Interviewed by iain marrs
AH: Can you tell us something of your story, your background?
Mundy: When I was younger I was quite sick. I had to focus on my own health, -I had asthma, eczema and allergies. When I was about 18, I became quite seriously sick with asthma; I’d just left home and was going to art college at the time. So, I started to look at the medical alternatives. I’d always had an interest in oriental philosophy and thought; I ended up on an acupuncture course in Kenilworth, at the time run by Professor Worsley -one of his first enterprises. So I studied with him for a year and then with Van Buren. I started to practice acupuncture. I’d also decided to study osteopathy and did a course on that. When I first started work as an acupuncturist there was a book of Kent’s philosophy on the office bookshelf; I took it down and the guy said, “Do you want it?” I said ‘yes,’ -it seemed to be interesting; I took it home and after I’d read the first chapter I thought, ‘Wow, this is great stuff.’ I’d reached a plateau, so to speak, with the acupuncture. It was difficult to learn any more and I found I had a lot of patients with arthritis, migraines; they would be 50% or 60% better, and then they’d come back and the gains would have been lost. My horizons at that time, -I couldn’t broaden them within acupuncture. So I was introduced to someone, -a homeopath called Martin Miles. I traveled down to the evening groups he ran in London; he taught me a lot. Basically I read every book on homeopathy I could find. At first, I moved my acupuncture practice to Gloucester. Then I made a decision just to do homeopathy because that was my love. I opened up another practice, in Cheltenham, about eight miles from Gloucester. I move a lot -I have a strong tubercular miasm!
AH: I’m sure everyone’s benefiting from it.
Mundy: It runs through my life, -when I was a year and a half we went to Singapore for four years; I also lived in Germany when I was young. I have a tendency to move. At the moment I’m based in London.
AH: Coming back to Martin Miles, what tradition of homeopathy was he?
Mundy: Along with Thomas Maugham he was a druid. They had their own particular way of practicing homeopathy, which is not a classical approach. I don’t practice like Martin but I learned a lot from him. From the beginning I was lucky in who I studied with. I studied with George Vithoulkas and Vassilis Ghegas; with Rajan Sankaran when he taught in England. Other important influences have been Joseph Reves, -one of Jeremy Sherr’s teachers. Joseph introduced the concept of the circle. What was great about Joseph was that his particular way of teaching homeopathy seemed to offer a way of organizing thoughts about the remedies and about the patient. His method uses the symbolism of the circle and the four elements; it fits very well with homeopathic philosophy. Of course it’s just another model, -one model among many, -but I found it a very good method for teaching one to synthesize thoughts, not so much to find the remedy, but to understand where the focus of the case is. For instance, if a case is more fire, then you can look for a remedy with that type of imbalance. But the most important thing I learned from Joseph was the use of language, the way we have of talking about things. If a patient says, -when they’re talking about diet, for example -“I suspect a milk intolerance,” then you know that they have suspicion, that there is suspicion in the case. This is true with so much of what the patient says, -“Well, to be quite frank, doctor, -” “To lay my cards on the table…” “To be perfectly open with you.” Language can point to the link between mind and body, -give us suggestions as to why this person developed this symptom at this particular time. A patient came to me once; they had gone blind in one eye, a detached retina or something. I was taking the case, thinking, ‘How can I get into this case?’ I asked, “Well, what about your husband?”
“We don’t see eye to eye, haven’t done for years.” She didn’t realize what she had said. Another case: he had terminal lung cancer with knife-like pains in the left side. As it was left-sided -and as a way in -I asked him about his mother. He said, “she has been a thorn in my side for years.” These are extreme examples but it happens, on a less dramatic scale, all the time.
AH: Their language is asking you to focus, -they’re offering you the case with every word.
Mundy: Yes, and this, for me, came from Joseph Reves. In fact he made the whole of Kent and Hahnemann much more accessible.
AH: And his source?
Mundy: The Kabbalah, -Jewish mystical studies. Whereas, in my background, I have the study of Chinese medicine. It helped me to see the polarity in remedies which Reves focused on. Before then remedies were taught very much in a static way, -as pictures.
AH: The polarity provides the dynamic element, the dynamo that drives the remedy, -as opposed to the stillness implicit in thinking of remedy pictures. I believe Jeremy Sherr’s word for this is the ‘verb’.
