– Interview with Sheilagh Creasy (G. Bedayn)

gregory_bedayn Interview with Sheilagh Creasy

 Many regard Sheilagh Creasy as the preeminent woman homeopath in the world today. She is not a doctor and has no medical certification, yet she is in demand, worldwide, as a finely-tuned classical homeopathic practitioner, lecturer, and scholar. She has been in practice for over forty-five years as a professional homeopath and remembers George Vithoulkas as a young engineer when he came to study homeopathy alongside her in South Africa. First influenced by her Irish homeopathist-grandmother, she has lived and practiced in England, India, and parts of Africa where she lived for a time in the remote bush, treating severe pathologies the likes of which many of us have never even heard. She is truly a world-class homeopath, having treated generations of families from South Africa to India, from the United Kingdom and Western and Eastern Europe (Chernobyl disaster victims) to America. Sheilagh is the consummate classical homeopath and as is the right of anyone who holds to time-honored principles, she feels obligated to defend her Hahnemannian inheritance. Sheilagh’s school in Marin County, California -The Institute of Classical Homeopathy, is considered by many to be the “most Hahnemannian” in the U.S. , and students are expected to honor the precise teachings of the early masters, before going out on their own.
 I met with Sheilagh in early spring in Tiburon, California, in a stunningly beautiful setting (her school) overlooking San Francisco Bay. I arrived early and was introduced to Sheilagh by her devoted staff and we sat down together in her lecture hall. Here in front of me was a shy grandmotherly personage, dressed in a knit suit and scarf with a tiny antique-gold Indian gurkha-knife pinned to her lapel. When she spoke, I was surprised at how youthful her voice sounded, juxtaposed to the wisdom of years reflected in her deep brown eyes.
 AH: Please, tell us about yourself, we know so little about your beginnings.
 Creasy: Well, my grandmother was a homeopathic doctor in Ireland and my grandfather a medical doctor. I was always intrigued listening to her stories. She just practiced her homeopathy and her husband practiced his orthodox doctoring. It was a rather unusual relationship in that way.
 AH: What was it about homeopathy that most appealed to you?
 Creasy: At age five months, my daughter had a bout of gastroenteritis; the Second World War was on and we were living in India at the time. The orthodox doctors couldn’t control it and she went into a coma and we were advised that we should take her immediately to the local jail.
 AH: The doctors advised you to take your gravely ill daughter to an Indian jail?
 Creasy: Yes, (laughs) you see, the jail-house doctor was a homeopath. I remember knocking at the door and entering this vast place, (laughs) and there was this Indian homeopath who had been given this little room, and he came and felt her head and her tummy, and asked a few questions, and he prescribed. And that was it -she got better! When I saw that happen I thought: “This is my second opportunity -first my grandmother’s influence, now this, and who am I not to start investigating?”
 AH: What were you doing at that time, if not homeopathy?
 Creasy: Well, I was in the Army at that time, in British Intelligence, doing cipher. The signals coming back from Burma had to be deciphered and transcribed and that’s what I did. My husband was in the Burma campaign fighting the Japanese. I had been asked to visit various hospital wards.
 AH: When did your actual studies of homeopathy begin?
 Creasy: I started serious investigations of it after my daughter was cured. It was in about 1949 that I began treating whatever I could from the usual box of remedies and fortunately I laid my hands on Kent, the Organon, and Boericke for my studies. And then after the war, we found ourselves on a troop ship to Shanghai to relieve my husband’s company of those who had been imprisoned. We remained in Shanghai and I continued to study and treat wherever I could but it was really just small stuff.
 AH:Were you studying on your own?
 Creasy: Yes, and after that it was England because then the communists came down the mainland -which takes us to 1951. We had to leave in a hurry, leaving all our possessions behind -everything, including my grandmother’s homeopathic books. So we lost all that and my husband’s firm had us in England for a year and a half while they were trying to figure out how not to loose the Chinese market in general trade. The communists took control of that as well, you see.
 AH: So then you landed in Britain…
 Creasy: Yes, and that’s when I met Noel Puddephatt who was a teacher in England of classical homeopathy, something which was very hard to find at that time. He was taught by (John Henry) Clarke. Phyllis Speight was his colleague. There were other domains that started but they were mostly druids and this meant that ‘homeopathy’ was of a different type and kind all together, starting their own line of organization. That is the line that’s the problem. I believe the other line -the classical line that I followed -was started by Quin, then on to Clarke, and so on.
