelings that are likely to be found in patients who need this remedy.
However, the most corroborative information was found in Jeremy Sherr’s and the Dynamis School’s proving of Germanium [Dynamic Provings, Volume One, Dynamis Books (1997)]. In this proving we find the following:
Failure/Self Hatred: “…a strong feeling of failure…I felt I did not deserve to live….Whatever I do, I feel that someone will criticise me, that I do something wrong. I am a failure…I think I ought to suffer a great deal” (pp. 190- 191). There is also a strong feeling of having done something wrong.
Opinion of Others: “If I were me, nobody would like me. I don’t think I can be loved with all the parts of me that are ugly and bad….I don’t dare to protest…Feel I am in an impossible situation. Nobody to talk to who understands me…” (pp. 191-192)
Dreams: The dreams of the remedy are of the Third Reich, of gunshots, of victims of violence, and “of a soldier whipping the top of my head with a long black whip. 6 I was crying, I had done something wrong.” Later on, in a follow-up, A.B. relates that she felt that she was her father’s “whipping boy.” Scholten also speculates that war dreams will be found in this remedy [Scholten, p. 501]. The Germanium provers also turned up numerous dreams of house-breaking and robbers, which is reminiscent of the house-breaking and looting by Serb soldiers and mercenaries as they came to terrorise, kill, rape, evict and loot in Kosovo.
A.B. also reported an aversion to oily foods. This came up in the proving as well (see [Food] second section, p. 203).
Rx. I wanted to give Germanium 1M, but instead gave Germanium 200C (Helios), twice in a day, as that was what was on hand.
I did not know what to expect in this case. As it turned out, A.B. improved tremendously and I just watched to see what was revealed. I have included my follow-up notes verbatim, as they provide a beautiful exposition by the patient. Many things in the proving that I did not see in the first interview were later expressed in follow-up interviews. I have footnoted the places where her expressions most closely match those of the provers. I did find one other pattern in A.B. ‘s speech that was a bit difficult to categorise; she often used expressions which seem like clichés. To my surprise, the proving lists “Clichés” as one of the symptoms! [Sherr, p.197]
“I am so much better. A lot of despair and sadness went away within a day. I now have a more positive attitude. I want to be in alignment. There is more I need to know about myself-to connect with my own truth. I want to help children in the world.
Things are still not lined up in my body and I’m getting a lot of bodywork. I’ll take action and connect with my power. I’ve been off kilter in my relationship. I want to put myself in situations where I can be kind and loving. I’m looking at my inward truth (weeps about living ‘in reverse’). I was living to please the world and not myself. Before the remedy, I had despair.
My right hip is much better since the osteopathic treatment. It is opening the whole sacral area.
A.B. feels worthless and unwelcome. She has sympathy for the children of Kosovo who were refugees from a war. She also has a strong feeling of guilt and blames herself for things; she apologizes for being alive. All of these feelings relate to important aspects of Germanium-an intense feeling of worthlessness and a great concern for the opinion of others.
I feel that horrible despair has been erased. I have a feeling of hope. I’m really basically an optimistic person. The despair was like a black cloud. I’m trying to learn to listen to my inner-self. I need courage to trust in life. I felt like I was a bad person, and now I see this was a lie. The more I learn to trust myself, the more I break free.
My body was very contracted. I was armored since I was a child. I want to open and bloom now. I was going downward in a spiral. Now I’m going upward. I’m 100% better!”
Assessment: Wait. Doing very well.
“I’m much better. I felt I was sad, but anger came up toward parents. I’m 57! When will I stop being angry at them? I’ve been more angry with father. Lots of raging and crying. I have compassion for my father, but anger because of the way he treats me.
There are some times when I’m a raging maniac. My parents have been embarrassed by me. If he is near me he wants to control me so I don’t embarrass them. (He seems rude and inappropriate by her report.) I never really felt that my parents gave me approval as a child. It’s like I’m caught in a terrible net. I don’t feel my father is my father. He donated the sperm, but he wants to control me. He wants something from me. He’s mean to his sister, to me. My son feels he is poisonous (weeps). I don’t know why I suffered. He believes he is the commander-like in the military… Part of my anger is that I was never allowed to be…Even people at war don’t want to hate.