Mundy: With this way of thinking, a remedy no longer remains as an ‘acute’ remedy or whatever. For example, in the past Belladonna has always been taught as an acute remedy; even Kent said so. But when you see the polarity, there’s a full constitutional picture to Belladonna. In fact it’s amazing how common Belladonna is as a constitutional chronic remedy. It’s tubercular and sycotic, -it has ‘desire to hide’ which is sycotic and it’s in black type for warts; but also it has many of the same symptoms as Tuberculinum. A marked Belladonna symptom is ‘sensitive to criticism’ and, being the sycotic miasm, they compensate by hiding; in fact I’ve added Belladonna to ‘secretive’. The main feeling of the remedy is being trapped, wanting to get out of prison. They are in prison and they need to get out; they climb the walls, spit at their attendants. They have a fear of dogs, -if you escape from prison they set the dogs on you! They fear being hung, -you see the criminal element throughout. The blood is also trying to burst out of Belladonna; in that it can easily be confused with Lachesis, except that Belladonna is right-sided and lacks the competitiveness and jealousy. Belladonna can also look like Phosphorus but with a hard edge, -exuberant, outgoing laughter but with a hard edge. And where Phosphorus has to have a friend, Belladonna will describe themselves as self-contained.
AH: You put together the pattern and the symptoms very artistically.
Mundy: Throughout homeopathy there’s this polarity between the left brain and the right brain, the logical or sequential and then the more patterned, gestalt perception. And many homeopaths practice according to their preference for one of these approaches, -Vega Rozenberg is a great example of a right brain homeopath. For me, I’m interested in a balance. Its o.k. to wander off into the right brain but then you have to come back and make the connections.
AH: The history of homeopathy is a little like a drunken man going down the road, veering from one side to the other, from the left to the right. We have proceeded but … -where do you feel things stand now?
Mundy: It’s tricky at the moment. On one side there are homeopaths (Vithoulkas and others) who are critical of people like Sankaran. In one way you can actually understand where they’re coming from, -because you can get lost, go too far. I don’t think this applies to someone like Sankaran because he has such a strong grounding in materia medica, in the scientific basis of homeopathy, in the provings. But people vary, so homeopaths will vary. I don’t think there’s any right or wrong way to do it.
AH: It seems more a case of everyone trying to harmonize their left-or rightward leaning with its opposite.
Mundy: Yes. In my case, I’ve learned from a whole host of different homeopaths and my own particular approach is to use whatever is appropriate to the case in front of me. If a person has a crack in the middle of the lower lip, if it’s been there for three years, or for most of the person’s life, then it’s a characteristic symptom in the case.
AH: You follow the vital force.
Mundy: Yes. The book I’m in the process of writing is on case analysis. I intend to present a model where there are different categories, each of which requires different approaches and tools, each reflecting the strength of a particular type of case and the type of symptoms presenting. If you pick some rubrics, you still have to make a choice; initially students will prescribe a remedy simply because it repertorizes out well. But the centre of the case has to fit the remedy chosen.
AH: There’s nothing in homeopathy which you can quantify and still remain successful is there?
Mundy: No, that’s the problem. It’s the subjectivity of homeopathy that makes it difficult to practice and to teach, -and it’s also what lays it open to criticism. A few years ago I attended a teachers’ symposium at Alonissos. Cases were presented; all these very experienced homeopaths were in the room and any one case might attract twelve different diagnoses from these very experienced homeopaths. In a sense it’s quite shocking and horrifying but there are different ways of looking at things. Subjectivity…
Homeopathy is a difficult task; we’re not treating the emotions of the person or the body of the person. We’re treating something that links these two things together; we’re treating the gestalt of the person. Whereas, if you go to a psychotherapist, they’ll immediately tell you that you’re looking at six months to a year just to get to grips with the problem, if you’re lucky. Yet as homeopaths we say, ‘Oh, we’ll do it in an hour and a half, on the first casetaking.’ To understand the case completely, -quite a task in some cases!
AH: This has to do with education, -both of the patient and ourselves as homeopaths. Such expectations can be inimical to the process of homeopathy, to putting one’s trust in the process.