 AH: I know Quin was a very remarkable man, celebrated almost as much as Hahnemann in Paris. He is credited with bringing homeopathy to Britain as well as single-handedly keeping the doors open to lay practice in the United Kingdom. Is the other group that you mentioned the one that started the Society of Homeopaths in Britain?
 Creasy: Predominately, that’s right. They were the druids, most of them, and they included John DaMonte and Thomas Maughan, Robert Davidson, Peter Chappell, and others.
 AH: What happened next?
 Creasy: I corresponded with Puddephatt. We were posted out to South Africa which is where I met a young man named George Vithoulkas -who was also a student of Noel Puddephatts -and Noel contacted me to say that George was coming out to South Africa as an engineer. George came every Saturday for the whole day and we studied with the group we had established by then, and Noel came out of South Africa and joined the group and taught us. A lot of good teaching was going on then. We were trying to organize the Organon -as if we could, but we tried, just to modernize it. And Kent as well; we were going through Kent, trying to modernize things. This was in the mid-1950’s and I had been practicing for four or five years when George came.
 AH: How did you get posted to South Africa?
 Creasy: My husband was in British wool; through his work he was transferred to South Africa. And it was in South Africa that I began my studies and practice very much in earnest. When you are out someplace more than a hundred miles from a doctor, you soon find that you must get on with it, and that’s what happened to me. It taught me many very good lessons.
 AH: So, you were out in the bush treating the natives?
 Creasy: Yes, I treated anybody. It was then that I really saw what Yaws was like. It’s of syphilitic origin -big sores all over the legs. I saw diseases I had never seen or even heard of in any part of the world before. In India I had seen different diseases but in South Africa there were more poisonous bites and sepsis and much more of that type of problem. I was dealing with sepsis far faster than I had ever done before. I saw worms coming out of children’s nostrils, pouring out. You don’t see that kind of thing normally, and if you take on one farm you take on one hundred laborers and all their families. So even treating one farm was a huge practice.
 I stayed there for about 15 years, into the mid 1960’s. We left the Transvaal and moved to the Cape with its still different types of illness. The predominant miasms I saw in South Africa were Tubercular and Syphilitic.
 AH: You moved from Johannesburg to the Cape and started up another practice?
 Creasy: Yes, I had left behind a group of homeopathic students in Johannesburg, in the Transvaal, in which I was very much involved. At the Cape I became involved in another smaller group of homeopaths but our paths were different. I was very much interested in Hahnemannianism and they were going into mongrelism; I didn’t name it that, Hahnemann had, but I too could not stand it. The local homeopaths had begun to prescribe compound remedies which I felt was madness. Some of the bottles contained Syphilinum, Psorinum, and Medorrhinum, taken three times a day.
 I was horrified but I held on in order to try to teach the classical method. I had received my degree for the specific reason of teaching mentally deranged cases. I was teaching a lot of mentally disturbed people. It was most interesting to see their mental pathology coming through in a way which corroborated my homeopathic experience. My plan was to specialize in using their art to understand their dark and depressive sides when I finally returned to England. It had landed in my lap, in the way of opportunity. I often pursue this ‘art-reading’ when I treat children. One can read the developing state of their minds, as homeopathy takes effect.
 AH: Very interesting, then what happened?
 Creasy: I left for Bedfordshire, England. I came in on the remnants of the 1960’s scene in England and I was horrified. I thought “What have I let myself in for, am I to be a loner all my life, am I not to find somebody who can think classically?” I came in on the tail end of the 1960’s where many of the leading British homeopaths had been experimenting with drugs and had suffered states of amnesia for years following. One college had been formed; the Society had been formed. I was first introduced to teaching at Robert Davidson’s college; other students started their own colleges up north and in the Midlands.
 AH: What about the infamous plane crash in 1972?
 Creasy: There was a director from Nelson’s pharmacy and one or two homeopaths I knew on that plane, including one I had known in South Africa. The plane was full of homeopaths going to a conference in Brussels. They were all killed. I have just recently learned that the pilot had a heart attack and the second in command couldn’t take over quick enough and the plane crashed. Now that left a big hole, as you can imagine, in the homeopathic scene. Drysdale was lost in that crash. Years later, Mrs. Drysdale married Ralph Twentyman. Nelson’s director was killed so they had a quick meeting and one of them left and started Ainsworths pharmacy.
