– Reviewed by jay yasgur
This landmark book is the first by noted physician and co-editor of Homoeopathic LINKS, Harry van der Zee.
Stimulated by readings and then subsequent work with Stanislav Grof (Holotropic therapy) and others in the birth trauma/consciousness field (Otto Rank, Nandor Fodor, Leslie Lecron, Arthur Janov, Leonard Orr, Sondra Ray, Linda Mathison, and David Chamberlain, etc.) Harry allowed a period of thoughtful homeopathic gestation before creating (as explained by Jan Scholten in the book’s Forward):
…connection[s] between the miasms and the birth process as analysed and discovered by Stanislav Grof. The title Miasms in Labour makes this clear. Harry shows the connections between the stages in the birth process as found by “rebirthing” and the miasms.
Important here is the concept of “process.” For a long time homoeopathy has been dominated by static thinking. We see this in the idea of constitutional remedies expressed as “this is a Sulphur patient,” in the idea of fixed remedy pictures, and in the idea of “the patient was cured.” Harry emphasises the dynamic aspects in homoeopathy, through the miasms. Just as birth in itself is a process, so life is a process. It’s not by chance that Hahnemann named the life force “dynamis.”
A second bridge is built with the psychology of Jung. Harry succeeds in giving the miasms a much greater depth by connecting them with the individuation process.
No words came out of my mouth when I first looked at and held this book-just an “Ah-h-h…” could be heard by Ben, my cat. I could have been purring, and I guess I was. The cover is stunning and beautiful, providing the reader with a clue to the depth within. The book feels good in the hand; it is easy to read:
6.8.7 The Uranium Series
Jan Scholten predicts the following themes for what he calls the Uranium series, the elements from Francium to Plutonium and onwards:
• Magician, prophet, shaman
• Unseen power
• World, universe
• Intuition, clairvoyance
• Old age
Pluto is the ancient God of the underworld, of Hades. He kidnapped Persephone from Demeter. He gave her Granatum, the apple, that made her come back to him each winter, after Zeus had forced him to give her back to Demeter. This story resembles the loss of paradise after Adam and Eve were offered a bite from the apple by the snake, representing the devil. With the radioactive elements it seems as though the circle closes. The heaviest elements like Plutonium radiate the lighter elements like Helium. The underworld meets paradise. Enormous power and light is hidden in the dark nucleus of these elements from the underworld. This energy can be used to create and transform or to destroy, both on an individual level and on a global level. The choice and the responsibility is ours.
The following symptoms from the proving of Plutonium nitricum (Sherr) show these two options:
Delusion, earth exploding, sees the
Despair, world, for the
Dreams, apocalyptic, trying to save the world
Delusion, dark, balancing the light with the
Dreams, death; life, death and afterlife
Delusion, born, feels as if newly
Dreams, love, feelings of great
The book’s 10 chapters are roughly divided into three parts: 1. Introduction: Realms of the human unconscious
What the foetus experiences
Symptoms from pregnancy and birth
Trillium pendulum: the wise owl.
2. Birth, a guided tour along the miasms
This lengthy chapter consists of the following eight subchapters: Pre-miasmatic state; Psoric miasm-the “expulsion from paradise”; Transition from psora to sycosis; Sycotic miasm-“no exit” or “eternal hell”; Transition from sycosis to syphilis; Syphilitic miasm and the “deathrebirth struggle”; Transition from syphilis to acute; Acute miasm and the “death-rebirth experience.”
3. Miasms and the individuation process consists of the following five sub-chapters: Pre-individuation; Departure; Descent; Ascent; and Atonement.
The first five chapters serve to introduce the reader to some basic premises while the remaining chapters seethe with cases and materia medica depicting process and the evolution of Zee’s thought. On kingdoms he reflects:
7.1.3 The Kingdoms
An in-depth study of the kingdoms of nature (mineral, plant, animal and human) within homoeopathy, has been made by Chaim Rosenthal of the Israeli School of Homoeopathy. In his approach I see many interesting connections to what I have discussed in this book. For a more in-depth discussion of his approach I recommend the reader to read Homoeopathic LINKS issue 1/2000, in which he has published an overview of his work. Also I have understood from him that he will be publishing a book on the subject.
When we picture life as a hologram, we can also understand that each kingdom is represented in every other kingdom, and that each kingdom will have connections to each miasm. In the context of this book I will restrict myself to discussing the main connection between each kingdom and its corresponding miasm.
Chapters 8 and 9 (“A Cosmological Survey” and “An Artistic Expression of the Miasms,” respectively) consist of illustrations and somber Klimt-like color plates by Candace Charlton depicting the four main miasms and the pre-miasmatic state.
The epilogue chapter, “Miasms in Perspective,” offers an understandably inadequate summary of the foregoing eight score pages. After all, how could one summarize such profound views in a half dozen paragraphs? But an attempt is made:
If we look at the periodic table we can see that we start with hydrogen and helium, and we end with the radioactive elements. The experiences during birth also start with hydrogen, and end with the destructive heavy metals. The presented material strongly suggests that the birth process of the individual is a reflection of the creation of mankind as a whole, the birth of man. The miasms as we know them can not be reduced to being the outcome of sexual misconduct. In a narrow understanding they represent disease. In a broader understanding they are connected as corrective energies to major stepping-stones in the history of mankind. They are spokes in the wheel. They belong to the stages we have to go through in order to become an individual human being. We pass through these stages in the birth process, we pass through them in life, again and again. And as a consequence we pass through their natural and necessary attributes, the miasms, going from psora to sycosis to syphilis, with acutes marking points of transition. Seen from this perspective where is the pathology? What we see is evolution, growth. We speak of pathology when we get stuck at a certain point in this growth process. Just as the symptoms show us the dynamis in action restoring health, so the chronic diseases can show us the miasms in action, restoring the direction in our life.
In the Forward, Jan Scholten dramatically likens homeopathy to an island emerging from the ocean of the subconscious. This metaphor brings to mind another: “Only on the profound unbounded sea, can the fully invested whale be truly and livingly found out.” (Herman Melville: Moby Dick)
And only when we uncover more and more of the hidden parts of homeopathy will we be able to more skillfully use this still evolving art. Dr. Zee has provided us with another valuable part. We should be thankful for his insights.