Mundy: It’s a dynamic situation, taking a case or interacting with another person. You have to be in a particular mode, when you are sitting next to that person. Trust is the most important thing. If you can remain in a state of not knowing, complete not knowing, and you just sit there, whatever happens will happen and you must trust that the exchange will give you the information needed. Whereas if you’re in a state of panic, -‘Oh, I must get it right,’ ‘Oh, I must find the remedy,’ ‘What’s the remedy?’ -then this is the sycotic miasm, always having to be three steps ahead. After an hour, sometimes, I can be sitting there and not have the faintest idea what this person needs. I just sit there, I carry on, and I see what happens. If I don’t know by the end then I take the case home and work on it; if I don’t know then, I have them back in again. It doesn’t happen often these days, -I usually have an idea of something to give. One of the advantages of experience, in this situation, is that even if you don’t know what remedy the patient does need you know what they don’t need. So, if the case is throwing up Phosphorus or Calcarea, you can say to yourself, ‘No, it’s not that remedy.’ Ten years ago you’d have prescribed Phosphorus; now you know it’s not appropriate.
Which reminds me of someone else I’ve learned a lot from, -Jan Scholten. I think Joseph Reves and Jan Scholten have been the two people who have really pushed my homeopathy. Jan has filled a lot of gaps in the materia medica. I’ve had some very nice cures using Jan’s thinking. A case presented with a strong feeling of the Kali’s and also of the Muriaticum’s, and there it was, -Kali muriaticum: duty to the mother. I had a nice Kali nitricum case a few months ago where he was very Kali in his presentation, -very stiff and stoic and dutiful. He almost said it at one point, -‘before I can enjoy myself, which I love to do, I must do my duty first.’ He had a lot of Kali carbonicum symptoms; I tried Kali nitricum and it worked very well. Five years ago I would probably have gotten stuck on that case and given him Kali carb., -I’d have zigzagged.
AH: Could you distinguish between the concept of zigzagging and layers for us?
Mundy: They are often confused. A person may have an experience at a certain time which locks them into a defense posture and that would be the first remedy you’d have to give when they come to you. Having removed that there may be another remedy beneath; that describes genuine layers. Zigzagging is more a situation where you don’t really prescribe the perfectly indicated remedy at the time but you get close enough to throw up a different picture which is then, in turn, prescribed upon. The important thing here is that, sooner or later, the vital force will produce strong enough symptoms to guide you, as Hahnemann writes (around paragraph 180) concerning remedies which are only partially indicated. I’ve seen it happen time and time again. It’s almost as if the vital force says, “No, no, no! Look at this symptom, this is much more important; I’m giving you this symptom now.” It makes the case clearer. So-called incorrect or wrong prescriptions don’t necessarily suppress. On the other hand, you can zigzag and never find the remedy that really cures the patient to any great degree. They keep coming back. You see them in five years time; they’re better than when they first came to you but you know you haven’t found the remedy they need. Perhaps it hasn’t been proven …
AH: Do you have feelings about the new provings, say the milks?
Mundy: It’s difficult to say at the moment just how much a polychrest, say, Lac caprinum (Goat’s milk) will be, as opposed to Lac caninum, which we know is important. Some remedies have immediately shown themselves useful, -Jeremy [Sherr’s] proving of Androctonus (Scorpion), for example; I’ve had quite a few cases where I think one would have been at a loss to have known what to give them before the availability of Androctonus.
AH: It is tempting to speculate that animals that have held an important role in the broad spectrum of human mythology may play a larger role as remedies. There seem to be useful roles such analysis of culture can play within homeopathy.
Mundy: Yes, it’s interesting that homeopathy was developed -or discovered -at the time it was, when Europe was leaving the age of belief and entering the age of reason. It’s actually a system that can unite those two ways of thinking, combining them rather than seeing one as wrong and the other as right. On the one hand, there’s a very scientific basis to homeopathy, -the provings. But, if you go too far into the scientific mode of thinking, there’s the reductionist mode of thought. On the other hand, there’s the doctrine of signatures, -prescribing a plant for something on its appearance: because it looks like this it’s good for that. What’s interesting is that in the provings of the remedies -the scientific part -all the ideas of the ancient herbalists have, in a sense, been verified. Veratrum album is, by name, ‘white truth’. What comes out in the proving is all about lies and truth. How did they know to call the plant that?