I want to give up my suffering which is mostly self-created. I want to weep happiness and not sadness.”
“Best I’ve ever been! Saw a medical intuitive and she told me I need to get grounded. Some part of me didn’t trust life and now I’m feeling much better.
My father is much kinder and softer to me. He’s not criticising me. He’s not an ideal dad, but the dynamic between us has shifted. He is still distant and unavailable, but he is shy. I have a kinder perspective on him. He’s at least pleasant to me now, and for years I was his whipping boy. 6
So much of life is perspective. I want to do things in a loving and useful way. My image is a radiant sun. I want to give. I want to authentically be good. I have a dream or vision of being in a world with children who are sick. I’m just with them and being a healing force.”
“I’m feeling so much better. I’m feeling hopeful and vital. I feel safer and stronger and more in touch with my spiritual side. I’m more purposeful. Before I tried to fix things from the outside without knowing what to do. I can act from a deeper wisdom.
I’m not enabling people any more and they don’t like it. I’m changing. I don’t feel ashamed and worthless anymore. I didn’t know this the first time. I’m glad you didn’t give me any more (of the remedy) because it has taken time…I feel much more empowered in the moment. 8
An aunt recently told me that my father had had a nervous breakdown and had been hospitalised during the time I had been at college. It makes me think I was in my own world. I felt ‘Thank God’ that I got way from those people who were trying to control me. It’s a strange thing to learn (of father’s hospitalisation) 40 years after the fact. This information helps me to be compassionate with my father. I don’t like and am not comfortable around him. I also didn’t know my mother had cancer twice and they hid this from me too. They said they went on vacation (while she received treatment).
I think there was a lot of dysfunctional patterns I grew up with and I adopted beliefs according to this. My family hid everything. I guess they did love me and tried to protect me from their pain. If people live most of life in a secret way, their love doesn’t get conveyed. They can’t show their affection. But I choose to hold this information with compassion. I don’t want to look to them for things any more. I want to be who I am and share with them who I am.
I still wonder if I’m fulfilling my purpose. I can talk a lot, but I do spend a lot of time on my own. In the past I had murderous thoughts and was afraid to survive. I think my prayer is to be guided. I’m not tormented about it. I’m encouraged. I’m trying to let my ego stop telling me what to do, and I’m looking for guidance from a deeper level. My ego does want to be in charge and it beats me up at times.
I don’t think I need a remedy. I will just continue to profit from what you have given me. It came into my life at a time when I was hopeless and in despair. I’m so grateful to have this experience, because no one could have ever told me what it would be like. Homeopathy invites the true self to come forward. It’s a miracle.”
Assessment: Wait. Curative action continues.
“I’m so excited! I have my spirit back-my inner light. Before, when I was hopeless, I could not connect with it. I am grateful for its support and guidance; it’s magical. I believe whatever this remedy did, I felt alone and abandoned by God and the remedy connected me up to the light. I’d come in here with despair and hopelessness and then you gave me the remedy. It must be a great remedy for hopelessness and despair. I think that the wound that happens to most people is separation from the spirit.
It’s the disconnect-the human condition from the spirit. Homeopathy is a simple way, there is no need for 20 years of psychotherapy. It goes straight through things. Since I took the remedy I feel bigger inside and I’m not feeling defensive to opponents. I used to think I had to get people to follow my path, but I was wrong. There is an expansiveness to the remedy. That remedy must have some amazing vibration. It’s astounding! Nothing will stop homeopathy now-if people have experiences like mine they’ll shout it from the rooftops. When I came, I couldn’t fathom the depth of despair and hopelessness. I have an incredible laser focus for good. I can lose myself and focus on something, and if a bomb went off I wouldn’t notice it. Time stops.
