Melissa fairbanks (G. Bedayn)

Melissafairbanks Melissa Fairbanks has forever improved the landscape of American Homeopathy by introducing to us many of the current international leaders in homeopathy.

Through her many Four Winds Seminars, Melissa Fairbanks has forever improved the landscape of American Homeopathy by introducing to us many of the current international leaders in homeopathy. Always with a smile, Melissa has masterfully planned and executed one seminar after another for years in the homeopath-rich San Francisco Bay Area, where she too practices. The influence of this soft spoken, sweet woman, has been immense.
 AH: Tell me about your beginnings.
 Fairbanks: I was born in Beverly Hills California -my mother was from Virginia and my father from New York.
 AH: What was life like for you as a child?
 Fairbanks: Hmmm, my memories are a wee bit foggy. I have snippets of memories like selling lemonade and giving kittens away with each cupful -I remember the smell of eucalyptus and learning how fushcia flowers could twirl around like dancers -I remember falling into poison oak, cubes of pink ice cream and my two elder sisters daring me to eat canned dog food -definitely dreamy three-year old stuff. Then in 1951 my father was working on a series for television in England so we all moved over there -that explains this English accent! What was meant to be a visit for a year turned into 40 years -for me anyway. So I guess it took me a while to get back here..
 AH: What kind of work was your Dad doing?
 Fairbanks: I guess he was still acting then, as an actor…
 AH: How interesting, was he on stage or in the movies, have I heard of him?
 Fairbanks: Well, hmm, maybe. Douglas Fairbanks Jr.?
 AH: Yes, of course, but…
 Fairbanks: Well, that’s him. That’s my father.
 AH: What, no way! …seriously?! Excuse me while I gather my wits.
 Fairbanks: I am serious, you are funny!
 AH: No, well, your father was one of my greatest swashbuckling heroes as a kid. He was a God in “Ghunga Din,” does this mean you are a Goddess?
 Fairbanks: Hurumph -just the mortal offspring, I’m afraid…
 AH: Oh well… Did you have an early interest in medicine, or did you want to be a swashbuckling heroine?
 Fairbanks: Thanks, yes -the former! Although my parents were married for 50 years -until my mothers death ten years ago, I think the influence of her genes was stronger! My mother came from a long line of doctors. Her father, grandfather, uncle and brother were doctors in the mountains of West Virginia. I visited there recently and some people still remembered my grandfather visiting his patients in a horse-drawn cart. Doctors would stay over-night or for however long it took for the patient to get better. Imagine that now! Amazing! Both my parents had a tremendous curiosity about many things, so there were always wonderful books lying around. I was always fascinated by how and why the body and mind worked, and what happened when they didn’t. However, maybe at that time I didn’t quite formulate it as being interested in medicine. I remember my mother giving me a fascinating book about the cells of jelly fish -sounds good eh? But things like that really sparked my interest into areas I never even imagined. And my father was always very curious about everything. We would have to sometimes avoid asking him a simple question as it would mean he’d tear off to fetch every encyclopedia, every reference -and he’d still be coming up with more information days later. I remember when I was about eight we had a discussion about whether we were really ALIVE -or was all this just a dream? I can recall my eyes getting huge and my head turning inside out at the consequences of such a concept! I did serious bouts of reading throughout my teens -from Freud and Jung to Krishnamurti and all the mystical spiritual books I could find -as well as poetry and classics -probably more books then, then since! So at various times I had aspirations to become a writer, a psychiatrist, a biologist, a doctor, a spiritual healer, a midwife -you name it. Everything but a dentist and a surgeon -I faint if I see blood and I’m not into drills…
 AH: How did you handle the move back to the states?