 I came in one day to the college, this is around 1978, and there were about 70 students per class. The auditorium was abuzz with chatter. Someone had said that the college was teaching an impure homeopathy. There was a smallish group of homeopaths there and one said to the students “What you need to do is follow George Vithoulkas and give the single high-potency and wait. You go for the simillimum and there it is.” These people had gone off to Greece -Peter Chappell, Martin Miles, Murray Feldman, David Mundy, Ann Saunders. At that time it became essences for every case. Psychological interpretations were now titillating every imagination. I could barely recognize the remedies from the provings!
 AH: Has the fact that you have no medical license been a problem for you?
 Creasy: No, not at all. In fact it is working the opposite way. There are the younger MD’s who see what orthodox medicine is doing and they do not like it. They have taken their medical degrees but what can they do with them? If they have the boldness or the means to move into homeopathy, they will. So we get many requests for doctors to sit in on my homeopathic lectures. In England we are allowed to practice under the legislation called common law which allows anybody to provide a service and you do not have to be qualified to do it. That law only exists in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Germany has some similar freedom but not France. Most European countries have formed their own alternative medicine societies.
 I was then asked to be a director of the Society. I was reluctant as I had been through this before. I said that they needed principles. In homeopathy the principles are a complete unit of eight, beginning with the Law of Similars. The members were asking “What are the guidelines?” and the Society kept holding back on these guidelines, calling it this and that and making political issues of it, trying to make everyone happy which is all fine and good but we had been warned by the medical profession to get our house in order. This meant setting a standard and you can’t set standards unless you know what you are talking about and are willing to be firm on principle. And after the standard comes registration. But none of this can happen until you say, as a unified voice, “This is what we believe in.” And to get that across was one of the biggest problems. I was wearing myself out; I was loosing energy and so one day I just handed in my resignation. I wanted a standard in the colleges and a register but it just wasn’t happening at that time.
 AH: What happened next?
 Creasy: Oh, America! I have been coming to America for about ten years now. It started with Karl Robinson, he invited me to Albuquerque and that was my first. That was very nice indeed; I did enjoy it. Mind you, the American’s demands are tough but if you give them what they are asking that’s fine. And so I got into the American way of thinking, (laughs) and now this! We are in our fourth year of The Institute of Classical Homeopathy which offers a four year course in Hahnemannian homeopathy. There is a lovely beacon called classical homeopathy, and we hope to keep all the windows here clean for the rays of that beacon to shine through.
 AH: Where else do you teach?
 Creasy: I teach a lot in Germany and for the Homeopathic Forum, Munich, Hamburg and Celle, Hanover, and Dresden. For the bi-centennial of Hahnemann, I will be presenting a paper. Finland for three years and Traunstein, in Bavaria. And in Vienna they are all doctors which is an incredible system. They learn medical sciences but because the state pays for it they must give three years work in the hospital. So while they are in the hospital, they are building up their homeopathic practice. I saw their lovely old Schlosse and facilities for their homeopathic practices. And when they leave the hospital their practice has already begun! It is ideal. If I was to name the highest classical homeopaths, as a group, it is them. And the Edinburgh School of Homeopathy is a lovely little school; it is in a coach house with cobble stones. Diane Goodwin does a very good job of teaching classical homeopathy there. She is an American nurse who has lived about 20 years in Edinburgh.
 AH: Yes, Diane is a fine homeopath, and a good friend, what’s next for you?
 Creasy: I’ve wanted to write books on my teachings. I’ve got to go through all my files. It would be based on what a school should teach. Textbooks with cured cases; I’m not interested in writing books for the general public. But the trouble is so many books are falling off the press, some full of untrue homeopathy -opinions really, seemingly designed only to make quick money. We are damaging our own profession.
 AH: Have you considered self-publishing? Many homeopaths are doing it successfully these days and avoiding problems with publishers and contracts and profits, etc.
 Creasy: I agree with you, I have heard a lot about this and all the problems. I really must organize my notes and begin writing. I have forty-five years worth of cases and notes to draw from.
 AH: I can imagine! Sheilagh, why do you think homeopaths stray from classical homeopathy?
 Creasy: I’m pretty certain I know why, because they do not do enough studying of the old masters, and I mean every one of the old masters; Dunham, Boger, Lippe, Farrington, all of them.
 Once you have studied those, properly, you cannot deviate. If you apply the central disturbance and evaluate as Hahnemann tells us to evaluate, that remedy will appear, and then after that remedy, the next, etc., as it starts unraveling. And we need to sit and watch that unraveling to see what is going on miasmatically. Few schools teach that -the removal of layers with observational waiting as the miasm unfolds.
 AH: How do you feel about practitioners treating acutes without thinking about the chronic predisposition?