I was at my office waiting for the next patient. A woman opened the door; she held out her hand to shake mine, barely touched my hand, and then disappeared into my office. I followed her and there she was, sitting bolt upright, waiting. I walked in and she said, “Let’s get on with it!” One of her main problems was boring her finger against the side of her nose. When she was younger her mother had told her, ‘Look, if you keep doing that you’ll put your nose out of joint.’ She talked about how she didn’t want to be one of the masses; she’d rather be up there in the pulpit than down there with the masses. The whole theme of the case was ‘straight’ and ‘direct’; she kept saying ‘I’m straight to the point’, ‘-when I talk, I tell the truth as it is’. Veratrum album? She tells the plain truth, she’s dictatorial, she’s pushing straight forward, past me; she’s talking about being ‘up here’ and not ‘down there’. But somehow it didn’t feel quite right. And so the most characteristic symptom of the case actually remained that gesture, -the boring into her nose. We have to remember that not all psychological symptoms are found in the Mind section; if you look under ‘Nose, boring into,’ you’ll find Arum triphyllum. It covered all her symptoms quite beautifully. I gave one dose of 200c and it was curative. The flower itself is sharp and pointed, with a stamen bolt upright in the middle; one of the names for it is ‘Jack-in-the-pulpit’. She actually used that symbology in her discourse, -being ‘up there’ in the pulpit; it’s also called ‘Lords and Ladies’ and she was dressed like a lady, she had gold on, very pukkah
Mundy: Beautiful to illustrate that way of looking at a case: the moment the door opened she was demonstrating her modus operandi, -straight past me, boring past me.
AH: She repeated the verb at every level so it was appropriate to take the boring as the deciding factor for Arum-t. It spoke louder than the overlap with Veratrum album.
Mundy: Quite. She was very fastidious, underlined three times. But if we’d started from ‘fastidiousness’ in the repertory we wouldn’t have found Arum triphyllum. Now, most likely Arum-t does have fastidiousness but because it’s a lesser proved remedy it’s not going to be in that rubric.
AH: Hence the importance of following the quality because, even if there’s less quantity of symptoms than you would ideally like to see in the proving, the quality should be present even in a small proving.
Mundy: That’s the deciding factor. A student will present a case; they want to give Phosphorus. I’ll say, ‘Well, it just doesn’t feel like Phosphorus.’ Perhaps that doesn’t sound scientific. But, if you look closely enough in the case, there’ll be data that will suggest it’s not Phosphorus and you can say, ‘Hang about, -she’s thirstless; there are no fears in the case.’ I think one’s feelings are often a synthesis of data one has unconsciously assimilated even though it doesn’t feel like it; you’re using data that you’ve unconsciously processed but the outcome is that you feel the quality of a certain remedy.
AH: Do you keep to any general guidelines while casetaking?
Mundy: When I take a case, I put myself into a more receptive mode for the first half hour. When the person comes to a stop, or dries up, then I’ll just say “Anything else?” or repeat back their last sentence to them. Then perhaps, later on, I’ll start using ‘why?’ questions, -going back through the case, asking what exactly the person meant when they said a particular thing. But every case is different, -sometimes you have to dig to get the information, other times it’s coming so fast you have to steer them just to keep to the point. I’ll do what feels right at that moment; that’s where the intuition comes into it. For example, there was this woman whose case I was taking. She was speaking but she wasn’t saying anything. Every so often she would say to me, “Why don’t you ask me a question?” She wanted me to take the positive mode. “Why aren’t you asking me questions?” I said, “Because I prefer to let you talk; there are absolutely thousands of questions I could ask you but you know your story better than I do.” She said, “Yeah, -but why don’t you ask me some questions?” I said, “Well, I don’t really know what to ask you. For example, a question I could ask is, ‘Have you ever shoplifted?’ but I’m not going to ask you that question, because it’s one of thousands, -how am I supposed to know to ask that?” I could see a change in her face; something happened and she went, “Ah! I see what you mean,” and then she started giving me the rest of her case. About an hour later, when she was leaving, she said, “Oh, by the way Mr. Mundy, I think I should tell you that, when I was about twenty, I shoplifted for a year and a half.”
So, somehow, I must have picked that up on some unconscious level. I’ve never said that to any patient before. Why would I choose that as an example?
AH: The moral I’d tend to draw from that wonderful story is that there’s more unlearning involved in becoming a good homeopath than learning.
Mundy: I agree.
AH: It was Vassilis Ghegas, I think, who said, -the gist of it was, ‘We’re being helped, in every case we take; we’re not in there with that patient alone.’