 Fairbanks: Well, hmmm, I am feeling more at home here now. But it took a while. I do miss my old friends, and I miss the trees where I used to live in England. But it is beautiful here, and warm -and now I have new and wonderful friends AND I am getting to know the trees around me -so it’s good! I have a beautiful house in the hills, which I think was originally built by someone who had gone rather overboard with the crude substance of Rajan’s last Californian proving -it is quite a strange but wonderful house, and I live there with my children, Joe and Crystal -though they are old now and moving out soon -and two dogs, three cats, two ponds full of mosquito fish -very cute and useful creatures -and two compost bins full of a zillion worms -also fairly cute and very useful! There is a vegetable garden and flowers and many medicinal plants, which I am passionately interested in growing. Being outside is important to me, so if I don’t have a good long walk in the woods or hills I can feel very lop-sided in my day. David built an amazing tree house a few years ago, miles up a tree -it was quite beautiful. I would be happy retiring to something like that one day!
 AH: How were you first introduced to homeopathy?
 Fairbanks: I had been interested in herbal medicine and I was studying at the Institute of Herbalism in London about the time my daughter Crystal was born- 23 years ago. I was also fascinated by Chinese medicine and practicing Shiatsu. A friend was studying homeopathy and told me a bit about it. It was as though a light went on inside -incredible! It was the system I had been looking for, and much more. It brought together my thoughts and aspirations of what medicine should be able to do, in addressing the person as a whole. Suddenly my interest in the workings of the mind, the spirit and the body came together in one system. Actually, I think Chinese medicine holds that as well, but I don’t like needles -and I DO love listening to people, trying to understand, observe what is happening in their unique selves. And I loved the materia medica -it was fascinating to me that a quite ordinary substance could in its energetic, dynamic form, resonate in such a rich and profound way on the human organism. So I read bits of Hahnemann, Kent, Clarke, Roberts and Boericke and went to work at Ainsworths as a clerk, just to get more familiar with remedies and to be around other people interested in homeopathy.
 As my interest increased, I looked around for a school to get some formal education and found the London College of Classical Homoeopathy which was being run by Anne Larkin -she was a wonderful woman, really fun -with a great vision.
 AH: What was your homeopathic education like?
 Fairbanks: It was a four year course with classes all day for four days a week. I’ve always felt fortunate to have had such tremendous teachers -Sheilagh Creasy twice a week, David Mundy, Berkeley Digby, Tony Hurley, Jeremy Sherr and Misha Norland came and many others. In order to graduate from the college we had to sit in on the practice of a homeopath for a few hundred hours. I was with Berkeley Digby which was a terrific learning process. I then became registered with the Society of Homeopaths which required another bout of work. At weekends there would be seminars with all the above plus once or twice a year seminars with Rajan Sankaran, Vassilis Ghegas, Candegabe and Eizyaga -it was an exciting time. And of course the GREAT Society of Homeopaths yearly bash where 500 homeopaths gather together -that’s an amazing experience! I had a small office with a busy practice in London and Jeremy’s Dynamis School started, so I did one year of that -then moved to the States in ’91. I got my diploma from him last year -I guess he thought doing his 8 seminars here counted as a passable thesis, HA!
 AH: Who do you admire the most in homeopathy?
 Fairbanks: Alive or dead? OK, alive. I feel probably one of the biggest influences on me has been Rajan. But I think it was something I didn’t quite realize until later. I had been to his seminars in London in the mid ’80’s and his ideas sort of melted into all the other things I was learning. Then when I read his book, ‘The Spirit of Homeopathy’ some years later I thought AH! That’s where that idea came from! A certain direction in the path of taking a case, a more psychological vision of the materia medica -that sort of thing. However, the tricksy thing I soon learned about Rajan is that he makes it sound VERY easy and obvious to arrive at this great remedy, but HE has the amazing back-up of a totally memorized and deeply understood Materia Medica and repertory, which he doesn’t always mention in the analysis! So it’s really important to have a solid grounding in that before flying off in other exciting realms. I think people like Sheilagh were wonderful in that way -understanding the basic laws of homeopathy. And then Jeremy who seems to blend the two, both very classical with a unique and deeply philosophical approach as well. I admire Berkeley Digby tremendously, and I find, as with Rajan, I have many ideas that crept into my practice from observing him over the years. He is a wonderful homeopath with great knowledge and who also understands the principles of the elements, the human psyche, and animals and plants from an extraordinarily deep and spiritual perspective.
