AH: So ultimately you do believe in the simillimum?
Mangialavori: I believe the simillimum is a working-hypothesis we use to get close to a cure.
AH: What impressions do you have of homeopathy in North America?
Mangialavori: It is very difficult to say. I sense people are lively, enthusiastic and open minded. This is my first impression. But I also feel that the cultural background, the education is very different from my own. In fact, I cannot really judge what is happening here and I would like to have more time to observe.
AH: Do you have any words of advice for a new student?
Mangialavori: First, do not be too impressed by big names and old men’s talk because many old teachers in homeopathy are very dogmatic and could easily make you give up your sensitivity and critical attitude in front of their authority. Especially from South America there is a dogmatism which is a mixture of religious narrow-mindedness and the pretension “to know what Hahnemann really thought.” This approach is absolutely lifeless and counter-productive. I can say this because I fell amongst those teachers in my beginning and it was an awful waste of time. Endless discussions about miasms, a theory Hahnemann developed but which nobody has ever really understood in its practical value. I don’t like the approach about miasms because it is mere theory and does not have much to do with today’s reality.
AH: So don’t study miasms?
Mangialavori: No, I wouldn’t go that far. But I would like to warn students to avoid becoming fixed in this kind of theoretical study and discussion. It’s nothing but a possible explanation, an historical model of understanding. I don’t want to give you the impression that I totally reject these thoughts of Hahnemann but I believe we have other and better knowledge today that renders this approach quite unnecessary.
AH: Did you just finish a book?
Mangialavori: I am very lazy about this. This first book, I should have finished four years ago. I have rewritten it four times.
AH: Is it published?
Mangialavori: No, not yet, it should be finished by the end of this year. I hope. It is a book about spiders in homeopathy. It will be published in English and German first.
AH: Good! What is your next book?
Mangialavori: Probably a book about what we can call, in homeopathic terms, the Solanaceae family. It will be about the remedies close to Belladonna but not only plants from the botanical Solanaceae family. My idea about families is something larger and not exactly the same as in biology and botany. I have often been misunderstood. In my beginning teaching I presented coherent biological groups like the spiders or snakes and people thought a biological relation alone would suffice to make a homeopathic relationship. This is sometimes but not always true. A true homeopathic family integrates members from other kingdoms if their themes are related. For example, Lyssinum is a nosode from the saliva of a dog with rabies, but from its homeopathic materia medica themes, it belongs definitely to the Solanaceae family. This is underlined by the fact that Belladonna, Hyoscyamus and Stramonium are well known for their healing properties in the rabies disease.
AH: Do you have other books brewing?
Mangialavori: I have enough material for quite a few books. The snakes around Lachesis, the spiders around Tarantula, the sea remedies around Sepia, the Umbelliferae around Conium, the Compositae around Arnica, the Coniferae around Thuja and not to forget the so-called drugs like Cannabis, Opium, Anhalonium-substances that were traditionally used as drugs in different cultures. Each world culture has its own special drugs: Coca in South America, Anhalonium in mid-America, Cannabis in North Africa, Opium in the Middle East, Agaricus in Siberia, Kava-Kava in Polynesia. These drugs are very interesting because these substances were originally used to alter consciousness, to discover one’s relationship with God. The idea of God is different all over the world and each culture uses a different substance and a different approach although they also have many important features in common. I have researched this material and have good cases too and I would like to work more on it.
AH: How do you find time to write?
Mangialavori: This indeed is a problem, considering that I have a family. And then there are my two horses and some other animals too. It is absolutely necessary to protect your private life and to have time for yourself to recover and recreate your energy.
In the beginning when I decided to give seminars it was just for fun and because I wanted to share some experiences. I did not feel like a teacher. Since then teaching has become an important part of my work, and I can even say of my life, and it takes many, many weekends.
Sometimes it has become a burden because I receive so many invitations and I have a hard time saying “no!” to somebody. Therefore I have had to learn to use my time in a more economical way, giving breaks to myself, and enjoying freedom from too much responsibility.
AH: You were telling me that in the morning you shovel manure and contemplate life. Tell me about this…
Mangialavori: It is true, I have two horses, a male and a female of course, and I have to take care of them. They are Pintos, spotted white and black and I chose these horses, because they are not well known and not so much appreciated in Italy. I live in the countryside in northern Italy. I bought an old farmhouse there but I did not imagine how much time, energy and money would be needed to restore it!
AH: You have two children?
Mangialavori: Yes, the girl, Magdalena is 10 and the boy, Samuel is 8.
They are the most important things in my life. I assisted at their births. They were born in my house. I am very close to them.
I like that they are in contact with animals: dogs, cats, horses. I was in Milan until I was 8 years old and I had no contact with nature. To me this was a disaster. I suffered a lot for this. So I wanted to offer this to my kids. This is the reason why I moved to the countryside.
AH: So the manure in the morning?
Mangialavori: Ah, the manure in the morning! If you have a horse you have to clean the stable. It is very nice, because you remain very attached to the ground and to the manure of your animals. I can think for half an hour while I use my hands and I even have a product, something I can use for my garden, which is very good for the ground I am living on. I believe it is a good exercise, a kind of meditation, and it is good for your physical body, too. And finally, it reminds you of what you are doing here on earth.