Mundy: Vassilis told us a funny story once. He took a case and he was sure the person needed Lac caninum or something like that. As we know, Lac caninum has a big fear of snakes, so he asked the woman if she had any fears, and she said, “Nothing.” “Are you sure?” “No, no fears; I’m not frightened of anything.” “You’re not frightened of anything at all?” “Nothing, -I’m not frightened of anything.” “So what about snakes?” She fainted. [Editor’s note: David Mundy has great timing when telling jokes, -surely a good sign in a prescriber! ] Her fear of snakes was so strong she couldn’t even access it when asked…
I remember when Joseph [Reves] taught taking the case he said it’s like a spiraling process and there are different levels of casetaking. You can stay superficial or go deeper; and there’s a certain point where the case changes and they start talking in a deeper way. To get past that point involves a change of perception.
AH: Sometimes the ‘hobbies’ question can help you negotiate that point. One can ask a person what their interests or thoughts are in a certain area, and then use this to go deeper.
Mundy: Yes, -if a person really doesn’t talk about themselves, then one technique is to ask them about their hobbies, their interests, their partner.
AH: In a sense this is simply exploring their polarity: you act as if to accept their position of ‘not me’ but then ask around this block to find where the vital force will speak -whether it’s about the partner or their politics or whatever.
Mundy: You’re also asking about delusion or subjective viewpoint.
I had a case of a boy about 10 years old; he had behavioral problems, -very difficult. The father had left and the boy had fears and phobias at night, with anxiety; he wanted to be with his mother at night. His mother had brought the child to me; I asked her to leave the room and I spoke to him alone. He’d moved down from the North and I said, “So, how’s your new school?” He said, “Alright.” “You don’t sound too enthusiastic…” He said, “It’s o.k. , but it won’t last.” “Why won’t it last?” “Well, for example, where I used to be, they always got at me, -it was always my fault. I’m in the bus and all the kids are taunting me, and just when I lose my temper and hit one of them, just as I hit one of them, the teacher turns round and says, ‘It’s you again, -why are you always in trouble?’ It’s always like that; it isn’t my fault but I always get it somehow.” One of the symptoms I used in that case was ‘delusions, persecuted.’ The other symptom he had was this deep crack in the middle of the lower lip, -which he’d had for over a year, and also had when he was much younger. I cross-referenced these two symptoms and got Drosera. Drosera cured him.
This case got me thinking about delusion and reality, about how we create our reality through our delusion, our attitude or beliefs. His attitude was, ‘I’m a victim, please persecute me.’ Because of his attitude, all the persecuting people within a five mile radius are going to be attracted to him so as to persecute him. So, when I asked him that question and he said, “It’s fine now but you wait,” he was already setting up the pattern, the pattern to be persecuted. So it’s a ‘delusion, persecuted’ but it was also that he was persecuted. Everything has a reason, everything fits a pattern. I also thought about Drosera, the ‘whooping cough remedy’. He hadn’t had whooping cough so what was the story here? Whooping cough harasses the sufferer, grinds you down, torments and oppresses you, -the feeling of the tubercular miasm. Each remedy has a must and a can’t, -Drosera must be harassed. If I’m Drosera I must be persecuted and harassed and if I haven’t got whooping cough, I’ll find a person to persecute me.
I once asked a Causticum patient, “What depresses you?” The patient said, “Everything.” “Can you be more specific?” “Well, if I wake up happy, I read the newspaper; I’m bound to find something in the newspaper that depresses me.” Causticum is programmed to find injustice. If this patient woke up and there was no reason to be Causticum, then a reason was found …
AH: And the world is willing to play the role. In a sense, isn’t that the stupid or uneducated vital force (in Hahnemann’s simple language), -the world -trying to do its best, offering the Drosera child some persecution, or the Causticum some injustice, in a material form, not in a potentized form. As if the world is saying, ‘Well, this is the best we can do, but if you’ve got a mirror, or can get one from somewhere, and reflect on this pattern, it’ll show you your way forward.’
Mundy: Agreed. We are seeking to confirm the delusion we have about the way things are. The known is always much less painful than the unknown. I know what sort of pain it is and therefore I can protect myself from it; there could be a worse pain out there. In a sense it’s protective even though it seems stupid.
AH: The turning of pain into symptom, and speaking that symptom -in an ‘as if ‘ form or whatever -this is already part of the attempt to gain relief, in the homeopathic interview itself.