 AH: How do you relate what these teachers taught to your own practice?
 Fairbanks: I think what these homeopaths have in common is that whilst recognizing and respecting the science of homeopathy, they have brought out the magic in homeopathy. Hmm…I say magic, but you could maybe say the heart -or even the art of homeopathy -the “other-wiseness” of it. To me, that is what is most fascinating. I feel amazed if I hear people speaking about homeopathy in a dry totally head-only oriented way. Though I can understand how it happens -we have so many books, so many things to study. But homeopathy is a tremendous mystery, we are touching something quite extra-ordinary. Think about it! Giving someone something that causes particular symptoms, then that something makes the symptoms disappear, that that something is actually materially nothing -amazing ! David (Warkentin) speaks wonderfully about what he terms ‘Mystical Homeopathy’ -and listening to him talk at conferences on that, you see zillions of droopy students suddenly sit up, eyes ablaze with recognizing -or remembering -just what a mysterious and beautiful practice this is. I think we all know it at some time, but it can get squished to the side and veer a little too close to allopathic thought every now and then.
 AH: The mystery of homeopathy has attracted many of us to it, that and the fact it actually cures has made it become a common miracle, for lack of a better term.
 Fairbanks: Yes, it is the fact that we are dealing in energetic matter that I love, something invisible and largely inexplicable -yet that energy, rightly placed, resonates in every being to bring a state of health. And the other side of it, which makes every mystery all the more wonderful, is that it does makes perfect sense. I was re-reading the Organon the other day and it was completely enthralling! On one level, Hahnemann just closely and brilliantly observed phenomena that is right before our eyes! I think that Rajan is truly remarkable in stressing the importance of perceiving, understanding, and giving prime importance to the state of the person. That requires a depth of listening, of ‘seeing’ -almost shamanic. So in listening to patients, to their story -even to the story of their grandfather -that to me is the most beautiful path to understanding what brought them to my office today. The key is when you can wrap all these aspects up together so that the whole makes perfect sense. That is my aim each day -far away from always being realized, but that voyage is what makes it exciting.
 AH: Tell me about how Four Winds Seminars started?
 Fairbanks: I suppose it started quite accidently. It was a mixture between seeing that there had not been a whole lot of new input of homeopathic thought since Vithoulkas had been here, and feeling that was a pity -having experienced so many wonderful teachers in England. There people were going to seminars nearly every weekend and in the US it was not happening. And also thinking -hmmmm -it would be fun to see my old friends -how to do that? So I asked Jeremy if he would like to come over.
 AH: Right, I remember Jeremy’s first seminar at the Woods Institute in Larkspur, overlooking San Francisco Bay. He was amazing, unusually philosophical, I remember feeling how warm and accessible he was, and the crowd loved him.
 Fairbanks: Yes, that seminar started out as a casual lecture for about ten people then grew to twenty then over forty! My first seminar had sold out -that was a surprise! Jeremy came back twice a year and went on to give the same curriculum as his Dynamis School of Homoeopathy in Marin County. They had their first graduation last year at the Ft. Cronkite conference. When I saw the reaction to Jeremy -people were really blown away by his teaching -I realized there really was a need, a hunger for a new or deeper vision of homeopathy. So then, really, I just followed my own impressions -and invited homeopaths whom I knew, had studied with and truly respected. I invited Rajan, who was not very well known over here at the time -I think his first book had just come out. In Europe he was already a huge influence on many people and had lectured regularly for several years. And also started to have the same phenomenal influence here as he had had in Europe.
 AH: Yes, I see Rajan’s influence in most of the schools of homeopathy in the US and Canada. It is growing quickly because it is so much more accessible than previous models.
