Reviewed by carolyn hallett
Dr. Mirilli’s Thematic Repertory and Materia Medica reorganizes the mind section of the repertory into themes that make meaningful connections between related rubrics, rather than listing rubrics alphabetically. This format seems to bring the repertory alive in a way that allows the homeopath, at a glance, to view the whole series of related rubrics for any given mental symptom. The last 200 pages of the text are an alphabetical materia medica consisting of pure proving symptoms with notations as to the homeopath who conducted the proving from which the symptom derives.
In a way, each mental symptom in a repertory has a story behind it, but the standard alphabetical repertory form, by necessity, has separated that story from the symptom. The context becomes completely lost, and the symptom stands alone. So repertorization can be a bit like trying to demonstrate to someone what carrot cake tastes like by giving them one bite each of a carrot, some flour, an egg, and sugar. When the ingredients are tasted individually, the flavor of the whole cannot be experienced. Mirilli’s text provides the reader with the full flavor and richness of each symptom.
For example, if a patient’s mental state includes problems with the issue of poverty, the standard repertorial approach might be to look at rubrics such as “fear of poverty”, “avarice”, or maybe “delusion, poor”. In Mirilli’s text, the section on poverty has all of the rubrics that have anything to do with the theme of poverty, including “ailments from financial loss”; “delusions, clothes, rags”; “dreams of beggars”; “fear of death from hunger,” and so on. Each thematic section then contains a sub-section wherein the specific symptom experienced by the prover is quoted directly from the proving. For example, “Arsenicum: fixed idea that he and his family will die of starvation”. In this way, the symptom is re-attached to its “story”, thereby giving the homeopath a much better understanding of how, and why, different remedies express the same symptom, in slightly different ways.
In its most basic application this book organizes the numerous related rubrics for the practitioner and simply serves as a time saver. In a more profound way, the text provides easy access to pure materia medica in a user-friendly format that helps us understand more deeply the origins of the rubrics that make up the entire universe of mental symptoms. Mirilli has accomplished a monumental project that will streamline repertorization, while at the same time broaden our understanding of the mind section of the repertory. A good investment.