The remedy was like-God puts a spark in every person and the remedy is like a match that rekindles the flame that’s in me. That is remarkable. It is important to see that light in everyone. I judged others and blamed them and myself for my condition. I’m excited that this has given me a new lease on life. I kept out people’s love; the remedy bypasses the person’s resistance to heal. Your mind and faith don’t have to buy it and the remedy goes directly to the spirit to heal.”
I received this woman’s case ten days after returning from the refugee camps in Macedonia, where I was among tens of thousands of Kosovar-Albanian refugees. I had extensive contact with countless hundreds of displaced people. The last message they had been given by the Serbs and Milosevic was that they were unworthy of life-that their lives and souls were an obstacle to the happy functioning of Serbian lives, and that they, the Albanian Muslims, should be either imprisoned, raped, controlled, brutalised and dehumanised, or ostracised and exterminated. There were terrible war crimes inflicted upon these Kosovar-Albanians.
That I received A.B. ‘s case at that particular time was remarkable. The Germanium proving showed dreams of the Third Reich and war dreams with detailed close-ups of guns. There was also a dream of being whipped by a soldier. 4 There have been many comparisons between the genocide and war crimes of the Nazis and the actions of the Serbian military. The refugees also felt that they are wrong or had done something wrong-they had to beg police or soldiers for their lives. Clearly there was a feeling of persecution.
Based on the Germanium proving and the timing of A.B. ‘s case, I wonder if this remedy would be helpful for refugees fleeing from persecution and threats of death and genocide. It is interesting to note that in the proving, there was reported a feeling of being “connected to the ground through my feet. Rooted to the spot. Wanted to stay that way.”7 There was also a “Strong desire to find a place to stay, to make a home for me and my kids.”2
A.B. ‘s simple expressions describe her feelings of peace and freedom as she continues to be cured. Of course, it is still early in this case, and the cure will become more complete as the patient discovers and begins to live according to her own individual higher purpose. She very beautifully and simply reveals and teaches us about the Germanium state.
1[Sherr] “…I felt I did not deserve to live…” [Failure/Self Hatred] p. 190, 1st paragraph.
2[Sherr] “…I don’t belong. I don’t feel at home any place. Strong desire for finding a place to stay, to make a home for me and my kids.” [Estranged] p. 192, 2nd paragraph. Also, p. 193, 12th paragraph.
3[Sherr] “Blaming myself for having taken too many doses…Still accusing myself…I think I ought to suffer a great deal.” [Failure/Self Hatred] p190, 6th paragraph.
4This reference made me think of wartime ethnic cleansing (genocide), the experiences of Jews in WWII, and the ethnic Albanians from Kosovo in 1999. See [Sherr] Section on Dreams, War., Third Reich., and Vivid war dream. Also see portrayal of victims of violence, p. 200. It is important, of course, to see this as a “sensation as if ” symptom for this patient.
5A very large number of the Germanium provers had problems with making mistakes in using words, writing, or hearing wrong words. They also experienced memory and concentration problems. Writing things backwards was also a problem for some. See [Sherr] section on Mind-Intellect (pp. 196-197), and section on Concentration (pp. 198-199).
6[Sherr] See Dreams-War, Section 5, p. 200.
7[Sherr] See section on Mind-Delusions/Sensations, 12th paragraph.
8There are issues in the patient and the remedy around power and powerlessness. In her initial interview she tells of “being strong” and later of being able to bulk up muscle mass. Now she feels “empowered.” See Sherr section on Power, p. 192.
Sherr, Jeremy. Dynamic Provings, Volume One, Dynamis Books, Malvern, England (1997).
Scholten, Jan. Homeopathy and the Elements, Stichting Alonnissos, Utrecht, The Netherlands (1996).
John Melnychuk practices homeopathy in Palo Alto, California. He can be reached at jmelnychukigc. org. For a report on his experiences traveling in Macedonia during the war in Kosovo of 1999, see the cover article in “Homeopathy Today,” July/August 1999.