 Fairbanks: People changed their way of practice, of looking at homeopathy in quite radical ways. Many practitioners went to India to study with him. He has been a very profound influence I think. I spoke before about the paradox of homeopathy being both a mystery and also wonderful common sense- just a case of extremely sensitive observation. I think Rajan epitomises that -he brings in ideas that make you gasp and wonder -and at the same time it makes perfect sense. As though you knew it before and just needed reminding. Like his thoughts on the Kingdoms, suggesting types as animal, plant or mineral. It actually makes perfect recognizable ordinary sense if you think about it! And there is a synchronicity I am sure, in certain ideas being accessible at different times. We are open and an idea, an understanding arrives at the perfect time we are able to hear it. That happens in many things doesn’t it? Suddenly everyone is studying the periodic table or realizing another level of understanding animal remedies -it seems not so much a question of one person getting the idea, as of that knowledge being a natural progression of thought in the process of time and experience, and it is available in the Universe. Well…something like that. Then there was Dr. Whitmont -Ah! I forgot to mention him as someone whom I so deeply admire. When speaking of ‘mystical’ homeopathy he must be the arch magician! An incredible man, so profoundly wise and twinkly -I feel honored to know him. I think I’m not the first person to draw a likeness between him and Yoda in Star Wars -anyway, he is definitely a special being! He brought such an element of the spiritual, the mystical in homeopathy with him. He gives a sense of the master who is really grounded in his work- a beautiful man. Usually I am really tired after a seminar and feel like I need to go curl up for a week but after Dr. Whitmont I felt I had already been on a months retreat!
 AH: It is a great contribution to provide such reliable access to the leaders in homeopathy, our community is truly indebted to you, who else have you sponsored?
 Fairbanks: Thank you! There was Misha Norland -another homeopath with vision! And Sheilagh Creasy -I think due to her wonderfully solid foundation I have been able to navigate safely in the waters of the more creative thinking lecturers. Then of course, our very own local wonders -Roger Morrison and Nancy Herrick -they are wonderful and have such great experience, plus it being such a treat to see their interaction in teaching together -I love it! Melissa Assilem -with really valuable work on Folliculinum, Thea and Sac. album. And then more visits from Rajan and Jeremy …and last year we had Nandita Shah from Bombay. So far I have had seventeen seminars -Phew, it makes me a bit weary to think of it!
 AH: What’s the hardest part of giving the seminars?
 Fairbanks: I suppose the practicalities. I get so excited by the idea of a teacher coming who I really admire, and then little by little the reality dawns on me that I have to hire tables and photocopy registrations and that the day is coming closer. Are enough people signed up? Is the beastly VCR going to work? That can be nightmare- time. It’s sort of like having a huge party where everything needs to be well organized. It can be hard and a challenge for me -I think by nature I am rather more dreamy and reclusive. Rajan would no doubt see it as a mammoth compensation for something! But I love it when people are enthusiastic and inspired -that makes it worth while and then I plunge in again!
 AH: What seminars did you do this year?
 Fairbanks: First there was Berkley Digby, and that was exciting for everyone I think. He has such deep knowledge of the psyche, is so remarkably sensitive -and above all an amazing homeopath. He received a standing ovation -something that doesn’t happen often -and so many requests from people wishing to study with him that he is planning to offer a course next year.
 Then there was the amazing ‘Celebration of Women Homeopaths’ conference with women lecturers from all over the world -Miranda Castro, Peggy Chipkin, Nancy Herrick, Corrie Hiwat, Maud Nerman, Amy Rothenberg, Melissa Assilem, Judith Reichenberg-Ullman, Ana de Shore, Val Ohanian, Nandita Shah, Andrea Sullivan, Anne Schadde, and Alize Timmerman -incredible!
 AH: What gave you the idea for the conference?