 Creasy: If you treat every chronic case like an acute, you are going to get ‘quick results’ because you are treating the symptoms, not the totality of the patient. Acutes belong to the chronics; if there is an acute exacerbation, you are going to go in with the remedies that belong to the chronic, in most cases. The vital force then presents the chronic state. It is all recorded in these old books. There is nothing original about this, and having practiced like this for so long, I can say it with utmost conviction. The practice informs the philosophy. We do not have to search for the vital force. We see its reaction in every case under treatment. It is up to our knowledge, training and experience to watch this reaction and act accordingly.
 AH: What do you think about this idea that Hahnemann was experimenting and that his experiments somehow give license to anyone to try to duplicate them without understanding them.
 Creasy: Well, my feeling on this is that the work that is being translated is in French, not German so we know it has to be Melanie’s writing. So the information is as Melanie wrote it down, in her own way, in French. This clearly differs from the way in which Hahnemann typically wrote down his own information. I have some marvelous German scholars who are going deeply into this subject and I have learned a lot from them. The French translation of Melanie’s notes -that is currently being translated in England -might be ignoring this fact. What is forgotten is that, as an innovator, Hahnemann had many years of experience in finding new ways, so what he wrote must always be put into context. There are many notes he scribbled on the margins of his casebooks which were often errant thought processes -not remedies he had given -and the casebooks that survived were scattered so that it is somewhat difficult to make clear assumptions as to the organization of his thoughts.
 AH: So, you think there might be some question as to the accuracy of this new information on Hahnemann’s case notes?
 Creasy: Yes, if it wasn’t in Hahnemann’s handwriting and language, we can’t really attribute this new information to him.
 AH: Hahnemann repeatedly said that he did not want all of his material published, that some of it was incomplete or inaccurate and could be harmful if put into the wrong hands. In fact, he didn’t even let his best friend and colleague von B√∂nninghausen see his notes. Sadly, the current reality is that we see many practitioners and ‘homeopathic educators’ claiming these ‘unveiled’ notes give them the right to do all kinds of bizarre things.
 Creasy: Yes, Hahnemann was very clear in his language that we are not to take these experimental writings seriously, or at all! I feel it is disrespectful to publish what he asked to be kept unpublished, and clearly a mistake, based on the misinformation it has already generated in pre-publication!
 AH: Have you ever seen a seriously disrupted case from combination remedies, or damage done?
 Creasy: Oh, yes, combination remedies are terrible! I have in mind straight away a case where the person had been given polypharmacy for years. She had a very disrupted case and it took me six years to straighten her out.
 AH: What message would you give homeopaths about using combination remedies.
 Creasy: The message is: absolutely DO NOT use combination remedies! Learn the principles through the literature. Once you have absorbed the philosophy, and you have a right mind in your head, you cannot possibly see otherwise. This is where the training and philosophy comes in. Hahnemann says in the Organon, very clearly, do not use more than one remedy, …which some people seem to be very happily twisting into some self-serving idea or another that does their patients no good. However it has been awfully good for the people who manufacture and sell them… This is almost like preaching the whole time, I really don’t like it, I would prefer if there was a general understanding of homeopathy, an alignment in thought and practice.
 AH: Agreed. What do you see in the near future for homeopathy?
 Creasy: What I can see in England which I certainly hope will happen here -is the universities. The universities are taking homeopathy on board with full courses. Preston University in Lancaster was first and now other universities are making overtures and at the moment it is a question of external accreditation -that means the college runs somewhat independently of the university and then gradually it becomes more internal and under the wing of the university. Once it is internal and fully accredited there won’t be any need for the small colleges. Once it reaches this high standard we will not be a cult any more. It is actually happening right now.
 AH: Sheilagh, our time is up, unfortunately, as I have many more questions I would like to ask you. Thank you very much for giving us this interview; perhaps we could meet again sometime and further discuss these issues.
 Creasy: You are welcome, and I would be delighted to do this again; I enjoy your journal very much and feel it is, honestly, the finest available both here and abroad.
 AH: That’s very generous praise. I do feel closely aligned with you in your thoughts and aspirations for classical homeopathy and I have great respect for you and your experience as a homeopath. Thank you. 

Dr.Devendra Kumar MD(Homeo)
International Homeopathic Consultant at Ushahomeopathy
I am a Homeopathic Physician. I am practicing Homeopathy since 20 years. I treat all kinds of Chronic and Acute complaints with Homeopathic Medicines. Even Emergency conditions can be treated with Homeopathy if case is properly managed. know more about me and my research on my blog https://www.homeoresearch.com/about-me/
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