Mundy: Yes, there’s a strong need in all of us to be listened to. We all feel we’re not listened to. Having someone listen to one’s case in an unprejudiced non-judgmental way is curative. And dreams are also homeopathic. A dream will give you a symbolic picture of where you are at that moment. If you don’t dream, they say that you get worse; we have to dream. If every night a person dreams that they’re climbing up a greasy pole and slipping down, they may have been given a perfect metaphor for their life experience.
AH: How do you avoid projection onto the person’s dream of your interpretations?
Mundy: Well, I always ask them their own experience of the dream, what they felt during the dream, or ask them to tell me more details about the dream environment and how they felt at that time, what the feeling was that accompanied the dream phenomenon. I try and get them to analyze their own dreams. Otherwise you end up looking in the repertory under ‘dreams of lions’! It doesn’t usually work that way.
AH: In a sense that’s also true of the Delusion section, -it’s just worse in the Dreams.
Mundy: Worse, yes. If robbers are a part of what comes out in a proving, -Natrum muriaticum has fears, dreams and delusions of robbers -then I tend to link those three and if I have any of the three in a case, to repertorize I’ll add the other two so as to catch the theme. If the symbol ‘snake’ or ‘robber’ is the issue, then that’s what you have to get to.
AH: I remember when editing cases on Hura for Simillimum that the word ‘public’ kept on occurring. I looked in the proving, in Allen, and there it was but the word didn’t make it into the repertory. Because it was an adjective. The repertory as we have it is noun-based and noun-biased. Whereas Jeremy Sherr’s or Joseph Reves’s approach seems to be based in the verb.
Mundy: That reminds me of the case of a young boy born with his esophagus not quite joined together, just very thin. They had to operate on him when he was quite young. His mother was a homeopath. He had a persistent, irritating cough. The child was brought to see me; for a child of ten he had an incredible attitude to life. He said that the worst thing that could happen would be to be locked away in a white room, with no windows and no doors, for all eternity. I thought that was very strange for a young boy of 10. Using rubrics like ‘delusions in eternity’, and ‘theorizing’, Cannabis came up very strong. The mother said, “I feel his hold on life is very fragile and thin like this cord.” Basically what he was doing was stopping the material nourishment coming in from the earth, -the food. This thinness ran through the case. The other fascination he had was dinosaurs. Infact, as I took the case in class, he was just drawing dinosaurs on the board; at home he had books full of dinosaurs. So it’s very curious that there’s that rubric in Cannabis, ‘delusion sees ichthyosaurus,’ -which is a form of primitive dinosaur. Though, if you start at that point, you might say, ‘Oh, come on, -this is unscientific,’ but in retrospect dinosaurs were in the case and in Cannabis.
People are attracted to their simillimum. If they can’t get it in potency they’ll go for the mother tincture. I had this old guy come and see me, -he was about 85 and a potter. I worked out his remedy. He asked what I was giving him, and I said, “Potentized gold.” He said, “For the past twenty years I’ve become famous for a special glaze on my pots, -a gold glaze. I’m well known for it.” That was his simillimum; in some way or another he was attracted to it.
AH: As a homeopath you are reading the poetry of the world, -that’s the honor and responsibility of being a homeopath.
Mundy: Going back to what people say of Sankaran, -‘You can’t use that; it’s not scientific’ -well, just because someone uses gold for twenty years, it’s true that’s no reason for giving him gold but looked at as one symptom among many, in terms of the totality of the case, it is remarkable.
AH: It’s this aspect of nature not wasting anything. Why would the world be made up in such a way that the person needs something completely other than gold when it is gold that has played such a role in his life?
Mundy: In one of my study groups, a student brought a paper case and he sends out a form for all his new patients to fill in. The student presented the case along with the form the patient had filled out: it was written in silver ink, -you could hardly read it, completely written in silver ink. The remedy was Mercury; it cured him. He was writing in the nearest form of mercury that he could perceive, -silver ink. That is a strange, rare and peculiar. To ignore that, -‘Oh, he’s written in silver,’ -to ignore that would be folly. Maybe such a person could need, in some circumstances, Argentum metallicum; and maybe he wouldn’t need silver or mercury at all but in this case, this time, it was Mercury. He was giving us another clue. In one of Misha’s cases, the patient had been given Mercury. When asked how they felt, and not knowing the curative remedy, he said, “I feel wonderful; it’s like I have wings on my feet.”