 Fairbanks: Partly it was realizing that fifteen out of the seventeen seminars had been given by men, yet at least 75% of the attendees were women, and indeed the majority of homeopaths are women. So that got me to thinking. There are so many wonderful women homeopaths out there -why don’t we hear from them? And I guess the idea of twenty more individual seminars to right that situation seemed a trifle daunting -so there it was. But more then that, and more serious to me was an inquiry as to what is the female principle of healing in us all -men and women? That is what is really interesting. And that is why I hoped many men would attend -because it is not just a question on the level of ‘Man’ or ‘Woman’. I think we -on the planet -at this time are going through tremendous changes of awareness. A sensitivity is being asked of us all on quite another level of being. So it seems that we are being called to examine a new kind of balance. That men recognize and nurture their innate feelings and intuition to listen internally to that voice that has perhaps been more the recognized domain of the female -and women honor and renew their innate wisdom and strength. I think some people felt the concept of the conference was sort of a political comment -but actually I don’t even quite understand what that would mean. So, I feel innocent of that one -nothing could be further from my intention or understanding! I knew this group of women homeopaths would shed light and inspiration for us all in understanding how the female aspect of healing takes place. I think that’s fascinating.
 AH: And did you feel that your expectations were realized?
 Fairbanks: Yes and no. The yes bit was very yes. Even more then I expected. There were almost a hundred attendees -it was a really packed schedule, five days from 9am till 10pm on most nights. It was a tremendous experience, and afterwards I received more letters from attendees of that conference than any other. People saying that it was one of the most formative, extraordinary experiences in their life. I was very touched by the response and deeply gratified! The no bit was that there were very few men attending. That was very disappointing for many reasons. But it showed something -maybe that there is still a long way to go for men and women to recognize what each contributes, what may be integrated, that it is the blend of these principles -male and female, yin and yang, sun and moon -however you want to see it -that makes the totality, the perfect balance in humankind, the Universe even.
 AH: Well -I was one of the men attending and it was GREAT! -the two weeks of Rajan, tell us about that…
 Fairbanks: That was really a remarkable experience -and I think everyone who was there would agree to that. Forty six practitioners living together for ten days in the idyllic surroundings of Shenoa, a northern Californian retreat center, immersed from early morning till late at night in Rajan’s profound homeopathic artistry. I think a very unique process takes place when a group of people eat, sleep and work together in a quiet environment. Masks drop away, barriers in thinking shrink and the ability to hear and utilize new ideas becomes quite different. One is out of the usual habitual life -no phone calls, no dinner to cook -so something can take place on a different level. It was a wonderful group of people and Rajan was almost indescribably brilliant and seemingly indefatigueable. His insistence that there is a central theme to the patient’s state, a unique ‘music’ as he calls it, that is present throughout the case history, and that will lead clearly to the choice of remedy was illustrated to us time and again through his videos, in live cases and in his teaching. We touched only lightly on materia medica, the main aim being for us to perceive, to observe, to hear objectively -truly without prejudice -what the patient expressed. It was a beautiful process. Rajan’s wisdom, his devotion to homeopathy, his tireless enquiry into the truth, his humility, his sense of humor -all these things and more make him, I think, truly one of the greatest figures in homeopathy that we are blessed to have in our lives.
 AH: What do you feel has been the result of holding your seminars?
 Fairbanks: I hope that they have really opened new windows to both the generation of practicing homeopaths and those who are still students. Or at least opened existing windows wider. I get excited by knowledge and that feeling of an idea or new understanding clicking into place -and I get a real delight from seeing that happen to others. I don’t like teaching other people myself at all -so I think bringing others to do it, gives me a sort of vicarious pleasure!
 AH: What else is being planned in the future?
 Fairbanks: Next year Berkeley Digby plans to start his course -and hopefully, Rajan will be back. Ah! -and the beautiful wizard, Dr. Whitmont -I would love to hear him again. I can imagine a time where I may get tempted to ask quite different people to speak, not necessarily homeopaths. People like Rupert Sheldrake who brought us the concept of Morphic Resonance, Lewis Thomas the biologist. And Robert Johnson who wrote the ‘He She and We’ books. To me these people are tremendously exciting and I think, as homeopaths, it’s important that all parts of our psyche are touched and awakened by stimuli from different directions. But those latter are just thoughts- in reality, I think I am going to concentrate more on my own practice now. It has been such a busy five years as you can hear. And when I realize that I also have a full practice seeing patients for most of the week -I feel EXTREMELY busy -too busy. It has really been two full time jobs -but there we go -perhaps a sycotic miasm is lurking! Primarily I am a homeopath, I love it and it becomes more and more fascinating to me -and I may have satisfied the vicarious teacher in me with these seminars -so it is time to follow my own ‘bliss’ as -was it Joseph Campbell said? Really listen to these beautiful stories of the patients, gently dig away behind them as a sort of psyche-and-somatic archaeologist -spend more time in the trees, in the pottery -pondering and listening. Sounds good to me!
 AH: Me too! What do you see as the future of homeopathy -how’s it different?
 Fairbanks: I think things are changing -at least I hope so. Although I practice ‘Classical’ homeopathy, I feel very open to hearing and reflecting on aspects of ‘variations’. I think to be stuck in any format is a kind of death. Everything in the Universe changes and is in flux, and homeopathy is no different. I think Hahnemann was extraordinarily brilliant but I think he would be the first to screech if we were to stand still and frozen in the 6th edition of the Organon. He was constantly developing his ideas and that process only ended with his death. We know very well that what he did write is almost indisputably correct -it works! But I am not closed to those ideas developing with the changing needs of humankind. I do think life and it’s stresses are different now from then -and I think the great minds of today are meeting that change.
 AH: Tell me about your proving work.
 Fairbanks: I have participated in some for Nancy Herrick and quite apart from the value to homeopathy as a whole -it made my personal awe for this process of dynamizing substances, the mystery of what takes place, reach a new all-time high! Whitmont refers to the possibility that we are part of a quasi-conscious earth, or that we may even function like cells in this vast cosmic organism -it really opens mysterious questions. What is it in me that IS lion? Once there was one drop of lions milk several hundred drops of alcohol ago -and here I am wanting to eat raw meat, dreaming of cats for two months, buying a kitten, striding out tirelessly over the hills -my gosh! And people who proved dolphin, horse, eagle -it was all the same. This sort of information didn’t come out in the old proving’s so something is different. We need to dance along with that! I wonder sometimes if on some level the world of the shaman and the world of the homeopath may be getting closer. I am sure all healing arts are linked at their foundation, and it is just due to humankind’s slow realization that we now begin to recognize this. There is a wonderful book called Plant Spirit Medicine by Eliott Cowen which makes understanding the nature of plants very accessible. There are many levels of knowledge open to us that are only limited by our own willingness to question more deeply.
 AH: What do you feel the most honored by in your homeopathic career?
 Fairbanks: Hmmm, that’s a nice question. It’s usually easier to think of the gloomy bits like WHY didn’t that remedy work on that patient? OK. Well, on a daily basis in my practice, I think I feel honored by my patients. It is a tremendously vulnerable gesture to tell a stranger all of your fears and pains and feelings. It never fails to touch me that it is a kind of gift -to be able to perhaps help them to find their own healing through homeopathy. From the experience of presenting these seminars, I have had people say to me that the homeopaths I have brought have changed the quality and practice of homeopathy in the States -and that seems an amazingly wonderful thing. Of course the actual changers are the teachers, but if my role as a sort of catalyst has caused that to happen, then I am truly honored to have had that opportunity. Yes -that feels very good!
 For advance-notice of Four Winds Seminars call:
 415-457-2079, or fax 415 457-8452
 e-mail: mfairbanksigc. apc. org
 or write to:
 Four Winds Seminars
 187 Hillside Drive, Fairfax, CA 94930 

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
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