AH: Wonderful. Poetry.
Mundy: The unconscious is incredible. That’s why simple language is so important. People think, ‘Oh, it’s just a figure of speech; they’ve learned it from somewhere,’ but it’s something coming from deep within, this way that the person describes their state.
AH: And Hahneman is very clear about the patient’s simple language though, in return, we have paid very little attention to the language in which he said this. What can be extracted from his texts, -the theories and so on -are learned but the metaphors of music and noise, of armies, of darkness and light, of sacrifice, these are often left behind even though it is his simple language.
Mundy: The new translation looks to be very interesting for just that aspect. Take the use of the word zufallen. We translate it as ‘accident’ but actually it means ‘that which has befallen the person.’
AH: And right there is the whole concept of Taoism, -of the individual in the environment but not separate from the environment, of Synchronicity, everything is right there. Patterning happens, and zufallen points towards this.
Mundy: And in fact it’s all there in the provings themselves. If you take a remedy like Arnica, -we say, ‘good for injuries.’ But why? You go to the mental aspect of the proving: obstinate, heedless, defiant, dictatorial, fear of doctors, fear of accidents, dreams of graveyards. The whole proving of Arnica is attracting violence, accidents. Anyone who is so defiant, obstinate and heedless is obviously going to walk into a wall. It goes back to the patient’s attitude: the attitude of the patient will attract these circumstances. If you drive around in your car shouting and screaming at everybody, you’re going to attract something to you. In that sense, Synchronicity is perfectly logical, there’s nothing mystical about it.
AH: Agreed. We tend to think the word ‘mystical’ is opposite to ‘rational’ but when you look into it clearly it’s just that it has a ‘ratio’ that is different from the ‘ratio’ of rationality. I’d like to add another facet to your reading of Arnica. Frederick Shroyens, I think it was from Masi, gives as the central delusion of Arnica, ‘delusion, to be of use, to help.’ It seems that this could go some way to explaining the extraordinary role Arnica plays in homeopathy. To the extent that everyone wants to help they fall under the verb of Arnica. The remedy’s role as an important entry gate into the world of homeopathy is because of Arnica’s verb. It serves a purpose by acting out its verb. The ‘desire to help’ facet meets the ‘head banging’ facet and, maybe out of it, the person ends up inside the house of homeopathy, having got through the front door. So, Arnica is the knocker on the front door of the house of Homeopathy!
Mundy: Nice analogy! Once one becomes open to Synchronicity it’s quite amazing to observe it in action. One day you may prescribe Plumbum three times. You may not prescribe it for several months after that. You have to be careful too, though, -“Oh, it’s a Plumbum day,” but perhaps the second of the three cases isn’t Plumbum!
On the other hand, I had three Causticum patients who were professional astrologers. I was analyzing a student’s case and it sounded like Causticum. I asked, “What does this person do for a living?” She said, “He’s an astrologer.” I think the reason why I thought this was because one of the major symptoms of Causticum is ‘anarchist,’ which means lacking central order, no government, just anarchy. In comparison to which astrology gives a certain comfort, -‘Ah, well it’s because of this and this that these things are happening.’ You can explain away phenomena.
AH: Also people’s dislike of astrology is usually along the lines of ‘you can use it to prove anything,’ that as a purported science it’s a mess, just chaotic.
Mundy: This is the theme of polarity again, like Arsenicum seeking order because they’re disintegrating inside. Which brings us back to the theme of polarity and compensatory behavior.
AH: Well, we seem to have closed the circle. I guess, the interview is ending itself, by putting its tail in its mouth like that! I’ve really enjoyed meeting and talking with you, David. Will you be visiting Vancouver and the Pacific NorthWest again?
Mundy: I certainly hope so. This year my good friend Murray Feldman has invited me here to give a seminar at his school, the Vancouver Academy of Homeopathy, and I hope to return in the future both for that and other teaching engagements.
AH: Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me and with the readers of The American Homeopath.
Iain Paul Ross Marrs has attended to the homeopathy offered by Paul Herscu, Jeremy Sherr, Misha Norland, David Mundy and Vega Rozenberg. He was co-editor of Simillimum for three years. He practices in Vancouver, B.C. , Canada, and is currently compiling a book entitled, In Other Words: An A-Z of Homeopathy He lives together with his wife Julia and their son, Jonah.